Voting machine security seals penetrated
A couple of 54-year old women from Black Box Voting
bought $12 worth of tools and in four minutes penetrated the memory card
seals, removed, replaced the memory card, and sealed it all up again without
leaving a trace. This experiment shows that the seals do nothing whatever to
protect against access by insiders after testing, and the seals also are
worthless in jurisdictions like Washington, Florida, California, and many
other locations where voting machines are sent home with poll workers for
days before the election.
The Busby-Bilbray contest in San Diego now has proof that the optical scan
machines sent home with poll workers subjected the tamper-friendly memory
cards to an non-recoverable lapse in chain of custody. The recipe for
tampering has been on the Internet for over a year:
The photos below blow apart claims by elections officials that voting
machine “sleepovers” — sending voting machines home with poll workers for
days or weeks prior to elections — are secure because of seals over the
Two Black Box Voting studies in Leon County, Florida proved that election
results can be altered in such a way that the supervisor of elections cannot
detect the tampering. Not to worry, we were told by elections officials. The
memory cards are sealed inside the machines.
But then Black Box Voting purchased an optical scan machine and obtained
discarded voting machine seals from King County, Washington. Here’s what we
The cover can be removed without detection by removing five screws. Inside,
all that stands between a pollworker (or an insider at the warehouse or
elections office) and the open-for-business memory card is a washer which
you can unscrew.
See the memory card: It is the item in the slot that says “this side up.”
Diebold’s first line of defense is a metal door that pivots down over the
memory card slot.
See how the door works: The hole in the right side of the door is
over-large, so you can move the right-side bolt in and out at will.
Therefore, they seal the right-side bolt.
See the hole in the top of the right-side bolt: The plastic seal is threaded
See the plastic seal: This plastic seal was used by King County. It had been
broken and discarded, so we used the high-tech method of putting an orange
rubber band on it to hold it together for this demo. The seal is pointless
anyway, as you’ll soon see.
See the screws holding the Diebold AccuVote optical scan machine together:
There are five. We tried a Phillips-head screwdriver on the thing.
See the screws come out: What’s inside?
See the left-side bolt. Can you remove it? We stuck a small Allen wrench
into the bolt.
See that nut on the screw: (Red arrow) We got out a pair of pliers.
Is it possible that Diebold does not know this??? Grasp nut with pliers,
twirl Allen wrench and see what happens.
See the bolt come off. But can you get the memory card out?
See the metal door pivot to the right: Remove the memory card.
We then put it all back together without leaving a trace. Cost for
materials: $12. Time: 4 minutes to open, remove card, re-insert card and
San Diego, June 6 2006: Sent these voting machines home with poll workers
for sleepovers. They said the seal on the memory card bay made it secure.
STILL GOING HOME FOR SLEEPOVERS in King County, Washington: King County
elections officials told citizens on Aug. 29 2006 in a videotaped statement
that they are using the door and plastic tab seal as shown in these
pictures, and they are sending the voting machines home with poll workers
for the September primary election.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT:
Black Box Voting has prepared a Citizen’s Tool Kit — basically a brain dump
of the things that worked during our last three years in the field. It is
organized into modules, each only a few pages long, bullet points, easy to
Two modules can help you address this issue in your area:
Media Module: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/toolkit-media.pdf (tips to get
this into the media in your location)
Adopt a public official module:
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/toolkit-adopt-an-official.pdf (tips to
educate, persuade, and hold public officials accountable)
Permission to excerpt or reprint granted, with link to
http://www.blackboxvoting.org (which features photos)