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NEDAP (Liberty Systems) Voting Machines Hacked PDF  | Print |  Email
Liberty Systems
By Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting   
October 05, 2006

The PowerVote Voting System manufactured by the Dutch company NEDAP is marketed in the United States by Liberty Election Systems as the LibertyVote. The website claims that with their voting system,"voters can be rest assured that their votes are securely and accurately processed."


Concerns expressed by many IT professionals about the security of the e-voting system chosen for use in Ireland were today shown to be well-founded when a group of Dutch IT Specialists, using documentation
obtained from the Irish Department of the Environment, demonstrated that the NEDAP e-voting machines could be secretly hacked, made to record inaccurate voting preferences, and could even be secretly reprogrammed to run a chess program.

The recently formed Dutch anti e-voting group, "Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet" (We don't trust voting computers), has revealed on national Dutch television program "EenVandaag" on Nederland 1, that they have successfully hacked the Nedap machines -- identical to the machines purchased for use in Ireland in all important respects.

Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting (ICTE) representative Colm MacCarthaigh, who has seen and examined the compromised Nedap machine in action in Amsterdam, notes "The attack presented by the Dutch group would not need significant modification to run on the Irish systems. The machines use the same construction and components, and differ only in relatively minor aspects such as the presence of extra LEDs to assist voters with the Irish voting system.

Sequoia Misleads New York PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Brennan Center for Justice   
September 24, 2006
On Wednesday, Sequoia voting systems issued a press release claiming that their AVC Edge received a "top usability rating of any voting machine" in our usability study. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sequoia makes at least three misstatement of facts:

1) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge receives best rating in new Brennan Center report on usability."

2) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge, a touch screen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system, received the top usability rating of any voting machine in the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law's recent report."

3) "Sequoia's AVC Edge, which was used statewide in Nevada for the 2004 presidential election, produced a residual vote rate of 0.3% - significantly lower than all other comparable systems."

All of these statemenst are untrue. First, and most simply, the Report does not rate any voting systems. The first two statements are therefore patently false.

Second, as explained on page 16 of our usability report, because no states other than Nevada include a "none of the above option", which reduces the residual (or lost) vote rate, and because no states other than Nevada used the DRE system with VVPT, the Report states that the data for the DRE system with VVPT "are too limited to draw any conclusions regarding residual vote rates," and that the .3% residual voter rate "is not directly comparable to that produced by other jurisdictions with different ballot options." Therefore, Sequoia's statements that suggest a comparison of the Sequoia Voting System with other voting machines are false and misleading.

Finally, Sequoia uses these misstatements to suggest that New Yorkers should purchase their full face DREs. But one thing is quite clear from our study: full face DREs have significantly higher residual vote (or lost vote) rates than other electronic voting systems. So the Brennan Center study most certainly does not make this suggestion.
Princeton University Researchers Demonstrate New Vulnerabilities in Diebold AccuVote-TS PDF  | Print |  Email
By Robert Kibrick, Legislative Analyst, Verified Voting Foundation   
September 18, 2006
Removable memory cards used by voting machines can be infected with a virus and used to spread corrupted software

On September 13, computer security researchers at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy released a security analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS direct recording electronic (DRE) touch screen voting machine. That analysis identified extremely serious security vulnerabilities in the Diebold hardware and software. In laboratory tests using actual Diebold hardware and software, the researchers demonstrated that these vulnerabilities could be exploited by malicious individuals to corrupt the results of elections conducted on these machines and that such corruption would be nearly impossible to detect.


Nearly 33,000 AccuVote-TS touch screen voting machines are currently in use in the United States, and they are used statewide in both Maryland and Georgia. Given the extremely serious nature of these vulnerabilities and the widespread use of these machines, it is imperative that responsible public officials respond promptly to address the concerns raised by the Princeton study.


To promote informed discussion of these issues, this page provides links to the Princeton study itself, initial reactions to that study by computer security and voting systems experts, Diebold's response to the study, and rebuttals to that response. Several links to related news releases and articles are also provided.

"Hotel Minibar" Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines PDF  | Print |  Email
By Ed Felten, Princeton University   
September 18, 2006

This article was posted on Prof. Felten's blog, "Freedom To Tinker". It is reposted with permission of the author. Click here to watch Prof. Felten demonstrate a hacked Diebold TS on Fox News.


Like other computer scientists who have studied Diebold voting machines, we were surprised at the apparent carelessness of Diebold’s security design. It can be hard to convey this to nonexperts, because the examples are technical. To security practitioners, the use of a fixed, unchangeable encryption key and the blind acceptance of every software update offered on removable storage are rookie mistakes; but nonexperts have trouble appreciating this. Here is an example that anybody, expert or not, can appreciate:


The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.


On Wednesday we did a live demo for our Princeton Computer Science colleagues of the vote-stealing software described in our paper and video. Afterward, Chris Tengi, a technical staff member, asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and sure enough it opened the voting machine.


This seemed like a freakish coincidence — until we learned how common these keys are.

A Response To Diebold's Response To The Princeton Report PDF  | Print |  Email
By Douglas W. Jones, the University of Iowa   
September 15, 2006

Douglas Jones, professor of computer science at the University of Iowa, has released the following statement in response to Diebold's published response to the recently released Princeton report on the Diebold Accuvote TS voting machine.


Diebold says:

A virus was introduced to a machine that is never attached to a network.

This response dodges the question, expressing a complete misunderstanding of the nature of viruses by implying that viruses are irrelevant if there is no network. First, viruses originally emerged as a threat in the era of the Apple ][ personal computer, where they were spread on floppy disks that were hand carried between machines. What matters, clearly, is the presence of communication, not wires. Communication by hand carried disks, or PCMCIA cards, creates an environment in which the possibility of viruses is worthy of investigation.

