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Voting Machines Selecting Default Candidates

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-helping-you-out dept.

United States 794

overThruster writes "Some voters in Las Vegas have noticed that Democrat Harry Reid's name is checked by default on their electronic voting machines. By way of explanation, the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Angle, has her name checked by default."

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I abstain (5, Insightful)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024802)

Surely there should be a box to abstain from voting (spoil your ballot), and this neutral should be checked by default.

Re:I abstain (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025054)

Really, all voters should be presumed to cast a "none of the above" ballot unless they specifically vote otherwise. Yes, even those who abstain by not showing up. Failure to even show up is a vote of no confidence in the system itself, which is a very important statement and deserves to be counted.

If the majority of the population doesn't even show up to vote, that is a de facto vote against the system. Nobody can claim a mandate to govern under such circumstances. Any government elected under such circumstances cannot be considered legitimate.

Re:I abstain (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025206)

The problem with a no-confidence plebiscite is the resolution. Historically, when an election provides the option of returning no winner, like many parliaments have or once implemented, you'd end up with a situation where the body went months or years without a leader, and in the vacuum other institutions (like revolutionary parties) would take over -- eventually if you belong to the group with the most money or guns, it becomes in your interest to spoil the votes because you benefit from the chaos and can claim the body is "do-nothing."

The best way to protect the democratic institution of voting is ensure that it always returns an unambiguous result. If it isn't able to do this all the time, the institution itself will lose legitimacy.

Re:I abstain (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025300)

Err...exactly why is there a choice to vote in Spanish or English?

I mean...is it not a requirement for those coming to this country, to attain citizenship to show on the exams, a proficiency in English??

And you do have to be a citizen of the US in order to vote, don't you?

Re:I abstain (0, Troll)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025216)

RE: Any government elected under such circumstances cannot be considered legitimate.

This is why you NEVER see how many ballots were wasted along with the election results.

Even Joe-Six-Packs will see that there is a problem with the options to choose from or the system.

Instead we have "Democracy by obscurity".

Re:I abstain (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025294)

I'm Canadian, so maybe the political situation is completely different "down there", but I think you are reading a little too much into people not showing up to vote.

Sure some people are making a statement by not voting, but I think most who do not vote are either lazy (probably the majority) or don't feel they have enough understanding to make a serious choice.

And personally, I would actually rather have a relatively small turn out of voters making a choice based on their beliefs, than a huge crowd of people just randomly picking a candidate because everyone is telling them they must vote. Voting isn't the important part.. keeping yourself aware of the politics of your country is!

I do like the idea of specifically counting people who say "I don't think any of these are good" and maybe even a "I don't feel confident to make a choice". Would be an interesting number to see.

Re:I abstain (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025074)

Surely there should be a box to abstain from voting (spoil your ballot), and this neutral should be checked by default.

Or at the very least the 'Write In' box should be selected automatically ... with the voter's name and SSN pre-filled to save them a little time ;-)

Re:I abstain (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025136)

Voting machines are not supposed to have any information about the voter. This is known as Secret Ballot [wikipedia.org]

Yeah, that's nice. (1)

apparently (756613) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025258)

Voting machines are not supposed to have any information about the voter. This is known as Secret Ballot [wikipedia.org]

Too bad the post you replied to was making a joke about the voter writing themselves in as a -- get this -- write-in candidate. So good job on the pedantry; hopefully your reading comprehension skills will someday come to match it.

Re:I abstain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34025270)

Whoosh

Re:I abstain (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025228)

Surely there should be a box to abstain from voting (spoil your ballot), and this neutral should be checked by default.

This has actually been tried in a few places. It always ends up being discontinued because "None of the Above" wins too many elections.

Re:I abstain (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025262)

While I agree with what you are saying, that there should be no default selected.

But if you've traveled to the polling place with the specific purpose of voting, shouldn't it be incumbent on you at some level to not be an idiot and actually read the ballot, selecting for whom you'd like to vote? You know... all those things that comprise the process of VOTING?

