May 25, 2017

Unattended Voting Machines Already Showing Up

I was going about my business this morning when I was surprised to see some unattended electronic voting machines that had already been delivered to a polling place in advance of Tuesday’s election. I wasn’t looking for voting machines in this location, not knowing that it served as a polling place, but the machines were pretty hard to miss. They were Sequoia AVC Advantage machines, the most common model in New Jersey. I don’t know how long they had been sitting unprotected.

Here’s a photo, taken this morning, of me with one of the machines.

Comments

  1. Dave Provine says:

    Maybe you could get readers to send in pictures of themselves with unattended voting machines and start a picture gallery. Well, nah, you’d get flooded with pictures over the next few days.

  2. Say, you didn’t happen to see any virtually undetectable “cracking” taking place, did you? Once someone can prove an instance occurring, the Elections Commissions promises to upgrade the requirements to ensure public scrutiny of our voting systems, and return our right to vote to us.

  3. Is access to the machine internals secured in any way, like with a cheap hotel minibar lock or something?

  4. Physical trumps digital, every time. How about posting your notice to and the reply from the local election commission (or whatever it is called in your area. Here it is the “County Clerks Office” for each county.)

  5. the_zapkitty says:

    Of interest, I think.

    (this post is a repeat of an update I just did back at article 1065:”Refuting Diebold”:)

    It seems that he State of Maryland orderdd up a study of Diebold voting machines by SAIC in 2003.

    The report delivered to the state was 38 pages long.

    The original SAIC study was almost 200 pages long.

    What happened to the report?

    It seems that the Secretary Of State of Maryland gave Diebold permission to censor the report as they saw fit… “to protect their proprietary trade secrets…”

    Guess what happened?

    But that left-leaning hotbed of e-voting investigation, bradblog.com, has come up with a copy of the original, unredacted, SAIC report… and has made it available for your perusal as 5 pdfs.

    http://www.bradblog.com/

    For your convenience all 5 pdfs of the report and the censored version of the report have been bundled here for your convenience…

    http://74.52.141.18/~zapkitty/SAIC_Diebold_Maryland_090203.tar.gz

    (Seems my republicofnekoslovakia.net domain hasn’t circulated through the dns servers yet)

    In terms of the fox guarding the henhouse, it’s a remarkable read.

    Diebold doesn’t stop lying about its voting machines because it has never been forced to stop lying about its voting machines by the Secretary of States who bought the machines.

  6. Donald Jessop says:

    OMG, does this mean Ed Felten is going to win the election for Representative / Senator / Governor / President / God in New Jersey? I am anxiously looking forward to the election returns on Tuesday night.

  7. were you on fox news? if that was you, you might find these videos interesting, as far as unattended voting machines:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WMG34cv0zM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBO8Bpv2ySg

  8. Fundriving says:

    Great! Should of slapped a Regime Change bumper sticker on one of them before taking the picture. How many schools in the country have machines just rolling around the lunch rooms waiting to be rolled away and tinkered with?

  9. sorry, i linked right back to your video! i meant to post both parts of the unattended machines video. the 2nd link is actually the 1stpart of the video.
    here is the second:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSOdthPoOeo

  10. Breaking news!!!!! I just photographed myself next to an unattended ATM Machine!

    What’s your point, Kook?

  11. Technophobe says:

    What would a magnet stuck to the side of one of these machines do?

    If I carried in a little magnet and left it on the card would it erase the votes?

    TP

  12. hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt : maybe it’s a decoy designed to lure hackers like ed felten to the ‘fake’ voting machines.

  13. the_zapkitty says:

    Andy Dahl Mumbled:

    “Breaking news!!!!! I just photographed myself next to an unattended ATM Machine!
    What’s your point, Kook?”

    Should the companies that make e-voting machines ever decide to stop slurping down millions of taxpayer dollars long enough to actually get off their lazy asses and design voting machines that are even as secure as a soda vending machine… we’ll let you know.

  14. the_zapkitty says:

    Technophobe Says:

    “What would a magnet stuck to the side of one of these machines do?
    If I carried in a little magnet and left it on the card would it erase the votes?”

    The answers are are nothing and no.

  15. the_zapkitty says:

    dubya Says:

    “hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt”

    We did that already and look at what it got us…

    “maybe it’s a decoy designed to lure hackers like ed felten to the ‘fake’ voting machines.”

