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Programmer Built Vote-Rigging Demo for Florida Politician 606

Syre writes "therawstory reports that a programmer named Clinton Curtis says in a sworn affidavit (mirror) that he developed prototype vote-rigging software at the request of then-Florida state representative Tom Feeney. The affidavit has been turned over to the House Judiciary Committee, of which Feeney is now a member. Should we call for inspection and disassembly of all the voting machine code to see if it contains any of these secret vote tampering functions he was asked to include in his prototype?" A follow-up interview is available. A point to emphasize: he's not making any claims of actual fraud occurring in the Florida elections.
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Programmer Built Vote-Rigging Demo for Florida Politician

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  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Dippy ( 613292 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:37PM (#11020393)
    Goverments have been overthrown for less than this.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stupidfoo ( 836212 )
      Governments have been overthrown for less than a small time political player asking for an example of how easy it would be to tamper with the voting system?

      Example please...
    • If one state representative, now a congressman, is responsible for this, lets kick him out first before we go through out the baby with the bath water.
    • Bev Harris comments (Score:5, Informative)

      by jazzwind ( 132256 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:47PM (#11020532)
      See comments from Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting on this here: []
      and why this may be disinformation here: sen/120604madsen.html []
    • by paranode ( 671698 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#11020618)
      Legitimate things like this go on all the time. It is commonly referred to as "white hat" hacking, as we all know. That may not be the case here, but it sounds more to me like the programmer is disappointed with election results and wants to pretend he's a whistleblower.
      • by maxchaote ( 796339 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:58PM (#11020675)
        it sounds more to me like the programmer is disappointed with election results and wants to pretend he's a whistleblower

        Yes, but he's sworn under affidavit. I say we put an end to this quickly by disassembling the code to see if it's true. If it is true then this is something every American should be concerned with -- Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or Anarchist.
        • by rewt66 ( 738525 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:19PM (#11020977)
          Yes, but what has he sworn under affidavit? That he built a prototype? That he built a prototype, and the guy who asked him to intended to use it? Or that he built a prototype and it was used in the election?

          If the politician in question wanted a prototype built to show how easily it could be done - to show how insecure electronic voting machines are - doesn't that make him one of the good guys?

          The key point in this story isn't that vote tampering happened (if vote tampering actually did happen, I will retract this statement!), but rather that any politician can buy a custom vote-tampering package for the next election. Now how good do all those promises of E-voting security look?

          • by The boojum ( 70419 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:31PM (#11021139)
            Yes, but what has he sworn under affidavit? That he built a prototype? That he built a prototype, and the guy who asked him to intended to use it? Or that he built a prototype and it was used in the election?

            From the affidavit (bolding theirs):
            She immediately stated, "
            You don't understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida." I was shocked that they were actually trying to steal the election and told her that neither I nor anyone else could produce such a program. She stated that she would hand in what I had produced to Feeney and left the room with the software.
            Of course, why you'd tell someone what you intend to do is beyond me. No one seems to come off very classy in this business. You'd also figure that if they were that free with their information, surely there'd be more people around to corroborate this guys story if it's true.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              "You don't understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida." I was shocked that they were actually trying to steal the election and told her that neither I nor anyone else could produce such a program.

              Guess the programmer never heard of Perl, eh?

              • by Krow10 ( 228527 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @04:50PM (#11023366) Homepage
                "You don't understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida." I was shocked that they were actually trying to steal the election and told her that neither I nor anyone else could produce such a program.

                Guess the programmer never heard of Perl, eh?

                Heh. Actually, a more interesting way to hide the malicious code would be to do as Ken Thompson did with Unix [].
                Ken Thompson's 1983 Turing Award lecture to the ACM revealed the existence of a back door in early Unix versions that may have qualified as the most fiendishly clever security hack of all time. The C compiler contained code that would recognise when the "login" command was being recompiled and insert some code recognizing a password chosen by Thompson, giving him entry to the system whether or not an account had been created for him.

