READER COMMENTS ON
"CA SoS Bowen: 'Analysts Able to Bypass Both Physical and Software Security for Every System They Reviewed' in Landmark Independent 'Top-to-Bottom Review' of CA Voting Systems"
(42 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 3:14 pm PT...
Shocking. Who knew that a crack team of academics could break into a Windows/SQL-based computer? How about the accuracy tests or the presence of vendor installed malware within the source code?
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 5:30 pm PT...
Here's the official California Overview of the Hacking Report: http://www.sos.ca.gov/el...ms/ttbr/red_overview.pdf
My executive summary of their overview is as follows:
At a cost of $1.8M, the California Secretary of State now has a report that confirms that all of the State's Hart, Diebold and Sequoia DRE and OpScan voting systems can be hacked in various ways. Potential hacks include the all-important ability to have a VVPAT print out one thing and the DRE total reflect something else, thus rendering the VVPAT moot, as well as the capability of detecting election mode (thus enabling the pre-election testing to appear correct, while the actual election has been compromised). All of these are types of hacks that many knowledgeable people have been saying for years could happen, and now we know that for sure they can. Oh, and guess what else? "The security mechanisms provided for all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results." Gee, what a surprise.
Unfortunately the report provides a fall-back position whereby these wretched election products can continue to be used --- by claiming that many of the attack scenarios can be mitigated through better physical security, security training of staff, and contingency planning. Of course the report fails to mention that if the staff or the vendor is corrupt and their contingency plan is to cover up their tracks, we now know for sure that a game plan for fraud is certainly possible. So let's just throw more money at additional security mechanisms and training while we all pretend that we're conducting legitimate elections. Good job, guys, thanks for letting the CA SoS off the hook.
Here's a novel thought: why not just throw this crap in the junk heap where it belongs, vote on paper, and let the citizens do the counting? Maybe for another $1.8M some State can get a team of Ph.D.'s to validate that conclusion.
Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 6:09 pm PT...
So there it is, once and for all...all of these machines can cheat without detection.
Gee, what a surprise. Is it any wonder that powerful forces continue to lie, libel, harass, malign, distort, and just downright lie and libel and harass (oh, I already used those terms) voting machine freedom fighters, who continue to try to do something about these rotten machines, against heavy odds.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 6:43 pm PT...
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 8:51 pm PT...
Scientists’ Tests Hack Into Electronic Voting Machines in California and Elsewhere
Article Tools Sponsored By
By CHRISTOPHER DREW
Published: July 28, 2007
Computer scientists from California universities have hacked into three electronic voting systems used in California and elsewhere in the nation and found several ways in which vote totals could potentially be altered, according to reports released yesterday by the state.
The reports, the latest to raise questions about electronic voting machines, came to light on a day when House leaders announced in Washington that they had reached an agreement on measures to revamp voting systems and increase their security.
The House bill would require every state to use paper records that would let voters verify that their ballots had been correctly cast and that would be available for recounts.
The House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, and the original sponsor of the bill, Representative Rush D. Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, said it would require hundreds of counties with paperless machines to install backup paper trails by the presidential election next year while giving most states until 2012 to upgrade their machines further. continued.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 7/27/2007 @ 9:17 pm PT...
So Steny Hoyer aids and abets Holt's deceptive "paper trails for corporate-run elections" scam on the same day CA issues actual research reports showing that "paper trails" are indeed useless... surprise...
BTW... first backdoor from the CA reports...
They also found an undisclosed account on the Hart software that an attacker who penetrated the host operating system could exploit to gain unauthorized access to the Hart election management database.
The Red Team was able to locate an undisclosed user name and password for the Hart ODBC databases. This is an attack vector that could provide unauthorized access to Hart EMS databases if an attacker were to penetrate the system on which the Hart software was running.
As the system is Windows... what are the chances of that happening?
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 3:34 am PT...
I noticed that the teams complained of not having enough time and revealed:
The short time allocated to this study has several implications. The key one is that the results presented in this study should be seen as a “lower bound”; all team members felt that they lacked sufficient time to conduct a thorough examination, and consequently may have missed other serious vulnerabilities. In particular, Abbott’s team reported that it believed it was close to finding several other problems, but stopped in order to prepare and deliver the required reports on time.
(Overview, emphasis in original). I suppose it is fair to say that even a cursory examination of the systems has clearly found vulnerabilities.
As you and other posters say, this is history instead of revelation, however, now it is official and documented history that can be cited.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 4:02 am PT...
