Friday, December 15, 2017

More Audit Irregularities

Thanks to the incredible people over at the Voto Social we now have another anomaly related to the Actas, that the timestamps added by the ATX system when it scanned the actas have been systematically removed from the images of all but 3,737 actas in the TSE system.

Just to refresh your understanding of this part of the voting hardware and software, each MER submits a vote tally sheet, an acta, as a paper form to be scanned and transmitted to the TSE.  The scanning software adds a time stamp in the upper left to the images of actas before encoding the image, its MER number, and other data into a JSON post to the TSE main computer system in Tegucigalpa.  Here's a sample, as originally downloaded by the Voto Social website from the TSE archive:
Note the small text above the TSE and 2017.

Here's how the same acta appears in the TSE system today:
Suddenly the ATX scanning software added text on the acta image is missing.  There is no conceivable reason for anyone to edit the image to remove that data, except that it provides a way to precisely audit when the images were added to the TSE database.  So someone removed information that could have been used to audit the addition and counting of actas in the TSE system.

In addition, the ATX scanners provided better quality scans so that you could actually see the security measures on each acta, such as the special tape that was put on the acta over the vote tallies to prevent alteration.  You can see the left edge of the tape on the top image, but its almost undetectable on the bottom one.  They noted that on some of the original scans you could even read the security watermark in the tape, while on the scans in the TSE system, it is invisible.  You can see the full images from which these details were extracted on the Voto Social website here.

They take all of the above as evidence that the TSE for some reason rescanned or edited actas that were transmitted on a non ATX scanner and entered them in some other fashion in the TSE database.  They note that there is no established protocol in the TSE that would require the rescanning or editing of ATX images.  They also note that there are no attempts on these actas to change any of the data....just the curiosity that original time stamped images were replaced with lower quality images that removed the time stamp information that could have been used to audit the arrival of each MER's acta.  No international observers report being present when acta images were re-scanned or edited.

But there are other curiosities with the images as well.  The ATX transmitted version of acta 13014 has no signatures, but the image stored in the TSE database does.  You can see side by side copies here. The Voto Social authors suggest it was transmitted this way to allow the TSE to add the signatures, though why they would want to do that is not examined.  This particular acta contains more votes for Nasralla than it does for Hernandez.

What does this mean?  It means that there is undocumented either rescanning or editing of ATX scanned actas as part of TSE procedures, neither of which appears as part of the governing rules of the Sistema Integrado de Escrutinio y Divulgación Electoral (SIEDE), the composite TSE vote tallying system and software., for this election.

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