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Diebold Insider Comments on Voting System Flaw 466

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-many-chances-will-they-get dept.
Call Me Black Cloud writes "A Diebold insider is blowing the whistle on the company's continued lack of concern about security holes in its voting software. The insider wrote to Brad Friedman, a somewhat shrill political blogger, claiming the company is instructing technicians to keep quiet about the security flaws. This is despite the vulnerability being listed on the US-CERT website for the last year. A Diebold company rep admits the software can be remotely accessed via modem, but states, "it's up to a jurisdiction whether they wish to use it or not...I don't know of any jurisdiction that does that." The insider disputes that, claiming several counties in Maryland made use of the feature in 2004." This in addition to the fact that Blackboxvoting already hacked the system using a chimp last year.
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Diebold Insider Comments on Voting System Flaw

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  • by Alaren (682568) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#13598316)

    "This in addition to the fact that Blackboxvoting already hacked the system using a chimp last year.

    So that would explain why the system elected a chimp last year...

    d^_^b

    • It's only been a year?

      Oh God, we are soooo screwed.
    • by Alaren (682568) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:17PM (#13598431)

      I never said which politician I was referring to as somehow sub-human--just that the system elected a chimp last year.

      But hey, I guess if the shoe fits...

    • by saskboy (600063) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:24PM (#13598500) Homepage Journal
      You know the old computer saying:
      "Garbage In / Garbage Out"

      I'm not surprised that the Diebold model number of the voting machines last election were GIGO 5000s.
    • Anybody seen the Hari Hursti report yet?

      http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf [blackboxvoting.org]
    • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Monday September 19, 2005 @09:32PM (#13600694) Homepage

      Given that humans are 98.5% chimp anyway, there's not much of a choice.

      As the anarchists says, "No matter who gets elected, the government gets into office."

      We Transhumans modify that to: "No matter who gets elected, an alpha chimp gets into office."
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:05PM (#13598319) Homepage Journal

    The CEO of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold, Inc., Walden O'Dell has been oft-quoted for his 2003 Republican fund-raiser promise to help "Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." O'Dell himself was a high-level contributor to the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign as well as many other Republican causes.

    Is this not a conflict of interest?
    • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:10PM (#13598372) Homepage
      Is this not a conflict of interest?

      No, but it's fucking shady as hell -- that's for sure. What's even worse is that they know about flaws and not only do THEY not care but both the government (duh) and the PUBLIC don't care either.

      We have hashed out what needs to be done to make this a secure system [slashdot.org] and one is to allow all the code and hardware to be opened to the public that will be using it.

      Of course that will never happen and I will continue to use paper ballots like every other sane American should.
      • Re:Scary (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        Well not everywhere in America. Some states are starting to require paper copies of e-ballots. While I heard a while back about one state that is requiring publically available source code. I can't find the state though right now.
        • Re:Scary (Score:5, Interesting)

          by saskboy (600063) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:31PM (#13598570) Homepage Journal
          And unless the paper is printed before your eyes, and deposited into THE ballot box in front of your eyes, then I wouldn't trust the system either. What are the scrutineering laws [observers for each party/candidate in the room with the voters and ballot box] in the United States? Are there observers overseeing the ballot takers and counters in each polling place like in Canada?

          Canada's system works quite well, and it would scale to work in American consituancies quite well, since we have the same system in Toronto, as we do in Nunavut with no complaints that I'm aware of in either location.
    • Re:Scary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:12PM (#13598392) Homepage
      Without starting a conversation about how everyone on Slashdot could hack into the computerized voting system undetected...
      Keep this in mind. Many would say it is much easier to tamper with a paper ballot election. Ballots dissapear, ballots materialize out of nowhere etc. Burning boxes of ballots in fields is nothing new. One could postulate that tampering with computer ballots leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.
      • Re:Scary (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:26PM (#13598533)
        Many would say it is much easier to tamper with a paper ballot election. Ballots dissapear, ballots materialize out of nowhere etc.

        Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the law of conservation of energy?
        Physical ballots do not spontaneously materialize and disappear. Electronic ballots, on the other hand, can do just that.

