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The First Federally Certified Voting System

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the at-least-it's-not-diebold dept.

Government 68

InternetVoting writes "The Election Assistance Commission has announced the first ever federally certified voting system. While the Election Management System (EMS) 4.0 by MicroVote General Corporation has successfully completed 17 months of testing, many questions still remain about the United States' voting system Testing and Certification program. Many systems are still being tested to obsolete standards, the current standards are set to become obsolete soon and cost estimates for future certifications are skyrocketing. The future of improved innovating voting systems does not look bright."

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68 comments

But... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763607)

But does it run Linux? If there's even a strand of Microsoft code in these and we had them in the last election, Sarah Palin would be president of the universe.

Re:But... (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764003)

I doubt Palin is in Microsoft's interests.
She uses Yahoo! Mail, remember?

Re:But... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765867)

Sarah Palin would be president of the universe

HHGTTG

The First Federally Certified Voting System (-1, Troll)

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They slso sold un-certified gear - and got busted (3, Informative)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763663)

Good for them, but it's worth noting that they've previously been fined [insideindi...siness.com] for violating election laws by selling uncertified equipment to the State of Indiana.

Re:They slso sold un-certified gear - and got bust (2, Informative)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763723)

And California:

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4985 [bradblog.com]

their unvalidatable crap still exists in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26764231)

There is no piece of electronic vote tabulation kit that can ever be trusted, because it eliminates humans from providing public oversight.

Every time I hear about some new system, I don't even need to bother to look at what it is.

It's a fucking electronic SIGNAL dipshit! HUMANS (grama, you, your brother, your sister, your mama, your GOD) can't see the fucking signal, and therefore you can not provide public oversight!

So shut the fuck up about linux, or windows.
THE OS IS IRRELEVANT

The fascists who make these machines all the way to the officials who certify this shit are outlaws!

Every fucking problem the United States is facing right now is because of these unvalidatable electronic vote tabulation devices.

Re:their unvalidatable crap still exists in the US (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765025)

There is no piece of vote tabulation system including humans, that can ever be trusted, because it eliminates other humans from providing public oversight.

Every time I hear about some new system, I don't even need to bother to look at what it is.

It's a fucking human COMMUNICATION dipshit! OTHER HUMANS (grama, you, your son, your mother, your daddy, your NEUROSIS)* can't see what's really happening behind closed doors, and therefore you can not provide public oversight!

So shut the fuck up about linux, or windows.
THE OS IS IRRELEVANT

The fascists who make these systems all the way to the officials who certify this shit are outlaws!

Every fucking problem the United States is facing right now is because of these crooks that decide shit behind our backs and closed doors.

There, fixed that for you.

(Oh, and learn semantic HTML. We're not in the 90s, with your <b> tags. They're not even valid HTML anymore.)

* That's what they really are, despite you calling them otherwise ;)

Re:their unvalidatable crap still exists in the US (1)

fugue (4373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765339)

You raise a valid point. But you are overstating your case somewhat. To wit:

Most electronic systems do not provide general oversight. It is not hard to invent one that does (elsewhere I have described such a beast--simple, anonymous and yet verifiable--and I'm sure you can come up with something just as good), but there is little chance of actually getting such a system deployed.

Every fucking problem the United States is facing right now is because of these unvalidatable electronic vote tabulation devices.

Indeed? So the USA is not facing any problems that came about in the time before electronic voting machines? I know Bush and electronic voting happened at about the same time, but this last paragraph is disingenuous. Furthermore, exit polls show that even if there was some voter fraud, there isn't that much. The fact is that about half of the USA voted for Bush, and again half voted for McCain. That's a very serious problem, and 20% voter fraud one way or another would be pretty immaterial.

From an article by Mark Slouka, in the February issue of Harpers:

One out of every four of us believes we've been reincarnated; 44 percent of us believe in ghosts; 71 percent, in angels. Forty percent of us believe God created all things in their present form sometime during the last 10,000 years. Nearly the same number--not coincidentally, perhaps--are functionally illiterate. Twenty percent think the sun might revolve around the earth. When one of us writes a book explaining that our offspring are bored and disruptive in class because they have an indigo "vibrational aura" that means they are a gifted race sent to this planet to change our consciousness with the help of guides from a higher world, half a million of us rush to the bookstores to lay our money down.

I suggest that most of the current problems in the USA are more closely tied to those facts than to the fact of unverifiable electronic elections.

Re:They slso sold un-certified gear - and got bust (3, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763769)

Good to know.

And realistically, wouldn't a paper ballot and a pencil be the first federally certified voting system?

Or was that method so simple that no certification was deemed necessary?

