Alagoas Techie: Rambling on Elections Wreck


Brazilian elections commission: Simulation of ultrasecure digital democracy

The head of the technology section of the regional elections tribunal of Alagoas publishes a (new) defense of the integrity of the elections process last October, which is subject to a legal challenge in a case that seems to have fallen off the edge of the flat earth.

Members of the Voto Seguro forum passed this along, describing it as rather bizarre. I concur, but you be the judge.

For previous media statements by the TRE-AL, see Alagoas Election Techie: What? Us? Fraud? Naw. The story seems to keep changing every time it’s told.

The new version does, I note, contain some new nuggets of potential non-disinformation about what technicians have been working on in response to the Fernandes Report.

But at any rate, I translate, pra inglês ver.

Muito se tem falado nos últimos tempos sobre a segurança das eleições informatizadas e, particularmente, sobre a segurança das urnas eletrônicas.

Much has been said in recent days about the security of computerized elections and, especially, about the security of electronic voting machines.

É comum encontrarmos quem fale “se nem os Estados Unidos usam, não pode ser bom”. Este tipo de afirmação só revela o profundo desconhecimento sobre as enormes diferenças entre os processos eleitorais brasileiro e norte-americano, além de realçar uma latente falta de auto-estima, revelada na falsa crença de que só o que é importado, o que é formulado por outros países, é de fato bom.

It is common to hear people saying that “if the U.S. does not even use them, they must not be any good.” This type of statement reveals a deep ignorance about the differences between American and Brazilian elections process, as well as a latent lack of self-esteem, revealed in the false belief that only what is imported, or is invented by other countries, is actually any good.

Bingo. “Ufanismo is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” This rule of thumb is actually pretty hand, I have found. So when it gets busted out in the lead paragraph, I start to think that we might just have one of those fabled “Latin American guilty pleas” on our hand, with all the attendant appeals to the domino theory of responsibility you have come to expect from the globalized phenomenon of banana-republicanism in the Abramoff tradition.

Like Chicago hog butchers, these people all seem to chop logic the exact same way.

É preciso ter em mente que o processo eleitoral brasileiro, que culmina com a captação eletrônica dos votos por meio de urnas eletrônicas, é um todo indivisível que jamais pode ser avaliado isoladamente, tampouco, ingênua ou levianamente, avaliado apenas sob um de seus aspectos.

It is necessary to bear in mind that Brazilian elections, which culminate in the electronic capture of votes using electronic voting machines, is an indivisble whole that cannot be evaluated in isolation, or be judged, ingenuously or disingenuously, only in terms of one of its parts.

Toda a utilização de sistemas informatizados para a feitura de uma eleição, passa necessariamente pela fase de homologação e assinatura dos mesmos, por parte da JE, OAB, MP Federal, e partidos políticos interessados. Essa operação consiste na verificação de funcionamento, por meio de inspeção realizada por técnicos e peritos especializados das entidades, para atestar que o cômputo dos votos é livre de qualquer mácula, absolutamente isento, sendo tradução fiel e precisa da vontade popular expressa em sufrágio. Em seguida, esses órgãos fazem a assinatura digital conjunta dos sistemas o que torna possível ser verificado a todo momento, mesmo antes ou após as eleições, que os sistemas presentes nas urnas e nos computadores da Justiça Eleitoral são exatamente os mesmos verificados e validados, portanto, livres de qualquer suspeita.

All uses of computer systems for the conduct of an election pass by law through a validation process in which the JE, OAB, federal public advocate, and interested parties all sign off. This operation consists in the verification of the functioning of the machines, through an inspection conducted by technicians and specialists from all these entities, to attest that the computation of the vote is free of any blemish, absolutely impartial, and translates faithfully and accurately the popular will as expressed in universal suffrage. Next, these organs jointly create the digital signature of the systems, which makes it possible to verify at every moment, both before and after the elections, that the software used in the machines and the computers of the elections authority are exactly the same as those validated and verified, and therefore above all suspicion.

Hashes can be spoofed. Duh.

The fellowing is describing an elaborate media ceremony is which the elections authority places seals on the software disks. But as we saw in Alagoas, the unsealing and uploading was outsourced. And the outsourcers wound up barbecuing elections equipment and records in a vacant lot.

WTF?

