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CIA Expert Decries E-Voting Security 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-vote-that-matters-is-the-cia-assassin's dept.
ISoldat53 sends this quote from McClatchy DC: "The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering. Appearing last month before a US Election Assistance Commission field hearing in Orlando, Fla., a CIA cybersecurity expert suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his allies fixed a 2004 election recount, an assertion that could further roil US relations with the Latin leader. ... Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure. The commission has been criticized for giving states more than $1 billion to buy electronic equipment without first setting performance standards. Numerous computer-security experts have concluded that US systems can be hacked, and allegations of tampering in Ohio, Florida and other swing states have triggered a campaign to require all voting machines to produce paper audit trails."
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CIA Expert Decries E-Voting Security

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:18PM (#27331903)

    Because then they have to kill you.

  • by Clipless (1432977) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:19PM (#27331919)

    Looks like the old phrase "Vote Early, Vote Often" is going to become an automated process.
    That should save a lot of people some serious time and money

  • Wow....just wow... (Score:5, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:20PM (#27331939) Homepage Journal

    Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure.

    Really? No kidding? You don't say?

    These people should read Slashdot. Seriously. We've all been saying this since 1997 or 1998 when the first stories about "Internet voting" began to appear. Nothing has improved from a security standpoint since then and we all keep saying electronic voting of any kind is too easy to tamper with unless there is a verified paper record trail.

    And since most of us agree on this when most of us can't even agree on which operating system is the best for general use, which programming language is best for rapid application development, or which text editor is the best, well, that kind of says something now doesn't it?

    • Any form of online voting is insecure because it's not a secret ballot. You can prove to someone else how you voted (by letting them look over your shoulder) and that means it is possible to bribe or threaten voters. A secret ballot means that you cannot show your vote to anyone, even if you wanted to. It's surprising that governments are so quick to give up this basic guarantee of a fair election.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Chrutil (732561)

        Any form of online voting is insecure because it's not a secret ballot. You can prove to someone else how you voted (by letting them look over your shoulder) and that means it is possible to bribe or threaten voters. A secret ballot means that you cannot show your vote to anyone, even if you wanted to. It's surprising that governments are so quick to give up this basic guarantee of a fair election

        By your standard voting by mail should be ruled out as well then, right?

        • by Sique (173459)

          The only reason why voting by mail is accepted is because it is not the main type of voting. As soon as a considerable large part of the electorate wants to vote per mail, it is no longer viable.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by pluther (647209)

            The only reason why voting by mail is accepted is because it is not the main type of voting.

            It is in Oregon. Close to 100% of voting in Oregon elections, including Federal elections, is done through the mail.

            We've been doing it for a couple of decades now, with no major problems that I've heard of.

            • by Sique (173459)

              Luckily I don't have to vote in Oregon.

              It's like the guy who tells you "I drive since 20 years without car insurance"... He might have saved much money, but I never want to be involved in a car accident with him.

        • by Ed Avis (5917)

          Indeed, allowing voting by mail is a bad idea. I know that in the United Kingdom postal voting has been associated with high levels of fraud, but that is not the main point against it. Fundamentally, there is nothing to stop you showing your vote to someone else before you mail it, and so nothing to prevent coercion of various kinds (from 'voting parties' upwards).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mardu (1434445)
        In Estonia people can change their vote after e-voting. If somebody made you vote for something they wanted, you can later re-vote electronically or physically. The latest vote counts.

        For technical details, browse the Estonian National Electoral Committee's homepage [www.vvk.ee].
        • by Ed Avis (5917)

          In Estonia people can change their vote after e-voting. If somebody made you vote for something they wanted, you can later re-vote electronically or physically. The latest vote counts.

          That doesn't seem to solve the problem at all. There is surely a cut-off date after which you cannot change your vote? And this 'somebody' can simply pay you a bribe based on the most recent vote you registered before the cut-off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
      I disagree ... ;-)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:18PM (#27332877)
      And since most of us agree on this when most of us can't even agree on which operating system is the best for general use, which programming language is best for rapid application development, or which text editor is the best, well, that kind of says something now doesn't it?

      emacs, emacs, and emacs. Next series of questions?
      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        emacs, emacs, and emacs. Next series of questions?

