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Can America Trust Electronic Voting?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the as-far-as-you-can-throw-it dept.

United States 452

A anonymous reader writes: "The Sacramento Bee wrote an excellent article about the issues surrounding electronic voting. It was written by the Yolo County clerk/recorder and a professor of law at UC Davis. They quote sources such as Peter G. Neumann and Diebold's president Walden O'Dell."

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452 comments

meeples. yeah. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7543972)

meeples. yeah.

Re:meeples. yeah. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7543980)

Teh Uh-Ass Armie is teh best!!!11 I am intelegent Americcen man!!!!

ummm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7543973)

who the fuck cares?

n/t

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Yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7543998)

Just make Bush the Fuhrer and watch the US go down in flames.

Redundant, I know (3, Insightful)

Trioge (605524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543977)

... But the only e-voting situation I would trust would be an open source one. Even with paper reciepts, there's still an unprecidented oppourtunity for fraud.

Re:Redundant, I know (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544014)

But the only e-voting situation I would trust would be an open source one. Even with paper reciepts, there's still an unprecidented oppourtunity for fraud.

Perhaps. But I've said this many times before (as have others) and I'll say it again:

Why does an e-voting machine have to be anything more then a fancy dumb terminal with a printer attached? Don't record the votes to a hard drive or flash card (or the worst possible idea: networked to some central server). The machine should be nothing more then a gateway to print a paper ballot.

This ensures that the ballot is filled out correctly, gives the user ample time to correct any mistakes (before printing the ballot) and lets them verify it with their own two eyes before they drop the paper ballot in the lockbox.

Said ballots can then be counted with OCR software -- or by hand if it comes down to a manual recount.

Open source or not, I do not trust the vendors of these machines ("I'm going to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to Bush next year") enough to assume that my vote is actually counted on that hard drive. Even if they released open source code, how do you really know that's what's running on the machine itself? Once the election is over it's too late as Florida proved.

Re:Redundant, I know (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544033)

So why not just do what we do here in Canada: make the ballot as simple as possible, just mark an X by your candidate. All that's on the ballot is a list of names and a box by each one.

Why bother with electronic voting? We get our results around an hour after the polls close, plus there's much less room for voting fraud (and I'd assume it's cheaper).

Re:Redundant, I know (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544046)

So why not just do what we do here in Canada: make the ballot as simple as possible, just mark an X by your candidate. All that's on the ballot is a list of names and a box by each one.

I wouldn't have a problem with that either. Problem is, somebody will point out "Ah, but what if people can't figure out how to use it or they mark it incorrectly?"

Anyway you cut it, voting is not rocket science people. All I want (as a concerned citizen) is someway to verify the process.

Re:Redundant, I know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544062)

Easy way to verify: you vote, your vote gets recorded next to your SSN. They have a list of SSN's with the vote recorded.

That's really the only way to verify the process, but too many people will complain about giving up their anonymity, so things get messy...

Re:Redundant, I know (2)

beebware (149208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544184)

Let's face it - do we really want the votes of people who can't figure out how to make an "X" mark next to a name to decide the next president/prime minister?

Re:Redundant, I know (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544236)


Let's face it - do we really want the votes of people who can't figure out how to make an "X" mark next to a name to decide the next president/prime minister?

Yes. As well as others who can.

Re:Redundant, I know (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544097)

Bubble sheets, as easy to use as possible, would be less prone to any sort of error than even a terminal with a simple printer. We use them where I live, and it seems everyone can fill them out fine. If people don't mark them correctly (despite repeated warnings) it's their fault.

Re:Redundant, I know (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544180)

Said ballots can then be counted with OCR software -- or by hand if it comes down to a manual recount.
Even easier.... tag a barcode on the ballot and scan them just like the supermarket

Re:Redundant, I know (2, Interesting)

drix (4602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544202)

That's an excellent and most obvious point. Yet you would not believe the institutional resistance to this idea among the three e-voting OEMs (Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia) to the idea of creating some sort of printed record. They insist on doing it all digital, even though their systems are ridiculously, incredibly insecure [avirubin.com] --probably because, in the event of a recount, a paper trail would provide concrete proof of how poorly their systems perform. There was an excellent overview of all this in Act One of the latest This American Life [thislife.org] . You aren't going to believe your ears when you hear how lame these companies are (esp. Diebold), they to whom we are poised to entrust our most important the most important cornerstone of our democracy.