I’m shocked too Howdy. The laws of probability tell me that given the response to the exit polls, that I have linked under my name, there is nowhere near 1 chance in a million that Dubya could half won the 2004 election had the votes been counted as cast. The stats were screaming at the top of their lungs that all types of machines used in that election were switching votes from Kerry to Dubya! Now for $1,800,000 we find out that nobody should be foolish enough to even consider trusting these machines to “count our vote”! Who could have guessed that would be the outcome?
Some completely logically challenged legislators have already come up with a remedy of voter verified paper trails added to these machines. At an expense of well in excess of $1,800,000 these paper trails can verify that these machines sometimes got our votes entered correctly into their memory before we verified the paper trail was correct. Once that “ verification” processes is complete all of these machines can then switch any or all of our votes to anything the programmers prefer over our selections before proceeding to total the votes. Adding a “verification” process that verifies absolutely nothing whatsoever is these legislators solution to the vote stealing problems these machines present. Who could have seen such an idiotic attempt at a solution coming? I’m Shocked!!!
Next thing somebody might claim that “accuracy tests or the presence of vendor installed malware within the source code” might solve the vote stealing problems these machine present! That would really be shocking!!!
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 4:32 am PT...
I was once, many years ago, the official "ballot keeper" for an entire state. It was a paper ballot only state. I was hired directly and face to face by the Secretary of State.
I make the following comments about the overview having that experience. I am also a professional software developer since the early 1980's, having done much of my work in large fortune 500 IT departments (e.g. NEC, American Airlines, Motorola, Boeing, USPO).
1) At 6.1.1 (page 8 of the pdf) concerning Sequoia systems, it was pointed out that screws could be removed from the machine and similar methods so as to bypass locks.
Paper ballot systems where ballots are stored in containers that can be similarly compromised are similarly vulnerable.
2) At 6.1.2 the report points out how malicious firmware or a malicious boot loader could easily be installed. This would give hackers full control.
In a paper ballot system if attackers get into storage as mentioned in #1 above, they could replace valid paper ballots containing votes for candidate 'X' with paper ballots containing votes for candidate 'Y', then reseal the containers, undetected.
3) At 6.2 concerning Diebold's machine, they pointed out that they could get thru to change the vote numbers, etc., without the software logging those activities in the activity log files.
In a paper system that does not log entry and exit to and from the ballot storage area, the same thing happens. And even where room entry and exit are logged if it can be bypassed, and entry gained surreptitiously, the logs likewise will not reflect that unauthorized entry.
The bottom line is clear:
The red teams demonstrated that the security mechanisms provided for all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results and of the systems that provide those results.
(ibid. at page 11 of the pdf). And the same thing can be said of paper ballot systems.
We know that Stalin and his stalinist operatives used paper ballots in the elections he always won handily before electronic election systems existed. He knew that "who counts the ballots" is more important than how the ballots are counted.
Therefore we can conclude that an election system is composed not only of inordinate machines or just piles of paper ballots, but an election system is also composed of people. It must be remembered that the latter is a problem equal to the former.
Holt / Nelson would have helped solve some of the problems, but no legislation can change a corrupt official. Morality cannot be legislated.
How does one detect corrupt officials before they are placed into the system?
Remember that the greatest damage to US national security has been done by american citizens who become corrupt and breached highly secure systems.
Elections pose the same problems, and without a corruption detection process, even if the machine vulnerabilities are fixed, the people running the elections can find ways to corrupt it if they are so inclined.
A process and procedure for identifying human corruption is also a fundamental must in any secure election system.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 7:00 am PT...
I dunno, Dredd - In Canada, Germany, and many other countries the hand-marked paper ballots are counted on election night by citizens, in plain sight, monitored by other interested citizens. The tallies are then publicly added up, and the totals are announced, and the winners declared. True, in a very close election a recount might be required, thus opening the door to possible hanky-panky as you have described, but surely there are fairly simple ways to prevent such malfeasance. A great mystery to me is why Americans want to computerize everything. If I could design a computerized shoe-tying device I bet it would sell like crazy. It's way past time to simply junk all the computers - they have no place in a transparent democracy, as has been abundantly demonstrated - and resort to methods that have proven true and reliable. Germany and Japan, for example, use hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, with full public participation, because that is what the US dictated post-WWII, for the explicit purpose of ensuring fair and transparent elections. Why isn't that system good enough for us now???
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 8:55 am PT...
