Post Number: 1041
Best of Black Box?
|Posted on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 10:12 pm: |
Well, not really.
"those government loonies like to change voting regulations all the time (true?),"
If a changed regulation requires a change in programming, the requirements are that the whole system needs to be recertified. So putting the change on a card, or in the election management software on the server, or in the chip in the optical scanner won't change the biggest expense -- recertification, not just nationally but state by state.
"and they have a service contract with us (true?),"
Diebold charges extra for services in connection with changed government requirements. A good example was the $2 million charge they hit the state of Georgia with when the state wanted to do an election on the state flag. (By the way, I'm grabbing that $2 million figure from memory. I think that's the correct amount.)
" so we have to exchange programs in the machines whenever they please at our own expenses (true?)."
Not true. First, in most states it is illegal to exchange programs without going through a formal reapproval process, and second, Diebold has a nasty habit of charging for such things even when the upgraded program is required due to problems with their original program. An example of this happened in King County in 2004.
"but we could also store the programs neccessary to run the voting machine on a plugin card so we dont have to actually recall the machines or send someone there, but just modify the cards and send them the new data by courier (true?)."
Not really. See above. And also, the GEMS tabulator program is updated simply by sending the patch on CD. I spoke with a county elections chief in Washington state who said she'd receive a CD in the mail from Diebold, with instructions to install it, that it was an "upgrade" or a "patch." Diebold wasn't supposed to do it, but they did do it without properly recertifying the changes, and that's one of the things they got in trouble for in California in 2003 and 2004.
"sure we could make up some tin foil hat theories about exchanging the programs, but heck, its the government. they wouldnt try to hack our system, would they."
Well, it's not the government. It's a private vendor that keeps its code secret from its customers. And there's not much money in selling voting machines. (As Daniel Hopsicker pointed out in his film "The Big Fix 2000", there may not be much money in selling election machines, but there would be a lot of money in selling the elections themselves.)
Bear in mind that the company that Diebold acquired in 2002, the company that designed this architecture in the first place, Canada's Global Election System, was founded by stock market manipulators, two of whom went to jail, and that the senior vice president of research for this company had been in prison for four years on 23 counts of felony embezzlement. The method he used to embezzle was creating back doors in the accounting software.
Now, as for tinfoil hat -- I do believe in "conspiracy theories," at least, in the racketeering sense of the word. RICO charges were designed for situations where two or more people conspire to commit a corrupt act. RICO cases are called "conspiracy" cases in the legal world, and a brief perusal of convictions on these cases prove that RICO cases are not figments of anyone's imagination.