                Normally such a back door could be removed by removing it from the source code for the compiler and recompiling the compiler. But to recompile the compiler, you have to use the compiler - so Thompson also arranged that the compiler would recognise when it was compiling a version of itself, and insert into the recompiled compiler the code to insert into the recompiled "login" the code to allow Thompson entry - and, of course, the code to recognise itself and do the whole thing again the next time around! And having done this once, he was then able to recompile the compiler from the original sources; the hack perpetuated itself invisibly, leaving the back door in place and active but with no trace in the sources.

                The talk that revealed this truly moby hack was published as ["Reflections on Trusting Trust", "Communications of the ACM 27", 8 (August 1984), pp. 761--763].

                By hiding the hack in the compiler binary, and having it recognize when it's compiling the target program and when it's compiling a new version of the compiler binary, there is no way that source code analysis could detect the malicious code. All code for running elections should be decompiled and examined -- and individual voting machine binaries should be audited to make sure that they are the same as the analyzed binaries. There is absolutely no excuse for not requiring this kind of check by all civil agencies that operate elections.


        • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:57PM (#11025347)
          I say we put an end to this quickly by disassembling the code to see if it's true.
          No problem, we just look at the orginal source code provided to the government, compile that, check for differences, and if any are found take in anyone that has had access to those machines in for questioning.

          You mean you don't have access to any copy of the source code, let alone every revision of a system used to determine elections? In that case the spec needs to be rewritten and the bank accounts of those responsible for making such a cretinous decision examined for evidence of taking bribes. This is one of the points where the "are you stupid, are you corrupt, or don't you care about doing your job" question needs to be asked, since there does not appear to be any other options available.

          Forget the shiny new technology, if the entire voting process is not open to scrutiny it is open to abuse. A few jobs with a quick and nasty software company in a marginal electorate is not worth the potential for abuse. Perhaps a Federal election organisation running free, fair and consistant elections (two out of three is not good enough) like you see in other countries is the way to go - instead of things being down at the state or county level. There are a lot of countries that have built on a combination of the USA and Swiss election systems over the last century that may be worth looking at.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WindowlessView ( 703773 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:08PM (#11020816)

      Goverments have been overthrown for less than this.

      Only in countries where the populace still has some balls. The Ukraine is a current example.

      These days the US is all about bread and circuses. Canceling the Sunday football schedule is more likely to overthrow a government than stealing an election.

  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Uptown Joe ( 819388 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:38PM (#11020401)
    Voting fraud... If Florida??!! What is this world coming to?
    • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

      by nacturation ( 646836 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (noitarutcan)> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#11020451) Journal
      Voting fraud... If Florida??!! What is this world coming to?

      Even more shocking: a story posted by Michael without the usual truckload of bias thrown in. I mean, heck... he actually makes a point of playing it down!
    • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Next up on Slashdot: A security flaw found in IE and SCO gets another judicial kick in the crotch.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      Voting fraud... If Florida??!! What is this world coming to?

      The more I look the more I'm convinced that the USA is slipping into a 2nd world mindset. I believe the decline of Rome began like this.

  • ... when I simply say: Bastards!!!
    • by essreenim ( 647659 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:56PM (#11020657)
      Should we call for inspection and disassembly of all the voting machine code to see if it contains any of these secret vote tampering functions he was asked to include in his prototype?"

      This infuriates me for a different reason - the lack of vision of law-makers. I cant believe voting machines are not force to have open source code. I said personally many moons ago this would happen and ... Its the only way to defraud fake conspiracy theories and protect peoples voting rights. People desserve to know exactly how their vote is being processed. Is mankind that stupid. Do we want revolutions and rebellions because people are too stupid to make voting (a fairly important task to be fair..pff) transparent, honest, whatever you want to call it..

      • I don't think this would be enough because it is very hard to prove that the binaries used are from the sourcecode provided.

        a paper printout is necessary.
      • Oh, give it a rest. The whole reason we have e-voting at all is because a bunch of people like you threw an equal fit of hysterics after 2000 and DEMANDED them, screaming apocalyptic cries about the End to Democracy(TM) if we didn't get them.

        God Himself could come down and personally count the votes and you'd just accuse Him of being a pawn of the Religious Right.

