Audit Arizona (AUDIT AZ) Articles

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Video Links To Show Ease of Changing Votes

Gallup: Only 1 in 4 Americans Very Confident Votes Will Be Counted Accurately Oct 27th 2006

HBO Nov 2, Hacking Democracy

Posted by Protect Democracy :: 11/02/2006 01:14:00 PM ::

RECAP (Hacking Protections & Audit):

1) The “6:59pm report” can catch early vote manipulation, especially if it is outside interference not controlled by the elections department staff.

2) The 2nd chance of catching any misdeeds is the SB 1557 2% audit, which is especially effective at catching precinct-level manipulation as per Hursti. Also will need luck if the races hacked are picked (one in 4 races are picked by lottery).

3) The 3rd chance is the Audit Board that makes up the canvas. Anything that slips past the above two steps may be caught here. Coconino Election Director Patty Hansen said; “It wrong, we should not be auditing ourselves and performing the canvas”. The Audit board should be able to verify the election results by matching the precinct results with the GEMS report. This can’t be done with the mail-in ballots that were run on central count scanners. But with the backup of the 6:59pm pre-modem report a comparison now could be made of the mail-in votes comparing before and after the key vulnerability point when the modems are active and the county has enabled outside interference for the sake of results expediency. Small counties do not need central count scanners. We must push into sorting and using precinct scanner that produce a tape, but that won't happen this election. See also SOS PROCEDURES MANUAL pages 153/154 - audit board instructions. Larry Bahill, former Pima County Election Director knows better than anyone else how this works.

4) And only if our A CANDIDATES PLEDGE OF TRUST TO VOTERS--NO EARLY CONCESSION (letter attached) will we have the time needed to sort this out. The post-election audit boards may not start their work for up to 10 days post-election. That may be the first time the 6:59pm reports are looked at, if the elections officers delay public records reporting of that data. They cannot withhold that data from their audit boards.

We ask your assistance in making all these things happen. We want a formal request to every election official in the state asking them to make a backup of their election data just before they turn the modems on at 7:00pm election night, and print a vote summary at the same time to be held until after 8:00pm.

We need to coordinate SB1557 recount efforts in each county and get notified immediately by county Party people if the any party try veto, so we have enough time to coordinate with the LP. We need audit boards in every county containing trustworthy party-appointed people whom we can advice and mentor on the use of best-practices audit tools such as the 6:59 reports.

And we must get the message across to candidates: don't concede until the process and our votes are completely inspected. This isn't “being a sore loser”, it's protecting our votes and must be spoken of in exactly that fashion: finish the process, protect our votes, protect our Democracy.

Thank you in advance for your kind support of this ground-breaking effort here in Arizona, and for helping make this state a model for the nation in intelligent party oversight of the Democratic process.

John Brakey

Jim March

Posted by Protect Democracy :: 11/02/2006 01:12:00 PM ::
Hacking The Precinct Vote

Problem TWO: “Hacking The Precinct Vote”

We know that the Diebold precinct optical scanners do have “interpreted code” in use, a type of programming banned under the FEC rules concerning voting systems.


“This is code that is readable by humans and modifiable by humans. This is kind of code that is often used by scientists and engineers …because it is easily modifiable, and should be used only in an experimental environment.

It should never be used in any device or system that requires security and [it] is explicitly prohibited by the 2002 Federal Election code.”

Confirmation comes from University of California, Berkeley report on the Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuBasic Interpreter Voting Systems Technology Assessment Advisory Board of 2/14/2006.

HBO starting tonight will show “Hacking Democracy” on how this was done in Leon County, Florida. This incident is often referred to as the “Hursti Hack”. Finnish security expert Harri Hursti proved that field editing of the interpreted code by a semi-sophisticated hacker could produce a faked paper tape audit trail, or a pre-stuffed “electronic ballot box” memory device containing negative and positive votes to throw the election in any conceivable direction.

Solution to protect precinct votes:

Fortunately SB1557 audits (when performed effectively and comprehensively) are better set up to catch “precinct vote hacking” than they are early vote auditing. SB1557 must therefore be aggressively implemented and if any Party tries to sit out the process to “veto” it, we must make rapid connections with the other parties to end-run obstruction. Pima County did this successfully in the post-primary recount, going so far as to recruit extra volunteers and loan them to the Libertarian Party as counters approved by the L.P. county chair. This model can be replicated. We get effective auditing out of it.

We believe that working with elections staff per Arizona Revised Statutes, a visibly transparent and fair election can be presented to the public. We intend to accomplish this in accord with the procedures manual created by the Arizona Secretary of State as of August 2006.

This publication is available in PDF:


Election Night Reporting............................................................................156


Election Night Reporting

Upon initial tabulation of election results, and additionally as new results are tabulated, the counties will communicate election results to the secretary of state in an agreed upon electronic format using an application supplied by the secretary of state. The results shall not be released before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, or until all polls are closed, whichever occurs first. (Page 156)

Posted by Protect Democracy :: 11/02/2006 01:11:00 PM ::
Hacking the Early Vote

We must bring to your attention possible vulnerabilities in our voting systems, especially as they relate to counties running Diebold Election Systems products.

Problem ONE: “Hacking The Early Vote”

There is a 1 hour window for a hacker to change the votes. The early ballots are an especially tempting target for manipulation.

Early ballots on paper are scanned and processed generally before 7:00pm on election day. A few “straggler ballots” trickle in after but the numbers are not generally very large.

The phone modems are turned on at 7:00pm on election day allowing the precincts to report totals. This phone communication method is fundamentally stupid. It opens the “crown jewels” (the central database of votes) to outside manipulation by anybody who has that phone number, often NOT changed between elections. Diebold's software protocols allow standard personal computers to make an incoming connection, not just voting machines. Elections officials would never know that this “rogue” slipped in and manipulated the database.

At 8:00 pm the totals are tabulated and the first report is generated and released.

The mail-in votes in a Diebold environment are a target because Diebold's “central count” scanners (firmware 2.0.12) do not keep an independent paper record of the vote. They have their own printer, but it is basically disabled. Diebold precinct optical scanners print a ticker-tape of vote totals. The “central count” scanners used to do the same thing; Diebold disabled this in late 2002. With no independent audit trail, anybody manipulating the central database of early votes would not be caught without massive hand-counting in excess of the counting available under SB1557.

In Pima County, literally 1 box of 900 ballot could hold over 400 different precincts in one box. This makes it impossible, per the laws of Arizona, to scrutinize that paper effectively unless the results of the race are within 1/10 of 1 percent (ARS 16-661). There is no other state that has this low of a recount threshhold in our country.

If this HACK was to happen, there is nothing we could do with out evidence!

We did not know until our “roadtrip” that Coconino and Mohave counties also have these scanners in addition to the Pima and Yavapai systems listed with this dangerous gear. There may be more Diebold counties that have these audit-crippled scanners.

Solution to protect votes by mail:

Before the phone modems are turn on the Election Director MUST DO two things:

1) Before phone modems are turn on backup the central database of votes to a non rewritable CD the data and call it the “6:59pm report”. NOTE: election officials regularly make backups of their data, so we're not asking for anything unusual or difficult.

2) Print a complete report that gives the totals of all early votes cast and also done by precincts and place in envelope and do not released till 8:00pm to media and political parties. (The date and time is on the top right of report.)

Together these steps preserve a record of the vote from just before the counties open their systems to outside interference. We have tried and failed to stop this practice; making an audit record specific to this issue is our only remaining hope of catching outside manipulation if it happens.

John Brakey
Jim March

Posted by Protect Democracy :: 11/02/2006 01:05:00 PM ::