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E-Voting Done Right - In Australia

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the approved-by-kangaroo-jack dept.

Security 485

tehanu writes "After all the furor over e-voting in America, Wired News has an article about e-voting done right in Australia. An important factor is that all of the software is open-source. The company responsible actually seems to have given consideration to the integrity of the democratic process, too - from the lead engineer: 'Why on earth should (voters) have to trust me -- someone with a vested interest in the project's success? A voter-verified audit trail is the only way to 'prove' the system's integrity to the vast majority of electors, who after all, own the democracy.' They also have scathing words for Diebold: 'The only possible motive I can see for disabling some of the security mechanisms and features in their system is to be able to rig elections. It is, at best, bad programming; at worst, the system has been designed to rig an election.' In general they are 'gob-smacked' by the whole situation with electronic voting machines in the US right now."

cancel ×

485 comments

Open source? (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379503)

Don't kid yourself: open source is nice, but it doesn't guarantee a fault-proof or secure voting system (suppose somebody installs wrong or malicious software on one of the machines?). The only way to do that is to provide voting receipts which can be counted independently, by hand -- and that does not exclude closed-source solutions.

Re:Open source? (3, Funny)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379523)

provide voting receipts which can be counted independently, by hand

*cough* Florida *cough* *cough*

Re:Open source? (4, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379557)

meaning what? If the punch card machines had provided a human-readable printout that the voter could read, and realize that he/she accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan rather than Al Gore, there would have been no issue.

Re:Open source? (1)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379589)

meaning without all the variations of unvoted 'chads', results will differ every time, just like they did in Florida (even though the results were slightly different, dubya still got the gold in those precincts in question).

Re:Open source? (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379675)

Yeah, if the paper trail uses a system that was designed 50 years ago, maybe it will have a problem. However, a paper trail for an electronic system could print out AL GORE in 72 pt letters, so I don't think anyone is worried about pregnant chads.

Re:Open source? (2, Funny)

gladbach (527602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380048)

dyslexic chads maybe....

Re:Open source? (5, Insightful)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379583)

Sure it doesn't guarantee a fault-proof or secure voting system, anyone can install wrong or malicious software on machines, even a closed system one. The point here is that we eliminated or reduced the possibility of having holes in the software intended to be in the machine. Hey, it's better to have hundreds and thousands of people to look at it, then to have a handful of stressed out employee with vested interest in the company to examine the code.

In another note, voting receipts is nice, no question about that.

Re:Open source? (5, Insightful)

GaelenBurns (716462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379957)

We all need to send copies of the internal Diebold memos to all of the mainstream news sources and our congressmen. If we just push for this, and educate our officials and the populace, this blight will be removed. All we need to do is, as a community, get off our asses and fight.

I'm not one for playing the mindless patriotism card, but I really do feel that (for the Americans out there) it is our duty to do something about this.

Re:Open source? (0, Offtopic)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379590)

Your sig rules. Slashdot, home of the idiot-boys!

Re:Open source? (3, Insightful)

extrarice (212683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379601)

[quote]
Don't kid yourself: open source is nice, but it doesn't guarantee a fault-proof or secure voting system (suppose somebody installs wrong or malicious software on one of the machines?).
[/quote]

True, but with an open system, anyone can see what is going on. If the process is completely open, there is a greater likelyhood that any funny-business will be seen and dealt with before it is too late (*ahem* Florida).

Re:Open source? (2, Informative)

sporty (27564) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379614)

Nope, you are right. It's a wonderful idea.

But with all the people who have a vested interest in it being done right, it's MORE likely that somethign stupid does NOT slip by. If this type of tech were around years ago, we could have a "why" a miscount would have happened and could have fixed it. If nothing has changed, last years (proverbial tech) is still being used.

Re:Open source? (3, Insightful)

FreeBSD Goddess (721137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379633)

The problem, then, is verifying the integrity of a paper trail. If someone is going to rig an election by tampering with electronic voting machines, they're also more than capable of forging the paper trail. There's also stories from the last presidential election about ballots being lost and destroyed. Even the paper trail is subject to tampering. The only certain way of making a voting process accurate and not subject to fraud is if you do away with the secret ballot. And I don't think that's worth it.

Re:Open source? (1)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379922)

The problem, then, is verifying the integrity of a paper trail.

You verify the paper trail by spot-checking precincts--eg. exit pools showed this precinct with 600 voters voted 52% for candidate Foo, yet the voting system showed only 45% for candidate Foo. Invite all supporters of candidate Foo to bring in their PKI signed paper voting receipts, when you get to 46% receipts for candidate Foo, you know you have a problem.

Re:Open source? (0)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380063)

People aren't going to keep their receipts, they're going to toss them, or misplace them, and even if they don't, it's not like every single one of them is going to come back to the polling place with their receipt.

Re:Open source? (4, Insightful)

isaac (2852) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379940)

If someone is going to rig an election by tampering with electronic voting machines, they're also more than capable of forging the paper trail.

I'm sorry, that's not insightful - it's total bollocks. Of course it's possible to tamper with paper ballots, but to do so on a large scale (e.g. large enough to affect statewide or national elections) would inevitably attract attention because one would need to gain access to, and modify or destroy, literally tons of paper.

Electronic voting systems may be tampered with without any heavy lifting, by few people, and the only access problem is electronic, not physical - do you trust that the home or office PC of the supervisor of elections in your county is secure? Having done computer work for municipal governments in the past, I certainly do not.

-Isaac

Re:Open source? (4, Insightful)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379639)

I agree with you but I'm curious, why would a public voting system be based on closed-source software? Is it to obscure the code to prevent fraud? We know for a fact that security through obscurity doesn't work. Is it to protect the copyright of the software author? No, that's what copyright law is for. So, that leaves only as a means to hide the underlying process. Not exactly something desirable for public elections. I believe there's a place for closed source solutions and a place for open source solutions. A building security system is a place for closed source solutions since few have a vested interest in the underlying mechanisms. On the other hand, a voting both is a place for open source solutions since we all have a vested interest in the underlying mechansim.

