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!

California to Require Paper Voter Receipt

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the verifiable-results dept.

Security 348

DDumitru writes "Wired reports that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley will require all electronic voting systems be equipped with a voter-verifiable paper receipt. This receipt will not be retained by the voter, but deposited at the polls and may be used to audit electronic election results. All new voting system installed after July 1, 2005 must include the new printers. Existing systems, including the systems already installed in four counties must be retrofitted by July 2006. It looks like the public outcry about Diebold and other voting equipment manufacturers has been heard, at least in a very major market for these machines in the US. It should be very difficult for other states to not follow suit."

cancel ×


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

Thankfully the lessons of Diebold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535897)

Wont be forgotten.

It's too late (4, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535902)

This needs to be implemented *before* the elections next November to avoid a mess again.

Couldn't voters insist on using the old machines? (2, Insightful)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535969)

I know it would probably create long lines at the polls, but I for one would be more than happy to wait an hour or more if I could know that my vote wasn't being rewritten by some unseen entity.

And it needs to be ... (2, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536035)

a National Standard

This is about all of the electronic voting machines (even though Diebold is most suspect) and it's about the whole country.

and it's not enough (1, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536088)

The software needs to be open if not free. Paper reciepts are a great first step, but the system can still be manipulated within paper counting accuracy. For the sytem to be an improvement, it should do better and it can. Open software can be verified for the soundness of it's methods and rigourously tested by interested parties. The results of that kind of testing would be secure and accurate voting that's really better than paper.

Closed source junk, on the other hand, is imposible to test and verify. Windoze based machines are a great example of how bad it can get. No one knows what goes on in DLL hell, no amount of testing can find all the flaws and backdoors and the inability to copy the software makes third party tesing limited if not imposible.

Still, California is to be commended for taking this step. Closed source machines with a paper trail can only be manipulated so far. It's unlikely that upsets there will be fradulent. I can forgive them for needing a year to get it set up and working. They might be bright enough to not use the mystery vote machines before they are fixed with a paper trail. Let's hope they and Dibold take the next step and use software that people can realy trust.

The real question is... (-1)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535903)

...will they require the voter to actually take (and/or read) the receipt? If not, I'm sure the majority of voters won't bother (and I'd say at least 50% wouldn't bother even if we're "lucky"), so this will effectively be meaningless. It will become like any other receipt-- many people will simply not care to take it.

Re:The real question is... (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535923)

To rig an election like that (actually fudging the paper ballots) you need to do it on such a scale to make a difference that enough people would see it and it would become clear it was systemic. Keep in mind, the machine is not going to know who will be dilligent as to look at their ballot and who will not be. It will just randomly fudge ballots.

Re:The real question is... (4, Insightful)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535930)

That's irrelevant. The important thing is that the audit trail is now possible. The majority of voters don't even bother to vote - should they all be made to?

I don't think that electronic voting is really an advantage over traditional methods, especially as it's so open to abuse. But if it is implemented, then at least the possibility of verifying results is now there.

I'm sure some smartass will just claim their voting receipt is different from their vote just to kick up a stink though... enough of these could throw the thing into more doubt.

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535936)

Next time, at least S(kim)TFA. The voter won't even get to touch the receipt (they can see it behind a glass window), but it will be printed regardless of whether they want to see it or not.

you're missing the point (5, Informative)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535940)

the point isn't that people will get the receipt and double-check it. although that will be a nice side-effect.

the point is that we'll have a complete paper record of who voted for who. the system will be accountable for its results instead of just numbers in an access database that could have been tampered with.

that's what "paper trail" means.

my site. []

Re:you're missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535981)

we'll have a complete paper record of who voted for who

Having a paper record of each vote, created as each vote is cast is very important.

However, it is more important that you cannot associate any particular vote with the individual voter. If you have to ask why, seek some remediation in history.

Re:you're missing the point (1)

k8er (642660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536168)

IMHO, paper records aren't that important. It's probably a false sense of security anyway. I want the system to be as open and visible as possible, which eternal vigilance in checking and double checking the processes. A little faith is always required, but I would have more faith in a highly visible, proven electronic technology than I would ever have had in a paper only system. Look at how inaccurate that system seems when they do a recount. And accuracy isn't the only issue. It is sometimes a pain in the ass to go to the polls. I want to be able to log into the polls from my pc, enter my unique voter ID, vote for my unpopular candidate and see the vote show up on my precinct ticker in real time. I don't really care if they keep a paper record with my unique ID or not. If someone can prove it's me, what are they gonna do? Is George Bush going to kick my ass because I didn't vote for him? I don't see any reason that the system has to retain your personal information when the keys are being generated. One set of keys for each eligible voter in the US. Could people sell their keys? Sure, I guess. Would it be worth it to the politician? It would be pretty hard to keep that kind of think quiet. What if some bad politician or is supporters try to strong arm people into giving up their voter keys? I don't know. Once again, there would have to be a significant amount of this going on to swing an election and they would probably get caught. And if there are people out there that bad, they are going to be doing bad things anyway. You have to stand up to them or they are going to push you around anyway. Most Americans do not vote anyway. If we make the process convenient, open, and visible enough I think more people would vote and it might make a positive difference.