        Burning boxes of ballots in fields is nothing new. One could postulate that tampering with computer ballots leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.

        The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security.

        Electronic voting systems are pure voodoo to 99.99% of the population. Remotely tampering with them, especially when the security on them is made of swiss cheese, involves much less risk of being caught and can be done on a muchc broader scale -- one person can only haul of and destroy so many physical ballots, but one professional electronic vote-rigger can conceivably modify every single ballot cast.
        • Re:Scary (Score:4, Informative)

          by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:34PM (#13598601) Homepage
          Okay- I see your point. Not to be argumentative- but my friend,
          The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security.
          Vote tampering is almost an institution in the US. From the very dawn of America. I really don't want to get into giving a history lesson, but I suggest doing a google search for vote tampering and only clicking on the .edu's.
          I know that your points are great in theory, but unfortunately history disproves you.
          • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:41PM (#13599170)
            Vote tampering is almost an institution in the US. From the very dawn of America

            Never said it wasn't - just that electronic tampering has the potential to be even easier to pull off than the physical kind. On the other hand - well designed and implemented electronic voting systems can greatly assist in preventing the physical tampering you are talking about.

            It is basically a situation where if you implement electronic balloting poorly, then you greately increase the risks compared to paper balloting. But implement it robustly and you greatly decrease the risks instead.

            So far, we've had way too much of the poor implementations.
        • Jherek Carnelian writers, "The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security."

          Most cases of election fraud aren't "rogue anarchists," its the local political machine. Generally, it is done by the police, the Sheriff's office, or someone else in the local political establishment.

          Online
      • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:55PM (#13599308)
        One could postulate that tampering with computer ballots leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.

        One could postulate that the sun will rise in the East. If you postulated that "that tampering with computer ballots could leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.", you would have an argument (a weak one but something). The facts are:

        1) At least one existing system (the Diebold system in the FA) is not only not tamper evident, it appears to have features specifically designed to conceal tampering (a timestamp mod utility, separate DBs and functionality for voting and auditing and no tx sequencing spring to mind).

        2) Physical tampering does not scale. In order to affect the presidential outcome, one would need to have a number of people in each of 10000+ locations involved. A single skilled individual can achieve the same effect with electronic voting.

        3) Virtually all methods of tampering with physical ballots still work on electronic systems! In light of the fact that in the last election an apparently malfunctioning balloting machine was removed to a private warehouse and returned to service while the polls were open, I'd like to see you justify your implication that somehow e- machines are harder to tamper with than plain ballot boxes.

        To give a real world example, there is very strong statistical evidence that Ohio's results were tampered with and in a way that could not be done with physical ballots.

    • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smyle (108107)
      Is this not a conflict of interest?

      It depends largely on his intent. His full quote was "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Was then emphasis on "I" (as I took them to be) or was the emphasis on "to the president" (presumably meaning the current president, then running for re-election).

      Yes, the guy's a Bush contributor, but that doesn't mean he's a perpetrator of fraud.

      FWIW, I'm a registered Republican, and I am as paranoid as anybody else about thi

  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) <shadow.wrought@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:05PM (#13598324) Homepage Journal
    I just knew that Bush didn't receive 130% of the vote, I knew it.

    To the plank with the Diebold Scaliwags! Arr!

  • I have a question. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock (152993) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:07PM (#13598339) Homepage Journal
    Why are the handful of people who identify problems and try to get them solved "shrill"?

    I'm not taking issue with the submitter because I hear the term applied to liberals alot -- but I wonder when the alternative of stubborn complacency and "going along to get along" became ideals in our democracy.

    Because you don't get things fixed thinking like that.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:39PM (#13598648) Journal
      "Why are the handful of people who identify problems and try to get them solved "shrill"? "

      Because of the method and tone of the discussion. Shrill, in this usage, means "betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated manner." Obviously, shrill is generally a subjective descriptor.

      Many pundits and bloggers use a shrill manner to draw attention to themselves and their arguments -- Limbaugh, Coulter, Franken, etc.