    You figure there’s a “hacker blind” behind that whiteboard… one with a couple of BOE members ready to spring out and pab Ed? 🙂

    But dozens of machines have been found unattended all over the nation… with nary a watcher in site.

    Alas, it isn’t a clever trap. It’s just the e-voting machine vendors and their customers, the state election officials, once again saying one thing while doing another.

  16. “What’s your point, Kook”?

    All voting machines are supposed to be in secured locations when not actively in use on election day, to prevent tampering. This applies to any kind of machine whether mechanical or electronic.

  17. Fortunately (or unfortunately), for this term, all the candidates suck. So, the voting equipment issue isn’t so important since one of the sucky candidates must win anyway.

    But it is good to expose these equipment problems now just in case there is a candidate worth voting for at some time in the future.

  18. the_zapkitty says:

    Bill Said:

    “Fortunately (or unfortunately), for this term, all the candidates suck. So, the voting equipment issue isn’t so important since one of the sucky candidates must win anyway.”

    Bullshit.

    Vote.

    Even if there is no candidate or issue that you think is worth voting for, there are surely candidates and issues you’ll want to vote against.

    Human nature is like that 🙂

    Vote.

  19. That always happened at my elementary school, machines being left over the weekend and such. Now they were mechanical and not touch screen but the possibility of tampering was still there.

  20. the_zapkitty says:

    Storax Says:

    “That always happened at my elementary school, machines being left over the weekend and such. Now they were mechanical and not touch screen but the possibility of tampering was still there.”

    Yes, and such has occurred in the past.

    What has not occurred in the past is your tampered mechanical machines having the potential to affect every other vote cast in that county or, if an evote virus made its way into the central tabulators, the potential to skew every vote cast in that state.

    And remember: despite Diebold’s yammering they have still been unwilling, or unable, to provide verifiable evidence that the virus concept will not work in the later TSx’s.

    And the other brands of voting machines? Who knows? We don’t.

    We’re only allowed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on these machines… we’ve been told repeatedly that we’re not supposed to know anything about them.

  21. Most of society ultimately is based on the premise that people are reasonably honest. It would be prohibitively expensive to make everything as locked down and secure as an airport. I am not trying to justify poor security, but being pragmatic instead. The fact that most people are honest most of the time is the only realistic solution to dealing with all of the loopholes and vulnerabilities out there.

    I can cite examples where I as a construction worker require access to a building in order to do some work inside. And how it works is that I show my ID and the person unlocks the room for a few hours so I can do what I have to do. Yet in the world of Ed Felten the building owner should assign a guard to stand there guarding that door while I am doing my work for a few hours. Sure that would be more secure, but to ask such a thing would be so difficult that it would create red tape and hardly anything would get done.

    A few anecdotes and pictures are good for a blog, but most people are breaking or stretching rules all the time in order to make society function smoothly.

  22. the_zapkitty says:

    eclectica Says:

    “Most of society ultimately is based on the premise that people are reasonably honest. It would be prohibitively expensive to make everything as locked down and secure as an airport.”

    Not to mention the fact that airports are usually not very secure. Yes, even post 9/11.

    “I am not trying to justify poor security, but being pragmatic instead. The fact that most people are honest most of the time is the only realistic solution to dealing with all of the loopholes and vulnerabilities out there.”

    Wrong.

    Ask any bank.

    And what lies behind the access panels of an e-voting machine (and is not to be found in an older mechanical voting machine) is a self-perpetuating key to both wealth and power. And power is worth far more than money to some people.

    “I can cite examples where I as a construction worker require access to a building in order to do some work inside. And how it works is that I show my ID and the person unlocks the room for a few hours so I can do what I have to do.”

    And this is relevant… how? (Unless it so happens that you work in Fort Knox? 🙂 )

    “Yet in the world of Ed Felten the building owner should assign a guard to stand there guarding that door while I am doing my work for a few hours.”

    Er… you non sequitured so hard you dropped off the screen… You never stated what it was you were doing in that building, so saying that “Ed Felten would do this or that” is rather disingenuous.

    “Sure that would be more secure, but to ask such a thing would be so difficult that it would create red tape and hardly anything would get done.”

    So then you would agree that
    the burden of the needed security measures that would make e-voting as safe as other forms of voting would far outweigh any of the purported advantages of current e-voting systems?