Still the potential for abuse (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535962)

It's easy to envision an instance where an individual dedicated to corrupting the vote stations himself within the voting station, observing the voters as they leave the booth and deposit their receipt.

Those voters that don't bother examining their receipts can be easily discerned, and the voting machine could conceivably be instructed remotely to change that voter's vote.

This is a very good step being taken by California, but I think they need to go one step further and mandate a recount for every election, regardless of whether it is seen to have irregularities or not.

Re:Still the potential for abuse (4, Funny)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536192)

Or you could dig a tunnel under the vote station and use a saw to make a hole under the box where all the paper votes are kept. Then when a paper gets fed to the box, you will take it and replace it with another vote of your liking. Don't forgot to wear a tinfoil hat during the operation.

Re:The real question is... (0)

four2five (645777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535965)

Are you retarded or do you just not read anything before typing. In the article, which you had to click on to post your comment, it says
This receipt will not be retained by the voter, but deposited at the polls and may be used to audit electronic election results.

From the actual article which it would appear you didn't read in your haste to enlighten our lives with you post
With a receipt, voters will be able to verify that their ballots have been properly cast. However, they will not be allowed to keep the receipts, which will be stored at voting precincts and used for a recount if any voting irregularities arise.

RTFA for the love.

Re:The real question is... (0)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535993)

I think maybe you're the one who is retarded. Read the fucking post. The question is whether the voter will actually bother confirming whether the receipt accurately reflects his or her choice(s), and was clearly stated as such.

It would be wise to incorporate into the system some means of requiring the voter to examine their receipt.

Perhaps they could use printers like the ones used at a grocery store I used to go to. They take *forever* to print out, and the customer and the check-out lady are forced to sit there and watch the thing print out the receipt line-by-line.

I wonder (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535905)

if diebold CEO is still promising (and meaning it) to deliver W..
Oh, wait.
The printer was delayed until AFTER the next major election.

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536153)

California would be a difficult one to rig, even if Diebold wanted to. It would look exceedingly suspicious if it went to GWB (yes, they elected the Republican candidate for Governor, but that's a Republican who is far more liberal than Bush is.)

2005? 2006? (2, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535906)

Way to deflect the issue, kids. "yeah yeah, we have to be accountable... but in two years". Too bad they're going to have a little thing like "presidential election" first before all that comes about, huh?

Re:2005? 2006? (3, Insightful)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535976)

You have to give the counties an appropriate amount of time to purchase voting machines that work this way. Not all of them have money falling out of their pockets that they can spend on brand-new voting machines (again), if they happened to recently purchase some machines without these features. Granted, those counties probably should not have purchased such machines, but if you force this on them too soon, you will get a backlash because the counties will have to pull the money from other parts of their budget.. AND that would piss voters off.

Re:2005? 2006? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536015)

What did they use before these trojaned voting machines? Did those all disappear? Canada seems to have elections without using machines at all and they do okay.

Re:2005? 2006? (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536045)

So those counties do not believe the voter need to know their vote counts, what is bases of county that has required to buy the RIGHT equipment, in the first place.

Electron Day 2004:

Yes, we use paperless machines here still, this is saving you money...

Wait! Stop! Please, do not pay attention to man behind the curtain, he is the repairman... ...and the new next president of United States!"

Re:2005? 2006? (1)

Almost-Retired (637760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536099)

but if you force this on them too soon, you will get a backlash because the counties will have to pull the money from other parts of their budget.. AND that would piss voters off.

I'm sorry for those counties that have to do that. But since they made the decision to buy those POS in the first place, then in retrospect, I don't feel sorry for them.

Leaving a situation in place that allows even one election to be stolen by the likes of Diebold et all, is not a situation any voter should tolerate, ever. And if it means you don't get your street plowed till the next day after a snowstorm, so beit. The place to point your anger at in that case is the county commissioner who saved a buck by buying it from so-and-so without setting out a set of specifications that precluded such hanky-panky.

And, while I'm a firm believer in the one man, one vote rule, I'm a bit ambivalent about the isolation of the voters ident from the vote. Personally, I'd like to have the ability to go back after the election, and verify that the candidates I voted for did indeed get my actual vote.

To that end, a 2 kilobit pgp(or gpg) style public key for you as a receipt and a private key attached to the vote seems like a hell of a good idea. I could check my vote with my public key, but to check somebody elses would take a considerable computational effort.

Now all we have to do is convince TPTB that democracy, to be protected, must be well protected even from their prying eyes.

