×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Federal Judge Says No Right To Secret Ballot, OKs Barcoded Ballots

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-the-little-things dept.

Government 584

doug141 writes "A Colorado county put bar codes on printed ballots in a last minute effort to comply with a rule about eliminating identifying markings. Citizens sued, because the bar codes can still be traced back to individual voters. In a surprise ruling, Denver U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said the U.S. Constitution did not contain a 'fundamental right' to secret ballots, and that the citizens could not show their voting rights had been violated, nor that they might suffer any specific injury from the bar codes."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

584 comments

LOL, American "democracy"! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420725)

LOL!

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (5, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420781)

We call it demockracy and that's not what we had. What we have now is an unstable crypto-plutocracy with the trappings of fairness and equality slathered on and maintained through the inertia of habit. We've not had a republic since the civil war which for the most part destroyed the concept of the sovereign nature of the states. There were a few amendments that eased the process. Governments will invariably acquire more power, sometimes it's given to it with great cheering and sometimes it's sullenly forced upon it and sometime it takes it by force.

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (-1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420877)

We are not a democracy, we are a republic. Democracies are doomed to near immediate failure quickly.

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421077)

A representative republic. Saying a republic is not particularly informative since one definition of republic is that the government merely doesn't have a hereditary head of state.

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421289)

It's an often repeated argument, but it is not correct nevertheless.

A structure is democratic if it provides the means to remove the ruling entity from power without bloodshed or revolution. So a republic can be democratic, if it's possible to remove the rulers of the republic form power using means provided in the constitution of the republic. A republic gets more and more undemocratic if it gets more and more complicated to legally remove someone from power, be it, because the laws build more and more hurdles to do so, or because traditions get more and more entrenched and any changes are frowned upon, or if a group within the structure is completely removed from power.

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421169)

LOL!

It IS a joke.

Trying to implement the standards for a free and fair election per the Intra-Parliamentary Union in the US will get you labelled RAAACIST by "progressives".

DECLARATION ON CRITERIA FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS [ipu.org]

4. The Rights and Responsibilities of States

(1) States should take the necessary legislative steps and other measures, in accordance with their constitutional processes, to guarantee the rights and institutional framework for periodic and genuine, free and fair elections, in accordance with their obligations under international law. In particular, States should:

        Establish an effective, impartial and non-discriminatory procedure for the registration of voters;
        Establish clear criteria for the registration of voters, such as age, citizenship and residence, and ensure that such provisions are applied without distinction of any kind;
        Provide for the formation and free functioning of political parties, possibly regulate the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns, ensure the separation of party and State, and establish the conditions for competition in legislative elections on an equitable basis;
        Initiate or facilitate national programmes of civic education, to ensure that the population are familiar with election procedures and issues;

(2) In addition, States should take the necessary policy and institutional steps to ensure the progressive achievement and consolidation of democratic goals, including through the establishment of a neutral, impartial or balanced mechanism for the management of elections. In so doing, they should, among other matters:

        Ensure that those responsible for the various aspects of the election are trained and act impartially, and that coherent voting procedures are established and made known to the voting public;
        Ensure the registration of voters, updating of electoral rolls and balloting procedures, with the assistance of national and international observers as appropriate;
        Encourage parties, candidates and the media to accept and adopt a Code of Conduct to govern the election campaign and the polling period;
      Ensure the integrity of the ballot through appropriate measures to prevent multiple voting or voting by those not entitled thereto;
        Ensure the integrity of the process for counting votes.

Yeah - try applying those bolded words to elections in the US and you're RAAACIST!!!!

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (0, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421313)

> Yeah - try applying those bolded words to elections in the US and you're RAAACIST!!!!

Because you are. The idea that voter fraud is any real problem is just a clansman fantasy. That's not the real problem. The real problem is that voter turnout pathetically low.

The fact that a clansman like you wants to put barriers in front of those that want to encourage greater voter participation is the real problem.

More participation does more to negate the imagined harm of voter fraud then any other action you could take. It also doesn't require the intentional or unintentional disenfranchisement of any rightful voter.

Participation is the problem, not "fraud".