"A process and procedure for identifying human corruption is also a fundamental must in any secure election system."
Unlike many others you and I are in complete agreement that it is not a battle between evil machines and safe paper. Both the machines and the paper are politically unbiased. Either of them will take on any bias of any corrupt people who have access to them. It’s not about evil machines or safe paper. A Judge ordered that the records for the 2004 election in Ohio not be destroyed. Most counties destroyed them anyway. If they conducted “honest elections” why did they ignore his order? My guess would be that they felt that their altered records were a bigger threat to them than the judge was.
I don’t think you are ever going to design any secure election system. That is why transparency must be the main ingredient in any attempt to move to fair elections. Without any transparency as many of our election systems now are we clearly have no democracy. Our “democracy” is now Dictated by the secret counting that is supervised by the EAC. HAVA has installed the EAC as the Dictator of our “democracy”. The EAC determines who gets to secretly determine the outcome of our elections. Their secrets have got to go before we will ever again be able to honestly claim to be a democracy! It is not about machines or paper. It is all about the complete lack of any transparency in most the systems that HAVA rushed us into way to blindly. The greedy corporations that the EAC has “counting” our votes were given way to much power by HAVA to thrust there incompetent systems on our local election officials at way to huge a price to justify there use. HAVA was very clearly a very poorly though out plan. These machines should not be sold but contracted out. If they don’t get the job done like they very clearly have not they should be gone!
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 10:11 am PT...
Are you sure you're as old and as experienced as you believe? I ask because your equivalence of e-voting and paper voting renders your call for a (literally impossible) proactive "corrupt official detection system" rather suspect.
In the end it's just another backdoor endorsement for "Holt II", e-voting... and corporate control of our elections.
And e-voting renders detection of corrupt officials far more diffilcult than with paper ballots.
And while you wail about the "lost opportunities" of Holt and its companion bills you never address the other problems inherent in the bills... the very real problems of altering the balance of power in our government, the very real problems of turning our elections over to the de facto control of corporations.
BTW: Just how did Stalin and his operatives win elections? The correct answer is not what you constantly imply it is... but the correct answer is very relevant to the current election situation.
And since you sallied in with your internally inconsistent sound-bite of a post I'll counter with a far more accurate sound bite of my own:
If elections are the nails with which we build our democracy (insert appropriate snark for candidates as lumber) then saying that e-voting and paper ballots are equivalent is like saying that this object and this object are both equivalent for hammering the nails in...
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 10:37 am PT...
I would prefer paper ballot systems, but what I am saying is that I have no mystery mythology attached to such a system.
Paper systems were the first systems to be "hacked" or "gamed". But not the last, because that we know goes to the machines.
In every case of corruption, however, as Bob Young #11 points out, there are people who are doing it. In every case no matter the system.
Like with banks, the good guys - all of us in the EI movement, are trying to make it as hard as possible for them to steal. That is all we can do.
That is why I favor S. 559 which would outlaw a human system such as the Karen Harris corruption system in Florida in 2000 (interesting that Nelson is from Florida). and the Ken Blackwell human system in Ohio.
Noone in the movement mentions that aspect very much. It is because S. 559 has been overlooked even tho HR 811 is quite famous and S. 559 is its bicameral cobill.
But we will have to live with the system we have for now because the issues have become partisan.
The republicans came out against open source code as envisioned in the original text of HR 811. That language is still in S. 559 which is very good, however, they will filibuster the bill as they have over 45 other bills so far this year.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 11:44 am PT...
A hearty Congratulations and humongous Thanks to Brad, SoS Bowen, John Gideon, Bev Harris, and ALL (too many to mention!) election integrity fighters who never gave up and never gave in on making sure our elections are fair and transparent!!
After all these years, Corporate Press can no longer ignore what we've always known. I hope it is only the beginning, and I know none of us involved in this will EVER give up.
Just picked up the SF Chron for dad, and there on the FRONT PAGE, bigger than life:
STATE VOTE MACHINES LOSE TEST TO HACKERS
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 3:22 pm PT...
It's rather incredible that Dredd, being both a knowledgeable, well-informed fellow and BRAD BLOG stalwart that he is, would make some of the claims above.
Though he certainly has a flair for contrarianism (and there's nothing implicitly wrong with that), it's somewhat amazing that he makes the implied argument after all that we've come to learn here.
Yes, paper systems can be gamed as can computerized system. The difference --- and there is no comparison here --- is that the size of the conspiracy needed to pull off the former is exponentially larger than what is needed for the latter.