I'm not an American, so I'm making some assumptions here, and I'd really be interested in knowing this.

If paper and pencil are certified, why the need for a second system?

If paper and pencil are not certified, why the need for a system that's so complex that it needs certification in the first place?

(Probably preaching to the converted with that last question, but still.....)

Re:They slso sold un-certified gear - and got bust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763855)

Paper and pencil are not enough. You need to count the ballots after they are marked.

Simple enough, you say. Not in the US.

Hand counting is deemed too slow, and tests have shown that hand counts don't match up with each other.

And machine counting by companies like Diebold leads to results like this: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6733

Paper and pencil (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764009)

Paper and pencil ballots still need to be counted, either by hand or by machines.

Hand counts are time consuming and, in tests, rarely match one another.

Machine counting has meant relying on companies like Diebold: see www.bradblog.com/?p=6733 [bradblog.com]

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764177)

All true, but an accurate election is more important than immediate results. And if a hand count reveals inconsistencies, there's a definite paper trail, and you can have 20 different people count if needed to find a consensus.

I guess the simplest election strategy is a dictator saying "I elect myself for another term."

So no, paper and pencil is not necessarily the simplest, but it's transparent, and easily understood by even the most simple-minded citizen.

This electronic garbage will just end up being a convenient way to rig elections, giving the result of the dictator, with the appearance of a legit election.

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765419)

Yes, I agree that paper and pencil are the best way to vote. But tested open-source software, backed up by the ability to hand count the ballots themselves if necessary, is probably a better way to count than hand counting.

For one person's funny take on hand-counting (not mine), look 3 hours and 57 minutes into this meeting of the Humboldt County CA Board of Supervisors [216.102.9.16] .

Geeks have a tendency to underestimate the difficulties involved. If geeks were doing the hand counts, I'd be all for them.

(Full disclosure: I do free, open-source ballot counting software.)

Re:Paper and pencil (1)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26767963)

Probably the best way would be is use a standard electronic voting machine that everybody can agree on and print out the voter's vote on paper in both machine and human readable form to be deposited into the voting box by hand. This way the machines already have a running number of the votes and still have a paper trail.

Re:They slso sold un-certified gear - and got bust (1)

PlazMan (40335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764293)

And realistically, wouldn't a paper ballot and a pencil be the first federally certified voting system?

Not really. There was no federal certification program until the EAC and no uniform standards. The states are basically free to make up their own rules. Delaware might decide to require everybody to vote using red crayons and the feds don't have any say.

There are four factors driving electronic voting (1)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765827)

...or to put it another way, four excuses used:

1) "We have to let the blind and disabled vote privately". This is huge. See, even before Diebold got into voting, they were giving big money to the National Federation of the Blind, who would sue banks that didn't use "accessible" ATM (cash) machines, and then as part of the settlement the bank was supposed to buy "accessible" ATMs made by, you guessed it, Diebold.

Once Diebold got into voting in 2002 they pulled the same scam. The same National Federation of the Blind crew came in and flooded state-level voting system evaluation boards with tear-jerk stories of being able to vote privately for the first time with electronic voting (and an audio track telling them what to push for which votes).

2) A lot of the fiasco in the Florida 2000 race got blamed (mostly unfairly) on bad/old equipment. So the US Fed Gov't poured $3.5bil into voting system improvements in the form of grants to states and counties in 2002. Diebold got into voting in 2002 when the ink was barely dry on this bill (the "Help America Vote Act")...basically, it was blood in the water that attracted sharks. ES&S seriously ramped up production at that point.

3) There are claims that paper can be hacked too, and that's actually correct. What they didn't understand was that in order to do paper fraud you need a lot of people - it's "retail fraud" where each fraudster only affects a small number of votes. You damn well CAN do that but it takes a big corrupt political machine like Chicago in the '60s/'70s, Tamany Hall in NYC prior to 1913, etc. Electronic voting introduces "wholesale fraud" where one guy or a small team hacks a bunch of votes at once.

4) Costs of election processing. See, in the US we don't just have "Democracy", we have gobs of it. We vote for lots of races that would just be appointees elsewhere: "town clerk", judges, a ton of other minor officials. In most states we also vote on issues, bond measures, whether to buy parkland, whether to have gay marriage or not, stuff like that. So we end up with these huge ballots to a point where hand-counting starts to look ugly.

Right now, one fast solution might be to do paper ballots that get scanned, NOT touchscreens, and then once the ballots are fed through the "official count" scanners make by head cases like Diebold, ES&S and the like, we then run them through standard scanners saving graphic images to a hard disk and then to DVDs. Those would get handed out to political parties and activists on election night plus copied up to the web.

