Common ground? Do Stefan and I agree on Diebold software?

I’ve been a touch light on posting during the busy holiday season, so yesterday I filled some space with a little joke derived from the death of John Diebold, which prompted a comment near the top of the thread from our good friend Stefan:

Hey, Goldy, joking about the late Mr. Diebold is perfectly tasteless. But I’m glad we have common ground in finding flaws in Diebold election technology. After all, it is Diebold software and a Diebold business unit that help process King County’s mail-in ballots and which helped cause hundreds of ballots to be misaccounted for and illegally counted last year. I’m glad you agree with me that Diebold helped put the wrong person in our Governor’s chair.

As to his first point… um… duh-uh. Joking about anybody’s death is tasteless. But I’m pretty sure that the majority of HA readers prefer posts that taste good over those in good taste.

But it’s his second point I really want to comment on, because it is yet another example of the type of rhetorical bullshit the public has been treated to in its coverage of King County Elections. Stefan correctly states that KC uses Diebold equipment and software to count ballots, but then disingenuously insinuates that this flawed technology was manipulated to “put the wrong person in our Governor’s chair.”

But once again Stefan’s overeagerness leaves his own arguments open to ridicule, for as I wrote a couple weeks ago in reporting security flaws uncovered during tests in Leon County Florida, just because the Diebold system can be hacked, doesn’t necessarily mean it was.

It should be noted that while this is exactly the same type of Diebold system used in King County and throughout much of WA state, our state’s electoral integrity survived the most grueling and definitive test of all: the 2004 gubernatorial hand recount. Apart from the ballots legally added between tabulations, the difference between the hand and machine counts was statistically insignificant, proving that there was no manipulation of the data coming from the optical scanners or the GEMS central tabulator.

To imply that the software was fraudulently manipulated to alter the vote tally is utterly ridiculous… but wait… Stefan really didn’t imply that, did he? Carefully rereading his comment, no… but in the context of my joke about paper trails, that’s surely what he intended readers to infer. And that in a nutshell is really where most of the public’s misconceptions about the 2004 election come from… insinuations, inferences, and various “facts” intentionally misrepresented and taken out of context.

Furthermore, I find his sudden interest in Diebold’s security flaws doubly curious, considering how little attention he has paid to it over the life of the election controversy. GEMS is built on top of Microsoft Access for chrissakes! Who the hell would want to run an election on that? Yet this is the first I’ve heard from Stefan — a computer guy — that he has any concerns about running elections on buggy, proprietary software from companies like Diebold.

Stefan and his fellow travelers at (un)Sound Politics have become champions of election reforms that make it harder for people to vote, yet seem to ignore reforms that actually ensure that these votes are counted properly. Where’s their outrage over the touch screen voting machines in Snohomish County, where the prosecutor’s office received numerous complaints on election day 2004 about machines recording the wrong vote? Where’s their demand for voter verifiable paper trails? Where’s the debate on (u)SP over the merits of moving towards open source software?

No, instead, one of the major reforms promoted by the (u)SP types is to eliminate hand recounts… thus eliminating the one absolutely foolproof audit on our vote tallying software.

The evidence shows that in the wrong hands the Diebold software can be hacked, but the hand recount proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that in 2004 in WA state, it wasn’t. So if Stefan and I really do share common ground in believing the Diebold software to have serious technical flaws, perhaps we can put the rhetoric over the 2004 election aside for a moment, and discuss some real solutions?

I’ll start. Hey Stefan… what’s your opinion on the relative security tradeoffs involved in moving to open source software?

Comments

  1. 1

    bamajenk spews:

    Ahhhh Goldie!

    You know that Stefan isn’t seriously concerned about correcting problems, otherwise he would be working WITH legislators to find solutions, rather than blast legislators for trying.

    And, he’s not interested in correcting problems, because then his worthless ‘blog goes down the old craperoo.

    And, he’s not interested in correcting problems, just whipping people up with his lies, half-truths, and deceit about any elections.

    Keep up the positive approach Goldie…we need more of that, not less, which is exactly what Stefan offers.

  2. 2

    Left Turn spews:

    Let me answer for Steffy.

    “My problem with open source is that it precludes the republican party from cheating!”

  3. 3

    Commander Ogg spews:

    I imagine Mr Cyn, MTR, PB, RO, HPCYBtBAA?, and all other’s of a certain political spectrum would disagree with me, but Mr. Goldstein is right(no pun intended) about one thing, The Republicans of the late 20th-early 21st centaury are doing their level best to keep certain people from voting.

