Last chance to enter The Hackaday Prize.

Voting roundup

With the election coming up in less than a week, voting machine security (or the lack thereof) is critical, especially with the popularity of early voting this year. While we’ve previously discussed voting machine insecurities, it looks like the problems haven’t been fixed, and in some cases, it’s escalated. Voters in states like West Virginia and Tennessee have complained about voting machines “flipping” their votes, even after they were recalibrated as in the video above. Voters have been advised to avoid voting straight Republican or Democratic tickets, to avoid the likelihood of their votes being flipped. What if you actually do want to vote a straight ticket? Video the Vote is an organization that advises documenting as much of your voting process as possible. Other ways you can protect your vote include voting absentee so that a paper trail is available, and refusing to accept provisional ballots, which are often thrown out. After seeing videos of ROM swapping and finding out that the locks can be opened with hotel minibar keys, we’re waiting to see what’s going to fail this year… and voting absentee.

Comments

  1. monster says:

    i have a feeling you’re more likely to have your votes flipped if you vote straight democrat.

    why don’t they print out a receipt? it’s a lot harder to fake a vote you have proof you made

  2. jebbus says:

    Don’t people see what’s happening? They are giving the appearance that the machines are screwed up at the UI level, implying the underlining code is sound.

    Hence when the votes are counted and society collective and rightfully says WTF they will just point to “improper calibration” or some other bs and STILL refuse to release the source code…

    And call a recount? nahhh thats the first step to communism, or worse, socialism…

  3. tony says:

    I love you guys. this is an important election and the more people that know about this the better. (not like its totally new, but in the 24 hour news cycle, people need reminded)

    @ jebbus

    Exactly. I’m pretty sure I could have written a voting system in high school, complete with remote database. It’s not a insurmountable task. This is just straight BS about the calibration.

    Thats an interesting point about the source code too. How about the voting machine manufacturers be required to license their code under GPL. But then again im sure no one in congress knows what GPL is.

  4. x1140710 says:

    I commented about this movie on the site it came from…listen closely to him as he pushes barack and it screws up. haha this guy is a joke. ill say this once more… if you cant find the problem I am pointing out..you and him should become friends.

  5. x1140710 says:

    ill give you a hint…listen to him at from the 40 second mark.

  6. Zerfall says:

    Here in Canada we just had a federal election, we use this really complicated system where you are given a ballot and you put an X in a big white circle next to your choices name. the rest of the card is mainly black. Then this ballot goes into a box. There is a bunch of over sight to make sure nothing fishy happens. (Not going into all the details here) It seems to me no one really trust computer voting systems, and punching holes in paper has it’s own set of problems… your country seems to just really like to over complicate the process. Our longest recorded election campaign was only 74 days long.

  7. Austin says:

    Too bad it is illegal to have any sort of recording device or communication device within 100ft of many polling places.

  8. x1140710 says:

    i think the reason for computing of our voting systems is to try and pull forward away from traditional standards and find new innovative ways to take on a certain task. Hense all hacks you see on this site. As for the length of the elections…i have no idea lol.

  9. nick says:

    yeah this is a definite problem, the bigger problem is that it has been around since they were debut. XKCD did a piece on them a while ago ,http://xkcd.com/463/, another corrupt tactic that is used against voters.

  10. glompix says:

    I think paper systems are put too high on a pedestal. Sure, electronic systems can be compromised with more stealth, but I think people forget paper systems are “hackable” as well. Any system is, as we all know. Redundancy certainly helps. I like Rivest’s idea of a three-ballot system. It has flaws, certainly, but it is a step in the right direction.

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/rivest/Rivest-TheThreeBallotVotingSystem.pdf

  11. Doug says:

    We need to devise a way to help the disabled vote, and go to a paper ballot for the remainder of the population. So what if it take some time to tally the votes? This idea we need to know the winners in near real time is moronic. The current problems are schemes that are stealing peoples right to physically vote in the first place. Afraid of fraud?

  12. motorider420 says:

    I agree, at the 40 second mark you can see him using his thumb, this is a fake.

    However, touch screens suck anyway

  13. BigD145 says:

    Many people don’t even look at the ticker tape on the side. They just assume the tech works properly.

  14. x1140710 says:

    to motorider420
    noooo he doesnt use his thumb near the 40 sec mark…it’s something else. Try again : )

  15. happyjam64 says:

    This is exactly why high schools and elementary schools should not have notebooks for their students. What’s wrong with using paper and drawing a big “X”?

