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By Michael Richardson on 1/18/2007 12:44pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

The efforts of the Election Assistance Commission to accredit test laboratories for the nation's electronic voting machines have left the country with only two labs, SysTest and Wyle, operating on interim approval; and one laboratory, Ciber, left unaccredited since the National Association of State Election Directors got out of the certification business last year.

Published reports indicate the Ciber lab was denied interim accreditation last summer for a history of inadequate quality assurance and inability to document that critical tests were performed. The EAC is saying little about the matter to the media and has now been requested by Senator Diane Feinstein to explain why Ciber was not accredited and why disclosure of that fact was kept from election officials around the nation.

EAC regulatory staff might just want to peek at Ciber's website where they will discover that the banned Ciber lab has merged its testing division with EAC approved Wyle lab. Ciber boasts, "The CIBER-Wyle team is your single source for independent voting machine testing."

"With the growing demand for premier independent software/hardware testing of Voting Machines, CIBER and Wyle have joined forces are now offering the quality independent testing solutions needed for voting machine systems supporting the Election Assistance Commission standards."

"Our teams, co-located in Huntsville, Alabama, have now integrated best of breed testing solutions, CIBER for software testing and Wyle for their hardware testing capabilities. By teaming we now offer complete independent voting system testing solutions for voting system vendors and for state governments."

"We combined the two most experienced labs and staffs in the country into one efficient organization. We provide a co-located testing facility on one campus for all your testing needs. Successfully tested and recommended for certification the industry leaders in voting systems. Specialized support for prequalification testing and anomaly resolution/verification."

The Ciber website also has a pitch for state business as well as electronic voting machines vendors but they should have used a grammar check. "The CIBER-Wyle team will help you to make sure that your election is run with little or no room for criticism. They will assist in areas such as assuring that you have the current certified copy of your voting vendor's hardware and software and that you will have implemented a set of state voting standards that will meet the [sic] with the majority of the voters' approval, taking into consideration the usability and accessibility of the voting system."

Ciber's role in testing of voting technology was more than issuing reports to vendors and states, like Florida, which rely upon Ciber reports for their technology advice to local election officials. Despite the growing number of reports about inadequate testing, now leaking out about Ciber's failures, which reveal long-standing problems of deficiency, the test lab also serviced the Department of Defense.

Ciber's self-promotional web page about the Federal Voting Assistance Program provides Senator Feinstein with new areas needing review for sloppy work on the voting system that assists military voters.

"The scope of the work included testing and validation of both the system's functionality and security....based on our certification as an Independent Test Authority, CIBER was awarded this work....Ciber performed system security penetration assessments....Based on this work, CIBER documented system exposures and vulnerabilities. Periodic penetration assessment continued during system operation."

The merger of the two "independent" test labs into one team raises red flags about Wyle's interim EAC accreditation status; while Ciber's voting security testing for the Defense Department, based on its earlier NASED certification, may soon be getting review by Congress.




By Michael Richardson on 1/13/2007 8:35am PT  

Guest Logged By Michael Richardson

Last week Christopher Drew of the New York Times informed a shocked nation that the leading "independent testing authority" of electronic voting machines, Ciber, Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colorado had not been following its own quality-control procedures and could not document that it completed required tests for reliability and security.

The federal Election Assistance Commission, which accredited the Ciber testing lab, secretly pulled its interim accreditation last year, without informing the public or election officials relying on Ciber's results. Independent testing centers, including Ciber, are not really independent at all and are funded by voting machine vendors to whom they issue their testing reports and only recently have come under federal scrutiny.

The EAC has yet to explain why it withheld the accreditation of Ciber from the voting public and the omission has entangled the controversial election oversight panel in the growing national distrust of electronic voting machines and may threaten its continued existence.

How many voting machines might be affected by the lax security inspections of Ciber?

Respected electronic voting machine authority and self-described "politechnologist" Joseph Hall did some digging. "The answer was not something I would have predicted...I knew Ciber did a good deal of software ITA testing, but it looks like, in terms of voting system deployment, that Ciber qualified the voting systems used by 68.5% of the registered voters (67.9% of precincts) in the 2006 election."

