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When I read about this yesterday, alarm bells went off. Could this be the Ohio surprise that steals the election for Romney? I can't find a diary here that addresses it.* I can't believe it's not getting a huge amount of attention, since, if I'm reading this correctly, what partisan Ohio SOS John Husted has done with the last minute installation of uncertified and untested software in a number of critical counties could make the effect of his outright attempts at voter suppression pale in comparison:

The Free Press confirms installation, secret justification of uncertified last minute election tabulation reporting software in Ohio
November 2, 2012

The Free Press has obtained internal memos from the senior staff of the Ohio Secretary of State's office confirming the installation of untested and uncertified election tabulation software. Yesterday, the Free Press reported that "experimental" software patches were installed on ES&S voting machines in 39 Ohio counties...

According to the contract between the Ohio Secretary of State's office and ES&S, this last minute "experimental" software update will supposedly transmit custom election night reports to the Secretary of State's office from the county boards of elections, bypassing the normal election night reporting methods...

Just as in 2004, the Ohio Secretary of State's office has enabled the possibility of a "man in the middle" attack. This software, functioning on a network through which votes are transmitted could act to intercept, alter or destroy votes from counties where it is not even installed, hence the "man in the middle" nickname...

Government reports such as Ohio's Everest study document that any single change to the system could corrupt the whole voting process.

An unelected, partisan group of attorneys appears to have conspired to install election software without testing and certification that they are professionally unqualified to pass judgment upon. These types of last minute installations of software patches on voting machines are considered suspect by knowledgeable and experienced election protection attorneys, in light of all the voting machine irregularities exposed during the 2004 election in Ohio.

Please read the entire article.

And then please explain why this isn't a major headline event. If the election comes down to Ohio, and if these counties can tip Ohio, and if the "man in the middle" attack scenario actually were being used and could not be adequately proven ...

* UPDATE: From the comments, I was incorrect, there have been 2 diaries:

"Experimental" Software Patches In Ohio Voting Machines?

Ed Show/CNN Mentioned Ohio Software Update

I also appears that the Free Press article has been discounted if not discredited by a number of people, and that some consider the Free Press to be a CT site. I am actively considering taking this diary down, although it's now received a number of recs, so out of respect to those who rec'd it, I suppose leaving it up for further comments would be acceptable. Would appreciate any comments about whether I should do that.

Thanks.

2nd UPDATE: (2045 MST) -- nobody has requested that the diary be taken down. I am now very reassured that the Free Press article was ill informed and sensationalist, although (charitably) well intended. I think it's useful that this discussion be added to the previous diaries, if only to help alleviate concern on the part of anyone else who stumbles across the FP article(s). I will admit to being more than a little embarrassed to have been taken in.

I will change the title, however. For the sake of completeness, my original title was:

Uncertified election machine software in Ohio: "Man in the Middle Attack"?

The edited title is:

UPDATED: Concern over uncertified election software in Ohio appears unwarranted.

I don't think any additional comments are needed at this point, but feel free to do so if you'd like.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:37:25 PM PST

  •  I am really, really worried about this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, rmx2630

    Has this been debunked? I'd love to know that isn't as potentially alarming as it sounds.

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:45:50 PM PST

    •  Because the only people reporting it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      white blitz, erush1345

      are a CT Website and they give no evidence of their claim.

      The votes are counted at the county level, even if someone tried a man in the middle attack, it would still be very easy to manually compare the votes from the sender to those of the receiver. These reports smell like bullshit to me.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:56:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Links to Free Press being a CT site?? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, rmx2630

        If that's the case, I'll gladly take this diary down. I can't find any documentation that indicates that. Please post links.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:05:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just found a new article in FP about this -- (0+ / 0-)

          making it even more important to know if they are credible:

          As Ohio Faces vote-rigging lawsuit, are dems, liberals, election officials ready to safeguard votes?

          "There's mounting fall-out from reports, first broken by The Free Press, that a Mitt Romney-linked company owns the Hart Intercivic voting machines used in key counties in Colorado, Ohio and other states. The stories have stoked new fears about a "stolen" election...

