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 Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 21:41:23 -0500
 To: Philodox Clips List <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
 From: "R. A. Hettinga" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
 Subject: [Clips] Diebold insider alleges company plagued by technical woes


 The Raw Story
 Originally published on Tuesday December 6, 2005
 Last Updated: 12/6/2005

 Diebold insider alleges company plagued by technical woes, Diebold defends
 'sterling' record

 Miriam Raftery

 In an exclusive interview with RAW STORY, a whistleblower from electronic
 voting heavyweight Diebold Election Systems Inc. raised grave concerns
 about the company's electronic voting technology and of electronic voting
 in general, bemoaning an electoral system the insider feels has been
 compromised by corporate privatization.

 The Diebold insider, who took on the appellation "Dieb-Throat" in an
 interview with voting rights advocate Brad Friedman (BradBlog.com), was
 once a staunch supporter of electronic voting's potential to produce more
 accurate results than punch cards.

 But the company insider became disillusioned after witnessing repeated
 efforts by Diebold to evade meeting legal requirements or implementing
 appropriate security measures, putting corporate interests ahead of the
 interests of voters.

 "I've absolutely had it with the dishonesty," the insider told RAW STORY.
 Blasting Wally O'Dell, the current president of Diebold, the whistleblower
 went on to explain behind-the-scenes tactics of the company and its

 "There's a lot of pressure in the corporation to make the numbers: `We
 don't tell you how to do it, but do it.' [O'Dell is] probably the number
 one culprit putting pressure on people," the source said.

 Diebold spokesman David Bear rebuts the charges. "Diebold has a sterling
 reputation in the industry," Bear said. "It's a 144-year-old company and is
 considered one of the best companies in the industry."

 Previous revelations from the whistleblower have included evidence that
 Diebold's upper management and top government officials knew of backdoor
 software in Diebold's central tabulator before the 2004 election, but
 ignored urgent warnings-such as a Homeland Security alert posted on the

 "This is a very dangerous precedent that needs to be stopped-that's the
 corporate takeover of elections," the source warned. "The majority of
 election directors don't understand the gravity of what they're dealing
 with. The bottom line is who is going to tamper with an election? A lot of
 people could, but they assume that no one will."

 Concerns about Georgia, Ohio elections

 The insider harbors suspicions that Diebold may be involved in tampering
 with elections through its army of employees and independent contractors.
 The 2002 gubernatorial election in Georgia raised serious red flags, the
 source said.

 "Shortly before the election, ten days to two weeks, we were told that the
 date in the machine was malfunctioning," the source recalled. "So we were
 told 'Apply this patch in a big rush.'" Later, the Diebold insider learned
 that the patches were never certified by the state of Georgia, as required
 by law.

 "Also, the clock inside the system was not fixed," said the insider. "It's
 legendary how strange the outcome was; they ended up having the first
 Republican governor in who knows when and also strange outcomes in other
 races. I can say that the counties I worked in were heavily Democratic and
 elected a Republican."

 In Georgia's 2002 Senate race, for example, nearly 60 percent of the
 state's electorate by county switched party allegiances between the
 primaries and the general election.

 The insider's account corroborates a similar story told by Diebold
 contractor Rob Behler in an interview with Bev Harris of Black Box Voting.

 Harris revealed that a program patch titled "rob-georgia.zip" was left on
 an unsecured server and downloaded over the Internet by Diebold technicians
 before loading the unauthorized software onto Georgia voting machines.
 "They didn't even TEST the fixes before they told us to install them,"
 Behler stated, adding that machines still malfunctioned after patches were

 California decertified Diebold TSX touch screen machines after state
 officials learned that the vendor had broken state election law.

 "In California, they got in trouble and tried to doubletalk. They used a
 patch that was not certified," the Diebold insider said. "They've done this
 many times. They just got caught in Georgia and California."

 The whistleblower is also skeptical of results from the November 2005 Ohio
 election, in which 88 percent of voters used touch screens and the outcome
 on some propositions changed as much as 40 percent from pre-election exit

 "Amazing," the Diebold insider said.

 Diebold is headquartered in Ohio. Its chairman Wally O'Dell, a key
 fundraiser for President Bush, once promised in an invitation to a
 Republican fundraising dinner to deliver Ohio's electoral votes for Bush.
 The staffer said the company has a deep conservative culture.

