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Linux-Based E-Voting In Brazil

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the watch-and-learn-grasshopper dept.

Government 302

John Sokol writes "I just heard from a good friend and Linux kernel hacker in Brazil that they have just finished their municipal election with 128 million people using Linux to vote. They voted nationwide for something like 5,000 city mayors. Voting is mandatory in Brazil. The embedded computer they are using once ran VirtuOS (a variant of MS-DOS); it now has its own locally developed, Linux-based distro. These are much nicer, smaller, and cheaper than the systems being deployed here in the US. Here is a Java-required site with a simulated Brazilian voting system. It's very cool; they even show you a picture of the candidate you voted for."

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302 comments

Science Fiction! (4, Funny)

tomtomtom777 (1148633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283125)

It's very cool; they even show you a picture of the candidate you voted for.

Wow! Incredible! I never thought something like that would be possible with a computer!

Re:Science Fiction! (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283343)

Wow! Incredible! I never thought something like that would be possible with a computer!

Wow! Incredible! I never thought something like that would be possible without a computer!

There, fixed that for you. Speaking of fixing: Why fix something that ain't broken? Voting with Pen&Paper has worked for centuries, there is no need to fix anything.

Re:Science Fiction! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283517)

Yeah, and I mean typewriters worked for ages without having to use Office software, we could go to the moon with a computer that was slower than a modern calculator, and speaking of voting didn't it work just as well without black people and women interfering?

I tell ya, things used to be just perfect the way they were, progress just ruins society.

Re:Science Fiction! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283925)

Not sure how this is a troll. It might be too sarcastic, but it points out how nonsensical "if it ain't broke don't fix it" comments are. There are plenty of things that aren't technically broken, but that still could be done a whole lot better.

Re:Science Fiction! (4, Interesting)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283591)

Brazilian cities were able to know the election results in the same day of voting, before midnight. That's pretty damn efficient.

Furthermore, as fas as trusting or not trusting goes, voting with pen and paper is not as perfect [wikipedia.org] as one might think.

Re:Science Fiction! (2, Funny)

Ocker3 (1232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283781)

the Type of pen and paper ballot you use is more important than the fact that you physically put pen to paper, imho. Can the winged ballot (resulting in the chad problem) really be called pen and paper? You're not writing anything. Blowing our national horn here, but Australia invented the Secret Ballot system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot) back in the 1800s, and everyone else quickly followed suite. We also have a system of very fiercely independent vote counters, a critical cornerstone of the system, perhaps the USA needs to work on that part? *coughkatherineharriscough*

Re:Science Fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283907)

Same thing in Spain. For country-wide elections.

Re:Science Fiction! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25284001)

Come on, I am an American working here in Brazil, consulting IT, and I can tell their ELECTION SYSTEM IS PRETTY RIGGED!
It is not Linux fault actually, but the election system is all tampered to provide the results the controlling mafia wants.
But, here, the controlling mafia IS NOT the government, but an alliance of media groups, former politicians, judges and armed drug dealers and militia.
It is pretty funny, actually. The government fights for a clean election but those groups use all means to make this pathetic circus they have here during election... Totally different from the rest of the world...

Posting Anonymous for obvious reasons... There are no laws here in Brazil... The media groups' militia men can just "take you for a walk" whenever they want...

Re:Science Fiction! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284071)

On any given election in the US that statement would hold true too.

It is not really much of an accomplishment.

Re:Science Fiction! (5, Interesting)

bogado (25959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283617)

It has worked? I am not so sure about that, for an election to work it has to be void of frauds and offer some guaranties to the electors, like anonymity. Election are not a simple problem, in fact is a very hard one.

The elections on Brazil seem to work fine, in fact many of the "left" parties (Brazil has many political parties) felt their numbers get better after the electronic voting was installed. But the system, as it is now, gives no warranty on how the votes are counted, you have to trust it is working and has not been tampered and as far as I know the code and designs of the voting machines are not open for review by the population.

I trust that the system work, it has shown consistent numbers with the election day pools and as I said the system has been show to give results that are bad for the current government, that is the one witch could more easily tamper with the election, several times.

Re:Science Fiction! (4, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283691)

I trust that the system work

That's fine for you, but one principal of a democracy is that the vote is open and transparent. When there's a vote, I can go to the voting place and control that the process works fine. I can verify almost everything important first hand (at least in Germany, where I live). With voting machines, only a few people in the whole world can control the system. Even if the software is free, there are only few people who understand the source code and can verify it. The vote is _not_ transparent.

