Princeton Computer Science Professor Andrew Appel and his students bought five Sequoia voting machines over the Internet for $82 each and are now reverse engineering the monsters to figure out how horribly our democracy is dying.
The professor bought them from election officials in North Carolina during a government auction. Sequoia is well-known for their claims that opening up their voting machine source would allow hackers and other terrorists to break their high level security. Now, however, they won’t have to worry. Those Princeton boys are mighty sharp.
The AVC Advantage machines were first manufactured in the late 1980s. Appel says the ROM chips inside are in sockets — not soldered to the board — and can be replaced in ten minutes by opening a door on the back of the machines and unscrewing a metal cover. With new chips, the machines could be reprogrammed to misreport votes, he says.
So it’s not red hot new tech, but it’s good enough. An knowing how much code is recycled at most companies, there’s a good chance those things are full of delights.