Hall explained the difficulty he encountered to acquire his data. "Since the test reports are not public, it is difficult to find information about who tested what when."

Undeterred by the veil of secrecy surrounding the testing of electronic voting machines, Hall used old testing identifiers, called NASED numbers, to track the deployment of voting machines around the nation. Ciber tested any machine that had a NASED number beginning with the digit "1".

"With this key piece of information, we can use published lists of qualified voting systems to determine which models were qualified by Ciber." explains Hall. Discovering that Ciber tested the vast majority of machines in the country Hall says, "In fact, it is much more simple to list which systems were not qualified by Ciber."

Hall concludes, "I suppose it would have been completely impractical to decertify all these systems. Even decertifying those systems in which the qualification testing Ciber performed was specifically lacking would likely be a significant double-digit percentage of voting systems used by registered voters."

One thing the ITA laboratories, or any other testing agency, cannot determine is if an electronic voting machine has been rigged with malicious self-deleting software code. All voting machines and optical scan vote-counters are subject to being hacked with self-deleting code that cannot be detected with any test. Self-deleting software code does its dirty deeds, including flipping or erasing votes, and then deletes itself erasing any sign of tampering.

A growing number of election integrity advocates are realizing that software technology has no place in the election systems of our country because of the inability to even detect mischief. The solution that is emerging is both simple and obvious, a return to time-tested hand-counting of paper ballots.




Federal Commission Admits There is Paperwork on 'Barred' Voting Machine Testing Lab, Will Release 'When the Process is Complete'
Lab Was Secretly Refused Credentials in July, State and Local Voting Officials Were Kept in Dark Throughout November Elections Until NYTimes' Revelations...
By John Gideon on 1/9/2007 4:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org

Moving the ball forward a bit in regard to New York Times' stunning report last week that Ciber was refused interim accreditation last July. I've been able to learn a bit more about the existence of the paperwork concerning that denial of accreditation.

The refusal, according to the Times front page exclusive last week, was due to an inspection the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) conducted at the lab. Ciber is one of the three e-voting test labs or Independent Testing Authoritys (ITAs) which are paid by the Voting Machine Companies themselves to test their hardware and software prior to federal certification.

But contradictions have been flowing from the EAC in the considerable fallout from the Times report which revealed the commission not only failed to accredit Ciber, they also failed to tell the public, or even state and local Elections Officials who used the systems approved by Ciber for last November's election. What nobody --- except the EAC knew --- was that, according to the Times Ciber "was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests."

While at first the EAC had denied there was any paperwork documenting the reasons why they had denied interim accreditation to Ciber, I've now been able to learn from an EAC source that such paperwork actually exists. The EAC has simply, again, withheld it from the public. So far. I was then able to get confirmation about it from an EAC spokesperson, along with a hint as to when the world might get to see the actual reasons they withheld accreditation from the private testing lab...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Debra Bowen Appoints Lowell Finley of Election Integrity Watchdog Group VoterAction.org to Role of 'Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy'
[UPDATED] Critics of E-Voting Hail News as 'Collosal Suprise,' Very Good for Voters, Very Bad for the Nation's Electronic Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2007 2:31pm PT  

It may not be a very good day in the corporate offices at Diebold, but The BRAD BLOG has learned some big news that may well indicate today is a very good day indeed for the voters of America and specifically in California.

As incoming Sec. of State Debra Bowen was sworn in to her new office just moments ago, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that one of the nation's top critics of unverifiable electronic voting systems --- and a key player across several states in the legal battles against voting machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Hart Intercivic --- is today being named by the new California Sec. of State Debra Bowen as Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy.

Lowell Finley, the lead attorney for the non-partisan voting machine legal watchdog organization VoterAction.org, will be named to the position today.

In his new capacity, Finley will oversee testing and certification for all voting machine technology in the State of California. In a phone call this morning, Finley confirmed that he would be working closely in his new role with key national associations like the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC).

