Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Touch-screen voting machine issues pop up in Nevada to the benefit of Reid (and Angle)

October 26, 2010 |  1:30 pm

Electronic voting machines are being blamed for anxiety in Nevada as several early voters are complaining that when they began to cast their ballot Majority Leader Harry Reid's name was already selected.

Boulder City resident Joyce Ferrara, who wanted to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, told her local Fox news station that she could understand if such an aberration happened just for her, but her husband and several others at a polling place also experienced the malfunction.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five-minute period of time, that's wrong."

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax assured the news station that there was no monkey business with the machines and explained that the screens are simply extremely sensitive. With cameras rolling, he showed that if anyone had an advantage it would be Angle, whose name gets checked off if a voter clicks the English option too many times or if his or her finger lingers too long on the opening screen.

Lomax thinks that voters should rest easy, but after the jump, there's some video from around the country and around the world that shows how easy it is to hack electronic voting machines.

In 2008, the Netherlands became the first country in Europe to use electronic voting machines. But when convinced how easily they could be manipulated and tampered with, it became the first country to ban them. Here is video of several men needing just 60 seconds to switch out the memory chips in the machine.

 

What good is switching out memory? For one, you can alter the way the machine tallies the results. Using American ingenuity, Ed Felten, a professor at Princeton University, along with the two students who discovered the flaw, demonstrated on "Fox & Friends" in 2006 how one could alter the results of a Diebold electronic voting machine in just 10 seconds.

 

In 2004, Clinton Eugene Curtis testified under oath that he was paid by Republican Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida to write a computer program that would rig elections. Curtis said he created an undetectable program with just 100 lines of code to make it look as though Feeney won, 51% to 49%. Feeney denied all accusations. Although several of the details of Curtis' claims seem to have been debunked, Jon Kaney, a Florida attorney who represents the Daytona Beach News-Journal, said Curtis' fearlessness was what gives him credibility to some.

"You don't casually go around swearing under penalties of perjury unless you think you're right," Kaney told Wired in late 2004.

 

The distrust of voting machines has led to parody. In the fictional town of Springfield, Homer Simpson had difficulty voting for Barack Obama just a couple of years ago.

 

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Harry Reid. Credit: Associated Press

Comments 

Advertisement










Video