Thursday, June 08, 2006

And the public gets what the public wants

My friend Brad Friedman at Brad Blog is all over this issue:
We do, however, have copious and documented evidence to suggest there is no reason in the world to have any faith that Bilbray won the race.

The fact that the thin margin between the two at this hour (with "100% of the votes counted", according to the CA Sec. of State's website) is a mere 4,732 votes -- in a race where 125,882 votes were reportedly cast in a county with more than 355,000 voters registered -- is not even the largest question. Neither is the so-far unclear question of how the race will be affected by the 68,500 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted in San Diego County according to the SD Registrar of Voters website at this hour.

The biggest concern about the race, by far, is that San Diego County uses two types of Diebold voting systems -- optical-scan and touch-screen -- both of which have not only proven to be disastrously unreliable in San Diego County and California in the past, but have also been demonstrated over the last six months to feature dozens of exceedingly well-documented and remarkable security vulnerabilities, making them extremely accessible to tampering. Especially if anyone has unsupervised physical access for more than a minute or two with them.

The voting machines used in Tuesday's election were sent home with volunteer poll workers the night before the election, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office today. As well, The BRAD BLOG has received reports that in some cases, poll workers may have had the machines alone at their houses, unsupervised, for a week or even two prior to Tuesday's election....

Last February, California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, himself, commissioned and released an independent security analysis [PDF] regarding just one aspect of both types of Diebold voting machines used in yesterday's San Diego race, after the memory cards used in those machines were found to have been extremely vulnerable to tampering. A mock election in Leon County, Florida last December revealed that tampering with the memory cards enabled the results of a mock election, run by Election Supervisor Ion Sancho, to be completely reversed.

They took the machines home?


These are machines based on generic Windows boxes, with all the security features of he average teen gamer's PC. (Of course, they would be better off using Macs.)

To allow them to be taken home, however, is frightening. In a criminal case, regarding evidence, chain of custody is paramount. Imagine blood samples from a murder scene being taken home in a CSI technician or detective's car. Oh, wait, that's not a good example.

But really, these are your secret ballots. Lives were lost to gain suffrage. At the beginning of this country only "landed gentry" could vote. Today, all citizens enjoy the power of the ballot.

Unless, of course, the polling place worker's kid needed to look at some internet porn. If traces of his web activity can be erased from mom's prying eyes, so can your vote.

Get pissed, people!