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Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine
September 14, 2006 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine. These voting machines are even more broken than you think. Ars Technia has posted nice summary of this article. The research was done in part by Professor Ed Felten who writes for the Freedom to Tinker web site, which is well worth reading.
posted by chunking express (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2006


There have been plenty of articles written about the sorry state of voting in America. The Harper's article None Dare Call it Stolen is excellent and well worth reading. Here are 20 Amazing Facts about Voting in America, though they lack proper sources. (It's on the internet so it's probably true I say.)
posted by chunking express at 10:46 AM on September 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Surely this...

Oh, never mind.
posted by twsf at 10:59 AM on September 14, 2006


Every America should view this video. Every newscast should play it, in its entirety.
posted by JWright at 11:08 AM on September 14, 2006


chunking express: Out of those 20 facts, the only one I am not certain is true is 19. There may have been errors that went Democrat that I am not aware of, I wouldn't know how to check up on that.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:08 AM on September 14, 2006


Also of interest is the Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney story.

Curtis testified that Feeney employed him to develop a "prototype vote-rigging" program. Lots of shady things then happened, and long story short, Curtis is running against Feeney.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2006


I also thought most of the facts were true, since most I could verify myself. I don't think this will get much play, since these sorts of reports have been coming out for ages now. The fact that this one is particularly damning probably won't matter that much.
posted by chunking express at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2006


Diebold has not yet responded to our requests for a comment, but sources say that the company is attempting to pressure the Princeton group into retracting the study.

Yes. Because that will fix the broken voting machines.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 11:21 AM on September 14, 2006


NOBODY CARES. DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS. NOW THE PRETENSE IS DEAD TOO.
posted by quonsar at 11:23 AM on September 14, 2006


In the future, a jackboot would be stamping on the human face forever. For now, we're happy to just shout at you in ALL CAPS.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 AM on September 14, 2006


NOBODY CARES. DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS. NOW THE PRETENSE IS DEAD TOO.

if nobody cares, why does the subject keep coming up?

(your statement is a bald-faced refutation of itself, quonsar, because if it were true, you wouldn't have to say it.)
posted by saulgoodman at 11:29 AM on September 14, 2006


Too much faith invested by the American public in the status quo to make a difference. The cognitive dissonance would be too jarring to consider that our "president" is actually a tyrant. It's much easier to call this a conspiracy theory than to consider the implications of the truth. I think only an impeachment and a full inquiry into the administration would prepare most Americans to deal with the truth. As long as he is still sitting in the white house, that is all the legitimacy he needs.
posted by SBMike at 11:29 AM on September 14, 2006


We let them get away with it, they take the ball and run with it. If we get off our apathetic asses and do something about it, it might make a difference. If we don't, we've no one to blame but ourselves.

We're like sheep hoping the wolves won't get us, but not trying to arm ourselves or sleep in a different place.

Sheep with thumbs.
posted by kalessin at 11:44 AM on September 14, 2006


Okay, so that's the way it is.

Now, doesn't the hacking community lean to the left? Can we steal this election, please?
posted by lumpenprole at 11:45 AM on September 14, 2006


I don't get why these experts who make these findings havne't figured out that no one's going to listen to them yet. These reports about how Diebold machines are hackable despite their flacks' eye-rolling press releases shouldn't be released in a report but as 30,000 votes for Elvis Presley in twenty districts across the country.

Just face it: the Bush administration didn't give a shit about terrorism until terrorists slammed a jetliner into a building. It's not going to give a shit about election fraud until someone inarguably and unfixably cripples an election.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:46 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've been waiting for this study (or one like it) for a while, thanks for the post. It's official, these things are crap. Wait--that isn't news. Well, I'm sure the tabulating hardware is much safer.
posted by toma at 11:47 AM on September 14, 2006


The central tabulating machines are just as insecure as the touchscreen endpoints (maybe more so), but have received very little auditing or public attention, despite the obvious fact that they would be the most cost-effective targets for an attacker.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:49 AM on September 14, 2006


lumpenprole:

Possibly, but the next day all the newspapers would have headlines declaring "Democratic Party under investigation for massive electoral fraud"
posted by papakwanz at 11:50 AM on September 14, 2006


What we really need is (lumpenprole style) to steal the election in such a way that it's obviously been stolen.

