The Truth will prevail, but only if we demand it from Congress!
9-11 Inside Job and Neocons Hacked 2004
Diebold in CA- Machinations Behind Closed Doors
The Seven Reasons NOT to Certify Diebold
November 21, 2005
CALIFORNIA ELECTION PROTECTION NETWORK
A non-partisan organization of over 25 groups across California
coming together to achieve their mutual election integrity goals
Sacramento. Today was an exhilarating day in Sacramento. Deja vu of
The last Diebold hearing, this new attempt to certify Diebold wares once
again raised the near-unanimous ire of concerned citizens. The passion
and dedication of the people attending was palpable. To witness more
than 125 citizens, journeying great distances--on short notice and on
a short holiday week--who all came together to defend the integrity of
our democratic processes, was to witness the real "Patriot Act."
Without the dedication and vigilance of these activists, other
concerned citizens would never have known that behind closed doors,
the machinery of the Secretary of State's office was in high gear ready to
Diebold suffered some setbacks earlier this year trying to meet the
New state requirement for a voter verified paper audit trail. In its
initial test this summer, the AccuView printer attachment to the TSx
model touch screen voting machine had a staggering 30% performance
failure rate. Diebold made adjustments, resubmitted, and reportedly
passed a second test in September, clearing the way for rectifying the
Tsp machines in four counties where they've been suspended since
Test Results: Passing With a Weak Thumb's Up
California's official voting equipment certification tester, Steve
Freeman, issued a slightly qualified "thumbs up" for Diebold. Freeman
applied his stamp of approval despite the fact that he did not run
tests on the specific security holes revealed by computer security
experts Avi Rubin, Herbert Thompson and Harry Hursti, which
Blackboxvoting.org later applied in demonstrations of undetected
vote-switching conducted under simulated election conditions. As one
election official (who asked not to be identified) said of the State's
passing grade on the testing results, "Isn't it like examining a
patient for small pox and proudly announcing that their teeth are
Aces Up Sleeves?
Jim March of Blackboxvoting.org provided the most riveting and
Colorful overview of the various new ways recording and tabulation can be
Hacked on Diebold equipment. His gift for explaining technical
intricacies kept the audience on the edge of their seats. After
detailing uncorrected software and hardware defects in Diebold voting
systems that remain standing invitations to vote fraud, March noted
Diebold continued refusal to release its source code for testing, or
To identify the authors responsible. March concluded his remarks with
This advice to public officials promoting the use of Diebold voting
machines, "If you don't want to be accused of cheating at cards, don't
let aces fall out of your sleeves at every step."
The Seven Reasons NOT to Certify Diebold
Numerous members of the California Election Protection Network (CEPN)
delivered spoken testimony. The CEPN also entered into the record
their press advisory titled "Seven Reason NOT to Certify Diebold."
SB370: Cart Before the Horse
Michelle Gabriel of the Voting Rights Task Force and CEPN, raised an
excellent point about the recent passage of SB370. (SB370 will allow
voters to read their hard earned and soon to be required accessible
voter verified paper trail upon the event an audit.) Yet to satisfy
the impending SB370 Gabriel something to the effect of, No one has yet
bothered to test under real life conditions, whether its practical, or
even possible to do an audit using Diebold's AccuView printer and its
roller-fed, thermal-paper tape. Let's test this equipment for all its
required tasks BEFORE certifying it, because the Secretary of State's
Office has NO right to risk the security of our next election with
untested election machines.
Diebold Groups Surprising About-Face
In a surprise about-face, all of the disabled groups represented at
Monday's hearing went on record against certifying the Diebold
equipment, stating that it simply does not meet their specific needs.