          The Free Press has learned that Election Systems and Solutions (ES&S) installed the software patches that will affect 4,041,056 registered voters, including those in metropolitan Columbus and Cleveland (click here for spread sheet from verifiedvoting.org)..."

          It's a very long article. Comments welcome!

          "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

          by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:11:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  how's this? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flitedocnm, MikePhoenix, erush1345, elmo

          (I referenced it before, but didn't link)

          Will Bush cancel the 2008 election?

          ...The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.

          The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don't know.

          But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006) we cannot ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention.

          The real question is not how or when they might do it. It's how, realistically, we can stop them.

          That article is riddled with CT, and so are others.

          Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
          Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

          by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:13:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't worry (0+ / 0-)

          I dont think its a CT site. I disagree with Mike on that.

          Sensationalist, Ok, CT nah.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:38:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A quick check of Wikipedia tells us (0+ / 0-)
            The Free Press is also the largest city newspaper owned by Gannett, which also publishes national newspaper USA Today. The Free Press has received nine Pulitzer Prizes and four Emmy Awards.

            The newspaper's motto is "On Guard for 181 Years."

            "But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." - bush summing up his first year in office, 3 months after 9/11, Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2001

            by rmx2630 on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 01:12:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  eh, I lean toward Mike (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox

            It isn't like WhatReallyHappened, Truther sites, or other places I won't even mention. But it's often at the verge between interpreting facts in sensational ways and leaving earth orbit altogether. Did you see the thread where Harvey Wasserman insisted that CNN "reported" at 12:20 AM that Kerry was ahead in Ohio, even after I pulled the transcript and quoted to him what CNN was actually reporting between midnight and 1 AM?

            These guys have led people to believe -- and apparently themselves believe -- that there was a huge vote flip in Ohio after midnight, or maybe after 11 PM. It seems to me that if someone really wants to believe in a massive Ohio hack, one has to believe that it happened much sooner, because anyone who watched knows that Kerry was behind hour after hour. But these guys have gone all in on SmarTech and Mike Connell, and they are rewriting our shared history to make it work. It amazes me.

            Then there is this sort of thing, where Fitrakis is mad at Rick Hasen, so he pens a screed that portrays Hasen as a Rove tool without exactly saying it. If Fitrakis doesn't want to be called a conspiracy theorist, he shouldn't act exactly like a conspiracy theorist does when challenged.

            Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
            Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

            by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 04:10:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  IMHO FRitakis has his own agenda (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HudsonValleyMark

              And its about Bob, not you, me, or election fraud.

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 08:57:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, he pretty much opposes Democrats (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roger Fox

                I don't totally understand it, but in his version of radical politics, the Democrats' apparent indifference to his conviction that they are being robbed blind demonstrates that there is no important difference between the two parties. It sort of makes sense, apart from being largely factually incorrect.

                But I guess he has an agenda that isn't just about Bob, or at least he thinks he does. It's interesting.

                Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
                Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

                by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 12:07:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Bob Fitrakis is a bit of a sensationalist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        HE's very capable of writing to inflame. WE had to deal with this back in 2005-2007. Never the less what Bob Fitrakis writes appears to be essentially accurate.

        People like Joyce McCLoy from NC-voter, Rebecca Mercurri and from DU, Landshark (who sued Sequoia in WA and forced them to leave the state)... these people did more to illustrate the problems with computerized voting and to get Voter Verified paper ballot printers on DREs than Bob Fitrakis did.

        In Fact CASE Ohio led the fight to get VVPB laws passed in Ohio.

        I know, I was in those conference calls and I am still on a few email lists.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:22:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, not nearly that alarming (8+ / 0-)

      First of all, the stated purpose of the software is to convert a report into a different, state-standard text format. There's nothing especially experimental or "bypassing" about it.