Further, gaming paper systems is far more easily detected. Good luck finding that "evidence" that officials claim does not exist from computerized election fraud. Unlike what was left behind in Ohio from 2004 (which was mostly done on paper), the evidence of computerized election theft will almost certainly go undetected 99.9% of the time.
Just ask Christine Jennings.
Paper or plastic? There is no comparison. It's amazing that Dredd would continue to imply otherwise knowing all that we know he knows.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 6:02 pm PT...
... Brad said...
"Though he certainly has a flair for contrarianism (and there's nothing implicitly wrong with that)"
(the zapkitty looks up from stalking 99's shoephone...)
I should hope not!
When is a backdoor not a backdoor? When the front door is left wide open...
"Finally, the Red Team uncovered evidence that Diebold technicians created a remotely-accessible Windows account that, by default configuration (according to the Diebold documentation), can be accessed without the need to supply a password. There is evidence to suggest that this account is intended to be used by TSx units for dial-in access at the close of polls on Election Day, but the documentation for election officials never mentions this particular account by name."
Note to EVM apologists: the "Finally" that starts off this excerpt simply indicates the last of a laundry list of a certain kind of flaws... the report then goes on to identify whole other realms of the Diebold incompetence, misfeasance and malfeasance that we've come to know and love.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 7:29 pm PT...
SoS Bowen and staff for President!
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 9:01 pm PT...
... abacus said on 7/28/2007 @ 7:29 pm PT...
"SoS Bowen and staff for President!"
That would depend on whether Bowen has taken impeachment off the table or not, so to speak.
The university studies have already laid out an escape route for the EVM corporations with their "mitigation" codicils. But even those will not, can not, secure an EVM. The possibility of mitigation of some risk factors does not equal security... and the security reviews were shorted on time so many more vulnerabilities undoubtedly remain undiscovered by the SoS's office... but...
But even that's not the important issue here.
(Yes, you really just did read that from me.)
What is important is that many of the attacks listed were already known or suspected... and each time the subject surfaced the corporations responded with an endless litany of "That won't work... we've got that covered... Uh... we fixed that... and we've fixed that other one since then!"
... and they lied.
And they knew they were lying as they did it.
They lied. At best they lied to preserve their profit margins, to keep from having to pay to fix externally discovered or suspected vulnerabilities. (Of course we may never know what all internally discovered vulnerabilities were quietly quashed.)
They lied. At worst they lied to conceal vulnerabilities in order that the vulnerabilities could... remain.
They lied. Specifically they lied to the people of California and bilked them of money for supposedly secure systems.
Will Bowen do the right thing? Can Bowen do the right thing with these entities? These corporations who with the avid cooperation of the last SoS have flat-out lied to the people of California (and the rest of the world) for so long?
Or will she instead go the route of rewarding the corporations?
Rewarding the corporations for their continued lies with continued millions in contracts... and the excuse to the public that "They're already in place so we can't change them and we'll have these amazing new
fig leaves stopgaps mitigation strategies in place!"
The politically expedient thing... or the right thing?
Which will it be?
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 9:17 pm PT...
I believe it was 1991 when they released the study stating that most Americans think that lying is okay. I wonder how the numbers shake out sixteen years into the Lying Generation....
And, I need that phone Zap, so quit pouncing on it.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 10:22 pm PT...
Thanks for allowing
counter argument "contrarianism". I do not consider my arguments to be at odds with Bradblog doctrine.
I don't know why it is so spectacular that I quote one of the famous Bradblog preferred sayings that come up every time I long on. You know, the Stalin thingy.
I am saying nothing more than official Bradblog doctrine that it is not who votes that counts, but rather those that count the votes who decide every election in the US and elsewhere.
That saying attributed to Stalin by Bradblog refers to a paper ballot system existing before computers existed.
The paper ballot system was the first to be hacked is not any stretch nor contradiction of what is said in official Bradblog logon scripts here every day for years citing Stalin.
Yes, paper systems can be gamed as can computerized system. The difference --- and there is no comparison here --- is that the size of the conspiracy needed to pull off the former [paper ballot system] is exponentially larger than what is needed for the latter [electronic].
Further, gaming paper systems is far more easily detected.
(emphasis added) is without official support. There is no evidence to suggest those conclusions, and in my personal experience the same size of conspiracy would corrupt either type of system.
Stalin's paper ballot system made famous by the Bradblog log on quotes, WAS HUGE. It involved millions of people, because after all Russia or the USSR was a world power eventually, and as large as the US system at its heyday.
