Fixed elections

someone just sent this to me and I just about cried.

Brave man.

Hrm... looks like old news, though it's new to me, too. Time to read about what happened.

No wonder the Republicans are so worried about vote fraud.

NathanialG wrote:

No wonder the Republicans are so worried about vote fraud.

Worried about getting caught having done it/doing it?

I am a software developer.

I have NEVER used an electronic voting machine, and I never will.

Do you think those two statements are unrelated?

krev82 wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

No wonder the Republicans are so worried about vote fraud.

Worried about getting caught having done it/doing it?

Worried about others doing it better?

Ah yes, of course.

So clearly we can't change who has been president even if it was found they "won" by using this stuff though I would hope someone would be in some very deep trouble. Broad public awareness of manipulation this overt would surely be enough to bring the castle crashing down, but that would take more than one man's testimony about the possibility and attempt - it would take proof that it has in fact been used.

The thing that depresses me is the stuff I hear from a guy I know who's involved in checking out voting machines locally. They've got a group of experts from Carnegie Mellon telling policymakers "No, you don't understand--that's not the way computers work. That's not the way computer security works." And, well, they're blown off like they're crackpots. And this when what they're talking about is things like "Diebold won't give us the actual code that's running on the voting machines." Not only does Diebold say "Oh, we might install different stuff on the actual day of the election", the copy they provide is missing "secret" pieces "for security"--so even if they don't change the code in between the inspection and poll time, it wouldn't be the same code.

And when these experts explain this, the reaction is a big shrug. It's unbelievable.

I read an article in Wired about this guy, and he sunds like a kook. Some tidbits:

Some details of Curtis' statements don't check out. West Palm Beach city didn't use touch-screen machines in 2000, something Curtis didn't know when Wired News spoke to him.

"(Curtis) clearly didn't have the source code to any voting machine, and his program is so trivial that it would be much easier to rewrite it than to rework it," said Stubblefield.

Yang attorney Michael O'Quinn called Curtis' assertions "absurd and categorically untrue." He said Curtis is an opportunist and a disgruntled former employee furthering an agenda by telling lies. According to O'Quinn, Curtis tried the same tactic in 2002 when he leveled other charges against Yang and Feeney.

Curtis had never seen source code for a voting machine, but in five hours, he said he designed code in Visual Basic that would launch if someone touched specific spots on the voting screen after selecting a candidate.

Note that he didn't work for Diebold, so not sure how there would be any opportunity to insert the code. And he wrote his "code" in visual basic, but the Diebold software is written in C++.

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2004/12/66002?currentPage=all

From his recorded testimony above, he stated that he wrote a mock-up to demonstrate how fraud could be accomplished (thinking they wanted an example to help them catch it), and had nothing to do with actually inserting code into voting machine source. After he handed his work over, he was told that they in fact wanted examples of how to insert fraudulent code into the source. He didn't comply with that request, and didn't know if any of his work was actually used.

They don't need to insert fraudulent code, they just need to insert fraudulent records, and Access, or Visual Basic, is as good for that as anything else.

I don't think there's any particular logging in Jet databases, which is what a lot of these machines are using. So you can do virtual ballot-box stuffing, and nobody can even tell what the original results were.

Without a paper trail, the original vote record is simply lost.

Once again, I would like to pimp the Hacking Democracy movie.

This is why we should be doing what Bruce Schneier suggests: machine assisted voting. That is, you have two basic steps to the voting process, and computers help with both, but are as stupid as possible while being helpful.

First, you have a machine that helps you prepare a paper ballot. It walks you through all your questions, and it prints out a nice, perfect paper ballot for you. You can still fill out a ballot by hand if you wish. If you do use the machine, humans are the final arbiters for how to count a particular ballot if it's in dispute for some reason, not machines.

Once you're happy with your ballot, whether hand- or machine-generated, you deposit it in a ballot box, and keep a receipt with a generated checksum.

Second, you have a separate set of machines that count votes. They are as stupid as possible. All they do is accumulate vote totals locally, and potentially aggregate and send results to a central authority. They are not the final arbiters of anything, they're just acceleration tools. If a particular vote is in dispute, the actual paper ballots, read by humans, are the final word.

Third, at least if you do machine-assisted voting, your paper receipt has a very, very long number on it, a one-way hash of your vote choices. When the election results are published, they include a very long 'checksum' number. Using a specific mathematical technique (there would be free apps for computers and phones to do this, likely including some OCR so you didn't have to type in your number), you can verify that your vote was included in the final total, and was counted correctly. If it wasn't, the various checksums generated along the trail from the paper ballot to the central authority will reveal precisely where the error occurred. And this check can be individually run for every ballot in the election.

Any citizen can, therefore, be sure his or her ballot was counted, without revealing what his or her choices were. And this is true for every participant.

That is how to do machine-assisted voting. But politicians fight stuff of this sort like crazy, because it means it would become genuinely difficult to hijack elections, and they've been doing a great deal of that lately. (see: Maine and Nevada caucus results for recent examples.)

Malor wrote:

They don't need to insert fraudulent code, they just need to insert fraudulent records, and Access, or Visual Basic, is as good for that as anything else.

I don't think there's any particular logging in Jet databases, which is what a lot of these machines are using. So you can do virtual ballot-box stuffing, and nobody can even tell what the original results were.

Without a paper trail, the original vote record is simply lost.

Malor wrote:

They don't need to insert fraudulent code, they just need to insert fraudulent records, and Access, or Visual Basic, is as good for that as anything else.

I don't think there's any particular logging in Jet databases, which is what a lot of these machines are using. So you can do virtual ballot-box stuffing, and nobody can even tell what the original results were.

Without a paper trail, the original vote record is simply lost.