Also, does anyone know why the preview to post isn't working about 50% of the time?, it draws the column headings on the left at full screen width, and says its done. Like this is the second time in a row I've got to post blind...

Cheers, Gene

Re:2005? 2006? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536176)

You misread the article: They have 2 year in wich they can continue to buy paperless machines, it's 3 years to replace old machines. So, what's your argument again?

Democracy works? (2, Troll)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535908)

Democracy works?

Re:Democracy works? (1, Interesting)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535928)

It does, but (currently) not in the US.

Re:Democracy works? (2, Insightful)

epicstruggle (311178) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535979)

What democracy!!! Last time i looked, we lived in a republic. Wow, schools have certainly gone from bad to hopeless, when even the type of govermnent is not know. Just so we all know, the public does not directly elect the president. Its the electorial college that does that. So its possible to have candidates who have more total votes and still loose the election.

Learn the type of govermnent you have and then youll be able to properly complain about it.


At what point (2, Interesting)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536039)

did "republic" and "democracy" become mutually exclusive? e= UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

The US is a republic. Eire is a republic. The soviet union was a bunch of republics. China is a republic.

Let's add to that.. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536049)

Let's check the CIA world factbook...
Government type:
Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition

Re:Let's add to that.. (2, Funny)

karstux (681641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536071)

Yeah, and of course the CIA, being the honest and independent source of information that it is, would tell you that this "democratic tradition" is a bit shaky right now...

Re:Democracy works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536198)

schools have certainly gone from bad to hopeless.........still loose the election.

I guess you didn't do very well in English classes either if you are confused between "loose" and "lose", seems like that you are testament to USA's schooling standards.


Re:Democracy works? (1)

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535982)

It does, but (currently) not in the US.

The United States [] is not a democracy, it's a Representative Republic. The distinction is important, because if electronic voting ever realised its full potential, the argument that 'the people can't elect their own president directly because it would be too difficult to coordinate, too hard to count' would be difficult to defend.


Re:Democracy works? (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536043)

Its a little more than that.

Having a Represenative Republic ensures that the medium guys get as much attention as the smaller guys.

I might be wrong, but isn't over 50% of the population in 3 states? New York, California, Florida? In such, these 3 states COULD control the presidency, find a candidate that is willing to sell out the other 47 states and give these guys anything they want and there ya have it. The logistics of giving everything ya promised is a little tough, but it could be done with enough behind the doors deal making.

Face it, if we could elect our own presidency as a people, Gore would have won hands down. Ironically, it was said his people were preparing a legal strategy that said his presidency was legitimate even though he had a minority of votes, because the popular liberal thought was that Gore would win (8 years of great economy, nothing really bad happening except a little oral sex, technology happening at a pace thats never been seen in 100 years...that sort of thing), but that the conservative states would rise up in anger and far more would vote against him than for him.

Ironically, it happened the other way :-)

Even though I voted against Bushie, my vote meant nothing to the total votes. My state went for Bushie, and thus ALL these votes went that way. Its a small price to pay to make certain that the individual chunks of peoples get represented...remember we are the United STATES. It happens at State level and THEN nationally.

Personally, I think the way electorial votes are counted should be modified a little. Allow states to split votes. If you have 20 electorial votes to give as a state, and 45% vote one way and another 55% goes the other way, why should you give ALL your votes to the man with the winning total. As long as there is some granularity within the state, why not set it up that way. All your people are represented, your state is represented, and you suddenly become more important nationally as you can't just push it over the edge, ya gotta REALLY make certain its in your favor.

Then again, it probably goes against the idea of a unified state making its decision as a whole...

Re:Democracy works? (2, Interesting)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536200)

I might be wrong, but isn't over 50% of the population in 3 states? New York, California, Florida?

No, you're very wrong. If that was the case, Gore would have moved his entire campaign to Florida, campaigned for Nader in every other state in a deal to keep him from being added to the ballot in Florida, and would have won the election easily.

Also, states are allowed to split their electoral votes. Some states themselves forbid their electors from voting for anyone but the candidate with a plurality of the popular vote, but even in those states (I believe about half of them) that allow the electors to vote for whomever they want, they don't.

A better system, and one that would actually preserve the intent of the Electoral College, would just be to just have the electors themselves run for election and let the voters choose electors whom they trust to make the best decision. Right now, the parties pick a group of electors for each state that they trust to elect their guy, and if they win a plurality in the state they get to have their electors in the College.

replace the printer (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535912)

If a machine runs out of paper, he said, Sequoia would recommend that poll workers remove the entire printer component and replace it with a new one so that workers do not need to touch the receipt roll.

Yeah right, so his company makes even more money...

What to count (3, Insightful)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535914)

But what will be counted?
The electronic votes or the printed votes.
Who says they are the same?
Who says people will even bother reading the piece of paper?

