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The State of Electronic Voting In the 2008 US Elections

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-paper-trail-no-problem dept.

United States 223

Geek Satire writes "Voting works only if you believe your vote gets counted accurately. The 2008 US elections have avoided many well-known problems of the 2004 and 2000 elections, but many problems remain. O'Reilly News interviewed Dr. Barbara Simons, advisor to the Federal Election Assistance Commission, to review electronic voting in the 2008 US elections, discussing the physical security of storing and maintaining election machines, the move from electronic back to paper ballots, and why open source voting machines don't necessarily solve problems of bugs, backdoors, and audits."

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Voting is a joke now (0, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683853)

Purely by the fact you can't guarantee that every American's vote counts makes it a joke.

Mind you, McLame wouldn't have won either way, thank god.

Re:Voting is a joke now (5, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683873)

Was there ever a time when you could guarantee that every vote counted?

Re:Voting is a joke now (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684033)

Was there ever a time when you could guarantee that every vote counted?

Sure.
It's easy as pie when the number of votes per polling place is small.

Re:Voting is a joke now (2, Interesting)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684179)

How small would they have to be? My precinct has only 813 registered voters. Supposedly, 644 of them voted. How could I possibly know? Personally poll each of them?

Re:Voting is a joke now (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684229)

a) As someone who's counted votes at a small location before, no. Easier, maybe, but you can't be sure that things are counted properly unless you have no more than about 100 total ballots. You'll certainly be able to get close enough that there's a clear winner though. But mistakes get very easy to make very quickly, especially with an activity as repetitive as sorting paper.

b) Small polling locations rule out malice how? Not only would it be trivially easy to swap sides of a few ballots, but it would be just as easy to attribute it to carelessness in the event that it was discovered. Especially when there are a bunch of senior citizens counting alongside you

I'd trust the reliability of the Scantron-style ballots long before something hand-counted. Touchscreens - only if there's a paper trail (preferably one that's easily read by both machines and humans, which is easy enough).

Writing safe-to-use software for electronic machines isn't overly complicated, given sufficient oversight both in terms of accountability and physical security around the machines that will run it.

Re:Voting is a joke now (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684355)

so then just increase the volunteer-to-voter ratio. but i still don't think that provides a guarantee against election fraud.

between the voting location and each county's ballot-tabulating location ballots can be "lost"/"misplaced." and even if a ballot arrives at the tabulation building, there's no guarantee that the machine will correctly count the ballot, or that it'll even be fed into the machine. even if they're hand counted, human error or deliberate fraud could still cause votes to be miscounted. and between the county and state bureaucracy the numbers can be manipulated once again. each time the tabulation results are reported up the government bureaucratic hierarchy, you have new people handling the election results, which introduces yet more opportunities for tampering and manipulation of the figures.

you could monitor the ballot counters with surveillance cameras and review them after the election, but that's still only a limited guarantee that a vote is correctly counted. the best thing to do is for the final tabulation results to be uploaded to an online server so that each voter can check to make sure that their own ballot was counted correctly by the volunteers/civil servants. this puts the responsibility for assuring that each vote is counted into the hands of whoever cast the ballot. it also establishes more public oversight over the electorial process.

Re:Voting is a joke now (4, Insightful)

AoT (107216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684427)

Correct. It's important not only that voters have faith in the system, but also that the system actually has a good record of counting votes. And that is a difficult task.

I think that having individuals check on their vote might work, but I don't see how you could do that and retain anonymous voting. I mean, you could retain anonymous voting and just let them check, but it would be nigh impossible for them to prove that their vote was counted incorrectly.

Re:Voting is a joke now (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684433)

What about "losing" boxes of ballots from precincts known to vote predominantly for the opposing party? How does low votes per polling place help with that?

Re:Voting is a joke now (3, Funny)

rwillard (1323303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684153)

Sure. It's easy, really.

"Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote."
-Terrry Pratchett

Re:Voting is a joke now (0, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684243)

It's a moot point. Back when everything was on paper if you weren't sure then you could recount them.

Bush's 2k1 election wasn't the first time a president won with the electoral college instead of the popular vote but it's the first time it couldn't have been fully verified thanks to electronic voting.

Re:Voting is a joke now (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684685)

As someone who greatly misses the old style giant mechanical voting machines I call bullshit if you think there was any way you knew, postively, that they had counted your vote correctly or at all.

Re:Voting is a joke now (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684301)

It doesn't matter so much that you could guarantee that as much as the fact that it was on paper and you could recount if you weren't sure.

Re:Voting is a joke now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684735)

I find it quite amusing that now that I live in Florida, I'm using the same sort of mark-sense fill-in-the-bubble sheets that I used to use in New Hampshire 10-15 years ago.

We had to plow through four sheets in order to vote for all of the federal, state, and county elections, including various state constitution amendments and various county charter items.

The fact that each ballot was printed in 3 languages, side by side (English, Spanish, and Creole), made it very cumbersome (and discouraging).

So, yeah, it's going to be a lot easier to make sure that every vote is counted ... in every language.

Re:Voting is a joke now (2, Funny)

reverius (471142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683877)

Yup, things are much worse now.

It to be that you could guarantee that your vote would count--so long as you were a rich, white, male landowner.

Re:Voting is a joke now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684043)

It to be that you can has no grammars.

Re:Voting is a joke now (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684219)

You say that but I think some people would rather not count all the rich land owning votes coming from Hollywood if they could avoid those.

E-voting is flawed but let's not get sucked up into all the conspiracy theories.

Re:Voting is a joke now (3, Informative)

SmokeyTheBalrog (996551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684005)

I'm damn happy that Obama won.

