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Dutch Voting Machines De-Certified

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the going-the-wrong-way dept.

Security 152

Peer writes "The Dutch government has officially decided that it will no longer use voting machines (Babel Fish Translation) for elections. So it's pencil and paper from now on. Activists have been campaigning against the use of voting machines for some time."

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Begs the question (5, Interesting)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438294)

Will there ever be a day when electronic voting will be viewed with the same or greater level of credibility as paper voting?

Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' already. (3, Insightful)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438352)

Only when tampering with the machine will not make it possible to cheat the vote, and there are very few (although >0) designs that allow for that.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (3, Informative)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438388)

For instance, one of these [wired.com] but with a human-readable bar code along the left side.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438546)

Or rather; when the possibility and scale of fraud possible with voting machines becomes equal or less than that of paper votes.
Let's not kid ourselves here; paper voting isn't perfect either.
Paper is easier to commit fraud with, but voting machines allow for much larger scale of fraud if they are hacked.
When we find a way to guarentee a limit to this scale, voting machines will become more reliable than paper.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438778)

All for the low low price of only $1000 per voter. Seriously. Paper is cheap, and has served us well for many years. How much is too much for something that only does as good as paper. For the cost of electronic voting machines to be worth it, it has to be many times more reliable and accountable than paper. What is the true cost of purchasing, operating, and maintaining voting machines that we can guarantee are significantly better than paper. And even then, is going from 99.9% accuracy on the vote to 99.99% accuracy on the vote really worth spending billions of dollars on voting machines?

Some of it is our own fault (3, Insightful)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438964)

Paper certainly is cheap, and it's been around a long time--a much longer time than exit polls, on-the-spot reporters, and cable news. We've now grown to expect that a winner will be declared in State X fifteen minutes after the polls close there. Used to was, people waited days to know the election results. The famous (or infamous) DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN newspaper headline from the U.S. presidential election in 1948 is certainly an example of premature "certainty" in election results. After television arrived, people could stay up all night "watching the election returns" and retire to bed, exhausted, still not knowing the outcome. It takes a little longer to count paper ballots, but it's certainly worthwhile considering some of the alternatives. We just have to get over our desire for almost-instant gratification.

Re:Some of it is our own fault (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439070)

I really don't understand the US need to have votes counted so quickly. You vote in November. The president gets sworn in in January. Lots of time for counting.

Re:Some of it is our own fault (3, Interesting)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439642)

Not to mention the fact that counting votes manually really doesn't take that long, at least in Sweden. The preliminary count of party-votes (done on a district level) is usually finished by the end of election night. The ballots are then shipped to county election offices where they will be counted again, including counting person-votes and write-ins (this process can take more than a week).

Re:Some of it is our own fault (3, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440132)

It is all part of their "I want it now." culture. Not to mention that on voting day they have to vote for everything from President (which they don't actually vote for) right down to the lowest municipale office of dog catcher in some places.

Re:Some of it is our own fault (4, Insightful)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23441014)

Paper ballots don't take days to tabulate, we use them exclusively in Canada and final results are always in within a few hours of the polls closing. Thats the final tally, not some estimate based on 5% of the vote being counted.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (3, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439324)

And even then, is going from 99.9% accuracy on the vote to 99.99% accuracy on the vote really worth spending billions of dollars on voting machines?

And what happens when the difference between two candidates is only 0.05% after the votes are counted, and the loser demands a recount? Suddenly that difference between 99.9% and 99.99% accuracy matters very much.

In the U.S., the entire fuss over electronic voting machines began because the 2000 presidential election hinged on determining a majority that was within the error margin of spoiled ballots. The problem is that paper voting will always produce spoiled ballots. It doesn't matter how simple you make the process (e.g. "Just put in an X in one of these two boxes"), a certain percentage of the electorate (e.g. the mentally ill, the illiterate, the very elderly, the mentally handicapped) will screw it up.

So in typical fashion, U.S. politicians went overboard and tried to "fix" the spoiled ballot problem with electronic voting machines. The problem with that method is that you'll never get people to have 100% trust in computerized voting. Someone, somewhere, will always make accusations of vote fixing, even if you create a paper trail. So now the pendulum is swinging back to paper ballots.