To encourage competitors? (1)

jalano (309339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379964)

Is it to protect the copyright of the software author? No, that's what copyright law is for.

I disagree. The point is that you might be able to code a nice, very efficient voting system with cool features you don't want your competitors to *easily* replicate by copying your code. If you copyright your code, and close the source, that makes it a bit easier. If your code is open-source, then you've given up that advantage. I agree with the original poster - leave a paper trail! The primary reason for having a computer help you vote is so to make it less likely for you as a user to make a mistake.

Re:Open source? (3, Insightful)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379905)

I think the easiest way to do this would be something as simple as a long band of thermal print paper (like a cash register, only behind a transparent window). The voter sees his vote on a screen, and confirms it, and watches it be printed on the paper.

If you alternate through 3 spools of paper at random, or skip back and forth on the paper, there's no way to connect a voter with a vote after the fact. However, it IS impossible for software (closed source, open source, or polkadotted source) to change the "receipt" after the fact.

I think thermal printers are under fifty bucks (probably well under) and I don't see why this couldn't be added to any voting system.

REDHAT IS OFF TEH SPOKE!!~!!` (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379504)

Well, go figure! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379507)

Australia is nothing but a bunch of criminals anyway, who else to make a good example of how to do electronic voting "properly?" ;)

e-voting is not secure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379519)

E-voting is not secure because there is really no way to truly check someone's identity. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!, there are tools like openssl and gpg to give people certificates or keys that can prove they are who say they are when they are online to vote. I like to vote while knocking the bottom out of my toilet withmy wireless laptop. I believe keys and/or certs are the best way to go. Take it from me, I have been in the security part of the IT world for 6.5 years now.

Re:e-voting is not secure (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379571)

Take it from me, I have been in the security part of the IT world for 6.5 years now.

So does that mean your dick is 6.5 millimeters long?

Re:e-voting is not secure (2, Insightful)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379819)

One problem with any electronic certificate is that with time, they can be hacked, modified, and stuff. A simple paper print out would be nice. And it doesn't have to be big! Just a simple list of names (shouldn't be that many) and an electronic identifier/barcode so that the votes can be verified easily should be good enough. And if they don't want to hire officials to collect the votes, ask the machine to do it automatically. Display the paper audit behind a plastic panel, verify and confirm that its right, and then it store it in a box inside, safe and sound (and anyone that tried to get to it will make a racket).

Australian voting system (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379521)

Isn't that what the US has been using for years anyway?

Re:Australian voting system (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379629)

IIRC, "Australian Voting" refers to a secret ballot type of voting procedure. I don't think it accurately describes the actual voting procedure that is currently used in Australia.

Re:Australian voting system (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379676)

I don't recall ever being gob-smacked over voting though.

Re:Australian voting system (5, Informative)

skwang (174902) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379737)

The Austrailian ballot is where candidates (for all elections) are listed entirely on one ballot and you get to choose which candidate you want regardless of party.

It may bewilder some people that before the 1920's when you went to vote, a member of the Republican or Democratic party stood outside your polling in place and handed you a "Republican" or "Democratic" ballot. Said ballot would have only the party nominations for President, Senator, House Representatives, State Governor, State Senator, etc. As a result you "voted the party line."

The Austrailian ballot was introduced between the 1920s and 1940s in the US (different municipalities adopted it at different times). It changed US politics because now people could vote for a Democratic President but a Republican Senator. One major result is that since WWII there have been very few times when the party of the president coincided with the majority party of Congress. In fact the Bush administration which has had a Republican Congress for most of the three years it has been in office is an exception not a norm.

Re:Australian voting system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379903)

My comments have no bearing on Open source... But some things to consider in the arguments:

1. Scale: Australia as a country has the population of greater LA or NYC - so obviously any system that is implemented, can be done so much easier than the USA

2. For what it is worth, when I lived there Voting WAS mandatory - you were fined $A50 for NOT voting... If everyone is required to vote, the database is much easier to maintain.

Re:Australian voting system (1)

Shaleh (1050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379968)

That is the most brilliant idea I have heard in a while!

You don't vote and it costs you money -- that will definitely get people to the ballot box.

I love it, the States should definately do that.

(no, this was not sarcasm)

those aussies! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379525)

SURE KNOW HOW TO THROW A PARTY!! yeah buddy.. woooot jeah..uh huh ibaibaibaibaiba

Holy fook! (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379530)

Somebody that actually gives a shit about the good of society rather than just trying to grab as much for themselves as possible! Whatta weirdo!

Re:Holy fook! (1)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379619)

Not quite. This was a company spokesperson taking advantage of Diebold's failure.I wonder if some people here would be okay with eating babies, as long as open source is mentioned as its benefit

This company is trying to position itself to sell its own wares to the U.S. I hope they succeed too.

Re:Holy fook! (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379853)

Hmm... What kind of babies?

EVACS is free. As in both beer and speech. (1)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379904)

It's GPLed and available to download at this link:

http://www.elections.act.gov.au/evacs.tar.gz [act.gov.au]

So, if you want to get started advocating an open e-voting system for your neck of the woods or an alternative to Diebold, then you can get started now.

If you want to push printed receipts, I'm sure you can hire someone who could write an interface to a little thermal printer via the COM ports.

Enginnering ethics... (3, Insightful)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379537)

Now that's what I call engineering ethics, letting people know the truth about what you're doing. Fine, maybe a computer should at least keep the software code to themselves (patent it so no one else could use it, I do believe in some intellectual property rights), but Diebold should have at least let us see the code so we can tell them how holey it is.

Mod This Up; I Won't Get Karma (Boo Hoo) (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379546)

Aussies Do It Right: E-Voting By Kim Zetter
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/ebiz/0,1272,61045,00.htm l

02:00 AM Nov. 03, 2003 PT

While critics in the United States grow more concerned each day about the insecurity of electronic voting machines, Australians designed a system two years ago that addressed and eased most of those concerns: They chose to make the software running their system completely open to public scrutiny.

Although a private Australian company designed the system, it was based on specifications set by independent election officials, who posted the code on the Internet for all to see and evaluate. What's more, it was accomplished from concept to product in six months. It went through a trial run in a state election in 2001.