But if you look at the Popular vote it was 53% Obama vs 46% McCain. While that is a large gap, it's certainly not large enough to say McCain could never have won.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/

Re:Voting is a joke now (-1, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684205)

Unfortunately you're right. But my optimism in my fellow American leads me to believe Grandpa McCancerFace couldn't have won. I know I'm being naive because Bush won two terms when he shouldn't have done more than one but that's the way I felt.

Re:Voting is a joke now (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684473)

Grandpa McCancerFace? Wow, ageism and insensitivity to a very serious disease in one pretty package. Mods, please hammer the parent poster to the ground; that kind of rhetoric is no different than calling Obama President Negro.

Re:Voting is a joke now (0, Flamebait)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684551)

No it isn't. Being physically frail; senile and (allegedly) cancerous has a measurable effect on one's performance.

It's still kind of rude to bring up, especially now. Maybe thetoadwarrior is one of these people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbObFCadlqQ [youtube.com]

And if anyone even dares bring up the average African-American IQ, it's plain to see that Obama's IQ is at least one or two sigmas above the average whitey.

Yep, an absolute joke (3, Interesting)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684801)

I would disagree with the thread's premise that we've avoided the issues of 2000 and 2004. These issues are still going on, this time in Minnesota. Senator Norm Coleman was ahead of Al Franken by over 700 votes when all the votes were counted on the 4th, and EVERY DAY his lead is getting eroded, and the recount hasn't even started yet. Somehow Minnesota precincts keep finding "missed ballots" for Franken, and the current lead has now shrunk to 288 votes. Every single "lost vote" found so far has gone to Franken, and not one to Coleman. That is exceedingly suspicious, especially given the fact that they use optical scanners in that state, and bad ballots are instantly rejected when the voter tries to cast them, giving the voter a chance to do a new one correctly. This isn't hanging chad Florida, but it is very likely fraud.

Additionally, you have widespread reports of people getting to vote without being asked to show any identification, you have black panthers with nightsticks patrolling Philedelphia polling places... voting really is an absolute joke these days.

I do believe Obama actually won the presidential election based on the huge margins, but most races are much closer than that, and it's really impossible to have any confidence in any close races anymore. And with black panthers in the polling places, I worry that eventually we won't even be able to trust the big wins either.

Re:Voting is a joke now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684823)

Since a Democrat won the election, everything was fair with electronic voting this time of course.

Help America Vote? (1, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683887)

I am hoping with an all Democrat government we will get a "Help America Vote" act that actually helps America vote.

It's a shame we have to wait until a party comes to power that benefits from better voting for the government to fix the problem.

Re:Help America Vote? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683967)

It benefits *every* party to have more accurate voting. What is doesn't benefit is certain less-than-honest *individuals* or small organized groups. I find it ridiculous that all members of a whole political party could be evil in such a way as to desire falsifiable voting. You seem to be implying that the Republican party is such a party. I know other people that would just as completely believe that the Democrats have base, evil motives. The world isn't that simple.

Re:Help America Vote? (0, Flamebait)

zxnos (813588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684019)

forget that guy, he is obviously a republican trolling as a democrat since he only thinks in terms of black and white... ...still not sure what his post was supposed to mean. since there weren't any major problems (that i heard of) the prior act must have worked.

Re:Help America Vote? (3, Insightful)

AoT (107216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684483)

It benefits *every* party to have more accurate voting.

Not necessarily. It benefits the Republicans to keep turnout low by a number of means, which they regularly use, or have used. This isn't universally true of Republicans, though almost so of Republican politicians.

This election Charlie Crist, Republican governor of Florida, extended the hours of early voting and caught hell from members of his party because of it. They as much as admitted that high turnout would ruin any chances they might have.

There are plenty of cases of Republican Secretaries of State, for individual states, who distribute voting machines in such a way that precincts with large minority populations are underserved, precincts in which the democratic party has a higher percentage of supporters.

This doesn't mean that the Democrats are innocent of any of this sort of stuff, but recently the republican side has been much more egregious about it.

Re:Help America Vote? (3, Insightful)

Lordnerdzrool (884216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684819)

Again, no. Democrats even did it this election. How many states have they sued Nader in because they were afraid of there being an alternative to vote for? The only difference was the strategy employed. Republicans tend to do voter suppression in the form of intentionally making lines longer by removing machines from certain areas that lean to the Democrats, and giving the machines to areas that tend to lean Republican. Democrats outright prevent people from running for office so they can present themselves as the "lesser of two evils" to unconvinced moderates for the purpose of getting votes. Both are forms of voter suppression and both very actively deploy the tactics in every election.

Re:Help America Vote? (4, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683979)

Because clearly, no one likes Republicans, and they only stayed in power due to vote manipulation. Just like how the faked the moon landing. And they were responsible for the JFK assassination.

Seriously, I would like them to abolish the two-party system entirely, and by proxy the electoral college. I really think most people are generally moderate in their views, but are forced to pick sides they may not wholly agree with and make assumptions about members of the other party, who may sometimes fall closer in line with their views.

Re:Help America Vote? (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684323)

You could... you know... not vote for either of them. My ballot had two third-party candidates listed in the presidential race, plus a write-in spot. I've seen pictures of other ballots that had at least half a dozen third-party candidates listed, plus the same write-in spot.

The problem isn't the lack of options, but all of the media telling us that there ARE only two choices. I'd bet just about anything that if, for example, Bob Barr (libertarian candidate) would have taken a fairly significant chunk of the votes had he been given equal airtime and if there wasn't the general perception that only two parties exist. Probably double-digits in the popular vote in one election cycle, and then becoming a legitimate contender in the second when people are aware that other options exist.

The two-party system is caused by the same sources perpetuating the stagnant economy - the plethora of 24-hour news organizations. Most people believe what they hear on TV*, so as long as they continue to be told that we're entering the second great depression or that there are two and only two candidates exist, people will spend or vote accordingly.

*which is the real problem, of course. But good luck solving laziness.