E-voting critics and at least one California Registrar of Voters have hailed both the swearing in of Bowen as SoS and her appointment of Finley, expressing delight to The BRAD BLOG over the news, characterizing it as a "colossal surprise" and a "very, very good sign for the future of voters' rights in California."

America's voting machine companies are less likely to feel quite as happy about the news.

Finley and VoterAction have filed a number of landmark lawsuits in several states, including in California, over the past year or so, demanding an immediate halt to the use and purchase of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) voting systems and decertification of many of those systems, as well as improved processes for certification of such systems.

VoterAction is one of over 30 Election Reform organizations who recently went on record with an open letter to Members of Congress demanding federal legislation requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast in America. Such legislation would effectively ban the use of DRE systems, with or without a so-callled "Voter Verified Paper Trail" (VVPAT).

Bowen has been a dogged critic of former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson during her candidacy and in her role overseeing the Elections Committee as a California State Senator. She has criticized his lack of oversight and lax testing procedures, and has championed a "Voters' Bill of Rights" for the Golden State.

While a suit by VoterAction.org filed against former SoS McPherson and several CA Registrars of Voting --- concerning McPherson's certification of Diebold TSx touch-screen systems --- is still pending in state court, the disposition of that suit will likely change due to the fact that the lead defendant, McPherson, is no longer in office.

The Berkeley-based attorney Finley --- also one of the attorneys representing voter plaintiffs in the contested election in Florida's 13th Congressional district in Sarasota --- had one of his most recent and notable successes last September, when a Colorado judge ordered a complete review of certification procedures for voting machines in the state. The court found the official placed in charge of testing and certification didn't have the qualifications necessary, and performed little or no testing. That man, John Gardner, was appointed by former CO Sec. of State Donetta Davidson, who has been appointed by George W. Bush to head the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

The news of Finley's appointment will undoubtedly be of concern to the major voting machine companies that received little oversight from the former Sec. of State McPherson.

"I wish I was a fly on the wall in the offices at Diebold as they learn of this appointment. I'm sure jaws will be dropping and damage control will be ramping up," John Gideon of election watchdog organization VotersUnite.org told us today. (Gideon is also a frequent Guest Blogger here at The BRAD BLOG.) ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




As Tom Elias Writes the Single Best MSM Article We've Ever Seen on the Current State of E-Voting!
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2007 2:34pm PT  

Syndicated California columnist, Thomas D. Elias, has written the single best MSM article we've ever read on the problems with the current state of our electoral system. Period.

In covering changes planned by incoming CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Elias --- for the first time, at least that I've ever seen anywhere in the MSM --- squarely places the blame for the entire fine mess we're in exactly where it belongs: On the voting machine companies and the elections officials who have been their enablers and apologists...

An anxious time is just about to begin for the two interest groups that have done more than anyone else in recent years to make Californians feel uncertain about the integrity of their elections.

Those two groups: The makers of electronic voting machines of various types, many of whose devices have been shown to be both hackable and problematic in other ways. And county voter registrars who bought those machines largely with many millions of dollars derived from the federal Help America Vote Act, which was more concerned about speed of conversion to new technologies than whether they were trustworthy.

BOOM! Outta the park!

Those two grafs alone are enough for us to nominate Elias for a Pulitzer. Yes, the reporting on this matter in the MSM has been so indescribably horrible from the get-go that we're willing to give it all up just for those two grafs which finally tell the story correctly.

But Elias doesn't stop there. While we recommend you read his entire piece in full we'll highlight a few of the most notable grafs just to make sure as many eyeballs as possible actually get to see them --- for the good news they offer about a possibly brighter future for elections in California (and thus, the rest of the country) and for the fact that they have actually been printed in a fairly major metropolitan newspaper.

On Bowen's plans for full 'top to bottom review' of outgoing SoS McPherson's rubber-stamp certification of all electronic voting machines...

"We are going to do a top to bottom review of every voting system in use anywhere in California," Bowen said in an interview. "Yes, I would consider decertifying machines that my predecessor approved. Unfortunately, we've spent a lot of money on equipment that's not ready for prime time. Any Fortune 500 company would have sent those machines back with a letter saying they just don't do what they're supposed to."

