California sues e-voting vendor over hardware changes

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| The original AutoMark A100 devices were conditionally certified by the state
| in August 2005 by a previous secretary of state, according to Bowen's office.
| One condition of that certification, according to her office, was that
| no "substitution or modification of the voting systems shall be made with
| respect to any component of the voting systems ... until the secretary of
| state has been notified in writing and has determined that the proposed
| change or modification does not impair the accuracy and efficiency of the
| voting systems sufficient to require a reexamination and approval."

The world has begun to wake up and realise that truly open code is the only way
to go.


Making the World Safe For Voting Machine Vendors

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| The current version of Holt’s bill up for vote this week backs off of the
| public right to inspect voting machine software, open source code, in a big
| way and lets vendors keep secret the software and methods that determine your
| elections. Let me put it another way, you don’t get to see how the voting
| machines work that elect the officials who govern you – ever! * *

Voting machines ditch ballots in Scotland

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| In total, 140,000 ballots were logged as spoilt. The BBC says more than half
| of these were rejected by the machines, with no chance for a person to judge
| whether or not the ballot was actually spoilt. *

Halt e-voting, says election body

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| Despite the commission saying security needed to be "strengthened", Mr Will
| said: "We are pleased that the evaluations point to a high level of system
| security and user confidence in e-voting systems tested and that the security
| and integrity of the polls was not compromised. *

Most vote machines lose test to hackers

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| "The vendors appeared to have designed systems that were not high assurance
| (of security)," said Bishop, a recognized expert on computer security. "The
| security seems like it was added on.'' *

The Future of Elections: Open Source Voting

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| But how would you feel if Microsoft Windows was powering the voting booth in
| which you were to select important elected officials? Would you, knowing of
| Microsoft's past security record, feel confident that using this OS and not
| being allowed to inspect the code, feel safe knowing that these machines
| could very well help to dictate the future of your perspective countries?
| Don't feel guilty, I don't really like it either. * *

E-voting paper trail push stalls in Congress

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| The bill would generally require all voting precincts nationwide to conform
| to the new requirements in time for the federal elections in November 2008.

Protest SF Mayor's praise of Sequoia voting machines

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| A new voting system based on open source software would be much
| better, fully transparent, and far less expensive. The could open the bid for
| such a system at any time. Even though no such system is currently certified,
| that work could be included in the bid.

Uncle Sam Wants You: To Build a Better Voting Machine

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| Four teams of researchers from universities in the U.S., Canada, Poland and
| the United Kingdom begin competing today in Portland, Oregon, to win a prize
| for the best open-source voting system. The three-day University Voting
| System Competition, which ends July 18th, is sponsored by the National
| Science Foundation. * *

E-voting vendor succumbs to California source code demands

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| "... there are serious concerns regarding the motivations and apparent
| personal agendas of a number of the currently proposed examiners," ES&S
| exec StevenPearson wrote in a letter agreeing to turn over the source
| code.

John Edwards supports "open source" for voting systems

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| John Edwards has become the first presidential candidate to support
| "open source code" for election systems.

A Publicly Owned and Controlled Voting System Ensuring Transparency and
Oversight by the People or Nothing

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| Open source code optical scanners begin to restore some of that transparency
| which would be eliminated by private vendors who bar the public from access
| to any source code information. The advantage of open source software is that
| it is available for public inspection by anyone with some level of computer
| literacy, not just those designated to see the escrowed source code pursuant
| to a non disclosure agreement. * *

HR 811: Separating Truth From Fiction in E-voting Reform

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| States wanting even greater transparency could mandate broader
| disclosure requirements (see proposed Sec. 301(a)(8)(B)(ii)(II)),
| including disposing of any non-disclosure requirement or even
| mandating the use of open source software. Moreover, vendors
| themselves could dispense with the non-disclosure agreement
| requirement, either by explicitly granting permission to share
| otherwise secret source code or by utilizing open source
| systems.
| [...]
| And once again, states may mandate any kind of additional disclosure,
| including an open source requirement, that they wish.

Microsoft Muscles the NYS Legislature

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| Microsoft’s proposed change to state law would effectively render
| our current requirements for escrow and the ability for independent
| review of source code in the event of disputes completely meaningless
| - and with it the protections the public fought so hard for.

State legislators keep e-voting apps in public hands

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| Microsoft, whose Windows software is used in some of the vendors' devices,
| sought to amend the law to avoid the strict escrow provisions. *
| [...]
| But Lipari had his worries before the matter was resolved. Earlier
| this month, in his blog, he called Microsoft the "800-pound gorilla
| of software development" as he called attention to its plans. Microsoft,
| he said, had been steadily lobbying legislators and circulating an
| unsigned document that would redefine the law.

E-Voting Raises New Questions in Brazil

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| Some Brazilians are lobbying the tribunal to switch from Windows CE to
| an open-source operating system for the voting machines, since Microsoft
| Corp., citing trade secrecy, won't allow independent audits to make
| sure malicious programmers haven't inserted commands to "flip" votes
| from one candidate to another.
| [...]
| Fontoura confirmed that Brazil is considering a move away from
| crosoft's proprietary code -- "We are studying the possibility of using an
| open-source program like Linux in future elections. This would make the
| entire process much more transparent and far less expensive," he said.

Avante's (Not Very Good) Offer to New York Voters

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| Providing open source software is a start. That way others can see the
| defects in the system’s design or view the intentional codes put in to rig an
| election (open source soft code would be open to the public and therefore
| would not need to be escrowed with the SBOE). *
| Avante doesn’t want us to see how it has designed its voting computer to
| process and count our votes. If it did it would have used open source
| software, but it chose not to. It is only those vendors who choose to use
| secret proprietary source code that are required to escrow same so that at
| least the SBOE can see what is otherwise concealed from the public. * *
| Having chose to use secret software to process and count the votes, which
| Avante cannot fully escrow because they relied on Microsoft software to
| create its voting system, Avante now argues that since Kodak or some other
| hardware supplier isn’t going to give you the source code of the firmware for
| its scanners or printers either (it would be good to see this lower level
| firmware coding, but not nearly as important as seeing the software source
| code for the operating and tabulating functions of the computer), out should
| go the proverbial baby with the bathwater (and any ability to view the way
| the computer is programmed to tamper or not tamper with the vote). * * * *
| [...]
| If New York chose an open source code optical scan system, we’d have a voting
| system in place tomorrow, not two years from now. What Avante claims is
| impossible to create actually already exists. *

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| "Nineteen machines had 21 screen freezes or system crashes, producing a
| blue screen and messages about an "illegal operation" or a "fatal
| exception error."
| "Especially with this blue-screen problem, you don't know whether it's
| the printer drivers, you don't know whether it's Diebold's own code or
| whether it's Windows,"


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| Problems found in an audit of Diebold tabulation records from an Ohio
| November 2006 election raise questions about whether the database got
| corrupted during the tabulation of election results...
| The database is built from Microsoft's Jet database engine. The
| engine, according to Microsoft, is vulnerable to corruption when a lot
| of concurrent activity is happening with the database, such as what
| occurs on an election night [and Microsoft advises againt using Jet in
| a complex environment]...
| The report mentions that election staff had trouble with the server
| crashing and freezing on election night....
| The report notes that with punch card machines election officials used
| to be able to determine definitively if all ballots had been counted
| in the results....