I'm just hoping I won't see another presidential election so close in my lifetime, because no matter what voting technique you use, the loser will cry foul in a very close race. Fortunately it only seems to happen every 40 years or so (Kennedy's election being the previous example), which provides enough time for the fuss to die down.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439658)

a certain percentage of the electorate (e.g. the mentally ill, the illiterate, the very elderly, the mentally handicapped) will screw it up.

Well, there went the Democratic Party's votes...no wonder they keep cheating to compensate for that.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439952)

In a sane election system that difference would not matter anyway as both sides would end up with the same power. It's just insane to declare a single winner based on such a tiny difference, it leaves half the nation unrepresented.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23440618)

and the fact the the winners brother was the governor of the contested state that swung the election. The US electoral system reeks of fraud.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438566)

You may be able to make a machine that it's possible to verify the votes for, but how do you make a machine that nobody could tamper with. You could probably replace the entire internals of most voting machines without anybody noticing.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439216)

Design it so that the only way to open it is from the front, and put a big, yellow, tamper-proof "If this seal is broken, do not use this machine" seal across the gap that changes to say "VOID" if you try to peel it off. Teach people to look for the seal.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438886)

The only way to verify that voting fraud is not committed is to get rid of anonymity, until then all voting systems can be compromised.

Re:Some pedant has probably corrected 'begs' alrea (1)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439440)

Once you get rid of anonymity, then only the people can be compromised!

Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438396)

Machines are good at two things:
Marking ballots.
Counting ballots.

But there must be ballots. These ballots must be human-readable at all stages between the marking of the ballot and the canvassing of the election. A human must confirm the ballot is what he intends to vote before actually casting it.

A machine that reads/speaks or writes/marks a paper ballot is invaluable to help the mobility or visually impaired and the illiterate and it can reduce costs in multi-precinct polling places or in polling places that use more than one language.

A separate vote-tally machine can greatly speed up the vote count.

However, you must have a human-readable piece of paper, plastic, or something else we call a ballot in case the vote need to be recounted by hand, and this ballot must be examinable by the voter before he makes his vote official.

Likewise, the ballots must be stored in a location that is protected from tampering until after the election results are final.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (3, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438508)

Frankly, the only reason I can think of someone wanting the illiterate to vote is if they are planning on tricking them into voting as part of their hoard.

having them vote may be democratic, but having the uninformed vote is not good for democracy, and its really hard to be sure you're informed if you can't check sources (ie, read).

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (1, Troll)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438820)

Frankly, the only reason I can think of someone wanting the illiterate to vote is if they are planning on tricking them into voting as part of their hoard.

having them vote may be democratic, but having the uninformed vote is not good for democracy, and its really hard to be sure you're informed if you can't check sources (ie, read).
Republicans get a many votes from the people they benefit (the wealthy), but since the concept behind the party is to benefit the few at the expense of the many, they need to "trick" millions of borderline illiterate people to vote "as part of their hoard," as you say. It's all there in the GOP charter.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438844)

I'm not sure that's actually true, though. The aggregate tends to get it right most of the time; why mess with what works?

(And most of the illiterate don't vote anyway, so your concern isn't really a big deal; the tools used to help the visually impaired are largely similar to the ones used to help the illiterate.)

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (2, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438908)

Frankly, the only reason I can think of someone wanting the illiterate to vote is if they are planning on tricking them into voting as part of their hoard.
Just because someone can't read or write, or has little formal education, doesn't mean they're stupid. Intelligence, education and skills are not the same thing (although related).

A comment like yours sounds like a landowner telling one of his slaves: now go do this, because I know what's best for you!

In many cases you may be right, but who are you to say? If 99% of a nation is made up of monkeys, then democracy means the monkeys will run the country. If you don't like that, trying to keep them from voting is the wrong way to go. Instead, help people inform themselves, so that they can make a better choice.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439008)

I'm all for education, its a great thing. We need more of it, desperately. I'm also not saying that they're stupid (though they very well may be) just because they can't read. Everyone has to learn some time.

