Evidence Of Tremendous Fraud Found In Brazilian E-Voting System

from the no-major-problems,-huh? dept

Just as we point to claims from some think tanks that e-voting works great as is, and things like verifiable paper trails aren't needed, there are reports coming out suggesting that there was a massive amount of fraud in the latest Brazilian elections, which made extensive use of e-voting machines. The reports claim that more than one-third of the e-voting machines used in the state of Alagoas show signs of manipulation. The number of ballots stored by the machines is less than the number of voters. Some of the votes apparently come from e-voting machines that don't exist, and some machines appear not to have registered a single vote. Are those think tanks going to explain this away as "user error" as well?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 4:05pm

    Don't let them beat you

    Ah, you crazy wild eyed activists attributing to malice what is clearly incompetence. 33% fraud is good for Brazil, and nobody had to get shot. You're not gonna let those Brazillians get away with this are you USA? C'mon you can that up to 50% easy, and throw in a bit of police brutality for the show!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bumbling old fool, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 4:37pm

    I'm with MH on this one

    Anyone who thinks that a 33% failure rate in a democratic election is unacceptable is clearly nothing more than a wild eyed activist.

    no election could ever be won or lost by 33%. its CLEARLY an insignificant amount of votes.

    (Yes, I went to the George W. Bush school of advanced toe counting)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Jura, Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 3:41am

      Re: I'm with MH on this one

      Voting is enforced in Brazil, anyone has to vote. 33% of the vote is a tremendous amount of vote. Even you could be elected Alagoas governor with such a voting rate. The defeated candidate ended whit less than that although he was supposed to win with more than 50% according to polls.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 4:42pm

    Beanocracy

    Now watch them blame a "CIA conspiracy".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Fabio, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 5:42pm

    What is the point?

    The meaning of "security" in an election needs to be well defined. Its not just "to count each vote as cast", as proposes (simply) the referred article.

    In manual voting, many kinds of frauds may occour. There where many many cases of disapearance of voting bags, in past (manual) elections. In many other cases, if just one citizen puts any other piece of paper into the bag, instead of his vote, and the voting count will not close - and the entire section (all the votes in that bag) will be nullified. Is this democratic? - no. So it IS a security flaw.

    Here is my point: Yes, the manual voting process is auditable, because all the votings can be recounted, whenever necessary. It is very good, but this does make the process more secure, because there are many ways in which _external_ and _internal_ agents can attack the system, changing the final result, either by nullifying some sections, or directly changing votes in the handling of counting process.

    The electronic voting machine used in Brazil (I don't know details of any other) has the BIG problem of not being auditable. Printing the votes in paper, in some machines (to allow audit by sample), is not sufficient. So, our voting system IS vulnerable to _inside_ attacks. People who have access to the system internals can manipulate the results - that is a fact - but still, I think there are less vulnerabilities in this electronic process, than we had in the past.

    Isn't it what really matter?

    Anyone can sugest a better process?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Petréa Mitchell, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 9:45am

      Re: What is the point?

      Fabio has a point. To quote the article linked to:

      - the number of cast ballots stored in some DREs is less than the number of voters reported using those DREs.

      - the totals include numbers from DREs that do not exist.

      - some DREs misteriously did not register any vote.

      Suppose it were:

      - the number of ballot papers counted in some precincts is lower than the number of voters reported voting there.

      - the totals include numbers from precincts that do not exist.

      - some ballot boxes mysteriously arrived empty.

      These sorts of things happen all the time in some parts of the world, but there is no huge movement to ban paper voting for bad security, because you can see where the real problem is.

      I'm not saying there isn't something wrong with this particular voting machine. I'm just not willing to take it as an indictment of e-voting in general. The real issues here are testing, procedures, internal controls. It's how you use the level of technology you have that counts.

      Full disclosure: I have a relative who works for an e-voting company which will not be named. (Well, okay, it's not Diebold, and it's not involved in this story.)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 6:56pm

    a better process...

    i say we just take all those running in the vote and play a game of russian roulette. the one who doesn't die wins. the other dead one's, we'll just call "thinning the herd". the world can always do with less politicians.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Evil-doer, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 6:58pm

    How about?

    What if we made a general election mean more than just a recommendation. Yeah, maybe if we get rid of the elecotrial college than not only will our votes be counted, but they might actually matter.
    *runs off to hug the nearest tree*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      DC, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 10:17am

      Re: How about?

      I disagree completely. We don't need a democracy, we don't want a democracy, we don't deserve a democracy. America is inhabited by the tired, the broken, the beaten, the ignorant, the corrupt, the selfish, and the foolish. Do you want them deciding who runs the most powerful nation on the planet? Do you believe the American people can even comprehend how to select a leader that will best represent them, and help to improve America? Voter fraud doesn't count for anything when the choice between candidate A and B (or W) isn't based on anything other than a party loyalty or an ignorant believe that the good or bad economy is the cause of the current us president.

