Beta
×

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!

E-Voting Glitch: 19,000 Voters, 144,000 Votes

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the that's-some-glitch dept.

United States 601

nick_davison writes "The Indianapolis Star is reporting the latest case of 'interesting' E-voting results. Tuesday's Boone County election, using MicroVote software returned 144,000 votes from 19,000 registered voters. After much panicking and tracking down the bug, the actual number of votes turned out as 5,352. With yet another mistake, does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?"

cancel ×

601 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

1st post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452388)

1st post!

MicroVote Sucks (2, Funny)

khalua (468456) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452389)

Have you tried MacroVote?

Re:MicroVote Sucks (2, Funny)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452407)

It sounds like Macrovote is what it actually does.

There no longer seems to be any reason to vote. Since our corporate overlords now control the elections, and control the candidates anyway, we should simply let them choose directly.

Macrovote - a politicians prayer (1, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452527)

With our new patent-pending macro-vote system, you too can auto-vote most of your constituents in a single mouse click. And you can do it as many times as you want!

Macro-vote, for a macro generation!

Simon.

Does anyone trust closed source anything? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452394)

I know I don't. Millions of eyes makes bugs shallow.

Re:Does anyone trust closed source anything? (2, Funny)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452505)

Millions of eyes makes a bug fucking scary!!!

What is wrong with an "X"?? (4, Insightful)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452395)

I remember at our last national election, the voting was simple - make an X on a ballot and put it in the voting box.

I have to wonder, with all these punch cards, evote, and other problems - why don't they just stick to plain old pen & paper ballots? I mean if you can't figure those out, chances are you'll end up just stuffing your ballot into the funny "circular" ballot box anyways!

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452411)

I'm sure there're thousands of invalid votes with ticks on the ballot instead of X's.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (2, Interesting)

shippo (166521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452428)

Pen? We use thick pencils, with fairly soft cores, attached to the polling booth by a long piece of string! No change of the ink drying up, and little chance of the pencil breaking.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (4, Insightful)

EricWright (16803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452443)

Two reasons:

1) We don't want to have to pay someone to tally all the votes. If its not computerized, someone has to count them all up. When there's around 100 million votes for president, that's a lot of minimum wage hours right there!

2) The US has turned into a nation full of people with a) no patience and b) a very short attention span. We want what we want, and we want it now! And dammit, if other countries can have computerized voting systems, so should we.

My thought is that we should all vote on those bubble sheets that are used for every standardized test given throughout our public school system. Everyone who came through the public schools will be familiar with them, and those that didn't are most likely products of private schools/home schooling and thus smart enough to figure it out!

(Tongue only partially planted in cheek)...

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (1)

jjshoe (410772) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452483)

I am very familiar with those forms. After answering about 5 questions rows looked the same and it was hard to stay in the same place so i just them sideways and filled them in in a pattern like my initials!

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (5, Interesting)

gunga (227260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452499)

1) We don't want to have to pay someone to tally all the votes. If its not computerized, someone has to count them all up. When there's around 100 million votes for president, that's a lot of minimum wage hours right there!

Are you serious? Are the people who count the votes not volunteers in the US?

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (2, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452610)


No, they are.

And even if they wern't, it would be putting money back into the economy which is never a bad thing...

I think no one really wants it computerized but the politicians because it's something for them to be like "I support taking our voting system into the 21st century" kind of crap, which makes them sound good.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (5, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452502)

1) We don't want to have to pay someone to tally all the votes. If its not computerized, someone has to count them all up. When there's around 100 million votes for president, that's a lot of minimum wage hours right there!

So you rather pay voting machine companies some 5'000$ per unit for a glorified Windows CE computer with an Access database that can be hacked by any pimply faced teenager with 100$ worth of computer equipment?

What a bargain

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (0, Offtopic)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452520)

the parent is absolutely right! under no circumstances are we to create lots of minimum wage temp jobs! it would be against the spirit of everything the current administration has done to slash the number of jobs in favor of outsorcing and general fuckuping.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (5, Interesting)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452543)

Your objections are certainly justified; on the other hand Germany where I am living is doing all of its voting the traditionall pen-and-paper-ballot way, and we get first projections minutes after the voting closes, more and more reliable projections shortly after and very accurate (usually 0,x % to the official final results) inofficial final results the same evening (usually our voting booths close at 6 pm). The official results are available IIRC about 2-3 days after the vote.