      The reason being shrill is looked down upon by a lot of serious politicos is that the message can be overwhelmed by the tone -- if the argument needs to be shrill to get attention, how valid can the argument be?

      "Because you don't get things fixed thinking like that." [re: 'going along to get along']

      Although shrillness can draw attention to an issue, it won't get anything solved either. The ideal is that we can all pay attention to issues and work on resolution, without resorting to exaggeration.
      • by Blue Neon Head (45388) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:52PM (#13598741)
        The reason being shrill is looked down upon by a lot of serious politicos is that the message can be overwhelmed by the tone -- if the argument needs to be shrill to get attention, how valid can the argument be?

        You say this as if arguments or ideas gain attention in our society on the merits of their content alone. This is plainly absurd, as anyone with any familiarity with politics, media, or marketing knows far too well. Sometimes screaming is the only way to be heard.
    • by veg_all (22581) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:48PM (#13598710)
      Why are the handful of people who identify problems and try to get them solved "shrill"?

      Because they have animated of gifs of rotating police lights on their websites? I dunno.
    • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:57PM (#13598798) Homepage
      Why are the handful of people who identify problems and try to get them solved "shrill"
      This is +5 Insightful?!?? They weren't referring to the whistleblowing in this piece as 'shrill', they were referring to the blogger and the blog overall. Personally, when I read this piece and checked some of the rest of his blog (always helps to find the context), I also found him a bit ... shrill. That is, I find him to be one of those people from the extreme ends of the political spectrum (although it's sadly becoming more and more mainstream on both sides) that rant and scream about topics rather than discussing them in a calm and rational manner.

      Even in this particular instance, the topic was written up in a rather sensationalistic manner (complete with an annoying animated GIF of an emergency vehicle light at the top). That doesn't mean the information is incorrect or not worthy of consideration, but it does make it more difficult to take it seriously as unadulterated fact when it comes from an obvious partisan with a penchant for sensationalism.

      One's 'shrillness' is an entirely nonpartisan attribute, easily applied to liberals, conservatives, and those that belong to sundry other groups. Personally, I think we'd all be much better off without it.
    • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:37PM (#13599131)

      Hi. I'm the submitter. The reason I wrote "shrill" is because when I read through his site the image came to mind of my wife berating me. If that's not shrill, I don't know what is (and I can safely write this non-anonymously because she's probably never even heard of slashdot.)

      I wasn't referencing his point of view or that he isn't "going along to get along." I applaud his efforts at bringing this issue to light and I'm very happy the article was accepted for the front page. I'd hate for this to fall off the radar, especially since I live in MD. It's just that I found the tone of his writing a bit grating...
  • Depressing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern (819622) * on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:07PM (#13598340) Journal
    I don't know what's worse: the frighteningly bizarre concept of a voting machine with no voter-verified paper trail, or the small group of people who defend this literally indefensible practice. It fills me with a sense of dread every time I hear another round of this story hitting the news, and it hasn't involved anyone going to jail yet.

    Unfortunately, as geeks know better than journalists, there is no sane, moral, or legal reason for paperless touchscreen voting machines to even exist. Almost everyone who is knowledgable in this discipline gets it pretty quickly - because it's extremely obvious, and also because paper is integral to secure systems everywhere, from secure logging on printers in machine rooms to ATMs and even slot machines... You just don't store things like votes on non-user-verified, let alone rewriteable, media.

    In fact, if I recall, the state of Nevada was a little while ago in the awkward position of having vastly superior standards enforced for gambling devices than they had for voting machines... although I think now they are one of many states that has put this craziness under some scrutiny...

    Yet there really are a few people out there (I've met some on slashdot for instance) who argue to defend this practice anyway. These days, ignorance and stupidity is no longer funny. It's becoming terrifying.