      Now, in principle it could be full of malware, as anything else on those workstations could be. (Sometimes these guys say "voting machines," but they aren't machines that anyone is voting on.) But the votes are recorded on paper, and the voting machine totals are recorded on paper, and it really isn't obvious how to steal the election by hacking the county computers, unless the Obama campaign cooperates -- which, despite Fitrakis's deep concern, doesn't seem likely at all. (Nor does it seem likely, if Husted wanted to hack the county computers, that he would do it in a contract with ES&S.)

      When you read anything by Fitrakis, bear in mind that this is the fellow who warned us that Bush might cancel the 2008 election. He isn't exactly prone to understatement.

      Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:58:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ugh, SO happy to read your comment. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flitedocnm, Roger Fox

        I read the original and was freaking out.

      •  Excellent point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flitedocnm
        if Husted wanted to hack the county computers, that he would do it in a contract with ES&S.)

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:33:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What I read (sorry don't remember where) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flitedocnm

        is that this patch is supposed to transfer vote totals, so that workers don't have to do so much by hand.  Doesn't that imply the voting machines or tabulators will be directly linked to county computers?  Perhaps to transfer data?

        •  as I understand it... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          juca

          votes are counted on the voting machines and central count scanner, then those counts are physically transferred (via memory cards) to the county computers.

          The county computers can be called "tabulators," since they aggregate vote counts from various sources (not the same as "central tabulators" that count individual votes, for instance, in central-count optical scan systems).

          I believe that in Ohio, the tabulators can't be connected to the internet. So I assume the workflow in ES&S counties would be something like this: transfer low-level vote counts to the tabulator via memory card; create a report using the certified Unity election management software; reformat the report using the updated software we're discussing here; sneakernet that report to an internet-connected computer to send to the SoS.

          This is a precinct-level report (must be, since the upgrade has to do with handling precinct codes), so it isn't logically necessary to send it very often. However, Ohio may be trying to move toward the Minnesota model, where statewide precinct-level results are available in close to real time through the night. So, if there is an experiment here, it may be getting counties up to speed on producing these reports amidst all the other things they have to do on election night. But that is sheer speculation on my part; I haven't seen anyone other than the Free Press crew refer to anything as "experimental."

          Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
          Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

          by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 03:43:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Came Up Last Night, It's Not That Dire. (5+ / 0-)

    It's not on voting machines, and it's not for the tabulation software. Evidently it is a file format translator that translates a copy of the results to a new file for reporting.

    Here's a link to the comment thread in the diary where HudsonValleyMark dug up the details:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Still worrisome, but the original paper ballots remain, and I think there's a paper receipt for the tally at each site as well.

    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 Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:47:59 PM PST

  •  Some facts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, rmx2630

    ES&S iVotronic's are used in 44 Ohio Counties, ES&S applied patches to voting machines in all 44 counties, this is not unusual.

    What caught my attention is that ES&S patched tabulators in only 39 counties. Leaving 5 unpatched.

    I want to know what 5 counties were not patched and what is the breakdown of voter reg. If those 5 counties are the strongest GOP counties in Ohio, it might be cause for alarm.

    It is also important to note that all of Ohio DRE's have VVPB printers. State law clearly outlines when the DRE records are ditched and the paper is hand counted.

    You might be looking for the Diary entitled: "Experimental" Software Patches In Ohio Voting Machines? It was published Nov 2nd @ 12:48am. I wont link to it because IMHO its trash, minimal facts and lots of hype. I think that sort of diary is counter productive, it may convince some people not to vote in Ohio cause "Its fixed".

    And you might want to correct part of your diary, Husted did not do this............ ES&S did.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:53:19 PM PST

    •  The Free Press article points to Husted's office. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, rmx2630

      Can't say if Husted personally was involved, but it would be somewhat shocking if his imprimatur wasn't on this.

      I'd love to know whether ES&S has any history of partisan affiliation.

      And why was this done at the very last minute, in apparent violation of election law requiring certified software?

      I hope that the concern is overblown. And the very last thing I'd want to do is to discourage anyone from voting.