The people staffing the voting booths and counting the votes are usually volunteers who get a small payment for their troubles. All in all our systems
seems to work quite well.

And even if Germany is far smaller than the US it has still a not too small voting population.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452654)

Good points, but my guess is that you also have far fewer voting locations to compile votes from. That would make a big difference.

Actually, FYI (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452552)

I was homeschooled, and I still had to take standardized tests with #2 pencils; Back then, it was the Iowa test, can't remember the name. I had to take it to show that I completed that grade. So, yes, many homeschoolers are familiar with standardized testing. Of course, not all homeschoolers went this route; I think you can also submit portfolios of work done during the year.

However, I did stop homeschooling once I got to fifth grade, and entered the public school system.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452468)

there is a reason that governments are trying to move away from the "X." with the system that you are proposing, it is simple enough to just put an x next to the person's name that you want to win, but when all those thousands of x's are put together, who is going to count them, error proned humans.

the "x" system costs way too much time and money to count the votes, but if e-voting is done right, votes can be counted on the fly, and the whole election process would be much more seamless.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452510)

It doesn't scale to typical American ballots, which can include a huge number of races and questions. You have federal, state, county and city offices. Everything from the President to the dog catcher, plus judges, bond issues, constitutional amendments, referenda, school boards, etc.

Re:What is wrong with an "X"?? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452545)

I used to be a hard core political junky.

There is a extremely large amount of vote fraud going on now with the paper ballots, mostly for local elections. (nobody in the big parties talk about it because it would cause too much trouble)

One of the big ideas of computer voting is you remove the ability to add, replace or destroy ballots in the time gap between voting and being tallied.

Karma (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452398)

Lebanon -- Boone County officials are searching for an answer to the computer glitch that spewed out impossible numbers and interrupted an otherwise uneventful election process Tuesday.

"I about had a heart attack," County Clerk Lisa Garofolo said of the breakdown that came as an eager crowd watched computer-generated vote totals being projected onto a wall of the County Courthouse rotunda.

"I'm assuming the glitch was in the software."

A lengthy collaboration between the county's information technology director and advisers from the MicroVote software producer fixed the votes. But before that, computer readings of stored voting machine data showed far more votes than registered voters.

"It was like 144,000 votes cast," said Garofolo, whose corrected accounting showed just 5,352 ballots from a pool of fewer than 19,000 registered voters.

"Believe me, there was nobody more shook up than I was."

Re:Karma (1)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452526)

> advisers from the MicroVote software producer fixed the votes

Aha!! Proof that it is rigged!!

Fart If You Like Cookies!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452400)

Lolololololololol rofl lolololol

I've said it before, and I'll say it again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452403)

Democracy simply doesn't work.

-K.B.

Let's just hope... (3, Funny)

Bobulusman (467474) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452406)

...That when they 'fixed' the problem, they did it right. Since they probably didn't want the local county's IT guy to look at the source and fix the problem, there's no guarantee they got it right this time, either.

Re:Let's just hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452509)

How do we know a programmer didn't just type in the number 5,352 because that was "about right"!

Re:Let's just hope... (4, Insightful)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452522)

Yeah, the IT director and the software provider "fixing" the problem is a little bit disconcerting.

Re:Let's just hope... (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452606)

Are you fucking stoned? I work in government software, and every one of the IT guys I've met was hopelessly clueless on everything from how to network a printer to how to give a user privleges on a local machine. Not to discount open source software, but in this case the county would have had to hire SOMEBODY to fix the problem -- if it weren't for the support contract they had with the closed source vendor!

OSS voting isn't a bad idea, but it's not going to be run like Apache. It's going to have to be some big, reliable, accountable software vendor willing to make usable, flexible software and put his source up for viewing.

Blackadder (4, Funny)

Walterk (124748) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452409)

Vincent Hanna: One voter; 16,472 votes. A slight anomaly...?


Edmund: Not really, Mr. Hanna -- you see, Baldrick may look like a monkey who's been put in a suit and then strategically shaved, but he is a brilliant politician. The number of votes I cast is simply a reflection of how firmly I believe in his policies.