Re:What to count (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535938)

- Unless there is a complaint, surely the electronic votes, otherwise the printed votes.

- No one, that is why one can complain and request a recount, should there be a doubt.

- Well, those who care to vote, surely care how it will be counted. I mean, it is not like one goes there just for fun.

Re:What to count (1)

StenD (34260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536038)

Well, those who care to vote, surely care how it will be counted. I mean, it is not like one goes there just for fun.
No, they go there for a promised pack of cigarettes, or a bottle of 40/40, or...

Re:What to count (-1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536157)

The paper will be used as a backup, in case of doubt (i.e. if ther's like 99% of votes for a candidate, or 1000 voters and 2000 votes...)

Re:What to count (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536180)

Usually, the idea is to randomly count some batches of votes by hand and check them against the electronic count.

Likewise, if there is a very close call or a disputed result, there'll probably be multiple hand-recounts in the places where this occurred, just to make sure.

New warning labels (4, Funny)

eap (91469) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535915)

It looks like the public outcry about Diebold and other voting equipment manufacturers has been heard, at least in a very major market for these machines in the US. It should be very difficult for other states to not follow suit.

Will Diebold voting machines should now carry warnings that state, "This voting machine contains technology known by the State of California to be harmful to Democracy"?

Re:New warning labels (1)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535945)

You'd have to paste all of those signs on the members of Congress, too, because the United States has a representative government, not a democracy.

Re:New warning labels (1)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536020)

Please, do tell how the representative government of the United States is not democratic.
Among others, defines "democracy" as

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

Re:New warning labels (0, Flamebait)

jc42 (318812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536080)

This definition needs a new entry:

c: a government in which the supreme power is vested in an unelected court that can decide which votes are to be counted.

Re:New warning labels (0)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536105)

It's democratic, but not a true democracy. Pure democracy really only exists in small towns (like in the Northeast) these days. The dictionary definition is not completely accurate. The US is a republic. You can look that one up at also if you wish.

Re:New warning labels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535947)

You have a printer and can get mailing lables can't you?

how? (1)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535919)

How does the voter know that the line printed and the vote saved are the same one? It would be trivial to make the program print a vote for candidate X and mark it as a vote for candidate Y?

Re:how? (2, Insightful)

Anspen (673098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535943)

How does the voter know that the line printed and the vote saved are the same one? It would be trivial to make the program print a vote for candidate X and mark it as a vote for candidate Y?

True, but at least it would be possible to hold a paper recount, which would show such a deception.

Re:how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536032)

But in the event of discrepancy, which one is considered correct? The machine record, or the paper record? Considering one makes the other.

Re:how? (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535955)

Just make sure that the paper votes are counted after the elections for a random selection of voting machines. If large discrepencies are found, redo the elections, put Diebold in jail.

Re:how? (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535971)

Repeat after me
It's not the voters, It's the Vote counters who decide.

Unless you follow the whole chain of custody yourself how do you know your vote is properly counted anyway.

I still say that the voter should have several human readable stubs to send to various vote counting groups. Sure some of the stubs will be used to get paid for the voters vote, some of them. I would rather have that and a fully verified vote.

A local talk radio show had a guest on who had seen a voting machine. The machine had gotten stuck somehow
and when the workers at the poll opened it it was full of already cast votes. This was in the morning, just after the polls opened.

If I had a stub that was proof of how I voted, and I sent my stub to a group that I trusted for a paralel count that would go al long way for trust.

There is ofcourse the non electronic way. The polling place is divided into two rooms. You identify yourself and fill out the ballot in the first room. then you go through the door into the second room where your ballot is immidiately counted. Judges from all the partys and other interested groups monitor the process at each polling place. The polls are combined under the same supervision when polls close.

Re:how? (1)

StenD (34260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536028)

If I had a stub that was proof of how I voted, and I sent my stub to a group that I trusted for a paralel count that would go al long way for trust.
How? Unless that group was sent stubs by all (or a sizable percentage) of the voters, all they can do is establish a floor on how many votes a candidate should have. They wouldn't be able to argue voting trends, because the self-selecting sample of voters who would send them their stubs would make their trends different from the electorate as a whole.

tsarkon reports 9 steps to a greased anus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535921)

9 steps to greasing your anus for Yoda Doll Insertion!