Re:Help America Vote? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684417)

The two-party system is caused by the same sources perpetuating the stagnant economy - the plethora of 24-hour news organizations.

Question: When did the two party system spring up? Was it with the advent of 24 hour news organizations, or was it with the advent of our political system? Because I'm pretty sure TV did not invent the two party system, the constitution did (albeit unintentionally.)

Re:Help America Vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684543)

At the presidential level, our political system is more to blame for the party duopoly than our media(though they certainly don't help). The presidential election is winner takes all. Either you win, or you get nothing. There is no credit(other than some useful but non-officeholding stuff about campaign finance) for coming in second, or pulling a respectable third. In effect, this means that a third party vote is a vote against whichever of the major parties is ideologically closer to that third party's position.

That said, I suspect that cultural/media influences, and probably a fair bit of agitation from the major parties, do a lot to help keep congress mostly free of third parties. Each individual congressional seat is winner take all; but those are common enough, and at a small enough scale that developing third party blocs might be strategically possible.

Re:Help America Vote? (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684813)

There still used to be change. Unless you still vote for the Fedralists, Bullmoose, Whigs, or their like.

Re:Help America Vote? (2, Interesting)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684549)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting/ [wikipedia.org]

I think that the two-party system is a natural outgrowth of only being able to vote for one candidate. Instant-runoff voting (a system where you can rank the candidates you want to vote for) would work out far better, if only because lots of people would choose their favorite third-party candidate as Number 1, and have an established party that they don't hate somewhere further down as a safeguard. In our current system, we waste our vote if we don't pick the winner. A duopoly follows.

Re:Help America Vote? (1, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684231)

I am hoping with an all Democrat government we will get a "Help America Vote" act that actually helps America vote.

Are you referring to these Democrats [heritage.org] , or these ones [economist.com] ?

Re:Help America Vote? (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684521)

While Chicago has had huge problems with voter fraud under the Democrats, as did San Francisco, where until recently I lived, under Willie Brown, the case with ACORN is way overblown. Yes, some people that worked registering new voters for ACORN fakes registrations, and then ACORN put those obviously fake registrations in a separate pile when they turned in the registration. They were required *by law* to turn in all the registrations they got, even the obviously fake ones. They, in fact, helped the cases against people perpetrating voter registration fraud.

Re:Help America Vote? (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684705)

That's funny, according to those voter advocates that did the huge documentary on Diebold incumbents favor failure prone electronic voting machines, with no regard to party.

What we need to do. (4, Funny)

Brian.Kirby (1328523) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683927)

Forget electronic voting, let's abandon democracy altogether, and start up "Internetocracy", where all major political decisions are voted on by slashdotters and Internet trolls! Want to bomb Iraq? Let's make a slashdot poll, and see if we should do it! I nominate Cowboy Neil as a viable solution to improving our economy.

Re:What we need to do. (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684467)

WORST... IDEA... EVER. I do not want to live in a country ruled by porn sites. It would be more interesting at first, but would quickly become disgusting.

unpopular opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25683933)

The very fact that Barack Obama won the 2008 election has put the entire Diebold/Precision vote-theft fiasco on the back burner. Yeah states are ditching this dodgy technology by the score [gainesville.com] and that may have contributed to a more-honest election.
Still McCain, despite his supporters, ran an honest campaign and honorably conceded the election to his opponent. Surprisingly his constituents appear to be following in his footsteps and not calling for endless recounts or crying about being marginalized as citizens.

Re:unpopular opinion (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684041)

can someone explain the problem with electronic voting to me? i only know some basic LISP but i am pretty sure i could write something that allows me to enter custom candidate names and then tally's votes and prints a receipt... ...and what is the deal with misaligned touch screens, etc. why not just us a mouse and cursor?

Re:unpopular opinion (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684233)

Money. Basically, they are cheap SOB's who have sworn to "help the GOP get elected". Not kidding. Diebold is a big supporter of the GOP.

Re:unpopular opinion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684331)

The problem with electronic voting is this: Voting needs to be anonymous, otherwise you have people being coerced into selling their vote (aka "vote the way we say and bring us the receipt or you're fired"). But if it is anonymous, how can you be sure your vote was counted correctly? The computer can display the person you voted for, while recording a vote for somebody else. You can't give them a receipt or any way for them to verify their vote that they can take with them, because then it isn't anonymous anymore. The only way to make an electronic voting system work in a way that the voter can prove that their vote is registered properly is to print a piece of paper and have that piece of paper be considered the actual vote, while the computer is used for a "fast count" only. The voter can then verify that the correct data is on the receipt (except for blind people, unless you make a braille printer and have somebody counting who can read braille).

Re:unpopular opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684149)

I partly disagree on the 'honest campaign' bit.
While I think, for the most part, he tried to keep his head above the fray in terms of negative campaigning (both sides did run negative campaigns to a degree) I don't think he did a good job of keeping his running mate on the same track and took a little long in calling for his more zealous supporters to cut the, frankly, abhorrent rhetoric.

Re:unpopular opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684217)

McCain had minimal contact with his running mate AFAIK. In fact McCain didn't choose Sarah Palin. One of his flunkies browsed Wikipedia for a conservative female who would draw disenfranchised Hillary supporters to his campaign.

Re:unpopular opinion (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684223)

Surprisingly his constituents appear to be following in his footsteps and not calling for endless recounts or crying about being marginalized as citizens.

Well, I think that's only suprising if you're somehow sure that any whining about voting errors stems from being a poor loser, not legitimate voting concerns. Also if you ignore the margin that Obama won by. I'm sure there were voting inconsistencies out there that may have potentially decreased the number of votes McCain got, but you could not make the case that swung the election. Conversely, the 2000 election you could although we won't get into that again here.

I think they would have had some issue if it looked like it actually made a difference.