I'm just saying, how do you know you're being told the truth if you can't read? The document at hand may be false, and reading wouldn't necessarily help then, but you could look at others to see if they support the claim.

If a "helper" is there telling you which box to check for which candidate, how will you know they're really "helping?" Whether that helper is a human, or a computer, either of which may be tampered with to some extent.

The only way anyone can ever really be sure of anything is if they do the research of themselves, and the key to that is reading.

Otherwise people who really DO want to keep people down WILL take advantage of those who are most vulnerable -- those who must always listen because they can't get information any other way.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439790)

If 99% of a nation is made up of monkeys, then democracy means the monkeys will run the country
Uh... no. It means:

"Monkey. It's what's for dinner."

(On a serious note I doubt monkeys would be democratic, at least not for several hundred thousand years at a minimum, barring any genetic tampering.)

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438948)

Frankly, the only reason I can think of someone wanting the illiterate to vote is if they are planning on tricking them into voting as part of their hoard. having them vote may be democratic, but having the uninformed vote is not good for democracy, and its really hard to be sure you're informed if you can't check sources (ie, read).

Who says that just because someone is illiterate that they are uninformed? I would say that even though you're literate you're obviously too misinformed and ignorant to be allowed vote.

How this got a +5 interesting mod is beyond me, -1 Flamebait or -1 troll maybe.

There are many people in the world who are not literate but make intelligent decisions on a daily basis, and based on the RTFA posts on /. half of the posters here are semi-illiterate.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439078)

"There are many people in the world who are not literate but make intelligent decisions on a daily basis "

Well just in the US, look at the illiterate folks who have made the "intelligent" decision to have more and more babies because they will get bigger welfare checks.

They follow that "intelligent" decision with a vote for the politicians who promise them bigger and bigger government benefits for all those children. Yes they are making "intelligent" decisions - for themselves, but not for the civilization that supports them.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439342)

Well just in the US, look at the illiterate folks who have made the "intelligent" decision to have more and more babies because they will get bigger welfare checks. They follow that "intelligent" decision with a vote for the politicians who promise them bigger and bigger government benefits for all those children. Yes they are making "intelligent" decisions - for themselves, but not for the civilization that supports them.
I'd call that evolution and survival of the fittest. However with your comment I don't think you're the type to believe in evolution.

While they may not be the smartest or or most socially adept they have found a means of survival that will ensure their progeny will out live yours. Thus the world will be ruled by illiterate welfare whores. Scary thought isn't it!

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438952)

Yes, we should get back to the good old days where only white, educated males got to vote. We had WAY better presidents back then.

You have a point, but just because you can't read doesn't mean you are stupid or uninformed, especially in the case of those who are visually impaired.

You bring up a good point though, although the problems are deeper than the uninformed or uneducated voting.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439110)

If they are reading brail, that is still reading. I'm not talking about people who are not physically able to see the paper, i'm talking about people who can and still don't know how to read.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (2, Interesting)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438972)

The illiterate should not have the vote.

Seriously, if someone does not have the intellectual capacity to read a ballot, how can they be considered to have the intellectual capacity to vote in an informed manner? If a significant portion of a nation's citizenry has not mastered this simple pre-requisite skill for the maintenance of a civilized society for any reason, then they (as a group) can not be trusted to make any other decision that would not be damaging to their own civilization.

I'll entertain arguments that those who are physically incapable (blindness for example) should be allowed the vote, but not for those who are mentally incapable. Yes, I recognize that some educational systems produce illiterates in great numbers. That is a problem with the educational system and the democratic government(totalitarian states do not count - we are talking about elections after all) that permits it.
 

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439476)

The illiterate should not have the vote. Seriously, if someone does not have the intellectual capacity to read a ballot, how can they be considered to have the intellectual capacity to vote in an informed manner? If a significant portion of a nation's citizenry has not mastered this simple pre-requisite skill for the maintenance of a civilized society for any reason, then they (as a group) can not be trusted to make any other decision that would not be damaging to their own civilization. I'll entertain arguments that those who are physically incapable (blindness for example) should be allowed the vote, but not for those who are mentally incapable. Yes, I recognize that some educational systems produce illiterates in great numbers. That is a problem with the educational system and the democratic government(totalitarian states do not count - we are talking about elections after all) that permits it.
My father was illiterate, but before he died he was a the lead site foreman for a construction company. If he said something didn't work or was unsafe then the architects were sent back to the drawing board to fix it. There was never a time where he was over ruled.

