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Md. Vote Machines Flawed, Consultant Says
Associated Press ^ | January 30, 2003 | Tom Stuckey

Posted on 01/30/2004 2:26:01 PM PST by mr.sarcastic

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland's new electronic voting system has many potential security flaws that must be corrected but is nevertheless "worthy of voter trust," a technical consultant told legislators.

Michael Wertheimer, who worked on a report presented Thursday to the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, said a team that simulated an election as a test found several ways vote totals could be changed. He said touch-screen machines could be disabled simply by repeatedly jamming a voter card into a terminal or lifting it up and pulling out wires.

But Wertheimer, who works for RABA Technologies, added that "we feel the system will accurately render the election" in March.

He listed changes that should be made before the primary election and long-term recommendations to improve security of the machines manufactured by Diebold Election Systems Inc. of North Canton, Ohio.

Recommendations by the RABA team included protecting the machines with tamper tape and giving each machine a different security password.

The RABA report confirms "the accuracy and security of Maryland's voting procedures and our voting systems as they exist today," Bob Urosevich, president of Diebold Election Systems, said in a statement Thursday.

"With that said, in our continued spirit of innovation and industry leadership, there will always be room for improvement and refinement."

Maryland spent $55.6 million to buy Diebold machines for every jurisdiction except the city of Baltimore, which already had a touch-screen system.

Concerns arose last summer about whether touch-screen systems are vulnerable to fraud following the release of a report critical of the machines' security. The legislature hired RABA to study how vulnerable computer voting systems are to tampering and fraud.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: electronicvoting
Also today in the Baltimore Sun .

A quote from the Sun article:
Wertheimer said it would take nearly a complete rewrite of the computer code to fix the machines' flaws.

"For a guy who just wants the vote to be accurate, I'd rather dumb down the software and add receipts," he said.

Diebold "basically had no interest in putting actual security in this system," said Paul Franceus, one of the consultants. "It's not like they did it wrong. It's like they didn't bother."

Another quote from the Sun article:
While results can now be encrypted - after criticism that they weren't being - something called authentication is missing. Authentication tells the main computer that the person sending in results is the one who is actually permitted to do so.

1 posted on 01/30/2004 2:26:02 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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I bet Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is wishing these had been in place before the 2002 Gubernational election.
2 posted on 01/30/2004 2:27:43 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
Maryland's new electronic voting system has many potential security flaws that must be corrected but is nevertheless "worthy of voter trust," a technical consultant told legislators.

TRANSLATION: "Go ahead and use the machines but don't blame me if something goes wrong."

3 posted on 01/30/2004 2:28:44 PM PST by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: mr.sarcastic
...and still no audit trail????

Priceless!

4 posted on 01/30/2004 2:30:12 PM PST by evad (Even with hindsight, liberals get it wrong.)
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To: mr.sarcastic
...and still no audit trail????

Priceless!

The RATs won't even have to go to the trouble of printing up the phony ballots ...they can just phone it in directly to the data base.

5 posted on 01/30/2004 2:31:38 PM PST by evad (Even with hindsight, liberals get it wrong.)
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To: evad
...and still no audit trail????

No audit trail, and no authentication when the results are sent via modem from precincts to the state.

6 posted on 01/30/2004 2:31:54 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
Another quote:
Maryland spent $55.6 million to buy Diebold machines for every jurisdiction except the city of Baltimore, which already had a touch-screen system.

*******

I have not heard ONE word of concern about the Baltimore city touch-screen system - I did not even know they used a computer in Baltimore city. I agree that this Diebold software is very suspect, lacking a paper audit, but haven't we noticed that the dems are trying VERY HARD to spread the idea of a faulty system and the risk of cheating on eeevil Republicans.

We need to be ready to respond to these charges.
7 posted on 01/30/2004 2:43:03 PM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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To: The Bat Lady
Electronic voting ping...
8 posted on 01/30/2004 2:50:50 PM PST by TheSarce
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To: mr.sarcastic
The new machines are flawed? What about the old ones? If they are not faulty, how do you explain Mikulski??
9 posted on 01/30/2004 3:01:11 PM PST by Thom Pain
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To: maica
Yeah, and Baltimore is where most of the voter fraud occurs.
10 posted on 01/30/2004 3:04:57 PM PST by expatpat
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To: expatpat
Curious, isn't it! I am going to find out more about the city's machines.
11 posted on 01/30/2004 3:24:13 PM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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To: mr.sarcastic
I knew from the title that the name would be Diebold.