And a 2004 case in Guarulhos — shelved and then inadvertently misplaced, apparently, by the regional elections court in São Paulo — suggests that software technicians may be quite willing and able to clone voting machines, even while in the “iron fisted, velvet-gloved” grasp of constant adult supervision.

See also Maracutaia in Marília, 2004. As an OAB specialist described this method for defrauding elections as

Swapping out real voting machines, registered with the TSE, for “cloned” machines, also authentic but not registererd with the TSE. While voters enter their selections into the “cloned” machine, the genuine machine is loaded up with fake votes in another location. After the voting, the precinct officer has to issue a bulletin on each machine and deliver the material and equipment to the place where votes are being totalled, using his own transportation On the way, however, he coud swap the registered machine with the fraudulent votes back in, attachking a fake bulletin of results. There are other variations on this scheme, in which the fraudulent votes can be entered into the system at another time.

I am not sure about this, but I believe that in many places, a system transmission of results over a wire, designed to foreclose this possibily, such as rolled out for Mexico’s PREP system, is not yet implemented.

You do, I read, have police escorts for some of these couriers, driving along the road with voting machines in their trunk.

But look, sad to say, the Brazilian police are the Brazilian police. See that recent interview with the Rio public safety researcher, as it bears on the (crooked) police and (crooked) politics — Álvaro Lins — for a glimpse of the jaw-dropping opportunities for massive maracutaia.

Nas eleições de 2006 não foi diferente, todos os sistemas foram homologados e assinados pela JE, MP, OAB e os partidos que demonstraram interesse em fazê-lo, PT, PDT e PV.

In the 2006 elections it was no different. All the systems were validated and signed off on by elections authority, the public ministry, the Order of Brazilian Attorneys, and the political parties that showed an interest, the PT, the PDT, and the PV.

A segurança não fica por aí. Para todas as etapas do processo, são, obrigatoriamente, publicados editais de convocação do MP, OAB, partidos e candidatos para participar e fiscalizar as etapas de conferência dos dados a serem utilizados nas urnas eletrônicas, preparação da mídias (cartões de memória e disquetes a serem utilizados nas urnas), captação nas mesas dispostas nos mais diversos locais de votação, atividades de transmissão de dados, totalização e divulgação.

Security measures do not stop there. At all stages of the process, by law, the MP, OAB, and the parties and candidates receive formal invitations to participate in and oversee the compilation of programs to be used in the voting machines, the preparation of media (memory cards and diskettes to be used with the machines), the capturing of votes at various voting locations, data transmission activities, tallying of votes and publication of results.

Sending leters to observers inviting them to observe is not a security measure, in and of itself, obviously.

The basic logic at work here seems to be: “You signed off on it, so you have no right to complain.”

This is precisely the rationale being applied to Mr. Lessa, for example, who has been subpoenaed by the TRE-AL to explain why he is raising new complaints outside the statutory period for filing them.

But look: Imagine that you sign a purchase agreement for a car, the car turns out to be a lemon — or an exploding Pinto — and it turns out that the contract has a hidden “as is” clause that the salesman assured you was “standard boilerplate, not to worry.”

We have this provision in our contract law of “informed consent,” do we not? Last I checked we did, but who knows? Alberto Gonzalez is our Attorney General.

Outro assunto, recentemente despertado, diz respeito à falha em alguns arquivos de Logs das urnas eletrônicas. Inicialmente, vamos tentar explicar o que são os arquivos de Logs.

Another matter recently raised has to do with the failure of some log files in the voting machines. First, let us try to explain what these log files are.

Em sistemas computacionais, os arquivos de Logs são utilizados para o registro de informações, sejam eles sistemas operacionais, gerenciadores de banco de dados ou outros sistemas quaisquer. Esses registros, a critério do desenvolvedor, podem ser utilizados para recompor o estado original de um sistema ou para que o administrador conheça o seu comportamento e, ainda, podem ser utilizados para auditoria e diagnóstico de problemas.

In computer systems, log files are used to record information, be they operating systems, database generation, or any other type of system. These recorded data, depending on the choice made by the developer, can be used to reset the system to its original state or to give the administrator information on its performance, or even as a basis for auditing and diagnosis of problems.

