Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is It Who Votes That Counts, Or Who Counts the Votes?

Bradblog on CNN's Lou DobbsThere has been an explosion recently in coverage by the corporate media of the vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines used in US elections, but the blogs remain relatively silent, with the exception being BradBlog and Bev's Black Box of course. Gathered mostly from Brad's site, I've put together this collage of recent articles and news videos here. *Note, the videos stand by themselves and are not linked except by this topic to the articles they are positioned next to. Just click on any/all of the pics to view the vids.

WaPo: A Single Person Could Swing an Election
Electronic Systems' Weaknesses May Be Countered With Audits, Report Suggests

The report concluded that the three major electronic voting systems in use have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities. But it added that most of these vulnerabilities can be overcome by auditing printed voting records to spot irregularities. And while 26 states require paper records of votes, fewer than half of those require regular audits.

"With electronic voting systems, there are certain attacks that can reach enough voting machines . . . that you could affect the outcome of the statewide election," said Lawrence D. Norden, associate counsel of the Brennan Center.
"It's not a question of 'if,' it's a question of 'when,' " Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee said of an attempt to manipulate election results
With billions of dollars of support from the federal government, states have replaced outdated voting machines in recent years with optical scan ballot and touch-screen machines. Activists, including prominent computer scientists, have complained for years that these machines are not secure against tampering. But electronic voting machines are also much easier to use for disabled people and those who do not speak English. ...(more)

USA Today: Analysis Finds E-Voting Machines Vulnerable

Most of the electronic voting machines widely adopted since the disputed 2000 presidential election "pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state and local elections," a report out Tuesday concludes.
There are more than 120 security threats to the three most commonly purchased electronic voting systems, the study by the Brennan Center for Justice says. For what it calls the most comprehensive review of its kind, the New York City-based non-partisan think tank convened a task force of election officials, computer scientists and security experts to study e-voting vulnerabilities.

The study, which took more than a year to complete, examined optical scanners and touch-screen machines with and without paper trails. Together, the three systems account for 80% of the voting machines that will be used in this November's election. ...(more)

NYT: New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems

[O]fficials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a potential security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem.

It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University ...(more)

WSJ: Reversing Course on Electronic Voting
Some Former Backers of Technology Seek Return to Paper Ballots, Citing Glitches, Fraud Fears

Some advocates of a 2002 law mandating upgrades of the nation's voting machinery now worry the overhaul is making things worse.

With the 2006 midterm elections approaching, proponents of the Help America Vote Act are filing lawsuits to block some state and election officials' efforts to comply with the act. ...(more)
What Can You Do? Demand a Paper Trail!Horse Sense: Demand a Paper Trail

WaPo: How To Steal an Election

It's easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That's because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America's voting machines ...(more)

WaPo: As Elections Near, Officials Challenge Balloting Security
In Controlled Test, Results Are Manipulated in Florida System

As the Leon County supervisor of elections, Ion Sancho's job is to make sure voting is free of fraud. But the most brazen effort lately to manipulate election results in this Florida locality was carried out by Sancho himself.

Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. To Sancho, the results showed the vulnerability of voting equipment manufactured by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, which is used by Leon County and many other jurisdictions around the country. ...(more)

WaPo: Sleepover in San Diego? reports that in the special election in California to replace Duke Cunningham, "volunteer pollworkers were allowed to take Diebold voting machines home as much as two weeks before the election." (I am currently waiting for a response to this report from California's elections board. I'll update the moment I have it.

Given the known security vulnerabilities and the concrete problems that fraud and/or malfunctions have caused [see pp. 9-15], how could this be allowed to happen? ...(more)

Sans must ask: Can we PLEASE get the Carter Center to monitor the '06 election?


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