Stalin presided over big paper system that was handily hacked every election without any really big deal. It was second nature to them eventually.
Just think of a huge purely paper ballot system run fully by Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Tony Snow, Alberto Gonzales, Ken Blackwell, and George Bush.
It brings to mind another Bradblog saying "its all over but the counting, and we will do the counting".
Stalin would be soooooo envious!
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 10:54 pm PT...
Thanks so much for your comments and perspective, Rebecca. I highly value your point of view on this topic. If we can just get more politicians to pay attention (at least the ones who have not already been corrupted)!
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 7/28/2007 @ 10:55 pm PT...
Stalin was a paper ballot election spokesman and participant, and wrote many articles and participated in many matters concerning elections:
On behalf of the Central Committee of the RSDLP, J. V. Stalin writes to Clara Zetkin requesting her to transfer the Party funds ... for the purpose of conducting the Fourth State Duma election campaign.
J. V. Stalin edits the Bolshevik workers' newspaper Zvezda in which the following articles of his are published ... "'How They Are Preparing for the Elections"
J. V. Stalin directs the Fourth State Duma election campaign ...
A meeting ... is held under J. V. Stalin's direction at which a decision is adopted to call a one-day strike in protest against the annulment of the election of voters' delegates at the biggest plants in St. Petersburg ...
No. 151 of Pravda publishes J. V. Stalin's article "The Results of the Elections in the Workers' Curia of St. Petersburg."
No. 152 of Pravda publishes J. V. Stalin's article "Today Is Election Day."
No. 30 of Sotsial-Demokrat publishes J. V. Stalin's articles "The Elections in St. Petersburg ... "
J. V. Stalin speaks at a meeting of the Petrograd Committee ... on the municipal elections.
24, 26 J. V. Stalin's article "The Municipal Election Campaign" appears in Pravda, Nos. 63, 64 and 66. May A Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party is instituted, to which J. V. Stalin is elected, and of which he has remained a member ever since.
J. V. Stalin's article "Results of the Petrograd Municipal Elections" appears in Bulletin of the Press Bureau of the C.C., RSDLP, No. 1
(Stalin Bio, emphasis added). That is over a 2 year period. It goes on and on, but I think one can grasp the reality I am suggesting.
Hell, it could be argued that Stalin was once like modern election and voting rights advocates and bloggers in that he had intense interest in "things election" and their betterment.
But he became corrupt like those he once opposed, and presided over a fully compromised paper ballot system.
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 1:33 am PT...
I think the key to this whole mess is transparency, and it seems to me that transparency is far more achievable when paper ballots are used and can be counted as concrete items, in the clear view of the public. Stalin would have loved EVMs, but in either case the counting would be done behind closed doors. The problem with EVMs is that even if the votes are tallied in public there's no way anyone can actually see them being tallied, no way to be certain the count is correct. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots work just fine, as long as the process is transparent. So make the process transparent, and forget about automating everything to the point where you don't even need actual voters.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 2:04 am PT...
Hey, Dredd, did you know that the Stalin saying is probably apocryphal? While it's entirely possible that he might have said something like that, it's thought that Stalin and company actually presided over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots.
How did he and his cohorts manage that? They did it by rewriting the rules once they got into power... they made it impossible for anyone else to win. After that they had no fear of elections.
And that's what's relevant about Stalin to the current situation.
They rewrote the rules... just as the current administration is rewriting the rules in all areas of government as fast as its Regents grads can scribble. Even while Bush and company go down in flames they are rewriting the rules for those they believe will follow.
And e-voting has been nothing but a tool to help the RNC's "perpetual administration" rewrite the rules... as with HAVA and the creation of the EAC. E-voting has been a tool for those seeking to remain in power come hell or high water. E-voting is a tool that Stalin would undoubtedly have grasped the full import of instantly and would have employed with great gusto had it been available to him.
And lastly: paper ballots physically can not amplify voting errors (whether accidental or malicious) the way e-voting can and does. So trying to claim that the potential adverse effects of paper ballots and e-voting are equal is ludicrous.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 5:00 am PT...
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 5:07 am PT...
Truly spoken. It is just not going to happen in the United States of America, the land of iPods, Blackberries, and a zillion computers.
That is a pie in the sky hope because there isn't even a concensus on the obviously defective EVM debacle.
Most are not even aware of the problem. What problem?