  1. Defecate. preferably after eating senna, ex lax, prunes, cabbage and hot sauces.
  2. Wipe ass with witch hazel, soothes horrific burns.
  3. Prime anus with anal ease.
  4. Slather richly a considerable amount of vaseline or other anal lubricants into your rectum at least until the bend and also take your yoda doll or yoda soap on a rope and liberally apply it.
  5. Pucker your ballon knot several times actuating the sphincter muscle in order to work it in.
  6. Put a nigger do-rag on yoda's head so the ears don't stick out like daggers!
  7. Make sure to have a mechanism by which to fish yoda out of your rectum, the soap on the rope is especially useful because that is built in.
  8. Slowly rest yourself onto your yoda figurine.
  9. Gyrate gleefully in your computer chair while your fat sexless geek nerd loser fat shit self enjoys the prostate massage you'll be getting. Think about snoodling with the Sarlaac pit. Read Slashdot. Masturbate to anime. Email one of the editors hoping they will honor you with a reply. Join several more dating services - this time, you dont check the (desired - speaks english) and (desired - literate). You figure you might get a chance then. Order some fucking crap from Think Geek. Get Linux to boot on a Black And Decker Appliance. Wish you could afford a new computer. Argue that IDE is better than SCSI because you cant afford SCSI. Make claims about how Linux rules. Compile a kernel on your 486SX. Claim to hate windows but use it for Everquest. Admire Ghyslain's courage in making that wonderful star wars movie. Officially convert to the Jedi religion. Talk about how cool Mega Tokyo is. Try and make sure you do your regular 50 story submissions to Slashdot, all of which get rejected because people who are All in a days work with a yoda figurine rammed up your ass.


    y______________________________YODA_ANUS []

    I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
    of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
    and to the Republic for which it shoves,
    one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
    with anal lube and ass grease for all.

    Because of Yoda's attitude, I usually don't respond to his perversions, but this time I'll make an exception. For starters, the nicest thing that can be said about Yoda's lackeys is that they are goofy insurrectionists out to demonstrate an outright hostility to law enforcement. Already, some piteous Neanderthals have begun to fund a vast web of uncontrollable vagabonds, combative slackers, and naive malodorous-types, and with terrifying and tragic results. What tracts will follow from their camp is anyone's guess. Think about that for a moment. Simply put, every morning Yoda asks himself, "How can I fool the masses today?" The law is not just a moral stance. It is the consensus of society on our minimum standards of behavior.

    It is grossly misleading merely to claim that Yoda simply regurgitates the empty arguments that have been fed to him over the years. Strange, isn't it, how disrespectful control freaks are always the first to trick academics into abandoning the principles of scientific inquiry? At least 80 percent of the people in this country recognize that he should be locked up. And if that seems like a modest claim, I disagree. It's the most radical claim of all.

    Does Yoda have trouble living with himself, knowing that Yoda's wheelings and dealings disgust and infuriate me? In my effort to uncover his hidden prejudices, I will need to provide you with vital information which he has gone to great lengths to prevent you from discovering. I'm not going to say why; we all know the reason. Stingy feckless lowbrows can go right ahead and convict me for saying that I, for one, am morally and ethically opposed to his sentiments, but History, acting as the goddess of a higher truth and a higher justice, will one day smilingly tear up this verdict, acquitting me of all guilt and blame. His solutions are so narrow-minded that if allowed to go unanswered, their final cost would be incalculable. Why doesn't Yoda try doing something constructive for once in his life? Some people have compared impertinent hedonists to illiterate vile morons. I would like to take the comparison one step further. Let me close where I began: This is a frightening realization.

Hey... (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535925)

What exactly is wrong with taking a piece of paper with every candidate's name on it, and making an "X" beside your choice? This is the way things are done in Canadian federal elections, no fancy-pants touch screens or butterfly ballots or any other nonsense. Everyone gets a ballot with a standard design, from Victoria to Halifax.

Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. If technology doesn't simplify life, what use is it?

Investment advice (-1, Offtopic)

four2five (645777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535977)

Time will tell and by not investing you still retain all rights to your soul. It's impolite to make money off of the doomed, even if it is used for the betterment of society or beer or whatever.

Re:Hey... (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536030)

because the results take hours and hours to collate and analyse

Re:Hey... (1)

hey (83763) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536050)

In Canada the election results are always out soon after the polls close in the West. In fact some people in the West complain that the results are known before many people vote after work in BC and their vote doesn't count as much as others. I don't buy that complain but it shows that results get tallied up very quickly.

Re:Hey... (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536084)

As opposed to US systems, where the results weren't known for weeks in 2000, and some results (on electronic machines), are never truly known.

Re:Hey... (1)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536095)

It's not like they have to wait two weeks to find out who has won. Results are counted within a couple of hours after polls close. Hardly what I would call an excessive amount of time.

Re:Hey... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536041)

Canada... you mean that country that harbors terrorists intent on killing americans?

Re:Hey... (2, Funny)

Ulven (679148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536178)

Isn't that everywhere?

Re:Hey... (2, Interesting)

fname (199759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536054)

Not just directed at you, but: Earth to Slashdotters. This does not require electronic voting. Marking a piece of paper with an "x" would be perfectly valid. This simply requires electronic systems to work properly and to be audit-able. Bubble cards, etc. are still ok.