    Curiously, unlike the politicians that they have evolved from in the days of yore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixicrats , they refuse to admit that they want to disfranchise a certain minority/ethnic group or poor people of all groups, preferring to hide under such harmless terms as ballot integrity or free and fair elections. The Courts do not seem to be buying this Bullshit: http://www.washingtontimes.com.....-7881r.htm

    Nasty as the old line segregationist were, at least they were honest: http://www.publiceye.org/magaz.....llace.html

  4. 4

    For the Clueless spews:

    Commander:

    Way to go on the Moonie Times article. Nothing makes a wingnut more unhinged than the concept of photo id that is free of charge. It makes the suppression of a citizen’s right to vote more difficult.

  5. 5

    Wells spews:

    “Living in fear of our government is a new experience for Americans. It is the kind of national nightmare we associate with despotic rulers and totalitarian regimes. But, a government that wishes to have torture authorized as an instrument for dealing with enemies, and that spies on its own people, is a government already on the steep slope toward despotism and totalitarian rule”.

    Heil Bushler!

  6. 6

    spews:

    Goldy,

    I’ve never alleged that anybody hacked King County’s Diebold software and I have no reason to believe that was the case.

    My point on Diebold and King County was that there were many deficiencies in Diebold’s products and services which contributed to the misaccounting of ballots and the counting of illegal votes.

    You ask some reasonable questions (for a change) and I’ll respond in more detail on my blog later when I get a chance.

    For now —

    a) I favor touch-screen voting machines with paper-trail over other technologies, but I also recognize that these are still fairly new and am open to arguments against them.
    b) I absolutely oppose electronic voting that does not have a paper trail
    c) I generally prefer open source software to proprietary software

  7. 7

    GBS spews:

    @ 6

    Why don’t you just post your response on HA blog? It will get a far wider readership than your’s and you’ll be getting your message to the people for whom you want to influence the most; those that may disagree with your position.

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stefan is one of those clever liars who manages to lie without really lying by making insinuations that lead his listeners/readers to false inferences. Since Stefan didn’t actually lie, but the result is the same — his comments create a false impression in the minds of his audience — choosing the right word or phrase to describe what does is tricky. So, today’s poll question is:

    Is Stefan

    [ ] a. lying, or
    [ ] b. intellectually dishonest, and
    [ ] c. a greedy prick who plans to keep all the money for himself instead of sharing it with the generous donors to his “legal action fund” who paid for his lawsuit.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey, if Stefan and Goldy can agree on something — maybe Stefan and Roger Rabbit can agree on something, too! (Besides the fact Stefan’s lettuce tastes good! yummy!) Hey Stefan — do you agree with me that humans can’t fit inside a 3-inch by 3-inch mailbox?

    You do? Good! Then — do you agree with me that ACVR (“American Center for Voting Rights”), whose headquarters offices are located in a 3-inch by 3-inch mailbox (http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00001282.htm) is not a real organization?

    Or, why not take that a step further, and admit that ACVR is a GOP front group set up by the Bush/Cheney 04 campaign’s legal counsel and media director to peddle GOP election-fraud lies and propaganda?

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In other news, some scholars believe there really was a Pope Joan in medieval times who disguised herself as a man and served as Pope for nearly two years. According to legend things went south when she gave birth in the middle of a papal procession and the crowd, realizing they’d been had, stoned her to death.

    If this story is true, Mark the Redneck will be very pleased. That crowd of 7th-century rednecks killed two birds with one stone, so to speak: They got rid of an uppity female, and they preserved the glass ceiling. We can’t have women taking men’s jobs, can we, otherwise Mark’s boss might be tempted to replace him with some woman who is smarter than him.

    Which includes nearly all of the women on this planet.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In other news, the Justice Department has launched a probe to find the whistleblower who told the New York Times about Bush’s vast web of illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying. Stay tuned, folks! They may actually come up with a suspect. Chances are good the Bushies are more efficient at catching people who rat out their lying and corruption, than they are at catching terrorists or GOP operatives who leak the identities of CIA agents to their media shills.

  12. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In other news, a British millionairess has married a dolphin.

    It’s comforting to know the “invisible hand” concentrates wealth in the hands of smart people who make the best use of it.

