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Sequoia Vote Machine Can't Do Simple Arithmetic? 254

Posted by Zonk
from the lessee-nothin-into-nothin-carry-the-nothin dept.
whoever57 writes "Ed Felten is showing a scan of the summary from a Sequoia voting machine used in New Jersey. According to the paper record, the vote tallies don't add up — the total number of Republican ballots does not match the number of votes cast in the Republican primary and the total number of Democratic ballots does not match the number of votes cast in the Democratic primary. Felten has a number of discussions about the problems facing evoting, up to and including a semi-threatening email from Sequoia itself." Update: 03/20 23:30 GMT by J : Later today, Felten added an update in which he analyzes Sequoia's explanation. He has questions, comments, and a demand.
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Sequoia Vote Machine Can't Do Simple Arithmetic?

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  • <pedant>

    It's "Felten".

    </pedant>
  • by jibster (223164) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:12AM (#22805988)
    Both tallies are out by 1 count. Could it be the one is counting from zero and the other from one?

    On the bright side at least the error will vanish as the number of votes approaches infinity :)
    • Re:Count from Zero (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:17AM (#22806044)
      Both tallies are out by 1 count. Could it be the one is counting from zero and the other from one?


      Actually, the Republican tally was heavy one vote, while the Democratic tally was light one vote. Thus, your proposed explanation doesn't wash.

      On the bright side at least the error will vanish as the number of votes approaches infinity :)

      That's assuming that the error is due to the cause you postulated, which cannot be the case.
      • Is NJ an open primary state (like MI)? Why couldn't a Dem have voted for one of the Republicans? That "option" (counting the number of Ds and Rs) might be a tally of the party of the voter rather than a total of the votes for candidates in that party.

        • No. New jersey has a closed primary.
        • by powerlord (28156)
          Alternatively, it could be a closed primary, but with voters using the same machine.

          I live in NY (still using the old level machines, which I love :) ), and consistently the people running the poles forget to switch the switch on the side of the machine to "enable" republican or democrat (depending on whose in the both last, and whose in it next). Heck, the people running the polls are usually retired, elderly, and volunteer.

          The upshot is that, unless you're dedicated to voting for your party, you can ofte
          • Re:Count from Zero (Score:4, Informative)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:00AM (#22806514) Journal

            I live in NY (still using the old level machines, which I love :) ), and consistently the people running the poles forget to switch the switch on the side of the machine to "enable" republican or democrat (depending on whose in the both last, and whose in it next). Heck, the people running the polls are usually retired, elderly, and volunteer.

            What county do you live in? Here in Broome County they give us colored cards (green for the Democrats, pink for the Republicans) that we had out to the voters after signing them in. The voter then gives that card to the person operating the machine who sets the primary lever accordingly before hitting the entrance button that allows them to vote.

            I've been running a polling place since 2004 and I've never had that mistake happen in a Primary Election. If you've seen it happen more then once or twice you should probably inform your local Board of Elections so they can address the problem. It just isn't supposed to happen that way......

            • by powerlord (28156)
              Down in NY City.

              Unfortunately, what they do down here is have us sign in, then take the cards and flip them over themselves and send us to the booth right next to the table.

              I'm not sure if its just laziness on the part of the poll runners, the fact that I usually vote soon after the polls are open so they aren't awake yet, or due to the fact that there are multiple districts all scrunched into one polling place (school/church gym), but its been the same everywhere I've voted (three of the five counties in t
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Shakrai (717556)

                I'm not sure if its just laziness on the part of the poll runners

                That's possible. I've come close to pulling out my hair during past elections trying to get the other three people in my polling place to follow proper procedure.

