February 16, 2004

Hi-Tech Voting Machines 'Threaten' US Polls: Scientist Warns That Electronic Votes Cannot Be Safeguarded

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem)took to the air waves on
NotBeSeen (NBC) Meat the Press yesterday, looking
forward to a brawl with Ed Gillespie (forgive us,
Dizzy), the RNC chairman. But Gillespie wimped out and
would not share the air with Rangel, fearful of
getting whopped. So Tim Russert, uncharacteristically,
let Charlie speak almost uninterruptedly. It was
inspiring and encouraging...
Here are some highlights:
MR. RUSSERT: So the president has not satisfied you on
this issue yet?
REP. RANGEL: It's the American people. And the records
have not indicated as to whether or not after all of
the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it took to
train this man, then why was his pilot's ability to
fly suspended? Why was he able to get involved in the
campaign? These are really issues especially when he
says on your program that he's the war president and
that he is willing to have a whole lot of Americans,
over 530 lives lost, 2,000 people maimed, for a war
that we didn't have to fight according to some of the
experts. And now we're challenging whether or not he's
properly served this country. I think these are
legitimate issues.
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman, he was honorably discharged.
That must mean something.
REP. RANGEL: It does mean something but it didn't mean
that he volunteered to go to Vietnam. It didn't mean
that he served in combat. And all I'm saying is that I
know the National Guard and the National Guard that we
got today that I, with tears in my eyes, see go over
to Iraq and the Reservists that we have today. This is
not what we had in the '70s. This is something that
our men and women did not expect to have to do. And
when he gets on your program and says that we're
denigrating the National Guard, we are not. They
didn't have the record-keeping ability. That's why the
president has to come forward and not just wait for
someone to say, "I remember seeing him once in the
chow line," or, "I think I saw him." He was George
Bush's son. Everyone knew who he was...
MR. RUSSERT: Have John Kerry's allegations about
George Bush being controlled by special interests been
neutralized by his own fund-raising activities?
REP. RANGEL: Let's first get to Ed Gillespie, who
refuses to get on this program with me, who is a
lobbyist, who understands this better than I do
because he spent his whole life being a lobbyist for
the vested interests in the United States. And you ask
him the question as to whether or not in one year
George Bush has received more vested interest lobbying
money than Senator Kerry throughout his Senate career.
And for him to talk about dirty politics and have this
stuff on his Web site, I don't think is credible. And
so George Bush is the guy that's been able to get the
pharmaceutical money, the oil money, the
anti-environment money. And so I would hope if this
campaign is going to be on who has received the most
in terms of lobbying money, let the war begin because
Bush has wiped us out. He's got hundreds of millions
of dollars, and all I would hope is that
George--Gillespie would make that public. If you want
to provide a service to the American people, as you
did, and get the president to release his records as
it relates to whether he served or didn't serve in the
National Guard, get Gillespie to just have the
lobbying records of--I keep saying governor because I
can't forget Florida. But just have the president's
records released on the lobbying money he has. MR.
RUSSERT: You say you can't forget Florida. REP.
RANGEL: I can't forget Florida. I really can't forget
Florida. It took a long time for my people to get the
right to vote. And once they got it, they did it the
way that they should have. We won the popular vote.
And then all of a sudden, the Supreme Court comes in
and says, "We got enough votes for Bush. Stop
counting." And that's what happened.
MR. RUSSERT: But our Constitution provides that
whoever wins the Electoral College is the president of
the United States. It's not popular vote.
REP. RANGEL: Well, some say that Mayor Daley
controlled the number of votes that Kennedy got, and
clearly the Republicans got even if that happened
because there is no question that people who are
entitled to vote were not allowed to vote in Florida.
And so it was a bad count that we got. And we will
never, never, never forget Florida. This is the only
time that we have an appointed president of the United
States in our history.
MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, you talk about this with
such passion. What do you think the minority turnout
is going to be in 2004? Is the outrage that you're now
showing on this show, does it exist in the minority
community across the country?
REP. RANGEL: There's no question about it. And you
don't have to talk about Senator Kerry for president
or George Bush being out. All you have to do is go
into a minority community and have a button on. And
just say, "Don't forget Florida." And it will say the
whole story.