That way, anybody who wants to can do a hand-count of any one race or all races, by getting enough people together to count the graphic images. We basically have the existing "black boxes" (because all this Federal testing insanity is now enshrined in law and all these counties have bought junk systems already) and run them through a "white box" consisting of basically Ubuntu, an old P4, a decent hard disk, DVD burner and the biggest scanner SANE supports.

We can get that running in most places by 2010 because this "afterscanner white box" isn't a tabulator. In fact we do NOT want it to have OCR at all or know what's on the ballots, that way it can't be programmed to cheat. So since it's not a tabulator, it doesn't need certification, so it can be set up fast and cheap with off-the-shelf hardware and FOSS software with at most a simple front and and maybe an Ubuntu re-spin customized for this purposes.

Jim March
Member of the Board of Directors, http://blackboxvoting.org/ [blackboxvoting.org]

Human factor (2, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763689)

Doesn't matter how much testing you do; There is always the human factor. Machines won't change that. I guarantee you either the voter or the administrator will somewhere somehow mess it up.

Re:Human factor (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763805)

Of course, but that factor is present in voting systems that don't use voting machines, too.

It's fruitless to expect an electronic voting system will be perfect -- it's probably impossible to prevent all attacks. The important thing is that the electronic voting system is not worse than the already-existing alternatives.

Re:Human factor (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764467)

Yeah, but with voting computers[1] human errors will be quite disastrous... if a programmer makes a mistake (intentionally or unintentionally), then this may very well change the whole outcome of the voting. He's even comparatively save, as most voting computers use closed source software, and the public can't (even theoretically) prove the fraud.
If you're voting pen&paper style, election fraud will be time- and cost-consuming and there's a quite large probability that it will be noticed.
Replacing a few thousand paper ballots is difficult, having a small bug in your computer program and therefor changing hundreds of millions of votes is easy. It's a question of scalability.

[1] As the German CCC noted, it is better to call them computers than machines. They are technically the same computers that you used at home some decades ago. Unlike machines and much like computers they tend to have bugs and security holes.

Re:Human factor (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26768645)

That's an extremely general and vague argument. There are particular failure modes, costs, and methods of prevention for attacks in both conventional and electronic voting systems. (Note that even voting machines, the mechanical sort, have both bugs and security holes.) There are methods for both sorts of voting systems to influence the outcome of the vote, and methods of mitigating it. Reducing it to "electronic voting systems are bad" is nonsensical.

One huge problem is the labs..."fail" all over 'em (3, Interesting)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763701)

Some have even been booted out of the process for poor performance, most recently when NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) started looking at them. Systest was just kicked out, see this story and links from there for details:

http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/79428.html [bbvforums.org]

Cyber was so bad, you could jam a cheap pocket calculator halfway into a banana, pay 'em enough money and they'd have declared it "an acceptable election technology" or somedamnthing.

You can't "test" computers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763735)

Tests can only cover a very, very small subset of operating conditions that occur in real use. People who just don't understand what computers are shouldn't be making decisions about them.

Don't care about that.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763763)

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Do we trust federal certification? (2, Informative)

Butterforge (1443045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763841)

That would be like the beef industry certifying its own standards. Or for an analogy that I understand better - video game publishers rating their own games.

Do you trust federally certified investment banks? (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26769647)

See anyone handing their IRAs to Lehman Bros., Bear Steans, or Merrill Lynch anymore?

Show me... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763853)

... the source code?

Re:Show me... (1)

CoolVC (131998) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763949)

well they make sure someone sees the source code...

Q: Will the source code be available to the public?
A: No. The EAC will make all information available to the public consistent with Federal law. The EAC is prohibited under the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. 1905) from making the source code information available to the public. However, the test labs will examine the source code to ensure compliance with the voluntary voting system guidelines. Test plans, test reports, and other information about the test labs and the voting system manufacturers are available on the EAC Web site (www.eac.gov).

Re:Show me... (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764281)

Q: Will the source code be available to the public?
A: No. The EAC will make all information available to the public consistent with Federal law. The EAC is prohibited under the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. 1905) from making the source code information available to the public. However, the test labs will examine the source code to ensure compliance with the voluntary voting system guidelines. Test plans, test reports, and other information about the test labs and the voting system manufacturers are available on the EAC Web site (www.eac.gov).

That sucks.

The trade secrets act may mean that they aren't allowed to release source code unilaterally, but there's nothing in the law that says they can't make it part of the certification process that a machine cannot get certified unless the manufacturer releases the source code (and certifies that the souce code released is the code run on the machine.)

