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Diebold Memory Cards Stolen

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Results from any Diebold machine now suspect for midterm elections

The Associated Press reported yesterday that several memory cards were "lost or stolen" during Cuyahoga County's May 2006 primary, jeopardizing the November vote count of 48 of Ohio's 88 counties that use Diebold electronic voting systems or central tabulators. http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/15696778.htm

"Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute," computer scientists from Princeton University reported last month. http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting

Nationwide, the election results from any Diebold machine are now suspect, with these stolen memory cards in circulation. In 2003, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) warned that altered memory cards could allow someone with physical access "to falsify election results without leaving any record." http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~rivest/voting/reports/Fischer-ElectionReformAndElectronicVotingSystemsDREs.pdf

Forty-eight counties in Ohio use Diebold technology, representing more than half of Ohio's registered voters. In May, the Secretary of State's office released confirmation of which counties purchased which voting systems for use in November's midterm election. (A map showing which Ohio counties are using which technology will be posted shortly at www.GuvWurld.org, key word search "Rady," scroll list of articles for "2006 Map Ohio County by e-Vendor")

The Center for Information Technology Policy and Dept. of Computer Science at Princeton University reported that, "Even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss." (supra)

Election Science Institute (ESI) observed Cuyahoga's election system and practices during May, and released a scathing report in August finding that, "the election system, in its entirety, exhibits shortcoming with extremely serious consequences..." (Emphasis in original) http://www.electionscience.org for August, 2006 Cuyahoga County report.

ESI also reported, "A lack of inventory controls and gaps in the chain of custody of mission critical assets, such as DRE memory cards, DRE units, and VVPAT cartridges, resulted in a significant amount of missing data." Michael Vu, Cuyahoga County's Board of Elections Director, is directly responsible for this lack of oversight that allowed memory cards to go missing.

All electronic voting systems are suspect, regardless of which vendor manufactured or maintains them. "Anomalies" and "glitches" have been reported in every state since the introduction of these machines into our election system. A slew of lawsuits have been filed to remove the machines from use, to force a hand count of voter-prepared paper ballots, and to force the use of voter-prepared paper ballots in the upcoming elections.

Electronic voting systems strain scarce public funds with their exorbitant cost to purchase, upgrade, maintain and provide training for poll workers and election officials. Maryland's Governor Bob Ehrlich called the systems a "1000 percent increase in cost" from hand counted paper ballots, and recently restored paper ballots, cutting the state's losses for the e-voting purchase.

Emergency legislation has been introduced to require all states to provide paper ballots for any voter in the U.S. who refuses to vote on electronic voting systems in the midterm elections. See www.BradBlog.com for updated status on this pending legislation. For 2008, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced HR 6200, which will replace e-Voting nationwide with a hand-counted paper ballot system.

Prior Knowledge, Failure to Warn the Public

Important agencies and institutions warned public officials and corporate media of "severe," and "extreme" problems with electronic warning.

In September of 2004 the Dept. of Homeland Security issued Cyber Security Bulletin SB04-252 announcing that the Diebold GEMS central tabulator was built with "an undocumented backdoor that allows a local or remote user to modify votes."

The 2003 CRS report (supra) concluded, "DREs (touch screen voting systems) do not adhere to currently accepted security principles for computer systems."

Compuware provided a security analysis of the four major vendors, Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart InterCivic, for Ohio Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, in November of 2003. Compuware did not consider physical security requirements, or political ramifications of electronic votes being counted by private corporations that refuse public oversight, and that are owned by key figures in the military.

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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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