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Diebold May Have Defrauded The Federal Certification Process PDF  | Print |  Email
Diebold
By Michael Shelby   
August 08, 2006
Diebold Elections Systems may have obtained its Federal certifications for their touchscreen voting machines by committing fraud, including withholding information and submitting false documentation. An investigation that spans three years by election integrity activist Jim March, formerly of Black Box Voting, renders the electronic voting machines of the Diebold Company “legally valueless”.

If I were Diebold I would be afraid . . . very afraid!

A statement released Thursday, August 3, 2006, by Dr. Richard. R. Lee, PhD describes how the Windows CE operating system used by the Diebold machines is not Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software as Diebold has submitted in its request for National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED) certification. NASED certification is required in 37 states and plays a significant role in most of the others. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) 2002 rules state, “…devices and software are exempted from certain portions of the qualification testing process so long as such products are not modified in any manner for use in the voting system.” Dr. Lee recognized by Microsoft as an Embedded MVP for his work with Windows CE, states that, “It is not possible to build a functioning release of Windows CE for any platform strictly from the executable components provided by Microsoft. There are always program elements which must be developed for that specific platform … typically done by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or by their agent [Wyle Labs]; not by Microsoft.”(emphasis mine)
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People With Disabilities Set Up For Failure In Vote-PAD Testing In California PDF  | Print |  Email
Vote-PAD
By John Gideon, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA   
August 07, 2006

Voters To Hold Press Conference Before Public Hearing In Sacramento On Wednesday

 

This article appeared on The Brad Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author. 

 

Vote-PAD is a low-tech, voting assistive device that was developed with input from the disabilities community. Because it is inexpensive to purchase and maintain, Vote-PAD is a threat to electronic voting systems. Vote-PAD also makes voting a possibility for a wider range of voters with disabilities than do almost all of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touch-screen voting systems.

 

Even though some northern California counties had already purchased Vote-PAD for use in their elections as their HAVA compliant voting system for voters with disabilities; the Secretary of State decided that they would have to certify Vote-PAD for use with the optical-scan systems that are in use in each of the user counties.

 

The state then wrote a test plan that was totally unfair to the voters with disabilities who were expected to test the Vote-PAD. The state did not use a Human Factors Usability Testing Expert, an expert in writing test procedures for disabilities access. Instead they wrote a procedure that would have been better suited to testing a computerized voting system and they appear to have done this without really understanding how voters with disabilities actually use the device.

 

It is important to note that the state of California has certified for use many voting systems produced by Sequoia, Elections Systems and Software, Diebold, and Hart Intercivic. These devices have been certified by the state as being HAVA compliant and usable by voters with disabilities. Yet, not one of the electronic voting systems has been tested specifically by the disabilities community or even advocates for that community. Instead, a cursory inspection was made by unqualified staff and/or unqualified consultants and they were all accepted for use.

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Worst Ever Security Flaw Found In Diebold Touchscreen Voting Machine PDF  | Print |  Email
Diebold
By Open Voting Consortium   
July 31, 2006
"This may be the worst security flaw we have seen in touch screen voting machines," says Open Voting Foundation president, Alan Dechert (pictured at right). Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.

"Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant," according to Dechert. "If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS -- and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver." This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail so there is no way to check if the voter’s choices are accurately reflected in the tabulation.

Open Voting Foundation is releasing 22 high-resolution close up pictures of the system. This picture in particular shows a “BOOT AREA CONFIGURATION” chart painted on the system board.

The most serious issue is the ability to choose between "EPROM" and "FLASH" boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present. All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called "Logic And Accuracy Tests".
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AutoMARK Gets A Patent For The "Ballot Marking Device" PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Joseph Hall, Univeristy of California, Berkeley   
July 30, 2006

This article appeared on Not Quite A Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.

 

a person with disabilities using a head wand to interact with an AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal One of the true innovations in computer-mediated voting in recent years is the development of the ballot marking device. A number of vendors have developed devices that essentially act like large expensive pens. These devices allow people with disabilities to interact privately and independently with a touchscreen, ADA-compliant voting interface to mark a normal optical scan ballot while people without disabilities can fill out the same optical scan ballot by hand.

 

Vogue Election Systems, Inc. and AutoMARK Technical Systems, LLC are the most successful ballot marking device developers with their AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal (above, at right). It was only natural, I suppose, that they seek to patent their innovation. Eugene M. Cummings of AutoMARK Technical Systems, LLC was awarded patent no. 7,080,779 for a ballot marking device on 25 July 2006 (filed 11 Dec. 2003). Here is the patent's page on the USPTO's site. Here are the patent images turned into a 5.1MB PDF.

 

This will make it much more difficult for other vendors to develop their own similar ballot marking device and could pose problems for non-profit groups (like the Open Voting Consortium) which might be developing ballot-marking devices or devices based on similar architectures. I hope AutoMARK TS, Inc., is open to licensing their technology, and hopefully at reduced royalties for non-profit groups. Seeing as how they've signed exclusive marketing and manufacturing agreements with Election Systems and Software (ES&S) and how competitive the voting systems market is, I'm not holding my breath.

