Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fahrenheit 95

In addition to everything else that's wrong with e-voting machines, it seems they're not designed to operate in temperatures above 95 F. According to USA Today:

"Heat is a very serious problem for these machines, especially in Louisiana and Florida," said Dan Spillane, former senior testing engineer of touch-screens for a small equipment manufacturer in Seattle. "Basically, these things work in the secretary of state's office. Outside of that, no one knows."


According to technical standards for electronic voting systems, updated in 2002, voting machines must be able to tolerate storage temperatures ranging from minus 4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They must be able to operate in "natural" conditions and temperatures ranging from 50 to 95 degrees.

Those standards aren't satisfactory to Vincent Lipsio, a firmware design engineer in Gainesville, Fla. Lipsio, who is helping draft e-voting equipment standards for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said most hardware that's considered 'mission critical' — including medical devices, military equipment and aviation hardware — should tolerate 180 degrees or more.

1 comment:

thehim said...

As someone who has been involved with test engineering for years now, I'm honestly speechless over all of this. If a private company built anything the way these companies built these voting machines, they'd have gone out of business long ago.

The danger is not that they'll be rigged to cheat as a lot of people think (that would be hard to do, and they're clearly not capable of doing it in a way that would avoid detection), but it's that they'll break and no one will know how to recover any data.