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Virginia scraps poke-to-vote machines hackers destroyed at DefCon

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Replacements

So what are they replacing them with ? Different machines, or a proper auditable trail ?

The voting machines seem to be mostly made by ATM companies. Does this mean ATMs are equally insecure ?

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Re: Replacements

I know no more than you, but from the fact that only a small minority of the state is affected - the rest having already upgraded their systems - I take it that there exist machines that are not affected by these vulnerabilities, and the affected districts will upgrade to those. Thus ensuring that the machine manufacturers continue to get paid by the Virginian taxpayer.

(Incidentally, do you know where Diebold's main manufacturing operation is based? Ohio. That's a, arguably the key, swing state. I don't think that's entirely coincidence.)

To the ATM point: what I do know is that the requirements for an ATM are very different from those of a voting machine - and so, I presume, is the testing regime.

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Re: Replacements

Another worthless machine that can not be audited properly.

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Re: Replacements

So what are they replacing them with ? Different machines, or a proper auditable trail ?

Precinct 12 replaces theirs with machines from precinct 11, 11 replaces theirs with machines from 10, and so on down the line with precinct 1 replacing theirs with machines from precinct 12.

(Gads, I hope I'm kidding!)

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Re: Replacements

depends of how secure you consider Windows XP to be...

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Coat

Re: Replacements

Is Precinct 13's password OK because they used a salt on it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Replacements

So what are they replacing them with ? Different machines, or a proper auditable trail ?

It's America, so that probably means they'll find a Silicon Valley MBA who will do a powerpoint of some new machine that will miraculously solve the problem, provided they don't let anyone near with actual competence in the matter, and a couple of bribes later you'll find that history simply repeats itself - how did you think they came by these machines in the first place?

An alternative option would be to take all those trees that have been ripped out of the ground by the hurricanes that that climate change they still won't talk about has caused and turn them into hanging-chad-free paper..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Replacements

Do need to count the vote anymore ... just use them to provide input to a neural net which can work out what the voters really wanted.

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Re: Replacements

The neural net won't work because it will take at least six years of continuous and repeated "none of the above" responses before there is even a reasonable chance for a half decent candidate because the people best suited to the job aren't power hungry megalomaniacs and don't want it.

Then again, if government can't screw everything up for six years that may be the best option.

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(Incidentally, do you know where Diebold's main manufacturing operation is based? Ohio. That's a, arguably the key, swing state. I don't think that's entirely coincidence.)

I think that's a real long stretch... Diebold has been there since well before voting machines were invented.

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Windows

Pass The Pork

So what are they replacing them with ?

They're going to replace them with some other pieces of worthless garbage.

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Funny

This sort of problem seems to be very USA-centric.

Here in Oz, we have the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) whose sole purpose in life is to run elections (local, state or federal). And while a lot a mud has been slung at various politicians and parties for trying to rig the election (generally the old "cemetery vote" scheme), not one of them has ever been proven and NO-ONE HAS COMPLAINED ABOUT THE AEC (*). The average Australian's trust over the AEC's impartiality is rock-solid.

Which is one of the reason why there's such a brouhaha over the fact that the "Marriage Equality" question is being handled by the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics, which lost all public credibility recently) rather than the AEC.

(*) The exception is the odd political party complaining they are not on the ballot even though they never supplied the requisite number of signature. C'mon people, if the "Party party party Party" can get on the ballot, do you *really* think your inability to get on it is because the AEC "hates you"?

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Anonymous Coward

How can you have a great democracy with crap voting machines?

Almost seems deliberate....hmmmm

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Universal Comprehensibility

Everyone involved in the election process must be able to understand how every step of the process works, and how it can go wrong, to be sure that the result is correct. If something is not universally comprehensible, it's not fit for use in the course of an election.

With electronic voting machines, comprehensibility is limited to those who bother to download the published blueprints -- and even then, they can't be sure it's actually running the published software.

Pencil and paper, and hand-counting by the candidates themselves and their representatives, is the only fair way to conduct an election.

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Unhappy

Pencil and paper, and hand-counting by the candidates themselves and their representatives,

I think you'll find having the candidates representatives is a recipe for trouble.

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Re: Pencil and paper, and hand-counting by the candidates themselves and their representatives,

No, that's the best bit!

