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Reply #51: Hack the Vote | Paul Krugman, NY Times 12/2/03 [View All]

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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-02-03 11:28 AM
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51. Hack the Vote | Paul Krugman, NY Times 12/2/03
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/02/opinion/02KRUG.html

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Hack the Vote
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: December 2, 2003
E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

Inviting Bush supporters to a fund-raiser, the host wrote, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." No surprise there. But Walden O'Dell who says that he wasn't talking about his business operations happens to be the chief executive of Diebold Inc., whose touch-screen voting machines are in increasingly widespread use across the United States.

For example, Georgia where Republicans scored spectacular upset victories in the 2002 midterm elections relies exclusively on Diebold machines. To be clear, though there were many anomalies in that 2002 vote, there is no evidence that the machines miscounted. But there is also no evidence that the machines counted correctly. You see, Diebold machines leave no paper trail.

Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, who has introduced a bill requiring that digital voting machines leave a paper trail and that their software be available for public inspection, is occasionally told that systems lacking these safeguards haven't caused problems. "How do you know?" he asks.

What we do know about Diebold does not inspire confidence. The details are technical, but they add up to a picture of a company that was, at the very least, extremely sloppy about security, and may have been trying to cover up product defects.

Early this year Bev Harris, who is writing a book on voting machines, found Diebold software which the company refuses to make available for public inspection, on the grounds that it's proprietary on an unprotected server, where anyone could download it. (The software was in a folder titled "rob-Georgia.zip.") The server was used by employees of Diebold Election Systems to update software on its machines. This in itself was an incredible breach of security, offering someone who wanted to hack into the machines both the information and the opportunity to do so.<more>
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