Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ohio's Voting System Has "critical security failures."

Testers looking at the performance of Ohio's voting machines identified numerous risks to election integrity ranging from minor to severe. Among their findings: a magnet and a Personal Digital Assistant (i.e. a Treo) may be all that is needed to hack into Ohio's voting systems. The NYT reports:

All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.
“It was worse than I anticipated,” the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”

Ms. Brunner proposed replacing all of the state’s voting machines, including the touch-screen ones used in more than 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties. She wants all counties to use optical scan machines that read and electronically record paper ballots that are filled in manually by voters.

Naturally, this calls into question the results of the 2004 presidential election. During that election, the Secretary of State of Ohio was also the chairperson of the Bush/Cheney re-election team, Kenneth Blackwell. Mr. Bush made an 'exceptionally strong' showing in the Buckeye state.

Rolling Stone Magazine printed a story in June of 2006 written by Robert Kennedy Jr. titled, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Kennedy says, "The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."

Is anybody surprised by all of this? Stolen in 2000 and again in 2004. The only question remains is: will it be again in 2008?

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