                As a random example, we aren't supposed to sign in more then two or three voters at a time. If you sign in more of them then that you'll invariably wind up with someone standing in line at the machine who realizes that he needs to be somewhere and decides to duck out of line without voting. Since we've already signed him in this screws up ou

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      I suspect it's actually a data error. Dems have one too many, GOP have one too few. This is exactly the number of votes cast for Guiliani. They could have simply set him to the wrong party.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        If the voting machine used some sort of "stance on issues" to determine the party of the candidate I could see how they thought Guliani was a Dem, but since it should just be some field that is entered, maybe the data entry person got it mixed up :)
    • by Ioldanach (88584)
      The republican tally is not off by 1, there's an exclamation point in the Giuliani column, as you can see by looking closely at the tiff. Don't know why this would occur though, and that should definitely be addressed. The democratic tally, added up by hand, is short 1 vote from the overall tally. Does this thing handle people who abstain? If so, how? Would their abstention show up in Personal Choice or not show up at all? If it handles abstentions without showing a line for them, then I think this ta
      • by Ioldanach (88584)
        Incidentally, while the article is slashdotted, the tiff [freedom-to-tinker.com] is still up.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:13AM (#22806006)
    As Felten made clear in the article, it's not the size of the discrepancy that's the issue, but the fact that it's there at all. You'd expect this sort of minor error from humans, but the machine turning out this discrepancy is a dead giveaway that something is fundamentally wrong with its inner workings. If we could examine said inner workings, we could determine the cause of this bizzare behavior, but actually knowing what is going on inside their machines is something Sequoia is bound and determined to prevent. One can't help but wonder why, given what we've just seen...
    • The little gnome in the machine made a slight error. So what?
    • by bunratty (545641) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:25AM (#22806118)
      Even if the tally was exactly right, in general you cannot prove a program correct by using only black box testing. There are simply too many possible inputs to have time to test for all but the most trivial inputs. For all we know, there's a backdoor or unintentional security vulnerability that can be used to alter election outcomes. We need to be able to examine the machine's inner workings to have any hope of verifying those are not problems with the voting machine.
      • Mathematically speaking, proving a program correct from the source code is in generaly impossible (if you could do that you could, in particular, solve the halting problem). From the software engineering perspective it's true that examining the source code gives you greater confidence in the software than just black-box testing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Chris Mattern (191822)

          Mathematically speaking, proving a program correct from the source code is in generaly impossible


          Arbitrary program code cannot be proven correct, true. However, program code can be designed to be provable.
        • by digitig (1056110)
          Generally impossible, yes. But in practice it's perfectly possible because software that is written to be proven will avoid constructs that are computationally hard to prove and will include definitions of loop variants and invariants to guide the proof process. You don't need Turing completeness for most practical programming tasks. Sure, the voting software probably hasn't been written that way, but if it's considered in any way "mission critical" then it should have been. It's what's usually required fo
        • Truly mathematically speaking, yes, it is generally impossible to write a computer program that can automatically verify whether a program works. You point out that if this were possible, it would be possible to solve the halting problem. But is there really a computer program that is correct but that humans cannot prove correct?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tom (822)
        Totally correct.

        For all we know, the machines could be programmed to work perfectly, except on election day when subroutine X is used (on that day only).

        But, we also know that thanks to compiler trickery, even studying the source code isn't enough.
    • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:30AM (#22806174) Homepage Journal
      I agree. Humans can be sound, but still off by one. calaculators are either correct or broken.

      However, the size of the discrepancy is 1/60 or so. That's 1.6%, which is enough to change the outcome of some recent US elections [wikipedia.org]. So is it of a significant size? Yes, it is.
    • by rossjudson (97786)
      The simplest explanation is that someone mistakenly selected the Republican ballot, then BEFORE voting canceled and selected the Democratic ballot. Does the machine allow "backing out" and switching to the other ballot, before voting has taken place? What does the screen say at that point?

      I suppose that if this were the case, the representative of the voting machine company might have done better damage control by pointing this out.
      • by werfele (611119)

        Does the machine allow "backing out" and switching to the other ballot, before voting has taken place? What does the screen say at that point? I suppose that if this were the case, the representative of the voting machine company might have done better damage control by pointing this out.
        If the machine did allow switching to the other ballot, that would be a significant flaw in itself, because New Jersey does not have an open primary.
  • Lawyers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (todhsals+nysyaj)> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:14AM (#22806012) Homepage Journal
    Well, bring on the lawsuit from Sequoia I guess. Hopefully the ACLU & EFF will help Dr. Felten with his legal fees.