      Politicians don't represent themselves, they don't promote their beliefs, they are a drain on the country as they take corporate money and trample on their constituency in a desperate effort to promote themselves.

      If you want a good results from an election, then there is really only one way to do it. Individuals in a community have a democratic election to choose ther person they feel best qualified to represent them. This person then meets with other representatives and discuss/debate the issues important to the region, and elect one person to continue on to something like the electoral college, where they once again discuss and debate all the issues that are relevant, and elect, probably from inside that group, the next president, or senator, or whatever office is in contention. This would allow politicians to escape the corporations, and possibly represent their entire constituentcy as they couldn't proceed unless they are acceptable to the majority of the informed public. Now in no way do I think this woudl solve the worlds problems, nor do i think it could ever happen in america. After all the founders of the country tried it with the electoral college, but that only took 8 years to become a pointless body where the electors were only there to cast their vote for a particular person rather than to decide amongst themselves who the best person for the job is.

      Just my thoughts, feel free to trash them now

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        misanthropic humanist, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re: How about?

        US vs Euro politics

        "America is inhabited by the tired, the broken, the beaten, the ignorant, the corrupt, the selfish, and the foolish. Do you want them deciding who runs the most powerful nation on the planet?

        Yes. Because the alternative is much worse. A government of the people for the people may not be optimal, but it beats an elitist totalitarian regime. People who think they know best are usually wrong, they generally lack the empathy and open mindedness necessary for a job as dynamic and complex as that of government.

        Politicians don't represent themselves, they don't promote their beliefs, they are a drain on the country as they take corporate money and trample on their constituency in a desperate effort to promote themselves.

        Yes, corruption is a problem in all polical systems, and one that is extremely bad in the present government of the USA. But bad governments can be replaced in a functioning democracy. Whether the USA is still a functioning democracy is debatable. Your current government has not just let the people down, it has attacked the Constitution and the political system that could remove it. It may require quite drastic measures to correct this.


        Individuals in a community have a democratic election to choose ther person they feel best qualified to represent them. This person then meets with other representatives and discuss/debate the issues important to the region, and elect one person to continue on

        That sounds like a Parliamentry Democracy, such as we have in England. It is a compromise between the extremes of a political elite and mob rule that works rather well. Or has done for several centuries. It encourages career politicians who are in touch with their communities (constituents). The biggest difference we have in Europe is that commercial interests are barred. We don't have the same "lobbying" as the USA, which is basically legalised corruption that enables corporations to influence politicians. I think in Europe we understand much better the process of fascism, or as Eisenhower called it in an American context the "military indutrial complex". It begins the moment you allow business to be represented in government disproportionately to the ordinay people.

        Having said that, our present Blair goverment has done a lot to damage the traditional political system and tried, like Bush, to change the rules of the game. That is why he is widely regarded as a wet failure and a traitor to our country, one who will very probably be handed over to the ICC to face war crimes if the people have any say so. Unlike the USA we have checks and balances in place that mean he will get what's coming to him, eventually.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Duh, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 6:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: How about?

          misanthropic humanist, worry about your own country. Your own govt. is trying to keep a Mosque from being built there, either you have a problem with freedom of religion or you have a serious immigration problem. Either way, you should worry about your own back yard.

          Blair might not be perfect, but he is trying to protect his country. Once you realize that things will go a lot better for your lot. Your country has had war declared on it, but you refuse to acknowledge that. The side you are fighting is on a religious war, yet you refuse to see it as such.

          Either people like Blair will take care of it for you, or you will die. Your subways were bombed, and you think a bobbie with a nightstick is the answer. What happened to the courage of Sir Winston Churchill, Montgomery and the like? What happened to your country? The will, the pride?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Enrico Suarve, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 2:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How about?

            "Your own govt. is trying to keep a Mosque from being built there, either you have a problem with freedom of religion or you have a serious immigration problem"



            Eh? what? which random bit of news did you read? I'm from a town in the UK which at last count had 3 major custom built mosques and long ago lost count of the number of smaller converted buildings



            You may mean the Mosque in London which is under discussion at the moment - incidentally there is a fairly large part of the muslim population itself which oppose this from what I gather http://www.islamicpluralism.org/news/2006n/londontablighmosque.htm



            I think its true - the UK does have problems with its immigration just like the majority or western countries, but I think that’s off topic (incidentally I'm not a fascist - there are problems there always will be, its how we fix them that’s important)



            Either people like Blair will take care of it for you, or you will die. Your subways were bombed, and you think a bobbie with a nightstick is the answer. What happened to the courage of Sir Winston Churchill, Montgomery and the like? What happened to your country? The will, the pride?