I wouldn't necessarily call illiterate people incapable of intelligence. I would say that there are literate people who should pay more attention to those who have more experience and wisdom than themselves. Four years of collage (regardless of the amount of Ivy growing on it) can not and will never replace a lifetime of learning and experience).

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (3, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439308)

Picking on the illiterate in written form? Seriously? How can they retort!

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438658)

We count votes by hand here in Canada, and I haven't noticed any speed problems. It's so fast they created a law so that the results from the east coast couldn't be released until the polls on the west coast closed, because they thought releasing the results influence the west coast results. It shouldn't be hard to find enough volunteers to get the counting done within a couple of hours for each polling station. Maybe you have too many people going to each polling station. There's only 352 [www.cbc.ca] votes per polling station, so counting that many ballots shouldn't take too long.

averages and maximums (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438942)

I don't know about averages, but in some polling places thousands of people vote.

Also, in some US states, votes are counted in a central location rather than at the polling place. This can be hundreds of thousands of votes being tallied in a single county election headquarters.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (0)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439222)

The voting population of Canada is a fraction of the voting population of the USA.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439266)

The counting population of Canada is a fraction of the counting population of the USA.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439904)

Canada doesn't have the asininely massive ballot slates they do in some locales. Federal, provincial and municipal elections are held at separate times and voters don't have to pick so many positions at one time.

Self-inflicted problems (3, Interesting)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440042)

Your problem, not ours, and entirely self-inflicted. The size of U.S. ballots is the problem. How the votes are tallied is beside the point.

In the last Federal election I was the first person to vote in my area (on my way to work), so I was the one who looked in the ballot box, certified to the Returning Officer that it was empty, and taped it shut. How much more democracy do you want?

In our last provincial election we also had a referendum on adopting a single-transferrable vote system for our elections. I voted yes, but not enough people did, and the referendum failed. We would have stuck with paper ballots (a paper trail is non-negotiable, IMHO), but most versions of STV require computers to tabulate the results in a timely manner.

...laura, proudly Canadian

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting is cool (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440392)

We have PR-STV here in Ireland. With manual counting, and transferring votes from eliminations and surpluses, recounts where there is a marginal result in a constituency, and some 4 or 5 seat constituencies, it invariably takes days before the final results of our general election are in.

That said, I'm all for staying with the pencil and paper and having plenty of spectators checking the manual vote counting. Plus, all the tallies and guesswork during the couple days it takes makes for great sport. Sure there are still some people who take no interest, but for a lot of the country it is what makes voting worthwhile - seeing the politicians on tenderhooks, and rooting for a party like you root for a sports team, and trying to show how informed you are by guessing the results ahead of time. Betting of course is an essential part for many people too.

We're stuck with a whole bunch of these useless Dutch voting machines here in Ireland. They weren't used after a govt. committee set up to rubberstamp the use of them came back and pointed out all the flaws. Currently spending millions each year storing them. S. M. A. R. T. Now we probably won't even be able to flog them off to some other country!

Never, never I say! (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438434)

As long as there is an operating system created by a company as inherently "evil" as monopolysoft.

One cannot, in all conscience, trust them to "Do the right thing"

Re:Never, never I say! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438528)

How many strange looks do you get on a typical day?

Just curious.

Heh (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438934)

Just the one usually, as soon as my missus opens her eyes in the morning :-)

My long baited line failed to hook you t'would seem.

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438678)

You forgot: "4 Day Cube disproves 1 Day God"

Re:Begs the question (1)

firefly4f4 (1233902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438482)

When it produces a piece or multiple pieces of paper that can all be audited and all match the electronically reported results. In which case you might as well stick with the pen & paper method anyway.

People tend not to trust anything that they can't actually hold (religious deities aside).

Re:Begs the question (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438650)

Electronic voting is already viewed with the same or greater level of credibility as paper voting by most people. That's the problem.