Os arquivos de Log gerados pelas urnas eletrônicas não têm como função a reconstrução da informação, a despeito de sua eventual utilização em sistemas de banco de dados, por exemplo, tampouco a função de aferir o comparecimento de eleitores. Geralmente, eles são utilizados para direcionar metas e avaliar estatísticas, bem como para conhecimento do comportamento dos programas e das urnas e, jamais, para registro do voto ou para ações de totalização.

The log files generated by the electronic voting machine are not intended for the purpose of reconstructing information, although they may be used in this way in database system, for example. Nor is their function to confirm that a given voter has appeared to vote. Generally speaking, they are used to set goals and evaluate statistics, as well to learn about the operation of the software and the hardward, but never to register votes or in the totalling of votes.

Essas características ratificam o caráter secundário dos arquivos de Log nas urnas eletrônicas, frente aos outros sistemas de efetivo controle e segurança, reforçado pelo fato de os mesmos sequer serem criptografados. A análise desses arquivos pode identificar casos pontuais a serem verificados por eventual auditoria, mas sua análise, por si só, não constitui auditoria propriamente dita e suas conclusões podem ser equivocadas não podendo, portanto, ser consideradas determinísticas, sob pena de serem precipitadas e inverídicas.

These characteristics demonstrate the secondary importance of log files in the electronic voting machine compared with other systems of control and security, a point reinforced by the fact that these files are not even encrypted. The analysis of these logs can identify individual cases for study by an audit, but analyzing them in and of themselves does not constitute an audit properly speaking, and the conclusions of such analyses might be erroneious, given that they cannot, for that reason, be considered definitive, which would make them hasty and inaccurate.

The Brazilians have an expression: a rebimboca da parafuseta. This is the kind of talk a crooked auto mechanic uses to explain why you need a new transmission rather than two quarts of oil.

O módulo de Log faz o registro dos eventos e ocorrências, mas esses registros não são críticos para o funcionamento do sistema como um todo. Para isso, a urna possui outros sistemas e arquivos de controle efetivos e eficazes.

The logging module creates a registry of [system] events and occurrences, but these records are not critical for the functioning of the system as a whle. For that purpose, the machine has other systems and control files that are both effective and efficient.

Outra evidência que atesta a falta da criticidade e o aspecto secundário dos arquivos de Log, é que a configuração para início do recebimento dos mesmos, por ocasião do pleito, fica a cargo de cada TRE e, geralmente, dá-se após o horário estabelecido para início do recebimento dos Boletins de Urnas (BUs), para que a sua transmissão não provoque congestionamento na rede e não atrapalhe o recebimento e o processamento dos resultados da votação. O art. 102 da Resolução TSE nº 22.154/2006 prevê isso.

Another piece of evidence attesting to the lack of a critical role and the secondary importance of the log files is that the configuration for initiating the receipt of same, during live voting, is the responsbility of each regional electoins court, and generally speaking is carried out after the time set for the receipt of the Voting Machien Bulletins (BUs), so that their transmission will not cause congestion on the network or interfere with the receipt and processing of votes. Article 102 of TSE Resolution 22,154/2006 provides for this.

The Resolution cited is the controversial so-called mini-reform.

“Art. 102. Concluídos os trabalhos de apuração das seções de transmissão dos dados pela junta eleitoral, esta providenciará, no prazo máximo de vinte e quatro horas, a transmissão dos arquivos Log das urnas, espelho de BU e registro digital do voto.”

“Article 102. Once the technical sections have completed their work of verifying the transmission of data by the elections court, the latter shall provide, within 24 hours, the transmission of the log files from the machines, as well as a mirror copy of the BU and the digital vote registry.

Basic logic: redundant security and audit systems are, well, redundant.

Premise: the digital signatures (hash) system is as infallible as a medieval pope.

But we geeks have already seen tons of demonstrations, and heard sworn testimony, that such systems, when used in isolation, can be undetectably spoofed.

In non-nerd terms, that means that your hostile, alien software can bust into the system and have the bean-counting module, which advances a counter when bytes are added and subtracted, quietly disappeared, or invited to take a long vacation.

This is not, from what I read, rocket science. Hell, even I, with my gentleman’s C in Pascal long, long ago, remember Lesson 1: How to set up a simple counting procedure.

You know: how many times does a loop reiterate before moving on to Step 2, that sort of thing.

Somewhere here I have a clipping of a couple of lines of code that can do this.