        Let me tell you your real issue: You just can't comprehend that your ideology might be rejected by a majority of Americans. The American's are
        • by Sven The Space Monke ( 669560 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @04:46PM (#11023316)
          Okay, I'm going to break my personal rule of never using analogies (too much experience with people stretching them beyond absurdity because they don't understand the concept of an imperfect analogy, but I digress).

          You move into an apartment. Everything checks out fine. But that winter, you realize that your apartment doesn't have central heating, just a fireplace. Now, you bug your landlord that your apartment needs central heating, as the fireplace is not only a fire hazard, but it only heats up your living room effectively. You make do with the fireplace for the winter.

          The next winter, your landlord pulls out the fireplace and puts in central heating. But there's a new problem. The heater not only doesn't work, it belches carbon monoxide into your apartment. You complain to your landlord, and he replies "Oh give it a rest. The only reason you have central heating is because you threw a hissy fit of hysterics last winter and DEMANDED it, screaming apocalyptic cries about freezing to death if you didn't get it."

          You see the problem? Yeah, people like him demanded e-voting, but giving the people an e-voting system that is so fundamentally flawed as to not even allow a manual recount is worse than what they had before. Maybe they were a little naive in assuming that any e-voting system would conform with the concepts of good UI design for mission-critical applications (eg: ABMs), but you can't blame the public for the sorry state of voting machines by saying "you asked for this!"

          For the record, I'm in Canada, and I'm happy with our paper voting system.

  • Just in case... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:38PM (#11020406) Homepage Journal
    Mirror []
  • not as bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by memph1st0 ( 220646 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:38PM (#11020409) Homepage programming the american public to be a bunch of scared sheep to vote for you.
    • Re:not as bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 ) programming the american public to be a bunch of scared sheep to vote for you.

      Indeed. The wost fraud is taking place in plain sight. The problem is that for over 20 years there has not been a single candidate presented in a serious light that has not been a typical neoliberal "There is no alternative" [] Reganite/Thatcherite. This of course makes sense, because the media outlets are corporate entities, and cannot be expected to cover something against their interests. Nor do they have to, the media []
      • Re:not as bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b-baggins ( 610215 )
        I see that you have adopted the Americans are Stupid rationalization to hide from the fact that it is your ideology, and not democracy that is dead.
  • Something's Fishy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:38PM (#11020413) Journal
    Something about this story bothers me. If Curtis has been involved in a long running dispute with Feeney ranging back to 2002, why would Feeney have anything to do with him? I mean, this would not be the first example of foolishness in politics, but it would certainly be the dumbest.

    Perhaps Feeney was trying to set Curtis up?

  • Errmmm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by swiftstream ( 782211 )
    Is it just me, or is this exactly the same story as the one DIRECTLY BELOW IT?
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:39PM (#11020417) Journal
    Presto, the Republican wins!
  • How nice (Score:2, Insightful)

    They can be hacked. News at 11. Maybe we should have another election. We can all put a red marble in a jar for GW and a blue marble for JK. The perfect infallable voting system.
  • So before everyone starts to complain, I think this additional info called for a new story.

    As to the question, disassembling the code to make sure can't hurt anyone and would avoid lots of rumor mongering and conspiricy theories.

    • It can't hurt the citizens, but it could hurt the voting machine companies and elected officials. If there is something funny going on I am sure that they will quickly put an end to any disassembly. If the people found that someone had cheated their way into office that someone would get the boot awfully fast. (p.s. cheat means rig, not slander your opponent or create misleading TV spots, that is perfectly OK because everyone does it ... sigh)
  • Oh, come on! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:40PM (#11020430) Homepage Journal
    This isn't just a dupe of a previous story... it's not just a dupe of the top story... it's a dup of an incredibly outrageous story [] that makes the radical right's Clinton Suicide scandals look almost sane.

