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.
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One of the things that is going to give me an ulcer about this whole black box voting thing is that it has, to a large extent, already been framed as a left v. right issue. I understand why that has happened, as most of the discussion of the electronic voting issue is always done in the context of charges that the elections were stolen (in 2000 and 2004) and the brain-dead quote from the owner of Diebold, which I don’t think means what it has been made out to mean.
Furthermore, most of the people discussing the issue are decided lefties- from my personal correspondence, Brad Friedman and Mark Crispin Miller are good guys, but conservatives they ain’t.
At any rate, I have really decided this electronic voting movement is not a good thing- at least for now. I just don’t think that a system this open to fraud, with or without a paper trail (and to make matters worse, most don’t give receipts), is a good idea, and I rush to embrace every new technology there is. Furthermore, as I have stated before, the simple fact that it erodes confidence in the electoral process should be reason enough to can it for now.