Agora, após esses esclarecimentos a respeito dos arquivos de logs das urnas eletrônicas, deve ficar mais fácil ao leitor compreender e avaliar as informações que agora serão prestadas sobre algumas questões propaladas pela imprensa nacional a respeito das Eleições de 2006 em Alagoas.

Now, after these clarifications with respect to the log files from the voting machines, it should be easier for the reader to understand and evaluate the information that will be provided concerning some questions asked by the national press with respect to the 2006 elections in Alagoas.

Esclarecimento also translates German Aufklarung, but the reasoning here actually seems rather anti-Enlightement to me.

Questões levantadas pela imprensa a respeito das eleições em Alagoas

Questions raised by the press about the Alagoas elections.

Questões relacionadas ao comparecimento de eleitores e aos votos computados

Questions on the appearance of voters and votes computed.

20,000 fewer votes were recorded that voter appearances registered.

“a) Pelos dados oficiais votaram 1.514.113 eleitores alagoanos. O sistema eletrônico de voto, porém, registra 22.562 eleitores a menos. Não se sabe se esses votos foram subtraídos de algum candidato, se nunca existiram ou como e por que foram manipulados;

(a) According to official data, 1,514,113 Alagoan voters voted. The e-voting system, however, recorded 22,562 fewer voters. It is not known where these voters we subtracted for a specific candidate, if they never existed, or how and why them might have been manipulated;

b) O número de votos registrados em algumas urnas foi menor do que o número de eleitores que efetivamente votaram;

(b) The number of votes registered in certain machines was lower than the number of voters that actually voted;

c)Algumas urnas misteriosamente não registraram voto algum;”

(c) Some machines mysteriously did not register any votes at all.

Those are not questions, by the way.

Inicialmente, é preciso ficar claro que o comparecimento oficial registrado foi 1.513.750 eleitores.

First, we must make it clear that the official attendance number was 1,513,750 voters.

363 fewer that reported by … what was the source of these assertions you are addressing, again?

Not Veja magazine, by any chance? See Veja: “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” And Other Fairy Tales.

Também se faz necessário lembrar que os eventos de comparecimento e confirmação do voto, que são registrados nos arquivos de Logs, não têm como finalidade a contagem de votos e que sua simples observação, sem a consideração dos elementos efetivamente ligados ao cômputo do voto, podem levar a conclusões destoantes da realidade.

It is also necessary to remember that the appearance of voters and the confirmation of their voting, which are recorded in the log files, are not captured for the purpose of counting votes and that simply observing these files, without taking into consideration

So what is the official record that proves that you showed up to to vote?

For example, there was a reported case here in São Paulo in which people showed up, did not get to vote, but were credited with the effort for purposes of complying with their compulsory appearance. On which see Brazil: “2 Million Voters May Be Struck From the Rolls”.

A perda total ou parcial dos registros de eventos nos arquivos de Logs acarreta a discrepância constatada, mas que jamais comprometeu, compromete ou comprometerá a totalização dos votos, pois essas operações, repito, não são baseadas nos arquivos dos Logs.

The total or partial loss of the system event records in the log files supports the discrepancy that was pointed out, but has never compromised, does not compromise, and could never compromise the tallying of votes, because those operations, I repeat, are not based on the log files.

Right: the log files are there only to show whether or not any anomalous events took place in this other routines, which do the actual work.

So if the log files are fubar’d, you cannot assert with any certainty either that those other routines functioned normally or that they borked the results.

Um ponto crucial é que o Sistema de Apuração não registra eventos de comparecimento e votação. O Sistema de Apuração é utilizado na Junta Eleitoral, e não na seção. O objetivo do seu uso é a digitação de boletins de urna totais, de seções que iniciaram e encerraram eletronicamente; de seções que iniciaram de forma eletrônica e terminaram em votação por cédulas (votação mista); e a votação totalmente por cédulas. Ele converte essas informações e gera um arquivo de resultados para ser recebido no Sistema de Totalização.

A crucial point is the the Vote-Intake System does not register the appearance of voters or confirm that they voted. The Vote-Count System is used by the elections tribunal, not the technical section. Its purpose is to digitalize the voting machine bulletins as well as the results from polling places that open and close their voting in electronic mode; of polling sections that start up electronically and wind up switching to paper ballots (mixed-mode voting; and sections that vote purely by paper ballot. The system converts these data and generates a results file for the Vote-Totalling System.