Oh, and don't tell me that voting machines are unhackable. Here [youtube.com] you can see a voting machine being hacked in 60 sec.

So, you have vs. .
I agree, that elections are not a simple problem, but pen&paper is a simple solution and at the moment the best.

Re:Science Fiction! (2, Informative)

partenon (749418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283933)

Even though I don't think that "our" (I'm Brazilian) voting machine could be much better, I don't think that paper+pen works better.

In the past, when candidate A was part of the government, there used to be a lot of "accidents" with the vehicles carrying the voting papers from locations on which candidate B was known to have a good number of votes.

Re:Science Fiction! (2, Insightful)

bogado (25959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283981)

While I agree that our election is far from perfect, I don't think that pen & paper is the best solution. It introduces many more places where it can be frauded, the accounting, false ballots and much more. A unified electronic voting has many advantages and can be made more safe by adding cryptographic receipts, for instance.

I know that electronic voting can be hacked, but if you raise the bar too high it start to get impractical hacking. Compromising single units can be easy, but if it can be detected later the votes from that machine could be eliminated, so the roms would have to be swapped out after wise also, unless your objective is to create a dos on some ballots.

I trust the system now because of the results it have shown, not because of the system it self, I know it can be hacked, I don't know what the heck is running there, what I know is that it has been shown by the results.

Re:Science Fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283787)

It works fine. The system is audited, the machines are sealed and the security is very tight around them.

We've been doing this since 1996 and there has never been any accusation of tampering or fraud in any election, as far as I know.

In my mind, paper ballots make it way easier to fraud.

Re:Science Fiction! (1)

mnegrini (1323981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283999)

Yes, it is in use for about 15 years, without a single fraudulent election. The secret? The ballots are designed by the federal government; hardware and software are checked by technicians from all parties, branches of government and NGOs, before and after the elections. There are simple but effective mechanisms for recount and double-checking. There were many, many changes of governments under those ballots, and never a president (or any candidate) was "elected" as George W. Bush TWICE in USA. Wake up, Americans, the problem with ballots in USA, electronic or otherwise is corruption. It is sad for a Brazilian that always wanted Brazil to be more like USA to see your country become more corrupt than us Banana Republics. I feel very (700 billion) sorry for you guys...

Re:Science Fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283391)

Wow! Incredible! I never thought something like that would be possible with a computer!

Judging by Diebold and AccuVote performance, they not only incapable of showing pictures, but they also can't count votes.

But of course, both Diebold and AccuVote win hands down on performance to price ratio. What is not surprising when you divide their high price by close to zero performance...

Re:Science Fiction! (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283853)

Problem is it's too complicated for american voters. Punching a hole in next to a name was too complicated. typing in a 2-4 digit code? are you MAD??

Expecting Americans to have that level of ability is ridiculous. It's why Diebold is designing systems that are far easier to use. you go and vote, and it registers the vote they think you should have voted.

It's far more accurate and eliminates problems.

How it's done (0, Troll)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283143)

Is like this.

Oh well, I'm sorry that you Americans will have to put up with your Diebold chosen masters in the next election... hope it doesn't turn out too bad for you.

Re:How it's done (3, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283157)

Is like this.

Oh well, I'm sorry that you Americans will have to put up with your Diebold chosen masters in the next election... hope it doesn't turn out too bad for you.

From the wiki:

In 2004, Diebold-Procomp decided to migrate to Linux as a cost reduction measure.

Did they drop the price of the machines? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283707)

Or was the "cost-reduction" going into the CEOs pocket?

Switching to a different OS should be done to improve overall security, not to reduce costs.

Why? (4, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283211)

I don't see any of the problems resolved.

You can still tamper with the system and there is no verifiable audit.

I don't know that the underlying choice of OS was biggest problem (if I were building it, sure I'd choose Linux) - there are more fundamental process issues that are at fault. Namely, that someone could tamper with the election and no one could (dis)prove it.

Re: Why? (4, Insightful)

ThiagoHP (910442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283747)

At least, here in Brazil, the election results always match the exit polls and no serious allegations of tampering were made. We've been using this system for 10 years without any major problems.