Re:unpopular opinion (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684559)

Well I can say here in AR things were MUCH improved this time around. Here in '04 they had the electronic only vote machines and half of them were down. This time they had new machines that not only had a large,easy to use touchscreen that asked for confirmation to ensure that you didn't make a mistake in your choice,but it also printed a large easy to read ballot that scrolled up the side as you voted. They then took not only your electronic vote(with this large cartridge device) but they also put your freshly printed ballot in the ballot box in case there was any contested results.

But what really impressed me was how the party officials on all sides went out of there way to make sure everyone got to vote. They had a dem,a repub,and a green party official there to oversee the results,and while I was in line I saw several ahead of me who had gone to the wrong precinct. Instead of making them go and try to find the right place one of the party officials would ask them where they had voted last and would get on their cell and get it squared away so they could vote there. If they had registered for the first time and for some reason didn't show in the roll they were asked a few simple questions and then they loaded a provisional ballot on the machine. Very orderly,friendly and polite. This time it was truly a pleasure to vote.

Oh and we FINALLY got a lotto passed! Yippee! Free college tuition!!! And our money stays here instead of going to Tunica!

Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683961)

My vote was paperless. I have no idea if my vote was recorded properly or if it wasn't manipulated in some way after the fact. The only indication I have that it wasn't was the fact that the race was really close and several republicans lost seats largely due to "straight ticket" voting. (many people are hating republicans you know)

One thing will help stop some election fraud -- aggressive criminal prosecution.

Re:Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (2, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684025)

The voting machines are fine. The person who raised the most money won!

Re:Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684261)

I can't help but wonder if this would have been modded troll if McCain had raised the most money and won, and I voted Obama.

Re:Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (1)

killerdark (922011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684175)

One thing will help stop some election fraud -- aggressive criminal prosecution.

Spoken like a true Texan. May I suggest death penalty?

Greetings from CA.

Re:Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684349)

Funny, my vote was on paper and I have no idea if my vote was recorded properly or if it wasn't manipulated in some way either. I had to trust that someone droped it in the right bucket and not the trash. Then that it got counted at all. Which actually it didn't. The election was called before the results from my state were even in. Ohh well.

Re:Living in Texas, I cannot be sure (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684711)

There is a difference between votes not being counted(which is very bad; but mostly avoidable with the right safeguards) and votes being irrelevant to the outcome(which is virtually certain in any real-world situation). The whole electoral college aspect makes that especially noticeable; but it would occur slightly more subtly in pure popular voting as well.

If you have x votes for candidate one and y votes for candidate two, and candidate one is winning by x-y votes, the last (x-y)-1 votes you count will be irrelevant to the outcome. Even if they were all for candidate two, candidate one would still be the winner. That isn't disenfranchisement, it's just simple, unavoidable, arithmetic. In practice, since polling is fairly accurate, you can usually safely extend this to situations where the outstanding votes could change the outcome; but are virtually certain not to(this is why counting continues, and why media calls are occasionally wrong).

Because of the electoral college, the fact that the US votes on several different time zones, and the fact that states are called at different rates depending on their closeness and the efficiency of their electoral apparatus, the process can look and feel unfair to the last to be counted; but that isn't actually the case. The election would turn out the same way no matter which order you counted the votes in, it's just that in practice, states usually come in in a particular order, and you can usually determine the result from partial information.

OSS voting machines don't solve... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25683993)

Let's analyze what open source voting machines can't solve:
bugs
Can't solve. They still creep up, and the ability to immediately deploy a fix - possible without help from the original developer - just doesn't compensate for that.
backdoors
Can't solve. Like bugs, they still creep up and despite the ability to immediately address problems without consulting the original provider, you can't guarantee security.
audits
Can't solve. Letting everyone see the code to analyze potential backdoors is such a major security risk, because once exploited, they can't be dealt with (see: backdoors)

Re:OSS voting machines don't solve... (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684621)

um, what?

bugs are the result of human error, which occurs whether you're depending on programmers or 50-year-old polling station volunteers. open source e-voting machines facilitate public oversight to catch bugs/flaws in the voting machine software. closed source e-voting machines prevent people from analyzing the code that's counting their votes. that means bugs are much less likely to be caught/fixed.

backdoors, like deliberate voter suppression/election fraud, will always be a potential risk. that's why OSS is necessary. again, open source means there is a means for vigilant members of the public to scrutinize the code and ensure there are no back doors. no matter how good of a programmer the perpetrator is, you can't hide a backdoor forever in open source software. the more eyes that are on the source code, the sooner the backdoor will be found.

with something as important as e-voting software, you can bet there'll be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of programmers, security analysts, code auditors, software testers, etc. pouring over every line of that code. compare that to the broken code-auditing system that the diebold machines went through, where the flaws with the system weren't discovered until the source code was leaked, discovered by a sleuthing citizen, and finally delivered into the hands of competent programmers to be analyzed.

audits
        Can't solve. Letting everyone see the code to analyze potential backdoors is such a major security risk, because once exploited, they can't be dealt with

--what the hell does that even mean? begging the question is not "analysis" no matter how confidently you repeat your non-sequiturs. unless you are advocating security through obscurity (and an honor system for the programmers), how is perpetual debugging/auditing and public oversight a "major security risk"? are Google's servers being hacked into by the hundreds because they're all running linux? is SELinux being used by the NSA & DoD because open source means backdoors and other security risks "can't be dealt with"?

maybe take some courses on information security/secure coding before spewing out this verbal diarrhea. in fact, take philosophy 101 while you're at it and learn at least basic informal fallacies. then maybe you'll be able to participate in online discussions without wasting people's time with specious arguments full of gaping holes in logic.

Is it that hard? (5, Insightful)

nmp0906 (1402471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25683997)

Am I the only one that is completely confused by how difficult it seems to be to make an electronic voting machine and have it actually work?

