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View Diary: Voting-machines tested, report up on CALIF Secy of State website (136 comments)

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  •  Leon County, Fla. (4.00)
     (1) An initial test first tried to penetrate or infiltrate the system remotely by modem. That attempt failed.

     (2)  But, as detailed in Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho's report, the second test was more unsettling.

    Granting physical access to the Diebold tabulating system similar to the access permitted an election-office employee let the hacker [H. Hursti] alter the records of votes without leaving any evidence of intrusion, revision or alteration.

    Elections supervisor Ion Sancho summarized (see the Leon County elections website report):

    Granted the same access as an employee of our office, it was possible to enter the computer, alter election results, and exit the system without leaving any physical record of this action. It was also demonstrated that false information or instructions could be placed on a memory card (the device used to program the individual voting machines and record the voter's votes) and create false results or election reports.

    Sancho concludes in his report "the ultimate insurance that Leon County's votes are counted correctly resides in the paper (optical scan) ballots of the voters themselves. If the public or election official has any question over the results of an election, a hand count of the optical paper ballot provides the truth."

    Opti-scan is probably the best answer. Sancho (and Volusia County also) have been holding out for the Automark disabled-accessible interface for an added machine per precinct for disabled voters (HAVA compliant) It produces an opti-scan ballot.

    •  But if win margin % > auto-recount requirement? (none)
      Can losing candidates or third parties gain access to the physical ballots if the win margin percentage is greater than the law's auto-recount requirement?

      ~~This is Aaron G. Stock~~ (My Public Email is altered. Swap "g-ma-il" and "ace-pumpk-in", then remove dashes to email me.)

      by Ace Pumpkin on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 08:30:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may be harder if the margin is great, (none)
        like you say.

        But there are many fewer obstacles to recounting when you use op-scan.  The paper already has usable "ballot" status, which counts for much more (legally) than does a receipt or a "paper-trail" status.  With optical scan ballots, there's simply no reason not to look at them, if there's a clamor or a legal challenge.

        In California, a new law — which the Secretary of State opposed but Schwarzenegger signed last month anyway — now gives the paper record a legal ballot status (like an alternate or redundant ballot record).  However, because of the logistical difficulty in accumulating counts from the flimsy roll of records, it will not be reviewed in 99% of precincts unless there is a compelling legal reason.  A challenge.

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