21 votes

Judge orders Georgia to switch to paper ballots for 2020 elections

5 comments

  1. [5]
    Empusa
    Link
    The lack of care for security here is downright appealing. While I'm glad this is being addressed, I find it concerning that they were allowed to operate for over a decade after these...

    Georgia is still using Diebold Accuvote TSX touchscreen machines whose hardware and software date back to around 2005. In 2006 and 2007, security researchers discovered numerous security vulnerabilities in these machines—problems serious enough to cause California to decertify them from use in state elections.

    The lack of care for security here is downright appealing. While I'm glad this is being addressed, I find it concerning that they were allowed to operate for over a decade after these vulnerabilities were revealed. Even worse they made no attempts to remedy the situation.

    After one 2006 report, Totenberg writes, "Diebold was forced to create a security patch for the vulnerable TSX software." Yet incredibly, "there is no evidence that Georgia ever implemented the software patch or made any upgrades to protect the integrity of its DRE machines," Totenberg says.

    The security problems found by those early researchers were serious. Not only can someone with physical access to the machine install vote-stealing malware, it's also possible to deliver such malware using viruses that spread from machine to machine on the memory cards election workers use to load ballot information onto them. Hence, a malicious actor with a few minutes' access to a single machine could potentially hack dozens or even hundreds of machines.

    I don't know how the state of Georgia can justify their behavior here. It seems like their was negligence across the board. Even by the organization contracted to help them.

    It gets worse. In 2016, a Georgia-based security researcher discovered that Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, which has a contract to help Georgia manage its elections, had a massive cache of sensitive election-related documents—including private voter data and passwords for election systems—publicly available on its website for anyone to download. After being notified of the breach, it took officials months to remove the sensitive information from the website.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Now let's think really hard as to why a traditionally conservative state with predominantly Republican control of statewide voting since 2005, faced with a growing urban and liberal population...

      I don't know how the state of Georgia can justify their behavior here. It seems like their was negligence across the board. Even by the organization contracted to help them.

      Now let's think really hard as to why a traditionally conservative state with predominantly Republican control of statewide voting since 2005, faced with a growing urban and liberal population would continue to use voting machines with such well known and easily accessible vulnerabilities.

      7 votes
      1. Empusa
        Link Parent
        Oh absolutely, I don't think it's a coincidence at all. They would have no reason to fix a system that directly benefited them.

        Oh absolutely, I don't think it's a coincidence at all. They would have no reason to fix a system that directly benefited them.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      Death
      Link Parent
      The practical reasons are easy enough to come up with: less overhead than paper ballots, and patching them takes time (and therefore money) ergo no patching. But it does strain belief just how...

      The practical reasons are easy enough to come up with: less overhead than paper ballots, and patching them takes time (and therefore money) ergo no patching. But it does strain belief just how incredibly incompetent this makes the state of Georgia look, or why they would invest in the machines if short-term cost-cutting was the goal.

      3 votes
      1. Empusa
        Link Parent
        Oh absolutely, I think there were many reasons that contributed to the mess they currently have. And if it was just the problems I previously quoted it would be much more excusable. But when those...

        Oh absolutely, I think there were many reasons that contributed to the mess they currently have. And if it was just the problems I previously quoted it would be much more excusable. But when those issues make it so people can't even reasonably vote for their candidate, I think they become much less valid. For instance:

        Teri Adams described that when she voted at the Bleckley County Courthouse and selected candidate Stacey Abrams for governor on the DRE screen, she noticed that her designated selection was listed as Brian Kemp on the review screen. She tried to vote for Abrams a second time, but the review screen again showed Kemp as her chosen candidate. Ms. Adams cast her ballot on the third try when her selection in the governor’s race remained Abrams. Adams reported her problems on “machine number 2” to the poll workers whose only response was “did it take your vote?”

        4 votes