True politics [powertie.org]

Reminds me of Office Space... (4, Funny)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452418)

"I probably just put a decimal point in the wrong spot. I always forget some mundane detail..." lol

Re:Reminds me of Office Space... (1)

Pentagon13 (166309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452489)

Haha, I was thinking of this same quote, but you beat me to it.

Of course, when keeping track of votes there should be no freaking reason for using a decimal point. Same goes for other characters like multiplication and subtraction.

If you grep the source tree for * and - and get any hits, the code should not be released.

Closed source? (-1, Troll)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452419)

With yet another mistake, does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?

Don't forget, open-source is the answer to everything, including life itself!

Re:Closed source? (1, Funny)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452441)

Depending on your world outlook , it very well could be.

If you subscribe to the notion that humanities job is to discover/understand everything it can about our unvirse/life then opensource very well could be the answer to life it self . Or at least part of the solution .

Re:Closed source? (1)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452453)


And invisible, unaccountable, untrustable computerized voting is the second coming.

Re:Closed source? (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452521)

God bless you for posting this truth. Let us all drink the Kool-Aid of open sourcedness.

check out BlackBoxVoting (5, Interesting)

phooka.de (302970) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452420)

Check out BlackBoxVoting [blackboxvoting.com] . They even have the entire book for free as PDF. Very interesting read.

Personally I like the bit about vote-counting in France. Sounds a lot more advanced (read: secure) than the US way of doing it.

Re:check out BlackBoxVoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452508)

Personally I like the bit about vote-counting in France..

Me too (Yay, I'm now an AOList!)

Chapter 3. Page 62.

hardheaded approach (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452421)

The war's over folks. It's going to be small skirmishes and other assorted problems from here. The end is all that matters, the means can be ignored. Expect a similar path as we're taking in Iraq...

my honest opinion? (0)

supercooled32 (722063) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452424)

does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?

No...
Has anyone ever trusted any kind of voting device? not likely....

Re:my honest opinion? (1)

denisdekat (577738) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452496)

How about, does any one elections ?

So ... (5, Funny)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452429)

Is this how Bush was elected?

Re:So ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452460)

no but it is how he will be re-elected.

Memories of High School (1)

Puggles (126272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452431)

Aww. This sounds just like my high school's student council elections.

Oh, fond memories...

Accounting (5, Insightful)

lgeezer (168976) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452433)

A lengthy collaboration between the county's information technology director and advisers from the MicroVote software producer ... showed just 5,352 ballots
So an IT director and a number of flunkies have rewritten the results of an election.
How do the good people of Boone County know that the new answer is correct? Because it's less than the number of actual voters? How can they trust the result of that election at all? And why should those too young to vote until next time bother to vote when next time comes around?

Actually, their software *IS* open source (4, Funny)

femto (459605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452434)

Here it is:

#include <stdlib.h>

int main()
{
printf( "%i\n", rand() );

return(0);
}

Re:Actually, their software *IS* open source (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452503)

The many eyes see now that they forgot to initialize the random generator with srand(). This was shallow.

Re:Actually, their software *IS* open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452523)

What? You expected their software to be bug free???

For Chicago... (1, Funny)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452438)

This would be a great machine, Boss Daly could get back into office without the help of his current constituents... the graveyard vote.

That's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452486)

This would be a great machine, Boss Daly could get back into office without the help of his current constituents... the graveyard vote.

Isn't that sort of the whole point of this? I mean, the push for e-voting really came on strong from the Administration after the Florida debacle. Stealing a conventional election is messy and results in lowered credibility. Stealing an e-election without a paper trail is much cleaner.

On a completely unrelated note: Did you realize that one of the major party candidates for US president is expected to spend over $100 million dollars of privately raised money on his campaign next year. How good a hacker could 1% of that buy? Do you think you could read up on Diebold enough to make "a difference" next year? We all pretend to be "white hats" doing the right thing in here but let's be honest about it -- the bad guys read Slashdot just as much as the good guys.

Re:For Chicago... (3, Informative)

GMontag (42283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452554)

Don't forget the other traditionial Democrat block in Chicago [slashdot.org] .

Glad I looked for a post like this before I tossed in my immediate reaction: these guys are amatures, Cook County ILL has been running this way spanning three centuries and two millenia!

Office Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452439)

"Ok! Ok! I must have, I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or something. Sh*t. I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail."