  16. xrazorwirex says:

    so… im actually voting for baldwin – does this mean i press ‘obama’ to do that?

    lol, no- paper ballots are the way to go, their will always be situations if we let our government hide things from us, we have to be militant about vote integrity and paper ballots are the best method for that – ie: public counting.

    originally all the ballots were sent to the congress and read off individually, i have no problem with waiting a day to get the results as long as their valid.

  17. drew says:

    i just heard on the news thismorining maryland and virginia are going back to paper ballots after the election

  18. a non e-moose says:

    What I don’t understand is why these voting systems are not open source. The whole thing is a scam, it HAS to be. I wrote more complicated programs in middle school, how can you mess up a simple question and answer program? On top of that there is no way for us to be sure that the systems aren’t cheating because they’re closed source.

  19. impactvector says:

    @ a non e-moose

    Yeah, these things should be open source, but even if they were, how would you know what’s loaded on that specific box? Do you get a printout of the source code when you vote? Even that would require you to trust that the audit software is intact.

    Granted, all voting systems require that people put trust somewhere. But the number of points of failure increase dramatically when you go to any kind of electronic voting. And accountability goes out the window.

  20. maatin says:

    x1140710: I don’t pay much attention to the american election circus but isn’t Mr. Obama representing the democrats?

  21. OUTTA CALIBRATION says:

    The machine is out of calibration…..25 seconds in folks…..he was messing with a machine that is OUT OF CALIBRATION…….”I don’t believe 10 percent of what I hear and 90 percent of what I say”……

  22. fartface says:

    V’z whfg tynq gung Qvrobyq rapelcgvba vf fb fgebat vg’f cebgrpgvat zl zrffntr

    the above was protected with Diebolds current encryption system. It’s highly advanced.

    Honestly, I’ve looked at the sourcecode to some of this stuff (got it from a torrent a year ago when that lady discovered it was all over diebolds website.

    Their code is a joke, a 13 year old dabbling in game programming is better at this stuff than the best that diebold can hire. and yet they sell their crap for Thousands of dollars a machine.

  23. BigD145 says:

    @drew
    Too little, too late. We need all paper -this- election if we want an accurate count.

  24. nick says:

    Yes, very secure:
    “I’m just glad that Diebold Encryption is so strong it’s protecting my message.”

  25. Peter says:

    What’s wrong with using an ATM-style interface? Why would you use a touchscreen for something that could be done more successfully with a simple interface.

  26. josh says:

    some videos depicting ucsb sec lab pen testing a voting machine

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=maximumsecurity1337&view=videos

  27. x1140710 says:

    @maatin

    Finally a winner! haha you are correct. I don’t think there’s a problem with the machine. ; )

  28. PKM says:

    You know, in the UK we have a highly advanced voting system that is immune to ROM swapping, bad touch screen calibration, swinging chads, viruses, radio emission sniffing and all those sorts of hacks. And it generates its own paper trail. It’s called “take a pencil, put a cross in the right box”. It’s like the russian space pen all over again.

  29. Joe says:

    It might sound daft, and please keep in mind the fact that I’m not American, but I honestly do wonder why given all the supposed ease of hacking these machines nobody has done so yet. It would be rather a damning indictment of Diebold et all, even at the cost of a large chunk of life in federal prison if all the states with electronic voting came in absoloutly 100% (i.e. not even a single vote the other way) for a third party candidate (pick one at random, I don’t kno their names)… Yes, you’d get done for treason, but since people are forever complaining that there isnt a popular uprising – well there’s something you can do that probably (read: if you avoid texas) won’t get you shot, but will put the message across to Mr Six-pack-and-nascar exactly why they should be concerned about electronic voting.

    Bonus points if you can change candidate names – you gotta admit, there would be a certain irony if we all woke up on tuesday (that is election day right?) and found out the new president was one Leon Bronstein (sp?) (Trotsky, for those that didnt study history much ;) )

  30. Stephen says:

    First off, I voted early and on paper, we are given the choice, and I went paper, reminds me of the old “paper or plastic” days. LOL. I also checked the counting machine and I was #3291 on that machine.
    Second, I think all code for voting machines should be open source. And standardized, like back in WW2, we had several types of weapons systems, & aircraft and they were built to the same plans, but by different manufacturers. The F4U Corsair is one example, it was built by at least 3 different builders. Do the same with voting machines. What has to be “secret” about the way we vote. There are several simple and elegant ways to do it. Like the saying goes, “it’s not rocket science”
    Wasn’t there a movie recently about someone getting elected due to a flaw in the software??? Art imitates real life? or the other way around?

  31. Pablo Mitton says:

    I don’t often respond on blogs until now! I’ve added you to my reader, thanks :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,108 other followers