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Damning Report On Sequoia E-Voting Machine Security

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the worse-than-you-thought dept.

Security 200

TechDirt notes the publication of the New Jersey voting machine study, the attempted suppression of which we have been discussing for a while now. The paper that the Princeton and Lehigh University researchers are releasing, as permitted by the Court, is "the same as the Court's redacted version, but with a few introductory paragraphs about the court case, Gusciora v. Corzine." What's new is the release of a 90-minute evidentiary video — the researchers have asked the court for permission to release a shorter version that hits the high points, as the high-res video is about 1 GB in size. See TechDirt's article for the report's executive summary listing eight ways the AVC Advantage 9.00 voting machine can be subverted.

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Illin with the panicillin? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460897)

Is she illin with the panicillin?
Is she reelin in the panicillin?
Is it feelin with the panicillin?
Are you steelin in the panacillin?

Panka Panka

Is she liable no suitifiable no not on trial but so suitifiable
Is she viable no suitifiable pliable style is so suitifiable
so reliable no suitifiable shes not on file but so suitifiable
im on the dial its so suitifiable its like im liable but more suitifiable

Don't look (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460925)

Don't read the report about voting machines. It contains spoilers about who wins next month.

Re:Don't look (1, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461997)

"Don't read the report about voting machines. It contains spoilers about who wins next month."

Hell, why bother with rigging the voting machines...it seems this year a simpler method has been found, with Acorn registering everyone they can, dead, undead, fictional or alive.

The old, tried and true way of "Vote Early, and Vote Often" seems to be the method du jour this year.

:)

Re:Don't look (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25463957)

Registration is not voting. Nice try, fail.

I rolled a 2 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460955)

My reading comprehension must have failed a saving throw. I can't understand the summery.

Re:I rolled a 2 (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461147)

summery.

Re:I rolled a 2 (4, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461419)

It's nice here in the summery. In the wintery it rains all the time.

No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machines (5, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460961)

"We provide this voting booth for entertainment purposes only. Use of this machine does not constitute the actual act of voting for a bill or candidate. The State of [INSERT_STATE_NAME_HERE] and the United States Federal Government are not liable for any damages that may arise through the use of this entertainment apparatus."

That ought to do it.

Re:No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461333)

Re: your sig
I got

Result: 1337 Errors

 
Nice.

Re:No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461549)

Then it can be known as E-Meter-ing [wikipedia.org] E-Voting!

Re:No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machin (1)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462329)

That would be a good way to protest. Go to vote and place that sticker on the machine. Get a few to do to it to modify all the machines in the voting place.

Re:No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machin (2, Interesting)

waferbuster (580266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462565)

You forgot the most important part that appears on lottery machines (and by association should appear on voting machines): "Any malfunction voids play results."

Re:No problem, just put a disclaimer on the machin (2, Insightful)

waferbuster (580266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462665)

I know... it's not couth to reply to my own posting, but on reflection I had it wrong above. Or rather, I posted poor concepts. Just voiding play on a voting machine is very different from voiding play on a lottery machine.
The reason is that from the viewpoint of lottery, an individual player gets an individual result (win/lose). A voter is placing a vote which is aggregated with the corresponding inputs from other voters to determine the election winner (we'll ignore the electoral college as being overly pedantic).
The difference is that voters affiliations are not evenly distributed geographically. So, by voiding play on voting machines which are in areas with high concentrations of voters of one party, the aggregate can be skewed toward a desired outcome.

"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Works" (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460965)

An oxymoron.

The only thing a e-voting machine should be used for is printing a paper ballot.

Count the paper ballots.

Anything else means you have to trust the voting machine, or the people who verified the voting machine.
(You have to make sure that there are no hidden things in any of the chips, the software, any memory card that comes into contact with the machine, the network that the machine is connected to, etc. Seriously, who can possibly think that a E-voting machine with a Sprint data card in it is secure?)

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (2, Insightful)

penguinbrat (711309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461047)

You have a very good point here - why are these things even doing all the "tallying" on there own? Wasn't the overall MAIN issue was the validity of "hanging chads" and the like - why in the hell can't we have a simple machine with all the same bells and whistles that simply punches the damn things for us?!?!

On a side note - how hard can this stuff be? It's not like they aren't making a fortune from these things - it's seeming like they are barely able to break even so they have to hire "below the barrel" talent...

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (5, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461315)

On a side note - how hard can this stuff be? It's not like they aren't making a fortune from these things - it's seeming like they are barely able to break even so they have to hire "below the barrel" talent...

Making a machine that counts or tallies votes shouldn't be very hard, and should be a first year programming assignment.

Making that whole system *secure*, otoh, is almost impossible, especially when it is something as large and distributed as a national voting system. If a company could actually make a completely secure voting system, they could also have a good DRM system. (Yeah, I did say "good DRM system", which shows how possible I think that is)

From Ken Thompson's essay Reflections on Trusting Trust [bell-labs.com] , he says it isn't enough to check the source code, you also have to check the compiler, the output from that compiler, and I would add, in the context of a voting system, everything that is or could be in the system/network.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (1)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461455)

Is it all that hard to create a secure voting system? People send their credit card numbers over the internet all the time. Insurance companies and hospitals use computers to store some very sensitive information. Why can't voting machines be as secure as these?

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461487)

Because those are different cases.

The user isn't going to hack his own computer to get his credit card number. Hope that persons computer doesn't have a virus or key logger.

That insurance company or hospital hopefully will have physical security protecting their machines. That doesn't always work, surely you have seen the articles about x million peoples data lost from (company of the week).

Securing E-voting is really like DRM: you want to distribute a device to potential hackers, and keep it secure from those hackers.

Anonymity and reliability are directly at odds (4, Informative)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462657)

There is also the not-at-all-a-small-issue of anonymity. Your voting mechanism must ensure that a particular account number (i.e. a voter's identity) can be used at most one time per election. And you have to record what it was used for anonymously so that what was done with the account literally cannot be traced back to the account holder.

Most of the common credit card fraud-prevention schemes (such as date/time stamping every transaction) violate this. Not really a surprise, since the credit card system is designed to enforce accountability, the antithesis of anonymity (the whole purpose of anonymity is to avoid accountability).