    If we lived in a sane country, the people who made these machines would be prosecuted, since their level of negligence certainly rises to the level of criminal even if they have no intent of their own to rig elections, and all of the politicians and bureaucrats who ordered, "evaluated," "tested," and approved these systems should follow not long after. We would know all this, prima-facie, even if Diebold hadn't had a pants-down security incident and exposed their internal emails to the world, showing us their gaffes in first-person detail. We would know even if direct results of their incompetence weren't widely documented [blackboxvoting.com]

    The simple, bedrock need for secure voting systems, and the absolutely impeccable engineering doctrines involving voter-verified paper, are almost universally accepted among credible experts. All explained many times before, better than I could anyway. It's inconceivable there is any debate at this point. Why would we have a voting machine that was deliberately made insecure?

    The most credible argument I've ever heard (relatively speaking) is, "Who would cheat anyway? You're just being paranoid."

    But you all know the answer to the question of who would cheat at election time: probably, the first person who thought they could get away with it. [blackboxvoting.com]
    • Re:Depressing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:17PM (#13598440) Homepage
      The most credible argument I've ever heard (relatively speaking) is, "Who would cheat anyway? You're just being paranoid."

      It's very sad that this is such a commonly repeated phrase. I really want to know why people think it's *so* horrifying to be labelled "paranoid" -- especially when it comes to the state of our nation.

      I realize that paranoia is looked down upon, especially in a time where everyone is more interested in the voting results of Survivor, American Idol, or (ironically) Big Brother, but it saddens me deeply when I am looked down upon for being behind our country's values.

      PARANOIA IS WHAT WE NEED! Especially when people just have NO DESIRE to understand the goings on behind political power.

      "Seacrest out!"
      • Re:Depressing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShadeARG (306487) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:45PM (#13598693)
        Questioning the integrity of your democratic process is the most patriotic thing you can do. If you don't (or can't) question it, then your system is fatally broken and bad things will happen.

        Perhaps one of the scariest moments imagineable is when paranoia and common sense intersect. That's when you know something obviously isn't right, and there's nothing you can do to reverse the situation since any notion of your dissent will automatically label you paranoid.

        The sad thing is that all of this should be redundant, but only a small few realize.
    • Re:Depressing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:21PM (#13598471) Homepage Journal
      In fact, if I recall, the state of Nevada was a little while ago in the awkward position of having vastly superior standards enforced for gambling devices than they had for voting machines

      The quality control on gaming machines is crazy high. You know why? If there was any faintest whisper that the gaming corporations were not playing a fair game with the suckers, I mean gamblers, people would play less.

      But voting? Nevada cares far more about the bottom line than it does about the politician of the week.
    • I don't know what's worse: the frighteningly bizarre concept of a voting machine with no voter-verified paper trail, or the small group of people who defend this literally indefensible practice.

      If they don't defend it they have to admit the election was rigged. What's really frightening is the right wing has no moral problem rigging elections.

      • No moral problems tromping on the poor
      • No moral problems starting a war on false a false pretext and getting a lot of good people killed
      • No moral problems sellin
    • Not quite so shrill, (Score:3, Informative)

      by quarkscat (697644)
      so much as right on target.

      But when all the other "dirty tricks" are factored in, the electronic voting machine fraud that occurred in many other states besides Ohio, begin to look like a coordinated and concerted effort to effect the outcome of national elections by illegal means. The number of states employing fraudulent lists of felons to be barred from voting increased considerably from the 2000 election fiasco in Florida and Georgia -- the same company's database was employed in a dozen states in the
  • Credibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79.gmail@com> on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:07PM (#13598341) Homepage
    If this guy had anything of substance to say, he'd have written to a more credible/influential outlet than "a somewhat shrill political blogger".
  • by _am99_ (445916) * on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:07PM (#13598345)
    "In my opinion Diebold's election system is one of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known, and the only way this will be exposed is with a Congressional investigation with subpoenas of not just Diebold officials but Diebold technicians."

    Yes, I'd agree with that. But good luck with a congressional investigation, they probably won't even be able to get a real room to have meeting about it. Just like Downing Street [inthesetimes.com]. Karl Rove is a genius.

    What butthole did the democrats have there heads up when let this scam be part of the 2004 election? They had 4 years! How you can have a company with the contract to build paperless voting machines being run by a loyalist to the incumbant party and not have the opposition do anything about it - IS RIDICULOUS!

