Join 3,500 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


http://www.agonist.org/archives/008748.html#008748
September 24, 2003 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Important expose and interview runs on Salon today. "This evening the site the aritcle features is shut down. As soon as we get that new server up we'll host the materials (yes, we have a copy) that Diebold doesn't want the public to see. Diebold cannot silence everyone. " The links (2) for this piece can be found at URL given here. "If you're not outraged you are not paying attention. " The Agonist, as usual, is both outraged and paying attention.
posted by Postroad (47 comments total)

 
Google has cached the BlackBoxVoting.org pages, until the Agonist puts their mirror up.
posted by waxpancake at 6:20 AM on September 24, 2003


Here's a question.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Thank you.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:32 AM on September 24, 2003


Hey! Outlawyr is both outraged AND not paying attention! Cool.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2003


I also find this FPP unintelligible.
posted by agregoli at 6:45 AM on September 24, 2003


This is the Salon article, which may make things slightly clearer.
posted by biffa at 6:47 AM on September 24, 2003


It would help to link directly to the Agonist post you're referring to instead of their ever-changing front page.
posted by muckster at 6:50 AM on September 24, 2003


Accuvote™. You know you can trust them.

I just don't understand your obsession with voting machines, punchcard or electronic. What do you need them for?

Around here people write a number in their ballot with a pen. Safe, simple and reliable. And recounting is simple too.

Votes that are discarded are you usually given to D.Duck or Batman. I read somewhere that in last spring's election Saddam was one the favorites.
posted by hoskala at 6:50 AM on September 24, 2003


I only read one of the "memos", but it sounds pretty dodgy. The are using MS Access Databases to store the vote counts and audit trails. Besides the fact that Access is a fairly mickey mouse db, they also aren't even password protecting the Db's, so anyone can modify them. Huh? If I heard that they would be fired straight away, surely security would be the first thing to work out in such a controversial system?
posted by carfilhiot at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2003


surely security would be the first thing to work out in such a controversial system

Unless, of course, you don't want the system to be secure.
posted by jester69 at 6:59 AM on September 24, 2003


"[S]urely security would be the first thing to work out in such a controversial system?"

No, the first thing to work out would be how to lowball the bid with the cheapest material and labor in order to insure you can land the sale. Access/JetDB is cheaper than a proper database, and Windows programmers and integrators are cheaper than skilled professionals with security knowledge and an understanding of the innate risks of an electronic voting system.

Welcome to the world of government contracting.
posted by majick at 7:01 AM on September 24, 2003


Copyright used as a means to stifle free speech.

Again.
posted by Blue Stone at 7:18 AM on September 24, 2003


So let me get this straight -

1) Diebold voting systems produce no audit trail - paper or otherwise - which can be verified.

2) Diebold has a track record of absurdly shoddy security in their voting systems (if one can even honestly use the word "security" for it) including back doors in their databases which allow random users to alter primary voting record databases.

3) Diebold systems seem to have a tendency of disappearing votes for Democratic candidates. Further, Scoop noted an odd tendency in the 2002 election for races to swing in favour of republican candidates, especially in key races. "Scoop’s analysis shows that - according to the polls - the Republican Party experienced a pronounced last minute swing in its favor of between 4 and 16 points. Remarkably this last minute swing appears to have been concentrated in its effects in critical Senate races (Georgia and Minnesota) where it secured it's complete control of Congress."

4) Diebold's CEO has pledged, at a GW Bush fundraiser, to deliver Ohio's electoral votes for GW in '04.

5) In fact, most of the major voting machine companies have strong ties to the Bush administration.

"In the Houston area, two Republican U.S. representatives were declared winners in the last election until it was discovered that the results were caused by a "faulty" and Republican-friendly microchip. When the proper chip was installed in the computerized voting machine the correct results were revealed: two Democratic victories......what do we have here other than the obvious denial by mainstream America? We've got a CIA family, their corporate supporters working with CIA contractors at Battelle in order to bring flawed electronic voting to the U.S. with no paper trails and questionable exit polls. Recall that Battelle was also the contractor for Voter News Service (VNS) and failed to produce exit polls for the 2002 Congressional election."

