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USA Coup: Black Box Voting Asks Who's Lying?

According to, Diebold Election Systems, now denies that a program patch was ever applied to the Georgia voting machines: "We have analyzed that situation and have no indication of that happening at all."

Well okay. But did everyone in the Georgia Secretary of State's Office imagine this last-minute voting program fix?

According to the Baltimore City Paper, Diebold now claims that the "old Global Elections Systems [FTP] site has been taken down because it contained old, out-of-date material."

Well okay. But at least three files were put on that site as recently as January 16, 2003.

Black Box Voting:
Who's Lying?

By Bev Harris

This article also appears at:

Let's start from the beginning. In February, we posted the following articles at this web site:
Security Flaw at Diebold Election Systems - Scoop Mirror
22,000 program fixes put on Georgia voting machines - Scoop Mirror
Interviews with officials and technicians - Scoop Mirror

According to, Joseph Richardson, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, now denies that a program patch was ever applied to the Georgia voting machines: "We have analyzed that situation and have no indication of that happening at all."

Well okay. But did everyone in the Georgia Secretary of State's Office imagine this last-minute voting program fix? Michael Barnes, of the Georgia Secretary of State's Elections Office, says he actually helped install the patch himself, and though it was a big job, they "touched" every one of Georgia's 22,000 voting machines before the November 2002 election.

Chris Rigall, the spokesperson for Secretary of State Cathy Cox, wrote a memo in August, 2002 detailing plans to install the patch on every machine in Georgia.

Was Dr. Brit Williams, the official independent examiner for the National Association of State Election Directors, just fantasizing when he remembers that teams of people drove around Georgia installing the program fix while he was doing acceptance testing on the last batch of voting machines?

Perhaps the 20 teams of technicians dispatched to install the patch simply hallucinated their journey.

Diebold Election Systems, the company that has voting machines installed in at least 30 states and five Canadian provinces and is busily selling more voting machines, has still not explained their folder called "rob-georgia," which contained -- well -- voting machine program patches.

Georgia officials do admit that a program fix was administered to all 22,000 unauditable touch-screen voting machines shortly before the November 2002 election.


FROM REGULATIONS ISSUED BY CATHY COX, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE JAN 2001: "Any modification to the hardware, firmware, or software of an existing system which has completed Qualification, Certification, or Acceptance testing in accordance with these Rules will invalidate the State certification unless it can be shown that the change does not affect the overall flow of program control or the manner in which the ballots are interpreted"

Unfortunately, no one examined the computer code on the Georgia voting machine patch to ascertain what it actually did. And no voter-verified audit trail is available to check the accuracy of the voting machines.

Who's lying about the FTP site?

In another security stuff-up, Diebold's technicians admit that they were parking files on an unprotected FTP site that anyone could access. The files contained on the FTP site amounted to a virtual tutorial for anyone interested in vote-rigging: easy-to-edit source code, hardware and software specs, testing protocols, sample ballots and election data.

According to the Baltimore City Paper, Diebold now claims that the "old Global Elections Systems [FTP] site has been taken down because it contained old, out-of-date material."

Okay. But Diebold purchased Global Elections System in January, 2002 (and, apparently, never really folded this company in. Diebold wrapped its trusted name around the voting machine company, but it is now unclear how much Diebold's management knew about the inner workings of its new wholly-owned voting machine division, which still operates out of McKinney, Texas.)

The open FTP site was not closed down until around January 29, 2003, and among the most recent files on the open FTP site: A file dated January 16, 2003 called "CentralCountRN2.0.11.doc" located in a zipped folder called "" This file contained the release notes for version 2.0.11 of Diebold's AccuVote Optical Scan system.
Other recent files:
CC2ROMA.HEX 100 kb 1/16/03
CC2ROMB.HEX 57 kb 1/16/03

In the unpassworded cvs.tar file posted on the FTP site (which appears to include the source code tree) at least 800 of the 2,140 files are dated well into 2002, after Diebold bought Global Elections Systems, and just months before the 2002 general election

An engineer from A voting machine company that competes with Diebold called me to tell me his department was enjoying the site. Yes, it's true, we've been gathering kind of a fan club among some of the more idealistic voting company techies. "It's been general industry knowledge that that open FTP site existed," he confided.

Okay. So the source code for these machines was so proprietary that even citizens groups weren't allowed to examine it. But it was available for perusal by Diebold's competitors? This is a very unusual way to protect materials you are calling "proprietary."

According to Diebold's official statement quoted in both and Baltimore City Paper:

"Diebold has been synonymous with security, and we take security very seriously in all of our products and services."

Well okay. But although some of the thousands of files parked on its open FTP site had passwords, other (wide-open) files list the passwords themselves:
Filename: passwd

According to the Baltimore City Paper, Maryland elections chief Linda Lamone says her staff discovered Diebold's open file server before last November's election. "They found [the open server] and refused to use it," she says. "They were very upset about it."

Well okay. But if they refused to use it, why did the open FTP site contained several hundred Maryland election files, date-stamped within weeks of the election?

The Baltimore City Paper goes on to say, "Georgia, however, did use the open server, downloading software patches to tweak the elections program and ensure it worked properly on Election Day."

Well okay. But Michael Barnes, of the Georgia Secretary of State Elections Division, said this: "That FTP site did not affect us in any way shape or form because we did not do any file transferring from it. None of the servers ever connected so no one could have transferred files from it. No files were transferred relating to state elections."

The files on Diebold's unprotected FTP site contained a vast set of zipped files, most containing subdirectories, perhaps a total of 4,500 files, so numerous that no one has yet even catalogued all of them. I'm now told that all the files have been gotten. I hear that a virgin complete set of the downloaded files now resides in a safe deposit box outside the United States. And I have been told that a limited number of investigative reporters from large, mainstream news sources are gaining access to copies of the repository. As things continue to unfold, we'll all get to see: Who's lying?

NEXT: The movement to put them under oath:

Contact if you are an attorney who is interested in becoming involved.

Contact if you are a citizen in any of the 31 states (below) who may wish to become a plaintiff in an inexpensive lawsuit to: (a) Decertify or do a recall on your 2002 election; (b) obtain testimony over the chain of custody of all program code, "patches," memory cards, and files from the open FTP site in your area; (c) file a product liability suit on behalf of county governments who purchased the machines; (d) enact new legislation mandating a paper trail, with open access to compare the paper trail to machine counts by citizens, media groups and election workers in every election.

If you would like to contribute to tech analysis, let us know:

ALSO, we need a volunteer to type several hundred individual counties' contact information, which contains what kinds of voting machines they have, off of a faxed document into a text or Word file so that we can post it on the web.

(Unprotected FTP site had sensitive programming files for both Touch-Screen and Optical Scan tabulation machines):

Locations with Diebold machines
TS = Touch-Screens with no paper trail

California - TS
Colorado - TS
District of Columbia
Georgia - TS
Indiana - TS
Kansas - TS
Kentucky - TS
Maryland - TS
North Carolina - TS
New Hampshire
New Mexico
South Carolina
Tennessee - TS
Virginia - TS

British Columbia
Ontario - TS

© Scoop Media

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