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Next Monday, the 24th, our local Democratic group is holding a chat of sorts AND best of all - the counties new Touch Screen voting machines will be there. I plan to go and take a LOT of photos.  They will also be offering hands on time.

My question to ya'll.  Suggestions?  Things I should make sure they have (paper trail is one, secure access is another).  I plan on brining my laptop with the wireless sniffer to see if I can get anything that way.  I am open to more ideas...

From the web it looks to be ES&S DRE machine...

UPDATE: I went to the meeting last night and was EXTREMELY disappointed with my Election Board Official. I have notes to add here but I would have had a transcript from a tape BUT she would not let me tape/film the demo. I'll add what photos I did take and notes and such tomorrow.

Originally posted to eAddict on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:07 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I assume you've been (0+ / 0-)

    here: (warning: some offensive content; disable popups)

    lots o' toolz and such.

  •  Will you be allowed to put in test votes? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know the code is proprietary (why they're allowed to keep it that way, I don't know), but can you at least test it to see if it incorrectly counts votes?

    Don't take my bluntness and attitude personally-the best weapon for the Democrats is the unvarnished truth, and the truth usually hurts.

    by DemocraticLuntz on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:13:49 PM PDT

  •  Take a trip to (3+ / 0-)

    I'm sure they'll have a ton of ideas you could try.

  •  What's running on it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zappini, Real History Lisa

    The software being run is probably the most critical aspect.

    • Is it Windows-based (god help us)?
    • What language is the voting software written in?
    • How are data stored, in a toy database like Access or some robust way?
    • Are stored data encrypted or not?
    • How does it recover from power failures? (I'd pull the plug while it's running to see.)
    • How are updates applied?

    For the hardware, I'd see if it's connected via phone or network during operation. That's a bad, bad sign.

    •  Ask If It Is a Computer or a Piece of Paper (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If it's a computer, that's a very bad sign.

      If they say it's a piece of paper, fold it up into an airplane and fly it across the room. If it breaks somebody's foot, it's a computer.

      Which is a very bad sign.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:43:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have to see the code. You have to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zappini, Real History Lisa

    how easily patches can be applied or data can be overwritten. If you are not a programmer, find a programmer to help you.

  •  Ask about the audit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zappini, viral

    Machines can be rigged to pass any number of tests and still cheat when it counts. (I should know - I was a programmer for several years.)

    Ask how the machine counts will be audited. In California, state law requires that 1% manul of the precincts, chosen on a random basis, must be conducted to verify the voting system is working as designed. CA doesn't really follow it's own law in this regard and no other state will either if they think we aren't watching. So ask:

    1. How will the machines be audited?
    1. If an audit turns up a discrepancy, what then?
    1. Is there an infrared port, a wireless connection, or a network port? All of these can be two-way connections, triggering hidden code, and should be banned.

    Lastly, the machine that records the votes is only part of the problem.  The more vulnerable area is the "central tabulator", the single computer - often running Diebold's GEMS program - which summarizes the votes. This system is so easily hackable a monkey was trained to do it for a TV stunt in San Diego.

    Ask who can observe the operator at central tabulator during the summarizing of the vote.

    Ask that counts for each precinct be tallied separately before they are summarized. As it is, one can reverse engineer precinct tallies if the precinct total is not known in advance.

    Be bold. Ask everything you can think of. And thank you so much for trying to help secure our vote!!!

  •  Info Links (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Caltech/MIT Electronic Voting Project ( ) has a lot of information and you may find a state or local contact there.  People for the American Way and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility have projects on electronic voting.  You might also want to contact the ACLU.

    More links at

    Video of my small scale solar experiments at

    by gmoke on Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:31:05 PM PDT

  •  Questions to Ask (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hi eAddict.  Good for you.  Good for us.  I'm really glad that you've taken on this task.  Happy Hunting!

    You don't mention which make and model you'll be seeing.  Do you know?  That would make it easy to ask specific questions.  For instance, for all Diebold gear, everyone should ask why your county is using devices containing interpretted code, which is prohibited by the Feds.

    Voters Unite keeps a list of reported problems, issues, and failures with electronic voting and counting gear.

    I wrote a longish diary back in January called Diebold Certified for WA State, when our state certified gear from Diebold and Hart/Intercivic.  I've learned quite a bit since then.

    Some generic questions are:

    • What is the failure rate of the device?  Does it meet the HAVA requirement of no more than 1 error per 500,000 votes?  Why not?
    • Does the device meet HAVA requirements for disabled voter accessibility?  (Diebold doesn't.)  Why not?  Why wasn't a HAVA compliant alternative choosen, like the AutoMark or Vote-Pad?
    • Is there a VVPAT?  If not, why?  HAVA requires an audit trail.
    • What is the ballot of record?  The machine reported tally or the printed VVPAT?
    • How is a recount conducted?  It is fully manual (by hand)?  When does that happen?  When there's a close race?  Is there a mandatory recount performance audit?  If yes, what percentage is recounted and how are the precincts chosen?  What are the procedures for a recount?
    • What are the testing and certification procedures?  Is the there a way to ensure the software certified is the actual software in use?

    Okay.  That's probably enough for now. (haha)  I'm procrasinating and should get back to "work".

    Holler if you need help or advice.  My contact info is my profile.

    Again, Happy Hunting.

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