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Computerized Election Results With No Election

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the why-bother-with-mere-tampering dept.

Government 433

_Sharp'r_ writes "In Honduras, according to breaking Catalan newspaper reports (translations available, USA Today mention), authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for a constitutional election that never happened. The election had been scheduled for June 28, but on that day the president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted. The 'certified' and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."

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433 comments

Yeah, and? (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28748969)

Oh noes, electronic records can be faked by people who have physical access to the machines. Didn't see THAT one coming.

And This Is the Government of a Country (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749007)

Nobody's saying electronic records can't be faked through physical access to the machines. You're the only one who seems surprised at that, in order to deny it should be surprising. Which is a straw man argument.

This story is important because it crossed the line from possible, to (evidently) actual. Which has consequences. Not the expected consequences of helping keep a president in power, but (even more notably) in helping to keep one ousted by a coup this past week out of power, boosting arguments of his corruption.

Next you'll be sarcastically moaning "oh, noes, presidents are corrupt". FYI: Yes, and when they are, the people need to be outraged about it, and get rid of them.

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (0, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749105)

> This story is important because it crossed the line from possible, to (evidently) actual. Which has consequences.

Oh noes! Someone did something bad and got caught with their hand in the cookie jar! You're apparently the only one that didn't see that coming!

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749127)

Oh well, the junta did it for the people already. Their junta's customer focus is likely well-suited for competitive 21st century global coup market.

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (5, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749359)

This was different from what one normally thinks of as a junta. I don't know if the Honduran constitution has a mechanism to remove a sitting president from office, but it was pretty clear that he was absolutely on his own. His own party told him to back off, and that they didn't support the referendum. As was reported by the media, the legislature had passed a law banning referenda within the 180 days prior to an election. The Supreme Court ruled the pending referendum illegal, and issued an injunction preventing the military from making preparations for it. The military was clearly ready to comply with the Supreme Court, but Zelaya was pushing ahead with the referendum anyway, and fired the head of the military. This action was reversed by the Supreme Court the next day. The attorney general issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya, and the day after, the Supreme Court ordered Zelaya's arrest; whether or not that is constitutional, I don't know. Wikipedia's article on the matter suggests that by even trying to hold the referendum, the constitution required that he was to be removed from office.

Presumably, much of this could have been handled better, particularly the removal of Zelaya from the country. But Zelaya seemed to be intent on doing things in a way that is at best gray; that the original ballots were taken possession of by Zelaya and his backers, and would be issued and counted by the same, shows that he had no intentions of having a fair election. If these election computers can be absolutely tied to him, it will at least complicate negotiations for his return.

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (2, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749465)

You're thinking rationally and spewing facts again. He's the poster child of socialists and as such this is just a plot by conservatives in the US to overthrow the rightful ruler of a south american country.

I think I poked a hole in my cheek with that one.

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749205)

This story is important because it crossed the line from possible, to (evidently) actual.

We knew it was possible, nay probable, from the day these machines were first used. It's like me pointing to a dark cloud coming and saying "Gee, looks like it's going to rain." Why is it suddenly news when I finally get wet?

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (2, Insightful)

Sun (104778) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749387)

This story is important because it gives me, as a citizen of a country that has not switch to electronic voting on the one hand, and which has somewhat non-corrupt politicians (it has its own share of corrupt ones, mind you), a tool to show the well meaning ignorant politician the difference between "can" and "will". This may well prove to be the key to making sure electronic voting does not enter here (and if it does, that it would happen properly). Shachar

Re:And This Is the Government of a Country (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749439)

Why is it suddenly news when I finally get wet?

As you point out, we always knew it was going to happen, sooner or later. Now, it's finally happened. (Unless, of course, the evidence was faked to drive a stake through the heart of any movement to bring Zelaya back as president.) The other shoe has dropped. I'm very interested in watching how Honduras handles this, and how, if at all, they prove that Zelaya really intended to stuff the (virtual) ballot box.

Black Propaganda (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749583)

You don't suppose this could be er.... black propaganda?

Let's think: a military coup unofficially supported by the US, manages to find rigged, US manufactured, voting machines just when the legitimacy of the coup is under serious international scrutiny. Funny that.

Of course, the ex-president may well also have been a crook. But the timing of this is just too convenient. We had a similar experience in the UK when the British government set out to blacken the name of an anti-war politician by planting "evidence" in a burned out building in Baghdad.

Propaganda Yourself (4, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749673)

a military coup unofficially supported by the US,

US manufactured, voting machines

Interesting how you state two things here with no proof. Nor are either of these in any of the articles and the only one who has said it was "unofficially supported by the US" has been Hugo Chavez. Further, US President Obama has condemned the coup. Oh, and it didn't say that they were voting machines, either.