Fundamentally, anonymity is about removing traceability information, and fraud prevention is about maintaining it. These are both core requirements, and they directly work against one another.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461725)

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (2, Informative)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461811)

Making that whole system *secure*, otoh, is almost impossible,

Making a human and machine readable, voter verified, printout is far from impossible in fact it's simple. Safely getting Paper ballots from the voting locations to a central polling place is simple. Counting the human and machine verifiable ballots with a high degree of accuracy is simple.
Now making a e-voting system that is obtuse and vague enough that elections can be skewed with a good sot at deniablity and a complete lack of papaer trail? That's difficult.
There have been dozen of high security, low cost/technology, handicapped accessible solutions proposed here on Slashdot. It is quiet obvious that a secure voting system isn't the actual priority, when these systems are purchased. It stands to logic that there is instead a different priority. I have to wonder what that priority would be, that doesn't qualify as treason.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461939)

you do realize that most e-voting machines run windows right?

The base OS in these machines is fscked from the beginning, there is no way to secure them completely.

If they used Open BSD, stripped of all unnecessary components compiled from scratch from at least two different compilers to double check all the out puts and inputs then you have a reasonable base to start with. DRM on all software pieces is also needed. at the very least a hash system to approve updates unless they occur 10 days before and 10 days after the election day. During that time no updates should be allowed. while it doesn't prevent tampering, it does limit options and things can be double checked so anomalies can be seen easier.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (2, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462697)

Making that whole system *secure*, otoh, is almost impossible, especially when it is something as large and distributed as a national voting system. If a company could actually make a completely secure voting system, they could also have a good DRM system. (Yeah, I did say "good DRM system", which shows how possible I think that is)

From Ken Thompson's essay Reflections on Trusting Trust [bell-labs.com] , he says it isn't enough to check the source code, you also have to check the compiler, the output from that compiler, and I would add, in the context of a voting system, everything that is or could be in the system/network.

I would like to respectfully disagree here. Your comment can be too easily be summarized to "well, if you can't solve every possible flaw, you don't have a secure system, and so there's no point in trying, if they're all insecure anyway, any system is as bad as any other."

This belief is flawed. Even if you can't prove that there isn't any possible attack, it is nevertheless true that there are better systems and worse systems, and you don't want a worse system. Being able to check the source code-- and, better, having the source code open for anybody to look at-- is in fact a very good start. Yes, it is possible that there may be some hithertofore-unknown flaw in the compiler, and some extremely ingenious cracker might be able to find it and find a way to use it to manipulate voting results... but this is a billion times less likely than the case of some open port left accessable, or a deliberately open back door, that would be found by careful inspection of the source.

(You've misquoted Ken Thompson's conclusion, by the way. His actual conclusion was that you should never trust any program you didn't write yourself. Apparently he's never seen the programs I've written myself.)

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (5, Interesting)

entgod (998805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461131)

They could, in addition to printing the paper ballots, count the votes. That way it would be possible for people to see the votes being cast in almost real-time. I would like it. Of course, the official count would be done by hand.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (2, Insightful)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461363)

It's just as reliable as the computers, network, memory and hard drives you used to keep your bank records and run the stock market. I don't see anyone complain about those....

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461527)

Because the people with *physical* access aren't (usually) the people trying to hack the systems.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461819)

There are three problems with that analogy: Centralization vs. distribution, steady load vs. bursty load, and willingness to pay.

Things like financial recordkeeping and stock trading are relatively steady, constant, loads that can be handled in a fairly small number of highly centralized locations, for which people are willing to pay a great deal of money.

Voting is a highly bursty and uneven load, spread across tens of thousands of sites and systems, for which people don't seem willing to spend all that much.

It is definitely true that voting machines can be made secure in theory(and we know that they could be made far more secure than the are: not only are the current models not good enough, they aren't even as good as current generation consoles); but the analogy between voting systems and financial systems is weak and misleading. More accurate might be an analogy between voting machines and point of sale systems. Unfortunately, those are plagued by card skimmers and similar, despite the fact that they have the advantage of it being possible to calculate the "correct" outcome. It is fairly easy to detect and rectify fraudulent transactions just by looking at financial records. You can't do the same with votes.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461399)

Count the paper ballots.

And you would trust the counters? This is a perfect opportunity for a triple vote styled tally. Let independent verification of the source code for the voting machines occur, with an associated md5sum. Then, use video cameras to ensure that the md5sum of the executable which is loaded onto the voting machine matches what has been inspected. Record video during the 12-16 hours between the installation of the machine executable and the close of the polls (at which point, the machine is made to submit its official tally).

Then, take the machines count and use it for the "instant gratification" tally that gets reported on the news. Next, get a group of democrats to independently verify the count (if they choose to) and a group of republican to independently verify the count (if they choose to). If two out of the three votes match-up... you are golden. If only one extra group "wants to" do their own verification AND it disagrees with the machines vote to the point where a different result is obtained, then give the opposite party a chance to do their own verification.

If the machine agrees with the democrats, then you have reason to suspect the republicans of unfair play. If the democrat vote agrees with the republican vote, you have reason to suspect the machine of unfair play. If none of the tally's agree, review the 16 hours of video tape and search for evidence of unfair play. If no evidence is found AND assuming the machine votes match the number of people who use the machines throughout the day, do two or three recounts until either the republican group or democratic group gets a value that matches with the machine vote (or the other groups vote). If no agreement is found after the recounts, go with the machines tally.

In any case... ANY VOTING MACHINE WHICH IS RUNNING ON UNVERIFIED PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE SHOULD BE SUSPECT OF UNFAIR PLAY.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461423)

E-voting done well is far superior to paper voting done well. The costs are far less, it's more convenient, and more environmentally friendly. E-voting systems are still in their infancy, and guess what, the first computers were pretty worthless too, but imagine life without them now.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (4, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461577)

***E-voting done well is far superior to paper voting done well. The costs are far less, it's more convenient, and more environmentally friendly*** Sounds like utter and complete hogwash to me. E-voting is a complicated solution to an simple problem. The US uses all sorts of moderately complex and expensive mechanical voting aids that invariably lead to complaints of fraud, malfeasance, or failure to register votes (because they are busted). Canada uses paper ballots and counts them in a few hours. The paper ballot system is not broken. We should quit trying to fix it until we get a LOT smarter.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461753)

Absolutely. Would you trust your credit card number to SSL if you knew there were hundreds, maybe thousands of professional hackers trying to sniff it?

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (4, Insightful)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461813)

Absolutely. Would you trust your credit card number to SSL if you knew there were hundreds, maybe thousands of professional hackers trying to sniff it?

You mean there aren't?

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461675)

The only thing a e-voting machine should be used for is printing a paper ballot.

Count the paper ballots.

You also have to make sure it prints completed ballots when and only when a voter is present and voting, once per voter.

And only when the voter has made all his choices and warns the voter if he leaves without completing the ballot submission process.