On the truth (finally!) about the feckless and incompetent McPherson...

Her appointed predecessor and defeated autumn opponent, the former Republican State Sen. Bruce McPherson of Santa Cruz was anything but a skeptic, certifying virtually any machine any county registrar wanted to buy and imposing questionable checks on their performance.

On the infamous voting machine "sleepovers" (as first revealed by The BRAD BLOG)...

"I believe the sleepovers are illegal," said Bowen, an attorney. "If a system is designed so it can't be used without sitting in someone's garage for two weeks, we should not be using that system. We could fix this by using a bonded delivery service like Brinks to deliver machines to polling places at a set time."

In short, the voting machine status quo will not be lasting long in the nascent Bowen era.

On the worthlessness of so-called "paper trails" and the difficulty candidates face in paying exorbitant costs for recounts as capriciously and arbitrarily priced by Registrars...

Bowen recognizes that a paper trail is worthless unless it's usable. "I think $50,000 to do a recount where it might be merited is a tiny price to pay for democracy and to keep people from saying ‘forget about the election, they'll never count our votes anyway.' " So she'll support at least a partial public subsidy of recounts, where they appear justified.

NOTE: The BRAD BLOG covered the cost quoted for a recount in last summer's Special U.S. House Election in CA-50's Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray race. The cost, capriciously and arbitrarily quoted for that recount in order to make it impossible by the horrendous San Diego County Registar of Voters Mikel Haas: $150,000!

Elias also speaks of Sequoia's yellow button "feature" (also first revealed on these pages, but who's counting?) and more. All of which, apparently, forces the Ventura County Star to label the piece, regretablly, as "opinion." But so be it. We'll take what we can get.

If you'd like to send a thank you note to Elias and the VCS Editors, please click here!




Action Taken Months Ago But Not Disclosed by Compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission!
UPDATE: Company Reported to be a Big Republican Donor, CEO Dumped Shares of Stock Just Before Year's End!
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2007 7:19pm PT  

A front page blockbuster set for tomorrow's New York Times reveals that one of the three approved labs which make up the so-called Independent Testing Authority (ITA) responsible for testing all electronic voting systems prior to certification has been barred from testing by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC).

The Times reports that Ciber Inc. was barred from further testing last summer, but that the EAC failed to disclose the information to the public.

Thousands of electronic voting machines "okayed" by the Ciber labs were in use last November, despite what the Times reports as a failure by the company to follow quality-control procedures and an inability to "document that it was conducting all the required tests."

As The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today, thousands of reports of e-voting machine failures were documented across the country in a report released this week by a number of non-partisan election watchdog organizations.

Ciber is one of three companies selected and paid for by the Voting Machine Companies themselves to secretly test their electronic voting systems. The results of the testing by the ITA labs and the documented failures or successes are never released to the public.

As the Times is now reporting on their website:

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation's electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.

The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by the state of New York over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.

Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore long-standing worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.

The commission acted last summer, but the problem was not disclosed then. Officials at the commission and Ciber confirmed the action in recent interviews.
...
Experts say the deficiencies of the laboratory suggest that crucial features like the vote-counting software and security against hacking may not have been thoroughly tested on many machines now in use.

“What’s scary is that we’ve been using systems in elections that Ciber had certified, and this calls into question those systems that they tested,” said Aviel D. Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins.
...
Even though Washington and the states have spent billions to install the new technologies, the machine manufacturers have always paid for the tests that assess how well they work, and little has been disclosed about any flaws that were discovered.

While The BRAD BLOG has documented myriad failures on electronic voting machines over the last several months and years, we've also documented the dreadful failure of the EAC to perform oversight and the fact that they have been wholly compromised by partisan appointments, including their current (though outgoing) chairman Paul DiGrigorio and have withheld important reports from the public when the information revealed in them was not to the liking of the Republicans who head the committee.