So do not hold your breath for any improvement considering that even the enlightened do not have a consensus as to how to proceed.
The movement has been relegated to gadfly status for the time being and so the '08 election will be conducted as the '06 election was.
The only reason I can figure out why the republicans are dead set against S 559 ideas is that they own the EVM companies. But that does not make a lot of sense because they lost the '06 election and everyone thinks they will loose the '08 election as well. Is it that they did a heckuva job throwing that election?
Likewise, I still haven't figured out why the EI movement is against S. 559 considering the status quo. Perhaps the EI movement is composed mainly of dems who won in '06 and no one can accuse them of throwing that election via EMV companies owned by republicans.
The whole scenario has the essence of a shit fit, but little rational and comprehensive debate IMO.
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 5:17 am PT...
Thanks for supporting my case that the human element in elections is the most critical factor.
And don't accuse Bradblog of using apocrapha (the Stalin quote) in its boot up sequence. Get religion Puss, 'cause another of our boot-up sayings is that "every ballot is sacred". Repent sinner.
Agent 99 #25
Yep. Some call it the institutionalization of deceit.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 5:35 am PT...
"Just think of a huge purely paper ballot system run fully by Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Tony Snow, Alberto Gonzales, Ken Blackwell, and George Bush."
Thanks to HAVA and the move of states like Florida to Optimum Scam Machines we almost have the system in your quote up and running right here in the USA. Well not quite. The machines do all of the "counting" and under no circumstances whatsoever does anybody have the right to check out the paper to see if the "counting" is being done correctly. We might as well save a tree and dispense with the use of that totally worthless paper record.
The paper records sure failed us big time in Ohio in 2004. They were kept under lock and key by corrupt people until just before they could be destroyed. Then despite a Judicial order that they not be destroyed corrupt officials in most counties destroyed them anyway. We might just as well have saved yet another tree as depended on that paper to reveal the truth the corrupt people who conducted that election wanted to hide from us!
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 7:08 am PT...
Save all the trees! Make the paper ballots out of hemp!!!
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 9:40 am PT...
If you think the conspiracy (apocryphally or not) carried out by Stalin to game elections was a one person affair, I don't know what to tell you. If it was, if ONLY Joseph himself declared the final numbers, than there were thousands who knew that his numbers weren't correct, but they said nothing.
In the meantime, it's been show time and again than a SINGLE PERSON can flip an election undetectably using e-voting systems.
As to your call for the HR811 close bill in the Senate (Bill Nelson's S. 559), it's a no-go for the same reason that HR811 is a no-go, in my opinion. It institutionalizes the DRE by adding a false sense of security: Paper trails, which can be as easily gamed as DREs without paper trails. Worse than a DRE without paper trails however, is a system that includes them, and offers "proof" that a gamed election was actually "accurate and secure".
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 10:34 am PT...
... Dredd said...
"Thanks for supporting my case that the human element in elections is the most critical factor."
What I said, after deflating your misapprehensions re Stalin's methodology, was that e-voting has been a tool for those seeking to remain in power come hell or high water. I said e-voting is a tool that Stalin would undoubtedly have grasped the full import of instantly and would have employed with great gusto had it been available to him.
And lastly I said that paper ballots physically can not amplify voting errors (whether accidental or malicious) the way e-voting can and does.
So in summary I said that trying to claim that the potential adverse effects of paper ballots and e-voting are equal is ludicrous.
So in the future when it is correctly stated that e-voting is more vulnerable than paper ballots and that a bad actor can cause far more damage with e-voting than with paper ballots... will you continue to generate inordinate amounts of noise in an apparent attempt to drown out that simple and easily verified fact?
You do make good points occassionaly, as with the observation that the Dems apparently still don't comprehend that it was overwhelming voter disgust with the status quo that overrode most of the various RNC election games in 2006.
When is a backdoor not a backdoor... or not even a front door left wide open? When there's no door at all:
"In fact, it is possible to connect to the database and completely compromise the MS SQL server host without using the WinEDS application."
Who needs an undisclosed account when ordinary users can rewrite the data at will?
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 11:00 am PT...
... Brad Friedman said...
"... if ONLY Joseph himself declared the final numbers, than there were thousands who knew that his numbers weren't correct, but they said nothing."
Oh yes. Stalin stole elections with the tools he and his followers had on hand.
But all (reputable) histories concur on the point that Stalin's goal did not stop there. Stalin, in any position of power, always stacked the deck with an eye to his next move by angling to place his loyal followers in the truly important places in the bureaucracy... first in the bureaucracy of the Party, and then continuing when the Party became the Government.
