Why bother?

08.02.2007 – E-voting systems vulnerable to viruses and other security attacks, new report finds — I’m a week late on this story because it has been suppressed. This is possibly the worst news

A review of software source code led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has found security holes that would leave electronic voting machines vulnerable to attack.

The source code report was released today (Thursday, Aug.2) by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen as part of an unprecedented “Top-to-Bottom Review” of electronic voting systems…
“The most severe problem we found was the potential for viruses to be introduced into a machine and spread throughout the voting system,” said Wagner. “In the worst-case scenario, these malicious codes could be used to compromise the votes recorded on the machines’ memory cards or render the machines non-functional on election day.”

The researchers said it is possible for viruses on one machine to spread to an entire county’s system when its votes are being uploaded to a central computer for tabulation, although they did not demonstrate this in their review.

  1. mark says:

    I remember a time when we could actually put a man on the moon…………………………

  2. ECA says:

    IF you lock down all the ports, I dont see a problem..
    You could install a Timer on the system, and LOCK the bios, and ALL input-output UNTIL the end of the election day..

    You dont want interaction with the box ANYWAY…That IS a security hole.

  3. Micromike says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that computerizing voting machines makes it easier to rig the elections.

    Security is a lie and an illusion, live with it.

  4. Mister Mustard says:

    Ah yes. Diebold. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    Why is it whenever high crimes and misdemeanors are afoot, the trail always leads back, somehow, to Cheney and his band of thugs?

  5. Lewy says:

    Suppressed? It’s been all over the news here in Alaska.

  6. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Most geeks I know are pretty liberal and non-religious. (Not all, just most.) Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. OK, I’m just kidding … really … well mostly.

  7. Mister Mustard says:


    Yeah, what means “suppressed”? The press release from UC Berkeley seems to have gone out on August 2.

    And it’s not as though Diebold and their Windows-based electronic voting machines being easily hackable is actually going to surprise anyone. If they made the machines too hard to hack, we might have somebody other than Dumbya sitting in the Oval Office right now. And Diebold couldn’t allow that, not with all the money they’ve contributed to Dumbya/ Cheney campaigns.

  8. Piotr says:

    They should learn with us [brazilians]. We use an eletronic voting system for a long time and we never had problems with.

  9. ECA says:

    I wonder sometimes,
    IF this stuff is generated…
    MADE to happen, on purpose…TO KEEP US in the dark ages.

    How many of us Techie TYPES would leave the PORTS OPEN for input, AFTER the programming was done??
    How many of you would leave the SOFTWARE open to be Modded AFTER programming?

  10. joshua says:

    It’s not just Diebold folks….get off your high horses and pay attention. It’s every brand of machine made in this country.

    Last week it was the SoS for California and her one sided, phoney testing. They found all kinds of horrors, when the whole story came out, no one wanted to listen….so 900 million dollars is being scrapped.
    Election officals in 9 of the largest counties showed how the tests were flawed….they allowed the testers(hackers) complete freedom to do whatever they wished, without ANY of the normal constraints found on the machine’s when being actually used by voters, they also allowed them as much time with each machine as they needed to make it fail the test. The machines didn’t have a chance, they were doomed.

    I am actually happy this is happening….why??…..because we were rapidly on the road to internet voting….this machine crap will kill that idea for 25 more years….best thing that could happen for our Federal Republic.

    Now, having said that….I would be extreamly happy to go back to paper ballots. Then maybe only people who can read will vote.
    The next change needs to be no more ballots in 7 offical languages in California. One of the requirements for passing your citizenship is to be able to read English(especially ballots)….but we print paper ballots and program e-voting machines with 7 languages for the voters……bullshit.

  11. Awake says:

    Hybrid voting machines are the solution.
    First you vote on a screen, which then produces a printed and filled out ballot that you can read yourself. On the way out of the polling place, you deposit that ballot in second machine that then reads what you voted, tallies the results, and keeps the printed ballot for a manual recount if necessary.
    All the convenience of electronic voting, separate and independent systems for registering votes and counting votes, a printed middle step where you can see that what you requested is actually marked on the ballot, a paper trail as required by law in many states.
    Why is this so complicated?

  12. Li says:

    Canada has a write in, paper ballot, counted by hand. They get their election results faster than we do with our (compromised) system, even the old punch card systems. Paper ballots are cheaper, faster, more difficult to manipulate, and can be implimented within days. Why are we so resistent to simplicity, when complexity ensures insecurity?

  13. Mr. Fusion says:

    #11, Awake.

    Yours is a very good system and I completely agree.