Juan Valdez for Prez
posted by Skorgu at 11:51 AM on September 14, 2006


Not to be snarky, but there's been a security alert about the Diebold machines every two months for the last four years (or possibly it just seems that way). The people who pay attention to these things already know and those who don't, don't.

Can't we just skip to the part where we storm the Diebold corporate offices with torches and pitchforks already?
posted by lekvar at 11:52 AM on September 14, 2006


Juan Valdez for Prez

make it lenin. that'd really get their goats.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:55 AM on September 14, 2006


Any intentional disruption of the voting system on the part of citizens to call attention to the problems would surely be quickly spun as a terrorist attack on our infrastructure, wouldn't it?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:04 PM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


AlterNet lets you know where the 10 worse places to vote in America are.
posted by chunking express at 12:06 PM on September 14, 2006


Why can't the US population just vote with pen and paper?
posted by Vindaloo at 12:13 PM on September 14, 2006


your statement is a bald-faced refutation of itself, quonsar, because if it were true, you wouldn't have to say it

how very... clever.
posted by quonsar at 12:14 PM on September 14, 2006


Why can't the US population just vote with pen and paper?

Because then it would take more than one person to rig the entire election.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:15 PM on September 14, 2006


Avoid the machine counting by just writting in the choice.

Seems the simple choice.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:17 PM on September 14, 2006


"Avoid the machine counting by just writting in the choice."

I don't think that is available anywhere it matters.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:23 PM on September 14, 2006


how very... clever.

NOBODY CARES. CONTEMPT FOR OBVIOUS TRUTH MANIPULTIVELY DISGUISED AS CONTEMPT FOR CLEVERNESS HAS BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS NOW. NOW THE PRETENSE IS DEAD TOO.

but seriously, this has been a huge ongoing issue for us in florida, and despite the glib attempts to dismiss these issues coming from some quarters, this remains a critical issue, and i'm glad to see there are still people doing the good work. thanks for this post.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:29 PM on September 14, 2006


Why can't the US population just vote with pen and paper?

Pencil (or pen) and paper the most common method of voting in the US.

They're still optically scanned instead of hand-counted. Hand-counting doesn't scale well to the number of offices and questions in a typical US election.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:32 PM on September 14, 2006


These Diebold Voting Machines, they vibrate suck?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:37 PM on September 14, 2006


Stupid American sez:

"Unless this affects my American Idol vote, I just don't care."
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2006


diebold voting machines and central tabulators = rigged elections.

Here in Seattle they have mail in ballots now. Counted by central tabulators (you have to indicate on the ballot whether you're voting republican or democrat, otherwise your vote is ruled invalid. Seems like it makes it easier for the central tabulator to throw out every third or fifth vote. . .)

Until this country goes back to paper ballots, exit polls and vote counting by members of every representative party (including Greens, Libertarians, etc.) the votes in this country may as well be cast on a dry-erase board. . . Representative democracy in 'Murica? Haah ! ! !

Voting Americans = suckers . . .
posted by mk1gti at 12:57 PM on September 14, 2006


There were a bunch of weird irregularities in the Wisconsin primaries, I'll post links when I get home.
posted by drezdn at 1:07 PM on September 14, 2006


There have been plenty of articles written about the sorry state of voting in America. The Harper's article None Dare Call it Stolen is excellent and well worth reading.
posted by chunking express at 1:46 PM EST on September 14 [+ 2] [!]


That's an awful title for that Harper's article. It harkens back to None Dare Call It Conspiracy.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2006


Pastabagel, you don't like the article then?
posted by chunking express at 1:15 PM on September 14, 2006


StrasbourgSecaucus writes "Yes. Because that will fix the broken voting machines."