        Dude, they said text editor, not religion. vi, you insensitive clod!!!

    • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:06PM (#27333635)
      If you want to draw some *real* attention to the issue, get some super-hackers to rig a major election (doesn't have to be prez, guv or senator would be big enough) so that some crazy-wing write-in wins it. The powers-that-be would know something was up (especially if they were trying to rig it themselves), would probably nullify the election, and probably halt the use of the machines while an investigation ensued. The winner you pick would have to be a crazy fringe candidate, though. The crazier the better. So that *no one* would think for a second that the election was valid.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "The winner you pick would have to be a crazy fringe candidate, though. The crazier the better. So that *no one* would think for a second that the election was valid."

        I dunno. We got one this time, and it was from one of the two main parties. So far, is proving to be about as 'winged' as you can get...

        :)

      • So we'd just have to rig the elections to make Stephen Colbert win then. Or maybe Ron Paul.

      • Actually, the best way to get the attention needed be to rig the elections in the USA so that the communist party wins the presidential elections.

        Hell, I'd do it if I could just to see the reaction of the US citizens. That would be the greatest joke ever.

    • by genner (694963)

      Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure.

      Really? No kidding? You don't say?

      These people should read Slashdot. Seriously. We've all been saying this since 1997 or 1998 when the first stories about "Internet voting" began to appear. Nothing has improved from a security standpoint since then and we all keep saying electronic voting of any kind is too easy to tamper with unless there is a verified paper record trail.

      And since most of us agree on this when most of us can't even agree on which operating system is the best for general use, which programming language is best for rapid application development, or which text editor is the best, well, that kind of says something now doesn't it?

      We all know it's emacs.
      /ducks

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Or maybe it is the people on slashdot who should get the word out. You know, actually making a fuss about the issue, talking to (gasp) political organizations, complain to your local representatives...
    • by sgt_doom (655561)

      Except for one item from the article, morgan_greywolf, which is that CIA clown-spook claiming that Prez Hugo Chavez (whom the NEOCONS have been gunning for forever, as he's for the people, not owned by Korporate AmeriKa) is guilty.

      Strange...coming from a country which has attempted to assassinate Chavez at least twice. Can you say CHENEY Executive Asssassinations????

      Remember, when the Group of Thirty say buy derivatives, countries buy derivatives......

  • who knows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fastest fascist (1086001) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:21PM (#27331951)
    Maybe there was tampering, maybe there wasn't. The CIA isn't exactly a source I would trust not to put out false information to further their own agenda.
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:23PM (#27331983) Homepage

      But they told us that they closed their misinformation department!

      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        Were you told that by the Department of Misinformation (opened around the time the Misinformation Department closed?) or the Department of Little White Lies?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Korin43 (881732)
          The information came directly from the Ministry of Truth. You trust the Ministry of Truth right? Everyone else does.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
            If he is so skeptical that The Ministry of Truth isn't good enough for him, he can always try down the hall at The Ministry of Think of the Children. If he argues with that, we should insist he put his name in some kind of national databse or something.
          • And we should trust the ministry, because it got its information from waterboarding and extraordinary rendition [wikipedia.org]. I'm just wondering why the ministry isn't scrutinizing the American voting system.

            As it is, some terrorist could game the system and end up having Americans and others killed! Oh, wait.
            • by jamstar7 (694492)

              I'm just wondering why the ministry isn't scrutinizing the American voting system.

              You can't waterboard an electronic voting machine. It shorts out and won't be capable of doing its proper function - delivering selected candidates an assured victory.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:43PM (#27332317) Journal

      The CIA has murdered and tortured men women and childeren (and sponsored these activities) to rig elections and make sure the party they wanted obtained power. So we are now supposed to believe them that elections could be rigged but they didn't take part in rigging them?

      Perhaps they are just upset that Chavez rigged the elections better then they did?

      While I have little faith in electronic voting if the CIA told me the sky was blue, I would check and then have my eyes examined for tampering just to be sure.

      • by notque (636838) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:48PM (#27332401) Homepage Journal

        The critical part is the US Government committed a coup to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in April 2002, installing a dictator.

