Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Princeton University Reveals How the GOP Steals Election

Unless something is done, the GOP will steal the next election as well. Unless something is done, this series of primaries means absolutely nothing. The fix is undoubtedly in. Unless something is done, the GOP will walk away with another stolen election, another GOP nincompoop will foist upon the nation his personal and vainglorious ambitions of empire. The Military/Industrial complex is licking its chops and theocrats are lining up to play Torquemada.

The following video was produced by Princeton University. It explains precisely how the votes are stolen and will be stolen again.

Princeton tested an AccuVote-TS which it obtained from a private party. The experiements were designed to determine whether the machine could be hacked under "real election practices", realistic scenarios in the real world. Princeton found the machine vulnerable to a number of "extremely serious attacks" that "undermine undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces." In other words, DieBold machines can be hacked and most have been.

Princeton points out that computer specialists are skeptical of Direct Recording Machines (DRE), essentially general purpose machines running specialized election software. The biggest flaw, according to Princeton, is that DREs are dependent upon the "correct and secure operation of complex software programs" In the real word, that simply does not happen. Ominously, DRE failures most likely go undetected.
Main Findings The main findings of our study are:
  1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss. We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.

  2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.

  3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses — computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre-and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.

  4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold's software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines' hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security.


    Abstract This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus. We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting machine's hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous election procedures.

    --Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten,Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

See also: If your money was in a bank which had the safe guards of a "voting machine", you would be dead broke in a week!

An update: Iran has charged that US Navy video purporting to be Iran boats is a clumsy fake, obviously intended to provoke Iran and/or world opinion. Are we dealing with another Gulf of Tonkin incident? Sorry Bush! You are the little shit who cried wolf. I believe Iran! No one believes your sorry ass anymore! The high ground belongs to Iran --not you and your sorry, criminal administration.
Iran has called the grainy video and audio released by the Pentagon, allegedly showing Iranian Revolutionary Guard Boats confronting US warships, "fabricated" and accused America of using archive footage to stitch them up.

"The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated," the English-language channel Press TV quoted a senior in the Revolutionary Guards as saying.

"The voices and pictures broadcast by the Pentagon about the latest incident have been fabricated so clumsily that the pictures and voices in the video are not even synchronized," added the source.

US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley echoed President Bush's earlier description of the Iranian move as "provocative."

"This is a provocative act - not a smart thing to do, and they are going to have to take responsibility for the consequences, if they do it again," Hadley said, adding that his comments should not be seen as a threat.

On Tuesday, The Pentagon released a short video that showed Iranian speed boats nipping around US warships in the Persian Gulf, with audio of heavily-accented English threatening, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes." In the video, the Iranian boats appear to ignore repeated warnings from the US ships.

--"US Navy Video Is A Clumsy Fake"

Additional resources:


Anonymous said...

You've got it right, Len, and we see the same situation in New Hampshire. If the Republicans have to accept a Democratic Party President in 2009 then they want Hillary Clinton. Hillary was trailing in the survey polls for the New Hampshire primary yet she managed to win the actual vote. We should be suspicious. Here's why: 81% of New Hampshire ballots were counted in secret by a private corporation, Diebold Election Systems, using optical scanners and confidential software. Nothing about this voting process is accessible to the public. Company officials, not State officials, ran the process. Hand recounts of the original entry cards could only be requested by the electoral candidates themselves who, for various political reasons to do with corporate financing, are unlikely to ever make such a request (it's even harder in other states to obtain a recount). The owners of Diebold have publicly supported the Republican Party over many years. Electronic voting has produced questionable outcomes in previous Federal and State elections (both of Bush's elections were stolen).

Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire exit polls do match the final results which, on the face of it, would support the recorded vote outcome. The problem is that the pre-election polls were accurate for Republican candidates but wildly off the mark for Democrats. A similar "error" occurred in the 2004 Ohio Presidential elections. They were officially won by Bush (when counted on Republican Party controlled electronic voting machines) yet Kerry was cleary the preferred candidate in the exit polls. A fawning media then simply declared the exit polls to be in error and supported the Bush win. In Hillary's New Hampshire win, the Diebold scanning machines were the exact same models shown to be easily hacked in a HBO documentary, "Hacking Democracy". It is entirely possible that Hillary Clinton obtained her New Hampshire victory by fraudulent vote counting. There is simply no way of telling. This is not a democracy. It is a form of public theatre that allows a corrupt elite to take power on its own terms should it so desire. Americans deserve better but they'll take what they're given.

Anonymous said...

Re Iran: the video is probably faked. Bush has just returned from Israel where he discussed Israeli plans to attack Iran. He has publicly announced that he will produce a Middle East "peace solution" this year, Bushspeak for a bombing program.

