[LINK] E-vote systems certifier de-certified

brd at iimetro.com.au brd at iimetro.com.au
Mon Jan 8 09:01:27 AEDT 2007

E-vote systems certifier de-certified
We can't prove anything, so neither can the Feds
By Thomas C Greene in Dublin
Published Friday 5th January 2007 12:40 GMT
The Register

The leading certifier of US electronic voting systems, Colorado outfit Ciber,
Inc., is no longer permitted to issue certifications, after federal
investigators discovered appallingly haphazard testing regimes, the New York
Times reports.

Ciber, which certifies the majority of US election devices, was unable to
document how it supposedly tested the machines for accuracy and security. Due
to the oddities of US elections regulations, no government agency is assigned
this role; rather, device manufacturers pay whoever they wish to rubber-stamp
their kit.

The US federal Election Assistance Commission began oversight only in July 2006,
and immediately found problems with Ciber's records, but did not act until
recently, presumably in fear that the November election results would be
brought into question. Ciber has been barred from issuing certifications until
it can demonstrate proper quality controls and documentation of its "work".

The company says it's on the mend, however, and assures investors that it will
win federal accreditation this month. Voters may be less optimistic. While
Ciber may not be allowed to certify machines until the Commission is satisfied
with its recordkeeping, nothing is yet being done to re-examine the machines it
"passed" without adequate controls.

And nothing is being done to bring transparency to the business of voting
machine testing and certification, although this is perhaps the most important
element of any trustworthy scheme. A good model can be found in the Nevada
Gaming Commission, which investigates even the smallest complaints with Las
Vegas's electronic slot machines (among many other things). If these machines
were certified by anyone the makers wished to hire, the public would soon
mobilise in protest, and casinos would lose significant revenue from their most
blatant mechanisms of mass theft.

And yet there is no popular outcry against the lack of accountability and
transparency in the e-voting racket. It's interesting to note that the public
is clearly less concerned with the integrity of its election equipment than it
is with a one-armed bandit in a Vegas hotel.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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