“Who Could Have Imagined” System rigged to make tests look good.

Over the years, we an others have pointed out that voting systems cannot be tested to assure performance before an election.  Not the system itself before it is setup/programmed for a particular election.  Not a setup and programmed system either.  Not even if a system is completely secured and is somehow proven to run approved/certified software.

Here is some proof, not from a voting system – from a crime by an automaker.  In this case it only puts the environment and lives in danger, rather than Democracy.  Jeremy Epstein explains the analogy at Freedom To Tinker:   <read>

In particular, computer scientists have noted that clever (that is, malicious) software in a voting machine could behave “correctly” when it detects that L&A testing is occurring, and revert to its improper behavior when L&A testing is complete.  Such software could be introduced anywhere along the supply chain – by the vendor of the voting system, by someone in an elections office, or by an intruder who installs malware in voting systems without the knowledge of the vendor or elections office.  It really doesn’t matter who installs it – just that the capability is possible.

It’s not all that hard to write software that detects whether a given use is for L&A or a real election.  L&A testing frequently follows patterns, such as its use on dates other than the first Tuesday in November, or by patterns such as three Democratic votes, followed by two Republican votes, followed by one write-in vote, followed by closing the election.  And the malicious software doesn’t need to decide a priori if a given series of votes is L&A or a real election – it can make the decision when the election is closed down, and erase any evidence of the real votes.

Such concerns have generally been dismissed in the debate about voting system security.

Read the entire post for more of the convincing details.

Of course voting machines are not autos.  Unfortunately, voting machines are more vulnerable; Voting machines are not subject independent testing by trained professionals; Voting machines are not under lock and key by those who are hurt in general by pollution. Voting machines are not under lock and key by those likely to be impacted by declining value in their now illegal or poor performing vehicles.  Voting machines are certified by those in the employ of the vendors, tested before election days by amateurs, responsible for their safekeeping.  Some of those amateurs may actually have the motive and opportunity to fix results and cover up errors.

The solution when it comes to elections is voter verified paper ballots, sufficient ballot security, sufficient independent audits, and recounts (aka Evidence Based Elections).


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