Re:LOL, American "democracy"! (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421315)

No. It is quite possible to ensure the integrity of the ballot without being racist. Voter registration is one of the methods. Making it unusually complicated to register for certain groups is racist. And it is unnecessary for the integrity of the ballot.

Barcoding the Ballots. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420743)

HELL YES!!!

Why should illegal immigrants have a right to vote in our country.
I think this is brilliant.

Re:Barcoding the Ballots. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420789)

But this is a very bad solution to that problem.

A correct solution would be:
1) Prevent illegal aliens from entering the country in the first place.
2) Immediately deport any illegal aliens who somehow got in, but are caught.
3) Leave off barcodes and anything else that ties a ballot to an individual voter.

Re:Barcoding the Ballots. (-1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420911)

What problem were you trying to solve? There are a million or so green card holders in the USA right now. They aren't allowed to vote but are completely legal residents. There is an unknown number of aliens here on student and tourist and business visas. They're not allowed to vote either.

And there's me. I'm only allowed to vote in one place. With no validation of ballots, I could take my mail-in ballot, photocopy it 100 times, vote them however I like and mail them all in. 101 votes for Obamney instead of just one! Now let the Secretary of State try to figure out who should have won the election!

Re:Barcoding the Ballots. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421073)

Anonymous ballots do NOT let you wote 100 times. When I vote, they cross my name off from the list of voters. So I can't vote again. The ballot is anonymous though - or it would be if I took care not to leave fingerprints.

Re:Barcoding the Ballots. (3, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420825)

From the article and it's referenced information, namely Secretary of State Scott Gessler's guidelines on the matter, ballots were to include limited identifying marks to ensure that the same ballot would not be counted twice when votes were tabulated, but that individuals would not have their ball it's unique identifier linked to their voter registration.

What is changing here is that rather than a human-readable number, a barcode-only solution will be used for verification purposes to increase the difficulty of an individual vote being traced to a person.

The fact that Gessler's also identified multiple illegal immigrants who had voted in the former Colorado election through voter registration searches is irrelevant to the situation at hand.

Freedom (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420759)

It seems that everywhere in the world, governments and corporations have decided that because we have the technology, it's okay to use it to abuse people's rights and freedoms in ways that would be illegal if they were done in person, or on paper.

Re:Freedom (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420837)

The barcodes ARE on paper.

And whether things are on paper or not wasn't one of the things she considered. What she considered was whether the law says you have a right to a secret ballot and decided that you don't and never have had such a right.

This one's definitely going up for appeal.

Re:Freedom (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420875)

The readers are not. If this was a printed number and it was being recorded manually, I don't imagine it would be legal ... not that I think this is.

Re:Freedom (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420955)

How do you come to that conclusion?

Specifically, what's your legal reasoning? "I don't think" doesn't cut it in court. The judge's reasoning, right or wrong, is based on the law and spelled out in her opinion, and it's that reasoning that will be reviewed for appeal.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420995)

Yeah. We should ask this guy [slashdot.org] . After all, he's been a lawyer for 34 years.

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421181)

Well, I say "I think" as I'm not American, nor am I an expert in American law, but I was under the impression that you do have the right to a secret ballot to protect you from having your vote coerced. If the barcode is tied to you voter registration number, it easily allows a machine to do what a human readable voter number would do, and tie your vote back to you.

Re:Freedom (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420881)

Smart governments, at least those that also like to keep up true democratic values, will do whatever they can to prevent election fraud. This is also one major argument against online voting, without the need of going to a polling station.

Ballots that can be traced to a voter, or where the voter can be watched filling in the ballot paper, can be bought. This way elections can be bought. And that alone is enough reason to not have any identifying mark on any ballot.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421067)

But we should not, in any way, require an identity or residency, or hell, even a citizenship check.

Re:Freedom (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421123)

But we should not, in any way, require an identity or residency, or hell, even a citizenship check.

ID is not mandatory for my convenience, but for that of the state. Therefore it follows that if the state wants me to have this ID, the state should pay for it. Nobody should be charged for their mandatory ID cards.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421225)

Citizenship checks should happen when you register. The fact that some registration boards didn't do this properly isn't surprising but it's got nothing to do with the current ID checks. Heck, non-citizens can have a valid driver's license, which is ID enough to vote in my state.