Paper ballots are ABSOLUTELY safe! (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461843)

Count the paper ballots

Yeah, right! NO ONE can cheat in an election with paper ballots! The concept of a corrupt government did not exist before the invention of electronic voting.

*BULLSHIT*

Reading TFA: This is done by prying just one ROM chip from its socket and pushing a new one in, or by replacement of the Z80 processor chip. We have demonstrated that this ``hack'' takes just 7 minutes to perform.

Do you want to make a bet? Let's see how many paper ballots I can stuff in 7 minutes, given the same level of physical access one needs to change a chip in a computer. This means I can open a box, right? It doesn't matter if the box is electronic or not, it should have a padlock. If I can open the box, with no one noticing, it doesn't matter if the content is electronic or paper.

The intrinsic safety of electronic voting comes from the agility in counting. Counting a paper ballot box takes much longer than it takes to fill that box with a totally different set of votes. By the time you have counted, recounted, and counted again those paper votes, they could have been substituted a dozen times.
 

Re:Paper ballots are ABSOLUTELY safe! (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462103)

Lets change your bet a little bit. The 7 minutes are 2 days before the election. You get private time with the ballot box, I get private time with the voting machine.

What can you do to the ballot box that wouldn't be noticeable 2 days later and still affect the vote?

I was an election judge for Boulder County in 2004. Part of my duties as the head election judge for the precinct was to make sure that there was noting in the ballot box and seal it. From that time until I handed the box to the county officials, it was not left in the presence of any single person, so nobody would have 7 minutes during the election day.

You can't stuff the ballot box 2 days before the election with nobody being able to notice.

**THAT** is what they are complaining about. The machines were left in publicly accessible areas for days before the election. Replace one of the chips with that 7 minutes, and it would take a very detailed examination to notice the problem.

Re:Paper ballots are ABSOLUTELY safe! (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462815)

I was an election judge for Boulder County in 2004

And I was an election judge for Itatiaia, in Brazil, in 1998. I had more or less the same duties as you had. It was an electronic box.

I inserted a flash card with the software, including the operating system, which was given to me by an officer of the electoral court minutes before the election started.

If you can corrupt a representative of the judge who is responsible for declaring if the vote is correct, does it matter if the box is electronic or paper?

From that time until I handed the box to the county officials

You are ready to swear for the honesty of those county officials, yet you don't trust the people who handled the electronic box before the election?

The machines were left in publicly accessible areas for days before the election.

That's *WRONG*, no matter if the ballots were paper or electronic. No part of an electoral process should be left unattended at any time at all.

To sum up, you have absolute trust in the paper voting system, because you have absolute trust in the way the paper ballot was handled *AFTER* the election, but you mistrust the electronic vote because you mistrust the way the electronic box is handled *BEFORE* the election.

For me, both systems can be corrupted, but the electronic system is better because, given the same level of precaution before and after the election, the electronic system gives faster results. To cheat, you need physical access to the system, so the quickest system is safer.

Re:Paper ballots are ABSOLUTELY safe! (2, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463423)

If you can corrupt a representative of the judge who is responsible for declaring if the vote is correct, does it matter if the box is electronic or paper?

Not really, no.

That's *WRONG*, no matter if the ballots were paper or electronic. No part of an electoral process should be left unattended at any time at all.

What about when the stuff is in storage? What if someone replaces the processor with a near duplicate that changes the voting output when certain conditions are true (time, the ID of the election, number of ballots cast, etc?)

You are ready to swear for the honesty of those county officials, yet you don't trust the people who handled the electronic box before the election?

There weren't just election officials, there were poll watchers and other outside groups watching as well. If it was a pure electronic voting, there wouldn't be much to watch, though.

To sum up, you have absolute trust in the paper voting system, because you have absolute trust in the way the paper ballot was handled *AFTER* the election, but you mistrust the electronic vote because you mistrust the way the electronic box is handled *BEFORE* the election.

Somewhat, yeah. I don't trust the computers because it is so easy to change them, change values, have code that doesn't execute for a while, etc. It isn't that I have absolute trust in paper ballots, I just can't think of a better solution. Electronic voting is way down on the list of voting systems I trust.

For me, both systems can be corrupted, but the electronic system is better because, given the same level of precaution before and after the election, the electronic system gives faster results. To cheat, you need physical access to the system, so the quickest system is safer.

Except that it is really hard to corrupt a paper ballot before the election. Faster vote tallying also means faster vote tampering. I don't know why you think fast processing means safe. Paper voting isn't perfectly secure. It is just that almost all tampering will leave evidence. That isn't true at all for pure electronic voting.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462475)

The only thing a e-voting machine should be used for is printing a paper ballot. Count the paper ballots. Anything else means you have to trust the voting machine, or the people who verified the voting machine. (You have to make sure that there are no hidden things in any of the chips, the software, any memory card that comes into contact with the machine, the network that the machine is connected to, etc. Seriously, who can possibly think that a E-voting machine with a Sprint data card in it is secure?)

Nonsense. The vast majority of computer security experts agree that electronic voting machines are the safest, most secure way to conduct an election, and that they are virtually immune to tampering or forging of votes.*

*results of a poll of 1000 experts conducted using Diebold voting machines. 93 of 1000 said electronic voting was not secure, 1237 out of 1000 said that it was.

Re:"E-Voting Machine Security" like "Microsoft Wor (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463227)

Count the paper ballots.

Anything else means you have to trust the voting machine, or the people who verified the voting machine.

Or the people, who count the paper ballots... I'd rather trust a machine, however imperfect...

So what? (-1, Troll)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460997)

I don't see what the big deal is with voting fraud. So what?

True, ballot has a weak check and balance effect on some government actions, but in these cases the rigging has to be completely obvious, not stealth.

The rest of the times elections are just a propaganda tool giving an illusion of control to the voters, making government psychologically more bearable. Voting fraud is merely a small inefficiency within the government.

If you care about voting fraud, you believe voting makes a difference. If you believe that, you are truly naive.

Re:So what? (2, Interesting)

entgod (998805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461201)

That's quite a lot of fud with not much to back it up with. True, IMNAA (I am not an american) but I'm inclined to think that those who are can have some influence on the next president of the USA or whatever they are voting over.

True, the significance of one vote is not much when there are many voters but it's pretty obvious how the ammount of power one vote wields goes up when the amount of voters goes down.

