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Electronic voting systems flawed, expert says
Associated Press ^ | May 5, 2004

Posted on 05/05/2004 11:37:45 AM PDT by Dog Gone

WASHINGTON -- A computer science expert criticized electronic voting systems planned for the November election as highly vulnerable and flawed, saying today a backup paper system is the only short-term solution to avoid another disputed presidential election.

"On a spectrum of terrible to very good, we are sitting at terrible," Aviel D. Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, told the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. "Not only have the vendors not implemented security safeguards that are possible, they have not even correctly implemented the ones that are easy."

Other experts said electronic voting offers advantages over paper balloting, including increasing access to the blind and people who do not speak English. They contended that backing up electronic systems with paper ballots could be costly.

"We want systems that are secure but also accessible to people with disabilities," said Stephen Berger, an expert at TEM Consulting, an engineering services consulting firm.

The first public hearing by the commission came as many states consider legislation to require a paper record of every vote cast as a backup to technology they consider potentially faulty or vulnerable to attack.

About 50 million Americans this fall are expected to use the ATM-like voting machines, which states rushed to get to replace paper ballots after Florida's hanging-chad fiasco in 2000. Critics say the touchscreen machines can't be trusted because they don't leave a paper trail.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for the presidential campaign of Democrat John Kerry, said today, "After what happened in Florida in 2000, making sure that there is a reliable paper trail in place to account for every vote is just common sense."

To help prevent mishaps, the four-member bipartisan panel is expected to issue recommendations to state and local officials, such as urging poll workers to keep a stack of paper ballots available in case electronic machines fail to operate.

"We cannot afford to have a replay of 2000, when voting systems failed to properly record voters' intent ... and when millions of Americans questioned the outcome and legitimacy of the presidential election," said Kay Maxwell, president of the League of Women Voters, who was to testify today. "Specific security measures are needed."

Machines in more than half the precincts in California's San Diego County malfunctioned during the March 2 presidential primary, and a lack of paper ballots may have disenfranchised hundreds of voters.

Congress created the commission under the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which began distributing $3.9 billion to states to upgrade voting systems after the disputed 2000 election. The panel is charged with ensuring the voting process is sound, although it lacks the power to enforce any standards it sets.

The commission has said it is woefully underfunded, with only $1.2 million of its $10 million budget appropriated, prompting the commission to caution it might not have the resources to immediately forestall widespread voting problems.

Republican chairman DeForest B. Soaries Jr., a former New Jersey secretary of state named by President Bush in December to the commission, has said the panel will need $2 million more this year and the full $10 million in 2005 to fulfill its mission of restoring public faith in electronic voting.

Executives from Diebold Inc., Hart Intercivic Inc., Election Systems & Software Inc., and Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. will speak today, along with California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: electronicvoting

1 posted on 05/05/2004 11:37:45 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
I'm not sure what they mean by a paper trail but if it's just a continuous tabulation, how do you erase an erroneous vote. Go back to the old "fill in the dot" with a number 2 pencil. It's easier and produces the best result.
2 posted on 05/05/2004 11:41:31 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: Dog Gone
Electronic voting systems flawed, expert says

I tell you I'm shocked, just shocked!!

3 posted on 05/05/2004 11:44:46 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Dog Gone
We want systems that are secure but also accessible to people with disabilities

Especially dead people, excuse me, people suffering post-terminal disabilities.

As an expert on experts I offer my expert opinion that everything experts say is crap.

4 posted on 05/05/2004 11:47:02 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: Dog Gone
It wouldn't be that hard to add a dual printout (like cash registers have had for a century), one for the voter to hold onto, one that rolls up in the machine. I'm sure that it costs less money and requires less maintenance not to add a printer, but I'm surprised that no-one demanded it before all these agencies went out and blew their wads.
5 posted on 05/05/2004 11:48:58 AM PDT by DJtex
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To: Dog Gone
A computer science expert criticized electronic voting systems planned for the November election as highly vulnerable and flawed...

No sh** Sherlock. I have a 7 year old nephew who already knew that!