        You cannot trust the information of the organization who tried removing the Democratically elected leader of a country outright.

        • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:07PM (#27332695) Journal

          Not as bad as Operation Ajax [wikipedia.org]. (Joint British - American operation.) Just reading about it [mohammadmossadegh.com] makes me nauseous.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by FleaPlus (6935)

          The critical part is the US Government committed a coup to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in April 2002, installing a dictator.

          You cannot trust the information of the organization who tried removing the Democratically elected leader of a country outright.

          An interesting bit of trivia: Hugo Chavez himself led a military coup attempt back in 1992 [wikipedia.org] against Venezuela's democratically-elected government, killing 14 people:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Venezuelan_coup_d'&%23169;tat_attempts [wikipedia.org]

          After an extended period of popular dissatisfaction and economic decline under the neoliberal administration of Carlos Andrés Pérez,[1] ChÃvez made extensive preparations for a military-civilian coup d'état.[3] Initially planned for D

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:18PM (#27332889) Journal

      The point is... how would you know?

      Take a look at Black Box Voting [blackboxvoting.org] and check it out. A while back, they had a YT video where a hacker was (easily!) able to preload a flash disk with values to rig the vote without there ever being any sign of a problem by the voting machines.

      Yes, this is / was Diebold, but unless we use some nice sequential hash algorithms and/or cryptography, along with a verified "clean" starting point, it's not possible to trust electronic voting machines.

      Further, the problem is that verifying e-votes and e-voting machines has to be done by a professional programmer and security expert. By definition, this makes verification (and trust) basically impossible for the average person. This means that by operating from authority, programmers and security "experts" could (and have!) certify voting machines and equipment and the general population would have no easy, trustable method to know if they're being hoodwinked.

      Sorry, voting machines are a bad, bad, bad idea. As somebody who programs/maintains large databases of sensitive data, I can't say with confidence that I'd even be able to trust an open or OSS solution because of the difficulty in ensuring that the software that's been reviewed is the same as the software that's actually running.

      For example, what if your compiler was compromised with a virus, so that the compiler itself produced software that was virus laden?

      Sorry, e-voting is too complex. The people responsible for their security are parties of interest, and so by definition can never be trusted. E-voting is a bad, bad, bad idea.

      Beverly Harris (at Black Box Voting) is a quintessential example of a modern American Hero. History should remember her with the warmth and love given to Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine! I can't say enough how much I respect this average US mom who simply demanded that votes be counted accurately. In so doing, she's changed the world for the better. She's received several hundred dollars from me, and I donate more every year. You would do well to throw $5 her way, and maybe download and use her press pack... it's YOUR freedom at stake!

      • > it's YOUR freedom at stake!

        I applaud the effort, but voting is a collectivist activity, and therefore only guarantees that everyone equally doesn't get what they want. Freedom and collectivism are different things.

        That doesn't mean it's not needed; but let's not equate voting with freedom.

        • It's your collective freedom to decide who makes the decisions that affect you and your community.
          • Did you get that off of a Hallmark card?

            "Collective freedom" is an oxymoron. There are only two options. Either you show your neighbor that what you want is also what they want, or you convince them to want what you want even though it is against their interest. In the former case, there is no need for collective anything, since he is just pursuing what he wants. In the latter, that is you taking your freedom at the expense of your neighbor. Fail.

            This collectivism shit sounds great in theory until you actua

            • Come back when your noggin is working!

              "Collective" is an abstract idea people came up with. In this case, it represents... people.

              "Collective Freedom" is not an oxymoron. When the 'collective' gets to vote, they tend to vote for things that benefit the collective. Things like: Police that don't beat people up too often; The ability to go to the grocery store any time they are open without being prevented by the state; The free^h^h^h^h ability to marry whomever you wish.

              All of these things are things desired

  • Democracy (Score:5, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:24PM (#27331995) Homepage

    Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick one when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.

    Feel free to suggest laws if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past laws first.

    This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, lobbyists, corruption. If you're using these votes to do anything important, you're insane.

