Re: Triad Systems and Ohio Recount

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Thu Dec 23 2004 - 16:09:51 CST

Hello Charley and Doug:
 
As previously discussed, we have to distinguish between retail and wholesale fraud. So far, most our development efforts have been developing a system to abate retail (one vote at a time) fraud. I think it would be salutary to follow this story from a somewhat 'distant' or detached viewpoint as it might help us in this discussion on the relative iimportance of retail versus wholesale fraud. As we are nominally non-partisan, I can understand Charley's wish to redirect interest in this manner.
 
Doug, why did Triad say they needed to access the tabulating machine anyway? Wouldn't a more appropriate response be to swap the machine out it there was something wrong? Also, is there some sort of check sum or hash check like way that could be used to deal with this sort of problem in the future? I ask, in general, if a hash check of the software package(s) shows no change in the hash code developed before and after servicing the equipment than nothing would have been 'fixed' right? If this would work, then you would not necessarily need to have an highly informed guard monitoring a contractor working on election equipment. This type of guarding isn't something that could be typically handled by your local rent-a-cop shop.
 
This is something where it seems like various clear proceedures needs to be developed by the election officials and is something we might be able to work through.
 
Thanks, Ed Kennedy

"Douglas W. Jones" <jones@cs.uiowa.edu> wrote:

On Dec 23, 2004, at 2:31 PM, charlie strauss wrote:

> Although its enormously interesting in itself, I'm dont think this
> thread be-fits the OVC-discussion themes. Perhaps a query about the
> potential validity of the Triad claims,

Personally, as I told Wired News, I believe Triad's claims, but
the depositions I have read concerning those claims and the
additional material conveyed to me from journalists about those
claims provides strong reasons to believe that one and probably
several Ohio counties have been insufficiently vigilant about
the security of their tabulating machines.

What I believe happened, based on what I have heard, is that
the Triad rep was permitted to have unmonitored access to vote
tabulating machinery (computer systems used to tabulate punched
card ballots), for periods up to several hours, during which
at least one system was disassembled and at least one disk drive
removed and reinstalled.

Clearly, this provided the opportunity for the Triad rep to
go beyond fixing the computer, to "fixing" it in the purjorative
sense. I am willing to give Triad the benefit of the doubt and
believe that they did not exploit this opportunity, but the
opportunity should never have been extended.

Does this touch on the OVC? Well, in a remote way: We need to
make sure that we pursue an ethical positon that includes a
refusal to accept the opportunity to have improper access to
voting equipment. If permitted unmonitored access to voting
systems, we should refuse to accept this access.

Doug Jones
jones@cs.uiowa.edu

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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:18 2004

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