Unknown said...

damien wrote...

The problem is that the pre-election polls were accurate for Republican candidates but wildly off the mark for Democrats. A similar "error" occurred in the 2004 Ohio Presidential elections. They were officially won by Bush (when counted on Republican Party controlled electronic voting machines) yet Kerry was cleary the preferred candidate in the exit polls.

The inventors of Double Entry Accounting could have solved this problem.

What is needed are ballots that are both man-readable and machine readable. The voter marks the ballots by hand. The voter sees what he/she is doing. Nothing is hidden inside an interface, a computer box, or behind a screen.

The voter gets two receipts, in effect, copies that he/she can verify on the spot. One is put in a "control" box and the voter KEEPS a "receipt" with the same information on it. A confirmation of his/her vote.

The ballot itself is put into a locked box opened only when it's time to count. As the cards are machine readable, all ballots are stuck in computer --just like old fashioned IBM punch card devices.

The votes are counted. If the election is challenged, the totals are checked against the "control" box.

Democracy is worth the extra work.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is worth the work, yes.

BUT, We have not been in a "democracy" since the industrial revolution.

We are in a Capitalist country, pure and simple. If you dont have big bucks with huge influence, you aint shit, and you have no voice.

Just ask OJ how his money saved his ass.

Unknown said...

Capitalism need not be anti-Democratic, though in the US it is.

Anok said...

I will say the diebold does have machines that are far more secure than the TS version. The paper ballot/insert type only has a memory card - thats the only weak link and there is no real computer to "tamper with" or "hack".

Believe it or not, I'm actually an election official (LOL!!!) and I am far more comfortable with the insert type machine than with the touch screen type. Granted, you still have to trust the election officials - but in that respect nothing is tamper proof. If election officials want to change results, they'll change them regardless of what system is used. (I still prefer the big old voting booths with the pull levers - much easier to deal with in my opinion).

I'm in 100% agreement about the "new" Iran aggression. I think the US has cried wolf one too many times - and now the international community is collectively rolling its eyes at us. I don't believe us, and I think only a fraction of the population still does - so what does that tell you?

I just wrote about the greater ramifications of crying wolf internationally speaking. It was something I hadn't even thought about until recently.

Anonymous said...

" still have to trust the election officials..."

If you have to invoke "trust", your system invites corruption. We all need re-education in democracy. Transparency (including posting the results at the precinct before sending to central tabulation, and absolutely no proprietary software or DREs), citizen observers, chain of custody for the ballots, etc. provide for verifiable elections rather than "trust us" elections.

Unknown said...

As long as its all "electronic", nothing will change. We need machine readable "paper ballots", literally a a paper trail. I fully agree about "transparancy" which is, for me, verification. I have never trusted "trust me", I trust objective and repeatable verification.

Anok, indeed I have not believed "us" since Ronald Reagan told us wealth would trickle down. Pigs fly and rainwater is beer.

All politicians lie --but Bushco has outdone even Reagan. I lived in Texas all my life and witnessed Bush rape the state. The pollution is some of the worst in the world. Education is not merely ranked dead last, it's a fraud. Texas is called the gulag state because the prison system was a precursor to Abu Ghraib. Under Bush, Texas lead the nation in executions and laughed about it, puckering his lips and mocking Carla Faye Tucker. In the 1930s and 40s Texas was home to astute liberal thinkers like J. Frank Dobie, author, historian and UT prof. Oil and "goppers" killed off Texas. It must be remembered that it was no accident, no mere quirk of history that JFK was murdered in Dallas --home to at least two of most callous, mean-spirited oil robber barons that ever lived. And that's to say nothing of an assortment of right wing nut jobs, fanatics, fundies, and just plain stupid people.

Anonymous said...

Help the Granny Warriors take action by donating to have a recount done in New Hampshire. I did.

The last two presidential elections in this nation had outrageous voting inconsistencies. Let's nip it in the bud this election, or at least prove that all is on the up and up.

Go to:

Donate and then spread the word. The truth and integrity of who we are as a people and as a nation is at stake.

Anok said...

A republic - thats exactly how the machines work where I am. There are paper ballots that you fill out and insert into the machine (which the ballot is then saved). The "machine" is nothing more than a reader - like a school standardized test reader.

The tabulations are posted in plain view at the poll's opening (to show that all electoral choices are at zero) - and one is posted at the closing of polls, when the machines have been tabulated.

The public is always welcome to watch the tabulation of the votes, the media is always there with party representatives. The ballots and the machine are then closed and finalized by three election officials on site, and all elections poll workers sign off. Checks and balances include comparing the number of ballots used, ballots spoiled, voters checked in by hand (by the poll workers) and then what is stated on the running tally on the machine.