Stalin carefully studied the system and knew which bureaucracy niches made actual operational policy decisions... and he placed his people in them. And then those partisan operatives always made decisions and policies that benefited their "decider guy".
And then elections became "honest"... and purely ceremonial.
Sound familiar? Regent should add a silhouette of Uncle Joe to their flag...
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 3:07 pm PT...
I think Czaragorn #29 really has touched upon the holy grail here, having taken the spirit of your statement to its zenith.
I can't tell if Brad is going to remove Stalin's quote because the Puss accuses it of being apocryphal, or whether he will hold the Puss to some burden of proof.
Puss has become the apologist for Stalin now ("Stalin and company actually presided over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots"), indicating that Stalin ran fair elections after he became corrupt. Wow, no shit?
Well, if that is the case, since our election system and its Ballot Counter in Chief are likewise corrupt, I suppose that as in Stalin's case we will have clean elections from here on out.
Whew ... what a relief! Bring on the bales of hemp Czaragorn.
Who knew we had to have corrupt election officials before we could have uncorrupt elections? Puss!
Bob, you and I are just going to have to repent of our sins I guess, because every vote watched over by corrupt election officials is sacred. Don't worry, be happy and vote, because even if the machines are defective and so are the officials, keep the faith baby, cause shit ain't gonna happen no mo ...
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 3:25 pm PT...
I lament the neophyte approach many take with respect to the import of not knowing that proving what can happen and proving what did happen are not on the same planet.
On planet X the report of the SoS of California proves that EVM's can be hacked. On planet Y the robowannabes translate that into it happened.
That is an unsupported leap of "logic".
The qui tam lawsuit that I keep asking about, and continue to be scolded for asking, was the attempt to prove what did happen.
Paper ballot systems can be hacked. Banks can be robbed.
But most banks are not robbed. To prove that most banks can be robbed is a fools errand.
Those who want to put the bad guys in prison must prove reality, that is, they must prove what did happen.
Murphy's law that "anything that can happen will happen" is silly in the election context.
That is because, following Murphy's logic, a clean election can happen and a dirty election also can happen.
But not on the same planet at the same time. Sorry Stalin.
For those of us who favor reality, we lean toward a system that deals with what did happen, because it can't be a clean election and a dirty election at the same time.
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 7/29/2007 @ 7:46 pm PT...
And now Dredd's evasive tactics swerve him off the deep end while the noise for the sake of noise continues.(Be careful piling so many instances of non sequitur on top of each other, Dredd... your personality may fracture... ) Of course the only dichotomy and confusion here is in Dredd's flailing attempts to deploy a smoke screen to cover his retreats... again.
I really do feel sorry for you, Dredd, if you cannot understand the irony in Stalin's clique infiltrating the bureaucracies so that in time only his hand-picked "Official Party Candidates" were allowed to run... with the result that in the end Stalin didn't have to bother with rigging paper ballots.
The people had the choice of voting for the Party line... or the Party line. (the occasional sacrificial lamb tossed out as an "opposition candidate" didn't count, of course... folks knew better.)
As for the non sequitur of me being a Stalinist... well, the reason I originally read up on Stalin is that I was both intrigued and appalled when I read that there was a mass murderer in the first half of the 20th century who made Hitler look like a piker.
As for your fumbled slight-of-hand regarding the 2006 elections... here is what I actually wrote:
"... that it was overwhelming voter disgust with the status quo that overrode most of the various RNC election games in 2006."
Note that I didn't say a damned thing about rigged e-voting... and if you just happen to be unaware of all the other different ways the RNC was and is trying to game U.S. elections then might I suggest you read up on the subject? You should try this place called Bradblog for starters...
And in the end none of your smoke and noise can obscure the simple fact that when things do go wrong in an election then e-voting acts as a force multiplier for the damage done... and paper ballots cannot act as such a force multiplier.
Now, as per the terms of the "99's cone of silence" peace treaty of 2007 I shall stop off briefly to deal with your truly weird non sequitur in the Holt vs. CA SoS studies article...
... and then I'll go back to writing up my observations on the studies.
Feel free to generate more noise... more smoke... but I wondet if you're actually fooling anyone...
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 3:58 am PT...
The republican smokescreen continues. And they wonder if they are fooling anyone. HA!
I am reading thru the house report on HR 811. It comments on the amended version, not the original.