      But in the event that Ohio is the deciding state, if there were tampering related to this -- and I don't pretend to have the expertise to know whether the "man in the middle attack" is a technically realistic concern or not -- can you imagine the mess that would ensue? Would anyone have any confidence that the legal process would function any better than it did in 2000?

      "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

      by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:00:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt it was illegal (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flitedocnm, KenBee, Cobbler

        It appears that on page 17 of the contract the customer made a request

        http://freepress.org/...

        Read page 19 for details of request.

        IIRC Ohio State law requires that when voting machine software is purchased it be certified. It is unlikely this applies to feature updates. In fact I am extremely certain that is so.

        I am a Veteran of those wars, 2005-2007, so I have "some" expertize. Organized a fight in NJ to stop the purchase of the Sequoia Advantage.

        Remember every DRE in Ohio has a VVPB printer. SO there are paper ballots.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:12:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I apologize (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flitedocnm

      The patch was applied to tabulators in 39 counties per customer request.

      It appears that on page 17 of the contract the customer made a request

      http://freepress.org/...

      Read page 19 for details of request.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:05:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Roger, that 44 refers to 2004 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, flitedocnm

      Check the first two grafs of the earlier Free Press story again. I haven't checked the details.

      This year, we're talking about new software on 39 county systems. If any voting machines (i.e., that people vote on) have been patched, it isn't mentioned in these stories.

      Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:05:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My diary wasn't "trash," Roger. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flitedocnm, rmx2630

      Once again, there you go with your insults.  If you have a problem with the Free Press article, that's fine.  But that doesn't give you the right to denigrate my diary.

      In fact, neither of my diaries were OH MY GOD, THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END rants.  

      Since I didn't have the technical knowledge to suss this out myself, I quoted from and linked to the Free Press article and asked a legitimate question.  Fortunately, there were people willing to answer questions from me and other non-techies without snark and condescension.  HudsonValleyMark being one of them.

      1st Diary

      I did the second diary yesterday because both CNN and the Ed Show had segments on this very issue.

      2nd Diary

      “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

      by WFBMM on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:11:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Roger, WFBMM, can we work this out? (0+ / 0-)

        I get along fine with both of you, and I don't see any reason why you wouldn't like each other.

        I don't want to put words in Roger's mouth -- given the time stamp, I'm not even sure what diary he was talking about. But if he indeed was referring to yours, WFBMM, I would note that the diary mostly consists of quoting Fitrakis and Bello's article and asking about it. So I would construe that he was criticizing the article, not your questions about it.

        Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 04:38:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bless your heart, Mark.... (0+ / 0-)
          WFBMM, I would note that the diary mostly consists of quoting Fitrakis and Bello's article and asking about it. So I would construe that he was criticizing the article, not your questions about it.
          If this is true, then he should have said this.  Instead, he said something quite different.  Calling the article trash and my diary trash are two different things.  He chose to do the latter.

          I don't need to get along with him.  It's not a priority.  Seriously.  lol  I just wanted to set the record straight.

          “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

          by WFBMM on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 07:20:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Can't the DEMS go to court? Something is fishy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm
  •  Oh ffs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm

    Seriously.  

    Non-story.

    GOTV.  Knock doors.  Drive people to polls.  Bring donuts, coffee, and bottled water to folks standing in line.

    Leave the tinfoil hat buffoonery to someone else.  Please?

  •  Not in Allen County, OH (3+ / 0-)

    One of the articles I read indicated that one of the counties involved was Allen County, which is my county, so I e-mailed the Democrat who is Director of the Board of Elections and asked him about it. After he found the article he replied, "I have no idea what they are talking about.  The last software update that was installed on our system was done so after board of voting machine examiners review and state level certification." So yeah--GOTV, that's what we need.

    “Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Abraham Lincoln

    by ohmydem on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:45:04 PM PST

  •  Damn... (0+ / 0-)

    ...now all of the defeatists will have to worry that the GOTV effort will fail.  We have to lose OH somehow....

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