Also, begging the question [begthequestion.info] does not mean what you think it means.

Re:Begs the question (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438660)

At least they can be reused as excellent chess computers [engadget.com] . I'd say it will take a long time until such flaws are history. Personally I wouldn't support any closed-source solution and even OSS should be tested for an extensive period of time before I'd trust it. Till then I'll stick to voting by mail in case online voting becomes mandatory (which is possible and easy in the country I live in).

Might sound like a contradiction, but online votes might be even safer in the long run. It's not like paper votes are more secure per se - we just have more experience with it. A centralized system which encrypts everything up to one institution on top might be easier to control than all those humans reporting from polling places. But the current systems work differently and as I said I have doubts that there'll be an electronic system I'd trust.

Re:Begs the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438852)

Sure... just as soon as the electronic voting machines have a paper trail comparable to that of paper voting!

Will there ever be a day when ATM machines will be viewed with the same or greater level of trust as flesh and blood tellers?
(I've had human tellers give me an extra $20. I've never seen an ATM count bills incorrectly, although I have found cash that others left in the ATM.)

ATM (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439998)

I've had an ATM machine tell me that I had thousands more in my account than what I knew I had. I had pulled a few jacksons for running around cash and the receipt showing the balance made my eyes pop! Yowza, jackpot! heh heh heh. Checked a few hours later and it was gone. (No, I made no attempt to go withdraw it) I've always wondered what sort of shenanigans were going on, if it was a real mistake or some sort of involved high level money laundering deal going on.

Re:Begs the question (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438866)

Maybe if we get the Techno Viking to stand watch during the voting process. Only then will we have tamper-proof machines.

Re:Begs the question (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439196)

Moreover, you know what's funny?

The first people who have a problem with the electronic voting seem to be technology geeks (aka slashdot readers).

You'd think that would be of interest--new rule, if over 75% of the people who have a clue agree, and only 50% of the completely uninformed agree, the uninformed no longer are allowed a vote.

This rule can be applied to any upcoming global warming initiatives as well.

Re:Begs the question (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439212)

I don't even trust pencil and paper. I prefer white and black stones, just like the old days of Greek Democracy! Once a few people get Blackballed, we would have a better government.

Re:Begs the question (1)

zsau (266209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440710)

In an Australian state and a territory, electronic voting has been trialled:


  • The voting machines are required to allow a voter to cast an informal (i.e. invalid) vote. This is important because it's a legal requirement for every eligible voter living in Australia to enrol, and for every enrolled voter to vote, unless they're too old or ill. Voting informally is used as a way to avoid stating an opinion you don't have, although technically it's illegal.
  • The voting machines print out paper ballots which are then hand counted along with all non-electronic votes.
  • The machines are only available for use by blind people, as the purpose is to allow the blind to cast secret ballots.

I am honestly amazed that Australia's managed to do something right in this modern day, although we did set the world standards for voting systems back in the 19th adn early 20th century. I have only two questions: Are the machines verified in exactly the same state as they're deployed in, e.g. are the dates and times the same, so that the machine can't contain deliberate bugs only visible on election day? And, why isn't the source code available for independent verification by all and sundry? Nothing beats total transparency.

Machines Voting (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438308)

Hey everybody, let's march on Amsterdam for machine sufferage! You too Hedonism Bot!

-Bender

Re:Machines Voting (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439346)

Bender you cant vote?
Nope -
Oh because your a machine?
No - because i'm a convicted felon
ohhh..

Tjee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438310)

Krijg nou wat!

Intolerant (4, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438336)

There's only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures - and the Dutch.

Okay for a survey... (2, Insightful)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438356)

I think electronic voting is excellent for surveys, no more than that. Where there is binary information that can't be physically viewed, there can be a flaw, a hack, a security hole. The only hole you will ever find in a paper is if you do it yourself with a punch.

Re:Okay for a survey... (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438762)

The only hole you will ever find in a paper is if you do it yourself with a punch.


Or if you are a Florida voter that can't seem to find the hole. But then hanging chads can cause all kinds of problems there too.

pen and paper, eh? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438410)

woohoo! first comment. sweeeet!