            [Rant]

            Now I am offended - how dare you compare Blair to Winston Churchill? The two-faced bastard (who I unfortunately believed and voted for) is no comparison to one of our greatest leaders



            Churchill stood firm and led our country into the dark against one of the most serious threats to it’s sovereignty it has ever known (He even stepped up to become leader AFTER others had started the war). Blair joined in an attack on Afghanistan because a Saudi committed an atrocity on an ally, and then joined in attacking Iraq because of [insert current excuse for invading Iraq here]. Sorry but that’s not even close to being the same and smacks of weakness and pandering, not real courage



            Courage is not always looking for the first person to attack regardless of the situation and hiding behind a closed door as soon as something goes wrong. Real courage runs deeper - it is the ability to stand up, say "you will not change us" and go on regardless. The ability to stand firm on the beaches, preserve your freedoms and fight back where appropriate and possible



            Removing fundamental freedoms (Patriot act) and joining in attacking someone, anyone (Iraq) is not courage, its manipulating a situation for other gains

            [/rant]



            Anyway sorry out being completely off topic

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 9:05pm

    Mandatory Attendence

    If it was legally required for every citizen enrolled to vote to attend the polling booth and either vote or spoil his ballot paper by marking a specific box (and in no other way), with a hefty fine for non-attendence, then in any districct with less ballot papers than voters can have the numbers of the papers checked to find out whose papers are missing, who can then be asked to re-vote. While the system would need tweaking to prevent the loss of the secret ballot, this could help virtually eliminate vote-rigging.

    With electronic machines, if there is any dispariity between the number of votes recorded (including abstinations) and the number of voters in an electorate, the simple solution would be to simply have everyone there vote again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      li'l bit, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 11:25pm

      Re: Mandatory Attendence

      Right - 'cause forcing people to do something they won't do voluntarily is always so successfull. Goodness knows, I really think this country would be so-o-o much better off if every moron out there was forced into a voting booth.

      It isn't difficult to think up ways in which one could mess with election results no matter what method is used - it's much more difficult to actually carry out, let alone be successful. Electronic voting just makes it a lot easier to access and corrupt votes, and to do it sitting alone in a dark room. Or from the voting machine manufacturer's CEO's office. (Are all of the products on the market made by openly partisan Republicans? Want to guess why?)

      If they want to inject technology into elections, for reasons other than manipulation, how about using RIF to imbed plastic "ballots" connected into sheets, like parts to a model. Slap pictures of the candidates on some jars and let voters file by, dropping a "ballot" into the jar of choice. RIF would stop anyone from voting more than once by identifying "ballot" duplicates within each race. If it was one of those, "Choose two (or however many) of the candidates" - the scanners could be set to only alert when reading more than the number allowed. The scanners ould only be checking for duplicates - the count would be manual, or they could modify either "ballot" or coin counter machines so they worked together.

      Sorry for the rambling - it's a thought provoking subject - - -

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 5:23am

    Paper Trail

    I think what worries most people with these systems is the lack of a paper trail or any sort of 'reach-out-and-touchable' record

    Someone in a previous topic mentioned in their country they have a computerised record but that as the vote was cast it was also printed on a roll of paper under a viewing panel for the voter to witness as well

    This seems like the best possible combination to me - I would assume that they would then send the paper and the disk/whatever in separate directions and compare notes

    Obviously this would still be alterable by the CIA (Hi Dorpus!) as all things are, and if implemented in the US you could still go with the time honoured tradition of allowing Fox News to pick the winner

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    another, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 6:57am

    Get a clue

    Technology will never cure all the problems in the world. It is people's use of technology that can go a long way to fix problems. If the people don't want to actually fix problems, technology will only make it easier to screw things up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    G.W. Bush, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    This is a drop in the Ocean

    Alagoas is a small state in a country with almost 200 million people with abou 1.5 M voters.

    It's very clear the elections were manipuled on that state, but it's important to note the fraud was detected by a simple audit on the e-voting machines logs. On that sense, this is not a failure on the technology, but on the processes used to audit the elections by not providing enough controls to prevent *internal* frauds. This is the same as saying ATM technology is not secure if fraud is discovered on the ATM os ONE Citibank branch office...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Leandro, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 9:15am

    LEARN TO

    HEY BUSH,

    LEARN TO BRAZILIANS HOW TO DO A ELECTION.

    NORTH-AMERINCANS ARE THE BEST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Leandro, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 9:27am

    AND GIVE ME

    AND GIVE ME A ENGLISH AND ARABIC LANGUAGE COURSE TO GIFT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rafael, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 5:02pm

    33%

    Just to add, as a Brazilian, Alagoas is a very poor state, and has had voting fraud about forever. Paper ballot, e-voting, nothing will help there.
    Again, not to say our voting machines are perfect (far from it) but in any case it is way easier to audit e-voting than paper ballots. And as voting is mandatory in Brazil, I would guess the results kinda even out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Proud Brazilian, Jan 26th, 2007 @ 12:13pm

    Seeking for a justification for your incompetence?

    All the totals are printed in the voting room in at least 5 copies before closing the machine. So, it's very easy to detect if someone messes up with the data. This might be this case, that is still under investigation.

    Come to visit Brazil, when you want to learn how to do an election with more than 100 million voters and give the results in less than 24 hours, instead of months of paper counting like US did in Bush junior's first election.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This