Re:I abstain (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025276)

Sorry. Grammar fail.

Sharron Reid, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024808)

Did Harry suddenly marry Sharron Angle to make her Sharron Reid?

Re:Sharron Reid, eh? (3, Funny)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024850)

Please spare me the horror.

Re:Sharron Reid, eh? (0, Offtopic)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025100)

Please spare me the horror.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos [wikipedia.org] .

Article Typo... (2, Informative)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024810)

Reid's opponent is Sharron Angle, not Sharron Reid.

Re:Article Typo... (1, Insightful)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025130)

Hey, you're right. But you don't need to be so obtuse, with such an acute error...

Re:Article Typo... (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025298)

I'd prefer to be right or straight.

(preferably both)

Typo (2, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024820)

the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Reid's name is checked by default."

Did they mean Sharron Angle?

Re:Typo (2, Insightful)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025128)

No, they mean Sharron Reid. It's so if you're not paying total attention you see Sharron and think it's Sharron Angle. This way the vote will be for neither Harry Reid or Sharron Angle (where it obviously would mean more). Just kidding.....

The more interesting question, what if you don't want to vote for anyone (which should be the default)? Is there no option for that? Don't have time to read thru this whole thread.

How hard is it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024822)

to have a default option "None of the above"?

They are probably afraid that at the end "None of the above" wins by landslide

Re:How hard is it (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025148)

They already do. Voter turnout here in the states is very low, especially going into midterm elections. I'm not showing up; I don't like Cantor, nor anyone else on the ballot.

Re:How hard is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34025198)

to have a default option "None of the above"?

They are probably afraid that at the end "None of the above" wins by landslide

Not in Nevada, the ballot option is there, but it has no effect. If there were 100 voters, and 99 picked "None of the Above" the candidate picked by the last voter would win.

At least that's what I've heard.

So it's rather toothless in terms of options. I'd rather have all of the candidates banned from running for office in the next election.

Explanation? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024826)

How is:

By way of explanation???, the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Reid's name is checked by default.

an explanation? Who cares what language you're using the voting machine in. A voting machine should never have default candidates -- it needs to be explicitly blank until the user makes a selection.

Re:Explanation? (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024932)

"Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence..."

The problem is likely some poor interface design. I've seen it used deliberately on some installers in order to sneakily add other products. It may follow a series of "Next" buttons that asks "Also install McAfee agent" or "Install Yahoo Toolbar"... In this case, the checkbox for the candidate may happen to be on the "Next" button of the previous screen.

Re:Explanation? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024954)

sounds like it's not a "default" per se, i bet something isn't being cleared from the register after selection so the next menu has a persistence of touch location.

shitty embedded UI programming,

i would guess that rather than being even driven the UI cycles through an input loop that looks like an old basic getkey x loop, (except gettouch x,y) and fails to clear x and y after selecting a language and proceeding to the voting menu

Re:Explanation? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025164)

>>>shitty embedded UI programming,

The geek's definition of government.
I think we should go back to paper scantrons. They can be counted twice - once by machine, and again by hand, for verification. Also it's hard to rig an election when you have several thousand pounds of paper laying around.

Re:Explanation? (4, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025020)

The article talks about old people having this problem.

I expect if you're "firm" with the touchscreen you end up pressing a button on the following screen (selecting a candidate) while you still think you're pressing "English" (or "Spanish").

Easy solution 1: A "please wait" screen for a few seconds, which waits until nothing on the screen is being pressed
2: Not having any buttons "underneath" a button on the previous screen

Re:Explanation? (5, Informative)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025036)

The article implies that it's due to people keeping their finger on the touchscreen when they select a language preference. The location of Harry would be in the same screen location as English, where Sally would be in the same screen location as Spanish. Really, it's just sloppy coding, as you should wait until the user's finger is lifted before allowing another selection.

Re:Explanation? (2, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025170)

The article implies that it's due to people keeping their finger on the touchscreen when they select a language preference. The location of Harry would be in the same screen location as English, where Sally would be in the same screen location as Spanish. Really, it's just sloppy coding, as you should wait until the user's finger is lifted before allowing another selection.