Re:Freedom (1, Insightful)

CobaltBlueDW (899284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421219)

I'm shocked that people think not letting others know their political actions is an issue of liberty or privacy. Would it be okay if your state representative didn't tell you how he/she voted on bills? Everyone in this thread is blathering about their political opinions on the internet, but put that opinion in a check box on a public government form and suddenly it's encroaching on your civil rights. If you are so insecure about who/what you vote for, don't vote. All political/government actions, aside from national security, need to have public transparency. Your vote is your participation and collaboration with the rest of our society; it IS a social, public form of communication.
Not only are peoples ideology blinding them to the true nature of this issue, but they are essentially advocating government corruption and identity theft. If your vote can't be traced back to you, then you can't be traced to your vote. The votes on your ballots could be changed, and since that ballot can't be traced back to you, someone just successfully stole your identity to rig an election. Congratulation, you have succeeded in hiding your vote, now truly no one knows what your vote was.
Grow up and be proud of your political opinion. Put your big boy pants on and participate in meaningful, finite, social discourse.

Re:Freedom (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421311)

How your representative votes IS your right to know. However, when the government knows how you vote then abuse creeps in. Just look around the world. It's not uncommon to be rewarded for voting a certain way or terribly punished for voting another way, and that is effected when authorities can know how you voted.

I think you might be the one advocating corruption here.

Re:Freedom (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421387)

Everywhere in the world? Ballots in the UK have been numbered and had that number recorded against the electoral roll for decades, if not over a hundred years, and no one in the UK is even slightly worried at this.

And it's never been abused, to anyone's knowledge.

Barcodes (4, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420761)

Obviously, just barcode the people. It will make things much easier for admin.

Re:Barcodes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420801)

The government is like any well structured operating system. Each file is hashed so that you can verify the integrity and make sure it hasn't been corrupted. People just happen to be files, and that corruption is voting for a third party.

Don't be ridiculous! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420857)

RFID tags - like they do with pets! It's a lot quicker and easier to scan and can be done without the person knowing it.

In the future, everyone will be chipped.

It'll be for our own safety after all and if you nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about.

Re:Barcodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421359)

That will be done, sooner or later (just not barcode, more like RFID or whatever they come up with by then). No blabbing about human rights, privacy etc. will stop progress. When something is technologically possible, relatively cheap, and makes life easier both for government (important part) and for people (selling part; and yes, having implanted RFID *will* make life easier), it is going to happen. Of course there will be downsides. Well, that's life for you, almost any technology has some.

This is going to the supreme court (5, Insightful)

InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420763)

The fundamental problem is that lack of anonymity creates pressure to change one's vote not due to one's personal beliefs, but rather due to pressure from an outcome of what another might think. In the extreme case, we are talking potential retaliation by a regime or political part. This has happened repeatedly through history, and happens today. While the extreme case doesn't appear to apply in the US today, in pre-WW II German, it did. If civilized countries can change quickly to oppress, then how, if our inherent right to vote does not come with an obvious need for protections such as anonymity, can our constitution protect us indefinitely?

Re:This is going to the supreme court (2, Interesting)

imamac (1083405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420785)

This. The last thing we need are people feeling pressured by an outside organization (looking at you Unions *and* employers). Some may already feel pressured one way or another but there is not way for an outside source to confirm a third party vote. This is terrible and had better be overturned.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420841)

You should modden down for replying with "This", even if your argument is correct.

It's dumb. Stop doing it.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421157)

This.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420895)

(Bear with me, English is not my native language.)

What does it mean when somebody replies to another person's comment with, "This."? Is it merely a stupid and lazy way of saying, "I agree with what you have written."?

Re:This is going to the supreme court (4, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420977)

Bear with me

You have a bear with you? WTH are you doing posting? RUN!! RUN NOW!!

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421041)

His constitution allows him to arm and keep bears . . .

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421009)

Yes it does. But it is *not* english in any way. It's some lame slashdot/comment thread shortcut text speak nonsense.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421021)

"This."? Is it merely a stupid and lazy way of saying, "I agree with what you have written."?