    • by Miseph (979059)
      Or, you know, his colleagues from Princeton's school of law. Although I'm sure that there exists a significant overlap between those three groups.
      • by werfele (611119)

        Or, you know, his colleagues from Princeton's school of law. Although I'm sure that there exists a significant overlap between those three groups.
        I'm pretty sure the overlap is the empty set, because Princeton doesn't have a law school.
  • Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lamarguy91 (1101967) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:14AM (#22806016)
    FTA:

    As you have likely read in the news media, certain New Jersey election officials have stated that they plan to send to you one or more Sequoia Advantage voting machines for analysis. I want to make you aware that if the County does so, it violates their established Sequoia licensing Agreement for use of the voting system. Sequoia has also retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis. We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property.


    I love the double-standard here. The government wants to invade the privacy of it's citizens (discussed several times over on these very forums) and one of the typical responses is "Well, if you don't have anything to hide...".
    But when an independant third party wants to verify that an important piece of hardware used in our political process can actually do the very simple math that it's required to do, the corporation who produces is has laws that it can throw in one's face to prevent verification of data. Shouldn't someone be pressing Sequoia with the "if you don't have anything to hide..." mantra?

    Does anyone else here see the obvious double-standard that we've created for ourselves?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tony1343 (910042)
      If a company is really trying to not allow a state to verify that their voting machines work correctly, why would any state use such voting machines? This is ridiculous. Such a company should quickly go bankrupt. Must have some fantastic lobbying to get state legislatures to use machines which aren't going to count their votes correctly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by B3ryllium (571199)
      I love that the machine is named the "Advantage".

      But, then again, I'm from Canada - land of paper-based voting. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by robertjw (728654)

      But when an independant third party wants to verify that an important piece of hardware used in our political process can actually do the very simple math that it's required to do, the corporation who produces is has laws that it can throw in one's face to prevent verification of data. Shouldn't someone be pressing Sequoia with the "if you don't have anything to hide..." mantra?

      Yes and no. It appears that this is a contractual issue. The State of New Jersey signed licensing terms that does not allow an independent party to review the code. The state should not violate that contract.

      Thing is, there is a limited market for voting machines in the US. There are only 50 states, it seems to me the states are in a pretty good position to negotiate the licensing terms. Why is it that New Jersey didn't specify in the terms that the code and hardware had to be reviewed by indepe

      • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by monxrtr (1105563) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:17AM (#22806744)

        The State of New Jersey signed licensing terms that does not allow an independent party to review the code. The state should not violate that contract.
        And thus, the State of New Jersey violated its own laws (and so did Sequoia), and possibly Federal Statutes as well, regarding independent poll observers and independent verification of vote tallies. By definition of it being closed source proprietary code, it's illegal. Goodbye Sequoia contract, at a minimum. Rinse and repeat for every State and County. This is going to be a huge victory for open source, and a huge blow against "imaginary property". Just an appetizer before the RIAA goes down.
      • by plague3106 (71849)
        Yes and no. It appears that this is a contractual issue. The State of New Jersey signed licensing terms that does not allow an independent party to review the code. The state should not violate that contract.

        No, I disagree. When it comes to elections and verifying voting machines, the state has every right to verify, the clause on the contract is irrelevent. Proper voting is more important than a contract between business and government.
        • by robertjw (728654)

          When it comes to elections and verifying voting machines, the state has every right to verify, the clause on the contract is irrelevent. Proper voting is more important than a contract between business and government.

          The relevancy of the terms of the contract is for the courts to decide - which is what will happen if NJ sends the machine to an independent review source, but I can't say I agree with you.

          A state, or any entity, cannot, and should not, sign a contract and then just ignore the provisions of the contract. Proper voting is very important, and it's up to State authorities to ensure the voting is correct. This decision should have been made PRIOR to signing the contract. If the terms of the licensing

    • The difference is that Sequoia is selling a product that is being used to fulfill a very critical and very public function of our democracy while the personal affairs of a private citizen are generally not critical in the same way. I see no double standard in advocating personal privacy while at the same time defending the ability of the people to reverse engineer, test, and verify that a product which they have purchased, either individually or collectively, fulfills the requirements of the buyer.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      > Does anyone else here see the obvious double-standard that we've created for ourselves?

