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Beowabbit
Now mostly on Facebook (and rarely caught up even there)
Stalin and Bush 
17th-Oct-2003 11:06 pm
Pol: Nixon and Elvis
Stalin is reputed to have said, "People who vote do not matter. People who count votes matter."

Slashdot had a thread today titled "E-voting Patches Skew Election?" (here's a link with lots of comments, and here's a link with just the more highly rated comments). This is a topic I've heard a bit about before, but it's not getting nearly as much press as it needs. Basically, the electronic voting machines being widely introduced around the country (1) are extremely insecure, as reported by security researchers in academia who stumbled across the code, (2) seem to be designed in a way that specifically makes tampering easy to do and hard to detect (as I understand it, votes are stored in two duplicate Microsoft Access databases; all the spot-checking that can be done on-site is done against one of the databases, but the final tally is done against the other database; if any argument has been made for why it's useful to have two separate databases that are supposed to contain the same data, I haven't read it), (3) provide no audit trail, and (4) are manufactured by Diebold, a company with strong Republican ties and whose CEO is a high-level Republican fundraiser. So, it would be easy for the results to be altered, there is no way the public would be able to tell if the results were altered, and the people with access to the machines have some incentive to alter the results.

Maybe we need some election observers from Zimbabwe or Cuba or Azerbaijan to help guarantee a free and fair election in this country.

Comments 
18th-Oct-2003 05:46 am (UTC)
Microsoft Access databases

You've got to be kidding me.

[picture treacle_well gone white with horror]
18th-Oct-2003 03:00 pm (UTC)
Nope, that's the truth. I don't remember whether the Access databases are on the voting machine itself, or accessed over a network. (The actual voting machines run Windows CE, but as the Slashdot thread points out, the real problem is the application code, not the OS.)
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