by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
e-voting, ireland, voting machines

Hackable Irish E-Voting Machines That Cost 54 Million Euros Sold For Scrap: 9 Euros A Piece

from the buy-high,-sell-low dept

For years, we've been pointing out the massive problems of e-voting, and governments' general blindness to the security risks. Of course, beyond the basic fear of fraud, there should have also been concerns about wasting taxpayer money. Apparently those concerns didn't amount to much in Ireland. As Slashdot highlights, Ireland spent €54 million on 7,500 e-voting machines. However, after realizing that there was no way to secure them from being hacked, the government has sold them off for scrap for a grand total of €70,000, or approximately €9 per machine. On the bright side, at least they weren't completely worthless...

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  1. icon
    Wally (profile), 6 Jul 2012 @ 12:32pm


    That may be true, but at least we spotted the issue and it got corrected. It was a software glitch by the original programming of the first machines going through. They use the same locking technologies at my local school district for getting into locked parts. To clarify my jumbled statement:

    1. You sign your name in on a physical piece of paper with photo ID in hand.

    2. Someone takes you to your booth and the machine logs in with the key fob in place, the helper enters your registry ID code which is unique and changes every time there is a vote going on.

    3. Following directions the directions on the voting machines here in Ohio are actually quite clear on how to work them at the voter level.

    4. Even if there is a dropped vote count on the machine, the QR print is still available to use and that's how Ohio votes are counted, QR scanning.

    Not to say the machines themselves are infallible, but the specific ones from my district tend to have a redundant backup of your vote.

    Now, my district got our E-Voters back in 2007, the article you mentions the problem only pertains to machines manufactured 10 years ago. The manufacturers acknowledged that there WAS a problem, but that doesn't mean they didn't fix it when the problem was discovered by them independently, they just publicly announced it after being enquired about it.

    The article states "The flawed software is on both touch screen and optical scan voting machines made by Premier and the problem with vote counts is most likely to affect larger jurisdictions that feed many memory cards to a central counting database rapidly," which means it affected those districts who failed to properly maintain the machines. It was a Softwear error yes, but note it says it happened when in transit.

    It also states "Riggall said he was "confident" that elections officials through the years would have realized votes had been dropped when they crosschecked their tallies to certify final elections results and would have reloaded cards so as not to lose votes. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has said no Ohio votes were lost because the nine Ohio counties that found the problem caught it before primary results were finalized." This means they had caught the problem, notified the right people for the correction, and everything was saved.

    Now it also states that the memory cards being used had to be put into our counter one at a time, larger districts wanted to rush things apparently otherwise we wouldn't be in this mess. So what seems to be a software issue, looks more like a rush job gone bad.

    Long story short: due to human error and not following instructions, there was a giant mess. The vote counters were not uploading the votes one at a time into the system, which as you know, can cause data errors. Unlike Ireland, we double-checked each vote in my district and everything turned out ok.

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