Friday, November 03, 2006

Alarming news about worldwide voting machine vulnerabilities, from SANS

The excerpt that follows is from the e-mail newsletter, SANS NewsBites Vol. 8 Num. 87. SANS deals with computer security issues generally. For more information, or to subscribe to this list visit

Twelve Hundred Dutch Voting Machines Deemed Unusable (31 October 2006)

After tests demonstrated that certain electronic voting machines could allow data to be intercepted from 20 or 30 meters away, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) has ruled that the 1,200 machines manufactured by Sdu may not be used in next month's elections. Certain municipalities will have to vote with pencil and
paper, though others may choose to use other voting machines. Some people have claimed that machines made by Nedap, which account for 90 percent of voting machines used in the country, are vulnerable to hacking, but AIVD testing found no significant threat.

See article in the Register

[Editor's Note (Schmidt) This is a recurring theme all around the world and we still are not getting enough traction behind this issue. Granted, it is only one of the many technology security issues but one that needs to be dealt with. See this report to get a deeper sense of what is going on.
(Boekman): Electronic emissions have been a security concern in military environments for a long time, and they are just as applicable to voting machines. Based on the long list of security problems with voting machines in the U.S. I would put this near the bottom of the list of things voters need to worry about here. It is good to see the Dutch take this so seriously.]

One of the editors mentioned this link: THE MACHINERY OF DEMOCRACY: VOTING SYSTEM SECURITY

Our upcoming election is going to take more than normal vigilance and more ad-hoc citizen participation in doing pollwatching, of being interested in getting results from each precinct as it closes, and not just trusting the media and the electronically submitted count. In Minnesota, there is both a hand count of the ballots and the results from the machine. Get both before you phone in results to your campaigns, if you are assigned to be a poll watcher or be present at a precinct when the poll closes and results are made available.

This will also be a good election for as many independent organizations to do exit polling.

We aren't going to be as rigorous as the Dutch, this time, but in Minnesota, I think we can come closer to that. Especially if we elect Mark Ritchie.

While there are technical ways to steal an election, the most obvious way is by suppressing voter interest and voter turnout by seeding despair in the minds and hearts of the targetted voting population. A lot of that is happening with the pre-election polling results being bandied about, with samples and demographics polled that are unlikely to represent statewide voter turnout and voter interest.

This elections results are far from predetermined, and turnout for your favorite candidates, wherever it is that you live, is really what matters most. Second, giving all the election workers and judges a sense that there will be real accountability for any attempt at fraud.


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