Esse procedimento de contingência utilizado nas Juntas Eleitorais está regulamentado na Res. TSE nº 22.154/2006, no seu Art. 99.

This contingency procedure used by the elections courts is provided for in TSE Resolution 22,154/2006, in Article 99.

W hen engineers changing the subject from the whizzing of gizmos to the contents lawbooks, watch out.

Isso posto, é preciso esclarecer que a análise buscando a contagem de eventos de comparecimento e confirmação de voto não deve ser feita em arquivos de Log de seções cujos resultados vieram do Sistema de Apuração, pois esses eventos não serão encontrados nesses arquivos.

That said, it is necessary to clarify that the analysis that seeks to count voter appearances and confirmation of their having voted should not be dervied from the log files of the voting sections, whose results come from the Vote-Totalling System, because those events are not contained in these archives.

Esclarecendo qualquer dúvida, a digitação dos Boletins de Urna no Sistema de Apuração é tão segura quanto a apuração dos votos realizada diretamente pela urna eletrônica.

And clarifying the matter beyond all doubt, the digitalization of data for the Machine Bulletins (BUs) that enter the totalling system is just as secure as the counting of votes entered directly into the voting machine.

That is a flat assertion, but given that the manual votes have to go through several process handoffs, one would want some technical details to explain why we should accept that.

Process handoffs are the bitch goddess of all data engineering. Just ask NYSE and the Dow Jones.

“Em 35% das urnas utilizadas nas eleições de Alagoas, os arquivos apresentaram erros bizarros e comportamentos irregulares”

“In 35% of the machines used in the Alagoas elections, the log files presented bizarre errors and anomalous behavior.”

Who says this? It is in quote marks, so who are we quoting here?

É possível que essa afirmação faça menção à ausência dos registros do evento ATUE (Autoteste da Urna Eletrônica) não registrados nas urnas de determinado modelo, mas que inexoravelmente aconteceu, pois como é do conhecimento dos peritos e conhecedores, o funcionamento da urna no dia da eleição está condicionado à carga e à realização do procedimento de autoteste, obrigatório e efetuado imediatamente após a carga. Conclui-se, então, que o autoteste foi realizado, do contrário a urna simplesmente não passaria para o próximo passo, que é aguardar o dia da votação. Se o evento não foi registrado, não significa que não existiu. Todos os comprovantes de carga e de autoteste comprovam isso.

This statement might be referring to the absence of event logs for the process known as ATUE — the “electronic voting machine self-test” process — which were not recorded on voting machines of a certain model, but which must have been realized [despite the absence of documentation]. As knowledgeable experts know, the functioning of a voting machine on election day is conditioned on its passing the self-test procedure, which is obligatory and conducting immediately after the software is uploaded. We must conclude

Does the machine refuse to function if it has not gone through the test? That technical point needs clarifying if we are to accept this point.

As we say in the Ohio case, there were contradictory statements about whether the machine would automatically refuse to functioning without the paper spool in place, or whether you could continue to enter votes into it. On the Ohio case, see Alagoas and Ohio: E-Elections on Trial in Alternate Hemispheres.

This point, I take it, refers to the infamous 1998 model to which so many shortcomings have been attributed, including a short-coming in “memory capacity” and a defective disk drive.

Of 5,878 machines used, according to the TRE-AL itself, 4,419 were the 1998 model. That’s 75%. See Alagoas E-Voting Factoid No. 12a.

Dos Procedimentos de Auditoria Realizados pela Justiça Eleitoral

On the audit procedures performed by the elections authority

Os procedimentos de auditoria dos Sistemas Eleitorais estão previstos na Resolução TSE Nº 22.154/2006, nos arts. 172 ao 233, sendo a Votação Paralela a forma mais transparente de verificação de auditoria no que se refere ao produto final, quando pode ser verificado o funcionamento, tal qual numa seção eleitoral, de urnas sorteadas ao acaso, na véspera da Eleição, e, no dia da votação, acompanhar uma votação controlada e filmada, e aferir que os votos registrados nas urnas eletrônicas, são, como não poderia ser diferente, exatamente os mesmos digitados, filmados e contabilizados manualmente e por sistema específico.

