Iowa Machines Break Federal Law, Too

Not only do Iowa touchscreen voting machines fall short of Iowa code, all Diebold voting machines in the state violate federal regulations. They contain “interpreted code” which is banned by federal voting machine guidelines that Iowa supposedly follows(52.5)

Interpreted code is similar to executable code, as I understand it. Remember all those warnings to beware of unexpected emails with attachments. “Never open an attachment unless you know who sent it to you,” we were told. That is how you get a virus on your computer. It could happen because those attachments contained executable code. Some of them even said “.exe” at the end of the file name.

What can interpreted code do to the voting machine? Change your vote! In a Florida test in December it changed votes in an experimental election from No to Yes, thus changing the overall result while leaving no trace that it had done so. Since there were only eight voters and they had written the votes on paper ballots, everyone knew what the tally should have been. But the machine had other results progammed into it, thanks to the interpreted code. That is why it is banned.

This discovery prompted California’s Secretary of State to investigate and later issue a 40 page report confirming that federal standards were violated in both the ballot scanner and the touchscreen voting machines (Iowa has both). The report found “there are serious security flaws in the current state of the AV-OS [optical scan] and AV-TSx [touch-screen] software,” and “In order for the Diebold software architecture to be in compliance, it would appear that the AccuBasic language and interpreter have to be removed.”

So Iowa’s Diebold ballot scanners violate federal law when they use interpreted code. Iowa’s Diebold touchscreens violate the same law and also fail to meet Iowa’s requirement to produre a separate ballot. And touchscreens from Iowa’s other vendor (ES & S) violate at least the separate ballot requirement. Whether they use interpreted code has not been investigated yet.

What is being done about this? Monday in Des Moines Diebold will go before the Iowa voting machine “examiners” to get yet another approval for their illegal equipment. According to Susan Pynchon of the Florida Fair Elections Coalition, “Any legislator or elections official who recommends the purchase of the Diebold TSx without reading the entire California report should be considered grossly negligent.”

Iowa auditors purchased this junk before the California report was written. Now that Diebold is back, we should expect them to be rejected by Iowa officials. This would be a good opportunity to decertify the machines already deployed around Iowa and get a refund from Diebold.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.