      There's no double standard. Anything that favors the powerful over you is what they do.
  • oh dear, another "non compliant" analysis.

    duck and cover, they are reaching for their lawyer.

    sounds like this story is a might fine basis for some good ole' fashioned DMCA action. Pffffft, that was the sound of sequoia credibility dying a death...
    • Re:oh dear. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:33AM (#22806204) Homepage

      Pffffft, that was the sound of sequoia credibility dying a death

      What credibility are you talking about?

      After all those neato stints that just about every voting machine company tried to pull their credibility is somewhere between a San Francisco Tenderloin crack hooker and a timeshare salesman for quite some time now.

      Thinking about it the hookers credibility is probably a lot better then the ones of those voting machine vendors.

      • by phorm (591458)
        Thinking about it the hookers credibility is probably a lot better then the ones of those voting machine vendors.

        Yes, because whether she does the job right or not, either way you got screwed :-)
  • Software bug (Score:4, Insightful)

    by INeededALogin (771371) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:16AM (#22806032) Journal
    The readout on a screen seems like a simple data display problem. Perhaps the programmer did something stupid like:

    print array.lastIndex.indexNum

    instead of

    print array.count

    The real concern here is not that it has a bug. All software has bugs. The concern is over what kind of QA was performed to guarantee our votes. If such a simple and obvious test case was not performed, how on earth are we to feel good about this machine?
    • But as mentioned above, this wouldn't explain why the republican tally is +1 and the democratic tally is -1. If it was a dumb programmer bug like you mention then both tallies would be off by the same amount, either they'd both be +1 or they'd both be -1.
    • That seems like a very odd mistake to make -- off the top of my head, I could probably guess array.count, or array.size, array.length, etc. I probably wouldn't know about array.lastIndex, let alone array.lastIndex.indexNum.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      The readout on a screen seems like a simple data display problem. Perhaps the programmer did something stupid like:

      What stupid thing the programmer may have done is irrelevant here.

      This is supposed to be a secure machine for tallying votes. Either it is capable of counting, and providing a verifiable audit which matches the results it reports. Or, it's fundamentally broken and can't actually be used to count elections. I don't see how there is any middle ground.

      There simply is no room for trying to acco

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      First of all, when did it become acceptable for "all software" to have bugs? The software that runs a missile control center better be bug free, especially the part that controls the firing sequence. There are certain situations where software errors are just not tolerable -- and I would say that voting machines are one of those cases. Our entire society is based on the idea that people have the right to vote on who leads them; if our ability to trust voting machines is undermined, then the foundation of
  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:17AM (#22806050) Journal
    At first, I was thinking,"Oh, maybe some people chose not to vote after calling up either Rep or Dem." But then I realized the math involved. The computer says 60 votes were cast for the Reps, but 61 votes are actually placed.

    Sheesh, why does this have to be so difficult. We can conduct trillions of dollars of business electronically, but we still don't have an effective digital voting system? I think the conspiracy here is by someone who hates technology likes to kill trees for paper balloting, not that digital voting is being rigged.
    • by ivan256 (17499)
      If we did it right, less people would get rich off a lucrative government contract.. Or the same number of people would be less-rich.. Either way.

      1. Land government contract
      2. Do little or nothing.
      3. Profit.
    • by encoderer (1060616) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:29AM (#22806158)
      One counter started at Zero, the other at One? ...These kind of bugs are written all the time. ...Of course, this is why the software should be OSS. The more eyeballs, the more people running in debug mode just to play around and have fun, the more people slicing and dicing the source code, the better.

      It's hard to believe this is even an issue. The problem is that the people making voting machines (like Diebold) come from Banking sectors, where privacy and private, proprietary systems are the modus operandi.

      Seems to me a good way to fix this would be to get some high-profile Non-Profs and top-brand CS schools (I'm thinking MIT, Apache Foundation, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, etc) all working together to gather some grant money, build the hardware and software solutions, open everything up for scrutiny, and produce a working product.