Re:Is it that hard? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684069)

Why should you be confused? When you have a problem domain that encompasses strict accuracy, strict accountability, a strict audit trail, strict legal requirements, etc... etc... How could you possibly believe it could be anything other than hard?

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684497)

Casinos seem to manage.

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684727)

And ATMs.

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684625)

It seems to me a lot of the problems with accountability and anonymity could be dealt with by cryptographic hashes.

It could go something like this:
1. Each person gets an ID number when they register to vote(a hash of something like driver's license number) and a hash of their ID and name gets stored in a computer, with no ties to their name.
2. On election day they have the polling people enter the voter's name and driver's license number through a computer to generate their unique hash from when they registered, if it matches they get a little sheet with their hash printed out and a barcode of their hash to access it into a computer.
3. The voter scans the barcode at the voting machine, which displays the hash on the screen. The voter double checks this is the hash on their card. Then the voter will enter their vote (using tactile buttons, damnit!).
4. After a confirmation screen, the machine will print out a ticket with their hash code and their votes clearly written in scantron style. They verify that this is who they voted for, put this in a box, and leave.

I am sure this idea isn't close to perfect, but it would allow:
An anonomyous paper trail, and paranoid people could even go back and ask who "a839f937e93c8d92103df12" voted for, to double check their vote was counted. And, unless you know someone's driver's license number(this could use something else, but you get the idea) and full name, you can't find out who they voted for.
Quick and easy counting because it is stored on the computer, and if the votes don't seem to match up, one can just double check the paper votes, which can be scanned easily by a machine, or counted by hand, and again have the same verifiability from the hashes.
Accountability in some senses, as you can make sure the number of voters that hashes were printed for matches the number of votes, and the people in charge of polling can't print out tickets without the correct driver's license number and full name of someone registered to vote.

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684087)

Didn't India already nail it years ago? I recall reading they have a reliable open-source system.

Re:Is it that hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684097)

Am I the only one that is completely confused by how difficult it seems to be to make an electronic voting machine and have it actually work?

I imagine that finding a platform(hehe) to standardize across all 50 states would be something of a nightmare. The competition must be incredible.

Also, it's of vital importance that the machines are unable to be tampered with. I am very wary of electronic voting machines; it's impossible to know if my vote would or would not be altered.

Re:Is it that hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684107)

Well, i would say that it is that hard. You're trying to guarantee the security of a system where there's no way to track the vote back to the person that cast it, all votes are anonymous. On top of that, there's inevitibly hardware failures, configuration issues, etc. The 2004 vote in florida was a mess because a simple machine with no electronics failed to punch out a hole in a piece of paper. Now we're making the machine 1000x more complicated and expecting it to be more reliable. When an electronic voting machine fails or is improperly configured, votes are lost and people lose trust in the system.

Paper and pencils with a little oval to fill in is the way to go, cheap, environmentally friendly (compostable/recyclable), easy to understand since elementary students use the same thing during tests, and it's almost as fast as electronic voting because you use electronics to count the ballots. If a ballot counter fails, you just recount the votes with a different counter. Cross check the counts with multiple counters and you can ensure a much higher level of accuracy. Seriously, are we trying to invent another million dollar pen that can write in zero g when a pencil will solve the problem?

Re:Is it that hard? (2, Insightful)

Nathanbp (599369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684157)

Am I the only one that is completely confused by how difficult it seems to be to make an electronic voting machine and have it actually work?

First, I'd like to point out that it is nearly impossible to make an electronic voting machine of any kind and prove to everyone that it works given the standard limitations on voting in the US. This limitation is that there is no way to prove to anyone how you voted. Given that limitation, and all the possibilities for sabotage (hardware and software), proving that your system works is nearly impossible. (I am aware that there exists cryptographic methods of doing this, but I sure wouldn't trust Diebold to set it up right.)

However, more importantly than that, and referenced in the article (sorry, I did read it), the voting system has to not only be provable to computer scientists, but Joe Average has to have faith that it counts accurately as well. This is pretty much impossible without voter verified paper ballots.

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

dropbearsrus (1197177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684435)

I think it can be done, and done well. All the problems have been solved before/already.

As for Joe Average, I think his faith is not that hard to get. He already shops online, watches Fox News, eats at the food court in the mall.

If a bunch of professors, lawyers, and IT people tell him that a new electronic voting system is trustworthy, that will probably be good enough for him. They won't even need to explain exactly why it is trustworthy.

It doesn't even need to be perfect, just 'good enough' - i.e. a lot better than the current options.

Re:Is it that hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684651)

Why Not Give them a receipt? Like at a checkout stand, that way I know exactly what I voted.

Re:Is it that hard? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684159)

Speaking as a database guy, it is only a medium-to-hard problem to design an electronic voting system that is secure and reliable. What I am seeing, however, is lots of evidence that the people who are currently implementing automated voting systems aren't good enough to do the job, although they may have been forced to do their job badly by Dilbertian managers. The type of problems I have been reading about on Bradblog and other sites speaks volumes about the incompetence of the execution in this area. For example, a voting system that requires "calibration" by unskilled workers in the field is automatically suspect on security grounds, the machines ought to be certified, tested and then sealed tight until they are used on election day.

Re:Is it that hard? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684763)

For example, a voting system that requires "calibration" by unskilled workers in the field is automatically suspect on security grounds, the machines ought to be certified, tested and then sealed tight until they are used on election day.

Good point. They can't even set the clock [startribune.com] , given several weeks to do so.

Stable computer timesources isn't an unsolved problem, nor is it a relatively expensive one to implement.

Counting votes only small part of the problem (3, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684073)

Voting works only if you believe your vote gets counted accurately

When the only electable candidates are those chosen by the mainstream media, and controlled by special interests, I would say most emphatically that voting or democracy doesn't "work". Voting machines should be the least of our worries when it comes to the integrity of our political system.