Except he was not appointed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544213)

"Bush is by far the worst president ever appointed by the Supreme Court. --maddox.xmission.com "

Whether or not he is the worst president, you are accepting someone's lie as fact. The Supreme Court did not appoint him. The Electoral College did, however, through the usual process of election.

All the Supreme Court did was refuse to bother with a frivolous appeal filed with them. They in effect did nothing and let the real results of the election stand.

Re:Redundant, I know (1)

snStarter (212765) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544131)

I think you're out of touch with the canvasing process that verifies selected parts of the hard-copy vote with the tabulated vote. It would be virtually impossible to fake.

Maybe open source is your religion, and that's okay, but don't let it disconnect you with reality.

Re:Redundant, I know (2, Interesting)

mog007 (677810) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544183)

Another issue brought up is that there's no way of being sure that the source isn't tampered before it's installed on the machines. It isn't like you're going to be givin a root account on the machine, allowed to browse the source, then compile it when you're satisfied.

Let me be the first to say... (0, Redundant)

metrazol (142037) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543979)

No.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544030)

I don't think America can trust any kind of voting, let alone the electronic variety.

If voting could change anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544077)

it would be illegal.

Some paranoia... (5, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543983)

Maybe I'll be a little 'off-topic' but I would like to add some reflexion to this article.

E-Voting and its problems are a clear example of what is happening: we are giving to our computers and networks more and more 'power' over our own lives. This wouldn't be a problem if security was some exact science.

We still have big problems with computer security and while we didn't fix them yet (anyway can we really fix them ?) the overall 'value' of the data that goes through our networks is fast increasing.

This, I think, will be even worse in the near future because the software, systems and networks we use will be more and more complex and it will be harder and harder to maintain a good level of security on them.

You could argue that the problems exposed in the article are not related to security. I would say 'not yet'.

But something really interesting is said: "These machines leave no 'paper trail,' that is, no voter-verifiable record allowing a retrospective audit of the votes recorded as cast for each candidate or ballot proposition.".

Everything in these system is 'virtual'. It makes it easier to loose, to replicate (to steal) or to alter information. I'm quite afraid about that.

Maybe the E-Voting system is not connected to Internet, which increase security of course, but maybe one day it will...

Re:Some paranoia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544056)

Luddite!

No! (2, Insightful)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543993)

at least not until proper and proven security measures have been put in place and that there is at least a paper trail to follow in the event that the votes are tampered with (a.k.a. Diebold [indybay.org] ).

Re:No! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544075)

Time for another fucking grammar lesson:

a.k.a. == also known as
i.e. == id est == that is, that is to say
e.g. == exempli gratia == for example

at least not until proper and proven security measures have been put in place and that there is at least a paper trail to follow in the event that the votes are tampered with (also known as Diebold). WRONG

at least not until proper and proven security measures have been put in place and that there is at least a paper trail to follow in the event that the votes are tampered with (that is to say Diebold). WRONG

at least not until proper and proven security measures have been put in place and that there is at least a paper trail to follow in the event that the votes are tampered with (for example Diebold). CORRECT

Are you the kind of moron that votes along party lines regardless of issues?

Not with these companies... (3, Insightful)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543994)

The problem is not the technique, the problem is the fraudulous mentality of the management of these companies...

Re:Not with these companies... (1)

XenonChloride (718512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544096)

[...] the problem is the fraudulous mentality of the management of these companies [...]
I disagree. If these companies wouldn't provide exactly the service they are paid for they would be out of business already.

Re:Not with these companies... (2, Insightful)

Ripplet (591094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544181)

If these companies wouldn't provide exactly the service they are paid for they would be out of business already.

Exactly right. It's not 'hackers' or 'crackers' I'm afraid of, it's the guys these companies are working for. And we sure as hell know who Walden O'Dell is working for! "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." How much more conflict of interest do you need?

