Friday, December 16, 2005


While the Bush people and their crooked cheerleaders and hired hacks wax lyrical about a "Democracy" in Iraq, our own is hanging by threads, thanks to corrupt corporate leaders, shady, greedy and cynical politicians and a dishonest and no longer relevant media. I gagged when I watched Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour of CNN gush over the Iraqis' new right to vote the other night. For me, their coverage was the straw that broke the mule’s back in the realm of credibility. I have therefore moved Anderson and Christiane into my “No Longer Relevant, Whores, Liars and Crooks” files.

Where were Christiane and Anderson when Ohio election officials were denying the right to vote to thousands of its citizens? Where were they when the Texas Killers Task Force, or whatever the hell it was called, sent its people to intimidate voters in Ohio? Where were they when Blackwell ordered machines removed from largely Democratic and minority neighborhoods and sent instead to white suburban ones, in areas known to be largely Republican? Where were they when minorities, college students and a host of other voters stood in line for hours and hours in freezing rain because a sufficient number of machines were not provided for their precinct? Where were they when a software guy meddled with a tabulator in Ohio? Where the hell were they? Please don't tell me our media is unbiased, fair, ethical or even courageous. They are pathetic, uncurious, lack critical thinking skills, and most are brainless idiots who merely read Teleprompters. Any moron can read a Teleprompter. Bush does it just about every day.

Ken sent this piece today. You will not be shocked, it's nothing new, but reading the article will rekindle your outrage over the 2004 "election." Below Ken's piece is one from Sarah on the very same topic. Bottom line - Diebold machines can be hacked by an 8th grader. LS

This is from a Florida NBC affiliate. You can, and should, see the video of the report at this link.


The thing is, this is about the 2000 election, where we know that Al Gore received 80,000 uncounted votes. The Diebold machines in this story also produced paper trails which is how it became clear that they were adding lots of votes to Bush's total. At the end of the story the reporter points out that the newest machines do not produce a paper trail.

Do you find it hard to believe that the Diebold design team was specifically told to create a machine with no paper trail - so that the hacks couldn't be caught? -K

Elections Official: Some Voting Machines Could Be Hacked
UPDATED: 7:44 pm EST December 15, 2005

Voting machines used in four Central Florida counties might be flawed.

There's new evidence that computer hackers could change election results without anyone knowing about it, WESH 2 News reported.

The supervisor of elections in Tallahassee tested voting machines several times over the last several months, and on Monday, his workers were able to hack into a voting machine and change the outcome. He said that same thing might have happened in Volusia County in 2000.

The big controversy revolves around a little black computer card that is smaller than a floppy disk and bigger than a flash drive. The card is inserted into voting machines that scan paper ballots. The card serves as the machine's electronic brain.

But when Ion Sancho, Leon County's Supervisor of Elections, tested the Diebold system and allowed experts to manipulate the card electronically, he could change the outcome of a mock election without leaving any kind of trail. In other words, someone could fix an election and no one would know.

"The expert that we used simply programmed it on his laptop in his hotel room," Sancho said.

Sancho began investigating the problem after watching the votes come in during the infamous 2000 presidential election. In Volusia County precinct 216, a memory card added more than 200 votes to George W. Bush's total and subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gore. The mistake was later corrected during a hand count.

After watching his computer expert change vote totals this week, Sancho said that he now believes someone on the inside did the same think in Volusia County in 2000.

"Someone with access to the vote center in Volusia County put it on a memory card and uploaded it into the main system," Sancho said.

Sancho has been raising red flags about the system for months after other hackers were able to change votes during earlier tests. But Sancho said he's gotten nowhere with the company or with the Florida secretary of state's office, which oversees elections.

"This raises serious questions as to the state of Florida's certification program," Sancho said.

Acting Secretary of State David Mann defended the security of the machines.

"Right now, we are confident that those machines will carry on an election when they're used within the context of the security parameters that all supervisors follow," he said.

Michael Ertel, Seminole County's supervisor of elections, uses the exact same Diebold system, and he said he doubts such a security breach could happen without a lot of inside help.

"It's not the machine that is the process. The process is the security procedures set up by each individual supervisor of elections," Ertel said.

Diebold representatives don't think much of the Leon County test. Spokesman David Bear told the WESH 2 I-Team, "If you leave the keys in your car, the window open and the door unlocked, someone is going to drive off in it."

The concerns come on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, a Republican fundraiser and staunch Bush supporter. Diebolds were used in Florida and Ohio in 2004, and skeptics are raising a lot of questions.

The same Diebold voting machines are still being used in Volusia, Brevard, Seminole and Osceola counties. They are also used in 26 other counties across the state.

The old machines do have a paper trail but the new electronic touch-screen machines do not. And if there's no paper trail, elections officials have to rely on the accuracy of the machines.
Copyright 2005 by WESH.COM.


this comes as no shock... and I quote...

From there, Thompson said, he typed five lines of computer code - and switched 5,000 votes from one candidate to another. "I am positive an eighth grader could do this," Thompson said.


By Marc Caputo and Gary Fineout
The Miami Herald

Thursday 15 December 2005

A top election official and computer experts say computer hackers could easily change election results, after they found numerous flaws with a state-approved voting-machine in Tallahassee.
Tallahassee - A political operative with hacking skills could alter the results of any election on Diebold-made voting machines - and possibly other new voting systems in Florida - according to the state capital's election supervisor, who said Diebold software has failed repeated tests.