Something that the Americans could learn from the Brazilian system is the simplicity of its use: no touch screen, you just type the number of your candidate in a keyboard that is the same used in telephones and then press a huge green button.

In defence of the US (5, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284017)

Looking at this here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Brazil [wikipedia.org]

About half way down it lists the result of the 2006 election : couple of points on that:
(1) There are a lot of parties (~30)
(2) They have low overall control within the parliament (15% max)
(3) The socialists are on top
E-voting or no, if the socialists were to rig the election (a) it would be obvious that they did it, (b) they would have to go all out to make any kind of difference, (c) they are unlikely to have the corporate influence necessary to pull it off and (d) there isn't much you get for it.

In the US, on the other hand, there is effectively two parties each with ca. 50% of the electorate each, so rigging the election is (a) worthwhile and (b) easy to get away with. On top of that the Republicans are very good friends with the people that make the machines, and finally, you get to be 'leader of the free world' and all your buddies get rich.

Means, motive and opportunity - right there. The interface is the least of their worries.

Re:How it's done (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283273)

Crappy software running on linux is just as easy to rig...

the problem with Diebold is political not technical

Re:How it's done (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283597)

not quite. there is one less layer of crappy software in a linux OS/diebold voting software vs windows OS/diebold voting software.

For every layer of crude and useless software you remove from a computer the greater the security will be. Next up replace diebold software with the mostly open source version from Australia, or Brazil. Software that could be vetting by every security specialist around the country faster than diebold can do a single release.

Re:How it's done (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283307)

Sorry, but mostly machines are built by Diebold who bought Procomp in Brazil.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_Election_Solutions
http://www.samurai.com.br/urnaeletronica/ue2004/view

Re:How it's done (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283635)

Sorry, but the machines in brazil are also made by Diebold. :-P The article [ig.com.br] on the "press observatory" shows the design and specifications of the ballots. The article is in potuguese, but it should be translatable.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283175)

"It's very cool; they even show you a picture of the candidate you voted for."

Congrats you voted for this jackass! Goodluck surviving after the tax raise

Great! (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283187)

Now where is the link to the source code and how can I verify that it is the code that was really running on the machines?

Re:Great! (5, Informative)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283439)

Now where is the link to the source code and how can I verify that it is the code that was really running on the machines?

As a matter of fact, contrary to what Wikipedia says, the source code *is* available. The Ministério PÃblico (something like the public prosecutor in US), the OAB - Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, an organ that congregates all lawyers in the country and any of the political parties can have access not only to the source code but to the compilation, digital signing and installation process. They also can run simulations and test the system for security and fraud and request any ballot to be audited. The whole software and data is also available for 2 years after the election. During the election days, representatives of any party can stay at any polling station to be sure that the election is not being rigged in this point. Personally, I think our system is quite secure and would require a major conspiracy involving basically everyone.

Re:Great! (1)

darthjee (1169901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283565)

in other words, it is not that it can't be tampered, but that it is damm hard to do it, just like paper based elections that would need a huge effort to create fake numbers, right? at least we get no recounts due to the efficiency of the system

Re:Great! (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283665)

I never said it's impossible to fraud it but it has a lot of advantages over the paper system. For one, there's no doubt if a vote is valid or not and it can be counted very fast and accurately. Actually, in 1 hour after the closing time for voting, we already had the results in several cities.

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

rwiggers (1206310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283669)

Wrong, much harder than paper based.
Tampering the elections on a paper based election was really the rule here in small cities. That's pretty easy. One VERY simple method used carbon paper so that the vote for each one would be copied and could be delivered to the candidate as "proof of voting" to retrieve some bucks from him.
Another problem recurrent here in the times of paper: illiterate people vote here. When they had to write down the name of the candidate, it was a nightmare to decipher the vote. It is pretty easy for them to copy some numbers, and they can verify the vote with the pic.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283783)

> One VERY simple method used carbon paper so that the vote for each one would be copied and could be delivered to the candidate as "proof of voting" to retrieve some bucks from him.

Wow, and they were never aware that things like empty ball-pens exist? And they do not mobile phone cameras? Obviously, the country is too poor for anyone to afford a tempest attack, and everyone is too stupid to hack the code in the machines, too.
Well, you're right, in a country where the voting machine developers are the only ones who have money, are not complete idiots, and are completely honest voting machines are indeed far better. Not that I think this fairy-land exists.

