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Ballot-stuffing, 21st Century Style
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A New Zealand reporter has alleged that the electronic Diebold voting machines used by the United States for federal elections are riddled with backdoors.

Could it be incompetence? Way too easily, considering the tools employed and the minimal expertise necessary to use them.

Could it be consipiracy? Could be, sure. The question then becomes, how likely are these design flaws to be the product of incompetence, and how likely is it that these flaws could only be the product of malicious design?

I'm not sufficiently versed in the arcanities of this particular field of design to come to any compelling conclusions myself, but there are plenty of people out there who are more than qualified to explore these allegations, and I'm sure they can produce an unqualified answer forthwith.

That is, if they knew about it. Cringley has picked up the story, as has a few other fringe sites such as truthout.org. Conspiracy Planet is running a related story. The author has apparently submitted her story to every news agency that she could contact, and yet the mainstream media is silent, even to debunk her claims.

It's often said that no news is good news, but as Jesse Jackson once put it, "deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy."

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I feel oddly insulted ... it will pass though.

Interesting stories.

Sorry about the MCSE comment... My contention is that it doesn't take any degrees or anything to become certified, only passing qualifying exams that test for material-absorption.

The quality of in-house software at my work is a product of a few mechanics and marketing people figuring that computers is the way to go and getting their MCSE. Do they know anything about interface design? Do they have a clue about proper data structures? Do they even know what "relational" means? If they read a security advisory, would they understand it? (Likely not, seeing as all their homebrewed Access reports fail to escape double-quotes.)

As in everything, there are MCSEs and there are MCSEs. If it makes you feel any better, I'm pondering putting my money where my mouth is and doing the same to kick myself back into the computer industry.

Hey there,

you assume that voting is more than part of the venerated 'bread and circuses' strategy of our overlords. Call me cynical, call me an anarchist, but I don't think whether or not the voting machines are vulnerable to tampering matters-- if people's votes counted for something, they wouldn't be allowed to do it.

Persephone, Queen of the Dead (and sometime-politics watcher)

My assumtion is that voting can be more than a meaningless ritual. There are many flaws in the election systems of these two countries, but there are ways forward. Invisibly rigged voting booths are a step backward when we could be making those steps forward.

Governments get away with things when there's no outcry.

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