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Justin the Scoopist

Timeliness: w00t! I blog about Jason Salavon, and 4 days later Boing Boing and both pick up on it. (and rightly so.)

It gets better — then there’s this posting about the EVACS e-voting system, and a week later, Wired News cover it!

… OK, I’m totally exagerrating the latter one. Obviously Wired News go into a lot more detail and do a bit more research. ;) In fact, it’s a very good article; here’s a killer quote from Software Improvement’s Matt Quinn, the lead engineer on EVACS:

Quinn … says he is ‘gob smacked’ by what he sees happening among U.S. electronic voting machine makers, whom he says have too much control over the democratic process.

It has been widely reported that Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, one of the biggest U.S. voting-machine makers, purposely disabled some of the security features in its software. According to reports the move left a backdoor in the system through which someone could enter and manipulate data. In addition, Walden O’Dell, Diebold Election System’s chief executive, is a leading fundraiser for the Republican Party. He stated recently that he was ‘committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

‘The only possible motive I can see for disabling some of the security mechanisms and features in their system is to be able to rig elections,’ Quinn said. ‘It is, at best, bad programming; at worst, the system has been designed to rig an election.’

‘I can’t imagine what it must be like to be an American in the midst of this and watching what’s going on,’ Quinn added. ‘Democracy is for the voters, not for the companies making the machines…. I would really like to think that when it finally seeps in to the collective American psyche that their sacred Democracy has been so blatantly abused, they will get mad.’

But he says that the security of voting systems in the U.S. shouldn’t concern Americans alone.

‘After all, we’ve all got a stake in who’s in the White House these days. I’m actually prone to think that the rest of the world should get a vote in your elections since, quite frankly, the U.S. policy affects the rest of the world so heavily.’