E-Voting News and Analysis, from the Experts

Sunday December 12, 2004

More e-voting problems

Filed under: — Joseph Lorenzo Hall @ 12:00 pm UTC

(I am just going to update this post as I hear of more problems as they are reported in the press…)

These are courtesy of VotersUnite!:

Thursday November 11, 2004

Diebold Settles California Lawsuit

Filed under: — Felten @ 9:26 am UTC

Diebold and the State of California have reached a settlement in the suit brought by the state against the e-voting vendor, according to an AP story. Diebold has agreed to pay the state $2.6 million, to reimburse California counties for the cost of using paper ballots rather than insecure Diebold systems in the recent election, and to make security improvements to its systems.

Settling the case allows Diebold to avoid further discovery, which probably would have revealed facts putting the company and its products in a bad light.

Thursday November 04, 2004

A lawgeek in Oakland, CA mans a battery of Diebold machines

Filed under: — Joseph Lorenzo Hall @ 10:37 am UTC

Brian Carver, a law student at Boalt, was a poll inspector in Oakland, CA (Alameda County) and has a long and comprehensive write-up of his 16-hour day manning a battery of 5 Diebold AccuVote-TS machines. Here’s a bulleted summary:

  • The training of poll workers is inadequate.
  • The voting machines face numerous security and technical problems.
  • About 15% of my voters refused to vote on a machine without a paper trail.
  • Most of those voters were also extremely angry that their only alternative to the machines was a “provisional paper ballot". There were numerous heated arguments about the word ‘provisional’. People do not want a provisional paper ballot that may or may not be counted and that will not be counted right away. They want a “true paper ballot” that always counts and that is counted on election day.
  • Absentee voters (and perhaps election officials) do not understand the rules for absentee voting.
  • Being a poll worker is extremely stressful and exhausting and you should fall down and worship the poll workers at each and every election you vote in from now on.
  • My view now is that the best election system is the simplest election system. In every single aspect of the election the paramount question should be: is there a simpler way to do this?

Wednesday November 03, 2004

Voter privacy and vote-by-fax

Filed under: — Wagner @ 4:34 pm UTC

The California Supreme Court deferred ruling on a lawsuit about overseas voting by fax until after the election. California allows overseas citizens to vote by fax, if the voter agrees to waive their right to privacy. (Some faxed ballots may go to a third-party contractor selected by the Department of Defense, and thus California says that the privacy of such ballots cannot be assured.)

See articles by KABC-TV, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Etopia Media News.

Reliability problems with Diebold TS in Alameda County, CA

Filed under: — Jefferson @ 2:53 pm UTC

The following report was submitted to me by Don Dossa, a computer scientist colleague here at LLNL and an experienced election judge in Alameda County (a rank above precinct inspector and clerk). Alameda County uses Diebold TS machines.

Early on we had a lot of problems with the voter access cards not being consistently readable in the voting machines. I ended up putting 1 of my 10 VCE cards aside. The problem seemed much worse in the morning, so perhaps the cards or the readers were dirty and eventually cleaned themselves.

We had one very strange problem. On one machine, just once, when the ballot came up on the screen, there were no boxes whatsover for the voter to touch to cast a vote. I did not see this, but my wife, who is the precinct inspector, personally verified that it was not possible to vote for anyone on the first page of the ballot. She cancelled the ballot and the next time everything went fine. This was the only occurrence of this problem.

Tuesday November 02, 2004

Odd Error Message in Santa Clara, CA

Filed under: — Felten @ 5:46 pm UTC

BoingBoing has published a report from a voter in Santa Clara, California, that his voting machine displayed an odd error message when he tried to cast his vote. Here’s a picture he took with his phonecam (click to see a larger version):

1/3 of CA voters skeptical of touchscreen voting

Filed under: — Wagner @ 4:21 pm UTC

A few California newspapers are reporting the results of a Field Poll about confidence in e-voting and the election. Some of the results are striking. 35% of registered Californian voters are not confident in the integrity of new touchscreen voting machines. (23% are very confident, and 39% are somewhat confident.) When asked about their confidence that the final election result will be fair, 30% are very confident, 42% are somewhat confident, and 18% are not confident.

That is surprisingly large degree of distrust. Of course, we should remember that this only reflects voter perception of election integrity, not the reality of the security of the election. Just as widespread confidence in e-voting among the public does not necessarily mean that e-voting is safe, so too widespread public skepticism does not necessarily mean that e-voting is unsafe. Nonetheless, perception is important. It is crucial that we have election technology that is not only trustworthy, but that is also recognized as such, and indeed is widely trusted by the overwhelming majority of the population. This survey suggests that we have not met any of these goals.

If you’d like to learn more about the survey, you can read the Sacramento Bee’s article and the San Francisco Chronicle’s article, but why not go straight to the source? The Field Poll has the survey results online here:

Sequoia VeriVote

Filed under: — Jefferson @ 12:03 pm UTC

Nevada isn’t the only place where Sequoia Edge machines with the VeriVote printer attachment will be used to create a voter-verified paper trail. One precinct in San Bernardino County, California will use them today, based on a one-time-only, one-place-only certification by the Secretary of State.

The VeriVote printer attachment does create a real, contemporaneous voter-verified paper trail, but it is fundamentally flawed because its reel-to-reel design preserves the order of votes cast on each machine, making it comparatively easy to reconstruct which voter cast which vote. Other major vendors are creating similar designs. For some reason there is little concern about this in the elections community, so watch for this design to be proposed for certification in your state.

Monday November 01, 2004

California Counties Keep Paper-Voting Option Quiet

Filed under: — Felten @ 4:34 pm UTC

The Tri-Valley Herald reports on a California Voter Foundation survey saying that most California counties that use paperless e-voting will not inform voters that they have the option of requesting a paper ballot.

Saturday October 30, 2004

Rundown of E-voting Problems So Far

Filed under: — Felten @ 9:39 pm UTC

Donna Wentworth at EFF Deep Links has an interesting rundown on the E-voting problems that have been seen so far, in early voting, and what they teach us.

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