As well, we ran shocking excerpts from an exclusive interview with the first head of the EAC, DeForest Soaries, detailing his unhappiness with both the White House and the Republican-led Congress to properly fund the commission formed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to oversee the certification of voting systems and other related matters. Soaries was appointed by George W. Bush and charged, in the shocking interview, that there are "no standards" for the voting equipment in use in America, that the White House and Congress misled him about the commission and "made things worse through the passage of the Help America Vote Act," and that due to underfunding and lack of attention, America now has an "inability to trust the technology that we use" in elections which he says are "ripe for stealing."

The excerpts we ran were from a network news interview with Soaries which was never aired by the network.

UPDATE: Lambert from Correntwire has some excellent details on Ciber's big money ties to the Republican party. He's critical of the Times' failure to point that out given they supplied some $72,000 to Republican candidates between 2001 and 2004. As well, he's got an excellent catch concerning the fact that Ciber's CEO dumped a bunch of stock just before year's end, leading Lambert to ask, "Insider trading, anyone?"

FURTHER UPDATE: Howard Stanislavic detailed a number of flaws discovered in Ciber's testing processes in New York last October at VoteTrustUSA.org. Needless to say, the Times gave him no credit for having beat them to a number of the items they reported in their story tonight. We feel ya, Howard.

(Hat-tip RAW STORY who had the early scoop on the Times story.)




Says Machines Should be Decertified! Also Says So-Called 'Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) Should Not Be Used' in Voting Systems!
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2006 2:37pm PT  

Huge news. Michael Hickins of InternetNews.com has the scoop. Here are the highlights...

A federal agency is set to recommend significant changes to specifications for electronic-voting machines next week, internetnews.com has learned.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recommending that the 2007 version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify direct record electronic (DRE) machines.
...
According to an NIST paper to be discussed at a meeting of election regulators at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., on Dec. 4 and 5, DRE vote totals cannot be audited because the machines are not software independent.

In other words, there is no means of verifying vote tallies other than by relying on the software that tabulated the results to begin with.

The machines currently in use are "more vulnerable to undetected programming errors or malicious code," according to the paper.

The NIST paper also noted that, "potentially, a single programmer could 'rig' a major election."

This is a tremendously important development!

To be clear, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the group that oversees the formulation of the so-called federal "Voting Systems Standards." Those are the standards, such as there are any, which are in effect today at the federal level to determine federal certification of voting systems. NIST hosts the Technical Guidelines Developement Committee for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and they are the body who developed the current standadards now in use. This report will likely have an enormous impact in shaping whatever may happen next concerning any upcoming Election Reform or legislation in DC.

But wait, it gets even better!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Stephen Heller Agrees to Plead Guilty, Pay $10,000, Apologize and Receive Three Years Probation After Being Charged with 'Burglary' for Sharing Diebold Lawfirm's Privileged Documents with Newspaper, Election Integrity Activists
Tells BRAD BLOG He Has 'No Assets Left, Other Than House' and Deal is Meant to Protect Him and His Wife as 'Best Deal I Could Get Based on the Circumstances'
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006 8:53pm PT  

Stephen Heller, the Los Angeles whistleblower who turned over documents from Diebold's attorney, Jones Day, in 2004 showing the Voting Machine Company had illegally installed uncertified hardware and software in California --- and was preparing to lie about it --- has pled guilty, according to a statement tonight from the LA County District Attorney's office.

In an email moments ago from Heller, he tells us that he and his wife "are very happy it is over."

Heller, whose story we detailed in an article [PDF] published by Hustler some months ago, was a temporary worker at the voting machine company law firm when he stumbled across the troubling documents.

At the time, we quoted Michael Kohn, general counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, as saying, "This is a very rare instance. In fact, the only one of which I’m aware, in which a whistleblower has been charged with a felony. I find it outrageous."

Outrageous indeed --- especially considering Diebold voting systems were decertified by the state when it was found the company was attempting to game the certification process, shortly after Heller shared the documents with the Oakland Tribune and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org.

But Heller doesn't have the same kind of money for high-priced attorneys that Diebold does (that would be your money that Diebold uses for this sort of thing, by the way); we're not suprised he opted for the deal.