> illiterate people vote here. When they had to write down the name of the candidate

Sure, and they will have it far easier to enter the name on a keyboard... Oh, they actually don't have to enter the full name with the voting machines? Well, my conclusion is that your problem was that complete idiots made your pen-and-paper elections, not the pen-and-paper itself.

I'll bite (2, Interesting)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284083)

First, mobile phone cameras, or any other, were forbidden in the ballot - though from my experience this was only enforced in areas where there were a reasonable possibility of people selling votes or being coerced to vote, such as in Rio de Janeiro.

Second, no one said the process was unhackable. It is just much harder to hack than a paper and pen election. It is auditable by anyone with sufficient technical expertise, and that is good enough for mosrt people who care.

And finally, shut up and at least do some research on it before calling others idiots. The voter types a fucking NUMBER, not the candidate's name. A picture appears so even people who can't read can check if they are voting right (I concede tha some elder people do take quite a long time to vote).

Re:Great! (1)

girino (669437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283717)

So you are simply stating that we have to fear nothing but the government itself... Or do you imply that governments should be blindly trusted?

Re:Great! (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283815)

I don't see why you think that's my idea. What I said above is exactly the oposite, that the source code (and the whole process, btw) is available to several different organizations that have nothing to do with the government, including oposition political parties but answering your question, I don't think we should fear the government, the government should fear us and should be trusted to a certain point, open to debate and with all the possible auditing tools we can have. Blindly, never :)

Re:Great! (1)

partenon (749418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283869)

You forgot to say some things:

1) Diebold is the hardware provider.
2) The source code for VirtuOS is not available. As TFA suggests, it'll be fixed in the future.
3) There's no paper trail. Then, you *have* to trust what the machine says.
4) New *improved* machines were tested in three cities. These improved machines have "biometric recognition" [globo.com] of the voters. Aren't you scared of being identified in the same machine you are using to put your vote?
5) In some remote locations [brasilportais.com.br], a notebook + special hardware pointed to a satellite sends the voting data to the TSE (the main public entity behind election matters). Notebook?? Yes. Doesn't it rings a bell?

Re:Great! (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283957)

I suggest you check your facts a little more carefully.
1) Yes, Diebold provides the hardware but just because Diebold bought Procomp. The hardware was developed here and also can be audited.
2) The machines are running linux now.
3) There's no paper trail for all the machines but a percentage of them have it and they are randomly distributed.
4) I don't like that either but anyway you have to identify yourself when you are going to vote so you are already identified anyway.
5) Yes, it's a weeker point indeed but, as I said, all the process is auditable.
Again, I not saying it's perfect but I'm confident that all the process is open enough and there are safeguards enough to be considered fair.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283893)

Major conspiracy involving basically everyone... like democracy? If it comes to that, it's a non-issue anyway.

Re:Great! (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283553)

It would be really easier to have the code written in something like PHP or Python, and then have a simple link directly to the code. I know, I've done it myself.

And it would be how you would do it if you were to ever run elections over the Internet. (Indeed, you could run elections over the Internet, but still have polling stations (rather then let anyone vote from home). Centralised counting.)

All these problems people have with voting machines, it amazes me, because it would be so easy to write a secure, clearly written and generally good voting system.

Another slow news day? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283207)

I mean really , Linux getting used for some large public function might have been news back in 1998 , but whats the big deal in 2008? Some stories about some unusual OS's being used in unusual situations , say CP/M still controlling a nuclear reactor , now THAT would be interesting. Linux gets used in voting system? ZZZzzzz......

Re:Another slow news day? (3, Interesting)

Exanon (1277926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283293)

I believe it is of interest due to the US election coming up soon, the use of voting machines with closed source on those machines and the tampering discussion.

Now, of course you could modify a linux machine as well, but with a potential army of hackers the security risks are handled much like the security in Linux: Assuming that for every one hacker that is malicious there is usually one or at least two that spot a problem and bring it to light.

Re:Another slow news day? (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283355)

say CP/M still controlling a nuclear reactor , now THAT would be interesting.
Why... It is probably more common then you think. In the US Nuclear Plants are aging and the Liberal Hippies will not fund to keep them up to date, as Nuclear is Bad OK. It is actually quite common to see old computers running Nuclear systems. As they have work for decades and there is no reason to risk a new system that may have problems.

When will we have web based voting (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283217)

We have web based banking. Why not web based voting?