Barack Hussein Obama supports Manuel Zelaya. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749223)

I work in the State Department, and you might be interested in the following bit of "inside" information. Hillary Clinton and the rest of the State Department has concluded that the removal of Manuel Zelaya was legal and that he is a menace to democracy.

However, Barack Hussein Obama disagreed. Naturally, since Clinton works for Obama, she agreed to support Zelaya.

Do not be deceived by the pro-Zelaya statements coming out of the State Department. No one in this department supports Zelaya. He is an anti-democratic thug who has the ambitions of Hugo Chavez.

Re:Barack Hussein Obama supports Manuel Zelaya. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749461)

This is Barack Hussein Obama, and I take issue with this posting. Let there be no mistake about it, there will be an investigation into this matter.

Re:Barack Hussein Obama supports Manuel Zelaya. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749539)

I've noticed that any time Barry uses the phrase "Let there be no mistake" or "Make no mistake" or similar, it can be roughly translated, "I'm about to tell a huge lie."

Re:Barack Hussein Obama supports Manuel Zelaya. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749635)

Thank you Mr Cowardon, that made me laugh pretty damn hard.

Really (0, Troll)

CSFFlame (761318) | more than 4 years ago | (#28748971)

Does anyone still think pure electronic elections are even a remotely good idea anymore?

Re:Really (5, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28748999)

Yea, because they totally couldn't have stuffed boxes full of fake paper ballots.

Re:Really (4, Insightful)

Peaker (72084) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749029)

Its far easier for a 3rd party overwatching election committee to verify that the box is empty before the election, than to verify that the electronic election is actually reset, and the machines aren't tampered, and have no back doors, and so forth.

Re:Really (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749097)

Sure, but in these countries which are so corrupt, who is to say that the 3rd party isn't bribed? Its a heck of a lot easier to fake a paper election, however, its a lot easier to trace an electronic election that was rigged.

Re:Really (4, Insightful)

MooUK (905450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749243)

Is it? Why?

If I'm capable of rigging an election electronically, I could be capable of covering my tracks.

Re:Really (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749265)

Uh, to rig a paper election you will have to hide something. The more hiding you do the more suspicious it is. The more open the process is, the harder it is to cheat. With people watching each step e.g. checking that the boxes are empty, observing the voting, the storing and opening of the boxes, and the counting, it gets very hard to cheat on a massive enough scale.

Go see how paper voting is done in various countries and you can see it's really hard to rig in some countries, and easier in other countries (ballot boxes are moved, counting is done in secret by one organization).

Sure you can bribe people. But if so many are bribable, the country is screwed up so badly it hardly matters what system you use.

In contrast an electronic election is mostly _hidden_ to observers. So it should be suspicious by default.

If you set it up so that people can observe the storage and counting of the electronic votes, it's going to be as slow as paper voting, but more expensive and complicated.

The easiest way you can rig paper elections that are done openly and properly is with postal votes. However electronic voting systems are just as vulnerable to this problem - if not more so.

Elections should be seen as fair (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749161)

Elections don't just have to be fair, they have to be seen as fair (or at least fair enough). Otherwise they increase the odds of massive riots even if the result was correct.

Electronic voting systems are still opaque to the average person even if they happen to be fair.

In contrast when paper voting is done properly, the various parties can have their representatives observe the whole process of the voting, storage and counting. This is in fact done in many countries. It is not some "theory".

In "notorious" countries typically the "counting" is done behind closed doors, or observers aren't allowed to keep an eye over the ballot boxes. The more a country/gov hides the whole process, the more suspicious it will seem.

With electronic voting systems the counting is effectively done behind closed doors. And if you set things up so that independent and party representatives can observe the counting, the system ends up about as slow as paper voting, just more complex and expensive.

Electronic voting systems are only useful for the wrong reasons.

I have to admit that paper based voting fails if too many of the citizens in your country can't count properly. But by that time you probably have an idiocracy anyway.

Re:Really (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749081)

You may not have noticed this, but paper ballots are ... made of paper. And lots of ballots take up lots of space. They're heavy. They have to be disposed of. This takes time. People notice. There are witnesses. The amount of effort involved in altering or covering up the results of a fully computerized election is so much less than the amount of effort involved in altering or covering up the results of an election that uses paper ballots that the two aren't really comparable.

Of course paper ballots are no guarantee of an honest election. Nor is there any guarantee that locking your door will keep your house from being broken into. But an all-electronic election is like leaving your front door hanging wide open and putting a sign in your yard that says, "Come take stuff."

Re:Really (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749199)

"They have to be disposed of. This takes time. People notice. There are witnesses."