The 2000 Floriduh nonsense is only a fraction of what we're likely to see this year. But then, we're never going to be able to prove it the next time. No more chads, no audit trails, hackable machines, backdoors in the voting machine's code, closed source software.

Diebold = end of elections.
12 posted on 01/30/2004 3:31:02 PM PST by George W. Bush (It's the Congress, stupid.)
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To: maica
I did not even know they used a computer in Baltimore city.

I think they were first used for last year's city elections.

13 posted on 01/30/2004 3:36:48 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: maica
We need to be ready to respond to these charges. That's why there needs to be a paper trail. It's easy to toss around accusations when there's no tangible means of verifying results. And we all know Maryland already has a dicey election record (Glendening vs. Sauerbray 1994).
14 posted on 01/30/2004 3:41:01 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
...."potential security flaws that must be corrected but is nevertheless "worthy of voter trust,"

So, it has flaws if the republicans are ahead and it is worthy of voter trust if the libs are winning. One sentence to cover your candidate.

Don't you just love that liberal Maryland. A great place to live if it was more mainstream.
15 posted on 01/30/2004 3:44:38 PM PST by gathersnomoss
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To: George W. Bush
The 2000 Floriduh nonsense is only a fraction of what we're likely to see this year. But then, we're never going to be able to prove it the next time.

And the irrational left doesn't need any more excuses to spew their conspiratorial fantasies. But if they manage to win the Presidency, suddenly they won't have any problems with the lack of a paper trail anymore... funny how that works.

16 posted on 01/30/2004 3:45:56 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
You'll get no argument from me. The Sun has been reporting on the weaknesses of the Diebold system since last summer. I could not believe that anyone could support a system that has not verifiable audit.

This is a prescription for disaster. The masters of crooked elections are all pointing fingers at the GOP. And the (stupid) party has left themselves open to the charge by being so dense!
17 posted on 01/30/2004 3:47:05 PM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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To: maica
The masters of crooked elections are all pointing fingers at the GOP.

They sure are. A couple weeks ago I overheard a Deaniac campaigning outside a library in Howard County discussing this issue with another liberal. I believe an exact quote was, "You know what happened in 2000, only this time there will be no way to fight it."

Yeah, and Maryland Democrats are such saints.... the GOP wins one election and suddenly all the election fraud in Maryland is our fault.... heh.

(On a side note, I should have grabbed a couple bumper stickers... souvenirs of a great general election that could have been.....)

18 posted on 01/30/2004 3:54:25 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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As a long term Marylander, I do not care how technically astute these machines are, the Pols in the Baltimore City Precincts will find a way to rig them.

Just half-kidding here.
19 posted on 01/30/2004 3:55:43 PM PST by catonsville
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To: gathersnomoss
So, it has flaws if the republicans are ahead and it is worthy of voter trust if the libs are winning

Exactly. And that's how the Baltimore Sun would report it too.

20 posted on 01/30/2004 3:58:38 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
If there is no paper trail then the vote is what the controllers say it is.
21 posted on 01/30/2004 4:12:03 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!!)
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To: mr.sarcastic; All
Cross-link:

-The Vote Fraud Archives--

22 posted on 01/30/2004 4:14:14 PM PST by backhoe
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To: backhoe
Thanks for the link.
23 posted on 01/30/2004 4:18:38 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
Maryland's new electronic voting system has many potential security flaws that must be corrected but is nevertheless "worthy of voter trust," a technical consultant told legislators.

It's crap but is nevertheless good crap.

