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Forum Post: Lawsuit filed over Ohio software update to voting machines

Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 6, 2012, 3:33 p.m. EST by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The co-chairman of the Ohio Green Party and editor of FreePress.org, on Monday filed a federal lawsuit over software that was allegedly installed on central vote tabulation machines in 39 Ohio counties without being tested or certified for use as required by state law.

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See how this can be done:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Qcvqxuy5o

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The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, sought the court's immediate intervention in getting Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to remove the allegedly infringing software from the tabulation machines before Tuesday's general elections.

Ohio is a key swing state in the U.S. presidential election and could well determine the winner. Polls have shown President Obama with a narrow lead in the state over GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The lawsuit comes days after FreePress.org published a report claiming that Husted had done an "end run" around Ohio law by installing the software on the vote tabulators in the weeks leading up to to the election. According to the report, the software was installed on machines that will be used to count ballots cast by more than 4 million registered voters, including those in major metropolitan areas such as Cleveland and Columbus.

FreePress claimed it obtained a copy of the contract for the software from a source at Husted's office. The contract calls for the tabulation machine's vendor to "enter custom codes and interfaces to the standard election reporting software," the publication claimed.

In an update posted Monday, Fitrakis said that FreePress has since learned that the software was apparently installed to help simplify the process by which counties report election results to the Secretary of State's system.

Memos circulated among senior staff at the Ohio Secretary of State's office "indicate that this software was never tested because of claims that it is not involved with the tabulation or communication of votes," Fitrakis noted. The software was unilaterally deemed "experimental" in nature by Husted's office and therefore was made exempt from Ohio's testing and certification requirements, he said.

Untested software updates on voting machines are illegal under Ohio law, but "last minute software patches may be deemed 'experimental' because that designation does not require certification and testing," Fitrakis wrote. "By unilaterally deeming this new software "experimental," Secretary of State Husted was able to have the software installed without any review, inspection or certification by anyone," he claimed.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Speaking with Computerworld, Fitrakis said he filed the lawsuit because Ohio statutes make it clear that all software loaded on election systems must be previously tested and certified. Though Husted's office has tried to make it appear that the software update was such a minor change that it did not require testing, state and federal laws provide no such exception, especially when the update involves so many systems.

"If the software is so benign, they should have given us the contract to inspect," Fitrakis said.

Fitrakis said the biggest concern with using untested software is that there is no way of knowing how susceptible it might be to hacking and tampering.

"Who know what's in the code ... and whether or not it creates an opportunity to alter election results. There's a reason you test and certify," he said.

Even if the software is not directly installed on voting machines, it is still troubling, according to election watcher Brad Friedman, who maintains a blog chronicling election issues. "Since the software is installed directly onto the central tabulator machines, where it can affect --- either accidentally, or by design --- the main results of an entire county's election," the software is worrisome, Friedman wrote in his blog Monday.

"Software residing on the central tabulation systems is, in fact, far more dangerous than software on the voting systems, since it can have direct access to the entire set of county election results," he wrote.

In comment's made to theGrio, a news Web site, a spokesman for Husted's office is quoted as saying the newly installed software allows election results to be outputted to a thumb drive from where it can be immediately uploaded to the Secretary of State's system. The software is designed to cut down on the amount of information that precinct workers would have to key in by hand, the spokesman said.

"It basically just creates a one-way flow of information -- and that is simply from their system, out," the spokesman is quoted as telling theGrio. "It is a pilot project that we're doing with about 25 counties or so. So it's not statewide, but it is a pilot project we're trying," the spokesman said in explaining why the software was labeled experimental.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9233274/Update_Lawsuit_filed_in_Ohio_over_software_updates_to_vote_tabulation_machines?source=rss_security

10 Comments

10 Comments


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[-] 1 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Take these Diebold machines, put them in a pile and burn them. Get a pencil and paper and vote for Luddites. We told you this would happen.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 1 year ago

It's hard to say how many elections have been stolen in this manner. It may be a quite a while before we know who the next president is. It might even be another 2000 with the supreme court picking the winner instead of the people; notwithstanding the public's view of our democracy. Could be a real mess.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Ohio republican Attornet General Husted has tried several ways of suppressing Dem votes. This is clearly too coincidental to be anything but a new attempt to cheat.

Republicans can't win without cheating!

And here is a PA voting machines switching Obama votes to Romney.

http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/11/06/touch-screen-voting-shenanigans-again-pennsylvania-voter-tapes-screen-selecting-romney-when-obama-chosen/

[-] 2 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Voting should NEVER be decided by touchscreen. It's too buggy.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 1 year ago

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that these tactics were used in 2010 that gave them the win in the house. There were similar issues in 2004 in Ohio, but John Kerry refused to pursue them. I just found this video (I haven't finished it yet) that appears to connect the dots. The caption says:

Murders Spies And Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story is an incredible documentary which tells the story of a computer programmer who was contacted by a private company-Yang Enterprises- who have ties to accused chinese spies, to write a program that could be used to rig elections...what follows is the breaking of a massive conspiracy in which there would be hard evidence of vote manipulation via electronic voting machines-whether using Curtis's program or the twenty year old bootloader hack which, as show by students at Princeton University, could be loaded onto any of these machines in less than a minute; the sketchy firing of two employees-one being Curtis himself- from the Florida Dept of Transportation; corrupt ties to leading members of Diebold-one of two companies responsible for vote counting in the US; and a dead Florida DOT investigator- Raymond Lemme RIP- who was privately investigating the claims made by Curtis...who conveniently committed suicide in Georgia, where autopsies are not done on suicide victims, as opposed to Florida where an autopsy would have been automatic. What really happened in 2000 to Al Gore and Ohio & Florida, and again in 2004.....now you can finally know the truth, and it ain't pretty!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhBtfiRKaVY&list=PL1JZV4JGrhDTaciIZGQoAuQCsm_ZbVP5i&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Thanx for the link on the Pa voting machines. Sure looks like there's a fox is in the hen-house. If this turns out to be true, it could indicate a coup in our government.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Underhanded, sleazy cheats! But the people overwhelmed their efforts!

And the right wing wackos lost!

Thx fo rthe link! Looks good.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Great. Why don't we just use Redbox machines to vote. I hate those things.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

LOL. Well I think we WILL go electronic but we will have to watch closely.

I think we can watch the electronc votes easier than paper votes. We ain't developed the right process/procedures.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

If it goes electronic it will be touchscreen and I'm not crazy about touchscreen. They need to improve it.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I will come. Papertrail, individual on-line voting/verifiability.

Much can and will be done.

And maybe will see the long lines in coincidentally dem districts in battleground states will be addressed.

Obvious attempt at voter suppression.