Election Watchdog Group Says State Officials Haven't Taken Security Warnings Seriously, Release Previously Redacted Information, Photos in Response
'In a Sane World These Machines Would be Recalled' Says Statement!
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2006, 6:34pm PT  

Responding to what they describe as "insufficient action", and the general failure of state elections officials to take recommended security mitigation procedures seriously in light of newly-discovered vulnerabilities in Diebold touch-screen voting systems, election watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org (BBV) has issued a scathing report today.

The group has now released previously redacted information from their landmark Hursti II report [PDF, now unredacted] which documented the newly-discovered security issues found during a March 2006 examination of Diebold touch-screen systems in Emery County, UT. Carried out by Finnish computer scientist Harri Hursti and a security expert from Security Innovation, the information revealed by that security analysis has been described previously by BBV founder Bev Harris as "a major national security risk."

Since we first broke that story here at The BRAD BLOG, dozens of computer scientists and security experts have concurred with the assessment. The issue was subsequently reported by mainstream media outlets such as New York Times, NEWSWEEK, NPR and others.

The updated report, issued today, releases information that had previously been kept under wraps due to the severity of the security issues potentially exposed. Describing insufficient reponse and lack of appropriate measures taken by states who had received the full unredacted information, BBV has decided to place the entirety of the information into "the public record."

A host of previously unreported technical details, methods for possible attack of the Diebold touch-screen system, and a complete failure by federal authorities to oversee crucial aspects of the election system are explained in detail.

As well, today's report slams elections officials for allowing Diebold voting machine "sleepovers" in San Diego and elsewhere, of the type which The BRAD BLOG has been reporting for the last three weeks in relation to the June 6th special election in San Diego's 50th congressional district, held to replace the now-jailed Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

The violations to new state and federal laws and provisions written since some of the vulnerabilities have been revealed --- and about which we have been reporting in detail --- occurred when poll workers were allowed unfettered access to election-ready Diebold voting systems for days and weeks prior to the election. The unsecured storage of voting machines in poll workers' cars and garages, so-called overnight "sleepovers", has led The BRAD BLOG and several other election watchdog organizations, candidates and thousands of individuals to declare "NO CONFIDENCE" in the reported results of that "bellwether" federal election.

The CA-50 election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray was the first federal election to be held after the new discoveries, and after state and federal officials instituted new, apparently-ignored security provisions in hopes of mitigating them. A manual hand count of all paper ballots and "paper trails" has been demanded by many of the organizations decrying the administration of that election.

"In a sane world, these machines would be recalled," wrote BBV...

Headlined "States and local jurisdictions did not take sufficient action to mitigate risks" the BBV announcement issued today takes elections officials to task, while explaining several of the previously redacted specifics of security threats on Diebold touch-screen (DRE) systems.

"Because public officials who have received the unredacted reports have failed to take this risk seriously and arrange for appropriate mitigations," the statement says, "and because Black Box Voting believes this information is of critical public interest for pending litigation and citizen actions, we are releasing it publicly now."

A summary of the newly released information, dozens of newly released photographs and the full unredacted Hursti II report are now available here.

In specific regard to the CA-50 Busby/Bilbray election matters we have been reporting here since June 6th, the BBV summary says the following:

TSx machines in California --- 10,000 machines in San Diego alone --- were sent home for "sleepovers" with poll workers back in 2004, when they were used for the March primary election. Over 1,000 machines originally used in Solano County, Calif, are now being used in Johnson County, Kansas. The TSx machines are now being used throughout the states of Mississippi, Utah, in dozens of Ohio counties, and in many high-population California counties. A case can be made that the Diebold TSx machine will dictate control of the U.S. congress in November.The sleepovers broke chain of custody. The combination of unsecured cases with the ability to quickly alter the bootloader using the JTAG connector means these machines cannot be considered "trusted" until proper mitigations are done.
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