The president won the election, here, take this white confetti with random bits of black on it and spread it around to celebrate!

Disposing of a lot of paper isn't hard at all, companies do it constantly without anyone noticing or caring. Stick the ballots in a shredder, a good high quality one, and what comes out can't be considered ballots anymore, just random scraps of paper that could be anything. Take the scraps, put them in storage for a day or two, then toss them. Ta da, no evidence, and only a few witnesses (no more than electronic deletion requires).

E-voting is unsafe because there's no verification, not because it doesn't make paper ballots. If the e-voting machine spit out a paper ballot with your vote on it directly into the box it would still be insecure because you'd have no way to verify that what was on the ballot was what you wanted on the ballot. Paper != Instant safety, or even mild security.

Re:Really (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749345)

Disposing of a lot of paper isn't hard at all, companies do it constantly without anyone noticing or caring.

Unless the company is under investigation, in which case a whole lot of people notice and care. And it's very often possible to find the people whose job it is and, with appropriate pressure, get them to admit what documents they were assigned to destroy.

Look, of course if the election is corrupt enough, it doesn't matter. The USSR held paper-ballot "elections" for seventy years in which the Communist candidates always got some randomly chosen but large percentage of the vote; everyone knew that had nothing to do with reality, but it wasn't like there was anything anyone could do about it. But if you have a country with a reasonably honest election system, the kind of petty vote-rigging that can throw a close election is a lot harder to get away with when there's a physical record. Preferably a large, bulky record that will take time to destroy, and real effort to tamper with in other ways.

I don't know anything about Honduran politics and don't claim to. But in the US, our preferred method of dealing with questionable elections is the recount. With paper ballots, this make sense, and you can bet the process will be closely watched; if there is serious ballot tampering going on, there's a good chance that someone will talk. With electronic results, what you basically get is, "We ran the query and it gave us the same count as last time -- imagine that!"

Re:Really (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749147)

The main benefit of paper ballots are the many eyes and hands that the ballots and ballot boxes go through.

Think of it this way: the trademark images of the Iraqi elections a few years back were the inked thumb and the translucent ballot box. Neither are inherently secure, but the inked thumb made it more difficult for people to vote early and vote often without the risk of someone noticing it. Likewise, the translucent ballot boxes made it more difficult for the bins to be stuffed before hand without the risk of someone noticing it. Computers are so incredibly opaque that it is nearly impossible for someone to notice discreprancies without direct and intensive observations as well as a great deal of technical knowledge.

Now we all know that elections are fixed, even with pen and paper ballots. It is possible to pay off the right people so that they conveniently don't notice anything. Almost everyone else can be intimidated into not noticing anything. But, either way, more people will notice the discreprancies and people tend to have long memories about such things. So there is still a potential for them to remedy it.

Re:Really (1, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749499)

I've thought about this a lot and I think I've come up with a 99.9999999999% secure system. What we need is an encrypted means of verifying our vote after the fact and two receipts.

Then you could independently survey people's actual votes after the fact if people "exit poll" by dropping off their second official receipt. It would be completely anonymous and verifiable.

The receipt would be a 2D Barcode containing: Encrypted name and indicated vote.

You build a database of these encrypted names and votes which are double checkable when you get home or at booths run by party representatives with just an internet connection. Then everyone can check their vote. In order to avoid the government intentionally miscounting but correctly verifying your report you could provide the database after the fact to anyone interested. People could then verify their vote on a third party server as well.

Lastly the extra Exit Poll receipts could be entered into a database on the spot by the media to verify that there is no indication of tampering.

Electronic Voting COULD be easy and safe. It could also be safer, more transparent and reliable than paper ballots. If we just do it right.

Re:Really (2, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749651)

Then everyone can check their vote

Unfortunately, so can their abusive spouse ("vote like this or I will beat you black and blue"), their abusive boss ("vote like this or I will sack you"), their local mafia boss ("vote like this or you will be wearing concrete shoes") and the local freemasons lodge ("vote like this or we will ruin your business")

apart from that though, I find your ideas intriguing.. do you have a newsletter?

Re:Really (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749535)

The Iraq elections show that the Americans are capable of running a fair and open election ... when their own lobbyists and political machines aren't involved.
Just a minute "lobbyist and political machines" -- Hmm, I'm getting redundant.

Re:Really (2, Informative)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749005)

As it has been said from the beginning, anyone with physical access to the machine and sufficient knowledge of how the machine works can alter the results, and it is clear that the ousted President (who had called for an illegal referendum to have term limits removed so he could basically be president for life) had people with both those things.

For electronic voting, you have to assume that the manufacturer and everyone involved in the storage, transport and operation of such voting machines to be acting in good faith, and I don't think you can find a country on this planet that has everyone acting this way.

