JUNE 12, 2006
Tests conducted months ago by a Florida supervisor of elections exposed serious security problems with electronic voting machines and now embarrassed state officials want to pass a new law that prohibits such testing in the future.
You would think Florida officials would praise Ion Sancho, the supervisor of elections in Tallahassee’s Leon County, for exposing how easily the fancy and expensive Diebold Elections Systems machines could be hacked. Instead, irritated state officials retaliated by taking $500,000 in federal grant money away from Sancho’s office and now they want to stop election supervisors in the state’s 67 counties from running any kind of voting equipment test without clearance from the state.
Makes you wonder what Florida officials are afraid of. Perhaps what Sancho discovered in his county is widespread in the Sunshine State. Black Box Voting, a nonpartisan election watchdog, called it the most serious “hack” demonstration to date, pointing out how the Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This demonstrates that Diebold made misrepresentations to secretaries of state across the nation when it claimed votes could not be changed on the credit card-sized ballot box used by computerized voting machines.
Other Florida elections supervisors have questioned the reliability of the electronic machines, which were purchased after the 2000 Presidential election fiasco in which paper ballots were questioned. However, now they are intimidated with proposed legislation created to discourage proving the flaws. Daily Kos points out that Sancho was an election official hammered for telling the truth and Tech Dirt ran a story with a sarcastic headline that reads, “How Dare You Actually Want Secure And Valid Elections?!?”
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