One nice advantage of electronic voting is it has the potential to be very easy/quick to set up an election; there are very many other positives. This decision addresses the one giant negative associated with the process.

Re:Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536136)

What exactly is wrong with taking a piece of paper with every candidate's name on it, and making an "X" beside your choice? This is the way things are done in Canadian federal elections

A notch under 70% of the adult population of the USA is literate. You figure it out.

What's the difference? (1)

Ulven (679148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536191)

So what's the difference between reading a candidate's name on paper, and reading it on the screen?

Or do the machines speak names out loud?

I agree, but the Constitution stops it... (4, Informative)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536159)

I think paper ballots probably are the best. The process is more transparent. Although fraud can be committed with paper ballots.

...Everyone gets a ballot with a standard design, from Victoria to Halifax...

However, there are some differences between the American and Canadian electoral systems. Please remember, the US Constitution explicitedly puts the responsibility for conducting elections in the hands of the states, for example Section 4, Clause 1 on the election of Senators and Representatives. Furthermore, as witnessed in the last election, we use an Electoral College to pick the President. The selection of the Electoral College members is decided by the individual states. So the Federal government cannot mandate a uniform ballot. (Your statement also ignores the fact that most, if not all, localities use the national elections as opportunities to decide local issues that require some customization of the ballot.)

To do what you propose, while it has merit, would require a Constitutional amendment. One that is not likely to be passed because the states would have to give up some of their power.

My system can do that! (1)

Asprin (545477) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535926)

They should look at my voting system idea, which I outlined in my journal [] .

Re:My system can do that! (1, Funny)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535957)

Important Guy Running Elections: "This system is lame. We need a better one."

Staff #1: "The Think Tank has lots of ideas, we're going through them case-by-case for viability"

Staff #2: "Look at this other country, they have a good implementation, we can modify it and try and solve the problems it has."

Staff #3: "Here are a list of commercial vendors, they all seem to have quality products except for one - Diabolic I think their name is?"

Important Guy: "No, we've tried them, what a shambles."

Staff #4: "I read some guy's Slashdot journal. How about you all shut the hell up and we do what he says? Screw your multi-million dollar deals"

Aye, fucking right. Why the hell would they be scouring slashdot for some idea of pompous preacher who thinks "I thought of that first. I'm so l33t."

PS this is a joke, although it does seem to come across as quite abrasive.

Re:My system can do that! (1)

Effugas (2378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536048)

Everyone thinks of this.

Everyone thinks they're the first to think of this.

Everyone's got the right idea -- except Diebold.


Re:My system can do that! (1)

HeelToe (615905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536196)

What your system cannot do is prove to the voter that its internal storage records exactly what the screen does in terms of the votes placed.

No electronic system can do this.

Of course, some of our current non-electronic voting machines cannot, but some can. The voter can actually see what physical piece of evidence will be later counted to determine their votes.

Since you cannot write a proof to guarantee code does something, you have no mechanism to tie any artifact (whether electronic on-screen results or a printout of voting choices) to the actual vote being counted.

A physical artifact counted by people is all that can do this.

Why So Long? (4, Insightful)

Databass (254179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535929)

Why does the bill allow such a long timeline? By requiring a paper trail in 2005 (not in time for the next presidentail election), the legislature is clearly saying there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Why does it not need to be addressed in time for the Presidentail election?

A year is plenty of time short of deliberate sandbagging.

Re:Why So Long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535974)

like the state of california has done anything in a hurry? There is beauracracy, and the bearacrats are lazy and slow. At least it will happen.

Re:Why So Long? (3, Funny)

borkus (179118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535987)

Because if George W. Bush does not become re-elected, they can send Governor Schwarzenegger back in time to terminate the Democrat president.

Re:Why So Long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535991)

because by then GWB will of been delivered into a second term by the CEO of Diebold

in otherwords "it will be too fucking late by then"

um...useless? (3, Interesting)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535932)

I see two possible scenarios which make this an unrealistic solution:

(1) The receipt includes a voter ID and the results of their vote. This totally violates the anonymity of the voting process but does allow for counting.

(2) If the receipts include no voter ID but just some form of transaction ID, then why print them off at all? Just run some report at any point during the voting process to see the tally? Why not? If the voting system is compromised, then there is no way to ensure the paper votes with the transaction id, generated from the compromised system can be trusted either.

As I see it, this solution does not add value without removing rights.

Re:um...useless? (1)

3th3rn3t (245106) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535948)

but wasnt the whole point to get rid of paper voting and vast ammounts of it accumulated? the receipt will just be the same thing imho. massive useless paper amounts

Re:um...useless? (1)

StenD (34260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536010)

No, the alleged point was to avoid errors caused by people confused by the notion that "vote for only one candidate" meant that they should only one candidate, and confused by the concept that a candidate's name on the same line as a spot to indicate a vote meant that in order to vote for that candidate, they should mark/punch out the spot on the same line. The "butterfly" ballot gets all of the bad press, but other paper ballots caused similar problems, if not to the same degree. Now, I'm not sure how anyone who has had errors in their bank/credit card/telephone/etc statement would think that computerized voting would avoid errors, but...

