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CA Diebold Failure, Lost Ballots Reveals Federal E-Vote Scam (X)

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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:21 PM
Original message
CA Diebold Failure, Lost Ballots Reveals Federal E-Vote Scam (X)

''Humboldt Transparency Project' Reveals Diebold's, U.S. Federal E-Voting Scam
Hundreds of Lost Ballots, Illegal Voting System, and the Scam Behind Billions of Federal Dollars Spent on Voting Machines That Don't Work All Illustrated by Simple Citizen Oversight, Free Open-Source Voting System in One California County...

-- By John Gideon and Brad Friedman

"Some people have called those who have long decried our nation's move toward voting machines nuts or just sore losers... The recent discovery, thanks to the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project, of a discrepancy in election results due to flawed software reveals that these activists were right to make noise, and right to complain about a company that has been less than responsible in dealing with the problem," reads the editorial from yesterday's Eureka Times-Standard.

Thanks for noticing, Times-Standard. Now will the rest of the country notice? Specifically, will the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, responsible for testing and certifying these machines at the federal level, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, responsible for enforcing federal laws --- which again seem to have been violated by Diebold (whose election division now calls themselves Premier) --- notice and take action?

Interviews with and responses from CA officials from Humboldt County Registrar Carolyn Crnich to Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office indicate a serious problem, yet again, with Diebold's handling of the software failure which the company has known about for four years, even as they allowed election officials to continue using the same system in several states.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of Diebold's original terse, emailed notice of the software failure, sent to Crnich's predecessor in 2004, but never sent to CA's new Sec. of State, despite her "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all e-voting systems in the state which she undertook after taking office in 2007.

At the same time, local software programmer Mitch Trachtenberg, who developed the simple, transparent, open-source optical-scan software, using off-the-shelf hardware for the citizen's project --- including the ability to post all scanned ballots onto the web for citizen review --- may have inadvertently revealed the scam perpetuated by the nation's electronic voting machine vendor's who were allocated some $3.9 billion federal tax dollars for their efforts at creating proprietary systems, which don't even work as promised...or as required by federal law.

Enough is enough...


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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yer kidding, right?
The machines that count 80% or more of our votes make big mistakes and lose and miscount votes, and they've known about it for years and nothing's been done?

This sounds like something the republicans lead by Tom Delay and Karl Rove would do: foist upon us a system that could be made to steal elections.

Shirley they are gonna fix the damn things now, right? Right? Are we gonna have another election with the damned machines? Another election that we'll never know who really won or lost?
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. It's late, and I want to post this here. It doesn't really belong.
I must preface what I say with the fact that I'm absolutely furious about this problem.

The machines are not the problem. When was the last time your computer took you to FreeRepublic when you clicked the link to come to Democratic Underground? Never. And it never will. The machines are essentially perfect.

What we need is an independent testing scenario. All machines can at any time be tested by any number of independent groups.

This is just a very basic thought. Of course there are details to avoid other means by which these goons can cheat. But essentially I think the system is fine, but it's the ability by which they have avoided being honest that have cost us dearly.

We need to devise a way to ensure accountability. I may be overlooking some very basic problems with the machines, or the process, but the concept is the same. There must be a way of proving the honesty of the machines.

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unc70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 04:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. No way to be sure that machines not compromised by someone
I am a software expert with over 40 years experience that includes high reliability, high security systems. In order for one to really trust the machines you must have the equivalent of the "chain of custody" requirement for evidence for each and every componenet (hardware and software) of each and every voting machine and tabulating system from the time it was manufactured and certified until its final use (maybe even longer because of audit and forensic requirements).

If any part of a secure system is breached, is there any way to ever know if it or its components have not been modified? Can one really be certain that a trojan has not been hidden in some obscure place -- hidden in some device firmware or maybe in a smart disk controller, possibly activated early when initially booting the machine, maybe making what you think is a physical machine really be a virtual machine "hosted" by the malware. How would you know? Certainly not by anything you can run on the machine itself (or was that running on a virtual machine?).

There are almost no secure chip founderies remaining in the US. Almost all chips are now made in places where we have little control. Components are now routinely found that have been infected with malware somewhere between manufacturing and deployment; it could have happened almost anywhere in the supply chain and was the work of a single person. While a trojan disk drive, graphics card, or network interface might be detectable, I fear that a rogue modification of a chip design (for example, a complex Intel or AMD cpu chip) would be nearly impossible to detect, particularly if designed to remain dormant unless it happens to be used within a targeted environment such as military, banking, or security.