  13. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In mulling over the question of who to run against Maria Cantwell, the GOP back room boys may want to consider the recent poll data showing that Republican politicians who beat their mothers or use their office to solicit gay sex do better than Republican candidates who murder their opponents:

    David Irons Jr. — 39.57%
    Jim West — 34.97%
    Low Tax Looper — 4.81%

  14. 16

    GBS spews:

    In other news:

    “the economy is strong and getting stronger.” ~ George W. Bush’s radio address, July 16th, 2005

    Dow Avg close on Jan. 3, 2005 = 10,729
    Dow Avg close on Dec 30, 2005 = 10,717

    Dow Avg close on Jan 22, 2001 = 10,578 (Bush’ 1st day in offc.

    Net gain over 5 years of Republican economic policies 1.33%

    Averaged out over 5 years that’s a whopping .266% gain per year!

    Yep, the numbers don’t lie ladies and gentlemen when it comes to the economy the Republicans are stupid.

    “It’s the economy, stupid” How apropos.

  15. 17

    Bob spews:

    Not nearly as well as those who encourage slave labor and prostitution in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. That worthies name — Tom Delay.

  16. 18

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Ogg @ 3 – Why do you make up shit and lie?

    We want election law followed. We’re not trying to “disenfranchise” certain groups to prevent them from voting. But we do want to make it impossible for their to be illegal votes including those from non citizens, felons and those who don’t register correctly. These people aren’t victims… the real victims here are guys like you and me who vote legally and get our votes cancelled out by someone who has no business participating in my elections.

    If it was up to me, I’d require voters to pass a test that shows they understand the unique governance principals that make America the greatest nation in the world. Otherwise, people end up voting for stoopid crap that is fucking up our system.

  17. 19

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    GBS @ 16 sez
    Dow Avg close on Dec 30, 2005 = 10,717
    Dow Avg close on Jan 22, 2001 = 10,578 (Bush’ 1st day in offc.
    Net gain over 5 years of Republican economic policies 1.33%
    Averaged out over 5 years that’s a whopping .266% gain per year!
    Yep, the numbers don’t lie ladies and gentlemen when it comes to the economy the Republicans are stupid.
    It’s the economy, stupid. How apropos.
    Comment by GBS— 12/30/05 @ 3:23 pm”

    GBS presumes anyone would be stupid enough to be in the market 100% of the time and equally in only the Dow 30 stocks.
    I suspect GBS is that stupid!!
    I made over 8.5% on my money in the market during that time period…..and my real estate values more than doubled.
    Am I better off than I was 5 years ago???
    HELL YES!!!!!!!!
    GBS is a jealous, non-risk taking idiot who is envious of those who do risk capital. Keep watching from the sideline GBS!!! Your anger and envy light you up in Christmas colors……
    Red with Anger and Green with Envy!!!

  18. 20

    GBS spews:

    President Clinton’s term.

    Dow Avg close on Jan 18, 1993 = 3,274
    Dow Avg close on Jan 19, 2001 = 10,587 Last Bus. day in offc.

    Net gain over Clinton’s 8 years of economic policies 223%

    Averaged over 8 years that’s a whopping 27.875% gain per year!

    Do the math, that’s 100 times better, no exaggeration, then the neo-convicts are doing.

    Mark The Yellowdick, ‘splain that!!

    Moron.

  19. 21

    GBS spews:

    Pussy @ 19

    Actually, I’m a huge risk taker when it comes to investing. I’ll credit William O’Neil where I learned to spot opportunities.

    Currently I’m 100% vested in RHAT. Bought on Dec 14 @ $25.10
    Today’s close on RHAT 27.26, I’m up 8% in 2 weeks. That’s over 200% annualized.

    Pick the right stock, buy at the correct pivot point, set your trailing stop at -7% when you buy, and go “all in.” Just like playing poker except I limit my down side. Buying correctly normally solves the selling for a loss dilema. The ‘all in’ part is me, not William O’neil.

    Moron.

  20. 22

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    If it was up to me, I’d require voters to pass a test that shows they understand the unique governance principals that make America the greatest nation in the world. Otherwise, people end up voting for stoopid crap that is fucking up our system.

    Comment by Mark The Redneck— 12/30/05 @ 3:29 pm

    There are several problems with this:

    (a.) Who gets to write and administer the test?
    (b.) Such a requirement would wipe out the GOP “base”.
    (c.) Assuming Vagina Lips is as smart as he claims to be (I know, big assumption, but bear with me…), why does he consistently support “stoopid (sic) crap”?
    (d.) Quibble: It’s “principles” not “principals”.

    We remain thankful, but vigilant, Vagina Lips, that it is indeed not “up to you”.