  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:29PM (#27332079)

    [...]a CIA cybersecurity expert suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his allies fixed a 2004 election recount, an assertion that could further roil US relations with the Latin leader

    Why? Wouldn't it bring them closer? After all, they've got something in common now! =)

  • Maybe next... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:31PM (#27332119) Homepage Journal

    ...they should look at the electronic vote-rigging in the USA? We know the machines have misreported votes. The president/CEO of Diebold promised to literally do everything in his power to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes to GWB. A legal recount of the paper ballots was terminated, not in the interest of the American people. Instead of spying on the electoral processes of others, perhaps we could put the effort into running our elections scrupulously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by m.ducharme (1082683)

      Well, strictly speaking, no the CIA should not be investigating the electronic vote-rigging in the USA. The FBI would be a more appropriate agency for that, I suspect.

    • Obsession (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DesScorp (410532)

      "The president/CEO of Diebold promised to literally do everything in his power to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes to GWB."

      Wow, you just can't let go, can you? Bush is out of office and you're still obsessing over him.

      The Diebold guy promising to "deliver" Ohio for Bush was speaking at a party event, in the capacity as a party fundraiser and organizer, not as part of your fevered fantasies of a "right-wing coup". Despite your paranoia, the same voting systems were used to swept Democrats into power in 2006

      • Re:Obsession (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Leafheart (1120885) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:38PM (#27334073)

        Wow, you just can't let go, can you? Bush is out of office and you're still obsessing over him.

        Wait, you are saying that just because the game is no longer on the office we should forget and let it go????? I mean, if I could apply that logic to other parts of life it would mean, for example, that I should go prosecuting a copy and unlawfully killed someone because s\he left the corporation. It is stupid and dangerous.

        • by gad_zuki! (70830)

          No, what he is saying is that you are selectively whining. See, you say Bush stole the election, yet Obama didnt? Why not? How did Obama and the democracy win in 2006 and 2008 under a rigged system?

          If the system is rigged by the GOP then we should have a McCain presidency. In other words youre just another nutter spreading conspiracy theories on the web. Your only proof a comment from a party fundraiser.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            If the system is rigged by the GOP then we should have a McCain presidency. In other words youre just another nutter spreading conspiracy theories on the web. Your only proof a comment from a party fundraiser.

            Why are the Diebold machines so easy to hack?

            How can the miscounted votes be excused?

            The Republicans ran an unelectable ticket in the last election. Why? Dunno. I've been scratching my head about it. I have lots of nutter theories, but nothing worth sharing. (Not as in, "they will come to get me if I share", as in "I think this is a dumb idea but some parts of it fit." Personally I feel that's the difference between a nutter conspiracy theorist, and a hobbyist conspiracy theorist, but many people make no su

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >president/CEO of Diebold promised to literally do everything in his power to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes to GWB.

      In America, even if you run a voting company, you still have the right to free speech and the right to say who you support politically. Dont like it? Too bad.

      Im not one to defend conservatives or CEOs, but the far-left needs to let this go. This guy spoke at a party event. He has the right to hold political views and support politicians.

      Also, as much as Im skeptical of electronic voting,

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        In America, even if you run a voting company, you still have the right to free speech and the right to say who you support politically. Dont like it? Too bad.

        If you really think I am objecting to the fact that he was permitted to say such a thing, you are a grade A idiot.

        Assuming you don't believe that, I shall continue this comment; he has every right to say such a thing, but no right to do such a thing (i.e. some things in his power are not legal) and his words are certainly admissible evidence.

        Also, as much as Im skeptical of electronic voting, it needs to be compared to paper voting on a fair basis.

        If it's not significantly better, then there's no reason for it. If you have to ask these questions (they're fair questions, mind you) then you should really go find so

    • ...they should look at the electronic vote-rigging in the USA?

      We know the machines have misreported votes.

      I *know* that it has been proven that it is often trivial to get these machines to report false information. Do we know that they have done so during an election?

      The president/CEO of Diebold promised to literally do everything in his power to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes to GWB.

