back to article Diebold e-voting software includes delete audit logs button

Vote tabulation software currently in use throughout the United States contains a button to permanently delete audit logs that are required under federal voting-system guidelines, according to a report submitted to California's top elections official. The button is included in version 1.18.19 of the GEMS, or Global Election …


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  1. Sandra Greer
    Black Helicopters

    Hmm, I wonder...

    if Diebold had a delete audit log button on its ATMs! (The ATMs are rather good, by the way.)

    Of course, we all know what is more important than counting votes.

    Remember Nixon's secretary Rosemary Wood, who erased 18 minutes of critical tape? Don't they wish they had nice software like this!


  2. Steve Evans

    What on earth...

    What are the designers of these things thinking? I assume they had system designers?

    They really don't show any signs of being able to understand the big picture of what their product is supposed to be doing!

    Unless of course the big picture is that they want to be able to sell an election result to the highest bidder... In that case then they aren't even very good at designing a corrupt system.

    Honestly, given all the flaws in the old system, I find it amazing that any state allows Diebold, or whatever they have renamed them selves to this month, to do anything more complex than make freebie calculators to put in cereal boxes.

    BTW, I was confronted by a Diebold cash machine in Slovakia once... I was too frightened to use it!

  3. Quirkafleeg
    Black Helicopters

    Global Election Manipulation System

    Enough said…

  4. RW
    IT Angle

    @ Steve Evans

    All I can say is "me too!"

    Considering that there is a legal requirement for a permanent log, it is astonishing that a "clear" button should exist. This has to qualify as one of the grossest cases of system mis-design ever documented.

    I admit to an intense curiosity about the circumstances that allowed a total-fail feature into this system. Is it stupidity on the part of the development team? Was the development outsourced but no one bothered to send along the laws that circumscribe this system's function? Was there interference from management or marketing or perhaps indirectly from pols?

    If anyone privy to the inner workings of Diebold's voting machine development is reading, please spill the beans. I'm sure I'm not the only one wanting to know how this project went off the rails so badly.

    Is Diebold's management even aware of this incredible gaffe? If so, what kind of baffle-gab have they been pumping out to avoid being held accountable?

  5. Bill Cumming

    @ Steve

    The Designers were thinking ahead....

    About who would give them the biggest cheque to win an election...

  6. Jeremy

    If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times.

    Paper. Pen. Cross. Sealed Box. Human Count. Done.

    It takes a really special brand of idiot to think these kinds of systems are a good idea.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Deliberate design feature

    "The world's greatest democracy" is anything but that.

    AC: I inadvertently hit the "delete" key, sorry.

  8. David Kairns

    Earth... a pigpen, with Diebold one of the mud floating turds.

    Electronic voting?

    Yes, idiot humans do get the govs they deserve.

    Upcoming, Holocaust II. The camps (complete with big ass gas lines installed) are ready to go.

    And of course waiting are railroad cars complete with shackles, and retrofitted old buses.

    Nice knowin' ya dumb asses.

  9. kain preacher

    Diebold atm

    Are rock solid. The banks would tear them apart if they were not. Its about cash

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  11. paulc
    Black Helicopters

    software testing feature...

    "accidentally" left in...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has a whole filing system

    ... I could make up a fake set of votes and copy it across as a set of files FFS. The problem requires a Voter Verified Paper trail, and a random check of a big enough sample of the machines against their paper trails to verify the vote.

    I've seen those machines with the paper tape running up the side and they seem like a good solution.

  13. John Smith Gold badge

    How many versions did it take to remove this "Feature"

    "but three counties in California and several jurisdictions in Texas and Florida continue to use the older program, the report says."

    Could one of our American readers remind me which state Dubyees cousin ran? Or is it runs?

    @Kain preacher

    Voting machines to ATMs seems a pretty big sidways leap. They did'nt happen to buy an ATM company did they? Provided they resisted the desire to mess with the original development team these products could remain rock solid. This leaves the original monkey boys dealing with the stuff they messed up in the first place.