Closed or Open...it doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

billmaly (212308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452442)

What matters is an accurate count. Why oh why is this so difficult? Press a button, tally a vote. Next voter please. Why is this even still being discussed??? Maybe I'm dense, but I just don't get it.

Re:Closed or Open...it doesn't matter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452470)

not so simple when you're using QT3.

Re:Closed or Open...it doesn't matter (1)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452524)

Why oh why is this so difficult? Press a button, tally a vote
when you have to press a button 5k times, it gets kinda tedious... that's why they wrote a program to do it electronically, except somebody missed what probably was a really small error, like counting votes more than once or not initializing a value to 0... any programmer knows this could easily be a common mistake.

Re:Closed or Open...it doesn't matter (1)

HomerJayS (721692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452560)

If not initializing was the problem, then their test plan was:

vote for one office
if total votes cast is 1
whoo hoo! It works.
else
Doh!

that's only if they tested it though (1)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452608)

yeah, but that still doesn't mean they ran that test... and since this thing happened, they obviously didn't test for something...

what they should have done was create test data (about 19,000 fake semi-random votes) and run it through to check for errors...

Re:Closed or Open...it doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

real_smiff (611054) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452529)

It matters because if it's open, and you get a crazy number (like here) you have a chance to see how that happened w/o taking it on faith.

But if it's closed and you get a reasonable number, it could either be right, or it could be a believable but wrong number.

I think this is probably what gets people concerned?

Don't Worry, Be Happy (4, Funny)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452448)

The new Indianapolis Mayor, Richard Daley Jr., said there is nothing to be concerned about. Indiana Governor Martha Daley called to congratulate him on his victory.

141,000 votes from 19,000 people... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452464)

What is this software, a new module for Sim-Chicago?

It's not the people who vote that count.. (-1, Troll)

k98sven (324383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452465)

It's the machines that count the votes that count!

(ask Dubya)

Re:It's not the people who vote that count.. (-1, Flamebait)

denisdekat (577738) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452537)

I think Dubya might say, ..."it's the courts that matter, heck, I did not even have a majority of the votes, all you need is one good an bought judge in the right place. YEEEEEEEAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" or something like that maybe ...

Do we also have close source laws? I think not (5, Insightful)

dyfet (154716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452469)

When software is used to impliment a matter of law, the public must have an absolute right and need to review such software, even before one speaks of issues of software freedom. We don't make closed source or "secret" laws in this country, ie, laws that effect the public in general, and that the public is not permitted to know or examine, but yet will be held accountable to. We don't have anonymous or secret agencies enforcing laws and arresting people, ie, a secret police force. Yet, for reasons I cannot fathom, we now permit machinary with no public means of review to impliment laws, such as voting. No democracy can exist where voting is a secret or unaccountable process to the public that participates in it.

Re:Do we also have close source laws? I think not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452563)

We have had secret laws since 9/11. John Gilmore
has been trying to find out exactly what the rules
are for having to identify yourself before flying
but hasn't had much success.
There have also been attempts to copyright laws
and prevent them from being published. In at least
one case this failed but in some cases
municipalities may not want to fight this and
may not make copies of laws as available (e.g. on
the web) as they would otherwise.

Modified open source for voting machines (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452645)

When software is used to implement a matter of law, the public must have an absolute right and need to review such software

Excellent point. The need for public oversight suggests a modified open source development process and secure traceable binaries. Perhaps we might call this model "exposed source" because the code would be publicly accessible but not publicly modifiable.

I wonder if the FEC (Federal Election Commission) needs to setup a CVS repository to hold voting machine source code. The source would be publicly read-only. Any proposed changes for any reason would need to go through a review process including public and professional scrutiny. Binaries for actual machines would only be compiled for this heavily-reviewed source.

Because of the potential for OS-level vote tampering, the OS of the machines would also need to be provided on an exposed source basis. The single-purpose duty of a voting machine suggests that the machines don't need a large OS - perhaps one that is suitable for running the UI of a medical device would be sufficient. A bit more problematic is the central-office software and OS for totalling all the votes. This heavier system would need to be exposed source too.

Competing makers of the machines might be upset about exposing their vote tally and OS code to public scrutiny, but this would be the price of playing in a very public arena. Machine developers should not be too worried, though. The fact that the source is 100% public means that you could easily see if your competitor had copied you.

