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100+ Diebold voting machines, known for how easily they can be hacked, available now on EBay

VotingmachineYou really can get anything on EBay, even electronic voting machines proved to be easy to corrupt for purposes of voting fraud.

Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog first noticed that "more than 10" AccuVote-TS voting machines, built by Diebold, were being sold on the online auction site for the buy-it-now price of $1,200 (plus $50 shipping and handling).

The machines are used and don't come with user's manuals, power supplies, batteries or memory cards, which may explain their discounted price. However, for those who wish to rig elections, machines like these are priceless.

Friedman was contacted by the seller, who told him that he had more than 100 of the electronic voting machines that were originally used in Van Wert County, Ohio.

AccuVote-TS voting machines were also used in New Jersey, when a professor at Princeton demonstrated how easy the Diebold machines were to manipulate for nefarious means.

In congressional testimony in 2006 on "Electronic Voting Machines: Verification, Security and Paper Trails," professor Edward W. Felten explained to the Committee on House Administration that the AccuVote-TS was quite easy to hack through "malicious software" to produce whatever election results a criminal would want to achieve (click here to download a PDF of his entire testimony).

How easy? It would only take one minute to install the software that would destroy the integrity of the voting.

"Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute," Felten told Congress of his team's findings. "In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines."

The professor singled out the very machines that are now being sold on EBay as being easy prey to those who wish to fix elections. 

"AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses -- computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects," Felten testified.

Earlier that month the professor and two colleagues demonstrated their findings about the AccuVote-TS in a video, seen below.


Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: An AccuVote-TS voting machine Credit: EBay

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My diabolical plan to overtake some country:
1. Buy machines
2. Figure out which country I want to overtake
3. Give them the machines as an act of goodwill
4. Run for office
5. WIN!

Buy them up now before the Governor of Wisconsin does!

Wait a minute!!! These must be the kind of voting machines Barack Obama and the democrats use to win their elections. People who care about keeping America strong and great don't vote for democrats. There are too many lawbreakers, bribers, tax cheats, uneducated people looking for handouts and militants in their party, which is also led by union thugs.

- congressional testimony in 2006

The very machines that helped George W. Bush steal the Presidency in 2004.

Hope this helps.

These machines were manufactured by a company whose CEO, Wally O'Dell, told Republicans in a 2003 fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

Lo and behold, Bush "won" a second term in an election run on machines just like these being sold on ebay. So, Seya3, save us your self-righteous nonsense about Democrats ruining the country. Do you need a reminder of who was in power for the eight years leading up to our economic meltdown and destruction of the nation's once-robust middle class?

These machines should be put through a shredder -- and not just the ones that happened to pop up on ebay. There's no place in a democracy for voting devices that are completely unverifiable and essentially tell voters, "trust us...your vote was counted, even if we can't actually prove it."

Ever since these election-stealing machines started showing up, elections have been decided by razor-thin margins like 50.1% to 49.9%, usually favoring the Republican on the ticket. It's just one more weapon the GOP is using to prop up its corporate benefactors and ensure that the American people have no voice in government.

Kudos to the folks that took the time to do this study, however, they forgot to mention the security measures that Election Officials put in place to prevent potential tampering, such as a controlled logic and accuracy test scripts, numbered tamper evident tape covering the memory card compartment and outside case seals with the numbers recorded to prove a chain of custody. These seal numbers are verified by election officials and judges to make sure there are no inconsistencies or evidence of possible tampering. Also, all election equipment is stored in secure areas with strict access policies and security measures in place to prevent potential tampering. On election day when the public does have access to the voting machines, election judges would be aware of a voter removing a privacy screen panel to access the memory card slot (which is the only way to access it) with the intent to perform malicious activity. Also, voters are only allowed a certain amount of time at a voting unit before there ballot is cancelled and their access would be terminated. As an Election Judge, I've seen these security measures first hand and know they work!!

Along with the many security measures that are locally put in place by our hard working, ethical and trust worthy election professionals, let's also remember that Diebold, the manufacturer is a reputable company . . . also known for their ATM machines . . . used worldwide.

I can't help but find humor in knowing that the anti-electronic voting unit advocates are probably the same people who trust the worldwide web to do all of their banking, bill paying and shopping electronically.

Kyla, you're spreading blatant misinformation.

On multiple occasions, voting integrity advocates have been able to walk straight into warehouses full of voting machines before an election with no security and no supervision (with video cameras in hand to document the occasion). Had they so chosen, they could have tampered with the machines on the spot, or even taken them home for a few days and returned them later. In addition, if you do even a little research you can find several documented instances of machines being stored in election officials' garages and cars with absolutely no security whatsoever. The "tamper-evident tape" you mentioned is about as secure as a piece of scotch tape, and just as easy to remove and replace. The time limit in the voting booth is irrelevant when the video demonstration posted on this very page shows that the machines can be hacked in one minute or less, with no trace left behind.

You're either painfully misinformed or you're a PR plant on behalf of Diebold, ES&S or another arm of the e-voting industry. Regardless, you're flat-out wrong and shouldn't speak so authoritatively of things you clearly don't understand (or perhaps you do understand, and you have a vested interest in diluting the truth?).

And you claim to be an Election Judge, so why not identify yourself on the record for all of us so we can verify your claims?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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