After everything is closed down, the machine is locked in a fireproof lock box - to be transported back to the central counting (usually city hall) by police officers or both registrars. The ballots and all paperwork are brought in with the moderator, signed for by both registrars (in full view of public and media).

We did a hand count after the last election just to see how accurate the machines were - and they were dead on. The memory card is locked and sealed into the machine tabulator which is locked and sealed by election officials, registrars and even police. The memory card is the only aspect of this type of machine that could actually affect election results - and you would have to have the access information to change it - if you could get it out of the machine - do it to every single memory card for every polling place - and somehow trick the machine into believing all totals are at zero at the poll opening. If a machine shows numbers prior to voting - the machine isn't used at all.

So, yeah these machines are pretty tamper-proof. When I saw you need to "trust" the election officials - there will always be the need to trust the people who are handling the election materials. There is no getting around it.

Hey Len, when did rainwater turn into beer? Hot damn! I'll be happy tonight!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the granny warriors link.

Anok, your description of the election process is exactly the way it ought to work. Transparency, verification, checks and balances.

This should become a grass roots movement. Elections are local. Every county of any political persuasion should take a non-partisan stand against election fraud by banning DieBold machines, inded, ANY machine! Like you, I believe the actual counting is done by a "reader" of a paper ballot that is machine readable. If every precinct in every county did this the GOP frauds (democratic frauds as well) would have no place to hide.

Start a movement!

Anok said...

Our state just adopted these machines and new techniques for all polling places here. It came with some resistance at first - but when we realized they were easy to use and accurate - everyone saddled up, got their new certifications and used the new machines.

Areas of concern however, are;

A) privacy issues (when a voter is filling out the ballot in the "booth" which doesn't afford much privacy)

B) HAVA machines - many have had "bugs" that need to be worked out - such as a disabled voter not being able to navigate from one voting section to another without voting for someone they don't want to vote for. And those, in my opinion are not tamper proof. Luckily not too many people use them. I think in the last two years in all elections we've held, the HAVA machine was used once or twice in our city.

C) Operator error. Poll workers are human, fallible, and corruptible. If voter come in and the workers cannot, do not, to choose not to do the work properly, old fashioned voter fraud will be rampant. That means students voting in their home state and their college state - dead people voting, people voting in multiple districts etc...The workers just have to follow the rules, and be aware of what's going on.

Of course, all that said - once the votes go to the electoral college and if necessary a court for "appointment" all these checks and balances are null and void anyway ;)

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

LH: "As long as its all "electronic", nothing will change. We need machine readable "paper ballots", literally a a paper trail. I fully agree about "transparancy" which is, for me, verification. I have never trusted "trust me", I trust objective and repeatable verification."

Yup. Time to cut the crap, throw the bullshit out the window and make a bee-line for rationality. Put a homo sap. on the moon?
No worries!
Place a "smart" bomb down a Baghdad chimney?
You bet!
Implement an accountable voting system on verifiable paper ballots?
Oh, I'm afraid we can't do that, America, because we're already a democracy. What is it with you people? Are you grateful or UNGRATEFUL Americans?

Superb analysis, Damien and Len.

Anok sez... "Granted, you still have to trust the election officials -"
With the greatest respect, Anok, I think trusting gop appointed election officials is a serious mistake. Do you recall Bolton and Jimmy Baker blitzkreiging Florida tally rooms in 2000, with their Grand Theft Election heist of Jeffersonian democracy, as formerly practised in USA?

So Anok, why should we trust election officials if there is no verifiable paper trail. When one uses an ATM, one has the option of a receipt. How difficult do you think this would be to implement in the House, senate and presidential elections?

Anonymous said...

@Len Hart:
The suggestion that voters get a receipt they can keep is incompatible with democracy. If I am allowed to bring out a record of whom I voted for, my union leader or employer can tell me that I won't receive privileges (union membership, continued employment) unless I bring a receipt proving I voted for X.

@the article:
1) It's not accurate to say that Princeton produced or in any way supported this report. It was the work of three individuals who are at the University, but to attribute the research of position to the University officially is inaccurate
2) Without evidence of this having ever happened, a title like "...How the GOP Steals Elections" is disingenuous and misleading.

Anok said...

Psst, Fuzzflash....There is a paper trail! At least, for the voting systems I am talking about.

For the record however, I was talking about election officials on a local level - who are appointed by the registrars of voters - not the GOP. (Each town/city has two registrars, Republican, and Democrat - both paid but elected positions). The higher up you go, the more political it gets - and I agree with you there but tampering with ballot boxes won't happen on that level because these officials aren't allowed access to the local boxes.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen - but the reality of it is that for most states the elections aren't being tampered with, and the local officials are in fact trust worthy.

Unknown said...

Anok, am still looking for that Rainwater beer. If you find any --let me know : )