      We can wave our arms over what somebody SHOULD build, but if we had a compelling alternative ready to go, it'd be a lot easier to pressure governments to do the right thing.
      • One counter started at Zero, the other at One?
        If thats true that shows the machine was tested ZERO times.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jason Levine (196982)
        In the comments, Felton mentions that he has looked at two tapes so far. One is shown in the article. The other one has a column that is off by 2 votes. That pretty much eliminates the "Array Counter" theory.
      • One counter started at Zero, the other at One? ...These kind of bugs are written all the time.
        No, it's more like one counter started at +1 the other started at -1. Not such a common bug.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Levine (196982)
      I agree. It shouldn't be this hard to design a system that would count votes quickly *and* accurately. I could make a website that would tally the results accurately. Why can't they do the same (with a better interface) via more robust languages?

      I'm not a big fan of the argument that Open Source = Always Better and Closed Source = Always Worse, but in this case I think it applies. The voting machines' inner workings are hidden from view from everyone, including the government running the election. If y
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by roystgnr (4015) *
      We can conduct trillions of dollars of business electronically

      If those trillions of dollars had to be transacted via "secret ballot", I'm pretty sure that hundreds of billions of them would have disappeared. Somehow it's a lot harder to write error-free code when you know that nobody's going to be able to do something as simple as checking their bank statements to catch your errors.
  • Enough Already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flajann (658201) <flajann.linuxbloke@com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:21AM (#22806084) Homepage Journal
    Nix all the evoting crap and go back to paper ballots. We know that paper ballots work, and are a LOT harder to fudge to the level of throwing an election.

    On the whole of it, I have a big problem with the "Winner takes all" system anyway, with the majority giving the power to a handful to beat up on us all. Not even getting into how the Republicans and the Democrats systemically shuts out all other parties.

    But if we are going to have voting, at least make it fair. Give equal time to ALL parties, not just the D-R club, and use paper ballots under tight security. At least make "Democracy" less of a joke than it already is.

    • Re:Enough Already! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:23AM (#22806108)
      We know that paper ballots work, and are a LOT harder to fudge to the level of throwing an election.

      While I agree with you, I just have to point out that it's not all that hard...after all, the recent presidential election in Mexico was stolen the old-fashioned way.
      • Re:Enough Already! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:40AM (#22807070) Journal

        While I agree with you, I just have to point out that it's not all that hard...after all, the recent presidential election in Mexico was stolen the old-fashioned way.
        And we know this. In US, no one can know for sure.
      • by Tom (822)
        The real difference isn't that forging is more difficult.

        The real difference is that undetectable forging is a whole lot more difficult.

        With a paper ballot, there are a couple hundred years of forensics that you can throw at the sample to test whether they were all filled out by the same person, for example. Modifying existing ballots is even harder, if you want to do it in a way that stands up to any kind of investigation.

        In pure electronic voting, one bit is for all purposes identical to another bit, and
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by solipsist0x01 (887281)
      Evoting can work if the source and hardware design of the machines are completely open to the public. We have a right to know how our votes are counted. I don't understand why this is such a problem, and I really don't understand why anyone would put up with anything less.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grumbel (592662)

        Evoting can work if the source and hardware design of the machines are completely open to the public.

        That isn't enough because you have absolutely no guarantee that the hardware and software you vote on is equal to the hardware and software design that was published. And also you would still have a voting process that is basically a magical blackbox for 99.9% of the population, some experts might be able to verify it, but not the voter and this is a big deal, since a voter should be able to understand and verify the voting process. Good old pen&paper based voting does that, eVoting doesn't even get cl

    • by Aliks (530618)
      There are quite a few reasons to think that paper ballots are being sabotaged. The favoured techniques include siting of the least efficient equipment in the poorest districts, thus creating more spoiled "Democrat" ballots which can be thrown away.

      The more control one party has over the voting process, the more likely it is that voting fraud takes place.

      By all accounts the anomalies in 2004 for Black and Hispanic votes were quite substantial.
    • Nix all the evoting crap and go back to paper ballots.

