October 07, 2003

Computer Experts Fear Recall Voter Fraud

This story is about the third of the Triple Locks
)Lock #1 - Corporate campaign $$$, Lock #2 - Corporate
media complicity, Lock #3 - Black box voting) that the
Bush Cabal with which the Bush cabal is hoping to keep
and increase their power. This story reveals the real
agenda behind Conan the Deceiver's "Total Recall"
putsch. California must hold its ground today.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031006/ap_on_el_gu/recall_recount_trouble
Computer Experts Fear Recall Voter Fraud
Mon Oct 6, 2:43 PM ET

By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Punch-card ballots from Tuesday's
historic recall election are sure to get a going-over
by political activists, but some computer scientists
think touch-screen voting machines deserve just as
much scrutiny.


AP Photo

While punch-card ballots caused headaches for Florida
election officials with their "hanging" and "pregnant"
chads, nearly one in 10 California voters will be
using touch-screen machines, which don't produce
printouts voters can see. And no paper printouts, the
scientists say, would make a legitimate recount
impossible.


"You can't do a meaningful recount if the question is
about the integrity of the voting machines
themselves," said David Dill, a computer science
professor at Stanford University. He urged voters in
the four counties using touch-screen terminals to vote
with absentee ballots.


The concern of Dill and some of his colleagues was
dismissed as overblown and irresponsible by county
registrars and executives at the companies that sell
and update the electronic voting machines.


None of the elections officials who supervise the
50,000 touch-screen machines serviced nationwide by
Diebold Election Systems has reported glitches or
computer hacks that have resulted in known miscounts
or fraud, said Mark Radke, director of the voting
industry division of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold.

But according to a July study by Johns Hopkins and
Rice universities, any clever hacker could break into
Diebold's system and vote multiple times. Researchers
found it was theoretically possible to insert "back
doors" into software code that would allow hackers
or insiders to change future voters' choices and
determine the outcome.


Activists are demanding that ballot machine vendors
include printers that produce paper receipts so
citizens can confirm that paper results match their
touch-screen choices. Receipts would go into a county
lock-box for use in recounts.


"It's horrifying and ridiculous that these machines
don't have a voter-verifiable audit trail," said
Rebecca Mercuri, a Harvard University research fellow
who specializes in computer security and voting
systems.


Officials from one affected county, Riverside County,
have "total confidence" in the electronic system used
by its 650,000 voters, said Mischelle Townsend,
registrar of voters. On election day the county tests
all 4,250 touch-screens for logic and accuracy,
confirming that a "yes" vote is recorded as a "yes,"
Townsend emphasized.


"The machines have always been adjudicated to be
reliable and accurate," said Townsend, who has
supervised 19 touch-screen elections and five recounts
since November 2000. "There's never been a single
incident of what the scientists fear."


After polls close, elections officials make another
accuracy check. They get printouts for 1 percent of
voters in every precinct and compare the digital
record with the printouts.


Electronic voting advocates acknowledge no system is
perfect but say touch-screen machines are better than
older technology.


The ACLU is watching closely for evidence of voter
disenfranchisement, as is the California Democratic
Party, which began soliciting $100,000 last week for a
"No More Floridas!" campaign to scrutinize alleged
violations.


The computer scientists will be watching as well,
looking for statistical anomalies in touch-screen
counties.


"The very thought of a recount it's chilling," said
Alameda County assistant registrar Elaine Ginnold.
"We're all hoping there will be a huge margin because
a recount would plug things up for quite a while."


___

Posted by richard at October 7, 2003 02:18 PM