So a six letter reply (with following space) is a "stupid and lazy way" of typing 32 characters. There's a reason it isn't going to go away.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421265)

(Bear with me, English is not my native language.)

What does it mean when somebody replies to another person's comment with, "This."? Is it merely a stupid and lazy way of saying, "I agree with what you have written."?

It's a colloquialism, roughly equivalent to saying "amen" (which *is* an accepted usage but has fallen out of popularity).

Language marches on...

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421299)

I will henceforth use "amen" to agree with posts.

How Do You Validate Votes Then? (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420845)

You're right but the bigger threat isn't from a political player. The biggest threat is retaliation from your employer, your customers, your neighbors and maybe even your family. Imagine if your father-in-law found out you voted one way instead of another and didn't want you in the family because of it.

So the big concern I have is how these barcodes work. Are they public? Are they encrypted? And what I mean by encrypted is if the value is scrambled to link back to the original voter.

The reason I feel like this is unfortunately necessary is that it would be easy to sneak in votes that had just some barcode if it didn't have to be decrypted and validated. And without this 1-to-1 validation, how do we determine that the recorded votes for each person were truly and validly made? Unfortunately, if you want election boards to be perfect in their methodology, you should give them one of these to check against citizen lists or an external third party.

My suggestion would be to give users a randomly generated number that is then one way hashed with their SSN. Then that information can be published online and anyone can take their autogenerated number and plug it into the hash with their SSN. If they fear retaliation or if they fear their boss might demand the number from them to check on them, they can merely opt for the official to destroy their number. You can also implement laws protecting those numbers although we all know a solution without regulation is the best.

But I don't think you can get around an election official knowing who voted for what if you want accurate and secure election counts. It's a trade off but hopefully the may other laws we have protection people from politically motivated attacks remain.

If the barcodes are done right, it might be a valid way to assure there is no voter fraud. I guess the big question is: do we have evidence for a lot of voter fraud such that we need this?

Re:How Do You Validate Votes Then? (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420935)

So the big concern I have is how these barcodes work. Are they public? Are they encrypted? And what I mean by encrypted is if the value is scrambled to link back to the original voter.

Merely being able to be traced back to an individual voter is bad enough. No matter whether it's encrypted, hashed, etc. No trace back of vote to voter should be possible.

The reason I feel like this is unfortunately necessary is that it would be easy to sneak
  in votes that had just some barcode if it didn't have to be decrypted and validated.

That can ALWAYS happen. That is why you need honest people in your election committee, and oversight. Allow before the election everyone who wants to see that a ballot box is empty, subsequently locked, and then that each voter can put one and only one paper in it. Keep on following this ballot box until it's opened and the votes are counted. Match total number of votes with total voters (knowing who voted is fine, you need to know that to prevent multiple votes by a single person). Have two opposing parties do this, add maybe an independent observer, and the risk of fraud is low without identification. That's how it's done.

No situation is perfect, but over the years we have come up with pretty good ways of making sure elections are done fairly. Non-traceable votes are key to that.

My suggestion would be to give users a randomly generated number that is then one way hashed with their SSN. Then that information can be published online and anyone can take their autogenerated number and plug it into the hash with their SSN. If they fear retaliation or if they fear their boss might demand the number from them to check on them, they can merely opt for the official to destroy their number.

"So you destroyed that number and you can't show who you voted for? That must mean you did not vote for the party I told you to vote for."

Again, NO TRACE BACK should be possible. Period.

Re:How Do You Validate Votes Then? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421095)

My suggestion would be to give users a randomly generated number that is then one way hashed with their SSN. Then that information can be published online and anyone can take their autogenerated number and plug it into the hash with their SSN. If they fear retaliation or if they fear their boss might demand the number from them to check on them, they can merely opt for the official to destroy their number.

"So you destroyed that number and you can't show who you voted for? That must mean you did not vote for the party I told you to vote for."

Yes. It would also allow purchasing of votes (no verification, no payout). It is essential that even if you have incentives to or are under duress to prove how you voted, you can't.

