Thursday, January 05, 2006

Voting machine source code must be made open

WTN News • Published 01/04/

Madison, Wis. — Among the 15 bills governor Jim Doyle signed into law on Wednesday will require the software of touch-screen voting machines used in elections have its source code opened up to public viewing.

Municipalities that use electronic voting machines are responsible for providing to the public, on request, the code used.

Any voting machines to be used in the state already had to pass State Elections Board tests. Electronic voting machines, in particular, already were required to maintain their results tallies even if the power goes out, and to produce paper ballots that could be used in case of a recount. The new law also requires the paper ballots to be presented to voters for verification before being stored.

But of this bill's provisions, perhaps the more influential in a wider sense is the requirement that municipalities provide source code, and the more general condition that "the coding for the software that is used to operate the system on election day and to tally the votes cast is publicly accessible and may be used to independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the operating and tallying procedures to be employed at any election."

The bill passed the Assembly 91-4 and the Senate 29-2.


Let's all move to Wissonsin. Better yet, demand these changes to your local elections processes. Better hurry.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Government Hijacked: Baltimore Chronicle Book Review

Reviewed by William E. Betz
Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)
by Mark Crispin Miller
364 pages; New York, Basic Books, 2005; $24.95 hardback

There is no joy in this book. It documents in excruciating detail overwhelming evidence of the broad-ranging election fraud that took place in the United States in connection with the 2004 national election. Unfortunately, the reaction of the typical naïve American to the fact that the election was stolen by the right-wing Republicans who are currently in power in this country has been an insistent disbelief. The indisputable facts have been either roundly disputed or assiduously ignored by the mainstream print and broadcast media, and the proponents of this ugliest of truths have been relegated to the status of tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.

The subject of this book is self-marginalizing. It utterly destroys the reflexive "It can't happen here" response of those of us who refuse to believe that it HAS happened here. I say "those of us" because acknowledgement of the basic premise of the book is the most revolutionary of thoughts for anyone who has learned to believe in the sanctity of our electoral system, and the basic premise is extremely painful to admit in spite of the overwhelming proof: Our government has been hijacked by undemocratic forces that manipulated election results to reinstall the Bush administration, an illegitimate administration initially installed by a Supreme Court decision that invalidated the results of the 2000 election, an administration dedicated to world domination and the destruction of American democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the individual rights that made this country the envy of striving people throughout the world.

hy do we refuse to believe that it can happen here and, indeed, that it has happened here? The reason is that the inevitable conclusion that American democracy has been fatally compromised can lead to only one reaction: and that reaction is action. "And what if it's true?" people ask. "What can we do?" Indeed, what can we do? Can we go on as before? Certainly not. Can we ignore it? No. (Only the press can ignore it.) We as citizens have several options: vote the bastards out, have them removed by impeachment, or take up arms against them. Yet if elections, with the help of Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and the other private machine proprietors and counters of votes, are permanently fixed, the first option is eliminated. In that case, we are truly doomed.


I am becomming more and more encouraged by the many voices of much higher profile and journalistic capacity then my own, who have made this their cause celeb.

Maybe there is cause for hope.

State quiet on voting machines

TheReporter.Com letter to the Editor

Before anyone breaths easier that the state won't be decertifying voting machines used in Solano County and 10 other counties ("Solano's voting machines OK," The Reporter, Dec. 30), don't voters have a right to know whether the machine's problems truly have been fixed?

Anyone who believes they are entitled to have their vote counted accurately should be concerned about the revelation that some Election Systems & Software machines didn't proper record people's votes in the November 2005 election. Despite being aware of the issue since mid-November, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson has yet to publicly disclose the problems with the machines or, more importantly, how ES&S plans to fix the problems and why voters should have confidence in those proposed solutions.

You do not build people's confidence in voting systems by refusing to talk about the problems with the machines in public and for the Secretary of State to continue to withhold this information is as outrageous as it is unacceptable. The decisions about the types of voting equipment Californians are going to use to elect their representatives and approve or defeat proposed initiatives need to be made in public, in the open, right here in California.

The Help American Vote Act was designed to make it easier for people to cast their ballots and improve the accuracy of the vote count. If the Secretary of State simply makes it easier to vote without ensuring every voter's vote will be accurately counted, California will have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and pulled the rug out from under our democracy in the process.

Debra Bowen, Redondo Beach

The author, a Democrat, is the chairwoman of the state Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee - Editor.

Voting 2.0 - Will Your E-Vote Count?

By Cheryl Gerber

Imagine this: A Trojan Horse unleashes thousands of illegitimate votes and disappears without a trace, election commissioners bypass laws, uninvestigated computer glitches and easily picked locks in voting systems, no federal oversight holding e-voting vendors accountable—yes folks, elections can be stolen.

Since the 2000 Presidential election, problems stemming from the use of electronic voting machines have called into question the foundation of American democracy—the US voting system. At the forefront of concerns are security issues surrounding the use of Direct Recording Electronics [DREs], better known as touch screen computer voting machines, and their lack of a paper trail in the form of an auditable paper ballot. Widely reported irregularities from voting districts around the US have alarmed many and opened claims of stolen elections. Some even doubt the legitimacy of the outcome of recent US elections. A team of top computer scientists has been working diligently to resolve the many underlying design problems in the e-voting system that leave it open to cheating. Stalled by the federal government, and with doubts about e-voting continuing to spread, these scientists have instead turned to state governments and the National Science Foundation for help.

"Maryland, where I live, uses Diebold DREs, which are an ideal opportunity for cheating," said Dr. Avi Rubin, Technical Director, Information Security Institute, Johns Hopkins University. "In fact, you couldn't come up with a better opportunity for cheating. There's no ability to audit or recount, and the entire process takes place inside the computer, which is not transparent."

In May 2004, Rubin co-authored an analysis of electronic voting systems, raising concerns about lack of security, for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional organization for technical standards. He also served in 2004 as a poll worker and election judge in Baltimore County, Maryland, where he lives. These and other experiences have only served to raise his concerns about the possibility for cheating via the use of electronic voting machines.


This is an excellent all in one primer and update on the issue of electronic voting irregularities.