6 posted on 05/05/2004 11:50:09 AM PDT by theDentist (JOHN KERRY never saw a TAX he would not HIKE !)
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To: Dog Gone
You know the various reports about the insecurity of electronic voting machines worries me too...but the fact the Democrats are screaming about it gives me pause.

The same people that think requiring ID, as an absolute minimal requirement, to prove you are a indeed an eligible voter, think that this system could be abused huh?

So I see two possibilities.

The first option is that they are engaged in projection. The Dems know they can alter most of the current systems in their urban strong holds as they did in Florida in y2k. So they figure the more technologically savvy Reps can and will do the same back to them with this system.

The second option is that the system proposed, for all its flaws, is harder to hack then the currently used systems. We *know* the Dems can and do fool around with things as they are, perhaps they've yet to figure out how to do so to the proposed e-voting systems - at least without leaving a traceable sign the vote has been tampered with.

A 60 year old retiree in Florida can easily "lose" a Bush ballot here or there or "accidentally" create a hanging chad during a recount. Do you think this same person can hack a computer system???

7 posted on 05/05/2004 11:53:43 AM PDT by swilhelm73
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To: Sacajaweau
how do you erase an erroneous vote

This is actually done the same way it was done with the old voting machines. You can play with the ballot until you hit the commit button. Are you sure?

8 posted on 05/05/2004 11:56:49 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: swilhelm73
Do you think this same person can hack a computer system???

Not the eyeballs at West Palm Beach.

I like the touch screen voting systems we have here in Georgia. But they obviously are going to be subject to hacking.

Whether they're more subject to hacking than the paper ballots, though, is open to debate.

It may be that they'll be harder for the post-terminally challenged loved ones to operate.

What's with making voting more accessible to the blind???? Last I checked, you had to see the touch screen to operate it.

9 posted on 05/05/2004 12:02:53 PM PDT by Ole Okie (John F'n Kerry: "I threw my medals over the fence before I didn't throw my medals over the fence.")
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To: Sacajaweau; Dog Gone
THE METHOD OF VOTING IS NOT THE STINKIN' PROBLEM !!!

It is the people behind the counting. I have the solution to this problem.

AN EDUCATED AND INFORMED PUBLIC !!!

Otherwise, where is that "Oh Please, Not This **** Again" graphic?

10 posted on 05/05/2004 12:10:45 PM PDT by PetroniDE (A.N.S.W.E.R and IndyMedia -- AMERICA'S FIFTH COLUMN !!!)
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To: js1138
This is actually done the same way it was done with the old voting machines. You can play with the ballot until you hit the commit button. Are you sure?

Not quite -- The election official plays with the ballot until it reads what the election official wants it to read.

11 posted on 05/05/2004 12:11:56 PM PDT by PetroniDE (A.N.S.W.E.R and IndyMedia -- AMERICA'S FIFTH COLUMN !!!)
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To: PetroniDE
Yes, but I was just reading from the sales pamphlet.
12 posted on 05/05/2004 12:12:54 PM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: js1138
It's a little hard to hack into a computer that isn't comnnected to the internet, and my understanding is that these machines are free-standing computers. Maybe that's why Dems don't want them - no way to hack.
13 posted on 05/05/2004 12:15:42 PM PDT by texasbear
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To: texasbear
There's a way to hack when one party controls the machine. There are several cities in the country -- Chicago and Miami for example -- controlled by democrats, in otherwise Republican states.
14 posted on 05/05/2004 12:20:16 PM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: swilhelm73
...but the fact the Democrats are screaming about it gives me pause.


Kerry has stated that he will challenge in court the results of any precinct that uses electronic voting machines without paper backup.

That's about 30% of the vote.

There are articles on FR discussing this but I don't have time to look em up right now.

