by Teresa Hommel
May 26, 2005
in Voting and Vote-tabulating Equipment
NY State legislation
--ban all communications capability in electronic voting and vote-tabulating equipment.
--require inspection of all such equipment prior to each election to find and remove such capability; provide for criminal investigation when such capability is discovered; and provide for prosecution of corporations, parties, and individuals who installed such capability.
Communications capability allows persons who are not physically present to gain undetectable access to electronic voting and vote-tabulating equipment, and to modify ballot-definitions, ballots, votes, tallies, etc.
Communication technology is developing so rapidly that any list of banned devices, or required security procedures for use and control of such devices, will not be effective to prevent unauthorized access.
Example, new communications technology:
"Powerline Communications" uses digital signals that are carried over the existing power lines within a building. Using this capability, high speed internet can be available via every electrical plug in the building.
Communication access through existing electrical wiring provides a way to control or interact with every electrical device, including microwave ovens, televisions, telephones, and computers.
Hundreds of companies are racing to get their products to market now. But if you combine computerized voting with communications, you get an open ballot box where anyone can alter ballots without being detected, from anywhere in the world, in a matter of seconds or less.
Voting System Vendors and Networking, Example:
On March 8, 2005, Sequoia Voting Systems was acquired by Smartmatic, a company with expertise in networking and voting systems:
http://smartmatic.com/about_us.htm -- note networked systems.
Sample Legal Language:
Federal: (Note that this language allows communications devices of older types, surely with the assumption that they can be securely managed by poll-workers. This assumption is false. Communications expertise is so specialized that even a PhD in computer science might not be able to ensure security, unless their specialty was communications.)
H.R. 550: Sect 2(c)(9): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.550:
9) PROHIBITION OF USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES IN VOTING SYSTEMS- No voting system shall contain, use, or be accessible by any wireless, power-line, or concealed communication device at all.
State: (Note that this language uses a list of communications technology which is already obsolete, since it does not mention power-line technology.)
Minnesota HR 874: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H0874.3&session=ls84
3.23 Sec. 5. [206.845] [BALLOT RECORDING AND COUNTING
3.25 Subdivision 1. [PERMITTED AND PROHIBITED MODES OF
3.26 TRANSFER.] Ballot recording and counting systems must be secured
3.27 physically and electronically against unauthorized access.
3.28 Except for wired connections within the polling place, ballot
3.29 recording and counting systems must not be connected to, or
3.30 operated on, directly or indirectly, any electronic network
3.31 including internal office networks, LANs, the Internet, or World
3.32 Wide Web. Wireless communications may not be used in any way in
3.33 a vote recording or vote counting system. Wireless,
3.34 device-to-device capability is not allowed. No connection by
3.35 modem is allowed.
3.36 Transfer of information from the ballot recording or
4.1 counting system to another system for network or broadcast must
4.2 be made by disk, tape, or other physical means of communication
4.3 other than direct or indirect electronic connection of the vote
4.4 recording or vote counting system.
4.5 Subd. 2. [TRANSMIT TO CENTRAL REPORTING LOCATION.] After
4.6 the close of the polls, counties employing precinct ballot
4.7 counting devices may telephonically or electronically transmit
4.8 the accumulated tally for each device to a central reporting
4.9 location. Before making a telephonic or electronic
4.10 transmission, the precinct election officer must create a
4.11 printed record of the results of the election for that precinct
4.12 as provided by rules of the secretary of state. During the
4.13 canvassing period the results transmitted telephonically or
4.14 electronically must be considered unofficial until a complete
4.15 reconciliation of the results has been performed.
Our vision drives our mission: we envision a world in which everything will be connected-and we are actively working to materialize the future now.
We develop embedded and enterprise software that links many kinds of devices from a wide range of existing networks, allowing them to quickly connect and simultaneously execute millions of tasks, irrespective of their complexity level.
This enables our users to access, control and manage device-networking tools and applications in a simple and low-cost way.
In addition, we provide advanced computing and connectivity capabilities that can make any conventional device a "smart device."
Our wide-ranging business solutions portfolio includes the latest developments in software, device intelligence and automation to create new and better business opportunities. For example, the Smartmatic Automated Election Systems (SAES) uses the Smartmatic platform for ultra-safe device networking in a voting system that guarantees security, reliability and auditability. Sequoia Voting Systems, acquired by Smartmatic on March 8, 2005, has received widespread acclaim for its successful use of electronic voting systems throughout the U.S., including, in the State of Nevada, the first election in American history featuring a voter-verified paper trail.
We deliver end-user benefits that include safety, comfort, operational efficiencies and cost reductions. We add value through our values: innovation, creativity and commitment are at the heart of everything we do, giving our customers a level of excellence that reaches beyond the bottom line, and create new and better business opportunities.