I saw nothing in the article that says all of these voters selected Spanish as their language. The only close I saw was the explanation given by the poll worker.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time -- that's wrong."

All these people selected "Spanish"?

Re:Explanation? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025308)

More to the point, on something this critical, would should be flushing the keyboard buffer to make sure that spurious data doesn't end up triggering something on another form. You're right it's crappy coding, and once more underlines that jurisdictions are putting that most key democratic of activities in the hands of people of dubious capability.

Re:Explanation? (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025050)

Well if you read the link and not Slashdot's terrible, slanted, and sensationalist summary you will see that wasn't said.
The problem is a simple UI issue.
From reading the article it seems that they implemented the select language touch as select on touch begin and not select on touch end.
So if you hold your finger down long enough the next screen pops up and your finger will be on one of the candidates.
It is a simple UI issue combined with people being on auto pilot. Honestly not a huge issue because you should really check it before you hit next anyway but it should be fixed.

Not evil or a conspiracy or anything but a UI error that really isn't that terrible if people bother to read. And yes it is so the type of UI problem that I would expect in any program like this.

Re:Explanation? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025226)

>>>you should really check it before you hit next anyway

You mean the way Floridians double-checked their hanging chad ballots, to make sure everything was removed? Not. People are lazy and DON'T double-check their work, and that creates errors. The UI for paper or computer ballots needs to assume the user is an idiot, and make itself as idiot proof as possible.

i.e. Don't auto-select a candidate. Don't put checkboxes in the identical location where a "heavy finger" could accidentally select across multiple pages. Don't make the ballot require any intelligence, period.

Re:Explanation? (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025274)

It is a simple UI issue combined with people being on auto pilot. Honestly not a huge issue because you should really check it before you hit next anyway but it should be fixed.

Now suppose you found out that the electronic ballot had been deliberately configured so that Reid's name would be under the finger when this error occurred? Would you still call it a simple UI issue?

My point here is that we should take even innocent mistakes seriously when significant things are at stake and it is easy to pass off fraud or other deception as an innocent mistake.

"Not evil or a conspiracy or anything..." (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025278)

Riiiiight. Nobody ever noticed this during testing, got it.

Unpossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34025176)

It is not possible for Democrats to commit vote fraud.
Vote fraud can only be committed by Republicans, much in the same way that it's only possible for white males to be racist.

Nothing to see here.... move on.

FAIL! (0, Redundant)

drenehtsral (29789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024832)

Yet another electronic voting snafu. *sigh*

Figures (1, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024848)

Must be part of the republican conspiracy to steal elections.

Oh wait! Harry Reid is a (D)... so that is okay. Never mind. /sarcasm

(D) and (R) are both corrupt and beyond rehabilitation.

As for the problem: Why have a "default choice"? Sounds like just poor programming.

Re:Figures (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024892)

Must be part of the republican conspiracy to steal elections.

Oh wait! Harry Reid is a (D)... so that is okay. Never mind. /sarcasm

Presumably more people in Nevada speak English than Spanish, so in that case you'd have been right the first time.

That being said, I think this issue is more about incompetence than conspiracy. Just like the candidates!

Re:Figures (1)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025152)

While that assumption may or may not be true, what is the percentage of people that vote that are Spanish speaking?

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024922)

Why have a "default choice"? Sounds like just poor programming.

Exactly, Whatever happened to just punching out a chad so the default is no one?

Re:Figures (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025078)

What happened to an empty ballot and a pen to mark the choosen candidate?

Re:Figures (0, Redundant)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025110)

Dont attribute to conspiracy what can be adequately explained by stupidity

If you can vote in the U.S., demand a fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024852)

If enough people write to Congress and let them know in clear, polite, firm words that this sort of thing is unacceptable, it will get fixed. Unfortunately, human tendency seems to be to rant about the things that are really infuriating, or just muddle through somehow if something's merely a minor annoyance. The former is easily dismissed by those not emotionally vested in the topic in question as overreaction. The latter is pretty much the poster child for silent assent.

