Voting on the Unknowable

Thoughts on the US election year

By Ian Darwin on 2008-02-06 22:59 in Category: politics

No, this blog entry is not about whether Ms. Clinton or Mr. Obama will win or should win. It's about something more fundamental.

Some United States Citizens no doubt believe their country has free and fair elections. Some, perhaps, also still refuse to admit that they are no longer living in "the home of the brave and the land of the free".  History may someday show that both problems are related to something simple, but apparently endemic: Voting Machine Fraud. While this tends not to get a lot of play in the US media, it turns out that apparently all the Diebold voting machines in the US, which makes up the majority of their voting machines, can be opened with the same key. Not a secret master key either. That is, if you're a voting clerk in San Francisco, you can install viruses on voting machines in Montana, or Kentucky, or New Hampshire. And where this really falls off the wall is that the company posted a photograph of this key on their web site that was good enough for a non-locksmith with some key blanks and a file to replicate. At least, according to BradBlog.

Now I don't have access to a Diebold voting machine to confirm this experiment; they aren't used in my country (yet). Nor do I have key blanks (I do have a file). And the URL shown near the bottom (now) redirects to Diebold's supply center; either because I don't have an account on that site or because Diebold changed it in response to the article. However, these guys at BradBlog/VelvetRevolution claim to be working with researchers at Princeton University, so there is some reason to lend them credence. The fact that Diebold apparently moved so quickly to change the web page tends to support the claim. And there are many other documented problems with the electoral system and especially the voting machines - see this documentary.

I just hope my own country doesn't try to switch away from reliable (e..g, paper) balloting.
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