The current generation AccuVote-TS software - software that is used today on AccuVote-TS units in the United States - has the most advanced security features, including Advanced Encryption Standard 128 bit data encryption, Digitally Signed memory card data, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) data encryption for transmitted results, dynamic passwords, and more.

Diebold has not released to the public sufficient information to allow an assessment of the competence with which these measures were applied. As a result, we cannot determine whether these are applied in an effective way, or whether they are as ineffective as the use of DES was back in 1997.

2003 Theft of Election Equipment Software and Personal Information From ES&S Disclosed PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Mark Ritchie, candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State   
September 15, 2006
Details were released today of a break-in and burglary of Election Systems and Software's (ES&S) Waite Park, Minnesota office that occurred on August 19, 2003. ES&S is the world's largest producer of ballot counting machines. Their vote-counting machines are used in all but four counties in Minnesota. Along with these details, Ritchie released the following statement:

To my knowledge ES&S has not notified any election officials about this crime which was a serious incident of personal information theft and may be a significant breach in the security of elections conducted on ES&S machines.

I have sent a letter to ES&S asking for more information on this burglary and for their ideas on how to prevent this from happening again. I have many questions, including what the stolen items are used for, what data was included, and why no one appears to have been informed. I'll be asking these and other questions and searching for answers over the next few days.
Holt: Princeton Computer Scientists Show How To Steal Votes In Under A Minute Without Being Caught PDF  | Print |  Email
By U.S. Representative Rush Holt   
September 14, 2006

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) today issued the following statement in response to the creation by Princeton University scientists of software capable of altering the results of electronic voting machines without detection:


“This report shows that stealing electronic votes takes less time than making five-minute rice,” said Holt. “They’ve done exactly what all of us have feared possible: successfully hacked a voting machine and changed the outcome of an election,” said Holt. “We should count ourselves lucky that it was a mock election—but only if we act today to make it impossible before November 7, when real votes and real elections will be on the line.”

Princeton Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine PDF  | Print |  Email
By Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten   
September 13, 2006
Click here for more information and the full text of this study, see . A video demonstration can be viewed here.



The Diebold AccuVote-TS and its newer relative the AccuVote-TSx are together the most widely deployed electronic voting platform in the United States. In the November 2006 general election, these machines are scheduled to be used in 357 counties representing nearly 10% of registered voters. Approximately half these counties — including all of Maryland and Georgia — will employ the AccuVote-TS model. More than 33,000 of the TS machines are in service nationwide.


This paper reports on our study of an AccuVote-TS, which we obtained from a private party. We analyzed the machine's hardware and software, performed experiments on it, and considered whether real election practices would leave it suitably secure. We found that the machine is vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces.


Computer scientists have generally been skeptical of voting systems of this type, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE), which are essentially general-purpose computers running specialized election software. Experience with computer systems of all kinds shows that it is exceedingly difficult to ensure the reliability and security of complex software or to detect and diagnose problems when they do occur. Yet DREs rely fundamentally on the correct and secure operation of complex software programs. Simply put, many computer scientists doubt that paperless DREs can be made reliable and secure, and they expect that any failures of such systems would likely go undetected.

"Off with Their Heads!" cried the Queen of Hearts PDF  | Print |  Email
By Ellen Theisen, Vote-PAD, Inc.   
August 29, 2006

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.


"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

It was a Queen of Hearts sort of a day in California on August 9, 2006. The Secretary of State's advisory panel was hearing public comments regarding the pending certification of the Vote-PAD, a non-electronic assistive device designed to help voters with disabilities mark and verify a paper ballot independently.


Voting integrity advocates held signs supporting the certification of Vote-PAD. They told of countless failures of computerized voting systems. They spoke about recent discoveries of easily hackable "back doors" into the vote totals on those systems, which have been certified. By contrast, "Vote-PAD is no more hackable than a #2 pencil," said one.


Notwithstanding this and the letters praising the Vote-PAD from dozens of people with visual and motor disabilities, the Secretary of State's staff was recommending against certifying the Vote-PAD for use in California. The Queen started by describing the testing process, "We asked them to vote independently on the Vote-PAD, and we told them exactly what to do the entire time."

"Excuse me," said Alice, "but how is that independent?"

"That's not the point," said the Queen. "The point is that they weren't able to vote independently."

"But you didn't let them," objected Alice.

"Don't be impertinent," said the King.

"Yes!" murmured the jury.

Cuyahoga Officials Attack Their Vendor - No Not Diebold; Election Sciences Institute PDF  | Print |  Email
By John Gideon, and VoteTrustUSA   
August 24, 2006

Election Science Institute (ESI) of San Francisco, California was paid $341,000 by Cuyahoga Co., OH to investigate why the county had so many problems with their voting system in the May 2006 election. Were the problems really all human or were the machines at fault? ESI finally issued a report last week that had plenty of blame to go around between poll worker training problems to voting machines that could not add votes and, in a few cases, machines that registered no votes at all.


Of course Diebold Elections Systems Inc. immediately denied that there were any voting machine problems at all as they blamed all problems on voters, poll workers, and election administrators. As reported earlier, they also received nearly instantaneous assistance from outside sources who obfuscated in their reporting of the problems singling out the problems with the voter verified paper audit trail and ignoring everything else that was in the report.


Now county elections officials seem to have decided that they don't like the results from the investigation done by ESI so they are throwing ESI under the bus while they run to defend Diebold. Apparently they don't want to have to explain why they spent millions of dollars for a voting system that is flawed or maybe Diebold put on the pressure.


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