Over the past two years many disabled groups have lobbied and
Litigated forcefully for the adoption of Diebold-type voting systems. There has
been much speculation about the motives behind such pro-Diebold
efforts, considering that the Diebold campaigning began AFTER Diebold
made a six-figure contribution to the largest national association of
Disabled Groups & HAVA
The reversal by disability groups at Monday's hearing is very
significant, because the most forceful influence driving county
elections officials to the purchase of DRE (touch screen) voting
machines like the Diebold TsX has been the threat of lawsuits brought
by the disabled against election officials resisting the switch to DRE
voting systems. There is a pervasive misconception, actively promoted
by DRE vendors and supporters, that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
requires touch screen (DRE) voting systems as the only suitable means
to address disabled voting needs. HAVA merely requires that voting
systems enable disabled persons to vote independently, and there are
non-computerized voting solutions that meet this condition. [See,
http://www.votersunite.org/info/accessibility.asp ] Further, last year
a federal court decision clearly stated that the rights of the
disabled cannot come at the expense of the majority of voters. [ See
HAVA: "Use it or Lose it"
The major threat driving voting system purchasing decisions has been
the HAVA funds' "Use it or Lose it" deadline, set for the stroke of
midnight at the end of this year. County elections officials who have
found the voting equipment options offered them unacceptable, given
the confusion about which federal standards may eventually be required,
wish to avoid hasty purchases they may later regret. Many would prefer
to forego the one-time federal funding bonanza and wait for better
voting systems to be developed under clear federal standards.
HAVA & DOJ Enforcement
But now a new pressure is being applied to force purchase decisions
For DRE equipment. At the time of last summer's second Carter-Baker
Commission, which addressed the public's eroding confidence in our
voting systems, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement
announcing that state election departments that failed to make
arrangements for equipment upgrades effective by Jan. 1, 2006 would be
visited by Department of Justice (DOJ) investigators. Marin County
election official Madelyn DeJusto recently said, "And when you get a
visit from them [the DOJ] they don't go away."
Hold on HAVA
Megan Matson of Mainstreet Moms Operation Blue (MOB) [
http://www.themmob.com ] eloquently presented her organization's idea
for a "Hold on HAVA" campaign, in solidarity with the National
Alliance of County Officials (NACO). This national elections official
organization seeks to extend the HAVA deadline for two years. In a
recent impassioned plea to members of Congress, NACO explained that
they have no "crystal ball" to see what equipment will be certified.
Further, the Election Assistance Commission--the four-person panel
charged with supervising the enactment of HAVA--is months behind its
own deadlines for setting these standards. [See, Attachment 2]
The "No Hearing Hearing"
Much has already been written about the peculiar nature of today's
certification hearing [See, http://tinyurl.com/c6g4v ] The hastily
assembled delegation of Election Division officials before whom the
citizens spoke on Monday has no decision-making role. Those officers
do not even have an advisory role in this certification decision. Under
former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, there had been a Voting
Systems and Procedures Panel expressly charged with advising the
Secretary of State. No longer. Those sitting in chairs on stage Monday
were props in a show of minimal compliance with the certification
procedure's hearing requirement. Our good citizens who pleaded for
election integrity can only hope that perhaps Secretary McPherson or
someone he designates may possibly read and consider any of their
remarks before issuing a decision on Diebold certification. California
Sen. Koretz (Dem) is the first legislator to question this break with
previously established protocol for seriously considering citizen
comment. [See Attachment 3]
Media Coverage of Today's Events?
Given the nearly total blackout in the mainstream press on questions
raised by recent elections, citizen activists were heartened to see an
unprecedented turnout by the news media for Monday's voting system
certification hearing. Longtime Sacramento media consultant Cress
Vellucci exclaimed, "I've never seen this much media show up for this
kind of event." TV camera crews were dispatched by two local NPR
television affiliates and Sacramento's Channel 3. Radio reporters from
KQED, KPFA, KPFK and a CNN affiliate recorded and conducted interviews
during the demonstration. Writers were assigned by the AP wire,
Stockton Press, Oakland Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and Sacramento
Where's the Media on Election Integrity?
Curiously, to date, not a single news agency of national stature has
even mentioned the highly critical 117-page report issued by the
Government Accountability Office (GAO) of October 12, 2005, which
catalogs widespread electronic voting failures and warns of
continuing,unattended security risks in the nation's voting systems. [See,
New Opportunities for Coverage
The first articles breaking the events of earlier today have
sidestepped the issues of Diebold voting systems' insufficiencies and
the company's history of election law violations, choosing instead to
feature the State's contention that the systems have the passed the
Where in the World is Bruce?
The integrity of California elections is now in the lap of Governor
Schwarzenegger's appointed Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (Rep).
He did not bother to descend from his upstairs office to hear the
testimony of citizens in the auditorium. But two others interested in
his job--State Sen. Debra Bowen (Dem) and Forrest Hill (Grn) were both
present and keenly attentive to the Diebold hearing issues.