Re:Show me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763983)

Why? You can't even prove that the machine that you're using to cast your vote is using the binary that was compiled from a particular source code, or that the processor abides by its specification and doesn't switch to internal memory when it encounters a specific sequence of commands. This whole certification business is hogwash. Either you trust the companies or you don't. If you don't trust them, you can't use their machines. Ask the DoD how that works.

Re:Show me... (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766585)

Yes, actually, it is possible to verify whether compiling a particular source code gives you a particular binary file. (That is, assuming that the compiler itself is specified.) You compile it, and compare.

Not very hard.

Re:Show me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26767681)

It is election day. Thousands of people are going to use a voting machine in your district. Prove that it executes a binary which was compiled from the source code you were shown.

Re:Show me... (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26768609)

You don't have to test it on election day. You can test it any time.

Here's the point. If the source code is not available, then to show that somebody's is commiting fraud you have to reverse engineer the code the machine is running, see what it does, and show that it's fraudulent.

If the source code is available, and certified as the code that the machine is running, you don't need to reverse engineer the code that the machine is running. Merely showing that this is not the code that was certified is sufficient. This is much easier.

In essence, it breaks the very hard problem down into two much easier problems.

Re:Show me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771083)

It still leaves an unsolvable problem, so while it does seem to help, it really doesn't. And of course you have to prove it on election day, or you have to prove that the machine used on election day is the same machine that was verified another day, which is harder the further these two days are apart and basically impossible for any realistic number of machines and timeframes. And it still leaves you with the possibility of a subverted processor... Like I said, ask the DoD. They know that there is no way you can trust machines produced by an untrusted entity.

The problem is the system (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763937)

But the real problem with voting is the One Vote, Plurality wins counting system, which drives out third parties and means that in a multi-contestant election, the winner almost never gets a majority. This is known to be a bad system. It may indeed be true that all voting systems may have problems, but one vote, plurality wins has very bad [technologyreview.com] problems.

There are much better counting systems-- approval voting [boulder.co.us] is simple and easy, for example, and much much better. Range voting [rangevoting.org] also has a lot to say for it-- mathematically it's similar to approval, but hey, if you can rate your local restaurant on a scale of 1 to 5, you can learn to rate politicians the same way.

Re:The problem is the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765299)

Approval voting is a very good idea, but range voting is just approval voting where stupid people get half a vote. Why? Consider a candidate with a poll approval rating of 0.72. You believe the candidate deserves a 0.8, because he voted no on the Protect Freedom by Empowering National and Global Security Initiatives Act. The inexperienced voter would vote 0.8, but someone who knows the system would vote 1, because your vote would be 350% as powerful that way.

Re:The problem is the system (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765625)

Correct. In games theory terms, where all the voters are rationally trying to maximize their expectation of winning, range voting and approval voting are the same.

However, it turns out that not all voters in fact vote according to games theory, and a lot of people like the idea of having a range to vote, not just "yes" or "no".

Re:The problem is the system (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765685)

Please demonstrate a clearly well-run town, state or organization that uses this system.

Pointing out the flaws of a system is easy- everyone is a critic.

The use of your proposed system needs to end in objectively better, real results for it to be worth considering at all.

The collision of a scheme based on a sound theory quite often exposes unconsidered lethal weaknesses. It might also demonstrate that there is no practical difference in outcome. It could end up being better.

My point? Show me where it has worked- ie, delivered objectively better results- before we even begin to consider making this national. There are 50 states, and hundreds of towns in each state. There are countless committees and executive councils around the nation as well.

Get the plan implemented at a low level, have it's weaknesses exposed, and then we'll talk national.

"Innovative" voting systems? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764005)

I'm sorry, but this an area in which I absolutely do not want innovation. I want votes to be cast the way they always have in this country - on paper and in ink. I, the voter, get NO VALUE from any other system, electronic, mechanical, or colored pebbles in a jar. The media gets to publish electronic voting results earlier -- big deal.

Innovation should never be a part of voting -- every innovative idea brings unknown risks to the accuracy of the system, giving corrupt people the opportunity to find a new way to game the system. Pencil and paper is very well understood. It is also completely understandable by Joe Sixpack and Jane Chainstore, and that's critical to enfranchise everyone in a democracy, where 50% of the voters are of below average intelligence.