Re:um...useless? (5, Insightful)

srleffler (721400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535980)

You missed the point. The reason to print the receipt after each person votes rather than printing off a report later is so the voter can see the receipt and verify that the machine has correctly recorded the vote. Even if not every voter bothers to check the receipt, enough will that a malfunctioning machine will be detected. The receipts than allow for a recount to be done later if there is some doubt about the machine's accuracy or if the machine crashes.

Re:um...useless? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536169)

You're missing the point. Anonymity is lost in case the machine is flagged as untrustworthy. Every person who complains that they didn't see their vote on the printout can be tracked, since they must divulge their identity before voting.

So if the machine is deficient on purpose, you could get a list of all people who didn't vote for candidate X, including name and address. The list won't be complete since not everyone will complain, but it'll be large enough to send Vinnie over for a "talk" later on if you so choose.

Re:um...useless? (1)

kasperd (592156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535989)

I see two possible scenarios which make this an unrealistic solution

With an appropriate cryptographic solution the receipt doesn't have to reveal information about the actual vote. And still it is possible with the right algorithm to verify, that this vote was actually counted in the final result. Unfortunately I don't remember the rest of the details about how this should work.

Re:um...useless? (1)

AlinuxNCSU (589202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536061)

How about option 3?

(3) The reciept includes a timestamp (perhaps), and a output of results in human readable form. This gets deposited into a locked box on your way out (as paper ballots are now). It doesn't have any indication of who the person was who voted.

This method doesn't violate anonymity in any way, and it allows the voter to verify before he or she deposits the slip whether or not the vote was tallied correctly.

Later, you can take this locked box and count reciepts like you count ballots. Randomly audit a certain percentage of polling places and you can check for discrepancies.

Is there anything I missed?


Re:um...useless? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536147)

You missed the following: suppose the voter votes for one candidate, but swaps the printout receipt just before placing it in the sealed box. Now the results in the machine are different from the paper results. Which one will be trusted?

BTW, the article states that you don't get to touch the receipt. You simply view it inside the printer, behind a piece of glass.

Re:um...useless? (1)

AlinuxNCSU (589202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536194)

Well, serves me right for skimming the article.

For the sake of arguement though, if you wanted to, I'm sure you could figure out some (expensive?) physical way to guarantee that the receipt isn't tampered with even if it's handled. For instance, you print some kind of verifiable signature (which doesn't include the voters' ID) or you print on special paper...

Either way, to answer your question, I'd trust the paper. Why would someone modify their vote other than to be malicious? That would just be changing one's own vote (and being the idiot that causes the recount). However, to protect against such possibilities, you don't mandate a complete recount unless the differences between computer and paper are statistically significant (which depends on the total results).


Yay (1)

Ancil (622971) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535937)

Woohoo! Score one for the good guys.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535942)

It looks like the public outcry about Diebold and other voting equipment manufacturers has been heard

I think it's great that politicans care about us citizens.

paper receipt? (3, Insightful)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535946)

What's so hard about using a sharpie to fill in a (relatively large) bubble next to the canidate you want to vote for? Then use any computer technology you want to count the bubbles. Sounds cheaper to me. The paper trail is there, and only what needs to be automated (counting) is.

Maybe setup a few touchscreen kiosks for those who really need it. For the rest of us, I want my pen and paper.

Re:paper receipt? (2, Informative)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536001)

This is pretty much the way San Mateo County voters have been voting for years. We use black markers to connect two dark lines for the candidate we want, and then feed our ballots into an optical scanner which records our votes. It's a simple, elegant solution.

It's surprising that this technology hasn't gotten more media attention. People following the news would think the only three ways to vote are old voting machines, punch cards and DRE!

The world is counting on you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7535983)

if W gets another term of office millions will die and your economy really will be in the shitter

please wake up

how is this better than paper voting? (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7535990)

From a procedural standpoint, if people are required to take the receipt and bring it to an official stating "hey, I didn't vote for that guy", then anonymity is effectively lost. How many people are going to think twice about complaining in that case?

Voter: Sheriff, I just voted with that machine over there, and it said I voted for Bubba Smith.

Sheriff: Yeah, what's the problem? Don't like my cousin?

Voter: Uh, no everythin's fine. Forget it.

Re:how is this better than paper voting? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536016)

This *is* paper voting. The question isn't "how is this better than paper voting", it's "how is this better than electronic voting". And of course it's better because it provides a physical ballot. If the paper ballot doesn't say what the voter expects, then it's a spoiled ballot, it must be discarded. When he tries again, if it still votes for Bubba Smith, then he calls the TV station and they break a big story about Sherrif Bohunkus and Bubba Smith and vote fraud.