And yes, speaking NEVER, NEVER, NEVER forgetting
Fraudida, it is important to note that the sanctity of
the vote is in more danger today than it was in
2000...Here is an excellent piece from America's best
newspaper, The Guardian, published, of course, in the
UK...

Guardian/UK: "The system is in crisis," Professor Dill
said. "A quarter of the American public are voting on
machines where there's very little protection of their
votes. I don't think there's any reason to trust these
machines." There have also been criticisms of the
company which won the contract to supply the machines,
Diebold Inc. It has been accused of secrecy, arrogance
and political bias. Diebold's chief executive, Walden
O'Dell, held a political fundraiser for President Bush
last year.

Thwart the Theft of a Second US Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0216-01.htm

Published on Monday, February 16, 2004 by the
Guardian/UK
Hi-Tech Voting Machines 'Threaten' US Polls: Scientist Warns That Electronic Votes Cannot Be Safeguarded

by Tim Radford and Dan Glaister

US voters will go to the polls in November using
electronic voting machines which cannot be verified, a
computer scientist warned yesterday.

David Dill, of Stanford University, told the American
Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in
Seattle, that 1,600 technologists and 53 elected
officials had joined his crusade for a "paper trail"
so that electronic voting machines could be checked.

In an election for a seat in the Florida house of
representatives last month, touch-screen machines
recorded 127 blank ballots. The race was won by 12
votes. No recount was possible because there was
nothing to recount.

In an election in Indiana last year, an electronic
system recorded more than 144,000 votes in an election
with fewer than 19,000 registered voters.

The system is set for its first significant test in
just over two weeks when several states will use the
machines for both the Democratic primaries and for
several local votes held on the same day. These states
include Georgia, Ohio, California and Maryland. San
Diego in California has bought more than 10,000
machines, while the state of Maryland has spent $55m
on 16,000 machines for its voters.

"The system is in crisis," Professor Dill said. "A
quarter of the American public are voting on machines
where there's very little protection of their votes. I
don't think there's any reason to trust these
machines." There have also been criticisms of the
company which won the contract to supply the machines,
Diebold Inc. It has been accused of secrecy, arrogance
and political bias. Diebold's chief executive, Walden
O'Dell, held a political fundraiser for President Bush
last year.

Federal funds have been pledged to states to update
their voting equipment after the bitterly contested
presidential election of 2000. But there have been
many problems with electronic machines.

The criticisms center on three issues: the machines
offer no record of how a vote was cast - so no
prospect of a repeat of the "hanging chad" fiasco of
the 2000 election; the accuracy with which they record
votes has been called into question; and they could be
vulnerable to computer hackers.

Proponents of the machines say they prohibit voting
for more candidates than allowed and they give voters
the opportunity to go back and change a vote.

"If the machine silently loses or changes the vote,
the voter has no clue what has happened," said Prof
Dill. "If you have computers recording votes or
counting votes, then you have to do manual recounts
with sufficient frequency that machine errors are
likely to be caught."

A bill has been introduced requiring that digital
voting machines leave a paper trail and that their
software be available for public inspection.

A test of the machines in Maryland found the machines
to be vulnerable. A computer security firm found it
easy to cast multiple votes and override the machines'
vote-recording mechanisms.

But the vulnerabilities extended to more than computer
science: Maryland's 16,000 machines all had identical
locks for two sensitive mechanisms. The hackers found
that they would have been able to have copies of the
keys for these locks cut at a locksmith, although
ultimately they found it easier simply to pick the
locks. It reportedly took less than 10 seconds.

Concerns over the electronic voting machines follow
the decision by the US government to abandon plans to
allow US citizens overseas to vote on the internet in
the wake of concerns that their votes too could be
vulnerable to fraud.

The internet voting system, was scrapped at the
beginning of the month in the light of an
investigation by four Pentagon appointed computer
security experts.

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Posted by richard at February 16, 2004 09:54 AM