Re:Counting votes only small part of the problem (2, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684321)

Wrong. You have the wrong idea of what voting is supposed to do and as such you think it has failed. Voting is not intended and is totally unsuited to 'finding the best candidate'.

What voting does is:

1. Ensure that a candidate pays some attention to the rest of the country.

2. Convince the majority of the armed forces of the country that their is an EASIER, CHEAPER, less DANGEROUS way to remove the current political leader than starting a revolution. (No, it won't work if the country is spit geographically and the minority knows it will never convince the majority of their point of view, but it will work for 90% of the problems like say a moronic Republican government that destroys the economy, the environment, the international ties, etc.)

3. Ensure that the candidate is not below average intelligence. (Yes, GWB is not below average. Not above average, but not below either).

As such, democracy works REALLY well. In the past 200 years each and every candidate has at least tried to figure out what the voting population wants, none have been below average intelligence, and we have had only a single civil war (despite a corrupt "I am not a crook" president and a two attempts to impeach).

Re:Counting votes only small part of the problem (0)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684637)

1. Ensure that a candidate pays some attention to the rest of the country.

Candidates pay no attention to the rest of the country. They only pander to what will get them the most votes. The massive bailouts of the wealthy is proof enough of this. Most of the idiots who passed it against the public's wishes will still be re-elected.

2. Convince the majority of the armed forces of the country that their is an EASIER, CHEAPER, less DANGEROUS way to remove the current political leader than starting a revolution. (No, it won't work if the country is spit geographically and the minority knows it will never convince the majority of their point of view, but it will work for 90% of the problems like say a moronic Republican government that destroys the economy, the environment, the international ties, etc.)

As opposed to a moronic Democratic government that destroys the economy? Offering up choices between a turd and a douche [wikipedia.org] will definitely do nothing to fix those problems 90% of the time.

3. Ensure that the candidate is not below average intelligence. (Yes, GWB is not below average. Not above average, but not below either).

So what? All the worst despots of the 20th century were above average intelligence.

Re:Counting votes only small part of the problem (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684539)

When the only electable candidates are those chosen by the mainstream media, and controlled by special interests, I would say most emphatically that voting or democracy doesn't "work".

I'm reminded of that Churchill quote "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." It's all good and well to cynically talk about the problems of voting, dominated by special interests, mainstream media chooses for us... but really it would be wierd if it worked perfectly, wouldn't it? Finding a system where special interests could NOT exert disproportionate influence, and where canidates were ONLY chosen by quality, not any funnels or filters... how realistic is that? Getting rid of the vote is obviously only going to massively increase those problems directly, we have history to prove that.

Money always influences lawmaking, the only thing to do is to keep in mind that money takes the path of least resistance to politicians pockets and close the more damaging paths.

Media chooses canidates to a large degree, but voters tend to get tunnel vision even without their aid, we've had a 2 party system since before the media really got into swing.

Re:Counting votes only small part of the problem (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684703)

Churchill, as usual, was wrong. The best alternative to democracy, imho, is no government. Please take a look at the following and let me know what you think:

Democracy: The God That Failed [lewrockwell.com]
The Ethics of Liberty [mises.org] by Murray Rothbard

Follow the Money (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684743)

Voting machines should be the least of our worries when it comes to the integrity of our political system.

Oh, quit your whining - you have a choice between Democratic OR Republican!

This is actually quite simple - wherever you have several trillion dollars to hand out to the 'best' taker, there will be corruption. If you want to get the corruption out of Washington, you have to get the money out of Washington. It'll never happen any other way; no matter how many regulations they throw up, people will find ways around them. Humans are greedy and smart - well, except the politicians who think they're smarter than everybody else.

Or, we could use reliable Lever machines (1)

Vidar Leathershod (41663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684093)

NY had a real easy process this time, remarkably like last time and the time before, etcetera, etcetera. Thanks to much effort on the part of Voting System vendors, we now have these Big Honkin' (tm) Sequoia Machines (thankfully not in use in my county). They were sitting in the corner, while the Good Old (tm) Mechanical, no-power-required just kept chugging along, processing votes without a hitch. As usual.

How did it end? (3, Funny)

atomicxblue (1077017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684101)

Anyone happen to catch the election returns? I haven't been able to find anything on the internet how it ended... :p

Paper??? (4, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684111)

In my poor benighted country we lack the technological sophistication of the mighty US of A, so we are forced to mark our votes on small pieces of paper called ballots. The poll clerk checks your ID, crosses your name off a list and hands you a ballot. On this ballot are printed in no particular order the name and party affiliation of the candidates. Next to each name is a circle. You place an x in the circle for the candidate of your choice. Then you go back to the poll clerk who places your ballot in the ballot box. If you mess up your ballot he will give you a new one.

Each candidate is allowed to have an observer at each polling place, and at the counting of the ballots. This system is fairly simple, fairly transparent, and all the votes get counted. It also scales well (more voters = more polling places). Why do you need electronic voting or voting machines or anything else besides a paper ballot and a pencil. I'm honestly curious why this wouldn't work in the US.

Re:Paper??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684203)

They tell you all the votes are counted. They don't tell you about the guy that sneaks in at midnight and switches the box you placed your vote for another one.

Nor do they list out statistics such as x people voted versus a total of 2/3 x for candidate A and 1/2 x voted for candidate B.
Because if they DID give you those statics you would note that 2/3x + 1/2x > x

This means it is MUCH MUCH easier for people to simply slip an extra 100 paper votes into the box so they don't even have to switch the box.

At this point you will begin to think "What a crazy, paranoid man this anonymous poster is."

So I respond, both of the things I listed above are true, real life things that happened in the USA. Documented cases in Louisiana and Chicago.

