Have You Heard? E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked

from the shocking,-I-know dept

There have been more than enough stories over the last few years (hell, over the last month) to make you question just how secure and reliable e-voting machines are. So, it should come as no surprise to find out that the voting machines (made by Nedap) used for e-voting in Holland and France are easily hackable. Turns out that anyone with “brief access” to the machines can “control the election results.” According to the story, 90% of votes in the Netherlands use these machines, and the election is a month away. Well, at least we know that the US isn’t the only country facing this issue. It still makes you wonder, though, why election officials were so eager to get these machines up and running, knowing that there are so many problems with them.

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Comments on “Have You Heard? E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked”

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Matt Bennett says:

Re: E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked?

Thinlizzy, it is people like you that led to the head long rush to implement e-voting machines, not republicans. People like you were convinced that the florida were unfair, or biased, as if “hanging chads” happened on more on one parties side than the other, or other such nonsense. You people thought e-voting machines would fix everything.

Well, maybe they could have, but so could have better implemented paper voting procedures. It’s not the tools that’s the problem, it’s the implementation.

Fine, you have your e-voting machines now. You did ask for them. It’s not your fault they’re pieces of crap, it’s Diebold’s, but you could at least have the decency to admit to asking for them.

nick says:

Re: Re: E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked?

All we want is a fair election and we want every vote to count. Now it’s our fault that the GOP has given the contract to a campaign contributor who is rigging the machines so that Republicans always win? Sounds to me like another situation where Washington fixes a problem with another problem. You can’t ask criminals to stop crime. If there is not enough oversight, they can cheat no matter what. They can have 5 times the votes for the Democrats and if it’s Republicans counting the vote, it’ll be a Republican that wins. And these are the people calling us Liberals unamerican?

? says:

Re: Re: E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked?

Nope – Bush won, came out with a majority of votes from Florida. USA Today and several other papers (conservative and liberal) have done their own investigations and concluded that Bush had a majority vote.

Some people need to pay more attention to the news.

PS: And I’m not a Bush supporter.

Nolan says:

Re: Re: Re: E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked?

If I may clarify, the first count of ballots in florida after the the courts decided not to allow recounts resulted in a net gain for gore putting him ahead of bush, further analysis put bush back in the lead.

I don’t believe either party “fixed” the election (for a fixed election that was an aweful lot of no being sure about the outcome).

However, to get back on topic of electronic voting machines and fraud:

The current system of private voting not traceable to an individual lends itself to fraud all too easily. The only way to be absolutely certain of accurate voting is with oversight and accountability. Afterall, if you can’t attach a vote to a person, how can you garuntee a persons vote is counted.

sarcasm_addict says:

I don’t think the general public “gets its”. The ease with which various voting machines can be hijacked is just not a good mainstream news story. The only way there can ever be a good digital voting machine is with the use of publicized source code which can be critiqued by techies, and some industrial heavy-duty titanium locks. The lack of paper trail capability in some of these machines is just pathetic. Take it to the streets.

mmichaels says:

Be careful what you wish(ed) for.

Yup. Punch cards were just sooo hard, we had to move to touch-screen terminals.

This is all happening because some people are too stupid to take a look at a piece of cardboard to make sure all of the holes are completely punched out.

It’s also noteable that everyone concentrates so much on the hacker risk, yet (mostly the same) people freak out when the idea of asking someone to show an ID at the polling place is brought up.

The easiest way to hack an electronic voting machine is to show up and claim that you are someone else.

Matt Bennett says:

Democrats don’t like the idea of having to have an ID card to vote, cuz then they couldn’t get all those illegal immigrant votes (and they do). Instead, they claim it’s unfair cuz a lot of poor and minority people don’t have ID cards, supposedly. I don’t really think that’s true……and if so, so what, get an ID you ignorant dunce or don’t vote……but it’s not their real reason for protesting it in any case.

mmichaels says:

Re: Bank online Vote online

Wouldn’t people who don’t own computers claim they’re being discriminated against and demand the govt purchase them a computer and pay for their internet access? Serious question, by the way.

Even if we said that people could still vote the traditional way (like they can bank the traditional way), I have a feeling, since would be a fed govt thing, people will claim discrimination.

Then, what if your cable company has an outage during an election, maybe 10 minutes before the deadline for online voting. Wouldn’t people claim that “Big Cable” tried to steal the elction and give it to (name of Republican here)?

I’m sure this is probably going on already for more local elections. But I bet if it went to the federal level, you’d open up a great new source of revenue for lawyers.

Blue says:


First off, voting on the internet would be about as insucure as using cardbord boxes in the middle of the world’s most crowded city to store $50,000,000. Secondly opendourcing the voting systems would mean that someone who wanted to hack the system would just have to study the opensource/avalible to the public code. Thirdly not allowing a neutral party to test the code means that hacking will be eaiser, and the lack of a paper trail makes fraud eaiser.

Though you may not have to show I.D. you do need a valid social security number… Admitidly there are some problems with that. In chicago it was discovered that there was a person who had voted in every election since 1975… He had died sometime in 1950. On the other hand a ID costs 20 some dollars, (Depending on state) and may require loops to be jumped through.

