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Diebold under fire of late.


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This is a recent article from blackboxvoting.org describing the recent Diebold difficulties, which I am not surprised at all:


Wed. December 14, 2005: Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On Tuesday, the most serious “hack” demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, and the announcement that a stockholder's class action suit has been filed against Diebold by Stull, Stull & Brady and another firm, Scott & Scott. Further “hack” testing on additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in the state of California.

Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, together with Black Box Voting, demonstrated that Diebold made misrepresentations to Secretaries of State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed on the “memory card” (the credit-card-sized ballot box used by computerized voting machines.

A test election was run in Leon County on Tuesday with a total of eight ballots. Six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.

At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A "zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact, however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes.

The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting machine.

Correct results should have been: Yes:2 ; No:6

However, just as Hursti had planned, the results tape read: Yes:7 ; No:1

The results were then uploaded from the optical scan voting machine into the GEMS central tabulator, a step cited by Diebold as a protection against memory card hacking. The central tabulator is the "mother ship" that pulls in all votes from voting machines. However, the GEMS central tabulator failed to notice that the voting machines had been hacked.

The results in the central tabulator read:

Yes:7 ; No:1

This videotaped testing session was witnessed by Black Box Voting investigators Bev Harris and Kathleen Wynne, Florida Fair Elections Coalition Director Susan Pynchon, security expert Dr. Herbert Thompson, and Susan Bernecker, a former candidate for New Orleans city council who videotaped Sequoia-brand touch-screen voting machines in her district recording vote after vote for the wrong candidate.

The Hursti Hack requires a moderate level of inside access. It is, however, accomplished without being given any password and with the same level of access given thousands of poll workers across the USA. It is a particularly dangerous exploit, because it changes votes in a one-step process that will not be detected in any normal canvassing procedure, it requires only a single a credit-card sized memory card, any single individual with access to the memory cards can do it, and it requires only a small piece of equipment which can be purchased off the Internet for a few hundred dollars.

One thousand two hundred locations in the U.S. and Canada use Diebold voting machines. In each of these locations, typically three people have a high level of inside access. Temporary employees also often have brief access to loose memory cards as machines are being prepared for elections. Poll workers sometimes have a very high level of inside access. National elections utilize up to two million poll workers, with hundreds or thousands in a single jurisdiction.

Many locations in the U.S. ask poll workers to take voting machines home with them with the memory cards inside. San Diego County (Calif) sent 713 voting machines/memory cards home with poll workers for its July 26 election, and King County (Wash.) sent over 500 voting machines home with poll workers before its Nov. 8 election.

Memory cards are held in a compartment protected by a small plastic seal. However, these simple seals can be defeated, and Hursti has found evidence that the memory card can be reprogrammed without disturbing the seal by using a telephone modem port on the back of the machine.

The Hursti Hack, referred to as “the mother of all security holes” was first exposed in a formal report on July 4. (http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf).

Diebold has insisted to county and state election officials that despite Hursti’s demonstration, changing votes on its memory cards is impossible. (Public records from Diebold, including threat letter to Ion Sancho:


On Oct. 17, 2005 Diebold Elections Systems Research and Development chief Pat Green specifically told the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) board of elections during a $21 million purchasing session that votes cannot be changed using only a memory card. (Video of Pat Green: http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/14298.html) Over the objections of Cuyahoga County citizens, and relying on the veracity of Diebold’s statements, the board has chosen to purchase the machines.

According to Public Records obtained by Black Box Voting, Diebold has promulgated misrepresentations about both the Hursti Hack and another kind of hack by Dr. Herbert Thompson to secretaries of state, and to as many as 800 state and local elections officials.

Stockholder suit filed by the law offices of Stull, Stull & Brady and also by Scott and Scott.

Stull Stull & Brady lawsuit: http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/8/15603.html

and http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002153.htm

Diebold CEO resigns: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=175001748

Permission to reprint granted with link to http://blackboxvoting.org

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Suprised nobody replied to it. . .

It appears as if Diebold is going down in flames. Not only has it been proven that the last vote was indeed hackable, it could also be doneb y a single person without leaving a trace. A finnish hacker hacked into the system, changed a mock election, and there was no evidence he was there. In otherwords, the last election was hackable, and Diebold was caught lying about not only their software, but the security of their software. Taking this into account with the "guarentee" of the election to Bush, it undermines democracy here in the US.

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I keep thinking electronic voting is do-able, as long as there's a paper trail.

In my plan, every terminal has a printer. The printer uses carbonless receipt tape, and keeps the carbon. The voter gets the original.

After closing, there's a paper record of every vote cast on machine number 1, (and so forth), in chronological order. The paper that's retained is a carbon, so it's really likely that it agrees with the original that the voter got.

The day after the election, the county publishes a spreadsheet of ballots cast by each individual machine. (And announces the winners).

Two weeks later, you select a CPA firm, at random, to pick 5% of the machines, at random, and verify that the electronic tally matches the paper tape. (If 5% of the machines match the paper, then it's a pretty good bet that the other 95% match, too.)

If anybody's still paranoid about the election, then the paper records are public documents. If the local newspaper wants to go down to the courthouse, and go over the records for every single machine, then knock yourselves out.

If John Doe wants to go down to the courthouse, and verify that the paper tape matches the receipt that he kept, when he voted, then that's his right.

The paper makes it tough (I don't think it's impossible, but it's tough) to alter the electronic total after I step away from the machine. The fact that I get a receipt makes it tough to change my vote in between the touchscreen and the printer.

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