Re:"Innovative" voting systems? (2, Insightful)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764295)

As a voter, you, personally, may not get much (any) benefit from any other voting system. As a citizen, it is in your collective's best interest to ensure that voting and counting go smoothly. People writing on paper or punching holes in paper is a system which leads to discrepant results. You can say "fill in the bubble", and the question then becomes, "what percentage of the bubble must be filled in to count?" or "what if another bubble has a mark in it?" or any number of other questions (see the Franken/Coleman recount). And, of course, the infamous hanging chads.... A system which eliminates the variation and which makes it completely clear what votes were and weren't cast is simply superior. The question is, what is that system? Personally, I don't see why this question is so difficult...create electric voting system (yes, there are arguments for different UIs, we'll set those aside). Electric voting system keeps track of vote count. It also prints out human & machine readable paper ballot which citizen places in ballot box (and which has machine's ID # on it for reference). Preliminary results are easily generated from electric vote count. Final results can be determined from scanning paper ballots. Discrepancies lead to audits of the machines which don't match their paper ballots. Personally, I can't imagine why that is not superior to all the voting systems I've had the opportunity to use, but I'm open to other hearing why it isn't.

Re:"Innovative" voting systems? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26770063)

Preliminary results are easily generated from electric vote count. Final results can be determined from scanning paper ballots.

Further, it's not really even necessary to scan all the paper ballots. Random sampling can do the job just as well as full counting, and much faster and cheaper. In particular, you should:

  • Randomly select a set of precincts, scan all of their ballots and verify that the tallies match the electronic totals.
  • Randomly select another set of precincts and randomly select a subset of their ballots and manually verify that the scanning equipment agrees with human reading.

It's a simple statistical calculation to decide for a given level of accuracy how many sample precincts and ballots you need to review. If you have some tight races, then you need to increase the sampling to get the margin of error down to where it's less than the win margin of the race. In extreme cases this may lead to a full recount -- but not coincidentally those are precisely the cases in which one or the other candidate is likely to request a full recount anyway.

And, of course, if the sampling uncovers discrepancies, then you have to figure out how to handle that, and it could likely lead to a full recount.

One caveat, though: Some jurisdictions do have random sampling requirements but don't specify how the sampling is to be done, so the "random" sample ends up being chosen by a person, who may or may not deliberately skew the choice, but will at least do so inadvertently. The samples need to be selected by an unbiased TRNG.

As long as they don't fuck up the important bit :| (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764285)

switch (candidate) {
    case candidate1:
        ++votesCandidate1;
        break;
    case candidate2:
        ++votesCandidate2;
        break;
    default:
       throw std::exception("invalid candidate");
}

The problem is the "standard" (1)

mcsteve63 (1471727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764485)

The problem is the "standard" Section 5.2.1 Selection of Programming Languages Software associated with the logical and numerical operations of vote data shall use a high level programming language, such as: Pascal, Visual Basic, Java, C and C++.

Yes, one could write the system in Pascal...

D&OLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26764559)

these rules wiil to3 keep up as variations on the

OPEN SOURCE VOTING/GOVERNMENT! :D (1)

bluetigerbc (911321) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765059)

posted this before, hopefully this time it will catch or something... Not only do we need votes that count (rigged elections last few times b/c of diebold/diablo voting machines crapping out/tampered easily with) but we also need voting for issues as a people. "show me the source code!" - awesome. exactly my thoughts too....especially ESPECIALLY since it's elections and those are supposed to matter! I love how people care about this thing but we need voting on ALL ISSUES. an Open sourced government is the only evolution we have yet to reach. Imagine that folks....a de-mo-cra-cy! ;) We need open sourced voting, online, in real time, 24/7 for people to log in/vote, collect info about our leaders (in wiki form ;), shows nice graphs and charts of popular polls for grandma/normal people, have comments like Slashdot about our problems as a society, and thoughtful discussion before it even REACHES senate/House of commons. They get bogged down with all of our problems, we could prescreen most votes/bills before they reach senate. We all know that having open source code/proper security can stop 99% of the "cheating" going on. Would also create jobs! Always a plus! Make taxes a votable spenditure for 20% of your collected tax. Prevent corporate tax evasion by allowing them to spend some of it themselves not tax cuts! WE NEED THAT MONEY! We also need it not to be wasted by the leaders. Info on how much is collected on the site, where it all goes (military can just show totals, they gotta protect still), but 90% should be open to us, organized, available and discussable! Slashdot should prob run the site, they have more organization here then on ANY official website I've seen held in the hands of govt people. Also keeping anons allowed to vote in polls (but cookie/ip/whatev stopping from double voting). If anons can't have a voice it's not fair to all the hard workin Mexicans/illegals trying to buy that "American dream" /w their labour of love. OPEN SOURCE GOVERNMENT! WOOOOOOOO!

Re:OPEN SOURCE VOTING/GOVERNMENT! :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765387)

i once thought that if all participants in a uniform hegemony were polled then extrapolating on the results brings enlightenment for the missing part of the equation. On the other hand, and i have said this before lol, not being in the loop we need to BREAK DOWN THE BARRIORS between the "knowing' and the doing. Something like a BEOWOLF cluster of voting machines emedded in a wrist watch. Cost are amortized on the pacific rim with a tsunami when interest rates rise. this could happen! but 57 senators voted against it! Slice it and dice it you will find 12.07% don't care and the other 78.97% don't believe. WHICH SIdE aRE YOU ON??! If the trilateral commision hadn't surpressed nuclear fusion we would already be deriving are heavy metals from Titan. This is a verifiable fact and if more slashdot readers would write to their representatives instead of writing posts like this we would allbe better off!

Re:OPEN SOURCE VOTING/GOVERNMENT! :D (1)

fr!th (834381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26779501)

The problem of this is the 'tyranny of the masses'. As any slashdotter will gleefully explain, most people are stupid. Ergo, the majority will be stupid, thereby always frustrating the efforts of the smart to implement intelligent policies. The idea of a democracy (as a friend of mine once put it) is to 'Represent the Majority, Respect the Minority'. Unfortunately, in most places it seems to be 'Represent the Minority, Respect?' I do agree that there should be simpler and more readily available means of assessing public opinion though. I mean, how many people vote in a Big Brother episode? Surely in this day we can get some kind of 'online straw poll' system going...

nig6a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765855)

llok at 7he

Vendors are the Probem (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765885)

The problem - as I see it - are vendors who are more interested in money than actually doing something right. Our voting system (Los Angeles County) seems to do just fine. We processed through over three million votes between about 9:00PM and 1:00AM on this past election. Not one hitch. We had several thousands of ballot groups spanning over four thousand precints which were all correctly identified and batched by our twenty-year-old mainframe ballot tabulation system. Even with the election terrorists standing watch over the process through the glass, we managed to be complete and passed our 1% manual tally afterwards.

We actually plan to rewrite the system ourselves so that we can get off the mainframe. That way we don't waste more taxpayer dollars, like what happened when Diebold was foisted upon us by outside political pressure. Fortunately those stupid TSx machines are a thing of the past.

Re:Vendors are the Probem (1)

GlobalMind (597374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766489)

If the mainframe system is so good then why do you need to move off of it? Why is it a waste of taxpayer dollars when it works?

Horseshit. LA County has massive voting problems. (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26769497)

From the Brad Blog...

"L.A. County 'Double Bubble' Disenfranchisement Happened Before, Registrar Conny McCormack Did Nothing About It

44% of Non-Partisan Cross-Over Ballots Went Uncounted in March '04, 42% Uncounted in June '06, Before Same Ballot Design Used Again for the February 2008 Super Tuesday Primary
As LA Times Gets Religion on Election Integrity Issues, But Doesn't Bother Apologizing For Their Failures to do so up to Now.

Given the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters, and maybe even hundreds of thousands of voters, from Super Tuesday's Los Angeles County Democratic Primary election, which the county's current acting Registrar incorrectly claims to be "impossible" to count accurately, we believe it's time to place some blame squarely where it belongs for the entire mess.

A Los Angeles Times editorial this week, where, it seems, the paper may have finally found religion on the issue of Election Integrity, serves up a great starting point...

" "And to think we made fun of Florida.

As of today, we take back the jeers about hanging chads and the unkind comments about inept voters befuddled by butterfly ballots. Somehow it doesn't seem as funny when it happens at home --- voting irregularities in Los Angeles County will disqualify the ballots of thousands of people who went to the polls on Super Tuesday.

In 2000, Florida voters flubbed their choices for president because they were confronted with a ballot whose design was new to them. But that's not the case here. L.A. County officials have long used a ballot whose design was known to consistently disenfranchise unaffiliated voters. They simply did nothing about it. ...
Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable. In fact, it has happened before. In the March 2004 election, 44% of crossover ballots were unusable, and in June 2006, it was 42%. With numbers this high, the county registrar should have investigated this matter long before now.""

So it happened before. 44% of Non-Partisan cross-over ballots went uncounted in March '04 and 42% in June '06. And yet, the county went into '08's primary with no plans to change a thing.

The woman who dreamt up the ridiculous scheme, former Los Angeles County Registrar and Diebold cover girl Conny McCormack, quit just over a month before the election, and knew about the problem from years past, but did nothing about it. Or, she didn't know about, and was thus criminally negligent in her job as chief voting official for the nation's most populous county...

We'll have more on the latest Los Angeles County "Double Bubble" mess over the weekend, but for the moment, speaking of "criminally negligent", we're glad to see that the LA Times has finally begun to come to terms with these sorts of issues --- at least if their editorial is any indication --- as sad as it is that they had to wait until it "happen[ed] at home."