Have you written to your senators and representative lately? I have.

QA FTW (1)

RayFinkle2 (1929120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024860)

QA FTW

Abstaining creates fraud. (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024866)

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked.

Whoa!

Sometimes, when I don't like any candidate for a particular office, I abstain and thinking, maybe naively, that it will be noticed in the count - 20,000 votes cast but only 19,999 for the office of [whatever] . Selecting someone by default goes against my choice and I would consider that to be fraud. Period.

Typo in summary (0, Flamebait)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024872)

By way of explanation???, the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Whitey's name is checked by default

FTFY

OMFG TEH REPULIKINS IS TEH EBIL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024880)

OMFG DOS EBIL REPULIKINS IS FUXORING OUR VOTEZ!

Wait, wat?

it was a Democrat what gots the votes?

Oh, nuttin to C here.

(I'm amazed this made Slashdot.)

Re:OMFG TEH REPULIKINS IS TEH EBIL! (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024930)

(I'm amazed this made Slashdot.)

But, being Slashdot, no one is amazed you didn't RTFA.

Re:OMFG TEH REPULIKINS IS TEH EBIL! (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025196)

But, being Slashdot, no one is amazed you didn't RTFA.

AC didn't even read the next line of the summary.

My Favorite Line in the Article: (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024884)

(Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry) Lomax said voters need to have faith in the system.

Pure gold!

Re:My Favorite Line in the Article: (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025144)

The real irony of it is that the system the Nevada Gaming Board has for checking slot machines, is the exact same system [procon.org] I'd like to see for electronic voting machines.

You can see which one they value.

Does it really matter? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024886)

Whichever head you vote for it's still the same hydra...

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

Ipeunipig (934414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025292)

Not if you vote for the one in the middle. The others just grow back.

Fuck Electronic Voting Machines (0, Troll)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024890)

Seriously. If Democrats are pulling this and Republicans are renaming candidates "Rich Whitey" with this bald faced implausible deniability imagine what dirty tricks they are pulling behind closed source code. It's a fucking travesty.

Re:Fuck Electronic Voting Machines (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025106)

Do you have any evidence to support your assertion that it was the Republicans were the ones who misspelled the name of Rich Whitney on some machines?

Oh right... this is /.

Re:Fuck Electronic Voting Machines (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025182)

If Democrats are pulling this

Let's be truly honest with ourselves here: If anyone's fucking these machines up, its the companies...not some local polling person affiliated with a party.

WTF? (1)

richg74 (650636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024896)

the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Reid's name is checked by default.

This is so screwed up it's not even wrong. Why on earth should there be any default selection on the ballot? And why should the language have anything to do with it? It sounds like Clark County needs some new election officials, after they finish tarring and feathering the current ones.

You insensitive clod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024906)

That's a feature of a proactive friendly UI.

Holy crooked election Batman! (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024908)

Actually if one reads the link you will see that Slashdot is at it again.
They are touch screen systems. If you keep your finger on them to long you end up with double picking.
This is a coding error. They just need to change the select from touch begin to touch end and maybe add a next button to take you to the next screen.
In other words it is a UI error and not some great evil conspiracy.

Okay Slashdot please stop using the FOX News and the Daily Workers guide to ethical journalism when writing the summaries!

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (1, Informative)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024964)

Thanks.. I kinda figured it had to be an error. I bet Harry Reids name shows up where "Spanish" was and Sharron Angles name shows up where "English" was.

This is a non story.

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025192)

This is a non story.

Wouldn't say that exactly. Nevada using buggy voting machines that are prejudced towards a candidate is pretty bad. Suggestions of deliberate fraud are a little sensationalist though.

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025282)

NOT a nonstory.

It's the same kind of error ("I didn't vote for that guy, but it said I did") (or "I couldn't get it to accept my vote") that led to the whole hanging chad mess in 2000 and angry voters.

