image © Utah Count Votes

Princeton Study of Diebold Voting Machines

Diebold Election Systems Response to the Princeton University AccuVote-TS Analysis
Diebold Contact Info: Mark Radke of Diebold Election Systems, 330-490-6633

Computer Scientist Doug Jones Responds to the Diebold Response to the Princeton Study
Computer Scientist David Dill Responds to the Diebold Response to the Princeton Study
Computer Scientist Avi Rubin Responds to the Diebold Response to the Princeton Study
Computerworld Reponse to Diebold

My Response to Diebold Response to
Princeton University Examination of Diebold Voting Machines

Subtitle: Doubletalk, Bosh, and Mumbo Jumbo

by Kathy Dopp (with help from Jody Holder)

Diebold says:

"The unit [that Princeton studied] has security software that was two generations old, and to our knowledge, is not used anywhere in the country."


In March, 2006 the same severe Diebold security problems in the latest Diebold TSx versions were discovered in Emery County, Utah by BlackBoxVoting and Bruce Funk that had been originally discovered in the late 1990s and in early 2003 by RABA Technologies in MD and by others previously. (See BlackBoxVoting TSx Study and see Doug Jones Response. The Voting System Technology Assessment Advisory Board of California issued a report on February 14, 2006 that confirmed not only the Hursti I attack (in Leon County, FL) but discovered 16 additional vulnerabilities. Here are pictures of the TSx motherboard and some other documents.

Diebold advertised dozens of non-existant office locations in the white pages in dozens of states, and originally delivered a mixture of used, rejected voting machines to Utah for the price of new ones. (See Utah Count Votes)

Why should we believe Diebold now? Diebold could prove its claims are true by allowing independent thorough examination of its voting system. (Not by The Election Center - an Association of Election Officials and Voting Machine Vendors favored by Maryland Election Director, Linda Lamone because The Election Center members include the same voting machine vendors and election officials who pushed through unauditable paperless, fundamentally flawed, hackable voting systems despite public and expert opposition. The Election Center is funded by voting machine vendors.)

The Princeton team noted that Diebold hardware also needs to be fixed.

Diebold says:

"Normal security procedures were ignored. Numbered security tape, 18 enclosure screws and numbered security tags were destroyed or missing so that the researchers could get inside the unit."


The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet. The exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel minibars. The lock can be consistently picked in under 10 seconds without a key.

The Diebold machine does not even have to be taken apart to access the flash memory or memory cards. All can be accessed via the SmartCard serial port, serial port on the back, or modem connection. Diebold voting machines do not use long-available common-sense security measures and did not even remove the development tools from its operating system, making its system less secure than an electronic toy.

Insiders are always the biggest threat to any voting system. Insiders include all Diebold staff and election officials and workers.

The Princeton team demonstrated that election stealing software can be inserted without ignoring any security procedures, by simply accessing a memory card prior to an election. Princeton even showed that a savy voter could possibly buy cards and vote multiple times.

To anyone observing an election, election rigging would look exactly like a normal election. (See the Princeton film)

Diebold says:

"A virus was introduced to a machine that is never attached to a network."


The Princeton team did not network the machines and the virus can be transferred from one machine to another on a memory card, such as whenever the software is updated or when an election supervisor installs the election definition files, or if someone like a poll worker has one minute access to the machine.

Diebold procedures discuss the option of consolidating all the memory cards from the DREs at the precinct into one machine, a process that would then introduce whatever was on one card into the main upload. Then that can be uploaded into the central server.

The memory cards have a read/ write capability, meaning communication is two way, not one way as in using a read-only CD.

Diebold says:

The current generation AccuVote-TS software - software that is used today on AccuVote-TS units in the United States - has the most advanced security features, including Advanced Encryption Standard 128 bit data encryption, Digitally Signed memory card data, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) data encryption for transmitted results, dynamic passwords, and more.


Edward Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy and professor of computer science at Princeton, claimed that the new safeguards still does not ensure security. "Just because they use a digital signature, just because they use encryption, that's a check-box approach that doesn't pass muster in any security analysis," he said. Felten also noted that encryption does not prevent an attack of the kind used in the study because the encryption key is present in the machine.

"The malicious software has the full run of the computer. It has access to everything."

Diebold says:

"In addition to this extensive security, the report all but ignores physical security and election procedures. Every local jurisdiction secures its voting machines - every voting machine, not just electronic machines. Electronic machines are secured with security tape and numbered security seals that would reveal any sign of tampering."


Malicious software can be most easily installed during the normal course of storing, maintaining, updating, or conducting elections without raising any suspicion. It is virtually impossible to secure these machines using the security procedures in use today in election jurisdictions.

BlackBoxVoting, Princeton, and Avi Rubin, among others, have shown that Diebold "security tape" is easy to tamper with, without leaving any noticeable evidence. New security tape is also available for purchase. Third, The security tape can be avoided altogether by removing a few screws. (See Avi Rubin My day as a Maryland poll worker.

Diebold says:

"Secure voting equipment, proper procedures and adequate testing assure an accurate voting process that has been confirmed through numerous, stringent accuracy tests and third party security analysis."


Only persons uneducated in computer science would buy that logic. Diebold deliberately avoided having its modified operating system software federally tested. No amount of testing would assure a tamper-free election, as Princeton explained in its movie clip and is further explained in this testimony before the US Congress by DAVID WAGNER, PH.D. COMPUTER SCIENCE DIVISION UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2006 in Question #1 of Responses to Questions for the Record Submitted by Chairman Ehlers and Chairman Boehlert...

Diebold says:

"Every voter in every local jurisdiction that uses the AccuVote-TS should feel secure knowing that their vote will count on Election Day."


To secure the accuracy of election results we must audit - manually count - voter verifiable paper ballot records associated with sufficient vote counts to give a 99% probability of detecting any outcome-altering vote miscount.

Banks, businesses, and churches are subjected to independent audits. Election outcomes determine who controls budgets in the millions to trillions of dollars, yet are not sufficiently audited in any state.

Kathy Dopp
Election Mathematics
Dedicated to accurately counting elections.

Kathy Dopp, Frank Stenger, Ron Baiman and others derived a new mathematical method for calculating vote count audit amounts that will ensure election outcomes are accurate.