It's a good thing for everybody around the counting table to have an interest. Thanks to the pre-existing adversarial relationship between the candidates, the only result they will ever possibly be able to agree on is the correct one.

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Re: Universal Comprehensibility

What was the downvote for?

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That's a pretty short deadline

You'd think they'd aim for the 2018 elections. By targeting two months from now, they are making those jurisdictions that weren't already doing this move EXTREMELY fast. That's when bad decisions are made.

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Strangely enough

Strangely enough, the British system, highly manual as it is, has worked well and with vanishingly few suspicions for many decades. It is manifestly auditable and checkable, and such imperfections as it has could relatively easily be fixed.

It specifically does NOT rely upon hackable computing systems. This would appear to be a good thing, since we know that (a) all computing systems are hackable, and (b) the stakes in an election could hardly be higher.

Sure, the US has a huge geographical spread problem compared with the UK, but it isn't vital to have all results counted within 48 hours, and you'd have thought that a nation with the wealth and resources of the US would find it possible to emulate the trustworthy UK system, and put behind it all thought of electronic fraud?

Just imagine: if the federal government devoted itself to fixing the problems of gerrymandering and e-fraud of voting machines, it might then be able to move on to reforming a ridiculous voting system that makes a president out of the guy who lost by 2,500,000 votes ... and might even one day become a functioning democracy.

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Re: gerrymandering

... and there you have it. Until the USA sorts out the colossal frauds implicit in allowing politicians to influence redistricting, worrying about voting machines is just rearranging deck chairs. The integrity of the UK system rests on the existence of the independent Electoral Commission, not on technology or the absence thereof.

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Re: Strangely enough

"and might even one day become a functioning democracy."

I was with you up to this.

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Re: Strangely enough

"

"and might even one day become a functioning democracy."

I was with you up to this."

As I understand it USA does not claim to be a democracy but a constitutional republic.

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Re: Strangely enough

"As I understand it USA does not claim to be a democracy but a constitutional republic."

But does it function?

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Re: Strangely enough

"But does it function?"

For some definition of "function"

For example, it seems to be functioning quite well for Trump's friends and his business' bottom lines

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Re: Strangely enough

Not really... No plans, just day-to-day.

I watch and take care of several county election commissions, it's just so ugly, and I've told them, written 'official This-Is-The-Company-You-Pay-To-Keep-Yo-Shit-Running' emails, hard copies, pleading with them to increase their security. 'Oh My',. Silence. State just copped to the fact they should be using encrypted email addresses just a few weeks ago...

I hate them. Not the individuals, but as a bureaucracy - the most fucked up efficiency company of Bob's should be laid waste and begun again.

Too much? Sigh.... It's been a really weird day.

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Ebay

Cheap voting machines now available.

Maximise your voting potential for those tricky elections.

No more 'cliff-hangers', no more votes going the wrong way.

Get them now, UK general election on the horizon (Again), keep Britain Conervative!

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Happy

Re: Ebay

"No more 'cliff-hangers'"

Chad-hangers, shirley?

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Wrong order

"audit the machines in use"

Wouldn't it have been better to have audited them before they were put in use?

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Flame

laugh about the chads all you want

But i used the punch card system (in Ohio of all places) and it worked well and was reliable. Florida was (and is) a joke for the way they handled this whole mess and it wasn't a reason to go to crappy machines.

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Virginia voting machines

My last rounds of voting used a paper ballot that was completed and then fed into a scanner attached to the machine. Scanned and paper audit trail collected, I assume.

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Re: Virginia voting machines

Machine counted paper ballots. Auditable and speedy.

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I've been up close & personal with the process in Texas. I assume most other states are similar. The scantron ballots (fill in a bubble, just like in school) are by far the most secure system. The only way for electronic balloting to come close would be for the machine to print out a paper ballot that was then reviewed by the voter. This is still not as good, because most voters would not check the printed ballot very closely.

Why the transition? Nasty politics. Election officials don't like the election judges. Someone's brother-in-law is a consultant for a company. Someone's brother-in-law knows how to hack the machines. Uggh.

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Joke

As recommended by Donald

Virginia have contracted the state owned Russian electronics company Ruselectronics to supply them with their next generation e-vote system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As recommended by Donald

Anxiously waiting for the vendor to provide an "AI-capable" machine. That will fix everything as it will use the early votes as the learning....then predict the outcome.

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