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

kesuki (321456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461887)

"That's quite a lot of fud with not much to back it up with."

damn lameness filter, the 9 megabyte pdf is not FUD, it was a court ordered analysis of the voter system used in new jersey. http://coblitz.codeen.org/citp.princeton.edu/voting/advantage/advantage-insecurities-redacted.pdf [codeen.org]

NOTE REGARDING REDACTIONS. As paragraph 1.1 and Appendix L explain, this research was conducted pursuant to a Court Order by the Hon. Linda Feinberg of the New Jersey Superior Court. Sequoia Voting Systems filed a motion alleging that certain parts of this report contain protected trade secrets. Plaintiffs dispute Sequoia's contentions. Judge Feinberg has expressed her intention to preserve Plaintiffs' objections until the time of the hearing when she will rule on the merits of Sequoia's claims of trade secret. We are confident that the Court will then permit release of the full, unredacted report. In the interim, the Court encouraged us to release the report with redactions. Paragraphs 19.8, 19.9, 21.3, and 21.5, as well as Appendices B-G, are redacted in this release.

Re:So what? (0, Troll)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462139)

You're missing the point, even if you can slightly influence which of the two candidate will win, it doesn't make a difference.

(let's thank the moders for the -1: Troll-because-I-disagree-democracy-is-kewwwll-I-was-told-so-in-democratic-school )

Re:So what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461497)

"I don't see what the big deal is with voting fraud. So what?

true, ballot has a weak check and balance effect on some government actions, but in these cases the rigging has to be completely obvious, not stealth.

The rest of the times elections are just a propaganda tool giving an illusion of control to the voters, making government psychologically more bearable. Voting fraud is merely a small inefficiency within the government.

If you care about voting fraud, you believe voting makes a difference. If you believe that, you are truly naive."

elections do a bit more than just create an illusion of control, they actually create a populist agenda for the 'puppet masters' we call politicians. as an example, when hallucinogenic drugs were rampantly used in the 60's and 70's people who were well on their way to becoming the 'establishment' suddenly learned that a small drop of a drug can make them feel like they just sat down and talked to god, or learned how to fly, or even start to taste colors or smell the way things feel. the effect of hallucinogenic factors in the brain really do change a person's personality. although I've not taken drugs i have a mental illness that is often compared to taking LSD. I am a different person because of it.

the point? those kinds of drugs they really changed the way people felt, and they changed the way people were elected to office. it also created a war on drugs that has successfully kept 'the masses' mostly sedated and pacified with simple lies crafted by career politicians. where do you see college campuses being shut down by riot squads because of an unjust war? i'm not seeing it either, the 'war' on drugs was effective.

elections would really matter if people could free their minds of the worries of career and family, by taking a single hit of acid, and suddenly realizing that there are people making decisions to rape and destroy the world around you all in the name of 'capitalism' and that yes, by chaining yourself to a tree you can make a difference.

sadly, drugs that suddenly can strip away a lifetime of biases and set you free to explore the world and really see what happens when someone builds a parking lot, much less a mall, and tells you to buy buy buy, consume consume consume... what really happens is the whole ball of wax starts to go down the shitter. did you know the human race is about to wipe out the tuna fish? http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081021/sc_afp/indonesiaenvironmentspeciesfishtuna;_ylt=AniRffGQIiV6L6BWQv97BY5pl88F [yahoo.com]

yeah, a tasty fish eating fish is about 50 years from extinction. shrimp are also in danger, which would kill off a lot of other animals. but when was the last time you went into a restaurant that serves shrimp and saw a college student handcuff themselves to the front entry to tell people about the way commercial shrimping, along with commercial corn farming is causing the best shrimping grounds in the world to become a place where they're now in danger of extinction.

nope, you don't see it, instead you see a commercial from a big auto maker extolling the 'virtues' of corn ethanol. but where is the guy warning you that it takes 36 gallons of natural and irrigated water to produce a single gallon of ethanol from corn? http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/corn-ethanol-more-water-than-other-biofuels.php [treehugger.com] water is one of our most precious resources, yet if you believe the greenwashing of the ethanol industry, you'd think that corn ethanol was saving the planet, not killing it.

i do agree, that the system is broken. but unlike you i know that it can be fixed, albeit, with the usage and promotion of drugs that can release an individual from their 'happy little lives' trying to be a perfect sitcom family thinking of nothing but how to make a good income and have happy healthy children. awareness of who you are, and what you do, and what impact you're having on the world around you is crucial to making a difference. the sad truth is most people are never forced into a situation where they can unlock their brains from the constant slew of mind control that is all around us, and really learn what it's like to think for themselves. with a few hallucinogenics, they'd be free for the 5 minutes it takes to become addicted to thinking for themselves. but the war on drugs has planted it's dirty seeds, and reaped the reward of a world full of repeaters who just parrot the information given to them by other without ever thinking for themselves.

if electronic voting (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461021)

could be made 100% secure, foolproof, etc., it should still not be used

simply because of the PERCEPTION of what happens to your vote in electronic voting

it is a black box. your votes go in, sausage comes out. meanwhile, a piece of paper has no secrets. it stays in a box, it can retallied. it can be messed with and falsified and burned, sure. but not with such ease and not in so many quick secret and immensely powerful ways electrons or magnetic marks on a disk can be messed with

all nations should use paper ballots, doesn't matter how rich they are. joe schmoe needs to touch and feel and smell his vote. voting machines and electronic voting represents a black box system, and therefore represents too much fundamental distrust. distrust undermines the legitimacy of democratically elected governments in the eyes of the people

it is not good enough that joe schmoe vote in absolute security and privacy and integrity. joe schmoe must also BELIEVE that. but in an irreducibly black box system, distrust is inescapable

electronic voting is the greates threat to democracy, ever. no ideological system or intolerant set of beliefs can undermine faith in democracy more than a method of tallying votes that the technofetishist loves, but the general populace views with suspicion

you don't need to say "gee whiz" when you vote

we need to end electronic voting, in the name of strengthening democracy

Re:if electronic voting (2, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461239)

joe schmoe needs to touch and feel and smell his vote.

This certainly explains a lot. Apparently this is how we keep winding up with Republicans in office. If I had to sit and count poo streaks on a paper ballot all day I would demand E-voting too. There is clearly some confusion about what the booth is there for and what to do with the paper provided.

LOL (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461293)

actually, i was referring to a scratch and sniff voting system

"hmmm... obama"

scrathscrathscratch

"yay! smells like jesus and cupcakes! ok, now... mccain"

scrathscrathscratch

"uggh. smells like depends and denture cream"

Re:LOL (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462711)

I can't bring myself to make a scented Palin joke.

