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WORST EVER SECURITY FLAW FOUND IN DIEBOLD TS VOTING MACHINE

Monday 31 July 2006

http://openvotingfoundation.org/

OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Phone (916) 295-0415
alan@openvoting.org

PRESS RELEASE — JULY 31, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Subject: WORST EVER SECURITY FLAW FOUND IN DIEBOLD TS VOTING MACHINE
Contact: Alan Dechert
Reference: PICTURES (http://www.openvotingfoundation.org/ts/
(Click on thumbnail. Click again on lower half of picture for high resolution)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — “This may be the worst security flaw we have seen in touch screen voting machines,” says Open Voting Foundation president, Alan Dechert. Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.

“Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant,” according to Dechert. “If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS — and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver.” This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail so there is no way to check if the voter’s choices are accurately reflected in the tabulation.

Open Voting Foundation is releasing 22 high-resolution close up pictures of the system. This picture, in particular, shows a “BOOT AREA CONFIGURATION” chart painted on the system board.

The most serious issue is the ability to choose between "EPROM" and "FLASH" boot configurations. Both of these memory sources are present. All of the switches in question (JP2, JP3, JP8, SW2 and SW4) are physically present on the board. It is clear that this system can ship with live boot profiles in two locations, and switching back and forth could change literally everything regarding how the machine works and counts votes. This could be done before or after the so-called "Logic And Accuracy Tests".

A third possible profile could be field-added in minutes and selected in the "external flash" memory location, the interface for which is present on the motherboard.

This is not a minor variation from the previously documented attack point on the newer Diebold TSx. To its credit, the TSx can only contain one boot profile at a time. Diebold has ensured that it is extremely difficult to confirm what code is in a TSx (or TS) at any one time but it is at least theoretically possible to do so. But in the TS, a completely legal and certified set of files can be instantly overridden and illegal uncertified code be made dominant in the system, and then this situation can be reversed leaving the legal code dominant again in a matter of minutes.

“These findings underscore the need for open testing and certification. There is no way such a security vulnerability should be allowed. These systems should be recalled”

OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION is a nonprofit non stock California corporation dedicated to demonstrating the need for and benefits of voting technology that can be publicly scrutinized.

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Mission

The primary objectives and purposes of this organization shall be: to educate the public and governmental officials and entities concerning elections systems based upon open source software, and further to promote the adoption of open source voting and elections solutions worldwide.

We believe that vote tabulation must be publicly observable, and that proprietary hidden software code makes public observation of tabulation impossible

Open Voting Foundation is a nonprofit nonstock corporation applying for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.

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Forum posts

  • One cannot imagine that the managing personnel at the Diebold Company are NOT aware that the hardware (and/or software ?) of their machine is designed in such a way as to allow vote fraud. In fact, given the arrogant comments by the CEO of the Ohio company during the 2004 election, it is now a matter of considerable suspicion that their machine is indeed DESIGNED PURPOSELY TO COMMIT VOTE FRAUD, a federal crime. Rigging a voting machine for the purpose of thwarting an honest voting system is an act of treason. The Diebold company should be held to account not only through law suits brought against Diebold and the other touch screen companies by "watchdog" organizations, but also by the federal government. If we cannot trust our government to act - - as this may now indeed be the case - - we must take the matter into our own hands. All American voters should hope that all vote fraud and this form of vote fraud, in particular, be iradicated. I do not advocate that American voters impair or destroy these machine themselves. However, if the matter is not resolved to everyone’s satisfaction in every polling place in the USA, do not the voters of America have a patriotic duty to act in their own interests and protect their voting franchise - - the most precious tight we possess in our democracy ?

  • I believe that at the beginning of our country, we had a Democracy. Over the past 100 years, it eroded, and now it’s gone, only to exist in the minds of those who’s eyes cannot see, who’s ears cannot hear, whose heart cannot feel.

  • Imagine my surpise...go ahead, try. I’ll wait.
    These machines are going to be "the only game in town" very soon.
    There isn’t a lot that Joe & Jane Ordinary Citizen can do about it.
    BUT: Joe and Jane can contact their county registrar of voters and set up Permanent Absentee Voter status.
    Their ballots will arrive in the mail.
    Joe and Jane will be able to vote, at their leisure, at home where they can carefully read their Voter Information Pamplets, make their decisions, and put the ballots in the mail.
    Their votes will be read and tabulated by a HUMAN, rather than be entrusted to the vagaries of these to-easily-tampered-with machines.
    Just a little something to think about.

  • This news item will NEVER APPEAR IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA. No doubt may be cast upon the legitimacy of the Bush elections.