The Diebold Bombshell PDF  | Print |  Email
Diebold
By David Dill, Doug Jones and Barbara Simons   
July 24, 2006

This article appeared on OpEdNews.com. It is reposted here with permission of the authors.

 

Most computer scientists have long viewed Diebold as the poster child for all that is wrong with touch screen voting machines. But we never imagined that Diebold would be as irresponsible and incompetent as they have turned out to be.

Recently, computer security expert Harri Hursti revealed serious security vulnerabilities in Diebold's software. According to Michael Shamos, a computer scientist and voting system examiner in Pennsylvania, "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system."

Even more shockingly, we learned recently that Diebold and the State of Maryland had been aware of these vulnerabilities for at least two years. They were documented in analysis, commissioned by Maryland and conducted by RABA Technologies, published in January 2004. For over two years, Diebold has chosen not to fix the security holes, and Maryland has chosen not to alert other states or national officials about these problems.

Basically, Diebold included a "back door" in its software, allowing anyone to change or modify the software. There are no technical safeguards in place to ensure that only authorized people can make changes.

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Federal Committee To Investigate Sequoia Ownership PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
July 16, 2006
Responding to a request from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, pictured at right), the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) has opened an investigation into whether the foreign ownership of Sequoia Voting Systems compromises national security. Smartmatic, whose majority owners once had links to the Venzuelan government, acquired Sequoia last year. Earlier this year CFIUS, a 12-agency panel chaired by the Treasury Department, approved a bid by a Dubai company to buy several U.S. port operations, a deal that was subsequently terminated after questions were raised in Congress and in the media.

The ranking member of the subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, which has jurisdiction over CFIUS, Maloney sent a letter on May 4, stating that she wanted to ensure the Smartmatic deal had received federal scrutiny. Maloney was quoted in a recent syndicated article "as you can imagine, having a foreign government investing in or owning a company that supplies voting machines for U.S. elections could raise concerns over the integrity of elections conducted with those machines."
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Inventor of Electronic Voting Verification System Sues Industry Giants for Patent Infringent PDF  | Print |  Email
Avante
By PR Newswire   
July 12, 2006

Download Complaint

Complaint Exhibit A

Complaint Exhibit B 

 

SimmonsCooper LLC has filed a lawsuit against the three largest voting machine manufacturers for infringing AVANTE International Technology Corporation's Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and optical scan patents.

Named in the suit are Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), and Sequoia Voting Systems. The suit was filed on behalf of Kevin Chung, CEO of Avante International Technology Corporation, Inc., who invented VVPAT.

 

AVANTE's VVPAT and optical scanning (which includes automatic ballot marking) patents allow voters to verify that their electronically-cast ballots are being accurately counted while also allowing for auditability between the paper record and the electronic record.

 

The AVANTE technology directly addresses widespread skepticism about the integrity of electronic voting, solving a problem that has threatened to undermine public faith in a process tainted in recent elections by allegations of computer manipulation.

 

"AVANTE isn't the only victim here," said Paul Lesko, the SimmonsCooper lawyer representing AVANTE. "Local governments, acting in good faith in determining which electronic voting system would serve the needs of their districts, also have every reason to be upset at these companies.

 

"We believe the evidence will show that these companies sold infringing equipment to public officials, and that they did so consciously, with knowledge of AVANTE's intellectual property," added Mr. Lesko

Experts Say Dutch Voting Machines Are Unreliable PDF  | Print |  Email
Liberty Systems
By NIS News Bulletin   
July 06, 2006

A group of experts have launched a campaign against the voting machines used in elections in the Netherlands. They say the computers, produced by NEDAP, are unreliable. These are the same machines that are stored in warehouses in Ireland for not being accurate and the same machines being marketed in New York and New Jersey by Libety Systems.

 

On a website, initiator Rop Gonggrijp explains he wants to check up on elections via voting computers. He is founder of XS4All, the oldest Dutch Internet provider. Gongrijp is backed by people including software writer Peter Knoppers of the University of Delft, researcher Anne-Marie Oostveen of the Rathenau Institute and encryption expert Barry Wels.

 

In the Netherlands, voting with a pencil is only occasionally still used. Computers are used almost everywhere. This will not be different during the 22 November early general elections.

 

"Checkups on vote-counting are done by a handful of technicians, test institutions and civil servants," Gonggrijp complains. He wants the source code of the software used to be published. A copy should be made of each vote to allow retrospective checking of the outcome and to be able to carry out a random survey, Knoppers added.

 

Nederlandsche Apparatenfabriek (Nedap), the company that supplies around 90 percent of the voting machines used in the Netherlands, said it would even consider releasing the source code. "Anyone could then copy our machines", a spokesman explained. Nedap also supplies voting machines to foreign governments.