Every time I get upset about the tremendous disaster that our modern voting is with the rampant election fraud I remind myself... I am getting upset over the fairness of a system that will only let me choose between two criminals for who should be the leader. It seems to me that getting up in arms about the whole voting trainwreck is pretty stupid considering what we are demanding our votes get counted for. When I am faced with a choice more complex than liar/asshole vs asshole/liar I will be more concerned about how my vote gets counted. As it stands now I can rest assured that no matter what I do my vote would go towards putting a liar and an asshole in office.

I mean really now...its like being lost in the woods and choosing if you want to wipe the shit off your ass with your left hand or your right hand. Which hand you choose is pretty tangent to the fact that you are lost in the damned woods. Seems to me we should be a little more concerned about getting out of the woods than to be upset about which hand got shit on it.

Re:LOL (4, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462765)

Oh yeah...and what does Jesus smell like?
I am torn between sort of a dusty smell or a 2000 year old zombie smell. I guess it depends on your take on the story. Even best case scenario of coming back non rotted they didn't exactly bathe much back then and washing feet was a big damned deal. No matter what, I can't imagine Jesus is a good smell. (love or hate the fan club, regardless of the divine/not divine, the J man was a cool guy...and thankfully he was a Jew so probably has a good sense of humor so I don't have to sweat it much if he was divine)

Re:if electronic voting (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461411)

I think you have the perception most people have of computers wrong.

Most people think computers are incapable of being incorrect. Microsoft is trying hard to change that, but they are getting less effective.

If the computer is wrong, it must have been something that the user did incorrect. "I shouldn't have clicked on that link to that page", instead of "The browser is broken, it shouldn't have been vulnerable to the stuff on that page"

I agree that paper ballots should be used, but most people think that if a computer is involved it will not be incorrect.

Re:if electronic voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461659)

"

I think you have the perception most people have of computers wrong.

Most people think computers are incapable of being incorrect. Microsoft is trying hard to change that, but they are getting less effective.

If the computer is wrong, it must have been something that the user did incorrect. "I shouldn't have clicked on that link to that page", instead of "The browser is broken, it shouldn't have been vulnerable to the stuff on that page"

I agree that paper ballots should be used, but most people think that if a computer is involved it will not be incorrect."

well, considering that firefox with noscript can go to the same webpage, and rather than load a hokey flash game, while it corrupts your hard drive and makes it a 'zombie', it loads a slew of errors about how it's trying to clickjack you into installing some broken silverlight script to permanently install malware on your system...

it's not my fault that flash and internet explorer are horribly broken, and that everything microsoft tries to do to make it 'better' actually makes it worse, and meanwhile 100 mafia guys are making 6 digit incomes off spam and related crimes.. but hey at least i know it's not that computers are fundamentally broken, it's just the software of choice of so many that are flawed from the get go. there was a time when firefox didn't need noscript. there was a time when ie didn't need to be trashed and replaced with firefox with noscript.

but technology is maturing and just as surely as pirates learned how to use guns and cannons the modern criminal has learned how to use the PC. even career politicians have learned how to rig voting machines. it's the world 2.0. dreams of computers creating direct democracies can be flushed down the toilet where such pipe dreams come from, we're living in a world where criminals can steal 6 billion dollars a year, and delete every record that can trace the money back to them. or at the very least live in a country that has no extradition.

Re:if electronic voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461683)

WooHoo Garbage in Gospel Out!

and in a fit of coincidence the captcha for this one is axiom!

Re:if electronic voting (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462455)

Most people think computers are incapable of being incorrect.

I strongly disagree, and I'll explain why.

Microsoft is trying hard to change that, but they are getting less effective.

Heh :) A large portion of people remember the days of windows 95 and apps crashing all over the place, and the infamous blue screen of death. Even in XP you run into the neat dialog box "[App crashed! Send us your private information yes-no?]".

If the computer is wrong, it must have been something that the user did incorrect.

True some of the time. If the user can connect in their mind something they did with an undesired outcome, the outcome will act as a punishment [don't you love B.F. Skinner?] and they will learn to not do those things. Your example is probably a good one.

If they can't identify their own action as causally related to the undesired outcome (the poorly coded application segfaults during a full moon when precisely three files are opened at the same time), they won't learn what not to do.

If they can't causally link their own behavior with bad outcomes, they don't have any way of blaming themselves: in their mind they didn't do anything wrong.

When they can causally link their action to the computer's response, they might say "fool myself once, I can't fool me again". Or they might blame the computer for "deciding" to do the undesired thing, asking "why can't the computer just work / drop all spam / remove the virus part from the screensaver part / connect to the wifi access point inside the faraday cage? It can't be that hard!".

So in general, there's no default target of the blame. It's influenced by whether the user has a sense of control and their model of how computers work, specifically what kind and amount of freedom and agency the attribute to it.

That being said, I think most people are too trusting of what the computer says to them when they perceive the computer to work correctly (the phrase "lp0: on fire" springs to mind). So if the voting machine says "Your vote for Jefferson has been counted", most people would trust that if there are no dialog boxes saying "FAIL!" with lots of red pixels in them.

Re:if electronic voting (3, Insightful)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461451)

For the majority of people, damn near everything in their lives is a "black box." Very few people understand how simple devices actually work. To most people:
  • The automobile is a black box: put gas in, motion comes out.
  • The computer is a black box: put electricity in, naked women come out.
  • Television is a black box: put electricity in, naked women come out.

People have put their trust in black boxes for a long time. I'm neither for nor against electronic voting, but I do think there ought to be a paper trail and open source software running it, so it can be verified by a hastily-assembled group of people who don't want to be there.

Besides, any system is fallible: humans take part in it. Even if we kept with paper ballots, who's to say the officials in a district couldn't be paid off to swap the real ballot box with a fake one filled with a known number of ballots for Candidate X? And if the crime was admitted to, and the voters in that district were asked to vote again, would they all re-vote the exact same as they had before? Highly doubtful: they're human.

no (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461687)

people can use computers, television, and the car, but they don't have to trust them. in fact, they don't. the tv has the biased media on it. the computer spies on them with cookies. the car is always breaking down. sure, they still use thes tools, but that's not a question of trust going on with these things in the same way it is going on with their voting system. you do not have the same relationship you have with your tools that oyu have with your social environment

a government is a purely human construct. its all about social structure and where you fit into it. its all about trusting or not trusting the other people around you. its a completely different dynamic. and a sliver of doubt about how the social hierarchy around you works can only grow if you are dealing with a black box voting system

what i'm saying is that your allegories are unsound

I disagree. (2, Interesting)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462199)

Personally, I disagree. You seemed rushed in reply, but I don't think I would qualify those devices as "tools." A tool is a single-purpose object designed to solve or repair a problem, and can be checked for operating performance against a known standard. By that definition, that's all a voting machine should be, although I'm not sure I'd ever refer to a voting machine as a "tool." Then again, perhaps some election workers would argue that it solves the problem of hand-counting all those votes.

a government is a purely human construct. its all about social structure and where you fit into it. its all about trusting or not trusting the other people around you.

