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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 01:37 AM
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Fixing Elections for Fun and Profit


Fixing Elections for Fun and Profit

December 19, 2005

By Brian Livingston

snip

The county commission of Leon County, which includes Tallahassee, voted on Dec. 13 to scrap its Diebold equipment and switch to a different manufacturer, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. Three days later, the county council of Volusia County (Daytona Beach) approved a similar change. The switch will cost that jurisdiction at least $2.5 million, county officials said.

These actions, and the events that led up to them, can teach us a great deal about our dependence on computer procedures that are developed by flawed human beings.

It's not just elections, of course, that are affected by programming errors and poorly understood code. Imagine your company purchasing a large development project from an outside firm. If that firm overcharges you, and you dispute the bill, can your mission-critical software be disabled at the push of a button by its developers until you pay up? It's a good idea to ask these questions before you invest your money in computerized solutions.

snip

Unfortunately for voters, the trick demonstrated on Diebold's equipment by Hursti may very well have already been used in real elections:

snip

http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/columns/executive_tech...

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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 02:51 AM
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1. You get a K & R....
Just for the title of your post! :rofl:

the rest is good too :)
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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 05:17 AM
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2. Another K&R!!
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 07:03 AM
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3. This is interesting
from the above article...
The Diebold equipment, Hursti explains, can be secretly initialized so that Candidate A starts with 65,511 votes -- which is the same as minus 25 -- while Candidate B starts with +25. The "zero report" would blithely show 0 votes for each candidate. After more than 25 votes have been cast for Candidate A, there would be no indication that any tampering had occurred
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. yeah, it's an interesting hack
Livingston apparently doesn't know a damn thing about exit polls, but I am used to that. He's at least mostly wrong about a manual recount being required to overturn the -16,000 votes in Volusia County in 2000, and the Dayton Daily News article he links to doesn't support what he says it supports. Otherwise, the facts looked solid.

If it's possible to roll out large numbers of memory cards hacked in this manner, that would certainly be a problem. It's been argued on DU that the pre-election testing and security measures would prevent this -- meanwhile, I assume other DUers are convinced that it happened en masse in 2004. So far the two sides seem to be talking past each other.
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