Ion Sancho, Leon County's election chief, said tests by two computer experts, completed this week, showed that an insider could surreptitiously change vote results and the number of ballots cast on Diebold's optical-scan machines.

After receiving county commission approval Tuesday, Sancho scrapped Diebold's system for one made by Elections Systems and Software, the same provider used by Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
The difference between the systems: Sancho's machines use a fill-in- the-blank paper ballot that allows for after-the-fact manual recounts, while Broward and Miami-Dade use ATM-like touchscreens that leave no paper trail.

"That's kind of scary. If there's no paper trail, you have to rely solely on electronic results. And now we know that they can be manipulated under the right conditions, without a person even leaving a fingerprint," said Sancho, who once headed the state's elections supervisors association.

The Leon County test results are likely to further fuel suspicions that the new electronic voting systems in Florida, in place since the 2002 elections, are susceptible to manipulation.

When the debate hit fever pitch before last year's presidential election, many conservatives said questions about the machinery were a liberal ploy to undermine confidence in the voting system.

Elections chiefs in Broward and Miami-Dade said Wednesday they have good security and are not particularly concerned - though both have had "glitches" that have been tough to explain.

Sancho agrees that good security is key, but said he's not sure he won't also have problems with the $1.3 million ES&S system, which he'll also test.

Diebold Users

Twenty-nine counties, including Monroe, use different versions of paper-ballot voting systems manufactured by Diebold, a leading manufacturer of security systems and voting machines. One county uses Diebold touchscreens.

A spokesman for Diebold Election Systems Inc. could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sancho said Diebold isn't the only one to blame for hacker-prone equipment. The Florida secretary of state's office should have caught these problems early on, he said, and the Legislature should scrap a law severely restricting recounts on touch-screen machines and equip them with the means of producing a paper trail.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office said any faults Sancho found were between him and Diebold.

"If Ion Sancho has security concerns with his system, he needs to discuss them with Diebold," spokeswoman Jenny Nash said.

Sancho first clashed with Diebold in May, when he teamed up with a nonprofit election-monitoring group called, which has made a crusade of showing that electronic voting machines are subject to fraud. BlackBox hired Herbert Thompson, a computer- science professor and strategist at Security Innovation, which tests software for companies such as Google and Microsoft.

Thompson couldn't hack into the system from the outside. So Sancho gave him access to the central machine that tabulates votes and to the last school election at Leon County High.

Thompson told The Herald he was "shocked" at how easy it was to get in, make the loser the winner and leave without a trace. The machine asked for a user name and password, but didn't require it, he said. That meant it had not just a "front door, but a back door as big as a garage," Thompson said.

From there, Thompson said, he typed five lines of computer code
- and switched 5,000 votes from one candidate to another.

"I am positive an eighth grader could do this," Thompson said.

After BlackBox and Sancho announced the results, Diebold's senior lawyer, Michael Lindroos, wrote Sancho, Leon County and the state of Florida questioning the results and calling the test "a very foolish and irresponsible act" that may have violated licensing agreements.

Over the past few months, computer expert Harri Hursti tried to manipulate election results with the memory card inserted into each Diebold voting machine. The card records votes during an election, then at the end of the day is taken to a central location where results are totaled.

Hursti figured out how to hack into the memory card by using an agricultural scanning device easily available on the Internet, said BlackBox founder Bev Harris. He learned how to hide votes, make losers out of winners and leave no trace, she said.

Hursti couldn't be reached for comment.

With some variation, both Miami-Dade and Broward use these cartridge-like cards to record votes and report election results.
Experts like Thompson say they believe the counties could be subject to electronic ballot-rigging - which would be hard to detect and correct without a paper trail.

Final Test

Sancho said he tried to discuss the problems with Diebold, but met with resistance. On Monday, he did one final test with Hursti at the Leon County supervisor's office, Hursti hacked the memory card to spit out seven "yes" votes on an issue and one "no" vote.

Then, six "no" votes and two "yes" votes were cast into the machine the same way voters would. Those results didn't show up in the final tally - just the ones hacked into the card.

Officials for ES&S, which makes the systems used in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Seth Kaplan, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade elections office, said officials continually monitor the quality and security of their machines.

"The problem of election fraud predates current technology by hundreds of years. We have people we trust and in our case we have checks to reconcile the results," Kaplan said.

But Broward's election supervisor, Brenda Snipes, said she's at least intrigued. She, too, vouches for her office's security, but says there's a need to remain vigilant.

"Is hacking possible? We think we have a secure system. With technology, those people who have that level of expertise, I guess that could be possible," Snipes said. "We need to see what Ion did.
He tries a lot of things. He's always analyzing things."

But Sancho said the time for passive monitoring is over. The Diebold problems show that simple tests haven't been done on at least one major voting system, he said.

"These were sold as safe systems. They passed tests as safe systems," Sancho said. "But even in the so-called safe system, if you don't follow the paper ballots, there is a way to rig the election.
Except it's not a bunch of guys stuffing ballots in a precinct. It's possibly one person acting in secret changing thousands of votes in a second."

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