more diebold e-voting scandals

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    Diebold Election Systems has had a tumultuous year, and it doesn't look like it's getting any better.

    Last January the electronic voting machine maker faced public embarrassment when voting activists revealed the company's insecure FTP server was making its software source code available for everyone to see.

    Now a former worker in Diebold's Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machines before the state's 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials.

    If the charges are true, Diebold could be in violation of federal and state election-certification rules. The charges also raise questions about the integrity of the Georgia election results and any other election that uses patched Diebold systems that have not been re-certified.

    According to Rob Behler, an engineer hired as a contractor to work in Diebold's Georgia warehouse last year, the Diebold systems had major functioning problems.

    Behler said 25 to 30 percent of the machines in one shipment to the warehouse either crashed upon booting or had problems with their real-time clocks, causing the systems to register the date inaccurately then boot improperly or freeze up altogether.

    "They did not meet what I would deem standard operation," he said.

    Behler said Diebold provided warehouse workers with at least three patches to apply to the systems before state officials began logic and accuracy testing on them. Behler said one patch was applied to machines when he came to the warehouse in June, a second patch was applied in July and a third in August after he left the warehouse.

    Behler first informed Bev Harris, owner of the BlackBox Voting site, of the situation. Harris has spent a year investigating problems with electronic voting systems, and is the author of a forthcoming book on the technology. She said the practice of patching systems after they've been certified opens the possibility for anyone -- from Diebold employees to local election officials -- to install malicious code on a machine that could alter election results and then delete itself to avoid detection.

    According to Harris, this scenario is particularly worrisome in light of what happened in the Georgia gubernatorial race, which ended in a major upset that defied all polls and put a Republican in the governor's seat for the first time in more than 130 years...
 
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