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In light of the efforts of Bev Harris and about the of the events of the 2004 (S)election, regarding security of the Diebold Machines that were used in Ohio, this procedure, or, lack of uniform procedure currently in place in appalling.  (It also must be noted that Black Box Voting homepage provides a link to a Citizens Tool Kit and another link requesting  volunteers to count votes by hand, if necessary.)  

There has been discussion as to the security of the software that is used by Diebold in the voting machines.  However, as early as 2002, it was claimed that

".... faulty 'memory cards' in the machines caused [a] 16,000-vote disappearance on election night. The glitch was soon fixed.
 The was due to the work and documentation of Bev Harris:
"If you strip away the partisan rancor over the 2000 election, you are left with the undeniable fact that a presidential candidate conceded the election to his opponent based on [results from] a second card that mysteriously appears, subtracts 16,022 votes, then just as mysteriously disappears."

However, hardware concerns were raised this year.  Bruce Funk, a former county clerk of Emery County, Utah, discovered problems that were not all related to software, specifically faulty printers, broken doors and low backup-memory storage. Funk also suspected that some of the machines were not new, having found the results of previous elections still stored on them.  

Funk then claimed that commissioners accused him of causing an increased expense of $40-50 thousand in "recertification" costs and was pressured to resign. And, the locks on his office were changed. Funk also claims that his resignation was verbal, due to pressure, and, he later rescinded it.

Harri Hurst, a computer scientist from Finland, demonstrated an

extremely serious flaws in the design of touchscreen voting terminals from Diebold Election Systems that could lead to an unscrupulous person or organization having complete control of the software on those systems.

An attacker with physical access to the voting terminal can permanently change the programming of a terminal in a way that is difficult or impossible to detect. With a PCMCIA memory card, phillips-head screwdriver, and 5 minutes of time, any portion of the software that runs on the terminal can be modified. It is not just the voting application that can be replaced; the operating system and even the bootloader can also be changed via this mechanism.

Is it possible that hardware problems in a Diebold voting machine could be built to mimic software problems?  Is it possible that Will Wright, computer game designer and co-founder of the game development company, Maxis, provided a (possibly inadvertant) partial answer during a previous interview?  

"We can build hardware that can mimic human physical abilities, but we lack the intelligence to control (these abilities)."
   
Wright was referring to computer games, but, does his answer apply to other computer hardware mimicking a software problem?  In other words, can hardware have a built-in error to mimic another error in the computer that is used, for whatever purpose?  Or, are they two sepatate problems entirely?  Would it even be possible to determine which one caused the "vote flipping" from Kerry to Bush in 2004 when one in Ohio voted on a touch-screen Diebold machine?  And if so, how would it be solved?  Would changing questionable hardware resolve the issues with Diebold voting  machines if the software that is used in them is open-source?  Is that the only way to determine that one's vote is secure?  And, what about the software that is used in the machines to tabulate the votes?  Should that also be open-source?  Again, what about the hardware?  

Another issue that is just coming to light is a second instance of "vote flipping".  It has been written that

"You've got electronic voting machines. Many people called in and shared their concern. They pushed the button for Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson came up. It wasn't one time, it wasn't two times, it was many, many times," Karen Fitzpatrick, who has been monitoring elections for US Rep. McKinney's re-election campaign, told Atlanta Progressive News in an exclusive interview.  The McKinney Campaign says they have documented complaints of voters here in Georgia whose votes FLIPPED BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES on Diebold machines.

This indicates what to expect in November?

Originally posted to Street Kid on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:35 AM PDT.

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