Critics say the development process is a model for how electronic voting machines should be made in the United States.

Called eVACS, or Electronic Voting and Counting System, the system was created by a company called Software Improvements to run on Linux, an open-source operating system available on the Internet.

Election officials in the Australian Capital Territory, one of eight states and territories in the country, turned to electronic voting for the same reason the United States did -- a close election in 1998 exposed errors in the state's hand-counting system. Two candidates were separated by only three or four votes, said Phillip Green, electoral commissioner for the territory. After recounting, officials discovered that out of 80,000 ballots, they had made about 100 mistakes. They decided to investigate other voting methods.

In 1999, the Australian Capital Territory Electoral Commission put out a public call for e-vote proposals to see if an electronic option was viable. Over 15 proposals came in, but only one offered an open-source solution. Two companies proposed the plan in partnership after extensive consultation with academics at Australian National University. But one of the companies later dropped out of the project, leaving Software Improvements to build the system.

Green said that going the open-source route was an obvious choice.

"We'd been watching what had happened in America (in 2000), and we were wary of using propriety software that no one was allowed to see," he said. "We were very keen for the whole process to be transparent so that everyone -- particularly the political parties and the candidates, but also the world at large -- could be satisfied that the software was actually doing what it was meant to be doing."

It took another year for changes in Australian law to allow electronic voting to go forward. Then in April 2001, Software Improvements contracted to build the system for the state's October election.

Software Improvement's Matt Quinn, the lead engineer on the product, said the commission called all the shots.

"They, as the customer, dictated requirements including security and functionality, (and they) were involved at every step of the development process, from requirements to testing," Quinn said. "They proofed every document we produced."

The commission posted drafts as well as the finished software code on the Internet for the public to review.

The reaction was very positive.

"The fact that the source code had been published really deflected criticism," Quinn said.

A few people wrote in to report bugs, including an academic at the Australian National University who found the most serious problem.

"It wasn't a functional or a security issue but was a mistake nonetheless, and one that we were glad to have flagged for us," said Quinn.

In addition to the public review, the commission hired an independent verification and validation company to audit the code, "specifically to prevent us, as a developer, from having any election-subverting code in there," Quinn said.

"We were concerned that it wouldn't be secure enough," said Green, the electoral commissioner. The audit was performed specifically to search for security weaknesses in the system, but Green says the researchers found none.

The state tested 80 machines in the election, distributed among eight polling places throughout Canberra (the country's capital). A comparative manual count after the election showed that the system operated accurately.

The plan is to use the 80 machines again next year, but Quinn said the difficulty in deploying the system nationwide is that it would have to be adapted for use over larger geographic areas.

The machines are not what Quinn would call high-tech. The voting terminal consists of a PC and offers ballots in 12 languages, including Serbian and Farsi. The system includes English audio for vision-impaired and illiterate voters.

The voter swipes a bar code over a reader that resets the machine for a new vote and calls up a ballot. Once a selection is made and reviewed, the voter swipes the bar code again to cast the vote. The bar code doesn't identify the voter; it simply authorizes the voter to cast one ballot.

The terminals link to a server in each polling place through a secure local-area network so no votes are transmitted over the Internet or phone lines.

Quinn said the server writes two copies of the votes onto separate discs that are digitally signed and delivered independently to a central counting place. The digital signature is a 128-bit unique identifier generated from the voting data. If the data were changed in transit, the identifier would change too, raising red flags that something went wrong.

The machine does not include a voter-verifiable receipt, something critics of U.S. systems want added to machines and voting machine makers have resisted.

A voter-verifiable receipt is a printout from the machine, allowing the voter to check the vote before depositing the receipt into a secure ballot box at the polling station. It can be used as a paper audit trail in case of a recount.

Green said the commission rejected the printout feature to keep expenses down. The system cost $125,000 to develop and implement. The printouts would have increased that cost significantly, primarily to pay for personnel to manage and secure the receipts and make sure voters didn't walk off with them.

Quinn, however, thinks all e-voting systems should offer a receipt. "There's no reason voters should trust a system that doesn't have it, and they shouldn't be asked to," he said.

"Why on earth should (voters) have to trust me -- someone with a vested interest in the project's success?" he said. "A voter-verified audit trail is the only way to 'prove' the system's integrity to the vast majority of electors, who after all, own the democracy."

As for the costs of securing and storing such receipts, Quinn said, "Did anyone ever say that democracy was meant to be cheap?"

Quinn also believes that voting systems must use open-source software.

"The keystone of democracy is information," he said. "You have a big problem when people don't have enough information to make up their minds or, even worse, they have misleading information and make up their minds in a way that would be contrary to what they would decide if they had the full story.

"Any transparency you can add to that process is going to enhance the democracy and, conversely, any information you remove from that process is going to undermine your democracy."

The issues of voter-verifiable receipts and secret voting systems could be resolved in the United States by a bill introduced to the House of Representatives last May by Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey). The bill would force voting-machine makers nationwide to provide receipts and make the source code for voting machines open to the public. The bill has 50 co-sponsors so far, all of them Democrats.

"If a voting system precludes any notion of a meaningful recount, is cloaked in secrecy and controlled by individuals with conflicts of interest, why would anyone buy it?," Quinn said. "At the very least give citizens the right to choose whether they want to use paper ballots ... thus allowing each elector to be personally satisfied as to the integrity of the process in which they are participating."

Quinn, who was working in Chicago for Motorola during the 2000 presidential election, says he is "gob smacked" by what he sees happening among U.S. electronic voting machine makers, whom he says have too much control over the democratic process.

It has been widely reported that Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, one of the biggest U.S. voting-machine makers, purposely disabled some of the security features in its software. According to reports the move left a backdoor in the system through which someone could enter and manipulate data. In addition, Walden O'Dell, Diebold Election System's chief executive, is a leading fundraiser for the Republican Party. He stated recently that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.''

"The only possible motive I can see for disabling some of the security mechanisms and features in their system is to be able to rig elections," Quinn said. "It is, at best, bad programming; at worst, the system has been designed to rig an election."