    You might like to look at Ron Rivest's (The R in RSA) "3 ballot" paper based but verifiable voting idea.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Ironically, or maybe not...

    the German Constitutional Court declared on Tuesday that voting computers (as they exist today) are unconstitutional because they do not allow for transparency of the electoral process and are too easy to manipulate

  15. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I think I'd program in a "delete log" button

    In the early stages of development, as a "reset to clean state" option. Though I hope I'd remember to remove it before compiling the final build!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Write once read many removable media. Why isn't that part of the spec?

  17. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Black Helicopters


    Given a feature like this, one can assume either that the designer was having an off day or that the designer was actually trying to build a machine that could steal an election and get away with it. Unless you are a conspiracy theorist or misanthrope, it is kinder to assume gross stupidity rather than criminal intent. However, Diebold have quite a history in this department and it's getting harder and harder for a reasonable person to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  18. A J Stiles

    For crying out loud

    Who ever had the idea that using any kind of machinery in the process of elections was anything but a supremely bad idea? It broke Universal Comprehensibility. Every person who does not understand every single aspect of the process, from casting the vote to declaration of the winner, is effectively disqualified as a scrutineer.

    Get back to pencil and paper -- and just stay there. Manual methods parallelise excellently, are Universally Comprehensible, and the adversarial relationship that already exists between candidates works in your favour.

  19. Wayland Sothcott


    When anything seriously corrupt comes to light, it's always "oh sorry we made a mistake". Occasionally there is a scapegoat (or an escape goat if you have done a bank robbery, thanks Jade).

  20. Steve Kay

    Have documented the VB6 and MS-Access underlying Premier Election Systems' voting machines. Well worth a look.

  21. Steve Swann
    Black Helicopters

    Poltical Machinations

    Wally O'Dell, the director of Diebold systems, is a highly placed fundraiser for the Republican party and a personal friend of the Bush family.

    He is quoted as saying , In his invitation to a benefit for Bush, (just prior to Dubyas re-election); "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

    Seems he was able to keep that promise.. I wonder how?

    Draw your own conclusions!

  22. Sandra Greer
    Black Helicopters

    @John Smith, @Steve Swann

    Diebold have been making reliable ATMs for at least 30 years. Of course, when I last dealt with them, the software was NOT Microsoft, and the programmers are long since retired. I'm sure the current ones are less thorough and less professional!

    And management were not likely to have been friends of the Bush family (feh).

  23. Stevie


    "Drops ballots in first batch through"?

    Wow. Fancy that. New paradigm does away with crumbly old Cobol, but manages somehow to retain enough features to allow dimwits to program the same kinds of errors in that trainee programmers used to make before their first finger-breaking ceremony.

    30 years ago we used to get rid of these old saws by a process we called "testing". I don't know the Object-Oriented term for "running it in private before you roll it out the door to make sure it works like you say it does", but someone should have done some.

    No doubt there is some perfectly good OOP reason why this way of turning up the problem was "better" than the old way.

  24. Eduard Coli

    Its a feature not a bug

    When will you people get it, These voting machines are working as designed.

    Fail safes like this allow the powers that know better to fix any damage that might be caused by an illiterate electorate, just like the electoral college.

  25. Alan Esworthy
    Black Helicopters


    All your votes are belong to U.S.

  26. Lukin Brewer

    What did it say on this button?



  27. Daniel B.
    Thumb Down

    Pencil and paper isn't flawless, either.

    Based on our own Mexican 2006 voting sham, I can personally attest that paper voting doesn't guarantee a clean vote. The tabulating software was allegedly tampered by the contractor, which was owned by the current President's brother-in-law, and had an obvious conflict of interest.

    Add to that some "recount restrictions" that sound very similar to the 2000 Florida sham, and you've got a veeery suspicious "election" on your hands.

  28. A J Stiles

    @ Daniel B

    "paper voting doesn't guarantee a clean vote" -- you're right there. MANUAL COUNTING is what guarantees a clean vote.

    Paper just makes this a lot easier.

  29. Mike Flugennock

    For all my fellow Yank readers here...

    F'cripesake, people, how much friggin' evidence do you _need_ before you realize that participating in "elections" is for _chumps?_

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