[gs-devel] Urgent Ghostscript query involving election software!

Jim March 1.jim.march at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 22:51:07 PST 2007

Folks, this is a very important query, only slightly off-topic and I
hope you can forgive that due to urgency.

Ghostscript is used by the Diebold Election Systems central tabulator
software to control ballot layouts for elections in many US
jurisdictions.  (Sidenote: is that a GPL problem?)

I'm consulting on a public records lawsuit involving election records
in Pima County AZ, due for trial in less than a month.  In going over
various records we've found an anomaly related to Ghostscript:
Japanese font files loaded into GS when the election process had
already started and the code base supposedly frozen.

This county doesn't do Japanese ballots.

The OS is Windows 2000.  Here are the directory listing entries we're
concerned with:

C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.54\Resource\CMap

5/11/2006 7:23a 199,837 UniJIS-UTF16-H

5/11/2006 7:23a 256,831 UniJIS-UTF32-H
5/11/2006 7:23a 227,921 UniJIS-UTF8-H
5/11/2006 7:23a 256,815 UniJISX0213-UTF32-H

Here's why this matters: the election in question was dated 5/16/06.
Starting on 5/10/06 the county began scanning mail-in votes, so as to
have them ready to display "winners and losers" on the evening of the
16th.  Prior to 5/10/06 a "logic and accuracy" test was run to ensure
(at least theoretically) that the election system was basically
running right.  From that point forward, data could be entered into
the system but the code base was supposed to be frozen.

Yet here we have changes to GS on 5/11/07.  Worse, the official day's
proceedings didn't get started until 9:56am according to the audit
logs.  So we end up with questions:

* What was somebody doing in there at 7:23am, before the party
observers showed up?

* What action on the part of the user would trigger these font installs?

* Would the fonts have come in over an Internet connection, in which
case what the hell was this thing doing being so connected at all?
Trust me: it's supposed to be standalone.

* Since GS is used to prepare ballot layouts, what was somebody doing
fooling around with ballot layouts post-Logic & Accuracy test?

*  Is it possible that somebody brought data in from home (or some
other system) to be loaded into or touched by Ghostscript, and the
"alien system" had Japanese fonts in it, which triggered loading
Japanese fonts on the official ballot tabulator station on 5/11/06?

What I'm getting at is, where could these files have come from, what
could have triggered their installation, and is this a trace evidence
of election tampering?

I would appreciate any help possible in answering these by people who
know Ghostscript.  I'm CCing the local technical crew here in Pima
County that are dealing with this.  Note that this isn't the only
squirrelly thing going on, rather it's the piece that's connected to


Jim March
Member of the Board of Directors, Blackboxvoting.org
Technical consultant to the Pima County Democratic Party
Member, Libertarian Party :)

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