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March 17, 2004 8:45 PM   Subscribe

NationalCity Diebold ATM crashes, giving anyone admin access. Amazing, some college students found a crashed Diebold WindowsXP ATM and were able to use it like a desktop machine. Your money isn't feeling too safe right about now. Your vote is probably just as unsafe.
posted by skallas (14 comments total)

Also: How Diebold voting machines screwed up in San Diego County.
posted by skallas at 8:59 PM on March 17, 2004

Your money isn't feeling too safe right about now.

My money feels safe, it's my ears I'm worried about.

Would be nice to have some documentation.
posted by anathema at 9:10 PM on March 17, 2004

At least they got the ATM off NT 4.0. Wonder if they ran the service pack.

I'm sure Diebold is going to keep the 2004 election .mdb files in special folders, secured by NTFS file permissions AND Access workgroups.

[gets bag of weed and Government cheese]
posted by crunchburger at 9:15 PM on March 17, 2004

Someone sent me more info on this. It happened at CMU.
posted by skallas at 9:33 PM on March 17, 2004

Hopefully, when it happens, it'll be Bart Simpson getting 120% of the vote in a state which wouldn't have swung the election and not an actual candidate just nosing out his opponent in Florida.
posted by callmejay at 8:41 AM on March 18, 2004

Get rid of that stupid idea of electronic voting, will anybody ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:47 AM on March 18, 2004

"giving anyone admin access"... Where does it say that?
posted by ed\26h at 8:53 AM on March 18, 2004

Get rid of that stupid idea of electronic voting, will anybody ?

Electronic voting, in concept, is a good thing. If properly designed, with each vote having a verifiable paper trail and the entire system able to be audited accurately, an electronic voting system would stop the insanity we saw in FL in the fall of 2000 - no hanging chads, no trying to decide what the intention of a voter was, no votes invalidated because a voter inadvertently voted for two different candidates for the same office. This Diebold system we keep hearing about is probably worse than something I could design - it uses MS Access for its back end, fer Chrissakes. It, not electronic voting in general, has got to go.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:55 AM on March 18, 2004

dam. A new diebold atm was installed near us and i will not use it. Funny because we had a severe bank error last month.

I would never trust nor use electronic voting.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 AM on March 18, 2004

I agree with deadcowdan. The concept itself is not bad, it's just this implementation that is sh*t. eVoting should be based on secure, peer-reviewed, Open-Source software and should have a paper trail.

It's very, very simple: You have an electronic touch-screen machine that allows you to vote, it spits out a receipt/ballot when you are finished voting, and you put that ballot in a box. You can use the machines to count the vote, but if there are irregularities, you go to the ballot boxes and count them by hand.

Why is that so hard for manufacturers like Diebold to understand?
posted by moonbiter at 11:27 AM on March 18, 2004

Not to derail too much, but although I agree that a well-implemented electronic voting system would be acceptably secure, I don't see why e-voting would have any advantage over other forms of vote recording. If properly designed, a non-electronic voting system won't have any of the problems of the 2000 FL election either! It all hinges on proper design, not on whether there's a computer in there somewhere. Adding a computer to the mix doesn't make it any easier to produce a good voting machine design.
posted by hattifattener at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2004

They're trying to solve design problems with technology.

When will they learn?
posted by cinderful at 12:23 PM on March 18, 2004

For people who are interested in making sure their votes count, all one has to do is to be an absentee voter. There's your paper trail. I'm really surprised that hasn't been trumpeting this alternative.
posted by eener at 12:46 PM on March 18, 2004

"For people who are interested in making sure their votes count, all one has to do is to be an absentee voter. There's your paper trail. I'm really surprised that hasn't been trumpeting this alternative."

Perhaps because, as election procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in many cases absentee ballotting can be far more precarious?
The best thing to do before advising someone to take this alternative is to have them check out the rules where they live; don't just read a pamphlet, either, take the time to find out not only whether you are actually eligible to vote absentee in your state (in mine, Illinois, you must not only BE absent, or certifiably disabled, but be able to prove it, or your ballot WILL be challenged and most probably disallowed), but how these ballots will be processed (we still use punchcards here..on election day, the absentee ballots are sent out to the voters' home precincts and handled with the rest; if we go to a paperless system, it will probably be your local poll judges who will then be responsible for opening it and entering the information on it into the same silly-assed machine everybody else has gain=0).

Absentee ballots are not a panacea, and unless radical changes are put in place, could very well be the next electoral sinkhole. Please get the information before you consider this, and please, please don't suggest it to others until they have done so. (Also, please read up on the local rules for write-in balloting; this is another sinkhole that gets a lot of ballots thrown out.)

(disclaimer: I am a local election judge.)

The upside of calling your election office to learn the rules and express your concerns is that fewer places that are considering these machines (and Diebold isn't the only system with big problems--check out the blackboxvoting link above) will think twice if they believe enough local people are watching them.
posted by cookie-k at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2004

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