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Ballot Stuffing Holes, Illegal USB Ports Add to Sequoia/Dominion Voting System Flaws

By       Message Rady Ananda     Permalink
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Dependence on mutable software is precisely what the post-election audit is intended to prevent.  A ballot box that can be stuffed defeats this faux safeguard, rendering the entire electoral system unreliable.  New York courts have always comprehended why post election ballots can never be sufficiently protected from tampering.  A ballot stuffing hole right into the ballot box is the perfect metaphor for these unsecurable, shoddy voting machines and precisely why such theft-enabling systems must be banned from counting our ballots. 

When asked on August 7th about the slotted hole enabling ballot stuffing, a Dutchess County election worker advised, "Yeah, we noticed that.  We'll have to address that."  

Perhaps the best response is to wholly reject theft-enabling voting systems.   

2. Illegal Network and Internet Access Capability 

Despite that New York bans network and internet access capability in its voting machines, Sequoia/Dominion BMDs come equipped with USB and network ports, accessible by removing eight Phillips screws.  In its August 8th weekly status report, the New York State Board of Elections (SBOE) confirmed in the documentation what we witnessed on the machine: 

SysTest has identified a risk regarding Sequoia/Dominion's documentation, which is written for installation to a network server.  The installation to a standalone system is different, and will require updates to the installation documentation. 

This illegal feature facilitates network and wireless internet access.  It also allows portable hard drive access through which malicious code can be inserted to subvert the vote count in what is called a "sneakernet" attack.  Hackers can easily corrupt the software that counts the votes. 

Perhaps Sequoia/Dominion simply doesn't care that New York bans network capability, and ordered standalone voting systems.  Maybe it hopes to lobby a change in the laws.  Maybe they thought network capability would escape notice.  Or maybe they believe eight Phillips screws can secure the system from network or wireless access.  

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3. Shoddy Product

"The voting industry sells crap, and that is the problem," explained frustrated SBOE Co-Chair Douglass Kellner.  On July 1st, we reported that 85% of Sequoia's BMDs delivered to Nassau County failed to operate or were damaged beyond use.  Two weeks later, Wired reported a 50% statewide failure rate for the 1,500 machines delivered to date.  Printer failures, printer jams, failure to boot up, broken monitors, misaligned printer covers, and easily broken seals comprise most of the failures. 

In its August 8th report to the court, the SBOE advised that printer jams continue to occur with the new BMDs, and counties continue to report printer failures after being approved by the State.  Bear in mind – the main function of this $12,000 device is to print a ballot. How do these machines continue to pass inspection?    

4. Don't Test Your Machines, or We'll Sue You 

In the February 2008 New Jersey primary, 60 Sequoia machines reported conflicting vote totals.  When Union County sought to have Princeton University computer security experts Ed Felten and Andrew Appel review the machines, Sequoia threatened suit.  In this video interview by Jacob Soboroff of, Felten explains what happened (starting at about 4:23):


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Now, if a piece of publicly owned equipment doesn't work, why would the vendor threaten suit if election officials wanted an independent test?  Why would election officials back down?  It's only our sovereignty at stake, here.

5. Can't Document the Software 

Now that Sequoia/Dominion has shown it can't make a physically secure ballot box, how can we trust the software it wrote?  We can't.  Not only do its machines fail to add correctly, but New York's testing of the Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast revealed hundreds of source code and documentation discrepancies.  In discussing the standards software driven voting systems must meet, Commissioner Kellner explained on July 23rd: 

"The industry and the Department of Justice will argue that if every other state is using equipment that does not comply with current federal standards, why should New York be the exception? I believe that there is still strong bi-partisan consensus within New York that we should stick to our policy that newly purchased voting equipment meet all of the currently applicable standards."  

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In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.

Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.

She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.

All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Tell the truth anyway.

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