Friday, October 20, 2006

Elections, Schmelections

News from Maryland:

The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her yesterday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone that said the disks were "right from SBE" and had been "accidentally picked up."

The disks delivered to Kagan's office bear labels indicating that they hold "source code" -- the instructions that constitute the core of a software program -- for Diebold's Ballot Station and Global Election Management System (GEMS) programs. The former guides the operation of the company's touch-screen voting machines; the latter is in part a tabulation program used to tally votes after an election.

Three years ago, Diebold was embarrassed when an activist obtained some of its confidential software by searching the Internet. The company vowed to improve its security procedures to prevent another lapse.

Popcorn. I need some popcorn. And a good seat. Too late for anything more.