    I hope there is an upset in 2006, or it is going to be another 2 years of a radical Whitehouse running around unchecked, digging the US into deeper holes at every turn.

    But really, were is the outrage? I mean this is your democracy?!

    • by Pxtl (151020) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:43PM (#13598671) Homepage
      You don't understand. Left wing organisations aren't allowed to be outraged - when they get loud, they become shrill whiners, and laughed at. You get things like the crybaby-seal for the Democrats, or the "Michael Moore Is Fat" meme. Only equal-time-giving responsible centrists are allowed to discuss issues on the left.

      Meanwhile, right-wing organisations are oppressed by the liberal media monopoly and must struggle to get their messages out. After all, white folks are oppressed by affirmative action and political correctness, Christians are oppressed by the secular school system and the activist judges, and the right-wingers are oppressed by the liberal media. As such, it's only appropriate that they can be voluminous and angry.

      So of course, any outrage from the left wing is absolutlely preposterous. Don't suggest something so insultingly unamerican.
      • by kfg (145172) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:14PM (#13598945)
        As someone who is obviously in sympathy with the left you are not taking into account that all they do is complain about the directions America is taking, which is treasonous America bashing.

        Whereas those on the right spend all their time complaining about the directions America is taking, which is proud patriotism.

        See the difference?

        KFG
  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:08PM (#13598352) Journal
    There's no proof offered, yet. I only skimmed the page, because it's in a crazy-blogger color scheme, but everything I saw seemed to be stuff seen on /. within the last year. Give us something new, something groundbreaking and (newly) newsworthy.
  • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:09PM (#13598360) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's unreasonable for employers to demand that their employees keep a security information quiet.

    However, keeping it quiet because they think that will improve security rather than fixing the problem is NOT reasonable. That's why we have whistleblower protections. A company that has this much of a role in our country - by way of their products - should be held to the highest standards. And from what it sounds like, they are not.

    Which Diebold exec was the roommate of which politician?
  • by Black-Man (198831) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:11PM (#13598377)
    So much for the conspiracy theory.

    • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:32PM (#13598588)
      If he hadn't, it would have looked odd. Maryland is one of the most Democrat states in the Union.

      A good vote-rigger would only swing the votes a few percentage points. Not enough that the 'actual' votes are extremely different from the 'expected' votes. So, you don't win every race and district. You just have to win enough...

      If you want to talk conspiracy theory, you could point out that the exit polls were unusually innacurate in the last election. Not quite out of possiblity, but definately out of the ordinary.

      Which would be the only sign of a wide-spread, intelegent, vote-fixing scheme.
  • by instantkarma1 (234104) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:13PM (#13598393)
    why THE FUCK Diebold can make secure ATM machines but are such blithering idiots when it comes to securing their Voting Machines?

    Putting on my tin foil hat, I don't think they are idiots at all. I think it was done on purpose. The bigger question is, why aren't WE doing more about this? The integrity of our democracy is at stake. How can shit like this be allowed to happen? How can we 'help' Iraq setup their new democracy when we are so utterly fucked up?

    Yes, I'm mad. Mad at this happening, mad at this not getting more attention, mad at people who think I'm crazy for bringing it up. This is unacceptable.
    • by keesh (202812) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:17PM (#13598432) Homepage
      What makes you think Diebold can make secure ATMs?
    • First, there have been reported vulnerabilities with ATMs in the past. Do a search on the Internet. But I think in general you are right, the ATMs Diebold makes probably are much more secure than their voting machines. Why? Banks demand security. They don't want someone hacking the system and making off with large amounts of money. So they won't buy an ATM from Diebold unless they feel that it is farily secure.

      Based on what I've seen, most local voting districts don't care about security. They're i

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:06PM (#13598884)
      With an ATM machine, nobody has a reason to want to alter the results, except the person using it. The bank wants the ATM to be accurate. Ripping off consumers at the ATM would be supremely stupid since the amount is the proverbial fart in the windstorm, and they'd get caught and shut down.