We don't use paper ballots and a pencil because with electronic machines, if they are done properly, it is MUCH harder to cheat.

For this very same reason the entrenched local political powers work very hard to make sure that the electronic machines are NOT done properly.

The US needs to nationalize the voting machines systems, requiring outside testing, require open source programs, with paper receipts for verification.

Re:Paper??? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684353)

This is slashdot. You will have to be a lot more paranoid to get labeled as such now.

Re:Paper??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684451)

If what you're saying is true, then apparently some people need lessons on how to run a paper-based system. There's nothing to stop measures being taken preventing those scenarios. The beauty of a paper based system is that everything that goes on is completely transparent to the observers at a polling place.

I can't see why its difficult to compare the number of votes cast at a polling place with the number of votes counted there?

There's also no reason that the votes can't be stored securely. In any case the votes would generally be tallied before anyone left for the night.

A computer based system might give you results a bit earlier on election night and save some labour, but seriously, as far as transparency and reliability goes, you can't beat paper.

Re:Paper??? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684225)

Hello fellow Canadian Citizen.

I wondered this myself, here is the short answer:

The Americans don't just vote for a president, they vote for a billion and one other things at the same time. Sheriffs, Propositions, Senate, House, Governors, Who gets a puppy this year, etc, etc.

Combine the multitude of voting decisions with the need for accessibility for the impaired, and it's easy to see why they are looking for faster, easier, more accessible ways for people to cast their votes.

Oh, and they have over 10x the population we do, electronic voting certainly tallies properly.

All that said, I agree with you, and I think the US should just suck it up and go back to paper. Having votes count properly is worth the time, cost, and effort. The new guy doesn't come into power for 100 days, they have all the time they need.

Re:Paper??? (4, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684325)

Oh, and they have over 10x the population we do, electronic voting certainly tallies properly.

I've heard that argument before, and I don't think it holds. As the grandparent said, paper voting should scale, cause you have more ballot places for a larger population.

Case in point: Take Germany. They use paper ballots with a circle and an X, just the GP describes. It works fine and you have the results with the same speed as you get them in the US. Faster, if you compare it to 2000. A recount would be much faster, cause they are easy to read.

If they can do it for 50 million voters, then I don't see why it won't also work for 100 million voters in the US.

Re:Paper??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684457)

Why do you need electronic voting or voting machines or anything else besides a paper ballot and a pencil. I'm honestly curious why this wouldn't work in the US.

The truth is... well.. we're just really bad at math. We don't know when or how we've gotten to the point where we can't even do simple addition, but please don't take away our calculators. They're shiny, and still have the new smell.

Re:Paper??? (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684465)

Not to mention that pencil and paper are cheap.

Re:Paper??? (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684513)

That sounds like how I voted. In North Carolina, we use paper ballots, a pen, and an optical scanner (for speed; the paper trail is what's used for a recount). Remember that in the US, most of the details of how the election is run are decided at the state level (and sometimes at the local level). Why some states feel a need to change, I don't know, but NC at least seems to get this right. Many other states do it similarly.

Here [state.nc.us] is the (sample) ballot I voted on (pdf).

Re:Paper??? (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684761)

That sounds like how I voted. In North Carolina, we use paper ballots, a pen, and an optical scanner (for speed; the paper trail is what's used for a recount).

Where I live, in California, they use electronic voting (rotary wheel and buttons, no touch screen) with a backup in the form of a paper strip that the voter can see being printed behind a plastic window. So it's pretty similar to yours in NC, except that there's no optical scanning required. And let me tell you as a teacher who's run scantrons, optical scanners are extremely unreliable. It's very common for them to get read incorrectly, especially if the user had to erase and change something. Paper jams also happen pretty frequently, and you can pretty easily get a scantron damaged by the machine. The company that sells the scanners we use claims that they're very reliable if they're calibrated properly. That might imply that the ones we have where I teach aren't getting serviced often enough, but if so, that doesn't make me feel very safe about the idea of trusting votes to something similar. How do we know that the ones used in NC are getting serviced often enough? On the voting machines we use here in CA, which print on a paper strip, I'm sure it's possible for there to be problems with the printer, such as running out of ink, running out of paper, or a paper jam -- but all of those would be immediately obvious to the voter. Having your vote miscounted by an optical scanner is something you'll never know happened.

I think a lot of the problems with these systems in the U.S. flow from the fact that they don't want the voter to be able to prove to a third party that he voted a certain way, i.e., you have deniability about how you voted. This seems like a good thing in theory, so that you can prevent coercion or vote-selling. But in reality I've never seen any evidence that either of those has ever been an issue within living memory, and in any case when people vote by mail it is possible to sell votes or be coerced. If we don't demand this deniability feature for voting by mail, why should we be so hung up on it when it comes to voting at a polling place on election day? It would be much easier to satisfy voters that they were getting their votes counted correctly if we got rid of deniability. Give the voter a code number when he votes, and when he goes home, he get on the web, enter his code number, and verifies that his vote was counted correctly.

Re:Paper??? (0)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684749)

I want electronic voting because I don't believe in humans to perform so many calculations accurately and without inputting their bias. As Stalin said, "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." Why is there so much trouble creating a reliable voting machine? There are much more complicated issues that computers and technology have solved, but we can't solve this one? Voting machines are unreliable and untrusted because the people who are making them are untrustworthy [rollingstone.com] and partisan.

Electronic voting has bigger problems... (1)

zacronos (937891) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684185)

Electronic voting has bigger problems [theonion.com] than TFA mentions... (FYI, the preceding link contains flash/video.)

YOUR vote is not the point! (2, Insightful)

FalseModesty (166253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684271)

"Voting works only if you believe your vote gets counted accurately."

God, not this fallacy again! Why do so many otherwise intelligent people think that as long as their own personal ballot got counted then all is well? Don't they realize that 1000 fake voters in swing state X can mean that their own vote, whether counted or not, is moot?