I agree that electronic voting needs much more scrutiny, and from the leaked source code, Diebold put together shoddy second rate system. It's just that this particular guy isn't credible, and it would be wrong to conclude that elections had actually been rigged based on his statements.

I don't see that he's not credible. Republicans CLAIM that, in loud terms, but he seems credible to me regardless.

Malor wrote:

I don't see that he's not credible. Republicans CLAIM that, in loud terms, but he seems credible to me regardless.

I think most people who read the affidavit, regardless of political affiliation, would have the same reaction as the lawyer quoted in the wired article (who works for the first amendment foundation).

Jon Kaney, a prominent Florida attorney who represents the Daytona Beach News-Journal and sparred with Feeney over articles the paper wrote about the lawmaker in 2002, said the affidavit does take things up a notch.

"You don't casually go around swearing under penalties of perjury unless you think you're right," Kaney said. "The affidavit struck me as something somebody ought to be looking at." But he said his first reaction to the affidavit was: "Gag. This can't be believed."

And even if you think that he is credible, he isn't even claiming or providing any evidence that any election was rigged. He is just saying he developed a VB prototype of how something might work. There are real developers who have actually developed and demonstrated real hacks based on the Diebold leaked source code. This guy is not in that league.

MrShoop wrote:

And even if you think that he is credible

To a very large degree that fact that you're having to argue over the credibility of Curtis more than amply demonstrates that the system lacks the necessary transparency to be demonstrably fair. If voting machines were transparent you wouldn't have to discuss his credibility, you could just go and look at the source code/hardware design and definitively determine if what he was saying makes sense.

DanB wrote:

To a very large degree that fact that you're having to argue over the credibility of Curtis more than amply demonstrates that the system lacks the necessary transparency to be demonstrably fair. If voting machines were transparent you wouldn't have to discuss his credibility, you could just go and look at the source code/hardware design and definitively determine if what he was saying makes sense.

Yep. I don't have much of a horse in this race because I don't think I'm smart enough to express an opinion worth reading, so DanB will be my stand in.

Oh... RIGGED elections. I thought that maybe they'd finally gotten a clue and listened to the people that don't have a vested interest in providing exclusive proprietary vote obscuring solutions for top dollar and 'fixed' the process.

http://www.canadianprogressiveworld.com/2012/02/23/robo-gate-harper-conservatives-stole-the-2011-election-from-the-ndp/ et tu Canada?

Basically there were a bunch of robocalls of two sorts;
i) Telling people to go to the wrong (or non-existent) place to vote.
ii) Telling people that the liberal in their riding had announced retirement.

Other allegations; crossing people's names off before they had voted.

krev82 wrote:

http://www.canadianprogressiveworld.com/2012/02/23/robo-gate-harper-conservatives-stole-the-2011-election-from-the-ndp/ et tu Canada?

Basically there were a bunch of robocalls of two sorts;
i) Telling people to go to the wrong (or non-existent) place to vote.
ii) Telling people that the liberal in their riding had announced retirement.

Other allegations; crossing people's names off before they had voted.

Oh, that's so quaint. We don't even bother investigating those anymore.

When the politicians are saying that we can't have a papertrail because it would "undermine confidence," they are hiding something. What exactly, I don't know, but something.

Its so disheartening to see voter/election fraud happening in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world. If our votes are no longer being counted fairly then according to the Constitution, don't we 'the people' have the right to "take action" against the government for this type of unlawful activity? How are citizens supposed to deal with this an injustice like this?

93_confirmed wrote:

Its so disheartening to see voter/election fraud happening in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world. If our votes are no longer being counted fairly then according to the Constitution, don't we 'the people' have the right to "take action" against the government for this type of unlawful activity? How are citizens supposed to deal with this an injustice like this?

I think it isn't Government so much as the parties, or local governments. Who would you be taking action against? It doesn't make sense to march on Washington DC with your local militia when the problem is more likely to be at home.

It would, because it's all totally Obama's fault!!

NathanialG wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

Its so disheartening to see voter/election fraud happening in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world. If our votes are no longer being counted fairly then according to the Constitution, don't we 'the people' have the right to "take action" against the government for this type of unlawful activity? How are citizens supposed to deal with this an injustice like this?

I think it isn't Government so much as the parties, or local governments. Who would you be taking action against? It doesn't make sense to march on Washington DC with your local militia when the problem is more likely to be at home.

I was including all levels of government in that statement. I'm asking what the right course of action is against people (party, gov, etc.) who are defrauding voters?

In terms of the Federal gov, we could also apply the same discussion there in regards to Congress failing to uphold their oath and failing to properly represent their constituents. How are the masses supposed to address injustices at that level. If we now have legitimate concerns about vote counting, then the "vote someone else in" argument no longer applies, right? What else can be done to ensure that the people are being represented?

There's nothing about "properly represent their constituents" in the oath...

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

What can be done? It *appears* that false voter style fraud is extremely rare and probably not enough to sway elections in most cases. The system of voter id that we have works to within less than a percent of detecting fraud.

What's worrying is the use of proprietary electronic voting equipment. It's pretty well known how to fix that; many other countries have systems in place for that. But here, it's a political issue, in large part because there's one big manufacturer whose leadership is invested in one party (Diebold) and does not have an incentive to make things open and verifiable.

We need to pass laws that require openness of voting machine design and code; secure processes and procedures; and verifiable paper trails for recounts.

A kid's gotta learn how to beat the house at Blackjack some time.

Edit: Also, I love how the "good" hackers that were part of the challenge detected and blocked other hackers in order to achieve their particular changes to the system. That's pretty awesome.

Came across this video today and this seems like the best place for it.

93_confirmed wrote:

Came across this video today and this seems like the best place for it.

I'd love to see all of those caught on camera led out of the chamber in handcuffs.