In an email message from Heller sent to The BRAD BLOG tonight, he wrote:

"My wife and I are very happy it is over. The deal will protect me and my wife and our assets (we have no assets left, other than our house, but whatever we are able to accumulate in the future cannot be taken away from us in civil court). My attorneys and I think this is the best deal I could get based on the circumstances."

The LA County DA's statement says Heller pled to "unlawfully accessing the company computer in connection with its legal representation of Diebold Inc." and they quote his formal "apology" as follows:

"Today, I pled guilty to unlawfully taking Jones Day's privileged documents without its permission while I worked there. There was no excuse for my conduct. I very much regret taking the documents. I also regret any disparaging statements suggesting that Jones Day committed any wrongful acts. Upon reflection, I now believe and understand that such statements were unjustified. I apologize to Jones Day and its client."

A notice added tonight to the Stephen Heller Defense Fund website says "The case has been resolved! More details will follow soon." It goes on to thank supporters, urging them to "check back soon because Stephen is going to post the entire story here soon."

Heller tells us he's being contacted by the media tonight and plans to send a more detailed statement to The BRAD BLOG by morning.

UPDATE: 11/21/06 5:00pm PT: As promised, a new story, including a fresh exclusive statement from Heller --- concerning his thoughts on Diebold, American Elections and that he may have his sentenced reduced in a year --- is now posted here.




Previously Unreleased 200-Page Report Said to Document Some 180 Security Flaws and Recommendations Made to Diebold and the State
Still Unclear as to Who Made Changes, Additions, Redactions to Publicly Released 40-Page Version of Report…
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2006 7:02pm PT  

On Friday night, we broke Rebecca Abrahams's exclusive story concerning the long-sought yet never-released complete "Risk Assessment Report" of Diebold's electronic voting systems as commissioned by the state of Maryland from the Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in 2003.

Tonight, The BRAD BLOG is releasing that report exclusively in full as given to us by Abrahams, who says she obtained it from a source described to us as "a patriotic high-level state official." She says the source is "someone very close to this situation" in the Maryland government.

The original, never-before-released SAIC report was nearly 200 pages in all, and details a number of extraordinary security vulnerabilities found in Diebold's AccuVote-TS (touch-screen) voting systems as deployed by the state of Maryland initially in 2002. The version of the SAIC report that was eventually released to the public, after extreme redaction, was a mere 38 pages long.

It was reported by Abrahams that neither the full MD State Board of Elections, nor even the Governor himself, was ever allowed to see the full report.

Regarded by many in the computer science, security, and election integrity community as "The Pentagon Papers of E-Voting," the report as released by MD's State Election Administrator, Linda Lamone, was edited, changed, and, of course, highly redacted by someone.

To this date, it remains unclear whether or not Diebold itself was responsible for the changes, edits, and redactions, but according to several computer scientists and security experts with whom we discussed the matter today, the company currently seems to be the leading candidate responsible for changing and removing information from the independently commissioned SAIC report. Those with whom we spoke questioned the propriety of Diebold having such final control over an independent report concerning its own systems. Systems, we might add, that will be used across the state and indeed across the entire country this November 7th, despite the information withheld from the public in this 2003 report.

Also unclear --- since the state and virtually the entire computer science and security community have been unable to review the complete, original report until now --- is whether or not any of the various 180 or so recommendations for changes contained in the report have ever been addressed and corrected by either Diebold or the state of Maryland.

Myriad independent reports on Diebold systems have shown, over the last several months and years since the SAIC report was completed, that scores of serious security vulnerabilities still remain on Diebold's voting systems --- including their paper-based optical-scan voting machines, touch-screen voting machines, and even their central tabulator software.

Reports of these serious vulnerabilities have now been documented by Finnish computer scientist Harri Hursti, the computer security firm Security Innovation, and BlackBoxVoting.org in both Leon County, FL and then in Emery County, UT; by a team of scientists at UC Berkeley commissioned by the CA Sec. of State; by Princeton University; and even by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team (as The BRAD BLOG originally reported in September of 2005 after a tip from a Diebold insider).

Whether or not the vulnerabilities revealed in those subsequent studies --- made mostly over the last year or so, but some, such as the Dept. of Homeland Security's CERT alert came even prior to the 2004 Presidential Election --- were discovered previously in the full 2003 SAIC report has been widely questioned until now.