In the amended version the requirement for open source code to be afforded to any citizen was weakened to now say it can be reviewed only by "qualified" people.
I noticed that the minority (republican) view is:
H.R. 811 is the majority’s hasty attempt at election restructuring that received insufficient deliberation from their members and zero support from Republican members of the Committee.
(Report 110-154, emphasis added). One thing the republicans did not like was, in their words, that HR 811 would weaken intellectual property rights:
these alterations are aimed at limiting the use and value of electronic voting systems, weakening intellectual property rights, infringing on state’s rights, federalizing and micro-managing the administration of elections, expanding enforcement by private parties
(id. at page 77 of the pdf, emphasis added). The voting machine companies like Diebold, whom the republicans own and support, do not want the source code to be publicly scrutinized.
So they argue that property rights of the Diebolds of the world are more important than open election machine source code is to the american people.
Black box voting is ok by them, because they don't even want the watered down and weakened HR 811 provisions to become law. They go on to say:
Allowing access to the source code for voting machines will give the blueprint for manipulation of elections and the ability to irrationally criticize the software to the point that it negatively affects voter confidence.
(id at page 80, emphasis added). So as long as only the republican owned and controled Diebolds of the world have "the blueprint for manipulation" it is ok by the republicans on the committee.
The "ability to irrationally criticize" is the only avenue they can see, but what about rational criticism by the best universities in america? How could that negatively affect voter confidence?
The republicans on the committee want a faith based system where the fearless leader is trusted blindly.
The republican position is so Stalinist, because as Stalin pointed out "who counts the votes decides everything". Especially when done in secret.
What a wonderful republican talking point:
"Stalin and company actually presided over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots"
Big Brother is a republican. So was Stalin.
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 4:09 am PT...
Your assertion upthread that "Stalin and company actually presided over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots" illustrates my point in post #34.
The fact that proving election systems, whether machine or paper based, can be hacked is not the same as proving that they were hacked in a particular election.
You, Brad, and the rest of us would be activists (or should be) in a government run by Stalin.
In that world you would be saying even tho Stalin is corrupt he can still "[preside] over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots" and so you have to prove it happened, not just that it can happen.
And thus you have proven my point. We owe you one.
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 4:23 am PT...
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 5:41 am PT...
I must admit that your link supports the_zapkitty's case that Stalin could have done a better job than those election officials ("Stalin and company actually presided over many thousands of perfectly honest elections with untampered ballots").
But it also supports your case that the officialdom in elections are possibly the most important factor.
I know that my toilet paper hanger has never ripped off long stretches of the roll, and when that happens I would suspect "election officials" not the electronic paper roll machine.
Where is Stalin when you need him?
COMMENT #40 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 6:15 am PT...
The bill S. 559 (Senate compliment to House HR 811) would outlaw stalinism in the United States, at least the kind practiced by Karen Harris and Ken Blackwell:
SEC. 7. PROHIBITION ON CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES BY ELECTION ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS.
(a) In General- Title III of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 319 the following new section:
`CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES BY ELECTION OFFICIALS
`Sec. 319A. (a) Prohibition- It shall be unlawful for a chief State election administration official to take an active part in political management or in a political campaign with respect to any election for Federal office over which such official has supervisory authority.
`(b) Chief State Election Administration Official- The term `chief State election administration official' means the highest State official with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections under State law.
`( c) Active Part in Political Management or in a Political Campaign- The term `active part in political management or in a political campaign' means--
`(1) serving as a member of an authorized committee of a candidate for Federal office;
`(2) the use of official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election for Federal office;
`(3) the solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of a political contribution from any person on behalf of a candidate for Federal office;
`(4) the solicitation or discouragement of the participation in any political activity of any person;
`(5) engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of a candidate for Federal office; and
`(6) any other act prohibited under section 7323(b)(4) of title 5, United States Code (other than any prohibition on running for public office).'.
Ken Blackwell was Secretary of State of Ohio and also a campaign manager for Cheney / Bush. Karen Harris was the same in Florida.
Rid the US of faith based systems, whether the faith is in the officials or in the inanimate physical components of the system!
COMMENT #41 [Permalink]
said on 7/30/2007 @ 6:59 am PT...
Here come a few bales of hemp, Dredd - you can also make toilet paper out of it, albeit a tad on the scratchy side
COMMENT #42 [Permalink]
said on 8/1/2007 @ 4:28 pm PT...
Since you are a very hemp dude, continue this discussion in this thread please.