 "My feeling having been really deep inside the company is that initially
 Diebold, being a very conservative and Republican company, felt that if
 they controlled an election company, they could have great influence over
 the outcome," the source, a registered independent, said.

 "Does that mean fixing elections? Not necessarily, but if your people are
 in election departments and they are biased toward Republicans, you will
 have an influenceŠI think this is what they were buying, the positioning.
 Obviously screwing with the software would be a homerun-and I do think that
 was part of their recipe for getting into the election business. But the
 public got involved and said 'Hey, what's going on?' That pulled the sheet
 off what their plan was with these paperless voting machines."

 The difficulties of installing paper trails

 Responding to public demand for paper trails, Diebold has devised a means
 of retrofitting its paperless TSX system with printers and paper rolls. But
 in Ohio's November 2005 election, some machines produced blank paper.

 The whistleblower is not surprised. "The software is again the culprit
 here. It's not completely developed. I saw the exact same thing in Chicago
 during a demonstration held in Cook County for a committee of people who
 were looking at various election machinesŠ They rejected it for other

 Asked if Ohio officials were made aware of that failure prior to the recent
 election, the source said, "No way. Anything goes wrong inside Diebold,
 it's hush-hush."

 Most officials are not notified of failed demonstrations like the one in
 Cook County, the insider said, adding that most system tests, particularly
 those exhibited for sale are not conducted with a typical model.

 California, which recently conducted a test of the system without public
 scrutiny that found only a three percent failure rate-far lower than
 earlier tests that found a 30 percent combined failure due to software
 crashes and printer jams.

 Asked if the outcomes of the newest test should be trusted, the
 whistleblower, who does not know the protocols used in the California test,
 warned, "There's a practice in testing where you get a pumped-up machine
 and pumped-up servers, and that's what you allow them to test. Diebold does
 it and so do other manufacturers. It's extremely common."

 Neither the TSX nor the older TS6 election equipment systems used by
 Diebold were designed to be retrofitted with paper trails. "The TSX was
 designed and brought to market after the paper trail issue erupted, yet it
 was introduced as a paperless system. But the uproar became so greatŠ The
 public forced Diebold to put printers on their machines." Adding printers
 to existing computer hardware together poses challenges.

 The TS6 machines can't be retrofitted with paper at all, leaving 35,000
 voters in Maryland and Georgia to rely on paperless, faith-based voting.

 Even if the blank paper problem could be solved, there are other serious
 problems with some TSX equipment. "The system that was offered to San Diego
 was purely experimental-the TSX and the electronic poll book, the check-in
 device," the Diebold insider stated. "Voters couldn't access the system to
 vote with the electronic poll book if the batteries died." The high rate of
 breakdowns involving access cards for the poll book caused major problems,
 the source added. "The interesting part about this device is that it had
 never been used before. That was probably not certified."

 San Diego has since warehoused its TSX system, pending a decision by the
 state on whether to recertify. San Diego County now uses Diebold optical
 scanners-but those pose security problems as well.

 Although Black Box Voting demonstrated during a demonstration in Leon
 County, Florida that computer experts could hack into a similar system in
 less than a minute and alter a memory card to switch votes, election
 officials still brush off concerns for additional security precautions.

 San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, for example, was
 questioned by this reporter for the city's local paper, Citybeat. He
 insisted that no additional security measures were needed.

 Asked if Diebold had implemented any changes to close security holes
 revealed by the Leon County hack, the source replied, "None that I know of."

 Informed that Haas allowed over 700 voting machines with memory cards
 inside to be sent home overnight with poll-workers, the insider raised
 alarm. "These memory cards need to be protected every single step of the
 way, like money. If they have people taking these machine home with memory
 cards, that's out the window."

 The Diebold whistleblower also criticized election officials in San Diego
 and elsewhere for allowing Diebold personnel to be present when votes reach
 the server. "The election office's employees-people who are paid with our
 tax dollars to conduct elections and have proper security elections and
 background check should do this - and no one else." Manufacturers should be
 a mile away on election night, the source added.

 The best way for concerned citizens to detect fraud is to "be there on
 election night" to observe vote tabulations, the insider said. But in some
 cities, citizens have been barred from watching votes being counted on
 Diebold tabulators - and in San Diego, Black Box Voting activist Jim March
 was arrested in July 2005 and charged with felony trespassing after entered
 a secured room to watch votes being counted. The charges were later

 But no amount of observation can totally protect the public from the
 dangers inherent in electronic voting, the whistleblower says. "People are
 going to end up losing their rights in many ways that they will never,
 never understand. For example, the new electronic databases for voter
 registration is a great idea, but it passes control away from local boards
 of elections and puts it in the hands of the statesŠThe final database is
 manipulated by states instead of counties. Every state must have it. It's
 mandated by [the Help America Vote Act]. It's a sleeper issue."