See also: VerifiedVoting.Org : "Will Your Vote Count in the Next Election? Maybe not! How will we even know?"
posted by troutfishing at 7:27 AM on September 24, 2003


Yet another reason to believe current copyright law does more harm than good.
posted by Nothing at 7:42 AM on September 24, 2003


Is it just me, or does it seem like the major media is simply ignoring this story? Nobody at the major outlets I've heard or seen even acknowledges that this might be a little bit of a problem. ACK! I'm afraid that the biggest result of all of this will be to drive more people away from the polls. I mean, why vote if the system is rigged and no one seems capable of standing up and saying no. Why even try to vote then?

Now I'm getting really depressed.
posted by mooncrow at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2003


Intentional fraud or not, building something of this magnitude in Access is stupiscary.
posted by ElvisJesus at 8:02 AM on September 24, 2003


You didn't really expect the Republican party to allow free elections after the Florida elections, did you? The party of Lincoln begat the party of Iran-Contra begat the party of Post-9/11 Bush. Uncontrolled elections are so inconvenient and messy. Leave governance to the pros at Halliburton. Democracy went out with the Greeks.

Why even try to vote then? Just to make them look doubly bad when they cheat the American people the next time.
posted by zaelic at 8:05 AM on September 24, 2003


Okay. Really. Seriously. Let me sit down for a second and take this all in...

Are we all going nuts? Has this war made us so paranoid that everything is suspect? Are we simply all creating our own version of the US as "the matrix"?

I ask not because I believe any of it, but because facts like the ones presented in this article truly make me feel like there's been a real, measurable coup going on in this country and nobody in power is doing anything about it...
posted by VulcanMike at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2003


Finally, my dreams of winning on the No New Laws ticket can be realized! All I need to do is recruit a few more people in different states to stuff the Access box. Then we can see if Diebold throws out all the votes for me!

Huzzah! Its a win-win for America! If they don't throw out the votes then America can be blessed with my prescence. If they do throw them out I can yell "Fraud". Who says two wrongs don' t make a right? ^_*
posted by infowar at 8:20 AM on September 24, 2003


measurable coup going on in this country and nobody in power is doing anything about it...

Um...that's because they're the one's doing it...
posted by dejah420 at 8:26 AM on September 24, 2003


The electronic voting machines are rigged. Obviously. Otherwise, what's the benefit in having them?
posted by skylar at 8:26 AM on September 24, 2003


The lawsuits for this need to begin right now. If the 2004 election is done with paper and pencils, and it takes three days to count the fucking votes, then the networks will just have to suffer, but at least there'll be more confidence in the result.
posted by riviera at 8:37 AM on September 24, 2003


Around here people write a number in their ballot with a pen. Safe, simple and reliable. And recounting is simple too.

Same here. It's so simple. It's not as if we need any time saving convenience in voting here, they aren't exactly lined up out the door. Now all we have to do is keep an eye out for them butterfly ballots.
posted by y2karl at 8:42 AM on September 24, 2003


The party of Lincoln begat the party of Iran-Contra begat the party of Post-9/11 Bush.

lemme guess, your a history professor....
posted by clavdivs at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2003


lemme guess, your a history professor....

lemme guess, your a englilsh professor....
posted by Space Coyote at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2003


lemme guess, your a mime. Heres a quarter, find an argument.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 AM on September 24, 2003


lemme guess, your a englilsh professor....

and don't ever insult me with such a lowly profession...IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 8:58 AM on September 24, 2003


Everyone vote absentee.
posted by free pie at 9:02 AM on September 24, 2003


"measurable coup going on in this country and nobody in power is doing anything about it..."

I think it would be more accurate to say that we have an epidemic of mediocrity and not enough people care. "Just get it done" has become the standard by which we measure quality and results. We have the WallMart culture that we deserve for putting "fast and cheap" ahead of quality and integrity.

At the beginning of the 21st century, on the doorstep of our hi-tech future, could anything be a greater demonstration of our stagnation than the finding that we're willing to trust our democracy to unsecured Access databases?