With electronic votes, nobody would ever know.

Re:how is this better than paper voting? (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536093)

This isn't quite paper voting.

With traditional paper voting, you keep the piece of paper in your hand until it's in the box. The only visual verification is that somebody saw you put a piece of paper in the box. Any piece of paper, it doesn't matter. When the votes are counted later, if your vote is disqualified, then no-one knows you did it.

With this system, the votes are printed and visible to you. If you're going to complain that the machine stuffed up, you have to tell someone. This person will ask you who you voted for, and will want to verify that the printout contains another candidate's name. Once they've verified that your candidate and the the one on paper are different, some action will be taken to fix the machine. But by then, the official will know how you intended to vote. Your vote is no longer anonymous.

Re:how is this better than paper voting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536017)

read the story ya dumb shit, its right there in front of your fucken eyes. No one brings home a receipt for fucks sake.

Re:how is this better than paper voting? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536065)

Fucking AC, you're the one who should read the story. Who said anything about voters taking receipts home? It's about some technical oversight guy looking you in the eye and asking "did you vote for xxx?". It's about intimidation. You've got two choices if there's a problem: either you complain that the machine is wrong and you didn't vote that way (and if the machine is rigged, those people have your name and address now), or you keep your mouth shut and you've just voted for somebody you didn't want to vote for.

Who's to say that it won't just print : (-1, Flamebait)

ellem (147712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536009)

Fuck You! If you knew what you were doing you'd be able to use a punch card you freaking retard! We'll decide which Republican you want in office, you pitiful scumbag.

Amen (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536037) goes California, so goes the nation. Smog laws; consumer protection laws, etc. Not always, but usually. Too bad CA can't stop shooting itself in the foot when it comes to business and health care.

A paper trail is just a sanity check, and a completely reasonable way of keeping things in line.

Iowa has the best voting system. (4, Insightful)

acoustix (123925) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536046)

In Iowa to vote you go inside your own booth will nothing but a pencil and a scantron sheet (like the ones you fill out on a standardized test). Fill in the circle and you're done.

Of course, the circle has to be completely filled in. But the again, if you can't fill in a circle then you probably shouldn't be voting.

Counting the votes is relatively fast. We usually know within 2 hours of the polls closing who has won.

Why do we even NEED an electronic system? What is wrong with the paper ballots?


Your system might already be electronic. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536110)

Of course, the circle has to be completely filled in. But the again, if you can't fill in a circle then you probably shouldn't be voting. Counting the votes is relatively fast. We usually know within 2 hours of the polls closing who has won. Why do we even NEED an electronic system?

Sounds like a scantron system to me. A machine is counting your votes already. A machine might also be adding the county results up for you too.

Difficult for other states to not follow suit? (3, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536060)

That's ridiculous. It'll be easy for other states to not follow suit; what will be difficult will be for the companies who make these machines to avoid producing them with this as an option. This, as a result, will make it easier for states to follow California's example, if they are so inclined. But sticking to the status quo of electonic voting has not become more difficult yet.

there goes anonymity (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536144)

The problem with this little scheme is that the printer generates a linear log of votes, and this might be used to figure out who voted for whom. There goes your anonymity. People might be afraid of retribution for voting the wrong way.

I recommend using blinded signature techniques to solve the problem. "Poll watchers" will network their computers to the voting machine, and when someone votes, their machines will sign the voter's choices through a blinding mechanism that will validate the vote. The vote will then be released to the poll watchers' machines mixed with "chaff".

The chaff would be generated prior to the vote; a large number of votes would be created, tabulated and signed blindly. Each vote broadcast on the network would be mixed with ten or so randomly chosen chaff votes. At the end of voting, the unused chaff votes would be tabulated again, the number of chaff votes cast would be calculated and subtracted from the total, giving the true number of votes cast.

Vote Selling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7536160)

There is a very big problem with this type of system: it enables vote selling (someone gives 10$ to every person that produces a receipt proving they voted for a specific candidate)

It is also exposed to blackmail (vote for Candidate X and bring us the receipt or else...)

Repealed in 2005 (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7536170)

When Schwarzenegger rigs the California rules to deliver the state's electoral votes, just like Jeb Bush in Florida 2000, Bush will have won by a "landslide". Then Scwarzenegger will replace the Sect'y of State with his own henchman, Bush will shower the state with temporary "relief", as Schwarzenegger repeals the paper-trail act, in time for the next California governor election. When that's rigged, no one will notice until the Governator is reelected in a landslide. With lame-duck Bush and lame-duck Schwarzenegger, the rape of California will make landslides, forest fires, earthquakes and apocalyptic robots from the future look like movie fantasies of paradise.
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>