If anyone thinks I care more about who I vote for than the money in my bank accounts (and my liability for debt) they're disillusional. The politicians are all just different monkeys screeching different things that suit them. In the last election I voted for (mandatory council elections) I didn't know or care about the candidates who'd only shown their faces 2 weeks beforehand. On the ballot I wrote "Fuck them liars all. This form of democrasy a joke". Am I the only one that thinks it's hilarious that we can bank online but not vote online?

Re:When will we have web based voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283233)

It's funny, but not as funny as you're spelling.

Re:When will we have web based voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283239)

It's funny, but not as funny as you're spelling.

Please tell me that irony was intentional.

Re:When will we have web based voting (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283317)

We have web based banking. Why not web based voting?

Risk of fraud. Under the current system I can't go out and bribe, blackmail or threaten voters, because I have no way of determining whether or not they voted as I asked. 'Vote for X or I break your legs' doesn't work if I cannot find out whether or not any given person actually did vote for X. But while you can take steps to ensure that the polling booth is private, you can't say the same for an internet terminal whose location you do not know and whose configuration you do not control. For all you know the voter's boss is watching him as he votes for the candidate who will restrict workers' rights and remove regulations on abusive bosses.

The moment there's a way a person can prove who they voted for to a third party, the secret ballot is dead.

Re:When will we have web based voting (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283583)

And that's why you would never see entire states move to postal voting only.

Actually, you know, while I agree what you say could be a problem, the fact is that lots of people don't actually care.

Re:When will we have web based voting (2, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284037)

And that's why you would never see entire states move to postal voting only.

I should bloody well hope not. [bbc.co.uk] Immediately after the rules were changed in the UK, so that postal votes were available to anybody who asked for one, without them having to give a good reason why they couldn't vote in person, a great saga of electoral fraud began. Including intimidation campaigns [birminghammail.net] by thugs - of course, entirely without the knowledge of the candidate in question.

Weaken the secrecy of the ballot, and these crooks will take the opportunity to rig elections.

Re:When will we have web based voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283319)

Am I the only one that thinks it's hilarious that we can bank online but not vote online?

Yes.

Re:When will we have web based voting (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283345)

Actually, in Estonia, there has been web-based elections a year ago. The national ID card has PKI certificates in it and this cryptographically makes it safe. There's more information on the net, ie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voting_in_Estonia

Re:When will we have web based voting (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283413)

The difference is that you trust your bank with your money. You trust they will not steal from you and protect your privacy. You can check that they are not stealing from you.

If you vote on a third party website, you'll trust it with your votes, and its secrecy but, contrary to banks, you will have no way of checking that your vote is correctly accounted for.

Re:When will we have web based voting (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283835)

You trust your bank? You trust bankers? Have you not being paying attention lately?

I think the reason why you use banks is similar to the reason why you use Windows.. you have to swim up stream not to.

Re:When will we have web based voting (1)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284009)

Isn't this just a technological problem, though?

I know proving that your vote actually counted without compromising anonymity isn't trivial, but what if you (for example) are given a randomly generated key after voting? After the election, they can publish the keys assigned for every vote, and you can check that your key matches your vote.

Of course, fraud can occur if they assign the same key to multiple voters, but people can voluntarily compare keys after the election to look for clashes. Or maybe some form of cryptography would prevent this problem, I don't know (not really my field).

The problem with coerced votes is more of an obstacle, though.

Re:When will we have web based voting (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283453)

I think it's hilarious that you don't seem able to even spell democracy any better than you understand it. If you don't care about the election then stfu about the outcome of it.

If you want to vote online then find a candidate who feels the same way about it as you and vote for them. Or run in the election yourself.

Whatever you do though, don't whine on slashdot about it!

Re:When will we have web based voting (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283473)

You are exactly right and a bit wrong.
The difference between online banking and online voting has some bit differences.
First there is FDIC for most online banking so if someone hacks into your bank (If you ever did a netcraft what is that site running on your bank, I am sure you will be mortified) you are covered. As well you have legal recourse you can sue your bank for damages for anything loss due to sloppy IT... Which Banks are famous for. Also there is competition, I know this not popular right now to say about Banks as the montra is regulate regulate regulate. But you can switch banks if you don't trust your currents bank IT setup.
Now for elections...
There is a lot of hidden value when an election is considered fare. Think of the 2000 elections. Because people didn't beleave the elections were fair, he was imeateatly demonized (Remember at this time, people expected him to be a moderate, just go with the flow president like his father) And faced stiff resistance to everything he did, not necessarly as everything he did was wrong, but to the fact that people didn't feel his presidency was legitimate.