"I can't imagine what it must be like to be an American in the midst of this and watching what's going on," Quinn added. "Democracy is for the voters, not for the companies making the machines.... I would really like to think that when it finally seeps in to the collective American psyche that their sacred Democracy has been so blatantly abused, they will get mad."

But he says that the security of voting systems in the U.S. shouldn't concern Americans alone.

"After all, we've all got a stake in who's in the White House these days. I'm actually prone to think that the rest of the world should get a vote in your elections since, quite frankly, the U.S. policy affects the rest of the world so heavily."

Re:Mod This Up; I Won't Get Karma (Boo Hoo) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379697)

Please do not post the entire news article when there's already a link to it. It takes up space, and overly redundant.

P.S. Don't waste your mod points on this, use them for something else more constructive.

SI's brochure (in plain text): (1, Redundant)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379764)

Likewise, no karma bonus for this post..

eVACS(R) - the modular system for conducting elections comprising:
e-set up
e-voting
e-data entry
e-counting

Key features
eVACS(R) maintains the key features of all parliamentary elections:
o Privacy of voter
o Authenticity of voter
o Avoidance of coercion
o Empty ballot box at start of polling
o Security of ballot papers
o One vote per person

eVACS(R) handles the simplest to the most complex of election systems, including multi-member proportional representation.

eVACS(R) enables rotation of `ballot papers'(eg Robson Rotation).

Accessibility and Privacy Guaranteed

Increase the level of accessibility and privacy for voters using eVACS(R) special features.
o Audio for vision impaired voters.
o Voting instructions in multiple languages.
o Any alphabet or character set available for e-voting.

Integrity of eVACS(R)

eVACS(R) has been extensively tested and audited against the detailed design specification and acceptance test cases and procedures developed in accordance with IEEE Standards.

Testing methods employed:
o Structured test cases in controlled situations, used to ensure individual modules perform as expected;
o Scrutinies in parallel, using eVACS(R) and manual counting of known sets of ballot papers, using a variety of test election outcomes to test specific cases;
o "Real user" testing, whereby large numbers of users cast electronic votes in a mock polling place and data entry operators entered the results from paper ballots, used to test useability and to simulate realistic loads on the system;
o Load testing, where large quantities of ballot data was simulated and loaded into the counting system; and
o Whole-of-life testing; in which the entire process was simulated, taking test electronic votes from a polling place, loading it into the counting server, adding data-entered results from paper ballots, and using the counting system to generate a Hare-Clark result.

Auditing undertaken:
o Software code was independently audited and certified:
o to neither gain nor lose votes;
o to faithfully implement the algorithm for vote counting; and
o is written in a consistent, structured and maintainable style.
o The independent auditor also checked the version of the code containing actual candidate information after the close of nominations that was used in the ACT election.

Internet voting

eVACS(R) was designed to collect and count votes electronically with no less security, no impingement of voter's rights and no less anonymity than the current paper based system. Internet solutions were not acceptable due to the possibility of voter coercion and system tampering.

eVACS(R) operates on standard hardware

e-Voting
Voting with eVACS(R) means using standard PCs, each with a keypad and barcode reader connected to an isolated LAN at each Polling Centre, plus a server with two hard drive disk drives and removable media drive.
Vision impaired voters use the same equipment but with a larger screen and headphones.

e-Counting
For data entry, standard PCs are connected to a server.
For the counting system, a server with a removable media drive and a Postscript Printer is used.
eVACS(R) was first used with the most complex election system, involving multi-member seat electorates with proportional representation according to the Hare-Clark electoral system.
eVACS(R) is tailored for use with all other election systems, such as, for example, first past the post and single member electorates with preferential voting.

eVACS(R) in use

eVACS(R) was used for the most recent ACT Legislative Assembly Election, and the subsequent Casual Vacancy arising from the resignation of a member.
The ACT has a multi-member preferential election system that follows the Hare-Clark rules.
Electorates have either 5 or 7 members.
Twelve languages - Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, English, Greek, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese were used with e-voting.
A standalone demonstration PC was set up at polling centres for people to try the system before going to vote. People found the system so simple to operate that the demonstration PCs were found not to be necessary.
Even with a complex preferential election, 80,000 e-votes were counted and the results displayed within 30 seconds.
The ACT Electoral Commission considers the use of electronic voting and electronic counting via eVACS(R) "was a success and a valuable improvement on democratic processes in the ACT" and has recommended that the e-counting system of eVACS(R) "be made standard practice at ACT elections" and the e-voting system of eVACS(R) "be continued at the 2004 election".

Benefits gained with eVACS(R)
o Reduces the number of informal votes.
o Allows vision-impaired people to vote entirely without assistance and in secret through the use of headphones and recorded voice instructions.
o Provides on-screen instructions in multiple languages.
o Effectively eliminates unintentional voter errors.
o Unique bar code validates vote without linking vote to individual voter - confidentiality of vote.
o Eliminates the need for manual counting, thereby reducing the possibility of counting errors, and speeding the transmission of results.
o Effectively eliminates errors such as incorrectly sorting or counting ballot papers.
o Increases the accuracy of the election count.
o Increases the speed of the count.
o Interim and final preference distribution data can be easily determined.
o Data from paper ballots can be easily incorporated for counting.
o Results can be readily available for loading on a web site.
o Is reliable and secure.
o An audited system that is transparent, source code is published.
o System is tamper proof during the election

Company Philosophy

Software Improvements aims to provide quality software products that ensure their use by customers results in ethical and defensible outcomes.

Established in 1992, Software Improvements specialises in improving the processes of acquisition, development, operation and maintenance typically used by developers for critical software systems thereby reducing the risks and overheads for purchasers of software.

Clients come from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Korea.

More Information? Contact
Carol Boughton
Managing Director
Software Improvements
Telephone: +61 2 6273 2055
email: carol@softimp.com.au
website: http://www.softimp.com.au/evacs.html

Re:SI's brochure (in plain text): (1)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379782)

Oops.. I checked the "No Karma Bonus" box instead of "Post Anonymously". Guess I will get karma.. be it good or bad. 8-)

Cheating in Elections... (-1, Flamebait)

pkp_gl211 (703656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379551)


I don't understand the hub-ub about rigging elections. Just because the voting machines are electronic does not make them "easier" to cheat with in elections. Bush was able to do it in 2000 in a district controlled by democrats with punchcards. Given his limited intellect it would seem anyone could do it.

