[E-voting] sophisticated "layering" of software code
cansbro at eircom.net
Wed Jun 1 21:32:57 IST 2005
And the post below it. (both follow below)
These refer to incident reports from the Nov. 2004 election on optical
scan machines. Note particularly the statements I've put in bold. (And
especially the one about sophisticated software "layering." --Do you
think something like this might be noticed in the software code review
currently underway? Or could it slip beneath the radar, particularly if
there's not much time and it's not obvious?)
Great report. It is also wonderful you were able to get someone as
cooperative as Ion Sancho to participate. I would also like you to
examine the many EIRS machine incident reports that were found in Leon
County during the Nov. 2004 election. It was troubling to me that
someone as committed to accurate elections was *not able to pick up
these problems in the L & A testing.* Many precincts in Leon had the
inability to read and accept many ballots because of the optical scan
calibration's inabilty to read the color of the ink or gradation of the
pencil that was used. Also many optical scan machines had difficulty in
accepting the ballots, so poll workers had to collect their ballots to
be counted later. At least they had a paper ballot to count.
/I would also like you to examine the many EIRS machine incident reports
that were found in Leon County during the Nov. 2004 election./
/ Many precincts in Leon had the inability to read and accept many
ballots because of the optical scan calibration's inabilty to read the
color of the ink or gradation of the pencil that was used. /
Hi, and it's nice to see you here. The good thing about Ion Sancho is
that he is willing to hand-count whenever he thinks it should be done.
In many places, the elections supervisors point to bogus secretary of
state guidelines and say they "can't" do a hand recount unless the
election is too close to call.
*It is not surprising that the problems you mentioned were not caught in
the L&A test. The testing uses the writing implements these machines
were designed for. When you introduce various kinds of writing
implements with infra-red scanners you get those kinds of errors.
I think Ion Sancho wants to see how the electronic voting battles shake
out (and how the next generation machines fare in objective tests)
before upgrading to something that could be even worse. So, my
understanding is, he uses procedural workarounds -- like hand counting
and double checking the counts -- instead of jumping on the bandwagon to
buy new machines.
I think he's wise. *While the Diebold programmers, at first, appear
clumsy, a deeper look at the software indicates that there are
sophisticated layers below which are very hard to explain with reasons
that would be legitimate.
When you 've got a system that has layers of built-in problems, you are
wise to avoid new purchases -- and even if Sancho was to ask for his
money back, what would be the replacement? Something with even worse
problems, that are harder to detect?
Frankly, I wish Ion Sancho was my elections supervisor, and I'd feel a
lot better if Thomas James was manning the King County Diebold optical
scan system. Maybe then we'd know who the governor is by now.
Thanks, and welcome here.
By the way (I'm guessing this will interest you) -- we have two boxes so
far from Broward. Haven't had much time to delve, we are scanning the
seven boxes from Palm Beach.
More information about the E-voting