Re:pen and paper, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438584)

Well you only missed it by 8 minutes. Nice try, please play again tomorrow.

I figured it out (4, Insightful)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438476)

Punch cards.

We need to reinvent punchcards.

Make the ballot display on a computer screen and let the user select the options he wants. When you are done, I punches a human readable card with the results.

Those results are placed into another box by hand after the voter looks over the results. You do the precount from the computer booth, then you feed the cards into a card punch reading machine for the official vote.

recount all you want. you will also have a paper trail. problem solved.

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

firefly4f4 (1233902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438552)

Two Words:

Hanging Chads

Re:I figured it out... except for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438664)

Vaporize those chads using lasers for punching.
Yeah, that's it. Lasers. Mounted on Sharks.

Re:I figured it out... except for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438842)

When I have mod points, I mod down any comment involving both lasers and sharks (such as this one) down with a -1, Troll.

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438838)

I don't understand how hanging chads ever became so much of a problem. If I was voting in a place that punched holes in pieces of paper, and my ballot didn't end up properly punched, I'd ask for a replacement, and do it again until it looked right. How did so many people turn in invalid looking ballots that it made such a problem in counting?

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439014)

More importantly, why did we get so worried about disenfranchising someone who wasn't smart enough to recognize these invalid looking ballots?

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

Gori (526248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438868)

Sure, but he is proposing that the holes are punched by machines, not by near sighted and tired old people.
So A perfect production.

Hot needles melting holes in thin plastic strips. Wont decompose for another 100.000 years, unless someone burns them :)

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438894)

Naturally we need spinning cutting ring presses to mark the holes. ELIMINATE THE CHADS!

(No, not the African Chads, you racist. But you can eliminate people named Chad if you like.)

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438902)

Chad is INNOCENT!

Re:I figured it out... except for... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439204)

Is it the Chad [google.com] ?

Computer-generated ballots (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438888)

are the way to go, just you say. The resulting ballots are then readable by both humans and machines, while the voting machine remains stateless.

This gives you the advantages of the machine (UI, automated counting of the ballots), without sacrificing privacy (since the voting machine doesn't keep track of vote totals) and security (as long as the voter checks the generated ballot, no tampering with the voting machine will help; as long as machine-generated counts are hand-checked at random precints, tampering with the counting machines can also be detected).

Re:I figured it out (2, Insightful)

apt-get moo (988257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439106)

Punch cards. We need to reinvent punchcards.
IIRC the voting machines which were used in some counties of Florida during the 2000 presidential elections worked with punch cards like this. But while the voter can control (or rather assume) whether the card has been punched correctly, he doesn't know about the reading machine. You could end up with lots of invalid votes or even worse, votes for the wrong candidate.
The latter case assumedly happened in a largely jewish and democratic county with overproportionally many votes cast for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore.

Re:I figured it out (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439868)

Make the ballot display on a computer screen and let the user select the options he wants. When you are done, I punches a human readable card with the results.
Uh-oh, looks like VoteNet has become self-aware.

First off, I hope it can parse sentences well

Second, I hope it takes some grammar lessons.

Finally, note to self: Voting machines are self-aware and capable of fisticuffs. Do not kick the machine for recording the wrong vote next election day... if it wants to record a vote for $CANDIDATE, I'll damn well let it.

Too little added value (2, Insightful)

ecotax (303198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438490)

To summarize the article, hopefully more readable than the Babelfish translation:
The Dutch government sees too little added value in using voting machines, and claims that developing new voting machines will be expensive, and won't solve the problem of the possibility of eavesdropping.

A better summary (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439340)

That me be what the article says, but a better summary is as follows:

Voting machine technology has been under attack for a while now, and the machines used over here, have taken so many hits they look like swiss cheese. The keys used to secure them, could be ordered over the internet by anyone. At one point, a voting machine was hacked to play chess on. Another time, it was shown that a simple radio scanner was enough to tell which party people voted for. Hardware design and software leaked to the internet. There was a big fire at the manufacturer (Nedap), which destroyed hundreds of voting machines (destined for Germany, IIRC). The list goes on.