Learn more at http://www.johnkerry.com

Media trying to hide the Media's attempt to rig it (0, Flamebait)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379858)

I don't understand the hub-ub about rigging elections. Just because the voting machines are electronic does not make them "easier" to cheat with in elections. Bush was able to do it in 2000 in a district controlled by democrats with punchcards. Given his limited intellect it would seem anyone could do it.

In 2000 the broadcast media claimed that Gore had won Florida nearly an hour before the polls closed in the panhandle area (in the Central, rather than Eastern, time zone.) Such a call can be expected to result in a lot of panhandle voters to have stayed home rather than vote.

Since the pahnandle area (unlike the urban areas of the peninsula) is heavily Republican, this no doubt selectively reduced Bush's vote count by a significant factor. NEARLY enough to swing the Florida, and thus the national, election to Gore.

But despite the media's cheers (and slips like a major anchor referring to Gore as "Our candidate"), they didn't QUITE manage to steal the Florida election.

And despite days of squirming - trying to exclude military absentee votes in violation of Federal law, counting every dimple on a ballot, etc., the Democrats STILL weren't able to get the numbers to come out in favor of Gore - either before the Supreme Court finally smacked them down and made them adhere to their own laws, or after months of after-the-election recounting.

Yet the media, and certain Democratic politicians, STILL bury these facts on back pages. And even today they attempt to spin the Media/Democrat axis' failed attempt to steal the election into a successful theft by the Republicans.

What GALL!

One thing I have consistently observed: Whenever someone in the public light is engaged in shady activity, he'll loudly accuse his opponents, or anyone who seems likely to call him on it, of EXACTLY THE SAME WRONGDOING that he himself engages in. This pattern looks like a preemptive strike, trying to give the valid expose the appearance of a schoolyard "He did it!" "No, HE did i!t" finger-pointing contest.

And this instance is a case in point: The media trying (apparently successfully) to cover up their own, very public, attempt to steal an election, with a smokescreen about Republicans allegedly being bigger thieves than they are.

I'm not sure why the Diebold source isn't availabl (3, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379584)

Isn't the voting system run by the state? Shouldn't the source code be available by the Freedom of Information Act or something?

Re:I'm not sure why the Diebold source isn't avail (1)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379611)

calling Dr. DMCA on line one... ...calling Dr. DMCA on line one...

Re:I'm not sure why the Diebold source isn't avail (2, Informative)

Politburo (640618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379820)

Isn't the voting system run by the state? Shouldn't the source code be available by the Freedom of Information Act or something?

FOIA is a federal act, and while most states have equivalent acts, FOIA requests can not be made to a state. For example, New Jersey's equivalent law is called the Open Public Records Act. With FOIA, and with OPRA, requests can be made to any executive branch agency. The Division of Elections would fall under this in New Jersey. I cannot speculate as to whether or not they would agree to the request without court action.

Re:I'm not sure why the Diebold source isn't avail (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379920)

Of course, this also leads to another serious point that should be considered. Shouldn't a federal election be run by the Federal Government? Sure, you can reimburse the state, but if the Federal Election were Federally run, and using the same methods. That way if crap happened then it would be brought to the forefront more easily, and people from outside of your jurisdiction would be able to impartially (well, as impartially as possible) assist.

Sign the HR2239 petition. (5, Informative)

Eraserhd (21298) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379585)

This petition is the only way to guaruntee that your vote will be counted--it mandates that machine give the voter a human-readable receipt which the voter drops into a lock box in case. In the case of a recount, the paper receipts are counted. It also mandates a manual recount in .5% of districts to verify the accuracy of the machines. The petititions are linked to at the bottom of the VerifiedVoting [verifiedvoting.org] site.

Re:Sign the HR2239 petition. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379787)

But how do we know VerifiedVoting.org is counting signatures properly? I want a paper receipt! ;)

Re:Sign the HR2239 petition. (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379791)

You do realize that signing online petitions does absolutely nothing, right? I could sign that thing 500 times if I wanted to. They're not very accurate and nobody takes them seriously.

A better thing to do would be to actually write or call the people who will be voting on this issue, and tell them to support it. Although you're still not likely to make too much of a difference, doing this actually has SOMEWHAT of a chance of influencing things.

Re:Sign the HR2239 petition. (1)

Eraserhd (21298) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380049)

Nothing prevents you from signing a paper petition 500 times, either. That's not the point. As long as you can verify that the signers are mostly unique individuals, an elected official can guage the magnitude of public opinion on a topic. That is what is important, as that is what affects his or her yay or nay.

And please do contact your representatives. My rep is a co-sponser of the bill so I haven't had to make any calls, but I'm ready to! Specifically, VerifiedVoting needs to get position statements on the bill from some House members yet. Some apparently refuse to talk to people who aren't their consitutents (last I heard, they are looking for a constituent of Robert Ney - Ohio 18th district, to get his position on the bill).

Re:Sign the HR2239 petition. (2, Interesting)

pentalive (449155) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379840)

The manual recount is only of any use if the .5% of districts are chosen randomly after polls close.

Otherwise the vote-changers will leave the known test districts alone and only change votes in those districts not
being re-counted.

When I was in California, the voter's pamphlet had a grid on the first page with all the punch locations (a grid of numbers) I marked that while examining the issues and voted acording to that in the booth. There is a take home record for anyone who wants it.

oss software? (1)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379586)

Where's the OSS software? Can't find it on the company website.

Re:oss software? (5, Informative)

TomV (138637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379693)

Don't panic. It isn't on the company's website, it's on the ACT Electoral commission's website - the tar.gz is here [act.gov.au] , linked from this page [act.gov.au] .