The State of Electronic Voting In the 2008 US Elec (1)

sallreen (1402489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684303)

The electronic voting machines in New Jersey could be hacked in about seven minutes. The journal describes aspects of this election which make it different from most recent elections and includes a pro-con debate of the Electoral College. -------------- Sally The Best Social Bookmarking [widecircles.com]

Personally (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684335)

I voted for DRE-700 [gizmodo.com]

Election fraud DID happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25684371)

How do you know the electronic machines weren't swinging votes towards Obama? With the amount of.. well.. outright adulation he received from the media, it wouldn't be surprising. Disclaimer: inflammatory post title not necessarily linked to reality :p

My point is that people see the Democrats' victory as some form of proof that elections weren't tampered with. This is obviously a flawed line of reasoning.

Political Bias (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684391)

One way to tell if someone's opinion is overly influenced by political bias is if their conclusions change when the party/political label changes. I'd suggest some people try those glasses on around here occasionally.

Voting only works if... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684459)

"Voting works only if you believe your vote gets counted accurately."

How stupid can the summary possibly be? Your belief has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not something is true.

Re:Voting only works if... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684701)

How stupid can the summary possibly be? Your belief has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not something is true.

Obviously you've never heard of truthiness.

My story about voting... (2, Interesting)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684481)

I live in a red state... probably the most red of them all. In fact, it was the third state called - you got it - oklahokma. Every district... red.

That being said, we have lots of republicans mainly because that's what their parents are, or church has told them to be.

My polling place was a church

On the side outside it says "Make sure you pray before your cast your vote." You can take that however you like. I walk in, on my lunch break, to cast a vote towards the popular vote as I know where I live it counts for nothing, and fill out the form. It is one of those "connect the line" charts.

Let me set a mood first... There is a woman around 90 years old who is reading the paper to validate people are who they say they are. This woman cannot see my face on my drivers license - she didn't even look, even though, for some reason it said "Check identification" on the line where I signed.

I over looked that

I take my form over to my cardboard booth and connect the dots

I take my form over to the machine to put it in... it looks like it is from the 60's and could probably survive a nuclear blast.

There is a red light on the machine. There are two statements on the machine.

"If the light is red, the machine is busy, please wait for it to turn green."

"If the light is green, please insert your ballot.

After waiting about 2 minutes with an impatient look on my face, a woman in her 70's comes over and in a very decrepit and very "talked down to" tone of voice she says... For the sake of my fingers, she will be Decrepit Old Lady - or DOL

DOL - "go ahead and put your ballot in, they looked at it this morning and said the light is just stuck on and will work just fine"

Me - "Ok, but is there some sort of way that I can tell who I voted for - I see some receipt looking things there coming out of the machine, will that give me my results?"

DOL - "If the machine makes a beep your vote has been counted." Me - "For some reason I highly doubt that, but given the record of this state, my vote doesn't count for much anyways. I can assure you my cantor would be very aburpt if I had to wait one second to vote"

DOL - "If the machine makes the noise, your vote is counted"

Me - "Again, I doubt that"

And I put my ballot in. Nothing got printed, the machine just made a noise. I think the moral here is:

If you leave the ignorant in charge, then whoever "fixes" the polling machine has complete control over your vote.

Ok, i'm done... Sorry for making it that long.

Re:My story about voting... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684577)

"Make sure you pray before your cast your vote."

That just can't be legal... Not that it matters. Still, that's even more disturbing than the rest of your story.

Re:My story about voting... (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684793)

At the very least, they had a paper copy for you. My precinct uses HART electronic voting machines - Once you're authenticated, you're given your ballot stub with a PIN number. Go to the machine, make your selections, and press CAST BALLOT.

The machine says "Thank you. Your ballot has been cast."

That's it. Nothing else. Either way, my state went where I voted, so I guess "I picked the winner!"

America is not a DEMOCRACY (1)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684533)

Despite what you are made to believe, America is not a true democracy. You are given few choices by media, by powerful conglomerates and whatever you can think of and you vote for the lesser of evil. Which one of the candidates your hear fell 100% in-line I'd like to ask you. I voted McCain but hate his "Call it a banana" speech on illegal immigration. But the alternate candidate, i.e., NObama, was much worse in my opinion. Yes I know I could write my vote in but how many of us really do this ? There is no point. And Cynthia McKinney, the screaming black idiot woman from Atlanta for president ??? C'mon, you've got to be kidding me.

After getting this off my chest, I voted in Northern Mexico for intents and purposes. My voting place had 2 electronic voting machines erect in the middle of the voting room. As any geek at heart, I asked the guy who were trying to hand me the forms what these computers are for. HE said, they are for electronic voting but it takes too long of a time to vote on these. I kinda suggested that I want to do that regardless and he said they are already broken. I dunno if he spoke the truth or just to convey me to mark my vote on paper and not to deal with me if the machine somehow crashes or something but as I waitied in the line for about 10 minutes and as long as it took me to fill in my vote, I have not seen anyone voting electronically.

Somebody long before me, made a comment that India nailed this electronic voting with big success years ago. I have one comment about that: When 90% of the population is barely literate to understand what they are voting for, I don't think they have as much worry that the votes may be tampered with. In US, we all know what a joke Diebold machines are and no serious investment in making voting software open source so that the regular Joe the programmer can understand about it and inform justness of it to the masses. Idon;t think this e-voting will happen in my life time and I am just in my forties, not planning to die anytime soon.

Sure, Open Source "still has problems" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25684585)

like she says: there "can" still be malicious code... but it is so much less damned likely in open source than in closed source, AND when it does show up, it tends to get found and corrected right away.

So, open source is not perfect, but it comes a hell of a lot closer to perfect than closed source will ever be.
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