 The source, who once supported the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), now
 concedes "it's terribleŠMost of this is a big money grab."

 The Diebold hand believes many election officials are na?ve, while others
 are "downright arrogant. They are serving politicians and in many cases,

 How Diebold woos state officials

 The insider described a systematic process Diebold uses to woo election
 officials via cash doled out by lobbyists or attorneys and favors to assist
 budget-strapped public officials. "They promise the election directors the
 moon and deliver things to them that really aren't legitimate parts of the
 contract." Those promises range from providing personnel to equipping
 warehouses with electrical systems to recharge batteries in voting machines.

 "The corporation pretty much takes over. That's how they capture so many of
 these people. Diebold is making them look good and they're not going to
 bite the hand that feeds them."

 Diebold creates a "monetary incentive" to stay involved via future
 servicing contracts after selling election equipment, the whistleblower
 noted, adding, "The machines are purposely complex and poorly designed."

 Noting that the GEMS software runs on Microsoft Access, Dieb-Throat
 observed, "There are problems that can't be fixed. I understand they are
 going to redesign it around Oracle."

 Diebold spokesman David Bear denied that the company is redesigning
 software around an Oracle platform. "No, that's not true to my knowledge,"
 he said.

 Asked whether any TSX machine produced blank paper during a demonstration
 in Cook County, he replied, "I'm not aware of that."

 Bear initially denied that any Diebold machines in Ohio produced blank
 paper rolls.

 "That's not true," he said. "They just ran an election November 8th with
 over 15,000 of the units and the Secretary of State was overwhelmingly
 pleased." After being told of news reports describing blank paper rolls
 produced in Ohio, however, he replied, "It would not surprise me if a paper
 roll was installed upside down."

 Diebold consultant convicted for embezzlement

 The Diebold insider noted that the initial GEMS system used to tabulate
 votes for the Diebold Opti-scan systems was designed by Jeffrey Dean, who
 was convicted in the early 1990s of computer-aided embezzlement. Dean was
 hired by Global Election Systems, which Diebold acquired in 2000. Global
 also had John Elder, a convicted cocaine trafficker, on its payroll.
 Diebold spokesman David Bear told Citybeat that Dean left shortly after the
 acquisition and that Elder also left "long ago." Black Box Voting reported
 that Diebold gave Elder a "golden parachute" in 2004 and that he was let go
 only after his criminal past was revealed by BBV and mainstream

 But the Diebold whistleblower told RAW STORY that Elder remained working
 for Diebold "as recently as the summer of this yearŠ [Elder creates ] the
 paper ballots for absentee votingŠThey were making the ballots for the
 November election for sure, for all over the country."

 Bear denied that Elder is still on Diebold's payroll as either an employee
 or independent contractor.

 "He was with the company two companies ago, never was an employee of
 Diebold, and worked for a company that was acquired by Diebold," he said.

 Asked if Elder works for a company producing ballots for any of
 California's Diebold systems, Bear responded, "The counties contract for
 that. I don't have the slightest ideaŠ There are probably several different
 companies that produce ballots for California."

 Bear denied allegations that Diebold has installed uncertified patches.
 "Nothing is done in any state except under guidance and authority of
 election officials in the state."

 He also stated that the California Secretary of State's staff has
 recommended recertifying the Diebold TSX system retrofitted with paper

 Bear defends Diebold's record.

 "In the last presidential election, over 150,000 touch screens were run.
 They were recognized by CalTech and MIT for having accurately captured the
 vote. From the presidential election 2004, they believe over 1 million more
 votes were captured. They singled out touch-screens; the state with the
 most improvement was Georgia." (Full text of the Caltech/MIT report)

 The Diebold insider says Americans who care about their vote must remain
 vigilant. "I don't look for the paperless people, the corporations, to back
 off at all. They will continue to try to keep the public in the dark."


 R. A. Hettinga <mailto: [EMAIL PROTECTED]>
 The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
 "... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
 [predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
 experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
 Clips mailing list

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: [EMAIL PROTECTED]>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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