Trust an American election? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7543997)

Like the last time? Summer 200? Excuse me, but I think it doesn't mean anything whether the machines work correctly - American votes are less democratic and true than the ones in China... No matter whether you get a receipt or not... Hail to the Banana Republic of North America!

Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (1, Flamebait)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 10 years ago | (#7543999)

Can America trust regular punchcard voting? Didn't Florida teach us anything in 2000?

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544015)

Who cares about who's leading the country anyway, as long as he makes you feel proud or something...

Just think of world politics as some kind of football championship.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544045)

Why not just mark an x in a box by your candidate? The counting is still fast enough (within an hour or so of the polling stations closing), and it's as close to idiot proof as is possible to get.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544121)

While people were worrying about people who had mistakenly misvoted in Palm Beach County, Diebold delivered -16,022 votes for Gore in Volusia County, Florida. Do you suppose that might have had an effect on the election?

http://blackboxvoting.com/

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (1)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544124)

This system could prevent this to happen again.

As I remember in Florida some problems were due to vote cards that were 'incorrectly' filled.

An electronic system would solve this problem.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544162)

The real issue with the Florida 2000 election wasn't the ballots. There election wasn't tainted by bad ballots - the paper ballots were all countable. After the fact, we all found out who really would have won, had all the ballots been counted.

The real problem was the United States Supreme Court, which handed the election to George W. Bush.

Once all of the ballots had been counted, it was found that by a slight margin, Al Gore actually won Florida - meaning that he won both the popular and electoral vote.

Perhaps we can work on replacing the US Supreme Court with machines? Or, at least, with non-partisan judges - who are elected by the people of the USA, not appointed by Presidents (and therefore subjective in their opinions of presidential candidates who just happen to be the son of the man who gave them their job).

That is really Step #1 to getting a fair, balanced presidential election in 2004 - ridding the Supreme Court of the current judges, and allowing the American People to vote for new judges.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544194)

The real problem in Florida is that the election was statistically speaking a tie. We flipped a coin and it landed on it's edge.

Nationwide, the coin was likewise poised on its edge.

As such, very minor flaws in the punch card systems had enormous impact, like the proverbial butterfly wings causing a tornado.

Halo 2??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544000)

OMFG have you seen the Halo 2 trailer it's like slow and it's telling you all the stuff you did in the first one then the music kicks in andand the chief comes out and gets a gun the earf is on fire and chief is like fuck this im jumping and HE JUMPS PUT OF TEH SPACESHIP with angels singing and he lands on the bad guys and that annoying ai lady is like GO GET EM TIGER! WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE!!!~`1 and theres less polys but rawkin bumb mappings you can view this on a special MICROSOFT xbox disk that comes with EB games store.

Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (5, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544002)

... for their next election, which seems to be the best option to me. Voter gets a piece of paper (anonymous) which records his/her vote. The slip has to be left at the polling station in a sealed container, and in the event of "it screwed up", the slips get counted...

Simon.

Re:Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544035)

What sucks is we give up the verifiability of that paper trail in exchange for anonymity.

Voting shouldn't be anonymous.

Voting shouldn't be anonymous (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544140)

The only way to be sure that your vote is recorded is by looking it up in a ledger somewhere or a newspaper that prints it or on a website that lists it.

Anything else is (and has been and will continue to be) subject to fraud.

Re:Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (3, Informative)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544036)

All I know is that California recently mandated paper receipts [msnbc.com] for all its voting machines. Sucks is that this isn't required for all of them until 2006, which is a little too late for the 2004 elections.

Re:Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (1)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544050)

We're assuming that the right name is printed out on each receipt. You think everyone's going to bother to check?

