8/04/2005

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines - Hardware Requirements

One Response to “Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), Volume 1, Section 3, Hardware Requirements”

1. lawnorder Says:
August 4th, 2005 at 8:28 pm

Section 3.2.2, an 3.2.3 are particularly innapropriate for a system that may be targeted by terrorism attacks:

As I stated on my comments on Section 1: Homeland Security did uncover an Al Qaeda plot to hit US around election time in 2004. We are now in a post 9/11 world that can not afford to ignore Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations. The electoral process is a major target for parties interested in destabilizing the country. For starters, the combination of a terrorist attack with a protracted election in dispute will produce a steep drop in the stock market as noted here http://stocks.about.com/od/whatmovesthemarket/a/electdrop110104.htm

Suppose, for instance that on election day we have a 2 hour blackout like we had in August 2003. This scenario might be a lot more probable than one may think. The blackout in 2003 was an accident but as Global Security.org reminds us, the 2003 Blackout Showed that America’s Infrastructure Vulnerable To Terrorists.

Section 3.2.2 does not have any standards that ensure protection against attacks on America’s electric grid. There is no mention of a UPS / No break device for every DRE. There are no mentions of explosion proof firewalls to protect tabulated votes. Underground installations would be ideal. A commercial warehouse is not up to standards to protect vote tallies from suicide bombers, attacks to the electrical supply or even fire.

Our voting system needs to be fault tolerant, tamper proof and have military grade disaster recovery plans. What if someone bombed the Florida Board of Elections in 2000 ? How would we know who won if all the paper ballots got burned in a fire ?

Don’t put it past the evildoers to think of an attack like that. The Al Qaeda bombing in Madrid happened close to that country’s elections and had a sizable impact on the election results. We are now in a post 9/11 world and an obvious point of attack is the US voting process. And thanks to the tiny margins that have been winning elections, the terrorists would know exactly where to hit to cause chaos: Ohio, Florida and the other swing states. All users of DRE.

The voting process is a crucial part of our Republic’s democratic state. It has been a target of terrorist attack plans before. The 2000 and 2004 elections showed US how damaging any delay or uncertainty in the results can be for the entire country. We can not afford to use commercial warehouses in a post 9/11 world. A secure fire proof reinforced location is a must.

The proposed standards below are not terror proof and have no disaster recovery provisions:

3.2.2.1 Shelter Requirements

All precinct count systems shall be designed for storage and operation in any enclosed facility ordinarily used as a warehouse or polling place, with prominent instructions as to any special storage requirements.
3.2.2.2 Space Requirements

There is no restriction on space allowed for the installation of voting systems, except that the arrangement of these systems shall not impede performance of their duties by polling place officials, the orderly flow of voters through the polling place, or the ability for the voter to vote in private.
3.2.2.3 Furnishings and Fixtures

Any furnishings or fixtures provided as a part of voting systems, and any components provided by the vendor that are not a part of the system but that are used to support its storage, transportation, or operation, shall comply with the design and safety requirements of Subsection 3.4.8.
3.2.2.4 Electrical Supply

Components of voting systems that require an electrical supply shall meet the following standards:

1. Precinct count systems shall operate with the electrical supply ordinarily found in polling places (120vac/60hz/1);
2. Central count systems shall operate with the electrical supply ordinarily found in central tabulation facilities or computer room facilities (120vac/60hz/1, 208vac/60hz/3, or 240vac/60hz/2); and
3. All systems shall also be capable of operating for a period of at least 2 hours on backup power, such that no voting data is lost or corrupted, nor normal operations interrupted. When backup power is exhausted the system shall retain the contents of all memories intact.

The backup power capability is not required to provide lighting of the voting area.
3.2.2.5 Electrical Power Disturbance

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall be able to withstand, without disruption of normal operation or loss of data:

1. Surges of 30% dip @10 ms;
2. Surges of 60% dip @100 ms & 1 sec
3. Surges of >95% interrupt @5 sec;
4. Surges of +15% line variations of nominal line voltage; and
5. Electric power increases of 7.5% and reductions of 12.5% of nominal specified power supply for a period of up to four hours at each power level.

3.2.2.6 Electrical Fast Transient

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall be able to withstand, without disruption of normal operation or loss of data, electrical fast transients of:

1. 2 kV AC & DC external power lines;
2. +1 kV all external wires >3m no control; and
3. +2 kV all external wires control.

3.2.2.7 Lightning Surge

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall be able to withstand, without disruption of normal operation or loss of data, surges of:

1. +2 kV AC line to line;
2. +2 kV AC line to earth;
3. +.5 kV DC line to line >10m;
4. +.5 kV DC line to earth >10m; and
5. +1 kV I/O sig/control >30m.

3.2.2.8 Electrostatic Disruption

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall be able to withstand ±15 kV air discharge and ±8 kV contact discharge without damage or loss of data. The equipment may reset or have momentary interruption so long as normal operation is resumed without human intervention or loss of data. Loss of data means votes that have been completed and confirmed to the voter.
3.2.2.9 Electromagnetic Radiation

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall comply with the Rules and Regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, Part 15, Class B requirements for both radiated and conducted emissions.
3.2.2.10 Electromagnetic Susceptibility

Vote scanning and counting equipment for paper-based systems, and all DRE equipment, shall be able to withstand an electromagnetic field of 10 V/m modulated by a 1 kHz 80% AM modulation over the frequency range of 80 MHz to 1000 MHz, without disruption of normal operation or loss of data.

Verified Voting Foundation Blog � Blog Archive � Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), Volume 1, Section 3, Hardware Requirements

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