    My opinion, for what it's worth, is that the right-wingers are astroturfing the 'net with outrageous vote-rigging stories. This helps ensure that the real story of the Green/Libertarian recount in Ohio [] won't be taken seriously. Karl Rove is probably laughing his butt off.
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. Impressive.
  • Obviously... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dana P'Simer ( 530866 ) * <dana@psimer.dhptech@com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:40PM (#11020432) Journal
    this is hardly journalism. is obviously a left wing biased publication and I would not trust it further than I would Rush Limbaugh's website. However, there needs to be a full investigation. I would like to see a little more than one person's testimony befor curcifying this guy. If the request for developing this software took place in a meeting, who else was there and what do they have to say about this?
    • Re:Obviously... (Score:4, Informative)

      by scowling ( 215030 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:46PM (#11020513) Homepage
      Whether or not is a biased publication is irrelevant, since the PDF containing the affidavit is not a biased source in and of itself.
      • Again, that is one man's account and apparently this man has a long standing beef with the congressman in question. The point is, that the journalism sucks because they spend way more time talking about the allegations and not enough time validating them. If there was one stitch of corraboration in that article, I would not have critisized the journalism.
        • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by scowling ( 215030 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#11020620) Homepage
          They're not required to validate the allegations.

          Simply reporting that allegations exist and specifying that some of these allegations are in an affidavidit is responsible journalism. That there are allegations is a point of fact. When a tornado hits a trailer park, journalists are not required to look for a second opinion or go into background as to why that trailer park seems to attract tornadoes.
          • When a tornado hits a trailer park, journalists are not required to look for a second opinion...

            But if someone claims that a tornado has roared through their trailer park, destroying it, shouldn't the reporter at least go out to the trailer park to see if there's any damage at all? The bottom line is that in journalism, as in most othr things, the lines of demarcation are blurry. When it comes to what is a fact vs. what is an allegation, and what you treat as a fact vs. treating it as an allegation and w

        • As a follow-up, I'm pretty sure that you didn't actually read the article; it makes no judgments on the truth or falsity of the allegations and it makes specific mention of their multiple attempts to get feedback from Feeney's office.
      • Because no one ever just makes shit up [].
        • Whether the documents were forged or not, their existence is news. CBS' problem was that they assumed that those documents had some kind of veracity. This story does not ascribe any such value to the affidavit.
    • Why is obvious that something left/right can't be trusted? Is really your(ours) media in a that sorry state?
    • Re:Obviously... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by starm_ ( 573321 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:41PM (#11021276)
      It doesn't matter, electronic voting without a paper trail is inherently unsafe.

      I just don't understand you americans. I have undergrad studies in electrical/electronic engineering and I am currently mastering in comp. sci. I guess I could be considered an expert in electronique machines. If this was happening in my country I would be sending letters to my government and urging my peers, all experts in the domain, to give their opinion to the government. I am sure they would agree with me that we could say that our expert opinion is that electronic voting can't be done securely without a paper printout. I would make an expert only petition to support this claim.

      Data in computers is very volatile, it can be changed on a large scale, in seconds without leaving a trace behind. It is invisible to the naked eye. The problem is not that fraud is that more likely with electroninc machine, the problem is that it is as easy to change a million vote on a computer, than it is to change one, you can do it in advance by putting some kind of malware in the system and you can do it without leaving a trace behind.

      With paper ballots changing a million votes would requirer, that you physically destroy/modify ballots. It would take time, it would leave traces of evidence behind and it be much easyer to monitor the ballots to prevent fraud because you can see them with your eyes.

      Were experts in the US ever surveiled about security of electronic voting? I would like to see the results.
  • Caches and more info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Syre ( 234917 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:40PM (#11020435)
    Here are Coral caches and a link to the original blog with more details:

    story []
    interview []
    blog []

  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:43PM (#11020480) Homepage Journal
    The trouble with blogs, is that no-one writing them has the time to follow up these stories. If a mainstream journalist breaks them there's a chance (albeit not much of one in the present climate) that they'll keep digging away, and uncover a Watergate-style conspiracy (which isn't to say that this is necessarily one of those).

    But if Woodward and Bernstein were bloggers, they'd've been happy to publish the skimpy information that started their investigation -- smug that they put one over on the press -- and let the whole thing degenerate into a partisan "Nixon Sucks!" style-flamewar.
  • .jebby (Score:2, Funny)

    by takitus ( 733922 )
    jeb jeb hes our man, if he cant do it, noone can!
  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:44PM (#11020498) Journal
    This is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Who is Clint Curtis? What is his background? Criminal history? Most importantly, what evidence does he bring to the table? Is it his word against someone else's?