Usually we see attacks that are much simpler (maybe because we rarely detect the most successful attacks). To answer your question, no, we don't browse DU and wind up at FR. What actually happens is that we browse for our bank or the CheckFree bill-pay site and are sent by poisoned DNS to some place in Russia, China, or the Ukraine. The CheckFree attack this week used forged credentials to gain access and to modify the domain definition, redirecting users to counterfit servers in the Ukraine.

Almost every computer system is now highly vulnerable to various types of attacks and hijacks. This includes nearly all of the critical infrastructure in the world: banks, communication, military, energy distribution networks, transportation. The problem has become much worse as we increasingly replace various robust older systems with newer technology dependent on the monoculture of Intel/AMD cpus and the various Microsoft Windows variants, in my opinion about the worst combination of features/weaknesses/cluelessness I can imagine.

We already have seen cell phones infecting patient monitory equipment, power blackouts following infection through a laptop, breaches at the White House and within several presidental campaigns, bugs in Excel spreadsheets giving dangerously wrong estimates of financial risks, and the current crippling of military networks by worms spreading through USB devices.

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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. So
You are saying we can't trust the machines? Then why in the heck would bushco allow the machines to be used in our elections?
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. By those standards, one cannot trust paper either.
I agree with what you said. Don't get my comment wrong. And I'm biased to a degree since my dad helped invent the pc, to a small extent. I used to hang out at the homebrew computing club where the Wozniak creature spent his time. I remember using DOS to do my work. There was never so much as a glitch. I know we're talking firmware, blackouts, etc. But all of that can be overcome.

I'm all for paper. And I'll admit that paper would be much more obvious to steal. But it could be done. So it looks to me like we're not talking about the process of voting as much as the need to steal elections.

We trust ATM's. As much as I want paper, I don't see why we can't use digital. Although I do admit that this would be like trying to send a man to the moon all while someone is hacking the engineering. Fun. I hate my fellow man.

I'm not sure what my point is. I think it's that our problems are far broader than just election fraud. How's that for changing the subject?
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unc70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Not true -- paper ballots deserve a much-higher level of trust
There have been many discussions about this over the years here at DU. My journal has several long items about why we should never entrust our elections to any system that cannot be observed and understood by ordinary citizens. Our selection of who next becomes the most powerful person in all human history, whose actions will greatly affect our individual and collective futures, possibly our fates and that of all mankind.

In our primaries and elections, we must eliminate every possibility that a small group could manipulate election results widely and without detection, and we must be constantly vigilant at all levels. Because every computer-based voting system is vulnerable to many types of risks/attacks that are essentially impossible to prevent, we should only use systems based on hand-marked ballots which can ultimately be examined and counted by hand, although they might have been initially counted with scanners. The ability to manipulate and control our elections, even partially, is of such immense value that many groups, foreign and domestic, would be tempted. We know of some similar efforts by the CIA in other countries; how much effort might equivalent groups in Russia, China, or elsewhere against us? My guess is "as much as it takes".

But it probably would not involve that much effort. Why? Because almost every electronic device, from chips to disks to scanners, is manufacture in other countries and is in unsecured environments along each step of its manufacture, assembly, testing, and distribution. I believe we now have only one significant secure chip foundry in the US, a growing concern at DoD and elsewhere. Could anyone detect a trojan hidden in the design of a "standard" cpu chip that was made in a fab in another country if they only had the chip itself?

We are reaching the point where security and privacy are now longer possible for anyone or any organization.

BTW just because you did not notice errors by your computer does not mean they did not happen. Would you have noticed a dropped bit or bits with non-parity memory? Or that your Intel cpu sometimes failed arithmetic? Or that your Excel functions might return highly inaccurate results because they used non-robust algorithms? Who needs to compute future value to that much accuracy?

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Thanks! And did you know that a DNS-changing worm was found on an EMS PC in FLORIDA?
It changed the address of the election server's name server to one of those you mentioned, in the Ukraine.

Of course, it would be really inconvenient to ban voting systems from connecting to the Internet, wouldn't it? :argh:
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Which is why there needs to be paper ballots
we need to get rid of your lever voting machines and the touch screen voting machines.


If there is no paper ballots in the election process the election becomes a scam, you know this and I know this.

Lever Macines = no paper

Touch Screens = no paper

Optical scanners = paper, but voters MUST hand count them paper ballots BEFORE THEM BALLOTS ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD or else them paper ballots are useless as tits on a bull.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Nonesense, and bsdies, HCPB ain't gonna happen.
Edited on Fri Dec-12-08 01:22 AM by Bill Bored
In case you are STILL not aware of the situation in NY, if the lever machines go, votes will be counted by computers.

Paper ballots have a history of fraud in NY. It has been difficult to deal with this when advocating against DREs. Also, the way things are moving with scanners taking digital images of the paper ballots, I suspect that paper isn't going to be the ballot of record for long anyway.
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