Thursday, December 09, 2004

Touchscreen voter hacker comes clean

Not that this is evidence of fraud...blahblahblah

In the vote fraud prototype that I created things are not what they seem. Hidden on the screen are invisible buttons. A person with knowledge of the locations of those invisible buttons can then use them to alter the votes of everyone before them. By clicking the correct order of invisible buttons the candidate selected by the user is compared to other candidates within that same race. If the candidate they selected is leading the race nothing happens. If the other candidate is leading the race the vote totals are altered so that the selected candidate is now leading the race with 51% of the vote. The other candidates then share the remaining 49% in exact proportion to the totals they had previously.

Sound familiar (exit polls, anyone?)?

To be fair, this was just a proof-of-concept, not an actual deployed machine, as far as I can tell. However:

[The programmer] states he initially believed that [the Republican who hired him] sought to stop Democrats from using such a program and “wanted to be able to detect and prevent that if it occurred.”

It was not until after the prototype was delivered that he says he got wind of its possible, more nefarious usage.

According to his affidavit, Yang, his employer, later informed him that the software might be used to “control the vote in South Florida.” He says that he would never have developed the software had he known its alleged ultimate purpose.


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