24 posted on 01/30/2004 4:36:50 PM PST by hattend (Are we there, yet?)
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To: mr.sarcastic
Thanks- & thanks for bumping the Vote Fraud Archives, too.
25 posted on 01/30/2004 4:44:13 PM PST by backhoe (--30--)
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To: mr.sarcastic
In March, I will be a judge in the Baltimore County elections, so I will see up close how the Election Board has planned this to work. We had the optical scanner, which I thought was totally adequate.
26 posted on 01/30/2004 5:44:38 PM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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To: mr.sarcastic
So, it has flaws if the republicans are ahead and it is worthy of voter trust if the libs are winning


******

This will become dogma, like so many other things that the right-haters believe - Bush was AWOL, Bush stole the election, Bush lied... because the 'leaders' of the left starting with BJ Clinton, repeat them at every appearance.
27 posted on 01/30/2004 5:48:33 PM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
I live in the Peoples Republic of Maryland. Last election with the "imporved & new" touch screens, I asked one of the election officials how we would know our vote would be registered since there was no physical audit trail. His reply: "YOU HAVE TO TRUST US." What a pile of cra*. That evening they had a problem with modems and so forth so who knows who voted for what. Disgusting to say the least.
30 posted on 01/30/2004 6:54:15 PM PST by cmdrzero
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To: mr.sarcastic
For the complete skinny on this travesty, go here^.
31 posted on 01/30/2004 7:17:53 PM PST by upchuck (Help Stop Animal Overpopulation - Spay/Neuter Your Pets and Any Weird Friends Too...)
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To: mr.sarcastic
While results can now be encrypted - after criticism that they weren't being - something called authentication is missing. Authentication tells the main computer that the person sending in results is the one who is actually permitted to do so.

Gonna be a miserable post-election battle. How can they forget "something called authentication"? Sheeesh.
32 posted on 01/30/2004 7:20:48 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: George W. Bush
The 2000 Floriduh nonsense is only a fraction of what we're likely to see this year...

Florida now has reliable, auditable paper ballots in every county except (guess which) three.

33 posted on 01/30/2004 7:24:55 PM PST by js1138
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To: upchuck
upchuck,
That is one scary article. It sounds like they intend to thwart hackers by leaving the system so wide open no real hacker would think of playing there. Only amateurs.

What are the odds this thing will work on election night, even if no one interferes? It sounds a little light on the multi-user end of the spectrum.


gitmo
34 posted on 01/30/2004 7:39:55 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: gitmo
How can they forget "something called authentication"?

You'd be pissed if your bank didn't use it, but when you're choosing the leader of the free world, no biggie... don't go getting your panties in a wad...

35 posted on 01/30/2004 7:57:34 PM PST by mr.sarcastic (< / sarcasm >)
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To: upchuck
That article hits too close. They almost make the fraud sound more complicated than it really is... Here is another snippet from the Baltimore Sun article referenced above:

Meanwhile, William A. Arbaugh, an assistant computer science professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and part of the team, easily sneaked his way into the state's computers by way of his modem. Once in, he had access to change votes from actual precincts - because he knew how to exploit holes in the Microsoft software.

Those holes should have been patched through regular updates sent to customers, patches that haven't been installed on the elections equipment since November.

"There's no security that's going to be 100 percent effective. But the level of effort [needed to get into the system] was pretty low," Arbaugh said. "A high school kid could do this. Right now, the bar is maybe 8th grade. You want to raise the bar to a well-funded adversary."

36 posted on 01/30/2004 8:02:24 PM PST by mr.sarcastic
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To: mr.sarcastic
I don't let you into my systems to check the time of day without proper authentication. Even in the test environment.
37 posted on 01/30/2004 8:18:16 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: mr.sarcastic
In 2002, the polls were "watched" like never before.

Coincidentally, I'm sure, a Republican became governor for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The *only* instance of fraud found after the election was perpetrated by....(drumroll, please) a high-ranking member of the "Democrats for Ehrlich".

Imagine that.

All Marylanders remember the great "Baltimore zombies for Glendening" debacle.

38 posted on 01/31/2004 12:22:31 AM PST by Salamander
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To: mr.sarcastic
And we all know Maryland already has a dicey election record (Glendening vs. Sauerbray 1994).

Hey now!

If those 6000 voters had actually still been alive, you -know- that they would have "intended" to vote for Parris!....;))

39 posted on 01/31/2004 12:27:30 AM PST by Salamander
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To: seamole
More than 50% of the electorate already choose to vote "absent" on election day. That has not improved the voting process in the past.

I would rather work within the system, where I think informed criticism will carry a bit more weight. Primaries are the best time to observe the new machines, as there are no competitive races that I am even aware of - except for the Republican side of the Senate seat - and Barb Mikulski will probably beat the successful R primary winner.
40 posted on 01/31/2004 4:45:56 AM PST by maica (Mainstream America Is Conservative America)
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