|Truth, Lies, & Politics
When is a coincidence too much of a
coincidence to be one?
Fiction Stops Here
|A Closer Look at the GAO's Florida District 13.
No smoking gun . . . Not if, but when . . . and how often.
Could Red be next?
|As Americans we the people, individually and independently
can choose to vote for our future. . . or not. Our vote is our
power to be heard, to take an active part in our own destiny.
When that right is taken from us by negligence, error,
incompetence or an accident of technology, it is an insult to
this country and those who sacrificed their lives for our
freedoms. None of us, not red, not blue, not independent, not
indifferent should accept this chipping away at democracy.
|Recent U.S. Government Accountability Office reports found no
smoking gun during Florida’s continuing investigation of Congressional
District 13’s 18,000 undervotes. Not surprising since the GAO
observations could not assure that all 1,499 of Sarasota’s iVotronic machines
contained only Florida certified hardware and software. Moreover, the Florida
Division of Elections’ audit verified only 6 machines for certified software,
and parallel tested only 10 machines. (For you programmer types, there
was no mention of resetting the machines’ internal systems date to November
6, 2006 prior to testing.)
Still, contained within the finding of the GAO report is a series of
circumstances that individually reveal an apparent lapse in sound business
checks and balances, and computer security basics with regards to Elections
Systems & Software (ES&S). Together they are troubling.
ES&S effectively holds the power. ES&S manufactures the machines,
dictates the testing process, produces test data, system manages the
voting process, tallies the votes, pronounces the winner, then produces
the reports to declare a valid election.
The following concerns are based on the GAO’s study of Florida’s District
13. However, they are not specific to Florida. All states should review their
voting processes to tighten up security and close loop holes such as these:
1. When Florida load tested the iVotronic touch screens, they used the
ES&S manufacturer’s own test data.
expected volume of vote data. However, the reliability of this particular
testing method is diminished by the State of Florida Division of
Elections relying on the manufacturer’s own data to perform the tests.
Creating test data can be technically challenging and time consuming.
But to rely solely on the manufacturer is the equivalent of sending your
car salesman out alone in the dark to test drive your new car.
2. Testers DON’T touch the iVotronics touch screens during load
touch screens require calibration to in effect align the ballot. The
calibration process consists of touching the screen at 20 location points
with a stylus. That in itself could lead to problems. Isn’t it important to
ensure these touch screens hold up to the entry of 100 plus ballots on
the ballot, installs it on 1,499 voting machines, but does not perform
load testing on the ballot design. Otherwise, how can you know your
ballot design doesn’t lose votes or count them for the wrong candidate
or produce erroneous results? This concern applies to optical ballot
scanners as well.
iVotronic DREs prior to the 2006 primary.
District 13 in 2006, they tested only 3 out of 112 of the possible data
combinations were not tested. Tests verified only 3 of the 112 ways
voters could select their District 13 candidate and cast their ballot. Note
the total of 112 is in itself misleading since the 112 number isolates
District 13 from the other contests on the ballot. Factoring in the other
races and issues would result in over 100 trillion combinations. Testing
trillions of combinations would be impossible. Testing the more likely
combinations of a contentious race is reasonable and responsible.
uploading machine totals to the ES&S central computer, the Unity
election management system. (As do optical ballot scanners.)
independently, they hold the power to potentially flip votes. While one
touch screen machine would not alter the outcome of an election in
most cases, several renegade touch screens or one optical ballot
for a re-vote, IF scrupulous controls are in place to ensure the integrity
of both the touch screen and optical ballot scanner independent vote
counting machines as well as the central computer, this is less
disconcerting. However, since the same vendor manufactures all
machines, collusion as a first step in defense would not necessarily be
required for a company insider to achieve intrusion from the top or the
8. Election Day, poll workers use a PEB storage device to load the
appropriate ballot into the iVotronic for each and every voter. The PEB
is a storage device containing the personalized electronic ballot definition.
outside hacker. The potential exists for an infected voting machine to
transfer infected data or programs up to the central computer which in
turn transfers the infected programs to the other voting machines.
9. The iVotronics interacts with compact flash cards to update the
iVotronic computer programs.
central computer via modem. Poll workers move or copy data from the
iVotronic to the PEB. PEB precinct level votes are copied to the Election
As Americans we the people, individually and independently can
choose to vote for our future… or not. Our vote is our power to be
heard, to take an active part in our own destiny. When that right is
taken from us by negligence, error, incompetence or an accident of
technology, it is an insult to this country and those who sacrificed
their lives for our freedoms. None of us, not red, not blue, not
independent, not indifferent should accept this chipping away at
falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroy
ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln.
Assurance That Voting Systems Did Not Cause Undervotes in Florida’
s 13th Congressional District, Statement of Dr. Nabajyoti Barkakati.”
“Elections: Status of GAO’s Review of Voting Equipment Used in Florida’s
13th Congressional District, Dr. Nabajyoti Barkakati.”