    Can he produce call logs? Appointment books? Witnesses? Tapes or memos? Can he demonstrate an extraordinary knowledge of voting systems in the state of Florida?

    There is a troubling taint of money on this: a "$200,000 award being offered by the nonprofit group Justice through Music for proof of voting fraud..." He is claiming he doesn't want the reward; money may have nothing to do with it. But we may have a grifter going after a score, directly or indirectly, by telling people what they want to hear. I am not saying either one: we simply don't know until more facts come out.

    I fully believe we have arrived at a stage in american politics where a politician (yes, sure, a Republican politician) would tamper with an election. There is already plenty of documented funny business. I'm speaking of the felon purging in FL, stop-and-search roadblocks in OH, for instance.

    Let's not forget the real moral of this story, illustrated by one thing Clint says certainly rings true regardless of the rest of his claims:

    "I can't believe the Democrats were stupid enough to allow [this]," he says. "I can't imagine anyone going to a bank and not getting a receipt. But yet we have our voting machines that way. It strikes me as really odd that machines like that could even exist."
    • Actually, that last part is what I have been saying all along when the issue of no paper trail for electronic voting machines comes up. If computers don't mistakes, as the folks from Diebold et al claim, then why do we get receipts when we go the grocery store?

      Oh, you mean it's so the people can verify that they got charged for what they actually bought rather than what the store says they bought? Or that the prices a person paid were what was marked on the shelf? Imagine that. A paper trail to confirm
    • ""I can't believe the Democrats were stupid enough to allow [this]," he says. "I can't imagine anyone going to a bank and not getting a receipt. But yet we have our voting machines that way....

      This is a misleading comment. What does he mean "the democrats allowed this"? The republican party has been in control of both houses for sometime now.

      And the democrats HAVE been trying. In fact, a group of democrats proposed a bill called the RECORD Act of 2004 [], which had a stated purpose: "To amend the Help Am
    • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:45PM (#11021311) Homepage
      Some of the alleged felons purged were purged for felonies allegedly committed in 2007, even though that is still in the future.

      There wasn't even the simplest reality check done.
    • By all means (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 )
      I strongly disagree that this claim is extraordinary.

      There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about the claim that somebody might want to steal an election. The fact is that government contracters do a hell of a lot of stealing in plain sight, by hiring influential lobbying firms to steer business their way, or to move legislation and regulation in a way that is specially favorable to them. An election is worth a lot of money.

      Nor, unfortunately, is there anything extraordinary about the claim that som
  • What if? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Staos ( 700036 ) *
    This turns out true... $50,000 in legal expenses.

    America losing all faith in it's electoral processs... Civil War

    John Titor being right... Priceless For all your time-travel needs, theres cash, for everything else, there's mastercard.
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:47PM (#11020535) Journal

    Google is your friend. This guy has been accusing the same people (Feeney, etc.) of everything from overbilling the Florida Department of Transportation to spying for the Chinese for years now.

    The real story is the uneven distribution of resources (e.g. voting booths & machines) to precincts based on their voting history. Traditionally Democratic precincts had their vote capped by doing this, preventing large numbers of people from voting, and the trick probably swung the presidential election. As that fact began to come out, sudenly there is an enourmous movement pushing the Black Helicopter theories.

    Go figure.


  • by sparkhead ( 589134 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:48PM (#11020546) has a story [] regarding why this story sounds like disinformation.
  • A busy guy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:48PM (#11020547)
    he developed prototype vote-rigging software at the request of then-Florida state representative Tom Feeney.

    And did he do this before, or after, he typed up the Bush National Guard memos?

  • Subpoena a dozen random machines of the type implicated. Have the guy run through the magic sequence on invisible buttons. If the screens appear as he indicates, then vote fixing may have occurred. Otherwise, where's the crime?
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:51PM (#11020572)
    Why the Feeney vote-rigging story sounds like disinformation

    ABOUT DISINFORMATION: Like a good lie, it has elements of truth. Trouble is, the truth doesn't relate to the nuts and bolts of the story. For example in the Tom Feeney vote-manipulation story, people are documenting relationships between Tom Feeney and Yang, and between the writer of the story and other scandals, but so far the evidence presented does not back up the vote manipulation story itself.