Yes, the United States government is by the people, for the people; in many ways it is a hierarchy, but specifically for representation, security, and the enabling of rights as outlined in our charter documents. I don't believe it is meant to be a nanny-state, wherein we place all our trust in the government. The Forefathers recognized our need to prevent the nanny-state from occurring, and wrote the 2nd Amendment. I will never give the government, nor anyone around me, either 100% or 0% of my trust. Everyone involved in my life, including Joe Schmoe on the street whom I've never met, receives a certain percentage of my trust. If they befriend me or I determine their goals and past performances are worthy of my support, their trust level goes up. If they stab me in the back or are otherwise dishonorable, their trust level goes down. Very few people can ever receive 100% of my trust. I judge machines and contraptions the same way - based on previous performance. The government, just like the public in general, can never earn 100% of my trust, because it's impossible to personally know all of those people. At the same time, they can never earn 0% of my trust, because I realize that there are people who are in it specifically for the good of the general public, whether I know them or not.

I think trust is one of those fallible human emotions, like love. They are similar in many ways, but I don't think they're synonymous. I once had an ex who told me that 100% love means 100% trust, and that each was a requirement of the other. I couldn't really explain it then, and I can't really explain it now, but even though I loved her with all my heart, I never could fully trust her.

Re:if electronic voting (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461771)

People in the US don't care. Brasil has a working electronic system that is trusted, so your premise is wrong. Less than 1% in the US care, and they are the ones making a stink, the other 99% believe whomever tells them the system works (whether paper, which has seen its share of fraud, or electronic).

Electronic voting gives freedom to those with disabilities. Electronic voting gives instant results. Electronic voting allows for things like Internet voting. Electronic voting could eliminate all the wasted paper and time for the old system. Even at its worst, trusted electronic voting would be nothing more than a GUI attached to a printer to eliminate hanging chads, mismarked ballots, and voter confusion over choices and ballot placement which are rampant with a paper system. There are a lot of good things about electronic voting, and claiming there are no redeeming features indicates that you are a nutjob that doesn't care about the reality, but has latched onto an idea and will preach about it from any soapbox you can get your hands on.

electronic voting in brazil is wrong (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462119)

electronic voting in any democracy is wrong. it is nothing about americans or brazilians, it is baout putting your trust in a system which is more easily exploitable

do you think electornic voting is more or less exploitable than paper voting?

if you think it is less exloitable, you fail at logic

assume system a is more complex than system b. out of a simple logical conseuqence of it being more complex, it has many more avenues for exploitation in it

you need the cooperation of dozens of campaign workers to make small, easily identifiable dents in a national election with paper voting. losing boxes of records, adding fake ones... this takes work and cooperation and planning and an airtight conspiracy of dozens. with electornic voting, you need 300 milliseconds and one well-placed hacker to ghost over millions of records in statistically invisible ways, without any outward signs of tampering

do you see the issues at work now?

Re:electronic voting in brazil is wrong (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462559)

electronic voting in any democracy is wrong.

It's what I said. You aren't arguing about it. You have made up your mind and are on a religious rant against the antichrist, I mean, e-vote. You aren't making coherent thoughts. You are arguing one point one time, and one the other. "No one can trust it" "OK, Brasil trusts it, but the entire country is wrong to do so." You'll change your statements to mold to whatever counter-arguments someone comes up with. Pick a fact, and I'll prove it wrong, but I can't prove your religion of anti-e-vote to be wrong. It's as irrational as any "real" religion (and no, that's not a stab at religions, they are, by definition, irrational, as in not rational/logical, in fact, the Bible says that one can't understand God, so logic/ration are out the window).

do you see the issues at work now?

Yeah, you are a nutjob.

do you think electornic voting is more or less exploitable than paper voting?

Less.

if you think it is less exloitable, you fail at logic

If you were capable of using proper punctuation and capitalization, then one might take you more seriously. However, that aside, take a system where you have paper ballots and holes to punch out. Would you find that more or less reliable than having a computer terminal for every vote and that computer printed out a human-readable "recipt" for every vote that the person takes and drops into the vote bucket with the hole-puncher? Well, there have been numerous cases of hole-punching being flawed (chads and such) and that's paper voting, and yet there isn't a single case I know of where human-readable printed ballots from an e-box were confusing to the counters. As such, an e-voting system is necessarily less ambiguous and less exploitable than the non-e-system I'm comparing it to.

If you disagree, then you fail at logic.

(see, both of us can make the "you disagree, you fail" assertions, did it work for me like you thought it would for you? No? Then stop being a three year old with the "agree with me or I'll tell you that you are stupid" game. I at least wait for you to say something stupid before proving it so)

2 things: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462863)

1. it helps when criticising someone to not commit the same crime you criticize them of. i leave it to your vast superior intellect to understand what i am talking about (snicker)

2.

However, that aside, take a system where you have paper ballots and holes to punch out. Would you find that more or less reliable than having a computer terminal for every vote and that computer printed out a human-readable "recipt" for every vote that the person takes and drops into the vote bucket with the hole-puncher? Well, there have been numerous cases of hole-punching being flawed (chads and such) and that's paper voting, and yet there isn't a single case I know of where human-readable printed ballots from an e-box were confusing to the counters. As such, an e-voting system is necessarily less ambiguous and less exploitable than the non-e-system I'm comparing it to.