Audit procedures for Elections Systems are provided for in [the mini-reform fiat], in Articles 172 to 233, with the Parallel Election test being the most transparent form of auditing the quality of the final result, in which the functioning of the system is double-checked by taking voting machines selected randomly from any polling place on the eve of the elections, and on election day comparing the vote on the test machines, which is controlled and filmed, and affirming that the votes registered in those machines are, as could not be otherwise, exactly the same as votes typed in and counted manually …

Dos dados apurados e filmados sem cortes é possível afirmar, categoricamente, que as únicas seções que funcionaram simultaneamente em urnas diferentes, foram as seções sorteadas para a Votação Paralela. No entanto, elas funcionaram em ambiente controlado, com resultado conhecido e que correspondeu exatamente aos votos digitados.

From the data collected, while being filmed without cuts, it is possible

They are talking about the same method used by the Paraguayans to allege that their Brazilian voting machines are, allegedly, a grim laughinstock. See Peril in Paraguay. Brush up on your Spanish: That’s a real eye-opener, that test, which ran on national TV there.

De outra sorte, é fácil concluir o seguinte: se os partidos acompanham a documentação, o desenvolvimento e a lacração dos sistemas eleitorais, como podem alegar que os programas da urna registram votos a mais, desviam votos, deixam a urna “oca”? Nada seria mais fácil de ser detectado simplesmente visualizando o código-fonte dos programas. As Resoluções que regulamentam as eleições prevêem um período anterior ao pleito para todo esse procedimento. Todos os sistemas são feitos baseados nas documentações anteriores, e cujas falhas detectadas são corrigidas nas versões posteriores e novamente disponibilizadas à fiscalização dos partidos, OAB e MP.

Thus it is easy to conclude the following: If the parties oversee the documentation, the development, and the sealing of elections software, how can they alleged that the programs registered an excess of votes, diverted votes to other candidates, or left the machines “hollow”?

Here’s how: See “The Blind Virtual Voting Act of 2003″.

Nothing could be simpler than to detect it, simply by inspecting the source code of the software.

By law, you are not permitted to inspect the source code closely.

The Resolutions that regulate elections provide for a period prior to the elections for this procedure.

A very, very cursory inspection, which, astonishingly, as the Voto Seguro folks point out, many of the political parties simply dispense with, partly because of a lack of qualified technicians for the job, they observe.

De igual forma, é simplesmente inaceitável o questionamento quanto aos procedimentos de Votação Paralela pelo simples fato da publicidade e pela opção dada aos interessados para o acompanhamento das etapas de desenvolvimento dos sistemas e que tem sua realização totalmente filmada e sem corte, como previsto em Resolução.

By the same token, it is simply unacceptable to question Parallel Voting procedures simply because the issue has gained publicity, for the interested parties have the option of following the different stages of system development, which has been filmed in its entirety and without cuts, as provided for in the Resolution.

Dos Procedimentos de Auditoria Realizados pelos Peritos Contratados

Of audit procedures performed by third-party contractors

De posse dos arquivos de Log fornecidos à coligação, os técnicos contratados procederam às análises dos mesmos. Concluíram pela necessidade de Verificação das Assinaturas Digitais nas urnas utilizadas no primeiro turno das eleições. Indicaram 113 (cento e treze) urnas de acordo com critérios próprios e o TRE deferiu o pedido de verificação.

With the log files provided to the coalition in hand, the hired technicians proceeded to analyze these files. They concluded that a Vertification of Digital Signatures was needed for the voting machines used in the first round of the elections. They selected 113 machines in accordance with their own criteria, and the TRE permitted them to proceed.

O procedimento de Verificação de Assinaturas consiste na inserção de um disquete próprio, que executa os cálculos para concluir se os sistemas utilizados são exatamente os mesmo homologados e assinados pela JE, MP, OAB e partidos políticos. É bastante apropriado lembrar que o disquete utilizado nas urnas de Alagoas, continha um programa desenvolvido pelo próprio partido, o PDT. Esse programa foi apresentado ao TSE e, após homologação, liberado para verificação dos arquivos das urnas.

The verification of digital signature consists of inserting a diskette that executes the calculations that confirm that the systems used are exactly the same as those signed off on by the JE, MP, OAB and political parties. We should remember here that that the diskette used in the machines in Alagoas contained a program developed by the party to this case, the PDT. This program was presented to the TSE and, once certified, was allowed to be used in verifying the files on the voting machines.