      So ATMs actually have essentially.no protection against the bank being fraudlant They contact the bank (via an encrypted channel, using IBM crypto cards) and ask how much money you have. If you have enough, they dispense it. The bank could easily lie to them, they'd never know. But that's not in the bank's intrest to do so, and banks are watched by eachother, the feds, etc, etc.

      In essance, with an ATM, you can trust the operator.

      Voting machines are different. You CANNOT trust the operator. It may well be in their intrest to alter the voting records. Perhaps they have been bought off, perhaps they have very strong feelings towards a party, etc. Point is you have to assume that the person who operates the machine ants to tamper with it.

      Well that's a whole different problem. Now you have to design a system that is capable of not only keeping users (who only have access to a limited UI) from messing with it, but operators as well (who have access to the internals). That's a much tougher design spec.

      If you give me a computer and tell me someone will only have screen, keyboard and mouse access, and ask me to secure it, I'll whip something up in a couple days and pretty confidently say there's nothing they can do to break in. If you tell me they'll have physical hardware access, I'm sorry, I'm afraid that's out of my league.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@johnhumm ... t minus caffeine> on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:18PM (#13598444) Homepage
    I know, I'm asking for a lot. I was told by a coworker that it's a stupid request. After all, if I have an electronic voting system, isn't that suppose to eliminate the need for paper?

    Bullshit. I'm sorry, but no - voting is not about how to do it the cheapest and most convienient for the government employees. The John Hummel Voting Ranking System goes:

    1. Accuracy
    2. Speed/Efficiency
    3. Cost

    So with that, my dream for the Ultimate Voting System goes like this.

    1. Person shows up at the voting center with their ID. They are authenticated (whether this be by picture, or some sort of card reader, not important). If they can not be authenticated, then they get a physical slip of paper to vote with with the mark "Verify ID" and a number. If the ID is later verified, then the vote is counted. If not, then it can be placed in the "not counted" bin. (Not destroyed until 60 months after the election - this is to prevent too many "Whoops - we couldn't authenticate anybody"!) Granted, this ties into the problem with the "secret ballot" idea, but if you can't authenticate the user before voting, this is the next best thing. I'm sure someone could suggest a better method.

    2. Assuming that authencated == true, then they are pointed to the voting machine. Voting machine is simple enough - a touch screen for "pick your candidate" with a picture, name, etc. If you're voting on a bill, then you can push a "detail" button to have a copy of it show up for your reading pleasure. Let it be handicap enabled with enlargeable text, comfortable seats (no forcing people to stand) and adjustable screens so folks sitting in wheelchairs can still access the screen.

    3. Upon finishing, you are presented with a table of all of your votes and results, and a message reading "Is this correct?" If you select "No", you can change anything, otherwise "yes" means it's all good.

    4. When you select "yes", three things happens. The vote is recorded to a local write once ROM device with a unique ID. This ID and voting information is transferred via an encrypted link back to some central location, so election results can be monitored in real time. The third thing that happens is a piece of paper is printed out with this unique ID and the voting information plainly printed out in the same table format you just read, perhaps with a bar code encoding the same vote results for quick tabulation later. You then drop this piece of paper into the voting box. The unique identifier is not related to the voter - just to the vote, so you can't tie in who voted for what, only that "some authenticated person" voted for something, and the unique ID is what they voted for.

    5. Votes are now instantly counted. Upon finishing, all of the ROM media is removed and forwarded to a separate voting office - say, a separate division of the government - for validating. If the central office and separate office validate results, then the election is good. Just for kicks, a random sampling of the paper ballots are removed and compared (using the unique identifier) to the votes. If there's a descrepancy, you can pick it out quickly.

    6. ROM and paper is stored for 5 years, then thrown out (by then, it's too late anyway), and available for public access by media groups/indepdant analysis.

    7. Said above system should be written with GNU software, with MD5 and SHA1 hashes of compiled code made using standard GCC - version agreed upon by government officials at a specific date. Code is locked well before election date, and a copy of source and compiled code used is stored on the same write once ROM system (CD's should be fine) so anyone can compared and complain if they need to.

