To be clear, at this hour, we have no evidence to show that Democrat Francine Busby, running in yesterday's special run-off election in San Diego against Republican Brian Bilbray to replace the disgraced Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham for the U.S. House (CA-50) race actually won it.
Neither do we have evidence to believe that Bilbray actually won it.
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. Neither do we have evidence to believe that Bilbray actually won it.
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.
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.
McPherson's own report, completed by computer scientists at the University of California, looked at just that one aspect of the Diebold system's vulnerability -- the memory cards used to store vote totals and give other instructions to the voting machines -- and determined that "there is a serious flaw in the key management of the crypto code that otherwise should protect the AV-TSx from memory card attacks."
The report described a "number of security vulnerabilities" and found that the flaws on these systems could be exploited easily without the use of any passwords or cryptographic keys.
According to McPherson's report, "Anyone who has access to a memory card...and can tamper with it (i.e. modify its contents), and can have the modified cards used in a voting machine during election, can indeed modify the election results from that machine in a number of ways."
The tampering would be invisible, according to the report. "The fact that the results are incorrect cannot be detected except by a recount of the original paper ballots."
Beyond tampering with both of the Diebold AccuVote systems used in yesterday's election, McPherson's report continues to detail another family of "more serious vulnerabilities" that "go well beyond" the type of attack described above:
[T]here is another category of more serious vulnerabilities we discovered that go well beyond...and yet require no more access to the voting system [used in the attack described previously]. These vulnerabilities are consequences of bugs -- 16 in all -- in the implementation of the AccuBasic interpreter for the AV-OS. These bugs...would not be discovered by any amount of functionality testing; but they could allow an attacker to completely control the behavior of the AV-OS. An attacker could change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates, change the races being voted on, or insert his own code into the running firmware of the machine."
Mind you, the vulnerabilities described so far in this article all came prior to a new, even more disturbing series of vulnerabilities discovered in March of this year in the same models of Diebold voting machines. The BRAD BLOG broke the original details of this latest revelation just days before the same systems were to be used in Pennsylvania's primary election two weeks ago. This even more alarming series of vulnerabilities have been found to reveal systematic flaws that go far and above the previously mentioned problems.
Following our report, scores of mainstream media outlets finally began to understand, and finally began to report on this incredibly serious security breach in our nation's electoral systems...