Muslim American Society
Can the 2004 Elections Be Taint Free?
Date Posted: Monday, February 09, 2004
By Ekram Haque
The complete article - well worth reading - is currently (3/28/04) available on
the M.A.S. website at-- http://www.masnet.org/views.asp?id=925
The following excerpts should give an idea of the material it covers--
As George Bush and the Republican
Party go into full gear in hopes of clinching a landslide victory in 2004, many Americans will be looking for a comprehensive
solution to the 2000 Florida voting fiasco. Three years
and millions of dollars later, doubts remain if all states will have the necessary legislation and systems in place in time.
Despite an extensive investigation of Florida election irregularities by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the passage
of the federal landmark Help America Vote Act (HAVA), states have not implemented all of the mandated corrective actions,
the high-tech voting machines being offered have security flaws, and their vendors are allegedly quite close to the Republican
Many Problems Remain Unfixed ...
New Requirements ...
Problems with Vendors
A major problem area is the development and
adoption of smart, efficient, and tamper-proof voting machines. On Dec. 2, 2003, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell
ordered four companies that have built new electronic voting devices to resolve security weaknesses uncovered in two comprehensive
The four companies whose voting devices are
being considered for adoption – Diebold Election Systems, the Election Systems & Software, Hart InterCivic, and Sequoia Election Systems
– are alleged to have close ties to the Republican Party. ....
The products of all four have flaws, according
to Compuware, one of the two companies hired by Ohio to test and analyze the equipment. ...
in Detroit, MI, conducted a thorough technical analysis of each electronic voting device vendors’ software and hardware. ...
Researchers from the testing companies “identified
several significant security issues” with Diebold’s product. According to the report, this product allows an attacker
to disrupt the election process or to throw the election results into question. For example, the cards used by supervisors
to take charge of Diebold machines all had the simple PIN code of “1111,” which could leave the machines open
to tampering. In the case of Election Systems and Software, its tally program could be tricked into gathering information
from one machine many times, thus overcounting votes. Machines from Hart InterCivic and Sequoia could allow unauthorized people
to gain supervisory control and close polls early. ...
After the 2000 crisis of confidence in Florida
and the ensuing bitterness, the public’s trust in the electoral system must be restored. While electronic machines would
be efficient and fast in recording and reporting elections results, they must be free from technical defects and political
blemishes. Election 2004 will be watched very closely to ensure that it treats all voters with the same respect.