    Whatever happens, no "proprietary" voting code, no "oh, it's secret to protect you dumb little voters" code - open, clear, and simple to validate and completely open to access. Anything less is asking for abuse, and I don't trust either party in the US not to have less-then-honest individuals hoping the screw things in their favor.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
    • by multiplexo (27356) * on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:26PM (#13598528) Journal
      I think your system is brilliant and sensible. Which of course means that we could never adopt it in America.

      I know, I'm asking for a lot. I was told by a coworker that it's a stupid request. After all, if I have an electronic voting system, isn't that suppose to eliminate the need for paper?

      Want to know how to shut him up? Take his printer access away and when he bitches say "Hey, that's a stupid request after all, you have a computer and weren't computers supposed to eliminate the need for paper and usher in the era of the paperless office?"

    • by TykeClone (668449) * <TykeClone@gmail.com> on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:26PM (#13598532) Homepage Journal
      1. Person shows up at the voting center with their ID.

      This will never fly because of #1. And #1 alone would likely eliminate a whole lot of fraud.

      I think that Georgia is attempting to require an ID for voting and it is being fought tooth and nail by various public interest groups (or perhaps "public interest" groups).

      • by veg_all (22581) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:03PM (#13598863)
        I think that Georgia is attempting to require an ID for voting and it is being fought tooth and nail by various public interest groups (or perhaps "public interest" groups).

        Georgia is attemting to pass a law that requires voters to have an official state ID, namely a driver's license or, barring that, a surrogate state ID available for a fee. People are opposed to it because the effect (if not the intent, but really the intent too) is to disenfranchise the kinds of people who don't have driver's licenses and for whom buying a replacement ID is an onerous burden, namely the poor, which is to say to a great extent, the black residents of the state. In the 19th century this was called a Poll Tax and it served exactly the same purpose, namely to disenfranchise minorities. It was ruled unconstitutional then and hopefully will be again if Georgia insists upn promulgating this 21st century version.
        • People are opposed to it because the effect (if not the intent, but really the intent too) is to disenfranchise the kinds of people who don't have driver's licenses and for whom buying a replacement ID is an onerous burden, namely the poor, which is to say to a great extent, the black residents of the state.

          Here is the Georgia State DMVS fee schedule [ga.gov].

          A non-driver ID costs $20 for five years, or $35 for ten. That's $3.50-$4.00 per year. This is NOT an "onerous burden." This is four cans of soda. What's mo
  • by Safe Sex Goddess (910415) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:18PM (#13598448) Homepage Journal
    When I think about well respected non-partisan organizations, it seems Consumer Reports would be the organization to prove or disprove this.

    Let's end the debate once and for all and lobby Consumer Reports to evaluate electronic voting machines. Following is a link to their feedback form.
    http://custhelp.consumerreports.org/cgi-bin/consum erreports.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php [consumerreports.org]?

  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:24PM (#13598510)
    Okay, I've heard it all - how difficult it's supposed to be to deliver a concise vote, and that we all 'have to live with a certain amount of misvotes and irregularities'. Well, NO - WE DON'T!!! Look at banks - they process billions of transactions on a daily basis and almost NEVER get any of them wrong. Are there irregularities and mistakes sometimes? YES, but they usually figure out what went wrong and the numbers are precise at the end of the day. How often have you gone to the ATM and got a printout stating that you've got somewhere 'around 3000 bucks - give or take'? LOL!!! Seriously - I'm not saying we should privatize this essential aspect of our democracy, but if the banks can setup a system that's nearly flawless and does the same work on a daily basis that our government needs to do ONCE every 4 years, then I feel like we're all having the wool pulled over our eyes.
    Damn I'm really pissed about this eternal bul...it - counting votes is so important these days and we all are acting like fuc...ing sheep...
    • While I'm not apologizing for the poor state of vote counting processes, part of the reason banks are good at what they do is that they do all the time, day in and day out. Elections happen once or twice a year. That's a long design-implement-revise iteration cycle. It's more like launching a missile than making a bank transaction - you have one chance to get it right, and if it blows up it makes big news. You never hear about ATM's making mistakes (although they do on rare occasions - it happened to me
  • by CrackedButter (646746) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:32PM (#13598584) Homepage Journal
    Is if a third party won and not legitimately either, if it was hacked in their favour. Both big parties expect to win, so it'll kick up a huge stir if neither of them did. Imagine the media attention over the winner and then the diebold system in use.
  • by bl968 (190792) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:34PM (#13598602) Journal
    Get the facts read Project censored's No Paper Trail Left Behind:The Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election [projectcensored.org]
  • this says it all.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by KillShill (877105) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:44PM (#13598685)
    http://www.electiledysfunction.org.nyud.net:8090/C onyersOhioHearing_chunk_1.wmv [nyud.net]