  21. 23

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    Goldy,

    To be fair, Stefan did not charge King County’s Diebold equipment and\or software was “manipulated”. He slyly asserted these products “helped cause” ballots to be “miscounted” and “illegally counted”. This is a rather bewildering and inexplicable charge, presented without any backup or explanatory analysis to get him where he always winds up.

    Example: The sun came up yesterday>Rossi lost>the sun contributed to this dreadful outome>the sun is deficient>but not as deficient as the dreadful outcome. Yadda, yadda, yadda…

    Actually, his birth contributed more to Christine’s victory than Diebold. The mounting shrillness of his attacks contributed mightily to the political boomerang the WA ST GOP has experienced since election day. Thank you, comrade Stefan.

  22. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    16

    What do those numbers look like after adjusting for:

    a) lower real wages
    b) inflation

    ?

  23. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    18

    “We want election law followed.”

    So do we! After two consecutive stolen presidential elections, we’re up to here [spreads paws] with GOP voter intimidation and suppression.

  24. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    18 (continued)

    “get our votes cancelled out by someone who has no business participating in my elections.”

    “my” [your] elections? Well, well … a little Freudian slip here. They’re not YOUR elections, asshole, they’re OUR elections. You don’t own them — although rightwing cheats, liars, and whiners act like they do. Fuck you. Fuck your armadillo.

  25. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    18

    “If it was up to me, I’d require voters to pass a test that shows they understand the unique governance principals that make America the greatest nation in the world.”

    This has already been before the U.S. Supreme Court and found to be unconstitutional. You should cut eyeholes in your bedsheets so you can see out.

  26. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    20

    The Republican CEO crooks like McGavick who are skimming all the profits off the top and leaving shareholders with nothing are doing quite well under Bush, Inc., thank you very much.

  27. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    23

    “Stefan did not charge King County’s Diebold equipment and\or software was ‘manipulated’. He slyly asserted these products ‘helped cause’ ballots to be ‘miscounted’ and ‘illegally counted’. This is a rather bewildering and inexplicable charge, presented without any backup or explanatory analysis to get him where he always winds up.”

    Stefan actually is right, although not in the way he intended. The Diebold scanner machines failed to count a significant number of ballots, for a variety of reasons: Timing marks damaged from handling, light marking, stains or blemishes, etc. That’s why it took two recounts to get all the valid, legal ballots counted. And once ALL the votes were counted, Rossi lost.

  28. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Before some righty troll jumps in here and claims the King County canvassing board gave the election to Gregoire, let me point out the hand count was completed before KCCB took action on the several hundred disputed ballots before it, and at the end of the hand count of the same ballots counted in the machine recount, Gregoire led by 8 votes. She didn’t need the net gain of 121 votes she got from the ballots considered by KCCB. Nor did she need the 4 votes she got from Rossi’s election contest lawsuit, which cost a total of $4 million (i.e., $1 million per vote).

  29. 32

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    GBS presumes anyone would be stupid enough to be in the market 100% of the time and equally in only the Dow 30 stocks.

    He presumed no such thing. He took some aggregate data and derived a macroeconomic conclusion. It doesn’t tell the whole story, and is open to counterfactuals. You, on the other hand, started with a microeconomic particular and generalized mightily. This is not even logically acceptable, much less anything near economic “analysis”.

    Don’t despair. I hear vitamins help.

  30. 33

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    Stefan actually is right…. Yikes!

    Noted, wabbit @ 30. Thank you. But what about the implication of “illegality”? Typical stefan stuff. How did the machines contribute to “illegaly counted” ballots? It’s Diebold’s fault they couldn’t throw out votes by felons? Were they in on the fix?

    Now at 10% the posts on this thread, and counting!

  31. 34

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Rakeface – Please address me as “Mark The Chilling” and then I shall answer your sophomoric questions.

  32. 35

    Eric L spews:

    You missed a very big flaw in Stefan’s statement, particularly where he suggests flawed machines may have incorrectly given the election to Gregoire. The machine counts gave the election to Rossi by a small margin, but the final count giving the election to Gregoire was done by hand, not by Diebold software. If Stefan agrees that electronic voting machines or vote counting machines are flawed, he should agree that when the closeness of an election calls for it, the final and deciding count in an election should be by hand.

  33. 36

    cougar spews:

    As in all of 2005 Stefan is basically flawed. As were Mr Irrelevant, MYDR, XmasGhost, Chadonay, Rufus, Puddybutty, etc. Time will tell if they overcome their intellectual and moral disadvantages.