      Actually, the quote is "[Diebold is] committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president." [0][1][2] Not that I don't think that Diebold is despicable, but it's a good thing to have discussions grounded in verifiable fact. :)

      [0] http://money.cnn.com/2004/08/30/technology/election_diebol [cnn.com]

  • You know, I think we've all missed the obvious angle that could have taken out e-voting much, much sooner. You see, Diebold's machines are so insecure that they can be used to rig elections. Anyone could do it, even... terrorists! That's right. Al-Qaeda themselves might just be planning to get a few operatives set up to hack voting machines so that Osama Bin Laden can be elected our next president. We need to protect ourselves in the fight against terrorism so e-voting (especially using Diebold's votin

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      Al-Qaeda themselves might just be planning to get a few operatives set up to hack voting machines so that Osama Bin Laden can be elected our next president.

      OK, I know you're joking and I know I'm being a pedant, but the US Constitution says you have to be a natural born citizen of the US to be President. This precludes California Governor Arnold, to the dismay of many. It also precludes Al Quaida President Bin Laden, to the dismay of none.

  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:32PM (#27332141)

    I like how the CIA (who haven't got a great record for promoting democracy in Venezeula, seeing as they have already mounted at least one coup attempt on Chavez) are wailing about vote rigging.

    They didn't seem to care this much about democratic elections when they were backing Pinochet, or the Contras, or any of the other dictators they've pushed on any Latin American country that didn't toe the line.

    I used to like democracy. I always thought it was a good idea. But having seen how its most vocal proponent actually treats elections in practice, I am cynical to the point of thinking anybody who talks about democracy is only talking about their guy winning at any cost.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsalmark (1265778)
      I can think of a number of political systems that should be better in theory, but it seems democracy may be the best in practice, or more correctly, least bad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by notque (636838)

        Real Democracy would be a good idea. We have a representative government to keep the will of the people in line. It was intentional, and successful.

        As for political systems, the one that seemed to work the best was Anarchism in Spain.

        • by tsalmark (1265778)
          That was definitely forefront in my mind.
        • by gad_zuki! (70830)

          Direct democracy is a nightmare. Or would you prefer Joe Average to vote on what all agencies do and vote items into and out of the budget? 51% of the people can be a tyrant just as much as the worst dictator.

          If you like direct democracy then I hope you like 1 billion dollars earmarked for Rush Limbaugh Appreciation Day and life sentences for people who refuse to call French fries 'freedom fries.'

          The founders knew what they were doing and were quite aware of the mob mentality that is direct democracy. Check

          • by tsalmark (1265778)
            Agreed, I think most political ideologies, especially the Utopian ones fail in the real world, because, the average man is, well, average.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kusanagi374 (776658)

        I really like what Churchill said about all this:

        "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the Anomaly revealed as both beginning... and end.

    • I still think Democracy is a great idea, and maybe the US will be a democracy (or at least a Republic) someday~

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >They didn't seem to care this much about democratic elections when they were backing Pinochet, or the Contras, or any of the other dictators they've pushed on any Latin American country that didn't toe the line.

      "They" are federal employees. If the president says to destabilize those countries then so be it. You make it sound like the CIA has its own power. At the end of the day they work for the president.

      On top of that they are an intelligence agency. They work just like any other intelligence agency.

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        You make it sound like the CIA has its own power. At the end of the day they work for the president.

        At the end of the day, they're supposed to work for the American people, with decent oversight. El Presidente has enough troops, thankyouverymuch.

        Lastly, theyre quite capable of determining when an election is fraudulent.

        As in, "Hey, we couldn't fix that election! Somebody else got there first!" perhaps?

  • by One Brave Prune (1470115) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:33PM (#27332157)

    Are we out of Iraqi oil already?

  • by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:37PM (#27332213)
    'The mathematicians found "a very subtle algorithm" that appeared to adjust the vote in Chavez's favor, Stigall said'

    Shoulda got Diebold to do .. :)

    '[Diebold] is "committed to helping Ohio to deliver [commondreams.org] its electoral votes to the president next year"'

    Deflect attention from the beam in your own eye and trash the democratically elected leader of Venezuela cause he won't give the OIL to the US and let it sell it back to them, like the US did in Iraq.