    (Yes, “purported” advantages… in case you missed it yesterday was another mass meltdown for e-voting systems of all descriptions.)

    “A few anecdotes and pictures are good for a blog, but most people are breaking or stretching rules all the time in order to make society function smoothly.”

    And it is obvious you missed the point of Ed’s article.

    The point of this article was that the response of e-voting machine manufactures and election officials to the discovery of various and sundry security flaws in those machines is:

    (After the inevitable “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”)

    “THAT COULD’NT BE EXPLOITED IN REAL LIFE ANYWAY. THOSE MACHINES ARE ALWAYS UNDER LOCK AND KEY OR UNDER GUARD!”

    … when, in fact, the machines are not always under lock and key or under guard.

    Hell, there were volunteers from various election oversight groups deliberately parading up and down behind Sequoia voting machines (where the yellow “vote all you want” button is located) that were never challenged by election workers… because despite all the promises of election officials the election workers were utterly unaware of the danger of that button.

    And the list of verified, often recorded on video, voting machine securty transgressions from yesterday goes on and on and on and on…. because yesterday many more people were aware of the potential dangers involving these machines and documented the lapses.

    So once again Diebold, with election officials in lockstep, proclaimed some defense of their badly flawed systems loudly to the world… and once again that defense just didn’t add up in real life.

    And Ed pointed that out.

  23. Eclectica,

    The question is not whether security is perfect — it never is — but whether we have enough security under the circumstances. When it comes to paperless e-voting, we don’t.

    Vendors and some voting officials say we don’t need technical safeguards because the machines are always guarded. Anybody who is paying attention knows that that isn’t true. Machines are left unguarded all the time.

    In your construction example, it’s fine to check your ID once and then let you on the site. But suppose the construction site was not locked or fenced, and you were told this wasn’t a problem because there was always a guard posted. And then you discovered that there wasn’t actually a guard. That’s what we’re talking about here.

  24. the_zapkitty says:

    Ed, I’m sorry… but your replies are just too succint…. 🙂

    (…the zapkitty tries adding a “–verbose” switch to Ed’s command line interface…)

  25. the_zapkitty says:

    Ok, ok… I forgot the “c” in succinct”

    Try this instead: as the The dns update has finally circulated to this side of the planet here is a new url for the 2003 SAIC report for Maryland on the security of Diebold systems, both the original approx 200 page version and the censored 38 page version that the state actually got.

    http://republicofnekoslovakia.net/neko_cache/SAIC_Diebold_Maryland_090203.tar.gz

  26. Bryan Feir says:

    Professor Felten was mentioned yesterday morning on CBC’s current affairs radio show ‘The Current’ (though they misspelled his name on the web page):

    http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2006/200611/20061107.html

    I’d have mentioned it yesterday after hearing the show, but the website was still being rebuilt after a meltdown on Monday and the page was inaccessible.

  27. Most of society ultimately is based on the premise that people are reasonably honest. It would be prohibitively expensive to make everything as locked down and secure as an airport. I am not trying to justify poor security, but being pragmatic instead.

    Yes, and this is precisely why systems must be designed to remain secure under these non-ideal conditions.

    For example, if you have a touch-screen voting machine that can be subverted in under 60 seconds, then you’d need a prohibitively expensive process to guarantee that no untrusted person can get alone with it for 1 minute in its lifetime.

    If you agree that constant physical security is unrealistic, then you must agree that these machines are a bad idea: for they rely on that unrealistic physical security to compensate for their hackability.

  28. Breaking news!!!!! I just photographed myself next to an unattended ATM Machine!

    But you can’t hack an unattended ATM machine.

    What’s your point, Kook?

    If you think this “science” stuff is a bunch of nonsense promoted by kooks,
    you are invited to boycott it for a few days.

    Just remember that once you get dysentery from drinking out of a lake, it is impolite to use a public restroom in a high-traffic area.

  29. Ed Felten is also quoted in an article about e-voting in this week’s Science News:

    http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20061104/bob10.asp

  30. This should be a story for the press but they miss it again. That machine looks huge btw.

    I am one that is torn between using machines and going back to paper ballots. I am starting to think that fraud is everywhere and we need to secure our voting process. How these voting machines are left unattended baffles me. Someone could get their hands on one and do some real trouble (I assume).