THIS is how you validate votes (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421283)

(without being able to sell them or be pressured)

You're right but the bigger threat isn't from a political player. The biggest threat is retaliation from your employer, your customers, your neighbors and maybe even your family. Imagine if your father-in-law found out you voted one way instead of another and didn't want you in the family because of it.

The solution to this is very simple really. When inside the booth, have it offer an option to enter a password and get a printed URL receipt, that you can take to a web browser later to enter your password and verify your vote was recorded the way you cast it. AND, offer the option to make a shadow vote that will show up online instead of your actual vote when checked online. If someone is pressuring you to vote a certain way, you can create the shadow vote however they are pressuring you to vote, and you can then show them how you "voted" online. You will lose the ability to verify your vote, but in your case being able to "show" how you voted to someone else is what you need.

This allows you to vote in a way you can confirm if you want to, or deny if you need to. (but not both) The receipt ID is randomly generated and is not tied to you personally, but the voting system keeps track of the actual vote and shadow vote tied to the receipt. If you did not create a shadow vote, and you check it online and it has changed, you can submit a complaint. Until you do that they don't know who the vote belonged to, but they will have record of the actual vote and whether a shadow vote was created. This allows your vote to stay anonymous unless you think it was tampered with. So they could investigate if there was suspicion that the vote was changed if you filed a complaint. This appears to meet all the requirements people are looking for, unless I'm missing something here. I invite people to criticize this idea, I'm looking to test/improve it.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420885)

While the extreme case doesn't appear to apply in the US today, in pre-WW II German, it did.

It also did so in east germany long after WW II

"Voting in East Germany was relatively simple. To vote yes, a voter simply took the ballot paper, which contained only one name—that of the approved candidate—and dropped it into the voting box. A voter could vote against the candidate by crossing out his or her name, but had to do so in a separate voting booth without any secrecy. The consequences for such an act of defiance were severe—loss of one's job or expulsion from school, and close surveillance by the Stasi.[39]"
(quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Germany#Organization )

Honestly... watching the news from sufficiently far away its still very scary how often articles mention various freedoms and rights in the US being restricted, declared non-existant or otherwise violated. The last ten years were pretty sad to watch already.
But the right to vote secretly is one of the most important rights to ensure free elections.
Thats one bat-shit insane court ruling.

Even if your constitution actually doesnt include that right, go add it ASAP.
Joking around with such matters is a very bad idea.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420997)

Honestly anybody who thinks that hasn't been voting in California for the last... how many elections?

I know at least through the last *2* major elections (governor and president) we've been given barcoded stubs off our voting forms with both a unique ID number and a barcode. Furthermore they either write down or check off on the forms handed out, so I assume this is already done.

I do think a more anonymous system should be in place for voting, however I have yet to see one that actually works.

Furthermore: Anybody who thinks it too until the Civil War for things to get bad has apparently never heard of 'Shay's Rebellion'. We were fucked within the first decade of independence.

Weren't you all defending this for unions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421029)

This is so weird man!
When a court quashed the right to secret ballots in union voting the noise on this site was joyous.
Hypocrisy much?

Re:This is going to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421091)

With one of the most recent cases being Chavez and the "Tascon list", where they tracked all voters. Those that did not vote for him, suddenly lost their job, if they worked for the government.

Re:This is going to the supreme court (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421355)

We haven't had truly anonymous ballots in years here - sort of. When you show up at the poll, they write down your ballot number next to your name. Of course no one is supposed to be able to get that information and correlate it to the actual votes, but just saying ... doesn't matter if they use bar codes or human-readable numbers, as long as no one actually can obtain both the ballots and the lists.

In that sense, no different from all this "anonymous usage data" and other statistics that most software or websites collect. Yes, it could be abused and in fact is hard to prove it is not being abused (as long as they don't tell you about it). Sorry, no idea how to solve that one ...

No injury... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420777)

Instead, voters who got it wrong will receive additional education. For free.

When we hunt down the Republican voters they will (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420805)

sing a different tune. (kidding).

Re:When we hunt down the Republican voters they wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421113)

sing a different tune. (kidding).

No, you're not.

Look at how "progressives"* want to eliminate secret ballots in union elections.....

