READER COMMENTS ON
"Monterey County, CA Registrar Admits New E-Voting Machine Technology 'Faith-Based'!"
(22 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 10/24/2005 @ 9:47 pm PT...
Sorry Arch, but having faith based voting is like "having faith in George Bush to do the right thing, and the world will turn out alright because god said so."
I just really don't have that much faith. Further, you of all people should NOT have faith in Sequoia for saying their new system is secure because they say so!
Good god, have we learned nothing from that little fiasco!?!??? I don't even care if its the DEMOCRATS who steal the election, it will still be wrong once again! And we'll get people into office we HATE!
For gods sake, ANYTHING with a memory card is tamper ready we know that by now. If it doesn't require mandatory audits, like the new H.R. 550 bill enforces, its worthless. Ask Black Box Voting.
They've already cracked all these voting systems. Memory cards shouldn't be used at ALL unless...well they just shouldn't be used. The ONLY way I could see memory cards ever being used is that they are tamper proof and locked away in cabinets, NOT taken home with anybody. And ONLY use those memory cards when it comes to counting the votes and NOT recounts.
Memory cards should never be used in recounts or audits. Otherwise the voting is like throwing your vote away into an empty void! Read the GAO report.
VERIFIED PAPER BALLOTS and real audits only. And no machines at all in most states, use the AutoMark paper ballot system.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 10/24/2005 @ 11:15 pm PT...
Sequoia Voting Systems was recently bought for $16
million, according to John Gideon's article on bradblog
here. This suggests that there's not a whole lot of
legitimate money in selling voting machines.
The elections chief in the state of Louisiana, Jerry
Fowler, went to jail for five years after accepting as
much as $10 million in bribes from Sequoia's sales
reps over the years. Daniel Hopsicker tells about it
This suggests that there's a lot of illegitimate money
in the voting machines business. Which is not to
make any accusations against Mr. Anchundo--I can
see by looking into his eyes in his picture that he is a
sincere and honest man--but it certainly says
something about Sequoia.
My faith in Mr. Anchundo's honesty would be
enhanced if he would quit hanging around with slime
like Sequoia, an early owner of which was Louis
Wolfson, who was convicted of bribing the only
Supreme Court Justice ever to resign in
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 10/25/2005 @ 3:35 am PT...
Trust him? Uh, no. Anchundo might be the nicest guy in the world, but as long as we have hackable machines, our system is at risk.
Once crooked people see what can be done to hijack an election, they'll get rid of the decent folks. Even if Anchundo is honest, he won't be in his job long if he counts votes honestly...there will be "reports" that he molests little boys, or owes back taxes, or beats his wife, etc. etc. etc.
Look at how Florida drives out the Clint Curtises and leaves behind the Tom Feeneys. Look at Sherole Eaton in Ohio, driven out by electoral crooks. No, Tony...we can't trust you, even though we might want to.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 3:49 am PT...
Anybody wanna lay odds on which way Monterey goes in 2006.
We will be watching Mr. Anchundo.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 4:04 am PT...
This is just a dumb question, I suppose:
But, if Monterey plans to hand-count all the paper records, why do they need touchscreens at all?
Why not have paper ballots, hand-counted?
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 6:27 am PT...
A little thermal print out that sits behind a glass.
That is my paper trail? It isn't mine. Who's is it?
If I see that it records my vote incorrectly, who corrects it? How do they discard the bad one, and when? (Bust open the machine upon first report and cause lines of voters to divert to other machines?--or do they "cancel it electronically" and re-enter my vote when I re-vote?)
I can see an element of trust is involved somehwere down the line. It is unavoidable if you are going to delegate responsibility, and that is what democracies do---we delegate power to other authorities.
I just don't think it should be at the first point of contact with the voting process. Some might argue voter registration is the first point of contact. That is a public record and it is verifiable.
My vote is supposed to be secret, but like a gas-pump receipt--"Do you want to have a Receipt?"--maybe I could at least have the option of taking the little paper behind the glass.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 6:29 am PT...
I posted a link to this story over at Black Box voting.
They have had some success in California, and hopefully they can bring some focus on it there.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 8:41 am PT...
Good question and answer session. I thought that Tony Anchundo was very forthcoming with his answer. I guess the only remaining concern was with the central tabulator software. Is it proprietary? And how can you be certain that the software on the central tabulator skewed prior to the final tabulation? Will there be a manual matchup of the individual voting machine tallies and the central tabulator tall?
If so it sounds as though the system is good to go.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 9:11 am PT...
Slicer: Faith based anything is bad for the soul.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 9:33 am PT...
How do machines like this get put in "live"? If they do not pass voter security?
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 10:12 am PT...
Hi folks, several points:
1) In one small spot of good news, starting 1/1/2006 a bill by Debra Bowen will kick in. SB370 is fairly short and makes ABSOLUTELY clear that any available paper trail must be referred to when doing a recount, whether it's citizen-requested, candidate-requested or the California mandatory 1% recount. You can read the pleasantly short bill here:
The bad news: it won't be in effect until after the upcoming California special election.