What's Next Behind Closed Doors? "Good Night and Good Luck"
What's Next will take place Behind Closed Doors: There is a closed
meeting next week in Sacramento, to be held at the Hyatt Regency on
November 27-28. [ See,
agenda is to discuss the conditions of certification and "best
practices." Some of the invited officials are known to be those who
have openly flouted election code and zealously supported relaxed
election integrity standards. Yet, on balance, no one was invited from
our steering committee, despite the fact that we are a non-partisan
organization of over 25 groups across California dedicated to election
integrity. We have been tipped off by an election insider that we will
are blacklisted from participating in this summit. While we would
like to believe that it is a misunderstanding only time will tell. In the
meantime, we do have rejection letters from Bruce
McDannold of McPherson's office stating that we cannot attend, but
That we may rest assured that our views will be represented. [See,
Attachment 4] We wonder how Bruce McDannold can make that assurance?
After reviewing the summit's agenda, we know that there are three
attendees, computer scientists, who share our concerns. But they speak
from a computer expert perspective--not ours.
We Can Do It Right!
If the Secretary of State is indeed blacklisting the CEPN, an
organization who has demonstrated its desire, ability and knowledge in
the discussion voting integrity, we respectfully ask for
reconsideration. Democracy is at a critical juncture: At the
November 27-28 Summit California will determine its future election practices
for years to come, and attendance by our informed citizens is not only
desirable, but necessary.
Seven Reasons NOT to Certify Diebold
1. The GEMS Defect
Reported by BOE Harris and Dr. Herbert Thompson, and
Independently confirmed by the security consultant firm Compuware on commission from
the state of Ohio, the GEMS Defect concerns the central vote
tabulating database that accumulates all the precinct and absentee votes for all
Diebold optical scan and touch-screen voting systems. Despite
assurances by Diebold, records obtained by Black Box Voting show that
this issue has not been resolved in either California or Ohio, or
apparently any of the other 1,200 jurisdictions that use Diebold. A
critical set of Compuware documents confirming this was suppressed by
Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
Votergate the Movie available for free download [
http://www.votergate.tv ] contains footage from a national TV
of Bev Harris instructing Howard Dean how to hack GEMS and untraceably
alter vote tallies in under two minutes. Additional vulnerabilities
have since been found and publicized at http://www.blackboxvoting.org.
"By successfully directing Canvas [commercial software] at the GEMS
modem interface, the team was able to remotely upload, download and
execute files with full system administrator privileges. All that was
required was a valid phone number for the GEMS server."
--Trusted Agent Report, Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System,January 20,
Prepared for the Maryland General Assembly by: RABA Innovative
Solution Cell (RiSC)
2. Stuffing the Electronic Ballot Box with Diebold Memory Cards
Finnish computer expert Harry Hursti, in cooperation with the
elections administration of Leon County, Florida, has demonstrated in
real-world voting conditions that executable code on the memory cards
integral to the operation of Diebold optical scanners and touchscreens can be
quickly manipulated to change vote counts without detection.
Full report: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf
California's voting systems testing consultant Steve Freeman
Has confirmed that Diebold's proprietary programming language AccuBasic
writes "report files used to configure AccuVote-OS and AccuVote-TS
report contents and printing in precinct count mode. They are actually
loaded into the memory cards for the AV-OS and AV-TS where their logic
. . . The risk occurs in the opportunity to replace the verified file
with some other .abo file . . . or by replacing the current code with
rewritten code performing other operations."
Commenting on Freeman's report, Black Box Voting notes that
possible to insert fraudulent code onto the memory cards that is
date-specific, so that it will pass Logic & Accuracy testing pre- or
post-election but trigger pre-planned manipulations on election day.
Invoking California Election Code 19202, Black Box Voting
Formally requested Secretary of State McPherson to conduct a replication of the
Hursti memory card exploits for the Diebold touchscreen and optical
scan systems. Six months later, California still has not performed
3. Inauditable Absentee Ballots on Diebold Optical Scanners
Just prior to the recent statewide election, technical
Experts assigned by the Libertarian Party to inspect Diebold systems in San
Joaquin, Marin, and Alameda counties found that in the Diebold
"central count" optical scanners, "a critical paper audit component is missing
for all absentee and mail-in ballots, and also for recounts."
Diebold's central count scanners are unable to write backup
Data to memory storage, instead passing all vote counting directly to the
notoriously insecure GEMS tabulator. No "poll tapes" or secondary
source of data is retained, and there is no way to check whether the
GEMS security defect was exploited without obtaining the GEMS vote
Data files. Diebold refuses to release these files.