Perfect solution (1, Funny)

amightywind (691887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452478)

MicroVote software returned 144,000 votes from 19,000 registered voters.

This is the perfect solution for democrats in the upcoming presidential election.

I am still horrified. (1)

thbigr (514105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452485)

I am thinking about absentee voting for the rest of my life.

Re:It doesn't matter.... (1)

botzi (673768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452596)

returned 144,000 votes from 19,000 registered voters.

As it seems you'll still be multiplied by 7.578947..... and randomly assigned to one of the choices;oPP

Closed source? (4, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452490)

With yet another mistake, does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?

Sod that.

With yet another mistake, does anyone trust electronic voting full stop?

(I think that Open Source might be better, but to the majority of voters, electronic voting is the same thing irrespective of how visible the code is - and quite frankly, even with peer review on open coude this sort of bug might still happen)

Re:Closed source? (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452532)

Exactly. This doesn't need to be turned into a closed versus open argument. The real questions is, "Do we need electronic voting of *any* kind?" Yes, the UI on the voting machines in Florida sucked. The solution to the failure of the public to understand that UI isn't a full scale rush into electronic voting. The UI on an electronic machine can be just as bad as the mechanical ones.

Re:Closed source? (2, Insightful)

AVee (557523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452556)

even with peer review on open coude this sort of bug might still happen

But in that case we at least get to see the bug *and* the fix. Now someone has 'fixed' the count and but he could just as well have done that by inserting some hardcoded reasonable looking numbers.

Re:Closed source? (2, Interesting)

awol (98751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452600)

With yet another mistake, does anyone trust electronic voting full stop?

Or as some of the American Electorate might say; "with yet another mistake does anyone trust voting full stop". I think the source of the problem is the perception by various interests in the US that there is some form of money to be made in these systems. This is wrong. Get the _process_ of electronic voting designed right (I mean imagine the first elections back in the year dot. All those who vote for Trevor stand to the left, all those for Dave to the right, all those for Ug, um well, you just stand where you are... No dave, stop killing the people voting for Trevor... What do you mean you don't want to vote for Ug, well ok then you just stand over there... No I don't care who you want to vote for they're not here. Oh fuck it, this is too hard). Then the implementation simply becomes a question of reducing cost. There is no "marginal" profit to be had and as such there is almost no way that private enterprise can fund the development of these systems better than the state. The argument for free software systems is equally persuasive.

Then there is the deployment of the hardware/infrastructure to actually deliver the voting functionality to the electorate (and that is something that can get better and better over time as well). It is very expensive and the only benefits compared to the counting of paper votes are accuracy and cost savings (for get speed, it's not like there is a power vacuum before the result. so what if it takes a few days). If you can give accuracy then get out of the game and the only way to reduce cost is to fund on a cost basis which means the state should fund the system not enterprise.

How computers will finally reveal AI (1, Funny)

Jonathan Platt (670802) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452494)

I'm just waiting for the first set of votes to come back with either Deep Blue or HAL in the number one spot.

Sure MicroVote will say that it wasn't their fault. 10 trillion voters obviously wanted a computer run US.

Lets be honest even their website looks like 8th rate programming.

Ok.... (5, Insightful)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452498)

So 19,000 voters produced 144,000 votes. That's obviously an error, and was caught and corrected. What you really need to worry about are the little errors; if the votes are off by 500 or 1000 how are you going to know?

At least it wasn't 250 extra votes... (5, Interesting)

mev (36558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452500)

Having an extra 100,000+ votes clearly stands out as an error. I would have been more concerned if it was a small enough number not to be detected, but a big enough number to affect close races.

yet another mistake (2, Interesting)

HornyBastard77 (667965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452506)

mistakes happen in all software, open or closed. this one was actually fortunate, because it was out there for everyone to see. at least with this incident these election officials will think twice before they can declare these machines 'virtually infallible.' [shelbynews.com] once can also hope that there will be a thorough audit of how exactly the actual number of votes was lowered to 5352 from 144,000.

what causes me more worry are the bugs (features?) in these machines that are known only to a select few. i was hoping that after the elections last week more hue and cry would be made in the mainstream media about these machines by the candidates who lost. that doesn't appear to be forthcoming, though. pity.

