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Time to review NH Ballot Law Commission approval of Diebold optical scanners

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Call the NH Secretary of State and ask for a rehearing concerning approved use of Diebold optical scanners in NH: (603) 271-3242

As a voter and citizen of New Hampshire I believe we need a rehearing of the Ballot Law Commission's approval of Diebold voting equipment in New Hampshire. The rights of roughly 80% of New Hampshire citizens, whose votes are counted by Diebold optical scanners, to have their vote fairly counted may be violated at any time where Diebold optical scanners are used.

Diebold computerized voting machines are the only voting machines approved for use in the state, approved by the Commission last March, despite overwhelming testimony and scientific data proving the inability of Diebold to guarantee the integrity of New Hampshire election results.

On March 10, 2006, Diebold vendor John Silvestro, acknowledged to the Commission significant defects in the product, which he claimed Diebold would be correcting, and he would return to the Commission for approval of the corrected software. This has not occurred. The Commission hearing, with Silvestro's testimony, may be viewed here:

Commissioner Cook suggested the development of risk mitigation procedures. Commissioner Chandler suggested that the legislature and the Ballot Law Commission "have some work to do" to reduce the risks from using Diebold optical scanners. This has not occurred.

With a presidential primary coming up, we can not continue to use these machines unless and until this "work" has been completed to secure the integrity of our elections.

California's Secretary of State Bowen recently ordered "top to bottom review" of voting equipment used in her state included security testing on the Diebold optical scanners used in New Hampshire. California revealed new and disturbing information about the insecurity of this technology, the shoddiness of the product, and Diebold's failure to respond to previously identified defects.

In their executive summary for the Diebold source code review, California researchers conclude:

Although we present several previously unpublished vulnerabilities, many of the weaknesses that we describe were first identified in previous studies of the Diebold system. Our report confirms that many of the most serious flaws that these studies uncovered have not been fixed in the versions of the software that we studied.

… Due to these shortcomings, the security of elections conducted with the Diebold system depends almost entirely on the effectiveness of election procedures. Improvements to existing procedures may mitigate some threats in part, but others would be difficult, if not impossible, to remedy procedurally. Consequently, we conclude that the safest way to repair the Diebold system is to reengineer it so that it is secure by design.

Information on the California tests can be found here:

Secretary Bowen has decertified the Diebold equipment and issued conditional re-certification based on a number of criteria, including reformatting and reinstallation of all software, and for Diebold to work with California to provide documented plans including, but not limited to:

  • preventing viral propagation of malicious software
  • automated mechanisms to confirm and document system configuration standards and implementation
  • prohibition of unauthorized software installation
  • procedures for implementing approved security updates
  • procedures for operating and maintaining physical and logical security
  • prohibition of any network communications among voting system devices
  • procedures for programming, pre- and post-election logic and accuracy testing, and chain of custody
  • procedures for vote results auditing and reconciliation
  • post election manual auditing requirements to be paid for by the vendor
  • problem log for all jurisdictions, available to the public for inspection and review upon request
  • increased poll worker training regarding chain of custody, tampering, and other security related issues
  • disaster recovery plan for jurisdictions experiencing computerized voting equipment failure
  • provision of a working version of all hardware, software voting equipment, and vendor agreement to pay for all software and hardware review by the Secretary of State
  • responsibility for representations regarding compliance with all state and federal standards
  • establishment of a state user group and hold at least one annual meeting
  • escrow deposit of all source code for Secretary of State inspection through independent review

The complete document of Secretary Bowen's withdrawal of approval and her conditions for re-approval are documented in her decision found here:

Given the new information and decisions from California, it would be irresponsible for New Hampshire not to respond in kind, to similarly withdraw approval of Diebold optical scanners, and to provide, if deemed appropriate, conditions for re-approval of this equipment for use in our elections

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