Friday, December 16, 2005

Colorado faces a serious election problem.

Which is the surest way to win an election? (1) Raise money, recruit volunteers, sell your message, and get out your voters? Or, (2) recruit one person employed by the County to hack the vote?

Colorado faces a serious election problem. Leon County, Florida, has dumped its Diebold voting equipment. According to the reports, insiders can manipulate election results when using Diebold voting equipment. They can do this without leaving any trace of the tampering.

Twenty three of Colorado’s 64 counties use Diebold voting equipment. Boulder County’s HART/InterCivic voting equipment uses a “smart card” similar to the card that was manipulated during the Leon County demonstration. Can it too be hacked?

Many computer professionals question the security and accuracy of Colorado’s voting equipment. Colorado’s Secretary of State has steadfastly refused to permit the public to independently verify whether or not Colorado elections are secure and accurate.

Colorado legislators, led by then Secretary of State Donetta Davidson and State Senator Ken Gordon, enacted massive election reform, SB05-198/206. Colorado Voter said at the time, “These bills limit independent election oversight and legalize unsound and deceptive election procedures.”

The problem is actually much more serious than it appears. Newly appointed Secretary of State, Gigi Dennis recently enacted Election Rule 45 which makes it even easier for counties to acquire and use faulty voting equipment. Computer expert, Paul Walmsley, carefully described the problems with the rule. His constructive analysis was ignored,

Also, the Secretary of State is actively seeking proposals for voting equipment. The request for proposal (RFP) has been seriously criticized by computer professionals, including Colorado Voter, The combination of rule-45 and this RFP will compromise Colorado elections for years to come.

Colorado voters need to speak to their representatives and to the Secretary of State about this mess. The people in charge of elections are way over their heads when they are asked to make decisions involving high tech. When officials bring in outside experts, they select people who are friends rather than the most competent technologists.

Officials may be “good people” but they are doing a great disservice to our community when they refuse to open election systems to the harsh scrutiny of truly independent oversight.

Colorado elections can no longer be trusted until they are truly transparent and it can be independently verified that each election is secure and accurate.

Colorado Counties that use Diebold Voting Equipment

  • Adams
    El Paso
    El Paso
    La Plata
    La Plata