    #12, Li,

    That works well when there is only one issue being voted on. Federal and Provincial election in Canada follow that pattern. I do remember though that in the Municipal elections there were several issues to voted on. Mayor, Alderman, School Trustee, Separate School Trustee, Regional Councilor (largely eliminated), and any plebiscites.

    Here in the US, all the issues are usually combined into the one vote. So there could be up to 25 Federal, State, and local issues to vote on at one time. This is where the paper ballots get confusingly difficult and the need for a better system of segregating the ballots and counting them arose. Because there are so many more elected positions here in the US, individual issue voting would be a logistical problem.

  14. Mister Mustard says:

    >>It’s not just Diebold folks….get off your high horses and
    >>pay attention. It’s every brand of machine made in this country.

    Yep. And in the incestuous world of electronic voting systems, the executives jump from company to company like cockroaches. And somehow, they ALWAYS seem to lead back to President Cheney and his puppet.

    Funny how that happens.

  15. ECA says:

    And 1 power outage would STOP the whole process…INSTANTLY.

  16. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    …’not just Diebold’? Mebbe not – but they’re the big dog with the connections, courtesy of their biggest customers, the incorruptible and eternally honorable banks of the U.S.

    The other companies, the ‘little fish’ so to speak, aren’t the ones who promised Dubya that they’d “deliver the State of Ohio” to him…

  17. Tanqueray says:

    My question is why don’t they just get the people at berkely to make these machines, the actual academics who make a living out of seeing how vunerable machines can be, cause my belief is, nothing is completely full proof, we all know that. And these seem to be the only people who are able to show it.

  18. joshua says:

    Alameda county, as far as I can determine is the only county around here that uses Diebold…and they actually haven’t used them yet….they got them to late for the last election. Santa Clara County, where I am uses Sequioa and most of the other counties do to….why??….because they provided a paper trail ballot and that was what our voters wanted.
    As I said above…I would prefer paper…but I have worked the last 2 regular elections and 1 primary and there is no way you can hack into these machines in a voter setting. To many poll workers and a host of small, but effective blocks to doing so.

  19. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    “…there is no way you can hack into these machines in a voter setting.”

    There was “no way” the Titanic could sink.
    There was “no way” a convict could escape from Alcatraz.
    There was “no way” OJ could be acquitted.

    ..I think you get my point…

  20. Joe says:

    Would someone please tell me why we shouldn’t use optical scanners to register your votes, and be done with this E-voting BS.

  21. joshua says:

    #…19…Lauren….well if we only lose 12 or 13 votes in an election where 200,000 people vote, that wouldn’t be so bad, or 1 ship and a slimeball.

    #13…Fusion…we had paper ballot elections in this country for almost 200 years….from small 1 or 2 issue elections to the big daddy’s of Federal and State and Local all at once, and except for the usual ballot box stuffing that went on, they really weren’t a problem. A lot of what came after paper was because of television, they wanted excitment to hold an audience throughout election night, so different types of machines were developed, like the old lever ones and punch card ballots etc. to speed up counting. Almost as soon as these *newer* systems were brought in, new ways to steal an election were divised and eventually we ended up with Florida……

    Problem is, it wasn’t the type of ballots used that caused Florida’s problems, but the stupidity of *people*……hanging *chads* had always been there, but when you had a close vote in Florida where the final result would be affected, the whole system collapsed. If several counties(and I do love bringing this up, they were all run by Democrats) hadn’t screwed up their ballots by making them confusing, Al Gore would be President. Of course there were many other small factors that might have kept Gore from winning as well…..like the early call by the networks, of Florida while approx. 30 thousand voters were still in line in the Panhandle(an overwhelming Republican area), or the challenge of over seas absentee votes by Gores lawyers, and of course Gore being stupid in trying to cherry pick the counties for recounts that he *thought* he could win(but it turned out they were the counties that had made stupid ballot errors).

    So, if it comes down to a choice…I would take paper ballots anyday…..who cares if it takes the voter a bit longer to get through long ballots….not everything can be instant gratification.

  22. Lbrown says:

    Joshua, Poor Florida. The problem of the hanging chad wasn’t the voters. It was with lax maintenance of election equipment that prevented the chads from being poked out cleanly. More importantly, it was the failure of Florida’s election laws that were not on par with advanced technology. They still aren’t. Sarasota’s 18,000 undervotes should have required, no demanded an automatic re-do.

    Not only must we must implement high-bar guidelines for voting machine providers and elections officials. We must realign election laws to fit today’s technology, to protect us from machine and human error, and HUMAN INTERPRETATION of election results. Otherwise that silent coup marching across the country in BALLOTS OF STRAW’s fictitious voting machines might just become a reality.

    Lani Massey Brown, MARGIN OF ERROR BALLOTS OF STRAW, a political intrigue/romance.


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