* - "progressive"?!?! BWWAAA HAA HAA. What a fucking JOKE of a word. It's "progress" to hand over control of your life to a bunch of holier-than-thou statists who are CERTAIN that they - AND ONLY THEY - know what's best for you. Fucking morons.

Barcodes... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420807)

Don't eliminate identifying marks if you can download an app to decode the mark into a number, then run an algorythm against it to transform the number into names, and figure out how that individual voted.

Which they did.

On a local radio station.

With a county comissioners barcode, they told him how he voted.

This should be interesting seeing how Colorado is voting this year to legalize marijuana...

This judge is a idiot! (4, Insightful)

tramp (68773) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420839)

The whole purpose of a paper ballot is to keep your vote secret. If that was not the case you could far more easily went in and say your choice aloud.

Re:This judge is a idiot! (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420917)

Is that codified in the law, or is it just best practices that almost everyone follows? That does make a difference. its like there cities were taking peoples houses to build shopping strips. Everyone thought that was illegal, bit again it was just a practice that was considered despicable, and no municipalities had done it before. I'm all for secret ballots, but if it is not a legal right or needs to be.

There is a fundamental right to ballot secrecy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421217)

It's not just a best practice, it is a fundamental right and needs to be upheld. If the mafia can break your knuckles because you did not vote the candidates they've corrupted into office then we do not have a democracy any longer. This happens all over the world, and it has even happened in the USA in the not too distant past. There was even a point in our history where thugs from the Italian mafias here actually stood inside the polling offices as you came to vote for local politicians so they could scare you into voting the way they saw fit. They didn't even have to look at who you were voting for to scare you into changing your mind just by standing there. Now imagine if they had a traceable way of verifying if you voted the way they "trained" you prior to entering the polling box. Conceive a situation where they stand outside the polling offices, inform you who you are going to vote for and also let you know they will be checking the barcodes on the back of the cards afterwards. And, anyone who hasn't complied with their demands better check their break lines on their car every week. I think you can see where this is going, hopefully.

Re:This judge is a idiot! (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421187)

Since the judge was at pains to point out that the US constitution/Bill of Rights does not grant the right to a secret ballet, was he also able to point out the section that specifically grants the government the right (authority) to tag ballots in such a way so as to identify the voter?

Lawsuit was bogus (4, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420847)

If you take the time to learn what information is actually on the ballot [dailycamera.com] you'll see that the lawsuit has no merit. The barcode relates the ballot to what was scanned when the vote was automatically tallied in case there are errors or a recount. Any possibility that the ballot could be linked back to an individual voter was speculation, the plaintiffs couldn't produce any evidence that it could actually happen.

Re:Lawsuit was bogus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420931)

Please stop being rational. This is Slashdot.

You need to not look at the facts, jump to conclusions, and make stark raving mad comments about how your rights are being trampled on, even if they aren't. Also, the fact that you didn't say anything about how evil Micro$oft is leads me to conclude that you probably worship Ayn Rand and you probably feel that women shouldn't have control of their own bodies. Because a woman's body belongs to the State, not to themselves, am I right?

Re:Lawsuit was bogus (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421015)

leads me to conclude that you probably worship Ayn Rand and you probably feel that women shouldn't have control of their own bodies...am I right?

You jumped to the wrong conclusion there...but well played.

It is alarming for a judge to say this (4, Insightful)

doug141 (863552) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421167)

She said that even if a ballot could be traced back to a specific voter, it doesn't show that a person's voting rights were violated, saying there was no "fundamental right" to a secret vote in the U.S. Constitution.

Re:Lawsuit was bogus (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421229)

Thanks for that. If any Slashdot editors are sober enough to type, please consider adding that link to the summary to at least some fraction of the audience will see it.

tl;dr - they already thought of that (surprise!) - the summary really doesn't relate to the lawsuit, it's misleading and inflammatory (surprise!).

The judge ruled correctly (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420851)

The judge ruled correctly. Judges are supposed to base their rulings on what the law says, not what they think it should say.

If the citizens want this changed, they should talk to their legislators, not the courts. While amending the US Constitution would be the best fix, an amendment to the Colorado constitution, or just a statutory state or local law would be sufficient.