While this was going on, negative reports came in about voting machine problems abroad. Questions where asked in parliament, and few satisfactory answers received. And then there where mayor elections in Amsterdam, where the city counsil chose to revert to pencil and paper.

Basically, the position of 'voting machines work fine and secure' became impossible to maintain. Research into possible replacements has been started, but results from that are years away. So the Dutch government was simply forced to 'go back to the old ways' for the time being.

Re:Too little added value (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439418)

The first sentence of the article is also important, I think: "While there is no good alternative, The Netherlands vote with pencil and paper." Having no guaranties against eavesdropping at any moment (to ensure voter anonymity) in combination with high cost led to this decision.

The last paragraph talks about tests with two forms of automation for the counting of the votes (cast on paper). In both methods humans are involved in the process to ensure correctness and integrity.

Ironic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438588)

It seems a bit ironic that all this fuss is made about the secrecy and accountability of those voting machines, while the parties that we (the Dutch) elect with these machines are so expressedly in favour of recording every bit of information about the citizens.
Next week a law proposal will be accepted that forces telcos and ISPs to keep records of all communications by all of their subscribers, not just those for which some tap warrant has been issued, and store them for 18 months or maybe more.
And of course we already are the number-1 country for taps on telephony and internet traffic.
The next proposal, to require everyone using an internet cafe or buying a mobile phone to present an ID (and presumably all those sessions and phones to be registered with that ID) was brought forward this week.

All this for the sake of easing the finding of criminals. It seems strange that it is not required to register each citizens vote as well, as that could provide as much of a clue as what sites he is visiting.

Re:Ironic (1)

crazymulgogi (1173005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438766)

All this for the sake of easing the finding of criminals.

Uhm, sure, that's what they tell you. Don't be scared now: it's a lie.

Most politicians are control freaks. I'm Dutch too, perhaps the Dutch are control freaks too.

I dunno. If registrations, forms, recording information, ID, bureaucracy, etc. bother anyone, don't live in the Netherlands in the first place.

Illiterate (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438708)

We can't do this in the US, because that means disenfranchisement of those people who are illiterate.

I'm sorry, but if you can't figure out how to vote, then maybe, just maybe you don't really need to vote.

Once upon a time people had to care about who they were voting for, enough to learn how to participate in the process. If you don't care enough to learn, why should we tailor a system that caters to your illiteracy?

If that is what people want, why not put pictures on the ballots like all the other illiterate countries do?

Re:Illiterate (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439372)

I'm illiterate you insensitive clod!

Re:Illiterate (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439420)

Liar

Re:Illiterate (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440484)

Historically in the US, literacy tests were used as a direct and reasonably overt tool to disenfranchise black voters. Do you think someone needs to be literate to have an informed opinion on issues that really matter, like legalizastion of slavery? That's why the US can be a bit touchy on that issue.

Democracy has never been about picking the "better" candidate - how could you even possibly do that via a popularity contest? Democracy is about kicking out rulers who a substantial majority dislikes, without the need for all of the traditional violence. Voters are generally well informed about those issues that matter to them personally. When "voters are poorly informed about X" the truth is generally that "voters don't really care about X", making "X" outside of the scope of what democracy works for.

In Other News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438748)

A long time flaw in the pencil and paper voting system was exposed during the last election when a little old lady used an eraser to change hundreds of votes.

There is no way to know how pervasive is this type of cheating. "It is a threat to our right to vote and the principal of one person one vote", claimed the local party chairman.

In other words... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438760)

Modern Saboteurs.

Banning by law what could have broken by the tossing of one's wooden shoes.

Uh oh.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23438810)

Now they have to deal with the environmentalists!

E-voting instead (1)

Idefix97 (725474) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438858)

I cast my e-vote last year through the internet here from the US.
The system seemed to work fine(apparently it was an experiment) and reasonably secure: you had to send a form to your consulate for confirmation of eligibility and in return you got a secure code to cast your vote.
It even had a paper trail if you wanted. I hope they will keep that system at least.

What's so hard about a decent electronic voting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439012)

I can't see why these companies don't come up with a decent design for electronic voting. It could be easy, traceable and could be much better then paper voting.