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (0, Offtopic)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024988)

I feel overly entertained

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025044)

They just need to change the select from touch begin to touch end and maybe add a next button to take you to the next screen. In other words it is a UI error and not some great evil conspiracy.

That's just what they want you to think! When rigging elections, do you honestly think that there's a code block that started with:

"/* Begin election rigging code here */"

They want it to look like it's just a "coding error" in case they get caught and then they can say "Oppsie! Our bad!".

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (1)

electron sponge (1758814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025084)

In other words it is a UI error and not some great evil conspiracy.

That's what **THEY** want you to believe. I for one will only vote after I have covered myself in aluminum foil from head to toe. It's the only way to stop the evil Fox News/MSNBC mind control rays.

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (2, Insightful)

mikvo (587789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025108)

Actually, even from reading the summary I assumed it was a coding error. Isn't that exactly the point, though? If this kind of trivial error gets through testing so easily, how can we have any confidence that more significant and impactful errors aren't slipping through?

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025116)

Okay Slashdot please stop using the FOX News and the Daily Workers guide to ethical journalism when writing the summaries!

This is the local Fox affiliate, not FoxNews. These are two entirely different entities.

Re:Holy crooked election Batman! (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025272)

They are touch screen systems. If you keep your finger on them to long you end up with double picking.

That's not the only thing wrong here. A properly designed electronic voting machine will randomize the names of the candidates to avoid giving any one of them an advantage from being on the top of the list. If this voting machine had done this, the double picking errors would be random and not affect the result of the election. That the names are not randomized is a much, much bigger flaw in this voting machine than the double picking bug described here.

Too sensitive touch screen: Troll of a summary! (2, Insightful)

czmax (939486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024910)

From TFA: "Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they choose their candidate."

It is interesting how the options work out; but the real issue here is a lousy hardware/software implementation. I wonder if any individual can control the layout well enough to purposefully take advantage of this. (Obviously the original submission implies such: but I doubt they were thinking about it vs just being a troll).

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024912)

Voting machine votes for you.

Both candidates will love that "feature"!

FOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024920)

Really..? FOX News shouldn't be used as a reference for any intelligent news stories..

Re:FOX? (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025094)

Really..? FOX News shouldn't be used as a reference for any intelligent news stories..

This was the local Fox affiliate, not FoxNews. The two are not necessarily related. For example, do you think that people as right wing as you think FoxNews is would play Family Guy, American Dad the Simpsons and even Married with Children?

Oh nevermind. Facts will not persuade you.

Re:FOX? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025168)

For example, do you think that people as right wing as you think FoxNews is would play Family Guy, American Dad the Simpsons and even Married with Children?

Ironically, the Simpsons itself provided a (joke) conspiracy theory about why this is the case a few years ago.

Why do we need Spanish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34024924)

Why do we need spanish voting machines?

Citizenship is requitred to vote, and English profiency is required for Citizenship.

Re:Why do we need Spanish? (3, Informative)

allawalla (1030240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024982)

English proficiency is not required for citizenship, only that you pass a test, or were born here. There is no federal requirement that those born in the US speak english.

Re:Why do we need Spanish? (0, Redundant)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025072)

Sadly, English proficiency is not required for citizenship, and the United States does not have an official language (some states do, but not the country as a whole).

Re:Why do we need Spanish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34025082)

RACIst

Re:Why do we need Spanish? (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025268)

and English profiency is required for Citizenship.

Wrong. And you should thank your lucky stars that knowledge of the actual Citizenship requirements isn't a requirement.

The Problem with Voting Machines (1)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024936)

The problem with voting machines and ballots in general is they are operated by people and institutions who have a vested interest in the outcome of the election.

Harry Angle? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024942)

Seriously, we need to dump electronic voting and go back to the paper ballot with ink stained thumbs method. Far more reliable.

Nothing make sense... (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024960)

The actual story... the explanation... the summary... nothing makes sense here.

Only this obligatory reference [youtube.com] does...