Re:The judge ruled correctly (1)

medcalf (68293) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420903)

Moreover there is absolutely no right to a secret ballot. Secret ballots (aka Australian ballots) were introduced something like a hundred years into our independence. Secret ballots are a good thing for a lot of reasons, but the state has a balancing of interests to perform, rather than an absolute right to protect.

Re:The judge ruled correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421243)

The US Constitution doesn't require states to hold any form of election for their electoral votes. Colorado would be within its rights to give the governor the right to choose the electors personally.

Judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420859)

I've said it before, we need to start impeaching more judges.

Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420863)

They have no understanding of constitutional law. The constitution does now lay out our rights... we have our rights with or without the constitution. The constitution was meant to restrain the government. Since a few people thought that enumerating some of our rights explicitly in the Bill of Rights was a good idea, some how the foolish judges have the idea that if they weren't explicitly enumerated that they do not exist.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420899)

No if a right is not enumerated in the constitution than government has every right to restrict that right.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (1, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421153)

No if a right is not enumerated in the constitution than government has every right to restrict that right.

The Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution seems to disagree.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

But then, there are a large number of people who believe that the government should not be hog-tied by Constitutional restrictions to it's power.

They call themselves "Progressives", as in progressing past the restrictions on government power in the Constitution.

Strat

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (5, Funny)

u38cg (607297) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420933)

The world of Constitutional Law was rocked today by an anonymous posting on the well known geek website, Slashdot. In a few eloquent lines, an anonymous coward swept away centuries of misguided thought and ushered in a new era in constitutional thought. "I'm blown away," said Chief Justice Roberts. "My life has been wasted." Other members of the court could not be reached for comment.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421063)

You've never read any Constitutional history, have you?

I go further and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?

- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper #84 [thefederalistpapers.org]

Or even the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

Bonus points for reading political philosophy.

It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect - that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few.

-Thomas Paine [ushistory.org]

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421245)

If those rights are unalienable, why do we need governments to secure them?

Human rights honestly seem to me like a list of things we feel entitled to.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421097)

The world of Constitutional Law was rocked today by an anonymous posting on the well known geek website, Slashdot. In a few eloquent lines, an anonymous coward swept away centuries of misguided thought and ushered in a new era in constitutional thought. "I'm blown away," said Chief Justice Roberts. "My life has been wasted." Other members of the court could not be reached for comment.

LMAO

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (1)

omgwtfroflbbqwasd (916042) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421141)

The constitution simply defines the scope and authority of the federal government, and relationships between states as well as between state and federal government.. All powers not explicitly defined in the constitution as being federal are resigned to state jurisdiction. Constitutional amendments have added specific rights to address state and federal abuses.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421147)

The citizens of Colorado can make that law for themselves if they want to. They can even use an initiative to make it so without help from their elected representatives. They don't need a federal judge making up their laws for them.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421161)

They have no understanding of constitutional law. The constitution does now lay out our rights... we have our rights with or without the constitution.

The decisions of an American judge are rooted in his understanding of constutions and statutes.

Natural law makes for superb political rhetoric ("all men are created equal') but it also gives the courts, the legislature and the executive to move in any direction they want to go.

Re:Federal Judges Need to Go Back to School (2)

HanzoSpam (713251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421195)

They have no understanding of constitutional law. The constitution does now lay out our rights... we have our rights with or without the constitution. The constitution was meant to restrain the government. Since a few people thought that enumerating some of our rights explicitly in the Bill of Rights was a good idea, some how the foolish judges have the idea that if they weren't explicitly enumerated that they do not exist.

That may be true. OTOH, that doesn't necessarily mean anything you care to pull out of your ass is a right.

Next Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420893)

Facial recognition cameras at all polling stations... you know, because Voter Fraud(!!)

International Covenant on Civil & Political Ri (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420953)

a treaty of which the US is a signatory and which is part of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, guarantees universal, equal, free suffrage and secret ballot (Article 25, section b).

Per the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution):

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

So the International Covenant is binding law in the US and supersedes some Colorado local election board. Apparently the 1992 Senate ratification said people aren't allowed to privately sue to get the Covenant enforced though. Sheesh.