If you disagree, then you fail at logic.

i disagree, and i shall use logic to dismantle your assertion

a. observation: system a is more complicated than system b

deduction: system a has more avenues for exploitation and failure than system b

b. observation: electronic voting is more complicated than paper voting

deduction: for every example you can give me of paper voting breaking down or being exploited, i can give you many more of electronic voting breaking down and being exploited

feel free in your vast command of logic and reason to dismantle my religious rant. i won't conclude by saying "If you disagree, then you fail at logic."

because you know, i wouldn't want to appear to be a member of some irational religion that feels is it impervious and perfect ;-)

Re:if electronic voting (2, Interesting)

MyMistake (620068) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462075)

I'm a "technofetishist" and so are many of my friends. We all think voting should be paper. It's a hell of a lot easier to fix the hanging chad bug than to build, debug, and secure a system like that.
I've heard people cite the ATM network when they talk about big, distributed hardware/software systems that anybody can access, and it works pretty well. It's a false-equivalence though. You get a paper statement at the end of every month (or online, immediately) which provides the paper trail. If my account gets hacked, I don't get the wrong president. And you have Visa, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, etc... all with a vested interest in it working properly. Compare that to the Democratic and Republican parties eternal war and they look like best friends forever.
eVoting? No thanks.

exactly. thank you (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462179)

you are not a luddite if you oppose electornic voting. you are simply someone with a better grasp of what is exactly being risked and what is exactly being gained. as in: trust and integrity in your government being risked, and slight pointless convenience being gained

electronic voting is the greatest threat to democracy in the world today

Where are these machines used? (1)

Cacadril (866218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461051)

Could people tell us if they are being used in their precints?

Re:Where are these machines used? (4, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461389)

Link [dvice.com]

Check the map.

Re:Where are these machines used? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461971)

Link [dvice.com]
Check the map.

Whose scripts do I need to enable to see the map?

Re:Where are these machines used? (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461945)

They must have been in use in Florida around the 2000 election :)

Actual report: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461127)

http://coblitz.codeen.org/citp.princeton.edu/voting/advantage/advantage-insecurities-redacted.pdf

Intresting sections: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25462635)

Okay, I did not RTFA, but did RTFS instead.

Interesting parts of the report are
Modifications can propagate through the systems via Audio Ballot cartridges.(Section II, page63)
The vote counting software runs on Windows, on standard hardware. The computer examined has been connected to the Internet several times. (Section II, page 64)
The machines can even be modified for wireless access (Section IV, page 101).
The certification institution did not do its job (Section V).

They redacted essentially all technical information though - list of buffer overflows, source code examples, etc.
However a rather enlightening example was left in (Appendix K): The program that is used to generate the ballot does not remove its temporary files, resulting in extremely slow execution - according to the report to the point where only 8 ballot cartridges could be produced per day.

Wow. Pretty damning!

Elections of 2010 (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461153)

My first thought was "what's the point of publishing this now?"

Everyone (yes, even the clueless people in charge) knows that electronic voting machines are SNAFU, they just didn't have the time/money to do anything about it this election cycle.

2010 should be much different.
Hopefully they'll take the next 2 years to do some criminal investigations into all the substituting and patching of firmwares while they're at it.

Re:Elections of 2010 (5, Insightful)

mr_josh (1001605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461307)

The thing is, I don't think that everyone DOES know. I sincerely HOPE that they don't know, because no one is COMPLETELY OUTRAGED about it, and seriously, I think this should be a "people in the streets with torches and pitchforks" kind of issue. There simply seems to be zero public interest in this (and by "public" I of course mean the non-Slash-reading public) and it boggles the mind that some public figure hasn't jumped on this and made it a platform.

Re:Elections of 2010 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25463935)

I think this should be a "people in the streets with torches and pitchforks" kind of issue.

So you are posting with your Blackberry in one hand, pitchfork in the other, and the torch in your teeth I guess? If not, why do you expect others to?

Don't worry (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461173)

Be happy [slashdot.org]

Hardware Work Around (5, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461241)

Is very simple, and in fact I used it Today! - The Paper Ballot. I marked my choices, and turned it in. Voters in NJ should demand paper ballots, issue solved (sort of).

Re:Hardware Work Around (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463101)

They can. Anyone can vote via a paper absentee ballot without an excuse in the state. Heck, there are even commercials from the county clerk encouraging you to do it.

During the whole Diebold mess I had this strange feeling my local shiny new e-voting machines were flawed. I miss the old mechanical voting machines with the big red handle that open and closed the curtain. At least I knew the votes were being counted somewhat correctly.

Re:Hardware Work Around (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463993)

I miss those too. Though I never got to use one, I went into the booth with my parents while they voted. How were the votes stored on those things?

Is Robin Williams gonna be the president again? (1)

akentanaka (1366327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461255)

I think I've seen that in the film already..

Individuals' options? (2, Interesting)

PaleCommander (1358747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461265)

Public outcry, inquiry, and (in some cases) mockery are well and good, and hopefully lead to policy change. However, when it comes time to vote, what's an individual voter to do when faced by an electronic voting machine at the polls? Boycotting doesn't seem like the right course of action here.

ES&S has the same crap, as shown by UCSB (5, Informative)

enos (627034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461301)

California ordered a review of all the machines used in the state last year. They would give access to university security labs to one manufacturer's machines at a secure location. I mean the machines were held in cages over night and there was controlled access for only the researchers, etc.
They were asked to evaluate the machines.

UC Santa Barbara did ES&S, and their analysis is here. [ucsb.edu]
They also have a short video on the subject, here it is on youtube [youtube.com]

In short, all the machines were utter crap. The "seals" can by bypassed by bending some plastic. The locks can be bypassed with a screwdriver. Plus the software is susceptible to viruses, and they managed to make the machine vote for whoever they wanted. Even though all the machines have the VVPT (voter-verified paper trail).

Simple paper ballots, overseen by observers (4, Insightful)

bboxman (1342573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461311)

Simple paper ballot. Allow observers from all interested (political) parties to monitor the voting station and the count.

Presto, solves verification of the internals of the not so obvious "voting machines". Voting machines aren't truly verificable.

Re:Simple paper ballots, overseen by observers (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461905)

Voting machines aren't truly verificable.

Why not? What if the "machine" was a huge wheel with a counter for each candidate. There is a back room that has every candidate represented, and they verify that for every person that enters (they can't see the person) that the wheel only moves one slot. The person voting picks who they want and watch the wheel increment by one, then leave. That's a "machine" that is truly verifiable, isn't it?

And what about a machine that casts the votes, but doesn't tally them? Print the votes, then scan them. If there is a question, then people can check the paper ballots. That't also instant and verifiable.

It seems to me that people too stupid to come up with answers to questions assert that the answers are impossible. Any person that suggests something that works (even if impractical, but I'm just posting a couple proof or concepts, not actually solving the problem) is shot down despite *proof* that the person is wrong.

There is nothing inherently wrong with machine voting. Machines have been used for voting in some manner or another for more than 50 years in the USA, and electronic systems are used reliably and quite trusted in Brasil. To assert that they can't ever be made to do something just means the person making the assertion is too stupid to solve the problem. But I agree, anyone that claims that machine voting can't be verified is certainly too stupid to figure out how to make it so. It takes someone that can actually think to solve problems, rather than just rant how they don't want the problem solved.

