Yes New York, There Is No Virus In NY-23

Update: A Richard Hayes Phillips: Impossible Numbers Certified in NY-23 <read>

Richard is the author of Witness To A Crime proving several beyond doubt several forms of skulduggery in Ohio-2004.  We hosted Richard for a book signing in Connecticut last year.  I had forgotten that he is a resident of Canton, NY, within NY-23.  His report may not prove fraud or that the incorrect candidate was certified, yet it certainly demonstrates incompetence and holes in the computer-human system.

For six election districts in St. Lawrence County (the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th districts in Canton, the 14th district in Massena, and the 2nd district in Oswegatchie) negative numbers appear in the column for “blank” ballots, known in other states as “undervotes.” …

In Canton’s 7th district, the certified results show a total of 148 ballots cast. The results of those votes were counted as 88 votes for Owens, 11 votes for Scozzafava, and 80 votes for Hoffman. The problem is that these numbers add up to 179 votes counted for the candidates, and there were only 148 ballots cast; St. Lawrence County certified these numbers to the state as accurate with the number of ‘blank’ ballots reported as -31.

Update: A second opinion from Howard Stanislevic <read>

An article quoting an election official who claimed there was a “virus” in the voting system has been criticized for the misuse of this term. While technically, the critics may be correct — a bug discovered in the software is not necessarily a virus — critics also seem unaware of the history of the machines in question.

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Original Post:

A couple of days ago a news story about a virus in the election equipment used in New York’s 23rd Congressional District Special Election.  We should not rely on the assessment of frustrated election officials to understand the risks of technology or the assessment of the cause of problems with voting and voting technology.  Bo Lopari sets the record straight in his blog <read>

How do I know? Well, in the first place, the Dominion ImageCast scanners in question run the Linux operating system, which is nearly immune to viruses due to its inherent ability to lock out programs that lack explicit permission to run, unlike the highly vulnerable Windows operating system. Second, the State Board of Elections gave an account of the problem at their public meeting on November 10, and which I confirmed in a phone conversation with staff earlier this week. Here’s what really happened:

But it is not all good news:

Let’s be clear. While no votes were lost due to the ability to independently count the paper ballots, a problem did occur that affected certain machines around the state. The issue was a bug in the Dominion source code that caused the machine to hang while creating ballot images for certain vote combinations in multiple candidate elections (the ImageCast, like the other scanner used in New York, the ES&S DS200, creates digital images of each ballot which can be reviewed after the election). So if, for example, a “vote for three candidates out of five” race was voted in a certain way, the scanner would hang. This is one reason why the defect affected some, but not all machines with ballots containing this type of race, because only certain combinations of votes caused the memory problem. But here’s the thing – the problem was discovered before the election.

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