[Mb-civic] The perils of computerized vote counting...
ean at sbcglobal.net
ean at sbcglobal.net
Sun Sep 5 09:40:54 PDT 2004
The below is the first of 4 parts....you can read the rest by going to the site
below and clicking "go to Part 2" at the bottom. Better for us to know than be
in the dark...
Consumer Report Part 1: Look
at this -- the Diebold GEMS
central tabulator contains a
stunning security hole
Submitted by Bev Harris on Thu, 08/26/2004 - 11:43. Investigations
Issue: Manipulation technique found in the Diebold central tabulator -
- 1,000 of these systems are in place, and they count up to two million
votes at a time.
By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is
created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches
the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the
bogus vote set. It takes only seconds to change the votes, and to date
not a single location in the U.S. has implemented security
measures to fully mitigate the risks.
This program is not "stupidity" or sloppiness. It was designed and
tested over a series of a dozen version adjustments.
Public officials: If you are in a county that uses GEMS 1.18.18,
GEMS 1.18.19, or GEMS 1.18.23, your secretary or state may not
have told you about this. You're the one who'll be blamed if your
election is tampered with. Find out for yourself if you have this
problem: Black Box Voting will be happy to walk you through a
diagnostic procedure over the phone. E-mail Bev Harris or Andy
Stephenson to set up a time to do this.
For the media: Harris and Stephenson will be in New York City on
Aug. 30, 31, Sep.1, to demonstrate this built-in election tampering
Members of congress and Washington correspondents: Harris and
Stephenson will be in Washington D.C. on Sept. 22 to demonstrate
this problem for you.
Whether you vote absentee, on touch-screens, or on paper ballot (fill in
the bubble) optical scan machines, all votes are ultimately brought to
the "mother ship," the central tabulator at the county which adds them
all up and creates the results report.
These systems are used in over 30 states and each counts up to two
million votes at once.
(Click "read more" for the rest of this section)
The central tabulator is far more vulnerable than the touch screen
terminals. Think about it: If you were going to tamper with an election,
would you rather tamper with 4,500 individual voting machines, or
with just one machine, the central tabulator which receives votes from
all the machines? Of course, the central tabulator is the most desirable
Findings: The GEMS central tabulator program is incorrectly
designed and highly vulnerable to fraud. Election results can be
changed in a matter of seconds. Part of the program we examined
appears to be designed with election tampering in mind. We have also
learned that election officials maintain inadequate controls over access
to the central tabulator. We need to beef up procedures to mitigate
Much of this information, originally published on July 8, 2003, has
since been corroborated by formal studies (RABA) and by Diebold's
own internal memos written by its programmers.
Not a single location has yet implemented the security measures
needed to mitigate the risk. Yet, it is not too late. We need to tackle
this one, folks, roll up our sleeves, and implement corrective measures.
In Nov. 2003, Black Box Voting founder Bev Harris, and director Jim
March, filed a Qui Tam lawsuit in California citing fraudulent claims
by Diebold, seeking restitution for the taxpayer. Diebold claimed its
voting system was secure. It is, in fact, highly vulnerable to and
appears to be designed for fraud.
The California Attorney General was made aware of this problem
nearly a year ago. Harris and Black Box Voting Associate Director
Andy Stephenson visited the Washington Attorney General's office in
Feb. 2004 to inform them of the problem. Yet, nothing has been done
to inform election officials who are using the system, nor have
appropriate security safeguards been implemented. In fact, Gov.
Arnold Swarzenegger recently froze the funds, allocated by Secretary
of State Kevin Shelley, which would have paid for increased scrutiny
of the voting system in California.
On April 21, 2004, Harris appeared before the California Voting
Systems Panel, and presented the smoking gun document showing that
Diebold had not corrected the GEMS flaws, even though it had
updated and upgraded the GEMS program.
On Aug. 8, 2004, Harris demonstrated to Howard Dean how easy it is
to change votes in GEMS, on CNBC TV.
On Aug. 11, 2004, Jim March formally requested that the Calfornia
Voting Systems Panel watch the demonstration of the double set of
books in GEMS. They were already convened, and the time for Harris
was already allotted. Though the demonstration takes only 3 minutes,
the panel refused to allow it and would not look. They did, however,
meet privately with Diebold afterwards, without informing the public
or issuing any report of what transpired.
On Aug. 18, 2004, Harris and Stephenson, together with computer
security expert Dr. Hugh Thompson, and former King County
Elections Supervisor Julie Anne Kempf, met with members of the
California Voting Systems Panel and the California Secretary of
State's office to demonstrate the double set of books. The officials
declined to allow a camera crew from 60 Minutes to film or attend.
The Secretary of State's office halted the meeting, called in the general
counsel for their office, and a defense attorney from the California
Attorney General's office. They refused to allow Black Box Voting to
videotape its own demonstration. They prohibited any audiotape and
specified that no notes of the meeting could be requested in public
The undersecretary of state, Mark Kyle, left the meeting early, and one
voting panel member, John Mott Smith, appeared to sleep through the
On Aug. 23, 2004, CBC TV came to California and filmed the
On Aug 30 and 31, Harris and Stephenson will be in New York City to
demonstrate the double set of books for any public official and any TV
crews who wish to see it.
On Sept. 1, another event is planned in New York City, and on Sept.
21, Harris and Stephenson intend to demonstrate the problem for
members and congress and the press in Washington D.C.
Diebold has known of the problem, or should have known, because it
did a cease and desist on the web site when Harris originally reported
the problem in 2003. On Aug. 11, 2004, Harris also offered to show
the problem to Marvin Singleton, Diebold's damage control expert,
and to other Diebold execs. They refused to look.
Why don't people want to look? Suppose you are formally informed
that the gas tank tends to explode on the car you are telling people to
use. If you KNOW about it, but do nothing, you are liable.
LET US HOLD DIEBOLD, AND OUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS,
You are currently on Mha Atma's Earth Action Network email list, option D
(up to 3 emails/day). To be removed, or to switch options (option A -
1x/week, option B - 3/wk, option C - up to 1x/day, option D - up to 3x/day)
please reply and let us know! If someone forwarded you this email and you
want to be on our list, send an email to ean at sbcglobal.net and tell us which
option you'd like.
Action is the antidote to despair. ----Joan Baez
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Mb-civic