My goodness! (4, Insightful)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379594)

"If a voting system precludes any notion of a meaningful recount, is cloaked in secrecy and controlled by individuals with conflicts of interest, why would anyone buy it?," Quinn said. "At the very least give citizens the right to choose whether they want to use paper ballots ... thus allowing each elector to be personally satisfied as to the integrity of the process in which they are participating."

That just makes... sense.

Re:My goodness! (4, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380009)

Except you will have some voters who will think that:
- they could vote twice, once with each method
- that one was just a practice vote and the other was one that counted
- are confused that there are two voting methods and don't know what to do, so don't vote at all
- paper discriminates against tree huggers and caters to the logging community
- electronic voting discriminates against technology luddites and caters to the techno-savvy

In other words. . . (3, Insightful)

Fritz Benwalla (539483) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379609)


The company responsible (namely Software Improvements) is clearly pushing to pick up a contract for machine development in the U.S., and saying All The Right Things (tm) to get it.

Don't blame them really, Diebold left themselves wide open - should be easy pickins.

---

Re:In other words. . . (1)

schatten (163083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379657)

and with an attitude like that, rather than the C&D letters from Diebold with no motivation to do something better than NT security and an access database.. I say, give it to em.

Re:In other words. . . (2, Informative)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379892)

... and saying All The Right Things (tm) ...
I second that observation, wholeheartedly. It's incredibly refreshing to hear a vendor speak in plain, honest sentences when describing their work and/or their product. It's saying, in effect, "Look at our work and judge for yourself." No hand-waving, no market-speak, no smoke and mirrors.

Amazing.

I also like the idea of bringing these guys into the US market, ASAP. Let them compete with the likes of Diebold. If the majority of the people evaluating the voting systems are not in someone's pocket, then Software Improvements will acquire a big contract, indeed.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379618)

When was the last time slashdot posted a pro-American article? Seems like all they do is bash it at every opportunity, along with Microsoft, the RIAA, MPAA, etc.

Re:Question (1, Troll)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379700)

That would be because there's not much to be pro about in america these days.

Re:Question (2, Funny)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379835)

there's not much to be pro about in america these days

"What do you mean there's not much to be pro about? America, she's beautiful, she's rich, she's got huuuuuge.... tracts of land!'

Re:Question (0, Flamebait)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379710)

The people who run slashdot as well as the vast majority of the most vocal posters aren't very bright and are prone to hysteria. Hence the piling on, tin-foil hatters, mindless bashing etc. etc.

Re:Question (0, Flamebait)

Dunark (621237) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379711)

When was the last time slashdot posted a pro-American article? Seems like all they do is bash it at every opportunity, along with Microsoft, the RIAA, MPAA, etc.

OK, so name a few things that Americans have been doing that they should be proud of.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379923)

Land grant colleges....

Re:Question (1)

DeltaSigma (583342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379965)

We're masters in the realm of fiction. We've been destroying fictional weapons of mass destruction, and those that harbor them. We've been protecting the fictional freedom of our citizens with fictional security bills.

And in the information age, it really makes no difference whether you're writing fiction or fact, as long as you're writing, because that's information.

Re:Question (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379873)

A true patriot is one who never misses an opportunity to find fault with his country.

In the US the voters no longer own the democracy.. (3, Insightful)

ajm (9538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379627)

so his comments don't apply here. An electronic system in the US that statisfies the owners of the democracy in the US needs to staisfy the Republican party and its big money supporters. The Diebold system is perfect for this and hence is the choice in the US. Why bother how people vote when you can control how the votes are counted? So long as the difference between the opinion polls and exit polls and the official "results" aren't too large you can get away with stealing elections for as long as you want.

It's so true it's not even a troll (4, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379825)

You'll get modded as a troll for that, maybe, but it's a shade of one step from the truth. Diebold's CEO being a big Republican donor who's sworn to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes for Bush next year, that isn't the message I'm reading in the Mpls. Star Tribune. Here it reads like "Techies are concerned about sloppiness in voting systems" instead. That's just the first step in this story.

Election Systems and Software, the other major electronic voting company, is also, coincidentally, run by a big Repub' contributor. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska has a stake in that company. Can you imagine that? A sitting senator with financial interests in a company responsible for counting votes? Unbelievable.

Sort of makes me think about how incredibly brazen Halliburton's role is in Iraq now. These people don't even attempt to maintain the illusion of impartiality. So, see, you're right -- this Australian company's ideas about the proper way to ensure confidence, they just don't apply. As long as our Repubs can fly under the radar, they don't care whether it's right or not.

Re:It's so true it's not even a troll (1)

ajm (9538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379918)

Yep, it's a sad day when stuff that would on other topics pass for trolling is close to the truth when talking about the democratic system. The thing is that there doesn't seem to be any outrage about this sort of stuff.

Re:It's so true it's not even a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7380054)

Actually there is a great deal of outrage about this and many other things. Problem is (what passes for) journalism in the US has no interest in reporting any of it. So, you sit there thinking "aw, no one else cares, why should I?" If you don't know why there is any outrage, look in the mirror and then ask "why isn't there any outrage?"

Oz... (1)

Persecuted_Telemarke (717360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379631)

Not to make an over-generalization, but Australia usually does things the right way. I have always been amazed at the level of well-runnedness of Oz.

We would always do better to at least pay attention to what they're doing over there, the benefits would easily pay back careful study.

16 years ago... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379643)

16 years ago we didn't have the capability to
























to vote. Secondly, we haven't been able to see what the world is about. And lastly, secondly was abotu the thirdly worlds that dont have presidents and oil so they dont have to worry about nukes.

Simple solution for e-voting (2, Insightful)

medication (91890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379645)

We have an incredibly secure infrastructure already in place that could easily handle e-voting. We can already buy stamps from ATM machines... I find it hard to believe that someone could write an app to be deployed on all the systems to handle an election. And as far as the constiuents that don't have an exsiting ATM card, I'm going to guess that its going to be a lot easier and cheaper to just issue them ATM-voter cards then to create/install e-voting needs for those without computers.

Re:Simple solution for e-voting (4, Funny)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379746)

This could greatly improve efficiency of vote buying. The money for the vote could be transfered directly into your account.

