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Will a vote for John Kerry be counted by a Hart InterCivic eSlate3000 in Honolulu?
From: "Jason Coombs PivX Solutions" <jasonc () science org>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 01:24:59 +0000 GMT
I just voted for John Kerry at a walk-in absentee ballot polling place in Honolulu County using an eSlate3000 (unit
serial number A05A0B) made by Hart Intercivic: http://www.hartintercivic.com
I was told by the official who gave me the choice of voting on paper or voting electronically that the electronic
voting machines weren't supposed to be here yet, but that since they arrived in time for the 2004 election, they were
being used anyway.
Will my vote be counted? That depends on a number of unknowns, such as whether or not the unit on which my vote was
cast subsequently malfunctions, rendering the entire vote tabulating memory card corrupt.
I did not receive a paper printout following the submission of my electronic ballot.
Excluding the obvious possibility that fraud may occur, either to stuff the electronic 'ballot box' with false votes,
or to intentionally destroy or fail to count votes for a particular candidate, there are risks inherent to electronic
voting that do not exist in the same way with paper ballots. And although there are technical safeguards possible that
seem like common sense, these safeguards continue to be ignored. Why?
Will we ever see common sense safeguards added to the electronic voting process?
A search for known security vulnerabilities or potential flaws in voting equipment manufactured and sold by Hart
InterCivic turns up:
Prior to casting my vote, I provided a written 'application' to vote containing my current address and other contact
information. Election officials have every bit of information necessary to inform me in the event of a memory card
failure or other malfunction that causes my electronic vote not to be counted properly.
We know the very equipment that I just used to cast my vote has malfunctioned in the past. There have never been any
reports that any voter has ever been allowed to revote following the loss of their electronic vote database record. Why
I find it absurd that common sense solutions to electronic voting problems are not being used. The vote I just cast
could be made available for my anonymous review after it has been counted. For that matter, all votes made by all
voters could be aggregated and published such that any voter could confirm that the vote that was counted was in fact
the vote that they cast.
Such a safeguard would ensure that no fraud could occur without timely detection by those voters who are directly
affected, and no vote would go uncounted or be miscounted by mistake unless voters choose not to perform such data
If we're going to allow these electronic voting devices in our elections, then we the people must be empowered to
become the all volunteer quality assurance army that validates the data output.
Reasonable people can live with the necessity to trust election officials to be honest, and the criminal justice
procedures to hold them accountable when they are not, but who are we supposed to hold accountable when equipment
failures and flawed computer disaster recovery planning result in the secret exclusion of members of the public from
access to their right to vote?
If anyone has any further information about Hart InterCivic and the eSlate3000, please contact me directly.
jasonc () science org
Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.