    DISINFORMATION IS DANGEROUS TO THE CLEAN VOTING MOVEMENT: Black Box Voting is finding real evidence consistent with fraud. We are even finding, in one of our investigations, evidence consistent with a systemic, or widespread breakdown in security, possibly exploited. Getting the facts is tedious, unexciting work, consisting of auditing and personal interviews, and it takes time. Many Americans want a magic bullet, a single shot that will blow the lid off everything at once.

    That's risky. If the mainstream media continues to be bombarded with stories that sound credible, but aren't, when the real thing comes down the pike it will be ignored.

    While MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and I had a run-in last week, I agree absolutely with Olbermann's earlier critique of the Madsen homeland security story, and this new Madsen story is just as weak. Most of both Madsen stories are bait and switch.

    While real journalists "write tight" and include only the information directly relevant to the topic, Madsen wanders all over the place, recapping unrelated information from real news agencies, piggybacking onto their credibility, with only the most tenuous ties to what he is actually trying to prove. Analyze the meat of the story, taking out all the loose references to other stories, and Madsen's work gets very weak indeed.

    Here are questions raised by the Feeney vote-manipulation story:

    1. One of the most significant problems is that, while Clint Curtis describes a technique of writing a program, he never mentions HOW he supposedly got this program into the voting machines.

    2. A second significant problem is that several of the Florida counties used different software in 2000 than they do now, and that various Florida counties use different manufacturers and different systems. Writing one program that would tamper with ES&S punch cards and Diebold optical scans at the same time is somewhat unrealistic. The questions this raises are these:

    a. Which specific counties was this software supposedly used in for 2000, 2002 and 2004? Actually, from reading both the affidavit and the Madsen article, there is no evidence it was used anywhere.
    - Madsen does a bait and switch when he discusses Volusia County. He starts by saying it is Feeney's district, and then actually goes on to report a story broken by Black Box Voting in October, 2003, about minus 16,022 votes for Bush in Volusia -- which appears to have nothing to do with the Feeney story. What systems was his vote rigging program for? Which manufacturers?

    3. The techniques used to program a vote-rigging system in the Madsen article don't actually match the techniques in the affidavit by Clint Curtis, and neither one makes much sense. It's a simple matter to re-map a touch-screen to flip votes, and you don't need a special program for it. Simply switch the candidate ID numbers and it's done.

    4. Most political shenanigans are not conducted by the candidate himself, but by operatives. It is certainly possible for a politician to hold several meetings in which he commits a felony in front of several witnesses, but that's not usually how it is done. A more common technique is an envelope full of cash left in a drawer of an operative, with at least one, sometimes more, buffer layers between the operative and the politician.

    Clint Curtis says Feeney himself had meeting after meeting to directly discuss election rigging software. Could happen, certainly, but this seems unusual.

    5. There are some statements that don't hang together from
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#11020619) Homepage
    There really was a Raymond Lemme, and he did work for the inspector general of the Florida Department of Transportation, and he's dead. He got a brief "memorial" on page 57 of this FDOT annual report. []

    That's all that comes up in Google. Can anyone find out more? A "suicide" of an inspector general staff member of anything is inherently suspicious.

  • by flinxmeister ( 601654 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:55PM (#11020634) Homepage
    Do they mean this fella? []

    I saw this link a few days ago. Unfortunately he removed much of his more hilarious tin-foil hat content. The guy would actually do screen prints of sorta-related newspaper stories, then black out the names to make it look scandalous.

    His demonstration program is underwhelming. You could make the same kind of thing to show any program could be trojaned.

    Don't get me wrong, the e-voting situation is crazy and needs substantial reform, examination, and a general fixin'. But this guy is just another conspiracy guy trying to sell a book. []

    Stuff like this does NOT help address the real problems in e-voting.
  • That would explain why there were no votes for Kodos...
  • who knows (Score:2, Redundant)

    by St. Arbirix ( 218306 )
    This could be some bizarre case where the Representative was trying to persuade people he knew that electronic voting wasn't to be trust and could be rigged. So he got a vote rigging device installed on a voting machine and showed it off to his buddies and they all immediately knew that electronic voting would be a bad thing if vote rigging software could so easily be tossed in. Electronic voting nevertheless was rolled out thanks to the millions of dollars already invested in it so they decided that rather
  • Please (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:00PM (#11020702)
    Support the bills already in the House and Senate that will fix this, instead of fantasizing about how the 2004 election was "stolen" (it wasn't).