  34. 37

    TheDeadlyShoe spews:

    Heh, that reminds me… I got about -30 billion karma points on dKos after the 2004 election for saying that there was no evidence the election was stolen, and that the KC recount was evidence that at the least there was not a nationwide conspiracy to alter vote counts.

    a couple other (prominent) people got adulation for saying i was stoopid.. that still ticks me off, but people were still angry and sad, so *shrug*

  35. 38

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    GBS sez:
    “Currently I’m 100% vested in RHAT. Bought on Dec 14 @ $25.10
    Today’s close on RHAT 27.26, I’m up 8% in 2 weeks. That’s over 200% annualized. Pick the right stock, buy at the correct pivot point, set your trailing stop at -7% when you buy, and go “all in.” Just like playing poker except I limit my down side. Buying correctly normally solves the selling for a loss dilema. The ‘all in’ part is me, not William O’neil.
    Comment by GBS— 12/30/05 @ 3:54 pm”

    GBS…you are both a fool and a liar! How many shares of RHAT did you buy? 3!!!!!!? Losers like you deserve living you “GoldenYears” out in a single-wide!

  36. 39

    demographa spews:

    Dear Goldy and friends:

    You are being very unfair to Stephan. Your whole argument relies on the premise (or lie, as some might call it) that while machines can make mistakes, the hand recount was flawless. This is the logical underpinning for the hate you have been spewing at Stephan for the past year.

    I don’t make any claims about the machines being perfect, or whether they are hackable or not. But know this: The machines are not Republicans or Democrats. They don’t care who wins. They just do the jobs they were designed to do, unlike the human employees of the KC elections commission. I’ll take my chances with the machines any day.

    I was a ballot counter at the recount. There was cheating. I saw it with my own eyes. I saw boxes checked for Rossi whited out and Gregoire boxes checked in their place. I say Rossi ballots put in Gregoire piles and counted as Gregoire votes. I saw Rossi ballots put in rejected piles by volunteers on their own authority, even though they had been passed by the machines and by other human counters.

    Yes I spoke up; yes I raised hell. Got nowhere. I got threatened by Bill Huenekens. Observers who backed me up were thrown out.

    A hand recount by human beings is flawless? Please explain!
    Every single person involved in the process had an ax to grind. You would not be saying all this if the hand recount had “found” another 300 votes for Rossi, would you? But of course, that was impossible, because 100% of the KC elections officials are Democrats. You think they were going to “find” more Rossi ballots? More like lose them!

    As it turned out, we had boxes of ballots being trucked between three separate locations during the recount period, cases of blank ballots stored in the same room as the real ballots, no controls after hours, observers who weren’t allowed to get close enough to see anything, and Huenekens and his colleagues going around trying to intimidate anyone who asked questions. Don’t talk to me about flawless. I’ve seen what you call a flawless operation run by Dems at first hand. All this is a matter of public record.

    Also, please stop using the phrase “statistically insignificant.” It is completely irrelevant here. The law doesn’t say someone must win by a statistically significant margin. He or she simply has to get more votes, even if it is one vote. Neither candidate had a statistically significant margin in any of the counts. So what? Going to the mat over the last ballot, or eight ballots, or 200 ballots, is a perfectly legitimate exercise by either side.

    Lastly, I sure don’t want to carry water for MSFT, or anybody else, but what is this about open source software? How is it that open source software would necessarily be fairer, more accurate, or more transparent, than something proprietary? I hope you aren’t going to claim it is harder to hack. I don’t believe, Goldy, that even you, Roger Rabbit, et. al. are that stupid.

  37. 40

    Robert M. spews:

    Did she or didn’t she. In an extensive surf of sites which report total B.S. to those that seem to hold true over time, I cannot find the answer to ” Did she of didn’t she”
    Did Senator Murray accept dollars from Abramoff ?

    I have read in the freeper’s drivel and they report she took approx. 78k others report 48k, two progressive sites state she took nothing. Is there a definitive answer ?
    The R’s took money in a 2:1 ratio yet are trying hard to put the heat oh the D’s (Gee how novel) and it’s obvious that Abramoff did most of his dirt with the majority.
    Thus if there is justice in the U.S. of A there should be more R heads roll than D’s. But after 5 years of bushco you never know. But I digress, my question, is there any hard intel on Murray and if she is involved, I have supported her
    for many years and now want to know if she’s about to go.