If, in fact, such vulnerabilities were indeed found in 2003 by SAIC but subsequently kept covered up by Diebold or their allies within the MD State Elections division, such as longtime booster Lamone, the question of accountability --- and even the specter of malicious out-and-out fraud --- has been raised.

During an interview with Abrahams and Stephen Spoonamore, the CEO of computer security firm Cybrinth Inc., on a radio program we co-hosted yesterday, they suggested that an FBI investigation may currently be under way in Maryland concerning several events surrounding the use of Diebold machines in the state.

We've not yet had time to review the entire unredacted report as posted below. However, given the importance of this never-before-released information --- and after close consultation with Abrahams and several others --- The BRAD BLOG feels the national public interest in the information contained in this report requires full and immediate release and disclosure.

The report, therefore, is released here for the first time...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By John Gideon on 10/28/2006 1:22pm PT  

Blogged By John Gideon, 28 October 2006

Still over a week from election day and already the problems are piling up. Meanwhile the vendors and their shills are making excuses and attempting to sell the voting public a line of garbage. Among the shills is a federal agency, the Election Assistance Commission, that is supposed to assist the voter and, instead, has sent their chairman out on the road to defend the vendors.

In a blog posted yesterday, Brad said it well:

"The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) is a complete and utter failure. The current commissioner, Paul DeGregorio, has done nothing to instill confidence in elections or provide a lick of oversight in the deployment and use of these voting systems across the nation in the Midterm Election. In his latest interviews and editorials, he is reprehensibly doing nothing but echoing Voting Machine Company propaganda and Election Officials who choose to be apologists for them."

In a rebuttal to DeGregorios' opinion piece in the Tallahassee Democrat Avi Rubin, Johns-Hopkins Professor, computer scientist and author of "Brave New Ballot" had this to say in his blog:

"I have not seen any reason to trust our nation's voting equipment. Trusting it just because an election official says we should is not good enough for me. I want to trust a system because I don't believe it can be compromised, not because someone implies that not trusting it is not patriotic."

In The Mean Time Across The Nation...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By John Gideon on 10/26/2006 9:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

In what may be the most revealing of all of the "Democracy At Risk" series Lou and Kitty discuss the broken system of certifying electronic voting systems for use by the voter. Lou correctly points out that the system represents a conflict of interest between the manufacturers and the Independent Test Authorities (ITA) who are paid by the manufacturers to test and approve the manufacturers products.

The text-transcript of Thursday's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




BRAD BLOG FRONT PAGE: They're Not 'Glitches', And They're Not the Fault of the Poll Workers! Stop Blaming Them!
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006 2:40pm PT  

On the same day as NYTimes front paged a story on the coming electoral meltdown. Chicago Trib follows suit in a front pager today that focuses on massive problems in Chicago and Cook County.

Like the Times, who modified their original headline yesterday shortly after publishing to refer to "Voting Woes" instead of "Voting Chaos" as it was originally described, the Trib turns backflips to downplay the concerns, blame as much as possible the poll workers and "human error," along with "glitches" and "hiccups," instead of placing blame where it squarely deserves to be placed: on the Voting Machine Companies and the Elections Officials who approved this garbage for use in our elections.

The headline is "Voting Glitches Feared on Nov. 7," but as a close reading of the article reveals, these are not "voting glitches." They are not even "glitches." They are FAILURES of the voting machine companies and elections officials. Period. End of story. Got that?

The story rightly refers to "a virtual meltdown" in last spring's primary in Chicago and Cook County, and goes on to add that vote totals can be completely fried...

[I]t will still be possible for workers to accidentally fry vote totals if they forget to disconnect the power from ballot scanners before data cartridges are removed at the end of the night.

"We don't want you to erase any of the memory," warned Gail Weisberg, Cook County's equipment manager/coordinator, during a training class last week in Hoffman Estates.