2) The Sequoia "toilet paper roll" paper trail is a horrendous pain to recount. Not only is the text and paper small, but when voters see a ballot that they don't like and "spoil it" to try over, the bad one makes it's way up onto the "take-up spool" with all the others! It will have a "the one above is a bad one" stamp of some sort below it but that could be easily missed by a human hand-counter.
3) The nation's best independent expert on Sequoia voting machines is Jeremiah Akin out of Riverside County, an activist/techie who's been fighting these for years. Anybody dealing with Sequoia NEEDS to see his website:
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
Charlie New Orleans
said on 10/25/2005 @ 10:28 am PT...
Raw Story has it, Fitzgeral seeks indictments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lets see if they pass!!!!!!!!!!
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 10:57 am PT...
OT stuff follows
Re: Plame 'affair'
Events of significance are occuring quickly.
David Corn is reporting there are some newly discovered memos of Scooter Libby which reveal his real source for the name Valerie Plame/Wilson came from Dick Cheney. Woo hoo!
Wayne Madsen also reports on that, but his big scoop, if proved in time, is that the story about the reason for outing Valerie Plame and her nuke non-proliferation network is not to embarass Wilson, but that Brewster Jennings (her network cover company) was buying up nuclear and related materials and that was driving up the costs for mafia, so they had to get Brewster Jennings and Plame shut down. How did they do it? The theory is they had connections via Scooter Libby into the White House. Woo hoo!
A lot of evidence is going to have to be sorted through for Fitzgerald to get this all in understandable form. But, man oh man is this explosive stuff.
Re: Rosa Parks
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 11:29 am PT...
Slicer #8 said,
"Will there be a manual matchup of the individual voting machine tallies and the central tabulator tall?
If so it sounds as though the system is good to go."
The BBV Hursti attacks (See the complete Hursti Report here, complete with source code) showed how using a memory card you could change the totals in both the individual voting machines and on the central tabulator, so that they'd match. The could be done by one person, in a matter of just a couple minutes. The fact that both voting machine and tabulator had been hacked would not leave a trace.
And you think "the system is good to go" if the 2 electronic tallies match up???
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 11:49 am PT...
Thanks for the links.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 12:59 pm PT...
Mr. Archundo kept insisting that HE is completely honest and ethical; therefore, the vote count in Monterey County will be completely fair and as accurate as possible. If any flaws are eventually found in the Sequoia voting machines (which he considers to be nearly flawless), then voters could still rest assured that the final election results will be as accurate as possible. He told us to have faith in HIM. For the sake of argument, let us assume HE really is completely honest and ethical. Wouldn't it be totally wonderful if every election official in every county in the United States is as ethical and honest as he is?
BUT THEY'RE NOT!
The odds (because this is the real world) are totally against every government official being completely honest and ethical. It's as simple as that. Therefore, one must ask, how "flawless" would the Sequoia machines be in the hands of unethical partisan hacks? Mr. Archundo seemed to be totally incapable of looking at the larger picture beyond the borders of his own county.
Finally, Mr. Archundo indicated that he is open to using several of the vote-counting checks and balances that you suggested. Why, then, was he so completely and repeatedly reluctant to say he would have no problem letting the paper receipts be the final vote tally in very close or contested elections? or even in very lop-sided elections, if the exit polls show that the other candidate should have won? Why was he so insistent on relying on electronic tabulations as opposed to the voter-verified paper receipts? As a computer technician, I find his stubborn reliance on the machine count as final authority to be incredibly misplaced, especially IF the tallying machines use that dangerously vulnerable collection of band-aids and bailing wire known as the Windows operating system.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 10/25/2005 @ 6:19 pm PT...
The full transcript of the hour is now availble! See the update mid-story for the link!
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 10/26/2005 @ 5:39 am PT...
Brad - welcome to our surreal world of interacting with election officials. They are typically answering different questions than any of us are asking, and they are on a different planet when it comes to priorities.
This will help:
When election officials trot out the old "trust us" or "we have security because of our procedures" --
A tampering defense built on people, policies and procedures is called a PERIMETER DEFENSE. It is a layer. However, any decent security involves multiple layers, and each layer must be strong enough to stand on its own. When evaluating the strength of any one layer, you make the ASSUMPTION that another layer has failed.
Therefore, decent security would assume that if the People, Policies and Procedures, layer, (the PERIMETER LAYER) fails, other layers will sustain the defense against tampering.
The election official you spoke with was, basically, urging us to accept a single-layer defense, the Perimeter Defense. His security model means that if a single human being fails, his whole system of security fails. His defense is dependent on the weakest human in the chain.
This model, plus the flawed model of "SECURITY BY OBSCURITY," is what has been taught to elections officials.