Doesn't NV have "NONE OF THE ABOVE" (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024962)

I thought Nevada had a "none of the above" choice.

Not a default candidate it is a quick screen updat (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024970)

They did not build in a default candidate on purpose.

What happens is that when you touch the screen to select "English" as your language, it immediately goes to the next screen where you select your candidate. But the old button that said "English" is very close to where the new button that votes for candidates appears.

So if you are slow to remove your finger from the "English" button, your finger is already on the 'vote for candidate button', resulting in what the slow voter thinks is a default vote.

This is:

1. A bad GUI design. Grade D- in my opinion for putting the touch buttons so close and keeping the touch time too short/sensitive.

2. A bad tester, if they did any. Grade F. I mean really, was this that hard to catch?

3. Reminds me of moronic and illegal paper 'butterfly ballot' used in Florida not that long ago. Can't we get competent people to design these things?

Re:Not a default candidate it is a quick screen up (2, Insightful)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025172)

> Can't we get competent people to design these things?

That depends. Does your community pass every tax cut referendum on the local ballot? If so, then no, you can't get competent people to design these things.

Maybe Mozilla can build us a fucking ballot box.

Re:Not a default candidate it is a quick screen up (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025190)

3. Reminds me of moronic and illegal paper 'butterfly ballot' used in Florida not that long ago. Can't we get competent people to design these things?

It is a government project after all...

Re:Not a default candidate it is a quick screen up (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025204)

They don't test these machines for usability. You can't have the lowest bid, if you include things like proper QA and testing.

Re:Not a default candidate it is a quick screen up (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025208)

I would have the UI only select things on finger up instead of finger down, just like mouse-based UIs work. I would also have the candidates (and language options) displayed in randomly selected order on the ballot screen to mitigate any possible problems due to order or positioning based on the previous screen.

Re:Not a default candidate it is a quick screen up (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025218)

They did not build in a default candidate on purpose.

Are you sure of that? If you were coding a voting machine and wanted to influence elections, wouldn't you want your influence to look like a coding error? I'm aware of Hanlon's razor, but whether it's incompetence or malice is irrelevant really. That such errors are so easy to make is a great reason not to use electronic voting machines at all.

Ob. Homer! (2, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34024990)

DEFAULT! DEFAULT! DEFAULT!

Scientist: [resigned] Well, Homer, I guess you're the winner by default.

Homer: Default? Woo hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault! De-fault! De-fault!

                        [assistant clubs him]

Finally! (1)

f5hacka (884374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025014)

Finally we're one step closer to having our votes cast for us. The government knows what is best for us so clearly letting them choose who to vote for in our place will leave us all better off in the end.

Seriously? (1)

FatRichie (1456467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025052)

If there handn't been a direct link to the news story (and I then read it), I would have completely written this off as another completely made up, forwarded email story.

The state of our voting infrastructure in this country is ridiculous. I wish I had a great idea how to fix everything, but until then, I'll just be a disgusted whiner like the majority of the masses.

The article summary is wrong. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025120)

By way of explanation???, the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Reid's name is checked by default.

Ignoring the fact that the name was wrong, this is not the explanation given in the article. The article says that the problem is the voter lingering on the previously selected area for too long. Does anybody test these things before they use them? It also says they should have faith in the system. Honestly, why does anyone vote anymore?

Oh, now this is just wrong (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025146)

There should NEVER be a default selection on an election ballot. If one decides not to cast a ballot in a race with a default selection, one ends up voting for someone one does not wish to vote for unless one specifically has the ability to de-select any and all candidates.

Always choose "default" (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025154)

When installing software, always choose "default (recommended)." This policy also applies to voting.

CNN is about to have a special about "default" candidates . . .

This should be ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025214)

... the decisive stroke in the successful candidacy of "None of the above".

Two wrongs fail again (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34025232)

Nope, two wrongs still don't make a right. Try again.

Vote tampering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34025260)

The vote is the only sacrement allowed a secular society. Tampering with a citizen's vote is treason-lite. Nothing less.

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