    'Election-Fraud [tomflocco.com] Website Removed Before Tuesday Recall Vote'

    http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/04/10/01/1225227.shtml?tid=123&tid=103&tid=1 [slashdot.org]
  • by krou (1027572) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:39PM (#27332239)

    The CIA, which has in the past actively worked to overthrow (and has succeeded [uchicago.edu] in overthrowing) South American regimes [wikipedia.org] the United States doesn't like, now claims that Venezuela used vote rigging to win a 2004 election recount just two years after a failed coup took place against Chavez that the United State sanctioned [guardian.co.uk].

    Forgive me if I don't take this seriously.

    • by notque (636838) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:44PM (#27332323) Homepage Journal

      It certainly isn't credible for the group that funded a coup to then say that elections were unjust when international observers, and polling firms in the region say it was just.

      Even the opposition in Venezuela considers the elections just.

      • by mooingyak (720677)

        Wouldn't shock me, but do you have a citation for that?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rickb928 (945187)

        Had you RTFA, you would know that the CIA is apparently claiming that the recount was rigged, and that the e-voting systems were so flawed as to make it both possible to do and impossible to determine the true votes.

        Which of the other agencies at the time had the ability or inclination to examine the e-voting systems?

        Are you assuming the the e-voting systems in use then were accurate and secure? If not, you just agreed with the CIA. If so, you are probably so wrong that you might as well stop now. There

  • In the US, far more than other countries, there are much bigger problems than simple election fraud. There is a chance that fraud can push the majority of votes to a different candidate. That isn't good.

    However, I would contend that it can get much, much worse. Right now people have little faith in any elected official to begin with. One thing that didn't help was the assertion by CBS (and others) in 2000 that Gore won the election before all the votes had been counted. Why would they do such a thing?

  • by DECS (891519) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:42PM (#27332301) Homepage Journal

    Having the American CIA monitoring elections in other countries during the Bush Administration is like Microsoft looking for security vulnerabilities in Linux and Mac OS X.

    Kaspersky Sells Mac AntiVirus Fear Using Charlie Miller... Mac AntiVirus Foe [roughlydrafted.com]

  • Venezuela (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    According to international observers such as the Carter Center there were no vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela.
    Venezuela's e-voting machines have a paper trail -and- they do a partial hand count for verification.

    On the other hand, e-voting in the US has none of that (including international observers).

    Fact is though that "Hugo Chavez does not have US interests at heart" (- US State Dept).

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:07PM (#27332697)
    I looked at the article (imagine that) and it says that what happened in Ukraine was that in the 2004 presidential elections, an authorized computer was secretly placed at vote headquarters and it gave out bogus returns. I'm not surprised, but I hadn't heard that before.

    I was in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution. I had not planned on being there during this, it just sort of happened while I was already there. I remember seeing voting returns on TV and everybody knew that the announced results were fraudulent. One of the most populous oblasts (this is basically the Ukrainian version of an American state) said that 99% of the voters voted for Yanukovich, the guy who ended up losing the eventual re-vote. Imagine if you will that in the 2008 elections if California said that 99% of voters voted for Obama or if Texas had reported that 99% of its voters voted for McCain and you have an idea of crazy the fraud was. It wasn't even believable. Basically whoever tried to cheat knew that Yanukovich could not win a fair election, so they turned in impossible vote totals for him in the oblasts where he was expected to win and so that when all the votes were counted, he would have the most votes. It's generally considered that Ukraine now has honest elections as a result of the 2004 election fraud.
  • "allegations" ??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:26PM (#27333003) Homepage Journal

    I liked the reference to "allegations of tampering" in some US elections. I mean, we're talking about elections in which people demoed their ability to train a chimp to alter the results of a voting machine and delete the log files that contained the evidence.

    The use of the term "allegations" here could be viewed by the cynical as not quite what you'd call "fair and balanced" reporting. A better phrasing might probably be something like "brazen and shameless tampering". If you read the literature on the topic, you get a real feeling that the companies involved are all but thumbing their noses at the voting public.

    The "hacked" machines weren't compromised due to obscure bugs that the companies quickly fixed. It's more like the hackability was based on a set of carefully designed-in features which the companies are probably bragging about during their sales pitches in the proverbial political back rooms. (Are they still smoke-filled?)