For each person voting generate a unique person id. Then for every item voted on generate another unique vote id. Print a receipt to every person showing there person id and vote ids. Make this database of vote ids and what was voted for publicly accessible on the internet. This way I can determine if my vote counted and this can easily be audited by everyone! Next have a private database that links every vote to the person id. You could even have a third database of person id to identifiable information. This can now be audited internally to fight off multiple votes from the same person.

Problem solved! Voting that is accurate and traceable.

Re:What's so hard about a decent electronic voting (2, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439942)

Secret ballots are used in all (that I know of) democracies of the world for a reason.

What if someone threatened to kill you or do other harm to you or your family if you didn't show them a receipt showing that you did in fact vote as they wanted.

Having a receipt of who you voted for also opens the door to selling votes to the highest bidder. As it stands, there would be no way for the buyer to verify that they did vote as they wanted.

Re:What's so hard about a decent electronic voting (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440518)

Rivest has worked out a halfway-decent system to do both: give you a reciept that you can use to prove that your vote was counted (correctly, to a high statistical likelyhood) without being bake to prove who you voted for. Unfortunately it's just so geeky that it's unlikely to go anywhere.

Make up your minds people (-1)

DaSpudMan (671160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439020)

First everybody was up in arms about paper ballots. Now everyone is out to show how bad they are. What's it going to be people? Maybe everyone show up at the same time and place to do a voice vote?

What's so hard about traceable electonic voting (2, Insightful)

keithpreston (865880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439028)

I can't see why these companies don't come up with a decent design for electronic voting. It could be easy, traceable and could be much better then paper voting. For each person voting generate a unique person id. Then for every item voted on generate another unique vote id. Print a receipt to every person showing there person id and vote ids. Make this database of vote ids and what was voted for publicly accessible on the internet. This way I can determine if my vote counted and this can easily be audited by everyone! Next have a private database that links every vote to the person id. You could even have a third database of person id to identifiable information. This can now be audited internally to fight off multiple votes from the same person. Problem solved! Voting that is accurate and traceable.

Re:What's so hard about traceable electonic voting (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439322)

The problem is that you don't want voting to be traceable. You want it to specifically not be traceable. You shouldn't be able to tell who voted for who. After things are said and done with, I shouldn't even be able to prove who I voted for (so I can't prove it to someone else who was coercing me). What you need is a system that you can verify with a high degree of certainty, that once you cast your vote, that it will be counted properly, and that the same will happen for all other votes cast. The only way to do this is with physical pieces of paper. Because you can be sure that once you put it in the ballot box, that it doesn't leave (you can have people watching the box). And that once the box is opened for counting, that they are counted correctly. You can do this by having people observe the opening and counting process to ensure that things are done right. With electronic voting, votes can leave the ballot box without anybody noticing (deleting records), and votes can be added without anybody noticing (adding records).

Appropriate tag: (1)

qualidafial (967876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439114)

suddenoutbreakofpithytags

Brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23439138)

here in brazil you use voting machines since what...1994? Don't know why you guys are so worried about.

Voting Machines to be retooled... (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439764)

...into brand new Dutch Ovens.

I first wrote "astalavista" (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440260)

Wait, yahoo owns babelfish?! Since when?!!? It's always been altavista since...since...it was digital.com!!!!

Re:I first wrote "astalavista" (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440536)

Companies buy one another. Soon Microsoft will own Babelfish, the way things are going. Prepare for babelfish.live.com.

Probably a very stupid question but.. (5, Insightful)

TomC2 (755722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23440642)

As a naive Brit who's only ever voted on paper..

If the only way an electronic count will be trusted is by a paper audit trail, then presumably those paper printouts will still have to be counted by hand to verify that they get a result acceptably close to the result the computer gives. In which case, what have we gained in using computers to do the count?

If a manual count of the computer-printouts is not carried out, then how does a printed copy give me the voter any reassurance at all? It would reassure me that I'd not accidentally voted for the wrong person, but could not prove to me that my vote has been counted.

I can understand the argument that if the source code to the program is open then I could inspect it, but most voters are unlikely to have the expertise to do that.
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