"There are hundreds of locations that they go to, it's not unexpected that this would happen," said Utah elections director Mark Thomas. He said there was a case about two years ago when voting machines were left unattended for a few days at the Utah State Capitol after an election.
"There are a lot of moving parts, a lot involved," he said of preparing for Election Day.
Phil Windley, who served as chief information officer for former governor Mike Leavitt, saw the machines loaded on two push carts in the lobby when he left from his Kynetx work office in Thanksgiving Point Business Park on Tuesday.
"This morning, I went to lunch and they were still there," Windley said during a phone interview on Wednesday. "I was surprised."
He photographed the unprotected machines and posted the photo online.
Windley said he later called the Utah County Clerk's office to let them know about the machines left in the lobby. "'We just drop them off; the building is in charge of locking them up,'" he said was the clerk's response.
What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, nothing, according to Scott Hogenson, the either clueless or misleading (or both) Utah County chief deputy clerk-auditor...
"The memory cards that have the election information on them are not in the machines," he said. "Everything is all sealed up so that election judges will be able to tell if there was tampering."
Apparently Mr. Hogenson is either unfamiliar with a few demonstrable facts or he is simply hoping that nobody looks further into his unsupportable claims (or reads The BRAD BLOG).
In regards to his "all sealed up" claim, we'd point you to the recent work of Computer Scientists J. Alex Halderman and Ariel J. Feldman. In August of this year, the two demonstrated how they replaced the entire voting software on a Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting machine with Pac-Man without breaking the so-called "tamper-evident" seals.
(The Sequoia Edge is currently being used across the entire state of NV in the Reid/Angle race this year, as I detailed earlier this week at Truthout. In Utah, they exclusively use hackable touch-screen systems made by Diebold.)
Secondly, as to Hogenson's baseless assertion that "vote tampering would have been impossible" since "the memory cards that have the election information on them are not in the machines", we'll simply point you to the following video, showing an unattended voting system in the Netherlands being hacked in less than 60 seconds by simply replacing the actual chips on its mother board...
The hack seen above was the basis for immediately junking all such e-voting machines in the Netherlands, and instrumental in their banning in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. While in the U.S., where we've seen hack and hack demonstrated on such systems, we continue to force voters to use them nonetheless.
Those points serve as the basis for a new investigative exposé from HDNet's Dan Rather Reports which premiered this week. You can view the entire Rather report free at HDNet through next Wednesday, or purchase it anytime for $1.99 at iTunes.
You can watch raw video of the unattended UT machines here...