Okay, but what was on the yellow diskettes burned in that vacant lot in Maceió? That, it seems to me, is the real, er, burning question here.

Ao contrário da maioria dos aplicativos das Urnas Eletrônicas, o programa é rodado diretamente do disquete. Esse programa vasculha as urnas e checa cada um dos arquivos instalados.

Unlike most programs used in the voting machines, this program runs directly on the diskette. This program sweeps the mchine and checks each of its installed files.

Nessa verificação de auditoria, foi constatada a regularidade dos sistemas utilizados em todas as urnas eletrônicas, ou melhor, foi constatada a autenticidade dos Sistemas Eleitorais em todas as urnas.

In this audit check, it was found that all these machines were in a regular condition. Or better, that the elections software was proved to be authentic.

Hashes can be spoofed. Switcheroos can be pulled. The logic here makes me nostalgic for my senior thesis in college on the Geddier Problem — Is knowledge justified true belief?

Além das verificações nas urnas, foi realizada, também, pelos peritos contratados pela coligação partidária, a checagem de todos os computadores utilizados pelo Tribunal Regional Eleitoral de Alagoas nos processos de geração de mídias (disquetes e cartões de memória usados nas urnas eletrônicas) e naqueles utilizados para a totalização dos resultados, constatando-se, de igual forma, a inteira regularidade dos Sistemas Geradores de Mídia e Totalizadores.

Besides the hash check, the technicians hired by the partisan coalition also checked all the computers used by the TRE-AL to generate media (diskettes and memory cares used in the electronic voting machines) and those used to total votes. They found, likewise, that the media generation and totalization systems were entirely in order.

Por fim, ante a transparência que norteia as ações da Justiça Eleitoral, proporcionando, inclusive, acesso aos seus sistemas e dependências, a cada passo da preparação das eleições, preparação e distribuição das urnas eletrônicas, na captação dos votos nos milhares de locais de votação no país, pelo acompanhamento aberto das etapas de totalização e divulgação de resultados, bem assim de procedimentos posteriores de verificação dos sistemas, como os aqui relatados e realizados no caso de Alagoas por peritos contratados, aferida sua total regularidade, é que podemos afirmar, com toda certeza, que a vontade do povo, notadamente a do povo alagoano, materializada em seus votos, foi absolutamente respeitada. Em suma, não houve mácula, vício ou ilícito, e sim, o mais perfeito e concreto respeito à vontade do eleitor.

In conclusion, the transparency that guides the actoins of the election authorities, which even provides access to its systems and facilities during each step in the preparation of the elections process, the preparation and distribution of the voting machines, the capture of votes in thousands of polling places throughout Brazil, and the open observation of the tallying and publication of results, …

[signed] Daniel Macêdo — Secretário de Tecnologia da Informação

On the transparency of information from the TRE-AL, I note again: Every time I tried to find out what third parties were hired to work in that termite-infested warehouse in Maceio, I get the following error message:

Exceção de E/S: The Network Adapter could not establish the connection

E/S — entrada/saida — is Portuguese for I/O, or “input/output.”

If not the other common error illustrated below, which seems to emanate from Brasília.

Emfim: this seems to me like textbook case — possibly one for the ages — of changing the subject while filibustering.

For as an OAB expert has noted,

The simplest and most effective way of defrauding the election, however, is not at the voting machine but rather at the regional election commissions, where the votes go to be tallied. Election judges have passwords that allow them to purge votes when some kind of disk-reading error occurs. This is normal. But party election monitors have submitted sworn statements, in past elections, testifying to seeing post-its containing these passwords stuck to to the monitors of computers being used by various computer operators. Sometimes the election judges can be a bit computerphobic. In the confusion, it is not impossible for one of these unauthorized persons to insert any data he or she wishes.

The only aspect of the case that cannot be discussed is the possibility of corruption at the election authority itself — a charge we have heard, albeit from a rather funky source, with respect to the elections in Rondônia this year, for example.

On which, see also Rondônia Election Officials “Wash Their Hands”: Local Report.


The savior machine of e-government in action, courtesy the omnicompent election authories: “The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request. The full stack trace of the root cause is available in the Apache Tomcat/5.0.25 logs.” Not very informative to Portuguese-speaking Brazilian citizen, first of all. And not very helpful in any case.

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