While banking systems and slot machines are heavily tested and audited, the security testing for voting machines is a sham, and the auditing is sloppy, and in many places, nonexistent.
Please keep in mind that :
California Elections Code 19205(c) requires that voting systems be "shall be safe from fraud or manipulation"
but just one or two talented, well prepared programmers can change the course of a major election in a few seconds
convicted embezzlers have programmed some of the machines
company owners have include convicted crooks (Global Election Systems), gambling interests (Inkavote), foreigners (Sequoia, Inkavote) and partisan party hacks (Diebold, ES&S)
former Monterey county registrar Tony Anchundo was convicted for being a crook
two Ohio election officials were convicted and sent to jail in 07 for rigging a recount
here's a Black Box Voting report on corrupt election officials (11/07)
voting systems require a vast conspiracy of 1 or 2 people to steal votes by the thousands in seconds, with no trace
almost all the vote counting tabulators in the US run on very complex software from one very large company with thousands of programmers, Microsoft. Counties download Microsoft "fixes", sight unseen, onto those tabulators on a regular basis
the US Government is now worried that chips, motherboards and computers we use in the US come from China; some federal agencies are taking steps to close these holes in American security, but not elections officials
voting machine companies' claims about "world class" security are false (see the reports below)
Clint Curtis was hired by Congressman Tom Feeney to write a program to rig elections in Florida (
counties cut corners, including on training underpaid pollworkers about enforcing security procedures. This results in lost memory cards, "sleepovers" of hackable machines in peoples' homes, and critical mistakes
recent American history reminds us that if corrupt forces can steal votes, they will
these systems are mission critical to deciding who runs our government
Nobody, and no machine, should be counting American votes in secret.
Known Security Holes
Among the obvious and serious security holes that the federal testers (ITAs) have overlooked are :
the back panel of the Diebold TSx touchscreen voting machine can be removed with a simple phillips head screwdriver, allowing undetected access to the entire machine.
the Diebold TSx can be completely reprogrammed by putting an unencrypted memory card in it when starting the machine up.
13 of 16 bugs in the Diebold interpreter. This, after they had been told to inspect the code a second time over the winter of 2006.
Diebold's source code includes a unchanged secret encryption code, 8f2654hd4.
Diebold's used a hard-coded secret password for administration cards, 1111.
You can open Diebold's TS touchscreen machines with a screwdriver, or a common office cabinet key.
See also: Six ways to attack a Touch Screen Computer
A central tabulator's databases can be quickly hacked by a motivated insider. (
831 KB powerpoint file,
info, 15 min
Google video, 2 1/2 min
They can also be attacked by a virus planted on just one of thousands memory cards coming from the polling stations to the tabulator's computer. The leaky procedures surrounding these machines rely on thousands of poorly trained and paid poll workers working 12 hour days. It only takes 1 person just minutes with 1 card to decide who's governs, and who does not.
By the way, you can download (ZIP, 28MB) Diebold's secret GEMS 1.18.17 tabulator source code from the internet.
Few states ban wireless devices in voting systems. It means that a talented hacker can sit outside in a car all day with a laptop, and have a very good chance of breaking into the leaky systems currently in use. It also means that a well prepared crook can stand near a machine with a modern cell phone or many other handheld devices and reprogram an entire election. Allowing wireless devices is like saying that it's OK for banks to use plastic safes. All wireless devices must be removed or physically disabled (remove the jumper) immediately.
A Debate by Computer Scientists
Nobody, and no machine, should be counting votes in secret.
For further information, email me at :
July 31, 08