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Black Box Voting Update: (July 5, 2005)

Black Box Voting Update: Latest Consumer Reports (July 5, 2005)

Note: This consumer report focuses on Diebold Elections Systems. The next major report from Black Box Voting will focus on Sequoia Voting Systems.

Many new purchases approved: Diebold now in 1,297 locations. Latest list:

SECURITY ALERT: Critical Issues with Diebold Optical Scan Voting System Design (NOTE: Other OS versions & Touch- Screens may have same vulnerability, further testing needed ASAP.)




Incorporated into the foundation of the Diebold Precinct-Based Optical Scan 1.94w system is the mother of security holes, and no apparent cure will produce infertility, or system safety.

- An exceptionally flexible one-man exploit requiring only a few hundred dollars, mediocre technical ability, and modest persuasive skills (or, in lieu of persuasive skills, just a touch of inside access).

- This design would not appropriately be characterized as “a house with the door open.” The design is … more akin to “a house with an unlockable revolving door.”

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The newly-found vulnerabilities described in the Black Box Report are critical, and not fixable with any software patch or minor change.

Bear in mind that when Diebold acquired Global Election Systems, its investment banking partner performed, (or should have done) a due diligence analysis of this system. Diebold Inc. either knew, and sold the system anyway, or did not know, but should have known.

It is therefore appropriate that Diebold should foot the bill for the product recall. Certainly not the taxpayers. To take actions for a product recall, start by clicking the above link.


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Used to count at least 25 million votes in the Nov. 2004 election, (2.5 million votes in Florida alone, or one-third of that state), the Diebold memory cards for this system need to be sequestered and examined.

Done correctly, the ballot box manipulations (memory card tampering) described in the Black Box Report will leave no telltale signs in the paper audit trail.

- In areas like Volusia County and Brevard County Florida, where significant anomalies have appeared related to vote tabulation, memory cards, or poll tapes, the memory cards should be certainly inspected by someone experienced in forensics.

- Because this system is so open to tampering, please urge your local and state officials to sequester the memory cards for recent elections, so that they can be examined by a forensic expert, or an otherwise qualified expert, like Hursti, who has shown that he is both competent to evaluate this issue, and forthcoming about notifying the public. These memory cards are clearly of public interest, and should be deemed a public document.

- Please urge local and state officials to have a competent, qualified examiner evaluate both the new optical scan systems, including the high speed central count system, and the touch- screen systems, because there are some indications that this architecture is being used (and even increased) in newer versions. The touch-screens may be using a different but similar architecture. Contact Black Box Voting when you have indications that such cooperation is forthcoming. (contact to help schedule an evaluation, or call 425-793-1030).


- Garbage raid at the Volusia County warehouse (Poll tapes and ballots in the trash, oh my.)

- Pedro, Broward County (Citizens standing up: "What will it take for you to recognize that there’s a problem here?)

- Citizens standing up - California hearing (Joan Quinn and Diana refuse to sit down and shut up.)

- Chimpanzee tampers with Diebold audit log



Diebold took advantage of pre-holiday distractions to tuck an earnings restatement into the press, admitting its management had uncovered an "accounting mistake" in its ATM division. Sliding in alongside were safe harbor-type concerns about its election systems. Black Box Voting feels that this particular SEC disclosure will turn out to be of special interest, given what we have learned from our own investigations. Note the following items listed by Diebold: -- "potential security violations to the company's information technology systems" -- "challenges raised about reliability and security of election systems products, including the risk that such products will not be certified for use or will be decertified" -- and "unanticipated litigation, claims or assessments".

Bear in mind that such "safe harbor" statements are typical for public companies, who must include potential downside events in SEC- required statements. In fact, of more importance is when these specific statements started appearing, or any changes in these statements.

However, Black Box Voting feels that this particular earnings restatement, and these particular safe harbor statements are of special interest, because:

- Security violations have become an even more significant concern now that The Black Box Report is out. A product recall of the Diebold Precinct- based Optical Scan 1.94w system is advisable, along with examination of certain items from recent elections.

- Issues related to compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may surface in connection with two other problems our investigations have uncovered:

- Apparently incorrect public statements to regulatory bodies, by Diebold Election Systems, about the amount of money spent on lobbyists and "success fees," based on a comparison of the amounts in publicly disclosed reporting forms vs. check stubs and financial statements obtained by Black Box Voting

- Improper management of accounting documents, specifically, failure to safeguard documents (see auditing internal control over financial reporting guidelines, by placing nearly 400 pages of sensitive financial statements for the Diebold Election Systems division into various unsecured dumpsters easily accessed by the public.

These documents include check stubs, financial statements (including in-house financial worksheets for Diebold Inc.), invoices, accounts payable ledgers, accounts receivable ledgers, a cryptic financial statement pertaining to a $390,000 employment litigation matter in the Canadian Diebold Elections Systems office, in-house worksheets showing calculations for budgeting, payroll records, post-it notes, inter-office memos pertaining to budgets, purchasing, and sales plans, and unusual payments that should be further investigated.

After seeking legal advice on what to do with these documents, Black Box Voting decided to turn them over to the SEC for an evaluation of their impact with regards to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the management responsibilities amendment to that act.

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NEWS REPORTERS: Contact info – 425-793-1030, 206-354-5723, or 206-335-7747 or

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