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Bev Harris: Voting Company Reverses Stand

From: Bev Harris -

Voting Company Reverses Stand:
Flawed software WAS used in Georgia and other elections
- There are “kinks” in touch screens

According to an Aug. 4 article in Diebold company spokesman Mike Jacobsen “confirmed that the source code Rubin's team examined was last used in November 2002 general elections in Georgia, Maryland and in counties in California and Kansas.” (LINK)

Actually, the software may have been used in as many as 13 states and 197 counties, according to Diebold documents given to Santa Clara County in Feb. 2003 (LINK) - list of counties at bottom.

Earlier, Diebold had told reporters that the software which contained “stunning security flaws” that made hacking easy, was an older version and never used in any election.

Yet it was used, and provably so. The Diebold software version was easily verifiable:
- The FEC requires certification of voting machine software by version number
- The certified version number matches what was studied by the Johns Hopkins scientists.

STILL “KINKS” IN THE TOUCH SCREENS: John Silvestro, a voting machine representative in Boston who sells Diebold machines, said the touch-screen system would cost the city about six times as much money as optical scan machines which have a paper audit trail, and that companies like his are still working the kinks out of the touch-screen machines. Silvestro told the Boston City Council that Boston was better off with optical scanners. (LINK)

Georgia, perhaps hardest hit by the growing Diebold scandal, is now facing renewed questions about missing memory cards and other irregularities. On election night during the 2002 general election, 67 memory cards, containing thousands of votes, went missing in Fulton County. Also, according to documents provided to Santa Clara County, Diebold machines experienced “buffer overrun” problems during the election, requiring poll workers to turn them on and off, and if not done properly, this can also cause loss of votes.

Georgia officials, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by Georgia voters, admitted that they did not have any of the certification documents clearing use of the machines following a series of unexamined program patches put on the machines right before the election. Georgia law requires that any time software is updated, it must be recertified, but the patches were never examined by testing labs. No one really knows what was on the patches; Diebold denied that patches were done. (LINK)

According to technicians (LINK) who administered the patches, they were told to download them directly off the Internet from the Diebold ftp site, rather than getting them from Microsoft (as they would if they were Windows patches) or from the Independent Testing Authority (as the Georgia examiner for voting machines, Dr. Brit Williams -- LINK -- describes the required procedure).

In a new controversy, researchers with say they have discovered that changes were made in the Windows operating system used with the voting machines.

According to Dr. Doug Jones, a member of the Iowa Board of Examiners for Elections and an expert congressional witness on electronic voting: “The FEC/NASED Voting System Standards require that all software used in voting systems be passed through a source-code audit, but there is an exemption, in both the 1990 and 2002 editions of this standard, for UNMODIFIED third-party 'COTS' software, that is, commercial off-the-shelf software produced by a third party THAT HAS NOT BEEN MODIFIED for use in the voting context. Use of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office clearly qualifies for this exemption.” (LINK)

Jones says that Diebold made representations to him that they made no changes whatsoever to the Windows operating system, yet new information from Black Box Voting indicates that significant changes to Windows were made.

“Source code files clearly show that Windows source code was modified.” says Bev Harris, author of ‘Black Box Voting.’ A new Freedom of Information Act is now being filed in Georgia seeking to clarify whether changes in Windows were disclosed and authorized, and Black Box Voting researchers are examining what impact the changes have on the voting program and its security.

- Experts point to secrecy, flaws in certification system
- Following the money trail: Lobbying, kickbacks and contributions
- More on original story: JHU Response To Diebold

Alameda County, California
Kern County, California
Los Angeles County, California
Marin County, California
Modoc County, California
Plumas County, California
San Diego County, California
San Joaquin County, California
Solano County, California
Tulare County, California
El Paso County, Colorado
Saguache County, Colorado
Weld County, Colorado
GEORGIA: All 159 counties
Tippecanoe County, Indiana
Johnson County, Kansas
Jefferson County, Kentucky
Allegany County, Maryland
Dorchester County, Maryland
Montgomery County, Maryland
Prince Georges County, Maryland
MARYLAND: All counties in Maryland have purchased Diebold touch screen machines
Gaston County, North Carolina
Rowan County, North Carolina
Douglas County, Nebraska
Lancaster County, Nebraska
OHIO: Most of Ohio is considering purchase of Diebold machines
Bradley County, Tennessee
Rutherford County, Tennessee
Shelby County, Tennessee
El Paso County, Texas
Franklin County, Texas
Guadalupe County, Texas
City of Norfolk, Virginia


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