Re:Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (4, Interesting)

mindriot (96208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544069)

...which brings you back to the question, "what advantage is the electronic system then?" Right now we have a paper trail, and it works well. (OK, maybe you Americans should work on the Usability of your forms :-))

That we will be able to get voting results faster? Well, let's see. In Germany, polls are always on Sunday and the booths close at 6pm. By that time, you already get projected results that usually differ from the final results by less than one percent. By 11pm the final results ("Vorlaufiges amtliches Endergebnis", "preliminary official results") are available. Is it worth spending millions of dollars just to get the results, say, four hours earlier? OK, there's one advantage if the results can be seen in "real time," e.g. over the day, while elections are still running. Because then the knowledge that the current results are very close to each other (think Gore-Bush) might have an influence on who decides to actually go voting later in the day.

And then there's the argument that E-Voting will make it easier for people to vote and thus more people will vote. But on the other hand there have been studies showing that when people had to make more of an effort to go cast their vote, turnouts actually increased.

That being said, www.free-project.org is a good source of pro and contra arguments regarding E-Voting.

Re:Hasn't Australia just mandated a paper trail (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544248)

... for their next election, which seems to be the best option to me. Voter gets a piece of paper (anonymous) which records his/her vote. The slip has to be left at the polling station in a sealed container, and in the event of "it screwed up", the slips get counted...

What happens if the voter doesn't return the slip? It could be that the real winner is different from the paper winner if the vote still gets counted.

What they should do is to use the touch screen to print a completed ballot, and count those, either automatically or (in case of a recount) by hand.

Can /.ers expect (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544007)

Timothy not to give Cmdr. Taco head, once an hour? I think not.

Never mind the electronic stuff. (1, Offtopic)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544011)

After the Florida shennanigans, which one of us trusts the current voting systems anymore?

Re:Never mind the electronic stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544153)

Well I trust traditional voting methods more than touch screen.What "shennanigans" are you referring to? The ones engaged in by the Florida Supreme Court?

California is on the right track... (4, Interesting)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544017)

To hopefully fixing this problem. This week, the state mandated that all voting machines print a human-verifiable paper ballot. This is good, but the regulation is supposed to take effect in 2006.

While it's a step in the right direction, it's also ridiculous. A voting technology that is unacceptable in 2006 is also unacceptable today. I certainly hope they push up the deadline to before the 2004 election. There's plenty of time to fix it by then.

If you live in California, please bug the appropriate government officials about this.

absolutely not (-1, Flamebait)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544021)

Americans shouldn't trust electronic voting because they cannot trust their own government at all.

In the last election, Bush won by fraud.

Bush and his government do not listen to the UN, detain prisoners with no charges, and therefore do not believe in democracy.

The government is a completely corrupt organization with many of the leaders in it comming from large companies such as the oil industry.

America cannot trust electronic voting because it cannot even trust it's current government.

Re:absolutely not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544052)

In the last election, Bush won by fraud.

Actually, I don't think he did. Evidence, por favor.

Re:absolutely not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544101)

Ditto, what he said..

It was Gore who attempted to win by fraud, and failed.

Re:absolutely not (5, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544151)

In the last election, Bush won by fraud.

According to all the "media recounts", Bush won the election unless you counted the votes against methods prescribed by Florida law -- much like Johnny Carson's Carnac. I don't know if you understand US Presidential Elections, but our President is elected by the Electoral College not by the popular vote. Bush won by 2% in the Electoral College [fec.gov] .

Bush and his government do not listen to the UN, detain prisoners with no charges, and therefore do not believe in democracy.

The UN does not dictate to the United States because we are a sovereign country. It would unconstitutional for President Bush to allow the UN to dictate to USA. The US does not detain "prisoners" without charges. We do, however, place into detention terrorists that have attacked or are plotting to attack the US or its military. It is very simple not become a guest of Gitmo, do not conspire with terrorist organizations that threaten to cause mass casualties. We do believe in democracy in America and brought it to many nations around the world. Two shining examples are Germany and Japan.

I understand that it is vogue in many minority "clickish" groups to engage in vitriolic hyperbole in regards to our President. Those that have underestimated our President's intelligence or will have found themselves on the losing side of not only elections but of history. There are many complaints that can be brought up about our President such as his love of big government programs but it is rare to ever hear valid ones from his foes, much to their electoral peril. President Bush main strength is that he is constantly underestimated and overly mocked.

Re:absolutely not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544166)

What is, a 3rd grade history report, Alex.

