October 23, 2009

‘The computer says so’ is not a good answer

Posted in Diebold, Elections, Humboldt county CA, paper ballots, voter verified paper ballots, voting tagged , , at 8:36 pm by bluebanshee

In Humboldt County California, Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich has not had good luck relying on her computer system(s) to give her accurate information. This has created problems.

In November 2008 she found out that the Diebold optical scan system she was using was capable of making an entire batch of counted ballots disappear into thin air without a trace … poof! No warning message … no tellltale evidence in the computer log … just poof, the batch was gone.

It turned out to be a known bug in the Diebold software that might only be avoided with special “workaround” procedures – or at least, that is what representatives of Diebold told her when she contacted them about the vanishing votes. Crnich found out about the problem because of a post-election audit conducted by local activists – not because of any notification from Diebold.

So Crnich did what a conscientious election official might do – she decided to switch to a new vendor and spent recent months getting her brand new system from Hart InterCivic ready for this November’s election. Read the rest of this entry »

October 19, 2009

Wow! Diebold scanners are picky about ink colors on ballots

Posted in Diebold, Elections, voting, voting machine testing, voting machines tagged , , , at 10:44 pm by bluebanshee

Yup, you read that right.  Diebold scanners are picky about which color ink is used to mark a ballot — sometimes just can not read blue ink.  Also, sometimes just can not read  marks made with number two pencil.  Everyone who has ever filled out a scantron sheet for an  SAT or GRE or any other standardized test must be scratching your head by now.

Yes, I know, I know …  the official instructions  from Diebold say to use a number two pencil or a pen with blue or black ink (just like those standardized test directions).  But you can’t believe the official stuff because it doesn’t always work. Read the rest of this entry »

September 7, 2009

The Voting Machine Song

Posted in Diebold, Elections, ES&S, voting machine song, voting machines tagged , , at 9:45 pm by bluebanshee

In honor of the planned union of the number one and number two voting machine companies (ES&S and Diebold), I give you the Voting Machine Song … a lyrical message from the Diebold-Halliburton Fund for the Promotion of Democracy, sung by Marilyn Bennett, Doug Smith, Nkemjika Ofodile and James Garland.

January 14, 2008

Only Diebold knows for sure …

Posted in Diebold, election audits, Elections, NH Primary, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machines tagged , , , , , , , at 9:19 pm by bluebanshee

…And the rest of us will find out via a recount in New Hampshire.  Because Diebold won’t tell.

The paper ballots hold the key.

I have said before and I will say it again here — paper ballots are not enough to ensure election integrity and transparency.  You’ve got to do something with the paper to check the election results — like a mandatory routine audit.  If New Hampshire had a law on the books requiring a post-election audit we would not be in the ignominious position of

  • first, begging for a candidate, any candidate,  to step forward and ask for a recount and,
  • second, scrambling around to help raise funds to pay the thousands of dollars it costs to recount all the ballots even in a small state like New Hampshire.

We are grateful that Democrat Kucinich and Republican Howard have stepped forward to help find answers the  burning questions:  Who really won the primary —  and, could the vote have been hacked? Read the rest of this entry »

January 11, 2008

Election Fraud in NH Primary? Or Not?

Posted in Barack Obama, Diebold, election audits, Election fraud, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Hr 811, NH Primary, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machines tagged , , , , , , , at 11:45 pm by bluebanshee

The internet has been abuzz since Tuesday night with wild claims that Hillary Clinton “hacked” the NH Primary — or that someone else perpetrated the dirty deed to help Clinton and McCain triumph in the Granite State. Some point to differences between the margins in hand-counted precincts vs. optical scan precincts. Others claim that the pre-election polling could not be so far off from reported results.

Both of these cries of “fraud”, and “hacking” are based on flawed logic — and stunning ignorance or basic misunderstanding of statistics. They also fail to look at the demographic make-up of precincts that produced different margins for the candidates. On the other hand, there has been an almost universal failure to consider whether well-documented problems with the type of optical scan machine used in New Hampshire offers at least a partial explanation of how this happened. Read the rest of this entry »

January 7, 2008

Glaring omissions in otherwise excellent NYT article on voting machines

Posted in Diebold, election audits, Elections, ES&S, Florida voting, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machine certification, voting machine testing, voting machines tagged , , , , , at 10:24 pm by bluebanshee

“Can You Count on Voting Machines?” is the question posed by Clive Thompson in his cover article in this week’s New York Times Magazine. The answer, of course, is a resounding “No” due to flawed design, buggy software and poor quality control in the manufacture of these machines, as Thompson ably demonstrates. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/06Vote-t.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

Thompson’s solid article is a timely reminder on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary that the nation’s election system is still broken. The curtain was pulled back in Florida 2000 to reveal the sorry state of U.S. elections and, despite the efforts of activists and politicians, there is not as much progress as one would hope. Some states like Florida are making great strides toward transparent paper-based systems, while others like Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia are still struggling to ditch paperless voting machines.

However, there are a few areas of omission that need to be filled in and a few bits of mis-information that need to be corrected. Read the rest of this entry »

December 29, 2007

CO SOS tests voting systems — certifies only Premier (Diebold)

Posted in Diebold, Elections, ES&S, voting machine certification, voting machine testing, voting machines tagged , , , , , , , at 1:00 pm by bluebanshee

Colorado SOS Michael Coffman completed court mandated testing and recertification of voting systems used in the state and issued some dramatic rulings which were immediately subject to a firestorm of controversy.

Premier (formally known as Diebold) All voting equipment submitted for recertification passed.

Sequoia The optical scan devices, Insight and 400-C, used to count paper ballots both passed, but the electronic voting machines, the Edge II and the Edge II Plus, both failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.

Hart The optical scan devices, eScan and BallotNow, both failed because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots. The electronic voting machine, eSlate, passed.

ES&S The optical scan devices (M 100 and the M650) both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors. The electronic voting machine (iVotronic) failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.

http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/pressrel/coffman_completes_elec_voting_equip_tests_12-17-07.html Read the rest of this entry »