Elections Officials Try To Defend Their Handling Of E-Voting Machine Testing

from the wasn't-really-that-bad,-they-claim dept

In the ongoing debate we've had with an e-voting company employee in our comments, we were told repeatedly that last month's story that the US Election Assistance Commission had barred the largest testing firm from testing e-voting machines was overblown. Now, it appears that EAC officials are trying to convince more people of that as well, saying that it was nothing out of the ordinary to ban the firm who tested most e-voting machines, after it was determined that they weren't complying with the testing rules. They claim that the press and blogs (such as this one, we assume) got something "lost in the translation." That may be true, but they seem to be missing the point. If there were real transparency in all of this and real security experts were free to do the tests they wanted, then people would feel a lot more comfortable about things. The problem is that there's almost no transparency, other than some "public tests" that are still limited. At the end of the article things get even more bizarre. The EAC folks complains that they haven't been able to do as much as they want because they have "limited resources." In other words, they're admitting that the current resources aren't enough for them to make sure these machines are thoroughly tested. There's a really simple solution to all of this. There is a good group of security experts out there who aren't just willing, but are pretty much begging to help test these machines to make sure they really are secure. Why won't the EAC open up the testing to let them take part? It should be a total win-win solution. The critics can see for themselves what's really going on and if the machines withstand the scrutiny then that should make everyone happy and a lot more comfortable with elections that use the machines.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 3:37pm

    Why?

    Because the whole e-voting machine debacle is the result of payoffs - political contributions get contracts and the citizens be damned.
    The more the public knows, the more the corruption will be exposed and politicians certainly don't want that to happen.
    That's why we have insecure e-voting and that's why they're trying to avoid honest and open investigations.
    I'm in favor of independent investigations similar to the one by Patrick Fitzgerald.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Wolf0579, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

    No-paper-trail voting

    Is what the political party machine guys (and gals) really wanted. The majority party just keeps winning. Karl Rove was alleged to have promised "a permanent Republican Majority" if he got a free hand in masterminding Bush's rise to power. I'm sure I got the quote out of context. Perhaps someone out there knows? Stealing an election is much safer when all you have to do is erase a memory module here and there, and there are no incriminating chads hanging around.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Starky, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    The problem with that

    There is a good group of security experts out there who aren't just willing, but are pretty much begging to help test these machines to make sure they really are secure. Why won't the EAC open up the testing to let them take part? It should be a total win-win solution. The critics can see for themselves what's really going on and if the machines withstand the scrutiny then that should make everyone happy and a lot more comfortable with elections that use the machines.
    The problem with that solution is that it makes perfect sense! And if the actions of the industry have taught me anything, it's that if a solution makes perfect sense and will completely solve the problem, it's a bad idea.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Matt, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 4:18pm

    Re: No-paper-trail voting

    The one quote that set everyone off was in a fall 2003 fundraising letter sent to Republicans, from Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell:

    "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

    Now tell me again why folks who don't trust these "no paper-trail" systems are paranoid?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    jro, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 4:46pm

    Boycott

    I think that we should all just boycot any polling station that is using a voting machine until they allow the proper testing to be done and the bump up some of the security on the stupid machines, we saw what happened with miscounts in florida.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 1:06am

    a group should go and get the green party elected just to show that it is corrupted and easily hackable. until then, it just won't be as obvious and will continue to have doubters at the systems corruption.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 5:14pm

    Re: No-paper-trail voting

    Wow that worked out pretty damned well...Since Bush is a Democrat and they control Congress....wait, am I confused or are you stupid?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Synonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2007 @ 1:01am

    Verify the vote, it's the American way

    It's not a party political issue, you need to verify the vote.

    Even if this company did the tests properly, the machine is still unverified because there's no way to verify the software running on each machine is the software that was certified.

    There's no way to verify that it is the *only* software that's been run, or that the electronic audit trail even comes from the machine it is supposed to come from.

    You have a country where an estimated $200 million is spent lobbying by foreign powers. So if nothing else, make the vote verifiable just to protect the USA votes from creepy foreign governments!

    So even if you think it's a democrat vs republican issue, it's not. It's a clean vote vs corrupt politicians & foreign powers issue.

     

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


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