The yelling you hear now is the democrats setting the stage- we will have already heard what the problem is, and what will be done, before the election.
15 posted on 05/05/2004 12:36:30 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: Dog Gone; All
-The Vote Fraud Archives--
16 posted on 05/05/2004 12:38:42 PM PDT by backhoe (--30--)
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: Sacajaweau
Yeah, those optically-read ballots worked fine, you even got a numbered receipt for your numbered ballot, useful in case of a subsequent fraud investigation.
18 posted on 05/05/2004 2:05:39 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: DJtex
Yeah, I've been surprised too that they didn't insist on a paaper trail before they bought. Bakseesh?
19 posted on 05/05/2004 2:08:43 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: expatpat
Baksheesh.
20 posted on 05/05/2004 2:09:11 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: DJtex
Plenty was said at the time by us regular folks out here. Nobody who means anything, mind you, just regular old AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO VOTE!!!

The politicians ignored us up until now. Floridians were calling talk radio and posting on the internet about this very issue ever since the 2000 election system was scrapped.

Unbeleivably, one of the critics of a paper trail record, (a bureaucrat, of course) actually said that one of the reasons they didn't want a paper trail was that in the event of a close or disputed election, THE RESULTS COULD ACTUALLY BE CHECKED.

IMHO, if everyone got a receipt of their vote, the voters would actually have more control over the process than even a punch card system. The punch cards are collected from the voter, tabulated, and then discarded after a while. With a receipt, the citizens of any particular precinct could run a check on the results to check the politicians. They could be kept indefinitely.

Surely they don't want that.
21 posted on 05/05/2004 3:27:49 PM PDT by ovrtaxt (Forget ANWR -- Drill Israel!)
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To: ovrtaxt
No to the voter receipt idea. The paper validation of the computer vote for a state election offical recount is fine, but I have no desire to let the politicians have access to proof of HOW you voted outside of the voting booth. That would return us to the days when voters had to present "proof" of their vote to some political party functionary in return for services/favors/jobs. The secret ballot is a relatively recent innovation that most folks seem to forget...


dvwjr
22 posted on 05/05/2004 4:39:12 PM PDT by dvwjr
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To: expatpat
Electronic Voting Co. ^
23 posted on 05/05/2004 6:18:24 PM PDT by B4Ranch ( If everything appears to be going well, you obviously don't know what the hell is going on.)
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To: ovrtaxt
"IMHO, if everyone got a receipt of their vote, the voters would actually have more control over the process than even a punch card system."

And every union boss or college professor could be assured of the votes of the people under them.

A validated reciept is as good as cash in a corrupt system.
24 posted on 05/05/2004 7:15:38 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: DBrow; dvwjr
Good points that I hadn't thought of. So, what's the solution?

The butterfly ballot 'crisis' was a media manufactured hysteria. Punchcards worked just fine, except for the fact that results couls not be easily checked by the voting public.

Ever read "votescam"? Voter fraud in Miami under Janet Reno in the 80's. Freaky book, and still available, I think.
25 posted on 05/06/2004 4:46:45 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Forget ANWR -- Drill Israel!)
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To: ovrtaxt
My solution? Well, I'd use paper ballots, with either X in the box or machine readable dots. A machine count could then be verified manually. Time consuming and not perfect since people do the counting. It requires lots of honest people who are not intimidated into silence if they observe irregularities (which is what all mass fraud operations rely on imho).

The big problem is not technology it is instead corruption.

Currently a boiler room operation can generate a box of bogus ballots with the "correct" votes. Then, a corrupt voting official calls in with the ballot count in a box of real ballots- then they are switched after correcting the count in the bogus box.

Remember in 2000, when an election official got caught with a voting machine and boxes of ballots? That's what was going on.

If an electronic machine had a paper tape backup that was tamper proof then I'd go for it- the tally in the harddrive must match the paper tape. The tape records all keyboard events in a machine and people readable format. But how to make it really tamper proof? The tape must be internal and have multiple locks so one person alone has trouble accessing it. It must be 100%, aerospace grade, reliable, must not jam or skip and must be 100% accurate too. Then if someone demands a recount there is a way to verify what's on the machine memory. AFAIK no system built today does that.

It scares me that Kerry wants to pre-challenge any precinct using electronic voting. If anyone complains the media will jump ugly all over the person who dares to challenge Kerry.
26 posted on 05/06/2004 11:13:42 AM PDT by DBrow
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