Quick reading (3, Informative)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420963)

Some skimming around the internet on this subject is fairly interesting. Australia was the first country to implement the secret ballot in 1850, largely to curtail intimidation and other election day shennanigans that were used to influence elections. All elections in the US were secret ballot by the 1892 presidential election. However, this article in the Atlantic argues that the surest way to increase turnout is by making voting a matter of public record. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/abolish-the-secret-ballot/309038/ [theatlantic.com]

Re:Quick reading (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421047)

Who cares if more people show up if they're showing up because they were paid or intimidated?

I don't care if one person shows up (because that person would be me....), as long as that person is voting for what s/he actually believes is best for the country.

Re:Quick reading (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421109)

However, this article in the Atlantic argues that the surest way to increase turnout is by making voting a matter of public record.

Making public the fact that you voted, not who or what you voted for. And as the article notes, it already is a matter of public record. I got the voter registration rolls for my county one year, and for each voter, it had a note of what elections they voted in, going back 20 elections. It's available, just not easy to access (I forget how much that list cost me, but it wasn't cheap).

The judge is right. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41420989)

Perhaps the Consitution should contain such a right (I think it should) but it doesn't. Get the states to amend the Constitution. Don't berate the judge. He's doing his job.

Ballots should be secret, not in the Constitution (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421121)

Colorado lawmakers or citizens should make a law saying ballots must be secret. The Constitution is (rightly) only a few pages long and "secret ballot" is never mentioned in those few pages. Colorado citizens have the power of initiative and referendum - citizens can make laws directly. The activists should have talked to their elected representatives or started an initiative, not filed in federal court. It's not an issue for a federal judge to decide, but one for the citizens of Colorado to decide for themselves.

Harm like getting fired for using FB like button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41420999)

Wasn't there a story a few months ago about sheriff employees getting fired after an election becuase they 'liked' the other person?
I think that would qualify as 'harm'

Grab a sharpie.. (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421039)

.. and fill in a few gaps in the barcode. It will not be read. Then they can have another case about whether one can still cast a vote sans bar code.

California already does this (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421049)

My mail-in ballot has a barcode on the return envelope. For that matter, it has my name and address too. If somebody in power wanted to know how I voted, they'd have no problem finding out from that. Califorina SAYS they separate the ballot and envelope after they verify my registration and before they count my vote, but these Colorado officials SAY they're not going to associate names with barcodes and apparently they're not to be trusted, so should I distrust the California officials?

Ahhh, the sweet STINK of hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41421065)

For governmental elections, we can't have ANYTHING that could be used to prevent vote fraud. We can't check IDs, nothing. That's RAAAACIST!!!!

Ohh, but for UNION matters, we'll do away with secret ballots entirely.

If voting was effective (1)

bhima (46039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421089)

For over 40 years I've been hearing people say "If voting was it would be made illegal" and just laughed it off. Just reading the news for 2012, I'm beginning to suspect voting to be more effective than I've been giving it credit for.

Isn't this like the number on a ballot stub? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421151)

Where I vote, you get a ballot stub when you vote. Later, you can go down to the place of records (county seat, etc.) and then use the stub to make sure your vote was recorded. They can do this because there's a number on the stub that matches the one on the ballot. The number isn't recorded or anything when you vote, but the ballots are stored by number (and district) so they can be retrieved and verified later.

It turns out Humboldt, California scans and posts all their ballots online, again, you can match them up by the number.

http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/get-out-your-ballot-stub/ [wordpress.com]

(linked to blogspam because the sit that has the ballots is surely easily brought down by traffic)

There IS NO guarantee of a secret ballot (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421173)

If you think the Constitution (or tradition, or case law, or something) guarantees a secret ballot, how do you explain primaries in caucus states, where you have to physically show up and declare your vote for so-and-so? You don't get less secret than that.

You don't need to identify individual voters (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about a year and a half ago | (#41421337)

Send a randomized bar code sticker sent to each registered voter. Don't record who got which.Make sure they can fill out an easy form and get a new bar code. When they vote they put the bar code down.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...