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Late Nite FDL: Die, Diebold, Die!!

What is it going to take to make mainstream America realize that as long as we are voting on Diebold machines, our votes are vulnerable to tampering and fraud?  It was late last night and deep in the comments on this post when Nate from Get in Their Face!! broke through with this bulletin about Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology and their demonstration of just how easy it is to rig an election on Diebold’s voting machines.

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine:
Executive Summary

Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten

The Diebold AccuVote-TS and its newer relative the AccuVote-TSx are together the most widely deployed electronic voting platform in the United States. In the November 2006 general election, these machines are scheduled to be used in 357 counties representing nearly 10% of registered voters. Approximately half these counties — including all of Maryland and Georgia — will employ the AccuVote-TS model. More than 33,000 of the TS machines are in service nationwide.

This paper reports on our study of an AccuVote-TS, which we obtained from a private party. We analyzed the machine’s hardware and software, performed experiments on it, and considered whether real election practices would leave it suitably secure. We found that the machine is vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces.

Watch the video and see if you don’t break out all over in tinfoil.

This morning, I woke up and saw that HuffPo was running with the story, but as far as the MSM outlets, there’s been nary a peep.  Is Diebold paying off the major news outlets?  Why won’t this story get any traction?  It is clearly one of the most important issues of our era, given that the very foundation of our democracy is at risk.  It doesn’t matter how hard we work, write, and fight if our votes won’t be accurately counted, does it?

There are some people who have been all over this story from the very beginning.  BradBlog is one (although I wish to god Brad would do something about his blog’s eye-punishing format) and Black Box Voting is another.  Both these sites have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of Diebold machines.  So, where’s the national outrage?  

And why is it that only Democrats seem to be concerned about this?  Is it because Diebold has deep and abiding ties with the GOP?  Maybe my tin-foil hat-band is cutting off the circulation to my brain, but it’s almost too easy to picture the Republicans smugly assuring each other that nothing we do will matter come November because they know that they can manipulate the vote count however they like.

Meanwhile in Ohio, Diebold Inc. is one of the companies vying to sell electronic voting machines in that state. Diebold and its CEO have strong Republican ties, specifically to the Bush administration.

A recent article by Julie Carr Smyth in The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the head of Diebold is also a top fundraiser for President Bush’s re-election. In a recent fund-raising letter Diebold’s chief executive Walden O’Dell said he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

That article was from 2003, and we see how things worked out in Ohio in the 2004 election.   

My state (Georgia) is entirely Diebold for voting these days.  Is it a coincidence that since the implemetation of Diebold machines here that Georgia elected its first Republican governor since the Reconstruction?  Or that Republicans have carried each election since then?

So, what do we do?  I have written to Cathy Cox, Georgia’s Secretary of State multiple times asking what they plan to do to ensure fair elections.  Each time, I got a mealy-mouthed form letter.  ("The office of the Secretary of State is doing everything it can to blah de blah diddy blah…")  They have promised us paper receipts, but I’m not convinced.  Who says that what the little slip of paper says and what my plastic key card says are the same thing?  Couldn’t a crooked (or hacked) machine say one thing on paper and another on the card?

This is an issue where I wonder if citizen action is going to be enough.  It’s the kind of thing where you register your concerns and they pat you on the head and imply that you’re being ridiculous, but given the goat-fuck that the Maryland primary turned out to be, I don’t think this is a small problem, and I don’t think it’s going away.

So, this is what I propose we do.  Spotlight this post to anyone you think will listen.  We need to raise enough of a stink on this that the big media outlets sit up and take notice.  We did it with that stupid 9/11 movie.  We can do it with voting machines.  The legitimacy of our democracy is in question here.  We need to demand paper ballots.  All that equipment is still sitting in warehouses all over the country.  They need to pull it out, dust it off, and have it ready by November 7th.  Anything less than that is a direct attempt to disenfranchise American voters.  

Send the Princeton video to everyone you can think of.  This should be a bipartisan issue, but it looks like it’s going to fall to our side (as usual) to demand accountability, transparency, and accuracy in our democratic process.  This is too important an issue to let slide and hope that somehow it will all work out to a happy ending.  The cabal of murderers and thugs in the White House and the Republican Congress (oh, and Joe Lieberman) are going to try anything they can think of to keep our voices from being heard and our votes from being counted.  We have to strike first rather than waiting until after the elections.  Time is running out.  We have to mobilize NOW.

So, go, Firedogs, go!!  We can make a difference.  

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TRex is a 60-million-year-old theropod who enjoys terrorizing trailer parks, stomping his enemies, and eating things that get in his way or annoy him. He is single and looking for a new boyfriend. He's 60 feet tall, green, with delicate forelimbs, large, sharp teeth, and a lengthy tail. Turn-ons include political activism, bashing conservatives, and volcanoes. Turn-offs are vegetarians, right-wing blogs, and killer asteroids.