Re:Simple solution for e-voting (2, Funny)

ydnar (946) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380060)

Diebold makes those too.

real democracy (2, Insightful)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379650)

a robust, fully secure, fully anonymous, standardized (across states, counties, whateveer your contry might have) would be a great step towards a true democracy instead of a, oh damnit my mind went blank and lost the word... a democracy that uses such machinations as an electoral college, as the U.S. uses. I would assume that the electoral college is in place simply because it would have been too hard to count millions of votes by hand. computers can count and sort easily. get rid of the middleman who may or may not (though historically does as the votes say) elect the correct person.

Re:real democracy (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379884)

Think of the implications of a true democracy.

Think of the masses voting on each and every topic.

How much does your average citizen know about foreign policy? Health care? Criminal and civil law?

A true democracy would be the worst form of government I could think of, unless you happen to have the exact same opinions as >50% of the population, you're fucked.

Realize that around 70% of Americans are christian. Now, lets vote on whether or not to allow that mosque or synagogue (sp) to open its doors on the corner, or whether gays should be allowed to parade, etc..

Re:real democracy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379933)

The electoral college is in place to give less populated areas a louder voice.

Since a state is awarded electoral votes based on the number of representitives + 2 senators.

There was a big debate way back in the day about how representation should work. Should it be based on population or should it be 1 state 1 vote (or some variant on that theme).

The constitution found the comprimise of the bicameral system and here we are today.

Re:real democracy (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379954)

What does the electoral college have to do with the topic? I happen to think it's a preferential system to direct elections. Oh and standarization is a BIG mistake, imagine if the entire country was standardized and forced to use Diebold machines?

Re:real democracy (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379969)

instead of having forms, results, data from X amount of different machines? standardized output and accountability might have been a better choice of words.

Re:real democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379970)


I would assume that the electoral college is in place simply because it would have been too hard to count millions of votes by hand.


No, Initially the electoral college was institued becaues the founding fathers had no faith that the common man could be trusted to pick their leaders. Instead, the common man was allowed to elect electors, and they would get to pick the president. The assumption was that the college could easily be dominated by the wealthy, so they could be sure the president would represent that group.

Changes in the college over the years have pretty much eliminated that reason for its existance. Now it is kept to support the winner take all states. This ensures that no one other than the one true Democrat or the one true Republican could possibly put together enough support to become a president.

Re:real democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7380016)

I would assume that the electoral college is in place simply because it would have been too hard to count millions of votes by hand.
And you would be wrong, especially in light of other countries which do in fact count millions of votes by hand; the number of potential vote-counters scales with the population. No, the Electoral College exists for the same reasons as the Senate. Historically, they provided a national voice for the state legislatures, prior to the 17th Amendment (establishing direct election of senators) and state laws compelling electors to vote with the plurality of citizens. Today, both prevent the few most populous states from forcing a single agenda on the rest of the Union.

Mummify my cock in a coffin of chode (-1)

(TK5)Dessimat0r (670505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379699)

-INSANE-PRIEST--INSANE-PRIEST--INSAN
I___________,.-------.,____________I Slashdot
N______,;~'_____________'~;,_______N fucking
S____,;____LINUX FUCKING____;,_____S sucks
A___;___SUCKS, YOU FUCKING____;____A
N__,'____SLASHDOT RETARDS.____',___N Rob Malda
E_,;___GET IT INTO YOUR HEAD___;,__E is a
-_;_;______._____l_____.______;_;__- cocksucker
P_l_;____________l____________;_l__P
R_l__`/~"_____~"_._"~_____"~\'__l__R Slashdot
I_l__~__,-~~~^~,_l_,~^~~~-,__~__l__I fucking
E__l___l________}:{__ (O) _l___l___E sucks
S__l___l_ (o) _/_l_\_______!___l___S
T__.~__(__,.--"_.^._"--.,__)__~.___T Rob Malda
-__l_____---;'_/_l_\_`;---_____l___- is a
-___\__._______V.^.V___((oo))./____- cocksucker
I__O_VI_\________________ll_IV___O_I
N_____I_lT~\___!___!___/~ll_I______N Fucking
S_____I_l`IIII_I_I_I_IIIIll_I__o___S lameness
A_O___I__\,III_I_I_I_III,ll_I______A filters,
N______\___`----------'__ll/____o__N will
E____O___\___._______.___ll________E this
-_________\..___^____../(_l___O____- ever
P_________/_^___^___^_/__ll\_______P fucking
R_O______/`'-l l_l l-';__ll_l___O__R WORK?!
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S_______l\___\ l_l l__;__ll_l__O___S was good
T__o____l_\___ll=l l==\__ll_l______T in bed, she
-____o__l_/\_/\l_l l__l`-ll_/______- grunts like
-_______'-l_`;'l_l l__l__ll_____O__- an ape.
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N____O____l__l+l_l+l__l__ll___O____N Rob Malda
S_________l__"""_"""__l__ll________S is a
A__O______l____o_o____l__ll____O___A cocksucker
N_________l,;,;,;,;,;,l__ll________N
E_____O___`lIlIlIlIlIl`__ll________E
-__________llIlIlIlIll___ll_____O__- By Dessimat0r
P__________`"""""""""`___""________P (c)2003 Trollkore
-INSANE-PRIEST--INSANE-PRIEST--INSAN

The bishop, while living, was a follower of God.
Now dead, his rotting fingers are able to raise
an army of skeletons from the grave.

Trollkore
"I hate you, I hate your country, and I hate your face!"