Seriously. At this point in American history, does it surprise anyone that elections are easier to hack than weblogs?
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2003


lemme guess, your a mime. Heres a quarter, find an argument.

yeah you sure showed him there! uhm oh no..
posted by carfilhiot at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2003


voting matters?
posted by larry_darrell at 9:34 AM on September 24, 2003


What troutfishing, quotes about "faulty" microchips, and the complete undermining of the democratic result, is just incredible. Isn't this "end of argument" stuff?
I mean, there we have it: how can you trust electronic voting to be open and transparent, all the time, every time, with shit like that?
posted by Blue Stone at 9:38 AM on September 24, 2003


Blue Stone - Thanks, but there's a lot more than that

Lynn Landes has a beautifull chronology of voting errors (or fraud if you wish) from 1970 to the present

For example, item #82: "2002 Texas - In Comal County Texas, the uncanny coincidence of three winning Republican candidates in a row tallying up exactly 18,181 votes each was called weird, but apparently no one thought it was weird enough to audit."
posted by troutfishing at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2003


I'm surprised that the Dean People and MoveOn haven't jumped on this. (By Dean People, I mean the distributed base of online activists who should be in touch with the blogosphere enough to have been very aware of this for many months.)
posted by alms at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2003


I'm paying attention. Enough to know that this is a follow up to this old post although what the FPP link adds to that post I'm not sure. troutfishing does a nice job of adding info though.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2003


troutfishing... that 's an impressive amount of damning evidence.

I second the 'adding info' sentiment.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2003


Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, feels real bad about that electoral vote promise. He points out that the company's election system division is based in Texas, and run by a Democrat.
posted by nickmark at 11:02 AM on September 24, 2003


He points out that the company's election system division is based in Texas, and run by a Democrat.

That's like denying an infidelity because the woman in question is not your type. How confidence-inspiring.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:22 AM on September 24, 2003


The burden of proof is now (as it should always have been) on the makers of the systems to convince the public at large and their technical and political advisory bodies that their systems are not inherently corrupt or amenable to corruption.

Whether that actually pans out remains to be seen; it all comes down to one question:

Are we, for once, going to STAY ON THIS, and hold their goddamn f&%@ing feet to the fire? Or will we just let it slide ("Oh look! A new season of Married By America!") like we always do?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2003


MoveOn and many others are aware just waiting for the right time. Also I would expect a major expose from
a major East Coast paper unless another one beats them to it.
posted by thedailygrowl at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2003


stupidsexyFlanders -- I agree. That remark was added for humor value, in the derisive snort sense of humor.
posted by nickmark at 12:06 PM on September 24, 2003


Here's another important Salon expose.
posted by inksyndicate at 1:23 PM on September 24, 2003


The state of Maryland has done some work on this issue.

With that said, anything built on MS Access is inherently insecure.
posted by internal at 1:49 PM on September 24, 2003


internal: thank you for posting that, it's very encouraging reading. While some of their recommendations could go further (a more circumspect definition of what constitues an "audit trail" is called for), it's leaps and bounds in the right direction. I hope that Maryland accepts these recommendations; then no state will have much excuse for not doing the same.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2003


Are we, for once, going to STAY ON THIS, and hold their goddamn f&%@ing feet to the fire? Or will we just let it slide ("Oh look! A new season of Married By America!") like we always do?

There's a new season of Married By America starting? Great!
posted by Bonzai at 3:06 PM on September 24, 2003


Somewhat of a derail here but there is a great study on the future of voting as we now at Accelerated Democracy.

I advise everyone to take a look at it, but beware, it's a real hair-whitener.
posted by velacroix at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2003


Perhaps I shouldn't mention this, but Diebold also holds the keys to the Constitution and the Federal Reserve.
posted by roboto at 12:15 AM on September 25, 2003


"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" indeed. Apparently I'm not paying attention: I read the report but not the followup news stories. Maryland is not responding intelligently to the analyses it commissioned.

Gods, what a nightmare. There seems no reasonable conclusion to come to except that palms are being greased somewhere.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 AM on September 25, 2003


« Older Have more sex...  |  Psychedelic Flash... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments