NYT: Switching Elections Technologies Late in the Game

elections, reform, news, secrecy

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/19/politics/campaign/19vote.html

"Switching [voting systems or election technologies] now, approximately 40 days before the election, would probably introduce more security problems than it would avoid," said Aviel D. Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University who brought many of the vulnerabilities in voting systems to light.

Amen... what he said! (gesticulating towards my local RoV)

(Besides the fact that Roy Saltman, Rebecca Mercuri, Peter Van Neumann, Ronnie Dugger, Doug Jones and others were the ones that actually "brought many of the vulnerabilities in voting systems to light.")

Switching Elections Technologies Late in the Game

There is a movement sponsored by VotersUnite! to try and pass federal legislation to require that federal offices use paper-only ballots in the coming November election.

This is a bad idea. Not only is it questionable that ballots meeting all 50 state's ballot printing standards, laws and regulations can be printed by November 2, but the money required to do so is not trivial. Where will that come from? The Feds? As well, training poll workers and elections staff to do an all-paper election (or even, god forbid, a hybrid with paper and some other technology) is also not trivial in time and fiscal expense. Further, some counties haven't used paper for decades and have effectively lost the organizational memory required to correctly administer such an election. This is where we might "introduce more security problems" as Avi spoke about above.

We are better off staying whatever course we are on, fitting machines where feasible with VVPAT printers to give them an independent audit trail and, above all else, conducting a coordinated observing campaign that will examine the vote counting at all levels of the canvass.

A Y2K for Voting Machines?

Granted, Yuri has mentioned to me in public the following argument: By instituting such a heightened level of scrutiny on the electronic voting machines, we'll actually be supporting the assertion that the machines are trustworthy if we find no problems on November 2; a sort of Y2K for voting.

First, there will be problems. There always are with heterogeneous, large-scale deployments of elections systems. We believe that reconciling these problems will lead to a vote count with a high-degree of trust and integrity. That's a good thing.

Second, if there are no problems, than at least we've created an infrastructure and movement that will greet all elections in the future with heightened scrutiny. And there are still legislative remedies (HR 2239 and S 1980) that will require an independent, permanent and robust audit trail for use election administration.

LA SoS gets his hands dirty

elections, accessibility, vendors, news, wtf?

Link: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040918/D8564SG80.html

You know the situation is dire with the Secretary of State is driving a semi-truck to deliver voting machines.

At least 35 precincts did not have voting machines because drivers hired to deliver the machines had apparently not shown up for work, said Scott Madere, a spokesman for Secretary of State Fox McKeithen.

Workers in McKeithen's office, including McKeithen, were driving trucks Saturday morning to deliver the machines from a warehouse in east New Orleans, Madere said. He said New Orleans was the only city to experience the problem.

Spread Firefox - Hot as Hell

open source

Link: http://www.spreadfirefox.com/

UPDATE [2005-04-17 20:18:10]: Please see this post for the most current version of the upgrade instructions below.

If you're reading this in Internet Explorer, you should stop, right now, and go download Firefox (then help spread the word!). The preview release of the 1.0 version of FireFox is on FIRE. They've had over 1,000,000 downloads over the past 4 days (they were shooting for 1,000,000 in ten days).

spreadfirefox screen grab showing 1,006,060 downloads as of 7:00 UTC on 20040918 with 6 days left.

It's pretty bitchin' and while you're at it, give the Mozilla Foundation $15. FireFox and other Mozilla apps can only get better.

Get Firefox!

UPDATE: An easy way to upgrade FireFox if you haven't done this in a while is hinted at here (it's written for PC users... I'm mac).

  1. The trick is this: Install and run the new v1.0PR version of FireFox. Then copy the following files

    bookmarks.html // bookmarks
    user.js and prefs.js // preferences
    cookies.text and cookperm.txt (or hostperm.1) // cookies
    signon.txt and key3.db // passwords

    from your directory (from ~username/)

    Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/default.xxx/

    to a backup directory (on your Desktop, for example).

  2. Then remove the default.xxx/ directory entirely (where "xxx" will be different for each Firefox installation out there). You can just move (mv) it to your desktop for backup instead of deleting it.
  3. Restart Firefox. It will create a new default.xxx/ directory. Quit Firefox.
  4. Now, copy the files from 1. (above) back to the new default.xxx directory.
  5. Finally, restart Firefox. This should give you your old Firefox, with all it's preferences, etc. restored.
  6. Now you can to update.mozilla.org and get new extensions and themes.

A worm in the Apple

music, copyright, wtf?, chilling effects

Apple threatened the ISP-host for and creators of iPoddownload, a plug-in that allows users to transfer songs from any iPod to their iTunes library. Typically, iPods are tied to only one iTunes library in order to limit sneaker-net piracy.

(via Derek) Another case of trying to plug all the holes when some of the holes we need to breath, creatively that is.

The SCO judge is hella funny...

copyright, SCO, open source, chilling effects

Link: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2004091519471739

"If Counterclaim 10 is gone, the jury won't be confused any more?"
- Judge Kimbal in today's SCO v. IBM hearing

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