Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hero of the week

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:34 PM Permalink

Ion Sancho

Elections chief urges citizens to demand vote accountability

First, they forced counties to adopt electronic voting machines that can be tampered with, then, last year, they made it illegal to use paper ballots to recount close races, Sancho told 100 people gathered at Daytona Beach Community College.
"Everything you do today is verified," Sancho said, whether it's a store receipt or a high school diploma. So why should voting be any different, Sancho asked.

Sancho caused a brouhaha earlier this year when he asked computer experts to hack into touch-screen machines to test their vulnerability. One hacker discovered he could change vote tallies without detection by manipulating the memory cards.

The tests irked officials at Diebold Election Systems, which manufactures the touch-screens. To retaliate, Diebold and other vendors refused to sell machines to Leon County, but later relented.

In December, Volusia County Council members voted 4-3 to reject Diebold in the hope of eventually buying from AutoMARK, a vendor whose machines offered a paper trail. But the state never certified AutoMARK. [ED: gee, I wonder why that was?]
Equally troubling is a state law passed in 2005 that makes it unlawful to use paper ballots in official recounts, Sancho said. Electronic votes must stand on their own.
And now, the $$ shot:
Clint Curtis, a computer programmer, said lawmakers asked him to develop software that could divert a vote from the item a person chose to another on the page. The idea was to boost voting security, Curtis said, although now he's not so sure.

He designed the program so the erroneous vote would show up everywhere in the electronic system. An independent paper trail is the only way to beat it, Curtis said.
(Sancho said) "The truth is messy," he said. "The truth makes you uncomfortable."
Uncomfortable, frightening, scary ... yet the truth will set you allow us to remain free.


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