    A frequent charge levied after the 2000 election was voter disenfranchisement and ballot spoilage due, in large part, to antiquated, malfunctioning, or broken mechanical voting equipment. Legislation was introduced guaranteeing a minimum standard for the equipment and processes associated with voting in all jurisdictions. Since we are living in the 21st century, electronic systems were specified. $3.9 billion was set aside under HAVA to replace all mechanical punch card systems with electronic systems by 1 January, 2006. The goal is to ensure a consistency and fairness in the appearance and operation of the voting systems, both for voters and local election officials.

    After the 2000 presidential election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) []:

    To establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish minimum election administration standards for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections...

    The putative reasoning for going with electronic systems was likely that since we have managed to design accountable and reliable electronic and computing equipment for the management of our power, medical care, money, etc., it likely was more or less assumed by the legislature that such accountable systems could also be applied to voting.

    A bill has been introduced to amend HAVA. H.R.2239 [] and its twin Senate counterpart S.1980 [], discussed further here [], will amend the Help America Vote Act such that there is "a voter-verified permanent record or hardcopy" attached with each and every ballot cast by every voter, and that "any voting system containing or using software shall disclose the source code of that software to the Commission, and the Commission shall make that source code available for inspection upon request to any citizen".

    Additionally, the three electronic voting manufacturers already have the ability to add permanent, individual voter-verified paper audit trails to their products. Some e-voting critics make it seem like vendors are resisting. However, it is the local election boards that are resisting (as well as the slow march of bureaucracy). The e-voting vendors will build - and sell - whatever municipalities will buy.

    Disclaimer: this comes from a previous post of mine on the subject
  • by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:03PM (#11020747) Homepage Journal
    The important point here isn't whether or not there was fraud (though if there was, it whould be detected and punished). The important point here is that electronic voting machines are conducive to fraud, and to covering up the fraud.

    Folks, we need paper ballots. Counting them by bubblesheet scanner may be acceptable, but we need that paper trail.

    If there was fraud in Florida, that's our opportunity to spread the word: that kind of fraud could be prevented by paper ballots.

    Paper ballots are cheaper and more reliable than electronic machines, but the huge savings in money is nothing compared to the transparency, the paper trail and the difficulty in committing fraud that only paper ballots can deliver.

  • by quax ( 19371 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:07PM (#11020800)
    Nicely written up here [].

    Like all good conspiracy stories it will be almost impossible to prove. It's the magic bullet all over again. I expect this to become American lore just like JFK's assassination conspiracies.

    It is astounding to me that this country always manages to produce stuff like this. In my unscientific way it only leaves me to conclude that America is nuts - one way or another.
  • More Information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tres3 ( 594716 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:16PM (#11020931) Homepage
    I read this story here [] and my brother (somewhat computer illiterate) begged me to submit it but I thought against it because of all of the political overtones. For those that are interested in more details, including some possible conspiracy theories, you should read it. It discusses where the financing came from and links it directly back to the Bush family. It further alledges that President Bush's money trail has been exposed by the CIA in retaliation for his recent house cleaning there. It also mentions several elections that were adjusted during the testing phase of the illicit program.
  • by madstork2000 ( 143169 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:27PM (#11021092) Homepage
    I've already ranted on this shitty story: 90 9&cid=11014994

    In a nutshell, I spent about an hour going through goolge links of a few of the people involved in this story (either posting it or writing it or making it up) the URLs are in my original post. Anyway, they all have long histories of being politically biased, and spewing liberal FUD.

    some points to consider:
    - Would a undetecable application that is mneant to be cross platform be written in VB?
    - why would a journalist, that is former NSA, and supposedly has all these tech credentials use an AOL addres? Fine it may work, and he might like it, but an AOL email address takes away a lot of credibility IMHO. (see original reply).
    - If this had any validity, why was it not brought up sooner? There were articles on it back in 2002. It seems like the main stream Dems would have been all over this two or three years ago, if they thought there was any truth to it.

