??? Techdirt columnist Timothy Lee has exposed a sore spot with electronic voting machines when he says, “E-Voting Undermines Public Confidence In Elections Even Without Evidence of Wrongdoing . E-Voting was a knee jerk reaction to the events that surrounded the ballot recounting in Florida after the 2000 election. Now no one knows what goes on inside the machines that tabulate the votes during an election. At least in the past you had a verifiable paper trail that could be recounted. Like it is now you have no way of knowing if someone were to “rig/hack” the machine to record votes in a specific way. Here in South Carolina when I voted we used the electronic machines and though I doubt seriously that the sweet little old lady working the polling booth who inserted what I think is a memory card into the machine could hack the machine and change votes I am very sure it could be done by someone with the correct knowledge.

??? The article goes on to talk about the local conditions in Maryland where the contract for the election machines has been given to a company that has a former head of the states Republican party as the company president. We hope there are no improprieties involved but it does look like a conflict of interest. Something that would not matter much if they were transporting paper ballots. Paper ballots are hard and time consuming to rig, but electronic machines can be hacked in just a few moments. Or their memory cards could be changed. I am not sure what they would do as the workings are supposed to be secret, a claim they say protects them from someone who would steal their software. but open source code gives knowledgeable people to chance to see if it can be hacked and how.

??? A thought I had on it was, What if someone wasn’t interested illegally helping their candidate win but just wanted to disrupt the election process. All they would need would be a strong magnet or degausser to totally corrupt the data on or in memory for the machine or memory card. A degausser is like the ones they have to deactivate the magnetic security strips in items at your local retailer. That is why they tell you to never lay your credit card on one of those pads as it can wipe out all the info embedded onto the magnetic strip on the back.

??? New Hampshire is currently in the process of recounting all ballots cast in the primary. The last statewide recount of a primary was in 1980. The recount, contrary to some reports in the blogspere is not about electronic voting machines, (i.e., paperless touch-screen voting machines), as N.H. has had a law since 1994 that requires all voting machines to produce a paper trail just for things like this recount. It appears that New Hampshire is not only ahead of the curve by holding the first presidential primary in the country but also ahead of everyone by requiring a paper trail during the election process.

Computer scientists in California have been examining source code on Diebolds, (now called Premier Election Solutions), electronic touch screen voting machines. They finally released their much anticipated report yesterday. The team did the most thorough exam of both touch screen and optical scan machines that has been done to date. Despite Diebold‘s claims to have fixed security flaws that
scientists had uncovered a few years ago many still remained. These include vulnerabilities that would allow an attacker to install malicious software to record votes incorrectly or miscount them or that would allow an attacker with access to only one machine and its memory card to launch a vote-stealing virus that could spread to every machine in a county. They also found that election officials could escalate their privileges on the system that counts votes. These flaws may cause the state to decertify the machines today as it is the last day she, (Secretary of State Debra Bowen) can make any changes effecting the vote for this year.

??? This subject is sure to come up again and again as the election nears and is counted. It’s such a shame that most of the elected leaders of this country haven’t a clue as to real world situations like they have uncovered with their paperless touch screen voting machines.

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