Technology is a great thing, but it is not the solution to every problem.

Re:Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749133)

As it has been said from the beginning, anyone with physical access to the machine and sufficient knowledge of how the machine works can alter the results, and it is clear that the ousted President (who had called for an illegal referendum to have term limits removed so he could basically be president for life) had people with both those things.

Of course, it would also have been possible to fake the fake election results. On one hand you've got a president who seems to have been trying to get terms limits removed (not a good sign), on the other hand you have a military coup (and there is a strong tendency for military coups to turn into military dictatorships).

Either way, the fact that electronic voting was involved is not helping the situation.

Re:Really (1)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749509)

(who had called for an illegal referendum to have term limits removed so he could basically be president for life) NO he did not. He wanted a non-binding referendum, on a constitutional congress, to be held after the elections in November. It would not have affected his term. He was arrested and deposed, for talking about it, they said. Since the coup they have come up with more reasons why a military coup was necessary, that sound a lot like Fox News. And allowing people to run twice or three time or four times means they are Senator Lugar capable of asking the voters if they still want an election. You know like everywhere else. Term limits, even in the US, is very rare. Why this means "basically for life" is beyond me.

So Impeach Him (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28748983)

There's a lot of reason to believe Zelaya is corrupt, and shouldn't be Honduras' president. But that means Honduras should impeach him, or convict and imprison him, removing him from office, if that's how their constitution works (which is what appears to to be the case).

Any government process that features the army forcing a president out on a plane in his pajamas is at least as unacceptable as a crooked election keeping one in power.

Re:So Impeach Him (5, Insightful)

I'm just joshin (633449) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749025)

That's pretty much what they did according to their own constitution. Unfortunately the rest of the world is getting Chavez's spin on the matter. -J

No, that's bullshit, ever heard of De Gaulle? (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749319)

The ~referendum that Zelaya was planning might well have been unconstitutionnal, but he didn't get to do it. Hence he did not break the constitution. Therefore the coup cannot begin to be justified by this stupid talking point.

But anyway, there is very good precedent for that kind of thing. De Gaulle ran a referendum in 1958 that gave birth to what we call the Vth Republic, a major change in the type of government (from parliamentary to mostly presidential).There was no provision for this kind of change in the IVth Republic's constitution, therefore it was unconstitutionnal stricto sensu. But constitutionnalists agree that the will of the people takes precedence over the letter of the constitution, esp. when such a vote is won with as significant margin as it was.

Opponents didn't spare the General and called him a dictator. He replied back with a question, "if you look back at what I have done and how I've fought tyranny, do I look like a dictator? And would I begin such a carreer at my age?"

But don't let history get in the way of your rightard talking points. I just want to point out that your ugly type is not in power anymore, at least in the US. (Unfortunately, we have inherited the Bush Jr's diminutive love slave in the mean time)

Re:No, that's bullshit, ever heard of De Gaulle? (5, Informative)

Red Alastor (742410) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749565)

The ~referendum that Zelaya was planning might well have been unconstitutionnal, but he didn't get to do it. Hence he did not break the constitution. Therefore the coup cannot begin to be justified by this stupid talking point.

Yes he did. If you read their constitution, you'll see that there's a section that cannot be changed or amended about the president serving only one term (too many dictator presidents clinging to power) and that it's even illegal for a government official to talk about changing it. According to the constitution, that person would lose his position and be barred from the government altogether for a period of 10 years.

Therefore, he did break the constitution and the moment he did so, wasn't president anymore.

Re:No, that's bullshit, ever heard of De Gaulle? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749595)

Wow, so what you are advocating is that he be allowed to break the law, break the constitution, because a French guy did it? Furthermore, you get mad when the legislature breaks the constitution, but not the president? Finally, you finish your astoundingly bad argument with a completely unrelated shot at Obama, calling him Bush's diminutive love slave? This is the most idiotic post I've seen modded up in a long time.

The Hondurans are somewhat divided on whether it was a good idea to oust Zelaya, but there is one thing they are united on: they don't want a return to the pre-1980s style dictatorships. They are only divided on how best to achieve that, but it's pretty hard for anyone to argue that Zelaya doesn't want to set himself up as dictator for life.

All according to the constitution (2, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749323)

Any government process that features the army forcing a president out on a plane in his pajamas is at least as unacceptable as a crooked election keeping one in power.

That's pretty much what they did according to their own constitution.

That is one funky constitution.

Re:So Impeach Him (5, Informative)

per contra (854740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749039)

They did exactly what their constitution called for and removed him from office after their Supreme Court decided he had violated their constitution. That should have been the end of the story but everyone wants to call it a coup which it wasn't. The leader of his own party called for his ouster.

No he HAD NOT (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749327)

He was planning a contitutional change that the judges thought was unconstitutional, but since he hadn't even done the referendum, there was no basis for removing it at that point, if there were to be any to begin with.

Re:No he HAD NOT (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749507)

Article 239 -- No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President.

Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.

He proposed its reform, which means there WAS a basis for removing him.

Re:So Impeach Him (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749351)

The US President is just running up a balloon to see how well his third term prospects are doing. Tim S

Re:So Impeach Him (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749419)

They did exactly what their constitution called for and removed him from office after their Supreme Court decided he had violated their constitution.

But there's also this notion of due process / fair trial / etc.

According to Wikipedia, the Supreme Court issued a secret order for his detention and then he was forced out of the country by the military. That doesn't exactly sound like a fair trial.

Re:So Impeach Him (1)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749045)

Assuming of course those election results aren't manufactured evidence to point to Zelaya's corruption. I don't know anything about the government there, and even though it wouldnt surprise me that he is corrupt, I know enough about computers to never trust something like this as genuine just on the fact that it exists.

Re:So Impeach Him (0)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749053)

If a corrupt house and a corrupt senate in the US supported a corrupt president then there would be no impeachment. This is why the second amendment is the right to bear arms so we can retake the government by force.

Re:So Impeach Him (3, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749071)

Good luck taking the government by force with your handguns versus their stealth bombers.

Re:So Impeach Him (4, Insightful)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749091)

Which is why it becomes so very important for a would-be revolution to have the support of stealth bomber pilots.

Re:So Impeach Him (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749121)

Practicalities asside, that is the rational behind the 2nd ammendment.

And it was a good rationale... (3, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749211)

...when the populace was armed with muskets, and the government was armed with muskets.

Now the populace is armed with, at best, assault rifles, and the government is armed with tanks.

What really keeps the government in check is the right to join the military.

Re:So Impeach Him (2, Insightful)

BCoates (512464) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749203)

So, If we'd only thought to use stealth bombers in Iraq, we wouldn't have needed six years of using pretty much all of our military to occupy a country the size of California with a smaller population?

Re:So Impeach Him (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749281)

We could nuke Iraq and Afghanistan and the mission would be a "success", heck, already it is a success, terrorist groups now are even more underground making the possibility of them hitting the USA again unlikely. However, when we killed a ton of the terrorists, those there began to attack us, and its a lot easier to commit a murder if you simply go down three blocks than having to fake papers and fly into the USA.

Re:So Impeach Him (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749307)

Good luck taking the government by force with your handguns versus their stealth bombers.

...because guerrilla warfare never works...does it?

the problem isn't that he is corrupt (1, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749057)

The problem is that he is corrupt to the wrong people.

Geez, you got a story here where there just HAPPENED to be found evidence, a long time AFTER the fact, where the finders have every reason to want to find it and weeks of opportunity of "finding" said information. That the finders happen also to be liked by a big northern neighbour with a long history of meddling in its southern countries politics to tune of killing thousands of women and childeren and lots of experience faking, oops I mean, WITH faking in their own elections...

Well, I just don't know who to believe here.

It rather telling the american press is all algainst a corrupt left leader but supported with money and weapons corrupt right wing leaders who killed thousands. It makes me highly doubtfull of any reports about south america.

I think the "true" story here is that this guy got ousted NOT for being corrupt or a crook or faking elections BUT for listening to the wrong people when in power. His replacement ain't any better, but he does listen to the right people.

Re:the problem isn't that he is corrupt (1)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749119)

"Geez, you got a story here where there just HAPPENED to be found evidence, a long time AFTER the fact, where the finders have every reason to want to find it and weeks of opportunity of "finding" said information. That the finders happen also to be liked by a big northern neighbour with a long history of meddling in its southern countries politics to tune of killing thousands of women and childeren and lots of experience faking, oops I mean, WITH faking in their own elections... " The case could be made that they didn't discover this tampering until they started getting the machines ready for the election for his replacement.

Re:the problem isn't that he is corrupt (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749425)

That the finders happen also to be liked by a big northern neighbour with a long history of meddling in its southern countries

The leader of that big northern neighbor also immediately denounced the coup, and supported suspending Honduras from the OAS.

Re:So Impeach Him (4, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749101)

They did impeach him. Their Congress and Supreme Court both voted to oust him. Further their constitution says that if a President tries to extend his term (which is what he did) he immediately stops being President.

You're right about the pajamas thing. They should have shot him and saved themselves the trouble.

If true (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749125)

They avoided more serious bloodshed the way they did it. If this is a true fact, and he had remained "in power", he would have beern still able to order around a lot of the military forces who were loyal to him, plus cause mass demonstrations, etc and be able to coordinate it better. Because there is no way he would have gone along with getting impeached.

Even on the surface it was a blatant power grab by him, the entire issue was designed to turn him into el presidente for life. The congress there and the judges ALREADY had told him this wasn't proper nor legal, but he was going aherad with this "vote" scam regardless. So what makes you think he would have gone along with an impeachment? They were under the gun of making a time critical decision, and didn't off the guy or anything, just got him out before the situation got worse. If they hadn't already warned him about it that would be different, but they did warn him before the fact.

Ya, two sucky choices, but I think they chose the lesser of two suckages there.

But all of this is based on "if" and we just don't know the veracity of this latest revelation, but we do know about the power grab he was attempting, sort of like chavez making himself the president (basically and practically)for life "legally".

Term limits are a dang spiffy idea when it comes to politicians, no matter how popular they are, and changing the rules, like he wanted to do with this plebiscite, at the last second, is a serious mistake and transparently was just an effort to accrue more power under some umbrella of it legally happening. The people there had a right wing dictatorship like forever, and a lot of them could plainly see a left wing version now happening, and they just went "no you don't!".

That's how I have read these ongoing events anyway.

Re:If true (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749501)

Term limits are a spiffy idea when it comes to executives. Legislators are a completely other issue, provided that gerrymandering isn't a significant issue. I would happily have Willie Brown back to lead the California Assembly if the path got rid of the ideologue yahoos in the Legislature right now. I voted in favor of term limits, and now regret doing so more than anything else I've ever supported.

Re:So Impeach Him (2, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749267)

Actually, the supreme court down there DID rule that he was in violation of the constitution and ordered and arrest warrant. The army then kicked him to the curb, rather than imprison him. Any way you look at it, legally, he should no longer be in power. Exile instead of imprisonment? He SHOULD be happy for that, but somehow the rest of the world is taking this opportunity to say something against military coups. Uh, rather than, maybe taking the chance when it's a coup against a leader that wasn't about to be arrested for violation of the constitution.

Re:So Impeach Him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749277)

Honduras prevented a wannbe dictator from securing power. That is a novel and brilliant outcome for central America. Let us dare to hope it isn't a fluke. Honduras is about 7.5 million people, smaller than LA or NY; if they need to run an outlaw out of town on his horse I say more power to them; let the lawyers spectate, or not.

That he was a chavismo leftist is the only reason you and your ilk take any issue with it. Had he been a pro-business US ally and the military had blown his brains all over his wife with a 12 gauge you'd have nothing but praise.

It's tragic your messiah came down on the wrong side of this so publicly (squandering any claims of non-interference for the rest of his hopefully limited rein.) I know it's tough. Buck up. Honduras is already well out of the news cycle; you can stop shilling now.

Re:So Impeach Him (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749357)

Sometimes corrupt officials perform corrupt acts to illegally block their legal removal from power. In that case, you can either accept your fate as his subject for life or throw the bum out by force.

He should probably be happy they didn't just shoot him.

Electronic Efficiency (5, Funny)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749013)

I can see why the powers that be like the efficiency of a modern electronic voting system.

Clearly we humans don't have to do anything at all. The machines can read our minds and we get 100% voter turnout with guaranteed accurate results ;-)

Re:Electronic Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749093)

Isaac Asimov wrote a short story on that, it's called "Franchise". Definitely worth reading if you haven't already.

Re:Electronic Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749141)

Having seen several second life simulators/training sessions, I have to keep asking "Why?"

Simple, it's because of the rape-rooms you fucker.

Thank you, I'll be here all night; try the veal and tip your server!

=Smiegf=

so wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749015)

So wait a second. Who certified these election results then? Something smells a little fishy here.

Re:so wait (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749315)

So wait a second. Who certified these election results then? Something smells a little fishy here.

*Whoosh*.

(And that's the first time I've had cause to say that in response to a top level response... things are getting bad when the ACs are missing the point of the entire story, rather than just somebody's comment on it.)

again, for the morons (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749027)

and the industry shills who have sold their conscience:

you can screw with paper ballots. but a lot less easily and a lot less slower and with a lot more effort and a lot easier to trace than the effort required to mess with electronic voting

simply for the sake of the integrity of democracy, electronic voting should NEVER happen, in ANY country

do you really need any convincing about what can happen to a country if a vote is put in doubt considering recent events?

not that iran used electronic voting, but imagine how much LESS forensic evidence there would be if iran ever lets anyone independently monitor the results

Re:again, for the morons (1, Interesting)

ZyBex (793975) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749145)

eVoting CAN and WILL happen. Massively. We just have to work out the details. One way that would work:
- every voter must have its own private key (being done in Portugal/Europe, with the new Citizen Card [I know, you people dislike ID cards])
- voters can then cast a *signed* online vote, and this vote can go to multiple institutions/instances/controllers/sites/etc. Published results should match.
- Voting can be done from home, or with the citizen card (that contains the signature) at the local voting place.

Voting could then be extended to government actions that currently skip the peoples' opinion. Eventually we would see the people voting on a daily basis on the projects they want.

Massive corruption of this system is difficult, possibly impossible, just like breaking a site's SSL.

Re:again, for the morons (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749237)

But.... why?

Paper ballots work better.

Not everyone has access to a computer or internet connection.

Paper ballots are cheaper.

Paper ballots are harder to forge.

Paper ballots /work now/, and work well.

Re:again, for the morons (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749291)

The US has a crazy system where they have "embraced" democracy beyond that which is practical. They vote for far to much. They vote for the local sheriff and the local dog catcher. There are pages and pages of things to vote on the US voting system. It is beyond ridiculous to expect any significant percentage of voters to become aware of all the positions that are voted on.

The US has embraced the idea of democracy but failed at the application due to an over application of the idea.
Not quite as bad as the USSR and communism.

Re:again, for the morons (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749527)

Err, no. The United States of America votes for a president. That's pretty much it. All other votes are state level or county level. The people in California don't get to vote for the Sheriff of Prince Georges County Virginia. And the people of New York State don't get to vote for the Senator from Idaho.

Re:again, for the morons (2, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749249)

> Eventually we would see the people voting on a daily basis on the projects they want.

That is the most stupid way to run anything ever known. Even worse than a dictatorship.
The Sheeple are not to be trusted.

As people are finding out as they look closer at Economics. Economics breaks down because it is based on ideal knowledge conditions. Even half baked knowledge conditions do not exist in most cases. Economics fails because purchase decisions are subject to information gaps and information war.

The same can be said of democracies. A function democracy relies on an active educated and wise voter base. Democracies fail because voters are lazy and stupid. Asking a wide population to become educated on all issues and to put aside prejudices and other characterizations and vote in a wise and informed manner is ridiculous. Democracy fails because voter decisions are subject to information gaps and information war as well as apathy and prejudices.

The tyranny of the majority is a problem. But no worse than the apathy and ignorance.

Re:again, for the morons (2, Interesting)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749177)

"you can screw with paper ballots. but a lot less easily and a lot less slower and with a lot more effort and a lot easier to trace than the effort required to mess with electronic voting"

I have actually counted ballots and tampering with them is not at all hard. The fact is that I live in a country that wouldn't stand for this. If there was a government behind it though, fraud is quite easy.

Re:again, for the morons (4, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749525)

I have actually counted ballots and tampering with them is not at all hard. The fact is that I live in a country that wouldn't stand for this. If there was a government behind it though, fraud is quite easy.

No.

First of all: how many ballots could you have tampered with anyway? What if you had 20 friends helping in other polling stations? Enough to sway the outcome? I find that very hard to believe.
And if there is large-scale tampering going on by government agents, how likely is it that they are caught out by representatives from other political parties manning the polling stations? Especially if someone suspects tampering and demands a recount.

Our country wouldn't stand for tampering with ballots. But it certainly shouldn't stand for any ballot count done by one institution, without any oversight. And that is effectively what you have with computerised voting. Any half-wit can visually observe paper voting and certify that nothing untoward is going on. But with computer voting, even experts might be hard-pressed that no nefarious bit of code slipped past the overseers.

Re:again, for the morons (1)

rysiek (1328591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749195)

I beg to differ.

I see electronic voting as a possible way of getting back to direct democracy [wikipedia.org]. It was possible in Teh Good Ole Days of Teh Greeks, because there weren't many people voting; it was logistically impossible afterwards (too much people would need to voice their opinions at the same issue at the same time), so representative democracy [wikipedia.org] was invented - this way a whole lotta people needed to voice their opinion only once per a few year term, and rest of the decisions were made by the elected few.

Now, we all know how that worked...

Electronic voting (and I mean voting through the Intertubes, not at electronically equipped polling stations) gives us possibility to get back to the root idea. No more "government shills" and the like (it has it's deficiencies too, though - like "idiocracy"). Now, of course it would need a lot of thought to implement it The Right Way - good encryption, paper trail (e.g. "print your vote, sign it and mail it"), etc. But at least gives a hope that guys like sen. Stevens won't get into their warm positions...

Re:again, for the morons (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749513)

I have the perfect system for electronic voting.

All votes are electronically available for audit to anyone. Each vote is encrypted as to the actual voter. Each voter receives an encrypted receipt with their vote with which they could anonymously validate his/her vote via the internet. If enough people say Hey what the!! I didn't vote that way the election is thrown out.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749073)

We can totally trust the military coup that ousted Zelaya to tell us the truth about this...

*chumps*

Re:Wow (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749239)

Military coup under direction of their congress and supreme court becasue the election he was trying to hold was against their constitution... for some reason you like to omit that part

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749365)

Why no, that's not what happened. It' surprising you could write this post, since you can't read.

Zelaya's term ended in Nov. No matter what you think of his ideas about amending their constitution to run again, it sure would be a military coup to oust him before his term had even ended.

He had requested and encuesta in changing the constitution, which is a public survey, and provided for by Honduran law.

THERE WAS NO COUP! (5, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749255)

The congress and the supreme court tossed him from office when he violated the constitution. The Army just fulfilled their constitutional duty.

It would be no different than the US Senate convicting a President at trial, and the President refusing to leave office. At that point what the rest of the government is supposed to do is toss him, forcefully, if need be, although in the US it would probably be the Secret Service that did it.

Damn, that's efficient! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749095)

I like this. Let's go a step further and stockpile election results in advance. It'll be just like professional wrestling!

Luckily, It can't happen here. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749139)

I for one, am just happy to know that these crazy foreigners can screw up something as great as electronic voting. At least I can be safe in my assurances that it can't happen in a great democracy like the United States!

Nice biased link in the summary. (4, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749185)

That link to Babula Blog...really, we couldn't find a non-partisan site talking about this event? Instead, we have to read this kind of crap:

The results of this fraudulent vote was tilted heavily in Zelaya's favor, ensuring he could go ahead and illegally change the constitution so he could remain in power for as long as he wanted to. ACORN, I'm sure, is taking notes.

It doesn't matter what Zelaya's politics were, if this is true then he clearly had no problem with electoral fraud. People on both sides of the political spectrum, from the extremists to the moderates, have shown time & time again that they will do whatever they can to stay in power. It is not limited to only the left or only the right, and making silly jabs at the "other" side like that is not only distasteful but juvenile as well.

Re:Nice biased link in the summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749637)

That link to Babula Blog...really, we couldn't find a non-partisan site talking about this event?

You'd prefer a blog whose owner dreams of being sodomized by Fidel Castro while fellating Hugo Chavez?

Tampering before or after? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749285)

You can use them to falsify election results, or justify why you ousted that president. Once you can't trust in what is stored in those computers, both alternatives are valid.

Hondurans demonstrate they are a democracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749301)

Here is why this story is important: Zelaya fought for a reelection referendum in spite of a ruling by the Honduran Supreme court. He was going against their constitution, then was purchasing voting machines from Chavez for this special election. Before these special elections could be held though, the military did pull a coup but then they gave it back to the people - just as democracy should work. Cool no? Now, word is coming out that these voting machines had results already "preloaded". Once these facts are verified, Zelaya will be judged for what he is/ is not. Bigger yet, if Chavez is seen as the source of these machines and implicated, then what standing would he have with the Venezuelan populace? Now is the chance for conspiracy theorists to come back that this is a secret plan of the US govt. to oust both Zelaya and Chavez but come on, has the US been that clever in its dealings with south america? Stay tuned

Unreliable (1)

trendzetter (777091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749313)

Seems to be a propaganda stunt by the coup regime. These kind of "relevations" could be used to discredit there opponent. It's the same juristic system that ordered the military to commit a coup that discovered these material and informed media that favor them. Remember that an army that is not loyal to Zelaya is supervising elections in Honduras?

Or... the coup plotters are lying (2, Insightful)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749353)

Having shot people suspended liberties, imposed curfews and deposed an elected president, they couldn't possibly be lying -- really they would lie? And why would someone want to rig an election that was announced as not having the force of anything but advice? It was a vote about a "recommendation." Not a referendum that has the force of law like California. Of course, making talking about changing the law illegal surely doesn't say anything about the level of democracy allowed by the elites. Sorry this sounds like justification after the fact, for world denounced anti-democrats staging a military coup. Honduras =Iran

Incorrections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28749377)

First, Europapress is not a newspaper, it's a newsagency. Also, it's a spanish agency, not catalan, it's headquarters are located in Madrid, not in Barcelona. Also the reports speaks that they do contain records of the ballot count of a voting that never took place.

Chances it was test data? (1)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 4 years ago | (#28749515)

Basic procedure for building important databases and data processing apps, is to fill it with test data. Some realistic, some not realistic, and some that should be impossible. See what happens before the system goes live.

I'm not seeing anything in this report that conclusively rules out the possibility this is test data. Though, I suppose something might have gotten lost in translation.

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