    What I find disturbing is that slashdot would run this story twice. Clearly every article and source is biased, a quick google search quickly verifies that fact.

    So what we get here is supermarket fluff and liberal FUD. We won't tolerate MS FUD, but leftwing FUD must be soooo MmmMmm Good that we get a double dose!
  • by mike_lynn ( 463952 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:32PM (#11021169)
    From, we have the original story. It looks like the voting machine part was added to bring this back into the newspapers. This wouldn't be hard, considering his original job was programming for the FDOT ... *and* Yang, his *prior* employer.

    Thank you [],

    Sunday, June 09, 2002

    Feeney's role in FDOT contract dispute questioned
    Staff Writer

    TALLAHASSEE -- Clint Curtis thought he was doing the state a favor last May when he alerted investigators at the Florida Department of Transportation about what he claimed was fraudulent billing by an Oviedo computer firm represented by House Speaker Tom Feeney.

    Today, Curtis is still adding up the personal and professional costs for doing what he calls "the right thing" and what Florida law requires of anyone who suspects mismanagement or the waste of public funds.

    "I can't believe this is how it's supposed to work," says the veteran computer programmer who worked as a technology consultant for FDOT. "I thought I was doing my duty; now I wonder if I was just stupid."

    Last May, Curtis "blew the whistle" on what he believed were violations of state law by Yang Enterprises of Oviedo in an $8 million technology contract with FDOT. Curtis worked for Yang prior to being hired by FDOT, and based some of his allegations on his involvement with the state contract while at Yang.

    In the filing with FDOT's inspector general, who is charged with investigating suspected misdeeds, Curtis said Yang engaged "in a practice of false billing" and employed an illegal alien, a violation of state law and cause for the immediate cancellation of the contract.

    More than a year after they were lodged, the allegations only now are being fully investigated by FDOT. The delay stems in part from the fact that FDOT shifted the focus of its investigation from Yang to Curtis and the FDOT manager who approved his hiring, Mavis Georgalis.

    Curtis says the shift was prompted by Yang and its allies, including Feeney, to quiet Yang's critics.

    Yang's attorneys say that's not true. They deny any instances of overbilling and say the character and conduct of Curtis and Georgalis are suspect.

    The charges and countercharges have touched off a series of events and repercussions that are still being felt.

    The tale stretches from Seminole County to the state capital, encompassing everything from lawsuits over intellectual property to claims of influence peddling by Feeney and culminating in the firing of Curtis and the resignation of Georgalis, who was in charge of the Yang contract.

    It is the kind of drama best viewed through the high-powered lens of politics, for on its fringes stands Feeney, one of the state's most well-connected players, and at its center are questions raised by Yang and its defenders about the motives of Curtis and Georgalis.

    The story is laced with conspiracy theories and conflicting commentaries, much of which is spelled out in court documents and other public records examined by The News-Journal during the course of a weeks-long investigation.


    Curtis says he now believes Feeney used his position as House speaker to stifle any investigation of Yang by FDOT, which, if true, would be a violation of state ethics laws.

    But Feeney, an attorney whose clients include Yang Enterprises, denies he used his influence to benefit Yang and says he played no role when the firm secured an eight-year contract with FDOT in 1999 -- with a price tag not to exceed $8 million -- to provide a computer program to manage large volumes of information.

    The relationship between Feeney and Yang predates the Oviedo Republican's rise to power two years ago as House speaker, with its origins traced as far back as the 1980s, when Tyng-Lin Yang, the company's co-owner, wor
  • by defective_warthog ( 776271 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @07:36AM (#11030587) Journal
    Hi All,

    There are two bills before the US Congress that have been buried in committee since their introduction. Both these bills would require the use of open source software on voting machines and an auditable paper trail.

    House: House Bill []
    Senate: Senate Bill []

    I urge all US citizens to write their representatives requesting action on these bills.

    In my searches for open source voting software the best I've found comes from The Open Voting Consortium [].

    It is time to _stop looking back. It is time to take action for positive change in the US system.

    sign me "Concerned Citizen"

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak