Diebold Machine Didn't Count Votes, But Diebold Says Not To Worry: They Can Tell You The Actual Vote Totals

from the whoops dept

The situation in Maryland with Diebold voting machines already looked pretty bad with no real fix in sight. However, they're apparently even worse than we had assumed before. Tim Lee, over at The Technology Liberation Front points us to a story on Avi Rubin's blog, posting an email from a Chief Judge for the recent problematic election. Turns out that one of the Diebold machines at his site recorded zero votes on the memory card for the election, despite the fact that fifty-five people were logged voting at that machine. There was no warning or error message on the machine that would have, you know, let anyone know that the machine shouldn't be used or their votes wouldn't be recorded. While in the end, they were able to recover the votes by looking at the additional on-board memory (not the memory card) on the machine, Rubin points out all of the problems with this method, including the fact that they're reliant on Diebold to recover these votes and provide an accurate tally. Once again, this seems to highlight just how many problems there are with these voting machines and should make everyone question why we're rushing them into the voting booths so quickly, without adequate tests.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2006 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Here's a thought...

    MIT has some notes on it in their OpenCourseware project. I read a bit, and it's a more tricky problem than I realized at first. At least, to do it right. I doubt that Diebold is anywhere close to doing it right.

    One complication is that ticker tape method won't work, because you're not supposed to have any actual record linking you to the actual vote you cast. (you know hide behind the curtain and anonymous ballot thing)

    But then, you also need to ensure people only vote once. Also, people need to be able to verify that the vote they cast is actually recorded correctly.

    And you need to be able to recount the votes later on.

    L17: "Introduction to Electronic Voting" by Ben Adida (PDF)
    http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Electrical-Engineering-and-Computer-Science/6-897Spring-2004/ E2483BFE-56D8-44E2-BD3F-AA98D4E435A8/0/l17.pdf

    L18: "Mix­-Net Voting Systems" by Yael Tauman Kalai (PDF)
    http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Electrical-Engineering-and-Computer-Science/6-897Spring-2004/ 8682F3D1-7680-4357-AAC3-534960D245A1/0/l18.pdf

    both links are found on this page: Lecture Notes from their Spring 2004 Cryptography course. http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Electrical-Engineering-and-Computer-Science/6-897Spring-2004/LectureNotes/ index.htm

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