As they write, "Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable." Indeed it was forseeable. Yet, the Times, arguably the state's paper of record, has done next to nothing to cover these issues for years, as The BRAD BLOG has pointed out over many of them. (Yes, we live in LA County, and the Times is our local hometown paper.)

Even after last week's Super Tuesday --- and even as it appeared that hundreds of thousands might be disenfranchised by McCormack's idiotic Non-Partisan cross-over voting scheme --- the Times played down the problems in an article headlined "Few election glitches, except for independents."

The sub-header of their editorial this week is: "Super Tuesday presented a unique choice. Too bad that a flawed ballot disenfranchised thousands in L.A."

To which we'd add: "Too bad the LA Times didn't give a damn about such issues until now."

We've come to expect irresponsible public officials like McCormack, and her inept compatriot in Sacramento, the thankfully-former Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, to get away with whatever they can. On the other hand, we also expect our fourth-estate, the mainstream media, to keep them honest and hold their feet to the fire on such issues. Instead, the LA Times has served as little more than a mouth-piece and surrogate for those public officials over the years, even going so far as to endorse the irresponsible McPherson when he was challenged by the thankfully-new Sec. of State Debra Bowen back in 2006. That election came long after the problems with California's voting systems were quite well known, and even long after McPherson had re-certified the Diebold voting system despite it's failure to comply with federal voting systems guidelines, and thus, it's failure to comply with California state law.

Again, we'll have more details on the latest "Double Bubble" trouble soon. But the above should be noted along the way in hopes that someone holds somebody accountable for this mess that McCormack's current replacement, acting Registrar Dean Logan, seems hell-bent on making even worse that it needs to be by telling LA County's Board of Supervisors that it would be "impossible" to determine the intent of the voters on all of those uncounted ballots.

Logan is out-and-out wrong. As The BRAD BLOG pointed out late this week, it would not be impossible to determine the accurate voter intent of nearly every single one of those currently uncounted ballots. Of course, that would take Logan actually bothering to count those ballots, which sort of seems like his job."

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5700#more-5700 [bradblog.com]

Re:Horseshit. LA County has massive voting problem (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26770097)

Oh, we're quoting the intellectual, reliable source, Bradblog now are we?

Maybe bradblog should locate in which precints "double bubble" most often occurred.

Keep in mind - I don't work in elections. I just watch them like everyone else.

Re:Horseshit. LA County has massive voting problem (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781743)

You obviously neither work in elections or know anything about voting rights issues if you don't recognize the award winning work Brad Friedman has done in regards to bringing attention to voting rights problems all over the country.

I'm quite certain Freedman can answer in detail any question you might have about all the problems LA County has had regarding election problems. He lives in LA County. I don't. You'll have to discuss the specific issues with him.

Re:Horseshit. LA County has massive voting problem (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26784333)

I'm sure Brad can answer any questions I have is right. Of course, being an election terrorist (along with Bev of blackbox) and having the desire to ruin basic freedoms by use of fear and intimidation, I'm sure he'd not answer the way a sane person would.

No thanks.

Re:Horseshit. LA County has massive voting problem (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26794681)

You're calling Brad Friedman a "terrorist," huh?

Brad Friedman is voting rights advocate, part-time radio air personality,and political blogger. He's never lifted a hand in anger toward anyone in his life.

So that means you are either one of those far right extremist from either freerepublic.com or littlegreenfootballs.com... ...who call anyone they disagree on ANYTHING either a "terrorist" or insane... ...or you are projecting your own history of mental illness on others.

Most reliable voting system of all (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#26767509)

is the good 'ol fashoned paper and pen. Those were the good 'ol days. *sigh*

Not the first (1)

ericlj (81729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26768037)

This is not the first system to be federally certified. It is the first system to be certified under the current standards. The standards change every couple of years and anything that enters testing while one set of standards is in force is grandfathered with that set of standards, even when new ones come into force. (When a significant revision is released, the current standard then takes effect - that is what slows changes in voting equipment to a crawl.)

By the way, good luck getting an open source group to pay for continued repeat testing of any system as each revision is released.

Bush Admin. certified Wall Street and Banks too (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26769603)

Fanny Mae was Bush certified. So was Washington Mutual. So was Lehman Brothers, and Merrell Lynch, and Bear Sterns....

Everyone of these failed banks was Bush-certified...