4. The Secretary of State's Own Tech Advisors Are Warning Against
Below are excerpts from a technical review commissioned by
Secretary McPherson concerning the AVVPAT printer module added to the TSx
machines. The report, titled "Analysis of Volume Testing of the
AccuVote TSx/AccuView" is available at
p. 7: "... It is possible that these failures are a sign of a large
number of other latent software defects."
"... this issue warrants further investigation before any modified
versions of the TSx are certified."
"The fundamental barrier to analysis of these software errors is the
lack of access to source code ... we have no way to perform such an
independent evaluation. This is a very unsatisfying position to be
p. 8: "We believe these failures constitute one of the strongest
arguments for the State of California to take possession of, or
otherwise arrange for unfettered access to, the full source code and
binary executables for all electronic voting machines." ... there is
way to know whether the defects have been fixed satisfactorily (as
opposed to just hidden), or whether they represent symptoms of more
serious architectural flaws, without access to the source."
5. The Federal and State Voting System Certification Process is
Two testing labs in Huntsville, Alabama --Ciber Labs, run by
Shawn Southworth, and a Wyle Labs office supervised by Jim Dearman--are
responsible for repeatedly certifying defective voting machines that
violate Federal Election Commission (FEC) standards.
The limited functionality testing performed by these
Federally contracted "independent testing authorities" (that derive at least a
third of their funding directly from the voting system vendors they
are inspecting) and by California's consultant Steve Freeman, does not
for the known security vulnerabilities of the Diebold voting systems,
including Dr. Herbert Thompson's VBA script attack, and Hursti's
electronic ballot box stuffing and memory card swapping techniques.
Diebold Software Comes with a Criminal Pedigree
6. Convicted Computer Embezzler Authored GEMS Software
Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election
Systems when it was bought by Diebold in 2002. Even though he
had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree,
Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely
responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used
in most of the United States.
Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back
doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade
detection over a period of 2 years.
DIEBOLD CONTINUES TO PERJURE AND VIOLATE ELECTION LAWS
7. Records obtained by Black Box Voting show that Diebold
executives lied to the Arizona Secretary of State, the Cuyahoga County
Board of Elections, and to hundreds of elections officials throughout
the U.S. about the existence of specific defects. Most famously of
all, Diebold lied to the State of California in 2003 about illegally
installing uncertified voting software in all 17 counties in which
Diebold had contracts.
CALIFORNIA ELECTION PROTECTION NETWORK
a non partisan organization of over 25 groups across California
coming together to achieve their mutual election integrity goals
Portions of this paper reprinted with acknowledegment and links to
November 21, 2005
The Honorable Bruce McPherson
California Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Secretary McPherson:
I am writing to express my concern about the hearing to determine
whether Diebold should be recertified. I believe that the voters of
California are entitled to be able to choose their representatives
With the confidence that their votes are recorded and counted accurately.
It is the duty of the Secretary, as the chief elections officer of the
state, to make sure that voting systems are approved in the interests
of California, not the voting system
It has been brought to my attention that you have disbanded the Voting
Systems Panel (VSP) a panel of advisors, which has historically
conducted hearings on voting systems used in the state. It is of great
concern that the VSP has been disbanded without hearings about what
will replace it and without any type of due process.
I am respectfully requesting that you reverse your decision to abandon
established procedures and to allow people to provide meaningful input
on the voting systems approve for use in the state.
In light of this concern I also respectfully request you postpone any
decisions to re-certify Diebold for use in the state. Without adequate
public input as to whether Diebold has met all the requirements to be
certified for use in the state, I believe that it is premature to move
forward at this time with the re-certification.
There as still many reasons to have reservation about making such a
hasty decision without proper input from all interested parties.
It is my understanding that Diebold failed to comply with the April
2004 decertification orders and cannot permit a meaningful recount.
proprietary closed source code complexity, secrecy and protection
status of the software of the Diebold system precludes and prevents
meaningful legal thorough forensic analysis and recount of any
election run on Diebold equipment. There have been many numerous litigation
filings against Diebold, and the discovery process for forensic
examination of Diebold software is nothing but an extension of the
basic recount procedure.
It is for these reasons that I request that you delay recertifying
Diebold at this time.