Easily Hacked Voting Systems to be Used in MA Special Election for the U.S. Senate

by Nathan Barker and Brad Friedman
The Gouverneur Times
January 15, 2010

…The electronic voting systems used in Massachusetts are notoriously plagued with problems and vulnerabilities, and are in violation of federal voting system standards. Moreover, they are sold, programmed, and maintained by a company with a disturbing criminal background.

The outcome couldn’t be more important, and the race, according to a number of pre-election polls, couldn’t be closer. Coakley began running in September, 2009 with a strong lead over Brown, her main opponent. But that trend has significantly changed in the last month leaving Coakley with a thin 2 point margin over Brown, according to a recent poll from Republican pollster Rasmussen. Another more recent survey, from a Democratic-leaning outfit, gives Coakley a more comfortable 8 point edge over Brown.

Still, the very real possibility that a Republican could win the seat has many in Washington sweating on the eve of the Special Election. All three candidates – Joseph Kennedy (no relation to Ted), a Libertarian running on the Independent Party ticket could also throw a wrench into the works – and their supporters are pulling out all the last minutes stops. But could we see another repeat of last November’s U.S. House Special Election in New York, where questions still persist about the tabulation of the race and the failed and faulty voting systems that voters were forced to use?

The Diebold electronic voting machines to be used in more than 90% of the state’s districts are the same demonstrably unreliable ballot scanning systems that were seen being hacked in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Hacking Democracy. The rest of the machines used in the Bay State are made by Sequoia Voting System, Inc., the same manufacturer whose machines were “misconfigured,” to switch votes in Erie County, NY’s Nov. 3, 2009 election and which have failed, and even been hacked, in a number of cases around the country.

Making matters worse, the company who sells, services and programs the Diebold optical-scan paper ballot systems to be used next week, LHS Associates, has a disturbing criminal background, and has admitted to tampering illegally with voting systems during past elections.

As seen in the climactic finale of Hacking Democracy, due to undocumented “interpreted code” in the system, included by Diebold in violation of federal voting system guidelines, the Diebold Accuvote op-scan system is easily hacked and votes can be flipped in such a way that the tampering would likely never be discovered.

The complete article is at Gouverneur Times.

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