So vote totals can be entirely "fried" and yet we're actually using this system on November 7th?! Moreover, note the language above that says it's "possible for workers" to fry the vote totals. Instead of the more appropriate, "it's possible that the poorly designed systems could have their entire vote totals fried."

As I've gotta hit the road to head up North for speaking engagements and meetings over the next several days, and as things are now melting down all around us, as predicted --- with some 20 days left until Nov. 7th --- my patience is just about worn thin with the apologists, liars, and those journalists, "advocates," and public officials who have no excuse to claim ignorance anymore.

So I hope you'll pardon the more graphic language I feel compelled to use below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




California Secretary of State Has Difficult Relationship With the Truth
McP Squares Off, Falls on Face, Against Non-Lying Opponent Debra Bowen in Live Debate
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006 11:35am PT  

We spoke about the Democratic, and actually qualified candidate for California Sec. of State Debra Bowen yesterday.

So, equal time. Let's talk about the completely unqualified, partisan mouthpiece, the current Schwarzenneger-appointed California Secretary of State and accomplished liar, Bruce McPherson.

Oh, and as the end of yesterday's debate revealed, he's also a loathsome human being.

The two debated before the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. It was broadcast live --- now available to watch on the web --- and very informative. Here are some thoughts of ours on several of McP's obfuscations lies comments during the debate.

NOTE: Quotes of his below aren't always exact, but damned near. With one of McP's quotes, however, we had to go back and check three times, just to make sure we heard him right. We did. And we're appalled.

He actually said, "Under Secretary of State Bowen, if that ever happens, I will tell you, the blind and disabled will not be eligible to vote privately and independently."

Bowen replied gracefully by saying his comment was "shameful" and "not [McPherson's] finest moment."

Our personal replies to that appalling comment, and McP's host of other lies, follow below, and are far less charitable. As you may know, the election for California SoS may prove to be the most important race for the future of the nation's electoral system. Our snarky, point-by-point rebuttal to the truth-challenged McP --- who is working for the voting machine companies, not the voters of California --- follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




California SoS Denies Certification To Vote-PAD
By John Gideon on 8/28/2006 4:55pm PT  

"Off with Their Heads!" cried the Queen of Hearts

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

It was a Queen of Hearts sort of a day in California on August 9, 2006. The Secretary of State's advisory panel was hearing public comments regarding the pending certification of the Vote-PAD, a non-electronic assistive device designed to help voters with disabilities mark and verify a paper ballot independently.

Voting integrity advocates held signs supporting the certification of Vote-PAD. They told of countless failures of computerized voting systems. They spoke about recent discoveries of easily hackable "back doors" into the vote totals on those systems, which have been certified. By contrast, "Vote-PAD is no more hackable than a #2 pencil," said one.

Notwithstanding this and the letters praising the Vote-PAD from dozens of people with visual and motor disabilities, the Secretary of State's staff was recommending against certifying the Vote-PAD for use in California.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Vote-PAD's President Explains The Flaws in The State's Test Plan and Certification Process
By John Gideon on 8/9/2006 12:50pm PT  

Blogged by John Gideon

As reported previously the state of California unfairly treated voters with disabilities in the testing of the Vote-PAD, a voting assistive device designed specifically for use by voters with disabilities and successfully tested and used by those voters across the country. The fact that the staff of the Secretary of State of California used shoddy test procedures and then recommended denial of certification, based on those test procedures, of the Vote-PAD is certainly questionable. Why haven't other voting systems, that purport to be accessible, been tested by the disabilities community at all?

As reported earlier, today is the public hearing for the Vote-PAD. Ellen Theisen, President and Founder of Vote-PAD has testified about the problems with the test procedure. In her testimony she referred to accompanying testimony from Valerie Rice, PhD., CPE, OTR/L, whose PhD is in "Human Factors Engineering (Industrial Engineering and Operations Research) with a specialization in Human Factors Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and masters degrees in both Occupational Therapy (University of Puget Sound) and Health Care Administration (Baylor University). She is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist and a liscensed and registered Occupational Therapist". In other words, Dr. Rice is the person who should have written the states test procedure which would have given everyone a fair and even field for making a judgment on Vote-PAD.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




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