  31. Anonymous says:

    You do realize the first response of anyone in authority will be to throw YOU in jail. Fix the problem will never occur to them.

  32. zap-kitty … I hardly know where to start. Your mind is made up irrespective of truth. You take other’s comments and when you disagree but don’t have facts you simply say “wrong”. It’s not that easy.

    Where was the election day meltdown. That’s an overstatment at best and quite honestly a lie. Machine problems were reported all over the country, that is a fact. But there are thousands upon thousands of voting machines in the country and there will always be issues.

    And if you cared to research the allegations of problems as reported in the big news outlets, you will find them generally exagerated or unclear as to the nature of a problem. Most machine problem reports turn out to be procedural issues or operator confusion. While those are problems, current media and folks with an agenda simply call everything an electronic voting machine problem. You are blasting what you don’t like in favor of what you want with little regard for accuracy.

    Case in point is the NJ Gov Corzine voting machine snafu reported widely around the U.S. AP ran the story and it has since been corrected by them but still erroneously reported in many sites and blogs. The reports generally allege that machine problems in the Governors polling site delayed him from voting from 45 to 60 minutes.

    His spokesman has since reported that the Governor arrived at the polling location later than planned for reasons unrelated to his polling site and that he went in, votged, and was out in under 2.5 minutes.

    Bill Gates : I think you are misrepresenting what voting machine companies say with respect to locking and securing machines. First, where machines are stored and how they are shipped or secured (the whole unit) is not for the voting machine companies to decide. You have your own laws, regulations and decision makers for that.

    It is my belief that when vendors or local officials assert machines are locked and secured, they are referring the the seals, locks, hardware security and software/firmware security of the unit itself.

    What frustrates me the most about the tone, methodology and obvious intent of the postings you make is that you want to make the impression that referenced officials and voting machine companies (ultimately the people who work for those companies) are less interested in security and protecting the vote than you. It seems that if they disagree with your opinion or try and offer solutions you don’t like, then they don’t care. I am a former County Clerk from NM and I know many election officials and county officials from all over the U.S. and so many in NJ specifically. I’ve worked with people from several voting machine companies in my career and I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t truly care about the process and the needs of voters. Their historic insight to the process and understanding of safeguards built into law give them an understanding many don’t have …. perhaps some of you. Thus, they may not see a threat the way you do because for years, voting security has been more a procedural checks and balances matched with technology.

    The point is, just because you say it is so does not make you right. I really don’t care how smart you are or how much you know about technolgy … you might be wrong. So many people who have no background in elections seem to suiddenly have appeared on the scene to promote their cause or direction and sling mud at well intended and compotent elections workers and vendors realistically working to make the system work.

    And then there is the real agenda. Paper Ballots. That’s what most of this is really all about. A minority of activists have used e-voting scare tactics to promote their ultimate desire for all paper hand counted ballots. Hand counted or optical scan … the security of that one if you look at it objectively is frightening. I see the disagreement coming, but if you try and tell me that somehow we can suddenly count on our same body of poll workers to deliver the millions of paper ballots counted or to be counted to some location for secure storage and not have greater security and integrity doubts as to tampering … then I know you’ve lost any reasonable objectivity. How will you ever say you can be sure that in transit there was no tampering. Third party videographes following each deliver vehcle recording the loading, transfer and transit? Security seals? OK … that’s one part, but I still cannot fiogure how that same security seal would not satisfy your needs on a machine but would on a ballot box. And hey, what about the fact that the pool of people with the qualifications to manipulate paper ballots in a box or bag is vastly large relative to those who could manipulate e-voting — and the actual access much simpler. There are no event logs and encrypted security locks on the ballot box.

    And what about those seals and locks on either device? Break a seal or lock and azttempt to tamper with a machine and one can still determine if the tampering changed votes or not. Break a seal or lock on a ballot box, bag or transfer case, and even if no ballots were manipulated, that bag of 1000 ballots is now 1000 ballots lost, as there is no way to validate that there was no tampering.

    These are just a few thoughts among many that need to be considered. It seems that when it comes to the anti-emachine voting folks, no explanation is good enough if it does not support their conclusions. I know it is cliche … but the phrase “Don’t confuse me with facts”, really seems to fit in so many of the exchanges on this topic.