[E-voting] David Dill Unplugged

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Fri Dec 15 10:45:13 GMT 2006


There are contradictions in Dill's position.  Dill talks about the 
vulnerabilities of optical scans yet publicly advocates them as a 
solution.  It would be interesting to know whether Dill is advocating 
for H.B. 550.

Catherine

Margaret McGaley wrote:
> What a bizarre article. He says that Dill contradicted himself, but 
> doesn't show any contradictions. He says
>
> "The Harvard computer experts in the audience got Dill to admit the 
> push for electronic voting machines came from marketing by the vendors"
>
> Got Dill to admit? I suspect that the author doesn't actually 
> understand David Dill's position.
>
> Margaret
>
>
>
> Fergal Daly wrote:
>> Am I missing something? Dill's calling for a paper trail and
>> explaining how ocmputers can't be trusted, so describing him as a
>> "voting machine advocate" is a bit odd. Is he a voting machine
>> advocate or is he in the "if you must have a machine, here's what it
>> should do" camp?
>>
>> F
>>
>> On 15/12/06, Catherine Ansbro <cansbro at eircom.net> wrote:
>>> *OpEdNews*
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Original Content at
>>> http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_michael__061214_david_dill_unpluggd_3a.h 
>>>
>>> tm
>>> <http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_michael__061214_david_dill_unpluggd_3a.htm> 
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> December 14, 2006
>>>
>>> *David Dill Unpluggd: Computer glitch leaves electronic voting machine
>>> advocate without a script*
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> By Michael Richardson
>>>
>>> It happened at Harvard. Stanford University computer scientist David
>>> Dill was at Harvard's computer resource center talking about electronic
>>> voting machines. Dill, one of the nation's foremost "paper trail" 
>>> voting
>>> machine advocates, is the founder of a lobbying group called Verified
>>> Voting. About ten minutes into his Power Point presentation to the
>>> assembled Harvard intelligentsia, Dill's laptop computer crashed 
>>> leaving
>>> him without a script. The irony was unmistakable.
>>>
>>> Dill then departed from his prepared remarks explaining, "I know so 
>>> much
>>> I can't organize a talk." The next hour was devoted to a Q&A session
>>> that rambled in a self-contradictory trajectory revealing more about
>>> Dill than electronic voting machines.
>>>
>>> Before the "glitch", Professor Dill was in full reformer mode and
>>> sounded pretty good. Dill explained he had spent his two decades at
>>> Stanford, "trying to check software correctness, but it's not something
>>> we can do."
>>>
>>> The three big "unsolvable" problems with electronic voting 
>>> identified by
>>> Dill were error, security, and making sure the system is running what
>>> you think it is running. "We can't prove correctness....We don't know
>>> how to make systems secure....Why do we even trust the hardware?" Dill
>>> warned, "It is wrong to hand control of elections to private 
>>> companies."
>>>
>>> Dill declared that any voting technology should be at least as
>>> trustworthy as hand-counted paper ballots, which he characterized as 
>>> the
>>> "gold standard" for voting. We should "give up" on audits and instead
>>> "empower each voter to check their vote."
>>>
>>> "We have made a mistake by focusing on technology; instead we should
>>> focus on procedure."
>>>
>>> Then the questions started and Dill lost his way. After advocating for
>>> precinct optical scanners or printers on touch screen machines, Dill
>>> admitted that optical scanners do not always count the ballots
>>> correctly, "A careful hand-count is more accurate than optical scan."
>>> Touch screen printers were open to "nefarious individuals that could
>>> cause the paper record to be unreliable." Dill also admitted that
>>> self-deleting malicious code would not be detectable.
>>>
>>> The Harvard computer experts in the audience got Dill to admit the push
>>> for electronic voting machines came from marketing by the vendors; that
>>> there were problems with machine certification standards leaving a
>>> "gaping hole"; that there was no way of testing for viruses; that the
>>> Election Assistance Commission is "highly politicized" and incapable of
>>> the tasks it is presented; and that, "What we have now are a bunch of
>>> bad voting systems."
>>>
>>> Dill acknowledged that "vote-flipping" happened all over the country in
>>> the 2006 election and that it is an "insidious" phenomenon without
>>> explanation. Dill said that 1% percent audits are "frighteningly 
>>> bad" in
>>> anything but a statewide race and that an "over-qualified janitor at an
>>> electronic voting machine vendor could rig an election."
>>>
>>> After admitting that a "careful hand-count" is the most accurate and
>>> cheapest way to count votes and that optical scanners could be rigged
>>> and don't always accurately record the ballot entries of voters, Dill
>>> then advocated precinct-based optical scanners as his solution to the
>>> problem of election fraud.
>>>
>>> After his confusing, contradictory talk, Dill was asked about his
>>> support for H.B. 550, a "paper trail" electronic voting machine bill
>>> pending before Congress. "That is my public position, although the bill
>>> is being rewritten and I don't know where I stand."
>>>
>>> [Permission granted to reprint]
>>>
>>> Authors Bio: Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston.
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> http://evoting.cs.may.ie/
>>>
>>
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