Democracy or a $6 Snickers?

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Stalwart friend of freedom Ed Felten—imagine the watch lists he's on—comes up with the blog post header of the century with 'Hotel MiniBar' Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines over at his Freedom to Tinker site.

That news pretty much covers the overall security found on many e-voting machines, physical and otherwise. And I don't think you have to subscribe to some tin-foil, vote-stealing conspiracy mailing list to be pretty alarmed by Felten's find. This seems to be yet another example of a politically wired contractor taking a technologically illiterate government—governments, actually—for a quick and dirty fleecing. See also the E-Rate program, the FBI's computer woes, just about any county courthouse in the nation—oh, and hospitals, do not forget hospitals.

The November elections could produce serious drama should enough races finish close enough for questions about the security of the ballot to have some rational basis. Imagine if control of Congress hinged on who had access to a mini-bar key?

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  1. “Imagine if control of Congress hinged on who had access to a mini-bar key?”

    Having a Kennedy for president worked out pretty well last time.

  2. joe wins the thread. Everybody can go home.

    🙂

  3. Yeah, we’re done here.

  4. Those keys are unlocking some huge profit margins. Oh well, another hundred hours of cspan wasted by Diebold conspiracy callers.

  5. Sorry, I posted before I saw Thoreau declared Joe won the thread.

  6. Having a Kennedy for president worked out pretty well last time.

    I don’t get it. Is it a winner because it’s a true statement or because it’s wildly inaccurate?

    I suppose Joe could be suggesting that Dems are (were?) better vote stealers than Reps but I still don’t get it.

    The obvious solution is paper ballots but then we’d all have to wait (the horror!) while they were counted by hand.

  7. It’s a winner because it’s funny.

  8. Having a Kennedy for president worked out pretty well last time.

    Let’s see… we let the Berlin Wall (illegal under the Allied occupation agreement) go up under our noses, the Bay of Pigs mess, escalation in Vietnam…

    Compared to the current prez, you may be right though.

  9. Wait…..this is awesome! It means we can order keys on the internet that will give us access to hotel minibars all over the world! I wouldn’t be surprsed if they figured this out in the opposite way, by using the Diebold keys to try and snag free booze while on the lecture circuit.

  10. The last time we had a Kennedy as President we got LBJ.

    Do we really want another Texan President who will bring about an unprecedented expansion of the welfare state and show this country what the word “quagmire” means?

  11. “The last time we had a Kennedy as President we got LBJ. Do we really want another Texan President who will bring about an unprecedented expansion of the welfare state and show this country what the word ‘quagmire’ means?”

    So Clinton/Dubya = Bizarro World JFK/LBJ?

  12. What are these hotels people are staying in that have minibar keys? All the hotels I have stayed in have unlocked minibars. You simply take what you want, and it is added to your bill.

    Is this something like the coin operated electric bed massagers that one sees in movies, but don’t seem to exist (at least not in my adult lifetime) in real life?

    But, besides my confusing about minibars… Voting is largely a black box anyway. Plenty of people have done a fantastic job manipulating paper ballots as much as any electronic system. All the times I have voted they didn’t ask me for an ID or anything… they simply asked my name, and I was good to go. I understand that an electronic system can be hacked, but given the way electorial regions are gerrymandered and party voting is pretty much a foregone conclusion, and the laws restricting all but the two big parties, is it even possible for anyone to “cheat”? Since it is winner takes all, cheating would only work in a handful of voting districts that aren’t completly gerrymandered according to party lines.

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