Diebold v MicroVote (1, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452512)

Diebold: Diebold is a global leader in providing high-quality cutting-edge direct recording electronic (DRE) voting solutions to jurisdictions of all sizes

MicroVote: The leader in Direct Recording Electronic Voting Technology... MicroVote is a leading supplier of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting technology.

Now for the anagrams
Diebold [wordsmith.org] My fave: Be Dildo
MicroVote [wordsmith.org] My other Fave: Evict Room

slashdot = SAD SLOTH & SHALL DOS

This sucks (4, Insightful)

Ripplet (591094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452514)

I mean really, how difficult can this be. Lots of people vote, you add up the totals, we're not talking rocket science here. When was the last time your local ATM machine gave you $1500 instead of the $50 that you asked for. Doesn't happen too often right? Maybe it's because the banks are damned sure they're not going to give their money away. It's a pity the people in charge don't take democracy that seriously.

Re:This sucks (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452561)

It is harder than you think.

Votes must not be able to be forged. There must be an audit trail of every vote cast, when and where they are cast. Yet voting must be 100% anonymous.

I know what you are thinking... PKI. And you are right - but it is still a nontrivial problem. This is almost as hard as true anonymous eCash.

Additionally, people must (well... should) be able to be sure that the voting system is secure. It MUST be available to public scrutiny.

Open source is the only way.

Found the bug (4, Funny)

AVee (557523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452518)

The Amount_paid variable was used where it should have been Vote_Count...

blame it on... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452534)

hanging [cnn.com] chd's [roug.org] ? ;-P

Open Source isn't a cure all (4, Insightful)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452536)

"With yet another mistake, does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?"

This infers that open source == no mistakes. That's simply not true. It just means that there *may* be less mistakes as theoretically more people look at it. Think SendMail... that's open source, widely used, but that sure has had plenty of "mistakes".

Re:Open Source isn't a cure all (4, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452585)

No, it infers that with open source anyone who wants to CAN look at it. The number of errors in and in itself is irellevant in the case of a voting application: If there are serious errors, a new election can be held. But with a closed source voting application it is very hard for people who are suspicious about a result independently review the process.

When the results are blatantly wrong, like in this case, we can be sure that an error will be detected and corrected. However what security do we have that the "corrected" number is truly correct? And what if the result had just been skewed a few percent instead of blown out of all proportion?

Your argument is like saying that public access to government documents is inferring that public access == no mistakes. As with oversight of voting, access to public documents are important not because we're guaranteed that it will result in fewer mistakes being made, but because more people, including those not in power, are given opportunities to try to verify that people stick to the rules should they choose to.

Tailor made for fraud. (0)

tomakaze (319334) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452541)

No paper trail, no way to verify results.

if you think your vote dont count now wait'll they roll these out on a massive scale.

the couch, the couch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452553)

funnily enough that ratio of 'real' vs 'oops' votes is the same as factual US voters vs Couch Potatoes.

think out of the box

are there any opensource solutions? (2, Informative)

TeamLive (699650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452555)

I completely agree that closed source is the wrong way to go for such a public venture as voting, but are there any open source products vying for contracts? i mean, we cant really wait around for govt to say "yes, lets use open source universally" if there are no projects out there for them to use.

If there is one out there, then it needs to be pointed out to the govt buyers.

Meanwhile... (1)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452565)

Electronic [slashdot.org] voting [dae.gov.in] done [bel-india.com] right [hinduonnet.com] in [sify.com] India [yahoo.com]

Hanging chads and stupid fucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452566)

So why is this issue even important?

Once it's electronic, whether open source or not, somebody can screw with it. Plus I'm just plain old tired of all the open source zealots. I've totally turned against it as have many of my friends just because of the attitude. But I digress.

As it is, we have paper. Beautiful paper. Something that people can have and hold in sickness and health and can physically count.

Isn't this all just and indictment of the public school system in this country where some stupid fucks aren't intelligent enough to poke a hole in a card or they poke a hole under Bush and said "oh I thought I was voting for Gore." The evil white man rigged the election.

If you can't read or can't poke a fucking hole I don't think you're going to do well electronically either.

Electronic voting now means that some Hitler type can easily take over.