I am fairly sure that if Geoge W. Bush was elected in a clean election we may have a different path right now. And not necessarly bad. Remember it is not always about policy sometimes boths sides policy as just as good, but how well the policy is managed that brings success. And if people don't trust you then it makes it harder to manage your policy to success.

Re:When will we have web based voting (2, Informative)

Isao (153092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283809)

Why not web based voting?

Because banking and voting are different problems. Banking requires accountability (non-repudiation), voting anonymity. There are solutions for both, but anonymous electronic voting that's verifiable while being untraceable is so far unimplemented.

The flexibility and usefulness of paper voting continues to be underrated in these discussions.

It's not that easy... (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284031)

Running a fair election is not a simple problem. To make sure the voter is legitimate, we must be able to prove their identity. But when it comes to actually casting the vote, we must not be able to know how they voted.

One solution to this dilemma is to require people to physically show up and prove who they are, and then have them cast a secret ballot while they are sequestered in the same room where they proved their identity.

The reason online banking works is because your transactions never need to be done in secret, just in private. Totally different situation.

Next step is a paper trail (3, Insightful)

what about (730877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283245)

This is great

  • Licence money saved (even small ones)
  • No forced obsolescence of machine by "technology enhancements" and upgrades
  • No locking down of SW because some source "trade secrets" or "company secrets"
  • Possibly produced localy and therefore good for the economy. (I do not think we should buy everything from china)

I do really miss a paper trail, that is needed in case there are doubts of "fraud", we do not want such doubts, do we ?

Re:Next step is a paper trail (1)

rwiggers (1206310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283709)

There is paper trail, but it is by sampling. Now, I can't remember the percentage (something like 1% or 0.1%), but some of the voting machines have indeed a printer and a bag of votes. These paper votes are then counted and verified against the electronic ones.

Voting, mandatory?! (2, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283277)

How un-American. Oh wait...

Re:Voting, mandatory?! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283739)

I think it'd be better if voting were mandatory. Even if you vote "fuck the world", vote.

Re:Voting, mandatory?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283829)

Voting should only be mandatory if there's a "none of the above" option (and I mean an *actual* option, not "I'll put in an empty ballot or something similar to cast an invalid vote").

I poo on voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283351)

poooooooooooooo
repetition is the soul of velveeta

IT is a trap ! (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283367)

Open sourcing the software changes nothing to the fact that it is impossible to check how the votes are tallied. It just takes two bytes change in the binary to reverse the results of an election. In a world where the task of counting votes can be done by a machine small enough to fit into a smart card, you'll never be sure that the code published is the code running if you don't want to trust the officials organizing the vote.

This is a step back from paper ballots.

Re:IT is a trap ! (2, Interesting)

arielCo (995647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283539)

That (the issue of trust) is exactly what happened in Venezuela not long ago - besides the government refusing to make the code available for inspection, when the opposition cried foul and insisted in auditing random machines+boxes, the government was adamant about using the random sample generator provided by... ahem... the government. I really won't say that there was a fraud, but trust was seriously undermined from there on.
Please don't ask me for a quotation, this is not Wikipedia. Go Google.

Another Diebold box? (1)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283399)

Hmm, they are still made by Diebold-Procomp, don't have a paper trail, the voting software is closed source and Linux was chosen as a cost saving measure when compared to WindowsCE... Somehow doesn't give me much trust in their accuracy. The simple fact that the software used isn't publicly auditable makes me distrust this sort of things.

How Hypocritical (1)

SquierStrat (42516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283437)

Smaller,nicer and cheap != more secure.

I fail to see where this is better security wise than the Diebold boxes. I love linux, I prefer linux (though I mostly use OS X these days) but just because it runs linux, does not make it better.

And web based voting? Seriously? You are just BEGGING for fraud with that.

Bias .. (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283449)

Voting in the US using commercially developed machines: Evil! Unreliable! What is the world coming to! US elections unfair! Dictatorship coming soon!

Voting in Brasil using open source el cheapo machines: Profit!! Democratic wonder! Fantastic solution! US could learn from this!