Irish Voting Group Welcomes Report, Calls for Complete Review of E-Voting Project PDF  | Print |  Email
Liberty Systems
By Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Elections   
July 06, 2006

On July 04, 2006 The Commission on Electronic Voting presented its second report to the Ceann Comhairle concerning its further work in relation to the secrecy, accuracy and testing of the NEDAP/Powervote electronic voting system. NEDAP/Powervote is being marketted in the United States as Liberty Voting Systems. The Commission concluded that while it can recommend the voting and counting equipment of the chosen system for use at elections in Ireland, subject to further work it has also recommended, it is unable to recommend the election management software for such use.

 

Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting (ICTE) today welcomed the release of the Commission on Electronic Voting's second report on the secrecy and accuracy of the Nedap/Powervote e-voting system. "We are satisfied that this report vindicates our concerns about this e-voting system, particularly the need for a voter verified paper audit trail (p153,4) and the need to entirely replace the vote-management section of the system (p14)" said Margaret McGaley (pictured at right), spokesperson for ICTE.

In response to Minister Roche's determination to continue with the introduction of this system, Ms McGaley highlighted the expense the necessary modifications would entail. "We should not decide to use this system without doing a full cost-benefit analysis both for the system as a whole, and from this point on. The changes laid out by the commission are extensive. They will require a significant investment of both time and money to implement, and we need to ask if this system is worth it. The €60 million that has been spent to date is gone and the futher investment of several years, and millions of euro, will not bring it back."

"We are particularly happy to see, on page 153 and 154, that the commission have explicitly stated that the paper system is superior to the chosen system because the latter does not provide a voter verified paper audit trail." said
Ms McGaley. ICTE maintains that no electronic voting system can be trustworthy unless it includes a paper-based voter verified audit trail (VVAT), a view shared by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Irish Computer Society (ICS). According to Fergal Daly of ICTE: "After repeated failures of electronic voting systems, many states in the US are enacting laws mandating VVAT. We should learn from their mistakes rather than repeating them."

ES&S Programming Is Unverifiable PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By John Washburn, VoteTrustUSA Voting Technology Task Force   
July 05, 2006
The Iowa Secretary of State has responded to my reporting on ES&S firmware and has confirmed that ES&S programming is unverifiable. The original article appeared on my blog. This article was picked up by an election integrity activist, Jerry Depew of Iowans for Voting Integrity. Mr. Depew in turn asked his state election officials to respond to my allegation. The response from the Casey Sinnwell, Assistant Director of Communications to Iowa Secretary of State, Chet Culver, confirms my statement.


It is impossible for an election official (either at the state or local level) to verify the software running on an M100 scanner for an election is indeed the version of the firmware certified for use in the state. The inescapable conclusion for Wisconsin is that it is also impossible for a municipal or county clerk to verify whether or not the statutory requirement of WI 5.40(2) is met when the programming is delivered by ES&S for any precinct, municipality, or county.

 

Here is the complete response from the Secretary of State of the State of Iowa:

I thank you for your concern with our voting process and procedures. It is important to continue this dialogue with the public to assure the validity and security of our voting process here in Iowa.

 

Does ES&S routinely use uncertified software to run elections?

 

The software by ES&S was certified but, as installed, includes embedded data for the unique election. The problem reported was that you could not verify the software by a simple comparison between the memory chips from a master or between counties in the same election because of the election unique information in each county. To verify the software requires using a master copy and a copy of the election definition, then creating a reference copy of the specific election program to compare against the version used in the election. The technique is slightly more difficult because some EEPROM burner/readers create or fill blank areas with different characters and the sections need to be checked to verify that they are true fills. However, the technique has been used in Florida and other locations and the version of the software verified.

 

The method has been successfully used to confirm both a certified version and to discover that the wrong version was used in system testing. Moreover, the problem you are referring to does not exist as you see it. The problem is that the ES&S system can not be verified with a simple comparison, due to the election program file is different between counties but, the program itself is still certified and needs to be verified using a different technique rather than just a simple file comparison. I hope this answers your questions and concerns about the integrity of our voting systems here in Iowa. While concerns continually come to mind and improvements are considered, we assure you that Iowa Secretary of State's office in accordance with Iowa Code has taken all necessary measures to ensure the integrity and security of our elections.

Sincerely,
Casey Sinnwell
Assistant Director of Communications
Iowa Secretary of State, Chet Culver

However, Casey Sinnwell's explanation, itself, shows the inaccuracy of his claim that ES&S programming can be verified.

 

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Vendor Pages
Voting Equipment Vendors
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Advanced Voting Solutions
Avante
Diebold
Danaher Corporation (Guardian Voing Systems)
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
Hart Intercivic
Liberty/NEDAP Powervote
Microvote
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Unilect
VoteHere (Dategrity)
Vote-PAD
Voter Database Vendors
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Accenture
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