All in all Electronic voting was not a bad idea, it was just missaplied. Perhaps we will get it right next time. And don’t accuse people of cheating in elections. We all know it’s just a farce anyways, and that it is our duty to vote, and proudly think that it counts while the state and county officials make up numbers for fun and profit, and pull mean tricks with the district lines, and disbalance how much power states have. (California, Newyork, Florida… Take all three of them and the election is practicly in the bag.). I personaly think that we should either re-draw state lines so that it’s less unbalanced, or we should split state votes by percentage, not winner takes all.

Reed says:

Re: E-voting

“Secondly opendourcing the voting systems would mean that someone who wanted to hack the system would just have to study the opensource/avalible to the public code.”

I tend to disagree here. Open sourcing code like this is the only way to prevent hacking. Time and time again closed sourced models are easily hacked, but check the track record of open source models!

Revealing how something works allows everyone to step back and take a look to improve things. You really think some wise-ass hacker is going to out-hack thousands of brilliant minds that are improving the code every day?

You can’t compete against everyone at once! But if you allow that same code to be viewed by only a few people there will likely be major problems with the code waiting to be exploited. The problem really is complexity and we all have to work together to elimnate these problems. The only real way to accomplish this is to open source.

Anonymous of Course says:

It's not cheating if my guy wins.

In Milwaukee, democrats slashed the tires of
vans slated to be used by republicans to
transport voters to the polls. They also
bribed bums with cigarettes to vote for the
democratic candidate.

I’d hazard a guess that republicans did some
things they weren’t supposed to do but
nothing so blatant that I’m aware of.

All of the republicans stole the vote stories
would require perpetrator on the scale of
Dr. Evil to execute their byzantine plots.

With e-voting we all loose. Since no one on
either side will trust or accept the results unless
their guy wins.

It will be like living in Mexico.

Tyshaun says:


So what if Bush stole the election or not, his incrementally more horrific screwups have more than overshadowed how he got into office anyway! “STay the course” let’s continue to frag brave American soldiers who without question answered Bush’s call to fight his personal battle, just to see our enemy more resolute and greater in number. What a moron.

I don’t understand why it’s so dang hard to write and design a voting machine that is accurate. All you need is an interface that is easy and a well made box to keep the processor in. This shouldn’t be this hard, unless voting machine manufacturers intentionally leave holes in their products for future “tuning”……

Conspiracy theorist unite!

I don’t care, I’m saving up money and moving to some third world hell hole. At least being starved and exposed to disease is an honest way to get f***** over. Right now politicians in this country are working us all over and somehow convincing the general population it’s for the better.

Which one are you going to take, the red pill or the blue? The political matrix is calling you!

Matt S. says:


Touch-screen voting is the rage not because it is better technology, it is trendy now because election officials want to give the appearance that they are doing something to make voting more secure by thwowing a lot of technology at the problem. I think it is likely that many have received some sort of inducement from the machine manufacturers and many of the inducements may walk a fine line of legality. The main argument against touch-screen voting is that is takes too much time. There is a learning curve associated with new technology and it is not a sound idea to have voters struggle to learn something new in the voting booth. That makes for slower voting and long lines on election day. The machines are expensive and so it is difficult to purchase more to meet demand. Most Americans have decades of experience with optical scan forms for tests and other applications. With optical scan ballots, the voter only needs a private place to stand and mark the ballot. It is thus very easy to add more voting stations. Optical scan ballots produce an instant and effective paper trail. A touch-screen machine may produce a “receipt” for the voter but that is only a statement of the voter’s intentions, not necessarily what was recorded. It would be relatively easy for a devious programmer to embed an algorithm to switch a vote or two for every thousand cast, which could prove decisive in a close election.

Tricky says:

A view from a Dutch Man

I am Dutch, and I have voted with these machines for years now. That these machines where hackable was no surprise. I’m a computerfreak myself and I know that EVERYTHING can be hacked no matter how much you secure it. But you always assume that the authorities secure such machines in the best ways possible. The group “Wij Vertrouwen Stemcomputers Niet” (We don’t trust voting computers) showed that the security is not that good. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of security at all. Anyone able to code machine code could hack a voting computer. No encryption, no unique keys (all the keys are the same and easy to get), and the password to it even appeared to be easy to guess if you are Dutch. How did these machines make it to the voting then? Easy, these machines were manufactured in the 80’s, and in that time, there were not so much hackers as there are today. It was just a fast and easy system to get votes counted, and that was all that mattered at those days. Things as spyware, adware, worms, virusses and many things like that were no issue back in those days. Today we know better, and lots of security has been set in place in the comptures we know today. Even an xBox has been manufactured that way that you must be very clever to hack it. The voting computers have never been updated or replaced for that matter. The hardware is still from old times, and it’s impossible to upgrade that security in those machines. A complete new voting machine has to be manufactured to get things secured, or secure enough to hold elections with it. As stated in the article above, the elections are only a month away, so it will be impossible to get such a machine manufactured in such a short time. So I suppose the best bet is to go back to the red pencil we used in the old days. Will take a lot more time to count all votes, but it may prevent fraud. Our minister that is responsible for the machines still trust them, has set up a few things to secure the machines more, but I don’t believe that’ll work. Those measures would work back in the early 80’s but not in the year 2006. “Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet” is about to set things right in court. Don’t know if that’ll help and a month is very short to duel that out in court if you ask me.

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