  County Bank, Merced, CA February 6, 2009 February 6, 2009
Alliance Bank, Culver City, CA February 6, 2009 February 6, 2009
FirstBank Financial Services, McDonough, GA February 6, 2009 February 6, 2009
Ocala National Bank, Ocala, FL January 30, 2009 January 30, 2009
Suburban Federal Savings Bank, Crofton, MD January 30, 2009 January 30, 2009
MagnetBank, Salt Lake City, UT January 30, 2009 January 30, 2009
1st Centennial Bank, Redlands, CA January 23, 2009 January 23, 2009
Bank of Clark County, Vancouver, WA January 16, 2009 February 5, 2009
National Bank of Commerce, Berkeley, IL January 16, 2009 February 5, 2009
Sanderson State Bank, Sanderson, TX
En Español December 12, 2008 February 5, 2009
Haven Trust Bank, Duluth, GA December 12, 2008 February 5, 2009
First Georgia Community Bank, Jackson, GA December 5, 2008 February 2, 2009
PFF Bank and Trust, Pomona, CA November 21, 2008 February 2, 2009
Downey Savings and Loan, Newport Beach, CA November 21, 2008 February 2, 2009
The Community Bank, Loganville, GA November 21, 2008 February 5, 2009
Security Pacific Bank, Los Angeles, CA November 7, 2008 February 2, 2009
Franklin Bank, SSB, Houston, TX November 7, 2008 February 2, 2009
Freedom Bank, Bradenton, FL October 31, 2008 February 2, 2009
Alpha Bank & Trust, Alpharetta, GA October 24, 2008 February 2, 2009
Meridian Bank, Eldred, IL October 10, 2008 February 2, 2009
Main Street Bank, Northville, MI October 10, 2008 February 2, 2009
Washington Mutual Bank, Henderson, NV and Washington Mutual Bank FSB, Park City, UT September 25, 2008 February 2, 2009
Ameribank, Northfork, WV September 19, 2008 February 5, 2009
Silver State Bank, Henderson, NV
En Español September 5, 2008 February 5, 2009
Integrity Bank, Alpharetta, GA August 29, 2008 February 5, 2009
The Columbian Bank and Trust, Topeka, KS August 22, 2008 February 2, 2009
First Priority Bank, Bradenton, FL August 1, 2008 February 5, 2009
First Heritage Bank, NA, Newport Beach, CA July 25, 2008 February 5, 2009
First National Bank of Nevada, Reno, NV July 25, 2008 February 5, 2009
IndyMac Bank, Pasadena, CA July 11, 2008 February 5, 2009
First Integrity Bank, NA, Staples, MN May 30, 2008 February 2, 2009
ANB Financial, NA, Bentonville, AR May 9, 2008 February 5, 2009
Hume Bank, Hume, MO March 7, 2008 February 5, 2009
Douglass National Bank, Kansas City, MO...

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html [fdic.gov]

Tell me more about these Bush Administration certifications?

The problem with voting systems (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26770787)

Its the same problem with testing software -- you can only prove the existence of bugs, not their absence.

In ordinary software, its reasonable to assume everyone in a company is working towards the same goal, of removing all bugs, and still it is hard to trust testing to get rid of all bugs.

With voting machines, its reasonable to assume some will intentionally insert bugs in order to control these machines when the time comes.

No amount of testing will ever catch malicious bugs meant to allow control of these machines.

The only way these machines have any hope at all of becoming reliable for controlling democracy, is if the entire production process, from the bottom/hardware up to the top is open, certified (via proof and very intensive peer review, and not via testing), and closely monitored.

Since this is probably not practical at all, its best to just vote with paper.

Why does anyone want voting machines anyway?

Re:The problem with voting systems (1)

JimoJonz (1472199) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772087)

Ok asshole, lets just vote on paper with a pen, allow fraud and the same bush like crooks to manipulate the results. I assume you are typing on a typewriter? Its time for all you morons to actually understand what voting machines do, the deep security of the election administrations and the zero percent that any "genius" could actually crack any system.

Re:The problem with voting systems (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26777527)

Actually, most computer security experts agree that computer systems are not secure for voting.

I am all for using computers in most areas of life, but the paper voting system has worked for a long time, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Computer-based voting systems are too open to manipulations, whereas paper ballots are easier to reasonably secure.

No need for pens, by the way (e.g: See Israel's voting system).

Why Not Simple Paper Ballots (1)

Black Rabbit (236299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26773297)

...just like the rest of the world uses?

I've never understood why the US insists on these Rube Goldberg methods of voting, using electronic devices that can be so easily rigged or otherwise circumvented. Paper ballots do the trick for the rest of the planet, with nary a hanging chad in sight.

I take note that Rube Goldberg methods of execution seem prevalent in the States as well.

Re:Why Not Simple Paper Ballots (1)

bbhack (98541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26774479)

Morons are getting deviously more incompetent all the time. Minnesota currently has some paper ballots marked incorrectly. Rather than throw them out, it's in the courts right now - divining intent or some such. Granted this is only a problem when the counts are so incredibly close.

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