SECURITY BY OBSCURITY: You leave a key under your doormat, and assume that because you have not told burglars where to look, they will never find it.
PERIMETER DEFENSE: You are Bill Gates. You have a high fence and a guard dog. Because you have a fence and a dog, you choose not to have locks on your house, you keep your billions of dollars in an unlocked box on the mantle rather than in the bank (or diversified investments). You leave your precious jewels in the drawer rather than in a safe deposit box. You have no video surveillance. You put your address in the phone book. You assume no one will penetrate the perimeter (which, like the local elections office, you often staff with volunteers, temps, and contractors for a vendor who believes his operation should be kept secret from you).
It helps to respond to public officials with two bits of vocabulary:
Perimeter defense - single-layer, break it and you're in
Security by obscurity - laughably obsolete, no credible security professional anywhere recommends this
Neither method is a reputable method of achieving trustworthy anything.
Instead, you should have layered security, each layer strong enough to withstand a failure in other layers, and a proper security structure will stay intact despite public scrutiny.
For examples of failure of each of the above concepts, recently, in an elections office:
We visited a King County voting machine test on Monday.
Security by obscurity - We were told not to videotape blank ballots because of proprietary codes on the bottom of each --- yet, King County mails out 600,000 of these to absentee voters during each general election. The assumption is that by not letting us photograph the ballots we cannot discern the code. Also, dozens of ballot samples and the manual containing the code was posted on an uprotected Internet location by Diebold and left there for years; the manual containing the codes has been posted publicly on Black Box Voting for a year. (Also, we can't see any reason that the precinct and ballot style codes, which are also written in English, represent a "security risk"). Welcome to "security by obscurity" --- falls apart like a cheap suit.
Perimeter defense: King County was training new temps, who were unaware of the memory card vulnerability (see Hursti Report on Black Box Voting site). It turns out the staff was also unaware of the vulnerability, because their supervisors apparently did not train them about this. Supposedly, video cameras were trained on the memory card processing, and people in the facility had to have badges, and the cards were carefully controlled. Not.
The video cameras did not capture the memory card processing area, and King County did not have dates on the badges, which were just a piece of paper stuck into a lanyard. They did not keep track of the badges, which are easily duplicatable. If we wanted, BBV could hand out a hundred King County Staff badges into the Nov. 8 election. We found memory cards sitting unsupervised when people went to lunch, and there were dozens of opportunities to swap the cards. The Republican observer was asleep or working a crossword puzzle.
The above experiences are typical.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 10/26/2005 @ 10:23 am PT...
You know I listened and I really had to admit that Mr. Archundo sounds like a really nice up front honest kind of a guy and in a election he could have got my vote depending on his policies.
He lost my vote the instant Brad asked him about the networking abilities of this new box of tricks and when he went ahead and said that the box doesn't have a network card, nor a modem and neither is there any wi-fi or any other connection possible and besides which its all firewalled... no doubt he's a good registrar, but he needs to know a lot lot more about computers before making such a stupd statement in public.
I'm afraid what he said sounded more like something he parroted back after being assured it was so by a salesman because he hadn't enough knowledge of his own to make a independent inspection of what it was the box of tricks really did and wether or not anything about it was or could be networked. If wifi was embeded into the motherboard with surface mount devices even most computer experts couldn't tell if it existed or not just by looking at the board. It gives me no assurance at all to hear someone say 'trust me' and for him to then start talking about firewalls on a computer device that technically speaking shouldn't need one anyway because it isn't networkable.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 10/26/2005 @ 2:57 pm PT...
Well said. Folk that don't know a Firewall from a SIMM chip ought not be wading in the deep waters over their head.
Our corrupt corporate culture wants to market everything in terms of media sales.
The constitution, rights, freedom, votes, and I suppose even our souls are merchandise to them.
And they hawk their wares without a lot of integrity, honesty, or concern and consideration.
BUYER BEWARE is where we are ... where we have fallen back to ...
once it was SELLER BEWARE ... which is a far better place to be as a nation.
This neoCon admin along with the MSM whores and the braindead congress with all its protect the seller legislation has set us back decades.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 10/27/2005 @ 5:20 am PT...
While at the NIST threats meeting, I overheard a high level official grumble about the security concerns over wifi (wireless).
"All these machines have wireless," he said.
And this official is in position to know.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 10/27/2005 @ 10:37 am PT...
As I have posted here before, the election board in our county doesn't seem to understand the concept of the tabulator. They insist that the voting machines are untamperable, disregarding the fact that the tabulator is the main problem. Memory cards laying around worry me, not only because they would be easy to lose, knock off a table, whatever - but the majority of poll workers are elederly in our area because they are the ones who have the time. Many of them do not use cameras, computers, game systems - so they won't necessarily understand the function of the memory card. I hope their trainers are good at getting the message across that the cards ARE the tallies of the votes.