Monday, July 21, 2008


Plaintiff’s statement on why suit was filed to block Hawaii from using Hart voting computers

by Larry Geller

I’ll repeat a suggestion I’ve made before: why doesn’t Hawaii (or any other state) commission the writing of open-source voting software so we know what these machines are doing? Hmmm? Or could it be that the powers that be really want a machine that can manipulate the vote?

An article appeared in OpEd News by Bob Babson of Maui,the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit to block the use of Hart machines in the upcoming election in Hawaii:

We filed a lawsuit on July 14, 2008, asking the Court to order the Hawaii Chief Elections Officer to stop using telephone lines or the internet for transmitting ballot counts and election results for final tabulation until such time as administrative rules can be legally promulgated in accordance with Hawaii Administrative Law, Chapter 91, HRS, and all other laws can also be legally followed.

Hart InterCivic (Hart) of Austin, Texas, has the contract to conduct elections for the State of Hawaii.  They write the software and design the hardware and it is top secret.  No one can inspect it because it is "proprietary property."  They claim the version they are using has been inspected by an independent testing agency (ITA) on the mainland. But we don't know if what they inspected is the same as what is
actually used here in Hawaii.  We must blindly trust them to be honest.

Each voting machine at the precincts has a memory card with votes on it.  After the polls close on election day, the current procedure is to forward all memory cards to the county count center (8th floor of the Maui County Building for Maui) and hand them to the Hart technician who then "reads" them into the Hart tabulator (a laptop in 2006).  The laptop is connected to a telephone line and the vote count files are then supposedly transmitted directly to the State count center using a wide area network (WAN).  WAN's use the internet.  We believe the transmission method is either by email with files attached or file transfer protocol (FTP).

Not only can outsiders hack into anything on the internet but we believe Hart itself, our election vendor, could actually transmit the files to a bogus remote email address or a remote website where the files could be flipped and immediately transmitted directly onto the State count center.  Flipping votes means taking votes from one candidate and giving them to another.  Since the total vote count remains the same, no one would know the difference.  On top of all of this, the Office of Elections never manually counts the absentee ballots precinct (aka AB-Mail) because it is "too big."   So there you have it.  Hart could easily flip votes in the AB-Mail precinct and no one would ever know.  AB-Mail is the biggest precinct in all four counties.


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