back to article Diebold e-voting hack allows remote tampering

Computer scientists have demonstrated a hack that uses off-the-shelf hardware to tamper with electronic voting machines that millions of Americans will use to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential elections. The attack on the Diebold AccuVote TS electronic voting machine, which is now marketed by Election Systems & Software, …


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  1. Edward Clarke

    You left out the best part - the cheap lock

    The lock used on those panels uses a key that can be obtained from many office supply outfits since it's used on mini-bars and filing cabinets. THE SAME KEY IS USED FOR EVERY DAMNED MACHINE!!!

  2. scarshapedstar

    Too late

    Given the GOP's Jim Crow Revival in dozens of states, it's not like they even need to rewrite the results - they're rigged well ahead of time.

    But I guess you can never have too much cheating.

    On the other hand, given the Obama Justice Department's utter silence on things like the new poll tax and the Nebraska/Pennsylvania electoral college switcheroo, it's quite possible that they've already agreed to take a fall in 2012.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Typical republicans - at least 100 years behind the Democrats in political nefariousness in the south. Guess it explains their views on evolution as well :)

    2. Hud Dunlap

      The Democrats have always been better at voter fraud

      Kennedy- Nixon election is the best documented. Mayor Daley's motto was vote early, vote often.

      I grew up in south during the civil rights movement. The Democrats are the ones who started Jim Crow.

      I have heard this lie about the GOP and Jim Crow before but I have never seen anything to back it up.

      1. Shannon Jacobs

        You left out a little detail there

        Those Southern Democrats are now Reagan Republicans. They are still into election fraud of every sort, but it's in the other direction now.

        Pointless to argue with a neo-GOP fool, but it is also important to distinguish between voter fraud and election fraud. The number of individuals who commit fraudulent acts in order to vote has always been miniscule, on the order of ones. My recollection is that all of Rove's determined efforts resulted in six actual convictions for voter fraud. That hasn't stopped voter fraud from becoming the banner cry of the haters of democracy as they work to disenfranchise as many 'hostile' voters as possible.

        Election fraud is quite different. That's a large-scale and organized project that actually changes the results of elections. Historically, two of the worst abusers were Democrats, both dead and one convicted and disgraced. Nowadays the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence points at organized election fraud by the neo-GOP.

        Sadly, I don't election fraud is the largest problem. I'm hanging between gerrymandering and corporate personhood AKA Citizens United. Gerrymandering has a long tradition of precounting votes, so perhaps it wins. The large numbers of eligible voters who don't bother are sadly correct that their votes don't matter, because the districts were deliberately and scientifically drawn to predetermine the outcomes.

      2. xantastic

        And a Republican freed the slaves ...

        Of course back then the Democrats were for state's rights [and a southern slave-empire that extended into the caribbean] and the Republicans were in favor of a powerful federal government. You see ... they switched.

        It's completely inappropriate to pull out party examples from 100 years ago. Let's stick with conservatives and liberals; the conservatives implemented the Jim Crow laws.

        1. scarshapedstar

          Naw, really?

          I'm talking about Voter ID laws, aka the Poll Tax.

  3. Stuart Gepp

    Who cares?

    Does it really make any difference?

    The only effect of voting is to change the person the lobbyists have to contribute to. Most of them have hedged anyway and have contributed to both sides.

    The days when your representative actually paid any attention to the people in their constituency have long gone.

    "It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in"

  4. Herby

    When you count votes from a cemetary...

    ...what difference does the method make.

    I suspect that the porta-punch method (using IBM cards as the voting media) is probably more accurate.

    You need to separate the vote casting from the vote counting operations. Hopefully the first is error free and anonymous, but the second should be a VERY public and audited method.

    Unfortunately, given the voting public, vote casting is a very haphazard process, fraught with problems, which no amount of instruction will cure in some cases.

    1. Tom 13

      In the US vote casting and vote counting are as public as the public wants to make them.

      I say this as the a Republican precinct leader in the People's Republic of Maryland. I got to be leader because I was the first person to walk in and volunteer for the job in a while. The other volunteers would love to have more people involved so they could take a break at some point of the day instead of working a 16 hour shift for pittance gratuity. So quite your whining and get involved if you think the process is corrupt. I will say that I have not observed any irregularities, and I expect that just because it IS the People's Republic of Maryland, they are Democrats, not Republicans.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Fascinating equation you have there

        So ... serving as an election volunteer is equivalent to fighting against unauditable, untrustworthy, known-flawed voting technology being deployed around the country?

        And being an election volunteer gives you complete knowledge of the reliability of the voting process?

        How interesting.

  5. JaitcH

    Paper + Scanner are best!

    Ontario , Canada, was an earlier adopter of 'mechanised' accountng.

    Our vote ballots are on good old paper with squares against the candidates or the questions in which the voter marks their choice. Similar in concept to multiple choice exam papers.

    Election officials provide super-black pencils, similar to carpenters pencils, with which to mark the ballots.

    After the polls close, all the ballots are fed into scanners which check for the marked boxes. In the event of a dispute, machine or power failure, the reliable people-readable forms can be hand counted.

    None of this high tech ballot stuffing as in the U.S.!

    1. Tom 13

      but the most important component is still grass-roots citizen involvement at the local precinct level.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Why vote?

    We always end up with the best Government money can buy.

    (Apols. to M Twain)

  7. David Pollard

    Roger Penrose - get me a witness

    In his 1994 book 'Shadows of the Mind', Sir Roger Penrose pointed out that electronic voting is potentially flawed.

    With a paper ballot it is possible, at least in principle, to allow every voter's transaction to be independently obseved without compromising secrecy, and to keep the papers under scrutiny. Also because a hard copy is made at the outset with pencil and paper it is, in principle, possible to conduct a valid audit on the original data to verify the count.

    With electronic systems, by contrast, there is no direct means to subject to scrutiny the processes by which the vote is recorded and counted. There is nothing to be seen by the public's eyes. The opportunities to witness the transactions are all at best at second hand.

  8. James Micallef Silver badge

    Electronic-only voting is rubbish, there is no way of properly auditing what goes on. The e-voting machine should print a receipt (that is possibly itself machine-readable) that shows in plain text who has been voted for. The voter has to read and approve that receipt and put it into a proper ballot box. Then allow the machine to count the votes electronically, and compare that against polling estimates. Any results that deviate more from polling estimates by more than 2-3% should be manually counted, PLUS a random 5% of all machines should have their results recounted.

    All suppliers have to sign a contract beforehand by which they have to pay massive fines (up to 100% of the contract value) if their machine count does not tally with the paper audit count.

    Of course I don't foresee this happening because (a) voting-machine lobbyists will be contributing to election campaigns to prevent this and (b) governments and electoral commissions will be looking to save money and auditing paper records is expensive / time-consuming

  9. dssf

    The Paper Audit Trail Security is BULLSHIT

    In 2010, I saw a voting machine go wonky when misfed. It was holding up the process, so the proctor/minder collected the voting slips.

    For the SF area alone, search for:

    san francisco voting machine fraud sfgate

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