Hey! Great news! Just in time to practice up your hacking skills before the 2014 mid-term elections, you can now buy your very own ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system from eBay!...
Yes, the very same voting systems that are so incredibly sensitive and vulnerable to tampering (and which have failed so often in so many states and in so many elections) that both election officials and Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) have long attempted to keep them out of the hands of the public, can now be yours for just $499.99 or "Best Offer" via eBay! And that includes Free Shipping!
And, oh, look! One of them is already sold!...
The systems, according to the eBay ad, are used, but in "GREAT WORKING CONDITION". The Illinois-based seller, Gadgets Plus, tells The BRAD BLOG the systems were last used in Clay County, Florida which, according to VerifiedVoting.org's Verifier database, still uses the iVotronic for disabled-accessible voting --- or did in 2012, in any case.
The ES&S iVotronic, in case you'd like to practice your hacking and election theft skills for any reason, is among the most widely used touch-screen voting systems in the country and its made by the largest e-voting system vendor in the world! According to Verified Voting, the 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were used in 2012 in 403 voting jurisdictions across all or parts of 18 states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
In addition to being amongst the most --- if not the most --- ubiquitous unverifiable electronic touch-screen voting system in the nation, the iVotronic has played a starring role in such elections as the one which secured the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in SC for the completely unknown and largely illiterate Alvin Greene in 2010. It was also the system on which 18,000 votes simply vanished in Sarasota, FL in 2006, handing the special FL-13 U.S. House election to Republican Vern Buchanan by just 369 votes. And, of course, there are still those unexplained impossible election results from Monroe County, AR in 2010 among many other memorable iVotronic moments we could worry you with.
When asked about the possibility of an iVotronic being made available for anyone in the public to work with, Joe Lorenzo Hall, Chief Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology warned The BRAD BLOG "If a voting machine were to fall into the 'wrong' hands, there is probably quite a bit a bad guy could learn in order to plan and design future attacks on such a machine."
Hall, who worked on two different state-sponsored landmark studies of e-voting systems in California and Ohio (both of which found myriad security vulnerabilities in every single system tested), cited two different cases in the past where computer scientist and security experts obtained voting systems made by different vendors (Diebold and Sequoia) and were then able to use them to discover serious security vulnerabilities which could have been exploited during live elections.
"In both these cases," he explained, "despite very different designs, they were able to change votes and write a machine-specific virus that would allow fraudulent vote counts and spread silently from machine to machine over the course of a few elections."
The instance Hall cited involving a Diebold Accuvote touch-screen system was a story we originally broke in 2006, after obtaining the system from an insider source and sharing it with computer scientists at Princeton.
"While it may only be feasible for an external attacker to get a few minutes to a few hours alone with a machine," Hall told us, "having a machine that they can develop and pilot possible attacks would be a very necessary resource for this kind of work."
He adds that, given the way electronic voting systems are currently designed and certified, even if it was discovered, before an election, that a hacker had developed a new way to exploit such systems, "no specific 'fix' or update could be developed and certified in time. We'd likely have to run the next election knowing a serious set of vulnerabilities were live in the system."
The eBay sale of the ES&S touch-screens is not the first instance in which similar e-voting systems have become available for sale to the general public on eBay. Back in 2008, The BRAD BLOG also broke the news about the availability of Diebold Accuvote touch-screen systems for sale there as well. At the time, we wrote:
While covering the Diebold systems becoming available on eBay, we also described them as "the perfect gift for the careful, discriminating hacker". Well, great news! With the iVotronic now available to anyone and everyone, your shopping options just got even better!
Happy hacking, hackers!