There are two ways to fix a PR fiasco:

1. Fix what was wrong
2. "Fix" whoever said that it was going wrong.
posted by clevershark at 1:20 PM on September 14, 2006


chunking express - no, it's a fine article.

I will say, however, that the article relies on trends, polling, and historical precendent as basis for irregularoties. For example, it mentions a high number of thirdparty votes in areas that historically didn't have as many.

But it is precisely this kind of information that is the most subject to prejudice and bias.

There needs to be concerted effort to prove an actual case of tampering. Not the possibility that tampering could take place, but that it did, and to what specific effect.

You also have to be prepared for the possibility that the Democratic party might not want to make an issue of Diebold security vulnerabilities because they might want to exploit them themselves in the future.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2006


You also have to be prepared for the possibility that the Democratic party might not want to make an issue of Diebold security vulnerabilities because they might want to exploit them themselves in the future.

After all, the Democrats are sticking to their dirty deal with the Republicans to not debate any third-party candidates (not that 3rd parties will do well this coming election anyway.) They just lurve democracy.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:45 PM on September 14, 2006


sonofsamiam - what is ironic is that if the deomcrats somehow painted Bush as an inauthentic religious conservative whaen compared to that guy from the constitution party, they could be supporting the thrid party that would absorb votes from the republican's base.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:50 PM on September 14, 2006


I'm hardly his biggest fan, but Lou Dobbs has been hitting Diebold hard on this issue. That would make him the only MSM figure to do so, AFAIK.
posted by bardic at 2:36 PM on September 14, 2006


the whole Clint Curtis thing is mondo bizarro - he's running against the guy he claims hired him to write rigged election software.

This is a historic battle of Good vs. Evil. A battle between the witness and the very Congressman that requested a voting machine prototype that could invisibly alter election results. A battle between the eye witness that has passed a polygraph test in addition to testifying under oath before a Congressional Committee and the career politician who has refused to take the challenge to have his honesty examined. This is a battle that can determine whether this country is a Democracy or simply run by corrupt elitists on unverifiable voting machines.

LOL - as if it was only unverifiable voting machines that we have to worry about. We Wuz Robbed
posted by dinsdale at 3:21 PM on September 14, 2006


Could always rig all the vote outcomes to elect third party candidates. That’d be a wake up call with enough plausibility to cause problems unlike voting for Juan Valdez or Lenin. Either they contest it - which reveals the problem, or they let it slide, which will result in a change in the system. Probably better than the pitchforks and torches just now. I know next to nothing about computers & code, etc, otherwise I’d be happy to help.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:34 PM on September 14, 2006


Either they contest it - which reveals the problem, or they let it slide, which will result in a change in the system.

Smells like kerosene on the Reichstag again...

In other words, I worry about what the word "change" means in your sentence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 PM on September 14, 2006


I think American Pride is the biggest obstacle to change.

There are too many people, and especially too many people in positions of power, who would be humiliated to admit that there are showstopper flaws in the election system.

There's this ridiculous perception in the US of the supremacy of the American Way. A myth of greatness. A delusion of "best."

To fix the problems in the USA will require overcoming the problem of pride.

Good luck with that.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:47 PM on September 14, 2006


“I worry about what the word "change" means in your sentence.”

Greater inclusion of third - and more - party candidates would, I think, abate a lot of disenfranchisement going on right now.

Beyond that I can’t address or clarify, ‘cause I have no idea what you’re insinuating. Should I be insulted?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:48 AM on September 15, 2006


"There are so many potential failure points this year that some of it could get ugly," says R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, which represents state and local election officials.
posted by chunking express at 10:51 AM on September 15, 2006


There are so many failure points that it sure as hell had BETTER get ugly.

This is, in my opinion, your very last chance to get back to having a functional democracy. Fuck this one up and you'll have a fascist country within the decade.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on September 15, 2006


You mean more fascist right?
posted by chunking express at 8:55 AM on September 18, 2006


“Hotel Minibar” Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on September 18, 2006


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