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Preferential voting system (5, Informative)

bludger (701607) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379774)

Foreign readers might also be interested in checking out the Australian preferential voting system. This is, in my opinion, a much fairer system than the "first past the post" system of the UK or US. In the preferential system, votes for minority candidates are never wasted as the vote cannot be split. This would be especially valid for a presidential system as in the US. For more details, check out: http://www.australianpolitics.com/voting/systems/p referential.shtml

Re:Preferential voting system (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379879)

Of course, this makes it harder for the ignorant to vote, and easier to donkey vote, and vote incorrectly.

open source doesn't make right (2, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379785)

isn't it like saying the techniques to print money should be open source and available to the public because we want to know if our money is printed right? Whether it is open source or not is irrelevant. Obviously the government should have access to the source from the vendor (just like the government owns the designs to all the military aircraft it gives boeing or lockheed to build). Good software is software engineered properly. Whether it is open or not is irrelevant

Re:open source doesn't make right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7380036)

"Obviously the government should have access to the source from the vendor"

But they don't with current proprietary voting systems. Also, just letting an auditor look at the code only addresses a fraction of the problem - how do we know that the audited code is really the source for the executable in the voting machine? I could live with the public not getting access to the source code as long as the election board has unfettered access, and preferably if the government, not the vendor, is given responsibility for compiling and installing the executables from the very code that has been audited.

One Down, One To Go (0)

SlipJig (184130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379808)

Glad they've got a good voting machine. Next they should get a good election method [electionmethods.org] . Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) has major problems [electionmethods.org] (though there is a variant that attempts to correct them).

Re:One Down, One To Go (4, Interesting)

PurpleBob (63566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379944)

I dislike IRV as much as you do, but at the moment you can't blame Australia - no country is doing any better than IRV for their national elections.

Good methods (like Condorcet) should start in small organizations and work their way up, so that people are already familiar with how good preferential voting works.

Debian, for example, has already worked out lots of kinks and unfairness in their voting system by switching to Condorcet. Some "rules of order" books now advocate using Condorcet when possible. Encouraging this is what will get good preferential voting accepted, not pointing an angry finger at the government that's using a slightly better method than everyone else but still isn't good enough.

voter-verifiable audit trail not included (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379823)

The machine does not include a voter-verifiable receipt, something critics of U.S. systems want added to machines and voting machine makers have resisted.

A voter-verifiable receipt is a printout from the machine, allowing the voter to check the vote before depositing the receipt into a secure ballot box at the polling station. It can be used as a paper audit trail in case of a recount.

Green said the commission rejected the printout feature to keep expenses down. The system cost $125,000 to develop and implement. The printouts would have increased that cost significantly, primarily to pay for personnel to manage and secure the receipts and make sure voters didn't walk off with them.


Quinn, however, thinks all e-voting systems should offer a receipt. "There's no reason voters should trust a system that doesn't have it, and they shouldn't be asked to," he said.

And here in Canada... (5, Informative)

dl248 (67452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379842)

In most elections that I have witnessed in Canada, either municipal, provincial, or federal, there is ALWAYS a paper trail. I mark my ballot with a big fat X in the appropriate spot on a voting card.

Then the magic begins: the cards are each fed, as collected, into a vote counting machine. The ballots are held in the case a recount (automated or manual), and the results are known just as soon as it takes to communicate the results from each of the machines at each polling station.

We usually have the final, _official_ results within an hour or two of the poll closing time, and you can always go back to the paper ballot to verify the count. And who the heck has a hard time with a piece of paper and a pencil?

No hanging or dimpled chads here, and this to me seems the best of both worlds - technology aiding the speed of vote-counting (isn't that what this is all about, anyway?), but with the safeguards (and transparency) of a manual voting system.

Re:And here in Canada... (1)

Inexile2002 (540368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379991)

Its true. We had a federal election here pretty close to when that whole Florida thing was going on down in the US. The whole thing went smooth as silk. Paper and pencil voting and stuffing the vote into a normal cardboard box. Pretty much anyone can send an observer down and everything is over in a matter of hours.

Adding complexity to a complex system rarely if ever creates reliability. I'm pretty sure that the voting system here will stay the way it is until someone can unambiguously show that their new voting system is simpler and more reliable. Mind you, the stakes are lower in Canada too. In ol' Jean's term of office he's had to personally wrestle a protester to the ground, personally defend his home from an intruder and when I saw him at a speaking engagement I was able to walk right up and say hi.

What continues to amaze me is how little most people actually care about the state of the elections in the US. There's a lively debate going on here and a few other sites, but most Americans could care less. I think the real issue is how to wake people up - a little outrage would do America a world of good right now. (Not that we Canucks should talk, if you want complacency, come up here and we'll teach you a thing or two.)

Open Source (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379851)

Nobody says open source is better because it's open source. It has to be open source because is MUST be open source by principle.

Get that in your damn head. Every citizen (who cares) should have the right to get a deep insight into how his vote is eletronically processed. If you're not allowed to know how your vote is processed you have no democrazy.

Paper reciept? (1)

bigkahunafish (708759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379863)

I'm not so sure I like computer machines at all. People have been saying, well, if we have a paper reciept printed that can be counted by hand, then its ok, however... what happens when the computer, through some type of rigging software, also prints out a reciept that presents the faulty votes... I guarantee people probably wouldnt catch it... and therefore it does nothing to solve the problem
I prefer optical scanning machines... the voting is still done by hand and can be counted by hand

BIN LADEN WORKS FOR DIEBOLD AGAINST THE USA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7379881)

My conspiracy theory is awaiting your precious mod points.

Trouble is ... (4, Insightful)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379914)

... the fact that you can read "the" source code doesn't guarantee that's the version of the software -- or even the software itself -- actually being run on the machine. Is there some audit procedure for the compile/link/install process?

if peeps had problems with the manual ballets... (1)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379975)

I'm getting memories of the Florida Elections and these same sort of inept people trying to figure out an E-Ballet. brrrr ...Pokin at their computer screen with a hole punch /imf not we-todd-ed

You call that an electronic voting machine... (1)

jbelcher56 (694028) | more than 10 years ago | (#7379986)

THIS is an eletronic voting machine

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7380015)

Brasil is running on e-votes since 1996 (maybe earlier). The results are counted in less than 48h.

The Voterix (1)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 10 years ago | (#7380017)

(Outside of a school gymnasium, November 2004)

Agent: "Pollster, you had specific orders to
wait until we got here to begin this procedure."

(looks around)

Agent: "Where are your men now?"

Pollster: "I just sent them up there a minute ago... they were gonna make a little side trip and then vote for Dean. They should be bringing down Bush now."

(Agent looks at school)

Agent: "No Sergeant, the Diebold machines have already voted for Bush."
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