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Report: Testing of Diebold AccuVote TSx

On Tuesday Aug 29th, 2006, King County Elections Services began their "logic & accuracy testing" of the new Diebold AccuVote TSx touchscreen voting machines. King County now has 507 (?) of these machines. There will be one at each poll site.

If you want to see what the fuss is about, the L&A testing stretches 10 days long. It begins at 8:30am each day at the Elections Distribution Center 1215 Fir St, Seattle. I encourage people to poke their heads in and see what's what. It's a cool facility and it's good to get a feel for what's going on.

More...

There really isn't much to report. Sadly.

It's called "logic and accuracy testing". But I'm pretty sure they're not using the same definition of "testing" as I use. Speaking as a former quality assurance manager, of course.

The procedure is pretty simple: slap in a memory card, apply some tamper evident seals, turn on machine, put machine in 'test' mode, fill out a ballot (in English, in Chinese, and an audio ballot), reset the machine, run a zero report, and tidy everything up.

At best, I'd call this a "not broken yet" test.

Bev Harris showed up. She asked uncomfortable questions. She's pretty good at that. Stuff like "Do these machines have wireless capability?", "What's the 'magic button' on the side?", and some other stuff. If you want to learn what to do and what to ask, Blackbox Voting has done a fantastic job of putting together the Citizen's Toolkit to help you get started.

Bill Huennekens, former superintendent of elections, was reduced to shrugging his shoulders and repeating stuff like "These machines were certified" and "We rely on Diebold to explain stuff". (I'm curious what Huennekens' current role is. Everyone was deferring to him.)

I personally think it would be very informative for KC to crack open a few machines and look for extra memory, used parts, wireless cards, and figure out what the mystery button does. If I had Huennekens' job, curiosity alone would compel me to do it. To say nothing of Diebold's history of lies, fraud, and illegal behavior.

Scratch that. Maybe it's just me, but I see it as Huennekens' duty to crack open the machines, perform some due diligence, and demonstrate to the tax payers and voters that everything's legit.

KC has changed the rhetoric from the false "federal laws mandate we use DREs" to the more accurate "federal laws mandate we have an accessible voting unit at each poll site." I'm told there's even "independence day for disable voters" posters on buses. It's too bad KC didn't spend all that money buying one of the low-cost, proven, and reliable paper ballot-based alternates. You know, something that didn't take away everyone's secret ballot.

There were video crews from KING5/KONG16 and FOX 13. Bev shared photos for how they bypassed the seals on an AccuVote OS optical scanner to get access to the machinery within. That's somewhat alarming. I don't know if anything got aired.

Everyone from KC Elections Services is pleasant, helpful, and seems to be working hard. Everyone knows that utterly I oppose the use of electronic voting machines. So I say to the people working on our elections: it's not personal. Most of you have gotten stuck executing really bad decisions. And somehow, someway, we all have to keep this train on the rails.

Two last points.

Everyone, please consider becoming a poll worker. I asked and was told that KC is still 700 people short. Call 206-296-1606. Or file out the form online. (Sorry, I don't know the deadline for signing up.) Nationally, you can start at the EAC's site: Be A Poll Worker.

If you do work as a poll worker, please remember your duty. This story has been circulating: Poll worker fired over touch-screen voting comment. You have a job as a poll worker. That's to ensure that democracy is served on election day. Please save your criticisms for before and afterwards. Not at the poll site and especially not in front of voters.

< Pam Roach says no nose rings in Sumner! | Lynn Allen of Evergreen Politics in PI: 5 Years after 911 >
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Ah. I just noticed that Blackbox Voting posted the pictures and explanation for how to bypass the seals.

8-31-06: Stoopidest Sleepover Security Ever: Black Box Voting blows through memory card

by zappini on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 12:27:48 PM PST

* 1 5.00 1 *


The form is very short and easy to fill out.

by panmittens on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 12:44:19 PM PST

* 2 5.00 2 *


  • sure is by N in Seattle, 09/01/2006 08:04:03 PM PST (5.00 / 2)
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