Whether open source or closed source really doesn't matter. It's the review process if anything that will help. The old way is better. People physically have to work it, and unless you can bully all the ballot counters, the numbers should be less likely to be screwed with.

Re:Hanging chads and stupid fucks (0)

tomakaze (319334) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452614)

re:<i>Electronic voting now means that some Hitler type can easily take over.</i><br>
&nbsp<br>
yep.<br>
http://www.bla ckboxvoting.com/

Open, closed, I'm the guy with the gun. (3, Interesting)

Asprin (545477) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452568)


Open-sourcing the voting software is important, but in my opinion, not as important as maintaining separate systems for ballot printing and ballot tabulation.

I wrote about it in this [slashdot.org] journal entry.

Paging Micheal Bolton (1)

mobiux (118006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452572)

"I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or something."

"Shit. I always do that."

Exit polling (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452586)

One more thing. Exit polling and all these bullshit projections on TV should be illegal. Nothing like swaying the vote by projecting a landslide and then people not showing up because it doesn't matter any more.

It's inaccurate and makes the newscasters and us look like total fucking fools.

And it can sway an election.

Open source cures cancer! Film at 11! (5, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452613)

Ok, not really.

With yet another mistake, does anyone still trust closed-source electronic voting?

Open source, closed source, it does not matter. Open source is not a cure for solid software development practices, and open source is not a synonym for solid software development practices. Likewise "closed-source" does not equate to poor practices.

One of the strengths of open source is the price. Free software probably means more people are using it than would otherwise, so the software is being tested more, and the pool of people available to fix bugs is also larger. This works for software that is generally useful, but consider voting software. Who is going to install the full voting suite (voting software is much more than a voting terminal) and then hold mock elections in their home? Granted, the importance of such software may bring out more people willing to try the software but you are still relying on people to do this in their leisure time.

The "many eyes" argument is merely a shotgun approach to quality control. What is needed is strong leadership implemeting a plan which includes rigorous and ongoing testing. Open source does not guarantee this any more than closed source guarantees its absence.

The software was released before it was ready. That's obvious. It seems to me that a closed source shop would be theoretically better positioned to meet an immutable deadline (such as an election date). At least when you own your employees you can mandate overtime and crack the whip harder. When the software is open source you cannot enter "crunch mode" and make the scattered developers put in long hours.

The fault was not in the development model but in the failure of the project leadership.

Linus Torvalds dead at 33 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452616)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - visionary Linus Torvalds was found dead in his home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to the Linux community. Truly an international icon.

Diebold is delivering the votes early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452622)

They can deliver even on none Diebold equipment. Cool, W will win again.

Glitch = pathetic euphemism (4, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452627)

E-Voting Glitch: 19,000 Voters, 144,000 Votes

I hate the word "glitch", I really do.

It's an evasion, a pathetic euphemism.

What it really means is "bad programming", "fucked up", "profoundly fucked up", etc.

-kgj

A voting system everyone trusts.. (1)

Droolster (203207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452635)

Perhaps someone should suggest using the Slashdot poll for elections. Everyone trusts that.

Oh, wait, do we really want CowboyNeal voted in every time?!

Open Source Isn't the Answer (-1, Redundant)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452640)

...well, maybe it is for technical folks like us who read Slashdot, but to the vast majority of the country, opening the source of these programs wil be utterly useless. Your neighbor Bob probably doesn't know an 'include' from an 'endif'.

It seems to me that our lawmakers, in their infinite wisdom, corrected a complicated voting system by replacing it with an even more complicated one. What went so wrong with putting an "X" next to a name on a slip of paper?

Over complicated (4, Insightful)

PurpleWizard (643191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7452644)

How difficult is it to write a system that takes a input selection, submits it to the count and resets ready to take the next vote?

What is the ridiculuous complexity making these things so easy to fcuk up?

Combine it perhaps with a bar code scanner so that every individual can have a street bar code. Add a few simple checks like no more bar codes are counted for a paricular street than were issued.

I still don't see where this becomes a complex task compared to existing systems. Most of the components needed to build a system already existing.

Some one please tell me what I am missing.

As for the open source/free software issue. Perhaps the solution is that the requirements for the system should be published so that anyone can right something to conform. (Oh that's like having open standards).

quality of code (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7452648)

Quality of code and open vs closed source have nothing to do with each other. There is plenty of crap open source code out there.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>