How do you mean, Slashdot is biased..

Re:Bias .. (1)

rwiggers (1206310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283735)

Except the machines are neither open source nor cheap. But they have so far proven to be working.
By the way, they were developed by Procomp and an university research lab, procomp owned the design. Later on Procomp was bought by Diebold.

Void Vote (2, Interesting)

Tuqui (96668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283475)

You can vote blank or null vote with that machine. That's good, but I really
want to write %#%@%$!! in the ballot sometimes.

I'm changing my name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25284047)

I'm changing my name to Fukker and I'll enjoy a long and profitable political career. And then my children too. Just imagine:

That Fukker in Congress!

When kids come by: Those Fukkers in Congress, what are they doing!?

Voting: I guess we have to vote for one of those Fukkers.

Campaigning: Get Fukked! Vote Fuckker!

The name recognition would be incredible!

The source code *is* available (0, Redundant)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283535)

As a matter of fact, contrary to what Wikipedia says, the source code *is* available. The Ministério PÃblico (something like the public prosecutor in US), the OAB - Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, an organ that congregates all lawyers in the country and any of the political parties can have access not only to the source code but to the compilation, digital signing and installation process. They also can run simulations and test the system for security and fraud and request any ballot to be audited. The whole software and data is also available for 2 years after the election. During the election days, representatives of any party can stay at any polling station to be sure that the election is not being rigged in this point. Personally, I think our system is quite secure and would require a major conspiracy involving basically everyone.

Re:The source code *is* available (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283863)

The source is available to lawyers or two years after the election? How this makes anyone secure? The source must be available BEFORE the election, for all population, also all the designs of the machines and also the procedures. Everything must be open for examination, otherwise it is not secure.

I do trust the system, because historically it has shown to be able to elect people from the opposition, like Lula, but this is now. The fact that everything is closed is an opportunity for fraud and it should be fixed.

Re:The source code *is* available (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284005)

Maybe I wasn't clear but the source code is available to the Ministerio Publico (judiciary), OAB (lawyers) and all political parties *before* and *after* the elections. They also supervise the compilation and digital signing process to be sure that the final binary came from the source they audited.
The hardware is there for quite some time and, IIRC, is audited independently by the same interested parties and universities.

I don't get it. (0, Offtopic)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283679)

I understand the purpose of a Brazilian, but what does that have to do with voting?

Anyone know the ip address ? (0, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283687)

Let's start hacking !

Let's make Obama the next president of Brazil ! You know, so he still has a job after november. The democrats are not known for providing well for their ex-es.

Less than 1% turnout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25283775)

lol!

Usability? (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283779)

Does anyone things this interface is actually usable. Entering a 5 digit number to select your candidate seems a little difficult if you've got shaky hands from Parkinson's or something. Yet again paper shows it's superiority over the computer interface. You can display a larger area and more information on paper than any computer display (Unless you're the Chinese government running the Olympics.)

Criticisms about brazilian e-voting (1)

girino (669437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283805)

this guy here:

http://www.brunazo.eng.br/voto-e/indice.htm [brunazo.eng.br]

has a full site (in Portuguese, but some of the collected texts are in English) about the problems with Brazilian e-voting systems.

Basic criticisms are: there's no real way to audit elections outcome without delivering the contents of the votes. His claim is that a simple paper trail would be enough, but the Brazilian electoral committee (TSE) refuses to do so for cost reasons and has successfully lobbied congress for many years into keeping this out electoral laws.

Hardly a shining example of open source (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283841)

The hardware apparently doesn't include a printer, so there's no paper ballot. And the voting software itself isn't open. The fact that the underlying OS is Linux is almost irrelevant.

Linux doesn't solve voting system problems (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25283855)

So the plus is that it runs Linux? How about the minuses?

. No voter-verifiable receipt
. No code auditing by the general public (only by the political parties, which is a small step-up from the U.S.)
. Process flow problems allowing voter fraud or deception.
. Recounts not possible.
. Vote-stealing possible by poll-workers.

Diebold is a vendor in this system. Interesting that having the opportunity for a complete system rewrite (moving to Linux) didn't eliminate the same design flaws inherent in their other systems.

Diebold may make apparently fine ATMs, but voting is a different beast, requiring different thinking.

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When voting is mandatory (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25284021)

Only criminals won't vote... or something.

Anyone else see the insane paradox of mandatory voting ?

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