Feeds

Ohio voting machines confiscated in criminal investigation

'Candidate withdrawn'

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Ohio investigators are treating a warehouse where 15 electronic voting machines have been quarantined as a crime scene following a report someone may have illegally tampered with them to remove a candidate's name from the ballot.

Officials from Ohio's Franklin County Board of Elections asked for a forensic analysis of the touch screen machines after Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner reported seeing something she regarded as odd while voting during last November's election: A gray bar and the words "candidate withdrawn" appeared where candidate Jay Perez's name should have been. Brunner's husband, who was using a nearby machine at the same time, said Perez was on his ballot.

"This is a huge problem," Brunner told The Columbus Dispatch. "There is great concern that not every voter has the same ballot."

Investigators have already found that last April someone manually disabled a logging feature in Franklin County machines that is designed to help officials track unauthorized changes to the devices. They also found that many of the machines hadn't been tested prior to the November election, according to preliminary results submitted by SysTest Labs, a Colorado quality assurance and testing company.

Ohio has a checkered history with elections. Two state elections officials were convicted of rigging a 2004 recount after admitting to doing precounts and displaying the evidence while being videotaped. Last year, a study commissioned by Brunner's office found state e-voting machines contained critical security failures that could jeopardize the integrity elections.

Brunner alerted the director of the Franklin County Board of Elections of the missing candidate a few days after the election and officials promptly pulled every suspect machine to check the ballots. Perez's name was listed on each one. Officials have also checked ballots and paper tapes, but have also found no evidence to support Brunner's account.

But she says there are reports from other precincts of voters seeing the same "candidate withdrawn" words on their machines.

Brunner has conceded investigators may never learn what really happened.

Separately, Princeton University Ed Felten said e-voting machine seller Sequoia Voting Systems has threatened him and a fellow researcher if they conduct an investigation into vulnerabilities into devices submitted by the state of New Jersey for testing. "We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property," a Sequoia attorney wrote, Felton reports. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.