Oh boy. . . (-1, Offtopic)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461445)

Scenario #1. . . Obama wins, is assassinated, and Joe Biden, self-described Zionist, takes the reigns and the world continues on its merry way to hell. Biden strikes me as rather snake-like, although I have no rational reason for thinking this.

Scenario #2. . . McCain and Palin take the Whitehouse through fraud and American public ignites leading to martial law. (Not likely. People are too well fed and entertained at the moment.)

Scencario #3. . . See #2, but allow people to start really suffering under economic depression and starvation for a year or so. Throw in a few more bad things, and then martial law becomes much more reasonable to expect. Especially if McCain, life-long loser, dies and Palin the idiot paladin for god who believes Jesus will return in her life-time, steps up to the plate.

The road to a sane future involves Obama doing three things. . .

1. Winning the election.
2. Turning out to really not be evil, living up to his promises, and NOT getting into any new land wars in Asia. And keeping Biden on a very short leash.
3. Not Getting Killed.

It's a thin road, easy to fall off. Reality will almost certainly serve up something unique and unexpected, but whatever the case, any outcome would just be an indicator of a behind the scenes war being won or lost.

-FL

If I didn't know any better (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461523)

You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that this was the same company as Diebold.

Oh, wait, it is ...

Re:If I didn't know any better (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462079)

You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that this was the same company as Diebold.

Oh, wait, it is ...

No, it's not; it's the other one. (Diebold is the same as "Premier Election Solutions".)

cf info at eff.org [eff.org]

(blackboxvoting.com [blackboxvoting.com] isn't a bad source of info, either).

Optically-read Paper Ballots (4, Informative)

tonytnnt (1335443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461617)

My state uses optically read paper ballots. I think it's the best of both. It can be machine read, but the paper ballot is still there to double check or recount. Is it really that hard to fill in a bubble with a #2 pencil?

Re:Optically-read Paper Ballots (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463133)

Reminds me of every time I took a Scantron test in school. Every class we always used to double-check the graded tests for errors because the teacher didn't trust the machine. Even with today's machines, there are grading errors from time to time.

Hell at this point.. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461621)

Ya know, I don't think I've ever voted for anyone that has won in my life. I'm so agaisnt everything that is going on.. Bush, Obama, McCain.. whatever.. none of these idiots believe in my liberty.

Why not just let politicians vote for us.. its cheaper and as far as I can tell it produces the same results. Why bother keeping up the charade that the people control this country?

Re:Hell at this point.. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461743)

Uh, politicians _do_ vote for us. This isn't a democracy, it's a republic. Sure, most states require them to vote the same way we do, not always, and there have been cases where they haven't.

An obvious question... (4, Insightful)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461783)

Why doesn't the US revert to paper ballots? We just held a federal election in Canada, and things worked just fine with a good old fashioned pencil and a small paper ballot (well, actually more like thin card). It took us a matter of hours to successfully decide the fate of the country for the next X years without the need for millions of dollars worth of mysterious electronic machinery.

Re:An obvious question... (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462055)

Because people in America are dumb and assume that since paper is simple it's necessarily less secure than computers.

Re:An obvious question... (1)

penguinbrat (711309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462155)

My guess would be that we are either very comfortable with the way things are, or we are to stressed out with the day-2-day stresses of our chosen lifestyle to bother with any possible fiasco that could occur - while the powers that steer us are corrupt and only concerned with their money and taking more of ours.

Re:An obvious question... (1)

WamBam (1275048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462463)

There has been problems with paper ballots. Look up hanging chads. The paper balloting system is not foolproof and ballots can be lost or damaged. For many states, electronic voting machines seemed like a good solution and certainly after the 2000 elections, I'm sure they wanted to make sure that future contests went smoothly. But they rushed into something that they did not fully investigate and understand. Certainly, one day we'll all be using e-voting machines... unless there's a zombpacalypse and my mix of witty one liners and shotguns skills makes me the unquestioned lord and master of the living.

Paper Schmaper (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461989)

Why the love affair with paper ballots? How do you think paper ballots get counted? By machines! Do you distrust those machines as well? Then your only recourse is to have humans manually tally every vote on every race/issue on every ballot. Hmm, what are the chances that errors are involved in human counting? Ever notice that repeated manual recounts tend to come up with different totals on every iteration?

Yes, machines can be wrong for various reasons including human error and malfeasance. However, mechanical errors are quantifiable, relatively easily detected and corrected. Human error by its nature may be difficult to detect and virtually impossible to correct.

I think we're much better off going the e-vote route and working to improve the systems over time rather than the Luddite approach suggested by the paper zealots.

20 minutes in (5, Informative)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25462217)

Pretty much 20 minutes into the video, it describes how a poll worker can simulate activating the machine so that everybody in the room believes it is active, and the voter will notice nothing suspicious, yet the vote cast is not counted. The activation chirp is played, and the correct light display when the voter picks the candidate, and even says "vote counted thanks you", when in reality, no vote has been cast. Unbelievable. It's obvious that a malicious poll worker could absolutely use this to his or her advantage and deny people votes.

Convenient timing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25462767)

The release to the voter population of this information so soon before the election is likely to result in less voter confidence in the election and subsequently a lower voter turnout, at least in areas where the machines are used. This creates a bias in the election results of at least two kinds.

Cook County uses Sequoia Machines (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463279)

And they don't use this Machine but they use other ones and the voter card activator does have a HD, USB ports for the touch screens usb keys that the votes are on as well a cartage port for the Optical scan reader. It also does have a Cell phone modem in it and the ZERO tape does print its IP address.

These things are screwing up ALREADY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25463417)

link [bbvforums.org]

Hmm (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25463897)

An electronic voting machine should be simple. Why the f- are they even using an operating system at all? Wouldn't a stripped down the bone OS do the job? How about using DOS?

(before you laugh or say to use free software, the reason I say DOS is there is ZERO chance someone 20 years ago inserted code that would corrupt a voting machine)

Also, with DOS you could easily verify the md5 of the OS image.

I say use DOS, and write the vote counting program in terminal graphics mode, with those colored ASCII characters for a GUI. A SIMPLE GUI. The feature count on this program should be limited to the crucial things only.

And NO network access. The only way to count votes should be to physically gather all the flash memory cartridges in one place. Each cartridge would have a ONE TIME PAD encryption lock. There would be a central "vote counting" terminal that would be the only machine in the county with the other copy of the one time pad used.

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