  • by Innovative1 (1396647) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:27PM (#27333017)
    During the last election there were numerous researchers who showed 280 different ways that the current machines can be hacked within about 6 minutes. The paper trail does nothing as it can also be fooled into passing the tests and still rigging the election. There are no sanity checks or anything in the FlashROM bootloader and anyone can hack it with a JTAG that can be built for about three bucks at RatShack. The Diebold DRE firmware was even online during the election so one could disassemble it and write all the code at home without even gaining access before the hack. I even found detailed high-res pictures of the JTAG port, motherboard, screw locations, and EVERYTHING online. I also know that in my town the machines are loaded into U-Hauls each night and then moved to an insecure warehouse near where I work. This is incomprehensible.

    In Utah, Emery County clerk Bruce Funk had independent tests done which found multiple ways in which these machines could be exploited and Diebold fought to silence him and attempted to charge the state $40,000 to 're-certify' them. Then he was forced to resign for having them tested. It is obvious that Diebold knows about the issues and is acting to suppress the information. Now reports are coming in that choosing 'straight party' for Democrat sometimes gives votes to Republicans or does not count them at all straight from the Diebold factory. I voted straight party during the last election. Do you know how that makes me feel? It seems like some of them may be rigged right from the factory and there are no checks and balances in place to ensure that they aren't.

    The argument that a 'hacker' could not have time during voting to modify these is just common sense and just does not stand up. It is not a 'hacker' during voting time that I am worried about. Anyone with ulterior motives and access to these machines for even five minutes can sway the election. This is such a simple process that it sickens me.

    It doesn't even need to actually happen, the idea that it IS POSSIBLE is enough to disenfranchise voters. I feel helpless to stop it. It is bad enough that here in Utah my democratic vote is almost good for nothing, and then I have to fight the uphill battle on a easily hackable machine. I have worked with electronics my whole life and these machines are less secure than my Xbox360 and iPhone.

    Will you please help fight to ban electronic voting? Write your senators, congressmen, and president. Please, someone has to stand up for the rights of the voters. We cannot depend on companies like Diebold and others to elect our officials. This is not paranoia, we can not trust these machines. Once it becomes possible to 'buy' an election we will never get this country back from those who stole it. I fear it may already be too late.
  • Nothing new here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Var1abl3 (1021413)
    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7001 [bradblog.com]
    There is a good writeup on 8 people arrested here in the US for tampering with electronic votes.
    "KY Election Officials Arrested, Charged With 'Changing Votes at E-Voting Machines'"
    Give me a paper ballot and keep a paper trail.
  • by nsayer (86181) * <nsayer@NosPaM.kfu.com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:36PM (#27334043) Homepage

    The paper ballot has never been the problem. Whether you mark the ballot with ink or holes doesn't really change anything. They're easy to count and handle in massive quantities, and we have a long experience dealing with them.

    The problem is and has always been how to, with complete unambiguity, record the voter's intent on that paper. And here is where electronic voting machines can be of some assistance. Touch screens are a great interface for voting. It's simple for the user, can be easily localized for any potential language a voter might want to use, and it is trivial to eliminate potential overvotes and warn about undervotes.

    Diebold can still get a big contract to make expensive touchscreen voting machines, so far as I care. All they have to do is sell a printer with each machine that simply prints out onto an official ballot form the voter's intent, in human readable form.

    If a recount is required, OCRing (remember, we're not talking about OCRing free-form text. The OCR here will simply need to pick between a fixed set of choices) those ballots will be trivial and unambiguous. The voter himself can look at the printed ballot and verify that its contents are exactly what he wanted before turning it in.

  • All of us already knew electronic voting is easily hacked. The CIA probably knows this firsthand because they have done it.

    Hrm, maybe Obama getting elected was payback for the neo-cons throwing the CIA under the bus for Iraq. I am kidding. Maybe.

  • Why don't they investigate the fraud that goes on in this country?

  • "The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering"

    And Ohio in 2004!

  • The only way that I see to make electronic voting machines safe is to have them create a paper ballot. This ballot would then be verified by the voter and placed in a ballot box. We could use the counts provided by the machines unless there is a close margin or someone requests a recount. At that point, we break out the ballot boxes.

    Why is this so difficult? Why is this not obvious? I understand that people want to reduce costs, but, if our voting isn't secure, then what the fuck is the point of America? Th

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