Argonne National Lab's Vulnerability Assessment Team
Think voter fraud is just a paranoid conspiracy theory? Or maybe you see it as a possibility with these controversial DRE voting machines, but not a likelihood? You might want to take another look: In the video posted below, a Diebold (read it) touch-screen voting machine is shown to be easily hacked for cheap by Argonne National Lab’s Vulnerability Assessment Team (VAT). With a mod costing 10 bucks ($15 for the remote control) apparently even an amateur could do this.
The votes can be changed remotely from up to half a mile away!
The use of touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems of the type Argonne demonstrated to be vulnerable to manipulation has declined in recent years due to security concerns, and the high cost of programming and maintenance. Nonetheless, the same type of DRE systems, or ones very similar, will once again be used by a significant part of the electorate on Election Day in 2012. According to Sean Flaherty, a policy analyst for VerifiedVoting.org, a nonpartisan e-voting watchdog group, “About one-third of registered voters live where the only way to vote on Election Day is to use a DRE.”
Almost all voters in states like Georgia, Maryland, Utah and Nevada, and the majority of voters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas, will vote on DREs on Election Day in 2012, says Flaherty. Voters in major municipalities such as Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Pittsburgh will also line up in next year’s election to use DREs of the type hacked by the Argonne National Lab.
Think how easy it would be for a partisan operative to volunteer at a polling location to gain some alone time with one of these machines long enough to do what the guys do in this video. Or take it a step further and ask if you trust the programmers who maintain them? HOW would the layman know what to think? I’m not a conspiracy-minded person, but a conspiracy theory is not what I’m trying to get across here.
It’s the issue of uncertainty and how it could cause social unrest.
That’s why these machines should be outlawed. THE. ONLY. WAY. to protect against election fraud—or the suggestion OF it—is to dump these evil things and go back to paper ballets.
What I haven’t heard any of the commentators about this matter saying, but I think it’s worth contemplating is this: The mere plausible suggestion that these machines can be so easily manipulated and that voter fraud COULD OCCUR is far more of a pressing issue than any other facet of this matter (i.e. actual hacking occurring) .
Fast-forward to 2012, in your mind: If Barack Obama, the incumbent, wins by a landslide—or (legitimately) by ten votes in a country in Florida, it matters not a whit—VOTE FRAUD is going to be the rallying call of people who don’t like him. It will be the new “Birtherism,” mark my words.
It’s that sort of thing that’s a far bigger problem than any tampering of individual machines ever could be.
On the plus side, that happening is probably what would, in the end, see the DRE machines done away with. I think the Tea party-types are more worried about having it done to them, than doing it themselves (not that most of those confused folks would have the first clue how to, of course…)
As one of the YouTube wags commented: “Can we buy this for Diebold ATMs?” Good question!