      I tend to take a different point of view. For example, if amazon can track the millions of customers, purchases, orders, etc., with minimal errors (most folks tend to get what they ordered and charged the proper amount), why can't evoting on the same scale work?

      Yes, there are architectural differences, etc., but my point is that we can make evoting about as reliable as paper voting---there's nothing fundamentally `bad' about machines adding up the votes.
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:23AM (#22806100) Journal
    Considering that this article was listed as showing "11 of 3 Comments" I think this is quite a common problem.
  • by ke5aux (1180175) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:30AM (#22806176)
    Ok, thats it! We need the source code for /. polls.
  • can he show that it favors one side or another? If not, it just indicates a bug in the system and general incompetence. But if it shows a favor on one side or the other, well, that would indicate that we have an issue of voter fraud.
    • by dunc78 (583090)
      See, it runs into problems with double letters. See double Bs as in "Dobbs" take favor over double G's as in "Kellogg" and double L's as in "Kellogg" and "Mills". Simple mistake.
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @10:51AM (#22806404)
    How is intentionally preventing auditing of the basic method of democracy anything less than treason? The Board of Directors should be jailed forever for condoning this activity by the Company's lawers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by monxrtr (1105563)
      This is a perfect wedge to drive between open and closed source code. All closed source code in government election counting is *illegal*. It's no different then if say Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, was allowed to take paper ballot boxes to his home and count them in private, in secret, and then release the totals with no supervision, or independent observers or verification.

      Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end for closed source code in government elections. Here is the perfect o
    • by DrLang21 (900992)
      Why stop at treason? I think this calls for high treason. The penalty for that is death if I recall correctly. It's been a long time since there has been a death penalty handed down (originally) from a federal court.
    • What? Don't you want to jail the lawyers too?
  • This is New Jersey why should bother with making sure the election machines can't be rigged. Hell, even our own NJ Supreme Court doesn't follow the NJ Constitution even when they rule something unconstitutional! Witness the 2002 Senate election when one candidate was replaced with another even though the Court ruled it was unconstitutional to do so [houstonlawreview.org]. "Yeah, it's unconstitutional. Just don't do it again next time." As a Jersey resident, I'll be unsurprised if the election board allows the machines to be use
  • What we need is a company like Diebold or Sequoia to step up and guarantee the results of an election. I'm thinking the line could be: "If within the first 30 days, you're not 100% thrilled with the results of the election, we'll give you your old Republic back". That's right, the Republic-back guarantee, you heard it here first.
  • Open source how? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hikaru79 (832891) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:32AM (#22806940) Homepage
    Everyone keeps saying that a solution to the problem of potential voter fraud would be to open-source the code. My question is -- how? Let's say they do and someone reads it and understands it; what guarantee does anyone have that the code they've published is the same as the code on the machines the day of the election? It would be absolutely trivial to cut out the naughty bits before publishing.

    If Sequoia really were ready to commit mass voter fraud, I doubt they would have too many moral issues with violating the principles of open source while they're at it.
    • Everyone keeps saying that a solution to the problem of potential voter fraud would be to open-source the code.... what guarantee does anyone have that the code they've published is the same as the code on the machines the day of the election? It would be absolutely trivial to cut out the naughty bits before publishing.

      If the code on the machine is not the same as the publically released code, that in and of itself would be tampering with the machine. It is not necessarily easy, but nevertheless it is possible to verify that the compiled code on the machine is the same as the compiled version of the released source code. If they are not, then you have evidence of a crime-- you don't need to figure out what the code on the machine does, you only need to show that it's not the code that the voting commission purchased.

  • Since Dr. Felten is theoretically doing the analysis and finding problems, now Sequoia would state that the State is in violation of a contractual agreement. Do they really want to get into a spitting match where all the voters who voted via a Sequoia machine could potentially file a class action lawsuit against the company for disenfranchising voters by not counting their votes correctly?

    Or --more likely -- are they putting out the legal contract mumbo-jumbo to threaten NJ in order to avoid that exact sc

  • by whitehatlurker (867714) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @03:19PM (#22810266) Journal
    The machine counted the vote for Giuliani as being for the Democratic party.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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