    right click and save as.

    glad to know there are so many Diebold and ES&S supporters on slashdot... :-)

    it's in wmv format but mplayer will play it just fine.
  • Openvoting.org (Score:5, Informative)

    by fishfish (139505) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:49PM (#13598719)
    Support -

    http://openvoting.org/ [openvoting.org]

    Not only open voting, but open source for the firmware that takes your vote.

    They have been doing good things in California.
  • by Lispy (136512) on Monday September 19, 2005 @04:49PM (#13598720) Homepage
    I hear the next version will vote itself. No more getting up and leaving the house. You get all the presidents you deserve just by sitting in front of the TV and complaining about the outcome.
  • by moxley (895517) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:10PM (#13598916)
    What's really upsetting is that so many people think all of these things are just coincedences or accidents, or are do to laziness. All of the information about Diebold's lack of security and the ease to which their machines could be tampered with was available to the entire world before the election - as well as the insane conflicts of interest involving the ownership of the company and their promises to deliver certain states to Bush. This, along with all of the reports (by credible sources including city and state governmental workers) of misconduct in Ohio and still ...barely a peep. I mean, really, i'm not a democrat or a republican - but damn - I am sick of the US being run by criminals and corporations (of which many are run by or for the benefit of criminals) - and when I say criminals - these people are criminals - white collar or otherwise. People think Enron was the eception rather than the rule - well, sorry, that's not quite the case - it's more prevalent than that. I'm not saying all corporations are evil or anything like that...I'm just sick of people being in denial about how corrupt America business and politics and the incestuous relationship between them is. Apathy reigns. I know the answer, but I can't help asking: Don't people know their history? When business and government collude to this degree where business basically calls the shots with profit above all else it doesn't end well. There is a word for it actually. Diebold needs to be put in check - seriously. Evoting with no paper trail or verification system is absurb - it pratically guarantees misconduct on some level.
  • by SQLz (564901) on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:19PM (#13598986) Homepage Journal
    I can see why making an electronic voting machine is such a difficult task. I mean, the code to add numbers together depending on what button was pushed sounds like some really hairy stuff.

    Lets see

    if(button==1)
          TirdSandwitch++;
    else if(button==2)
          GiantDouche++;

    As you can see, there are millions of bugs that could happen in this scenario.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19, 2005 @05:21PM (#13598993)
    For the two largest counties in Minnesota, one has some sort of response to election security problems.

    In Hennepin County the scanner system, not Diebold scanner machines, the precinct results were no longer modemed in to the county office but hand delivered in the September election.

    Ramsey County Minnesota uses Diebold scanners with the suspect central counting software. Public Test of Ramsey Voting Systems [umn.edu]
  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday September 19, 2005 @08:08PM (#13600222) Journal
    ...are themselves corrupt.

    There is no other reason to put in use or allow the use of such a system that can and has been used to misrepresent the public vote.

  • by popo (107611) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @02:09AM (#13601873) Homepage
    I'm a hardcore democrat, but ... just for purposes of discussion, I'll be the flamebait:

    "Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."

    Ok... so this whistle blower who worked for Diebold went to The New York Times? No. Went to The Washington Post? No. Went to a... newspaper? No. This whistleblower went to The Brad Blog. Any questions?

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