Bush won by winning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544178)

"In the last election, Bush won by fraud"

Bush won by...winning. The same way Clinton, Carter, FDR, etc won: they got enough votes in enough states to win the electoral vote.

"Bush and his government do not listen to the UN, detain prisoners with no charges, and therefore do not believe in democracy"

Neither of those has anything to do with democracy. Your sentence made no sense. Democracy rolls on the same as before.

"The government is a completely corrupt organization with many of the leaders in it comming from large companies such as the oil industry"

It is much less corrupt than before. The second part of your statement is not true. Only a few oil guys in it, and so what?

"America cannot trust electronic voting because it cannot even trust it's current government"

But it does trust the current administration. Next time think about what you say.

Re:Bush won by winning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544211)

But thats not the case - the recounted ballots showed that Gore took Florida, and therefore won both the electoral and popular votes. Had the Democratic party pushed for a full recount, or the Supreme Court demanded it, Gore would be president. It is only because a smaller portion of the total votes were counted that Bush 'won'.

Gore lost all the recounts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544223)

"But thats not the case - the recounted ballots showed that Gore took Florida"

No, Gore lost all the recounts, including the one he demanded of the Supreme Court.

The only way you can get Gore to come out winning is to count ballots without Gore votes as being Gore votes. This is the only recount that would have had Gore win, and it is one of the hypothetical scenarios.

"It is only because a smaller portion of the total votes were counted that Bush 'won'."

He won. No quotes needed. Get over it. And he won because the actual votes were counted in Florida.

Can't trust real voting. Look at 2000 and Gore (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544023)

We can't trust non-electronic voting. Look at the 2000 election and Gore.

Gore lost the election, but was a sore loser and actually came close to having his lying lawyers overthrow the actual results by filing frivolous court briefings. We came that close to having a situation of democracy by purjuring attorneys.

Re:Can't trust real voting. Look at 2000 and Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544154)

What irony!
must be humor....or are some people this stupid!?

It is real history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544193)

It is real history. Check it out sometime, and don't rely on press releases from Terry McAuliffe or the latest novel form Michael Moore as fact.

There are a lot of sore losers. The radical left felt it had a divine right to continue rule when Clinton's 8 years are up. They are shocked SHOCKED that they lost the election and can't handle reality. So they just make stuff up, anything but face the fact that they lost.

A letter from George (1)

grishknash (118043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544028)

To Slahsdot;
Considering the current administration's track record on accountability and conflict of interest, it wouldn't surprise me if Kellogg, Brown and Root were awarded the e-voting contract as a 'security' measure. Forget a paper trail, those can be dangerous to national security.

George Orwell

Re:A letter from George (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544172)

It's obvoius you know very little about KBR and their history. Look it up, you might be surprised to find that you like them. They are good at what they do, and they do it all over the world. They are one of very few companies worldwide who have the ability and know-how to complete technically challenging engineering projects anywhere on earth. Creating a secure and foolproof electronic voting infrastructure would be well beneath their capabilities, but I would be quite comfortable with the result if they got such a contract. When they do something, they do it right. That's why they have been around for so long.

The only place you will find bad-mouthing of KBR is in uninformed liberal media. If you had ever experienced the hassles of engineering and business across multiple international boundaries, you would be able to appreciate how good they really are.

frist psot (-1, Troll)

Incompetent Troll (710264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544039)

eat it fags

As much as traditional voting... (3, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544040)

Its not the method of voting that matters, its those that manage the polling booths. Vote fraud has a long history that precedes even influence of computers on our society. If the people we intrust to count our votes, be them paper or electronic, are corrupt, the method makes no matter.

Frankly, I am not as concerned about electronic voting as I am getting Americans to actually vote in the first place.

Re:As much as traditional voting... (1)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544125)

Personally, I wish the general public (i.e. big media) would give some more attention to the way votes are cast [sciencenews.org] . I don't mean paper vs. computer. I mean whether you cast a single vote or multiple for a single candidate/issue, and so forth.

Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (3, Interesting)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544051)

Yes, if the greedy corporations are removed from the process, and an OSS solution based on an openly auditable platform like Linux or FreeBSD is adopted. We are not too far away from this eventuality.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544080)

Openly auditable doesn't make it foolproof; there are ways to obfuscate things enough that people wouldn't pick up on them right away. Much like is done with certain things in public records already.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (1)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544116)

here are ways to obfuscate things enough that people wouldn't pick up on them right away

Name one.

Just kidding. Not trying to be an asshole. However: why are you being a naysayer?

With enough changing sets of eyes on the source code, any significant problems would be found, as opposed to being obscured by a commercial interest. As the OSS model has proved for years now, this fact is irrefutable.

We may end up with a less-than-perfect voting system by using OSS -- but it would be better than the atrocity which is now in place!

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (2, Insightful)

eet23 (563082) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544104)

I don't want open source voting machines any more than I want closed-source ones. Okay, we can all see the code and look for trickery, but how do I know that the machine I'm about to vote on is actually using that code?

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (0)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544128)

how do I know that the machine I'm about to vote on is actually using that code?

How do you know (for SURE) that the post you just made and the answer you are reading were actually posted on Slashdot's web servers on planet Earth, and not in some parallel universe where you every comment is appended to the file which will be reviewed at the time of your Final Judgement on Planet Zoormash?

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? - OT (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544188)

How do you know (for SURE) that the post you just made and the answer you are reading were actually posted on Slashdot's web servers on planet Earth, and not in some parallel universe where you every comment is appended to the file which will be reviewed at the time of your Final Judgement on Planet Zoormash?

I've *always* thought that was a feature.

Re:Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544201)

How do you know (for SURE) that the post you just made and the answer you are reading were actually posted on Slashdot's web servers on planet Earth

How do you know you're not a retard who talks out of his ass?

DOWN WITH ZIONISM! (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544059)

down with zionism! down with imperialism! down with Israel! Victory to the heroic palestinian national liberation struggle!

The real question is (1, Insightful)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544067)

Can America trust its voters (and those they vote for)? A quick look at some of the people in office, and one starts to wonder...

Re:The real question is (3, Insightful)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544082)

Most people I know vote straight Democrat or straight Republican, and rarely actually do any homework about "the issues" or what the candidates they are voting for actually represent.

Obviously, my own experience isn't necessarily reflective of the whole of the US voting pool, but I have trouble believing that the majority of people actually do research every candidate before a vote...

Re:The real question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544130)

Tell me about it! That senate guy from Massachusetts, he murdered a woman!

Can America Trust Electronic Voting? (0, Redundant)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544093)

No. Next question.

I think its pretty clear (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544100)

I think its pretty clear that there is a lack of faith in e-voting and also some mistrust of traditional forms of voting after Florida. I therefore propose that all voting be scrapped and the adoption a Supreme Leader to rule. Since its my idea I will be the first leader. My aides will be dilligently selected for their intelligence and integrity, if that just happens to be my old mates then so be it.

Obviously leadership is a great honour and a burden which I feel I can best fulfill if resident in a luxurious villa on a tropical island paradise surrounded by nubile native girls, with regular entertainment provided by Britney, Beyonce, Kylie etc. and a large collection of expensive playthings (Gulfstreams, Ferraris, Merc's, helicopters, speedboats etc).

My first order of business will the public execution of the SCO board of directors in a very public and painful manner.

And remember, we all love the Leader and are dedicated to his happiness.

Re:I think its pretty clear (1)

beebware (149208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544206)

Dear Leader,
I will be happy to pick lima beans for you so that you can build a nice spaceship in a barn for us to depart to Blisstopia.
Yours,
H.Simpson

Re:I think its pretty clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544210)

And remember, we all love the Leader and are dedicated to his happiness.

I for one welcome our anti-voter fraud, tropical villa living, babe served, Britney watching, gulfstream riding, happy Supreme Leader overlord!

Now, really.. (4, Interesting)

NegativeK (547688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544111)

Granted, I'm not going to vote electronically without an open source system in place, but this _really_ isn't that hard.

As an example implementation.. When you register, you get a plastic card with a magnetic stripe on it. It has two 32-bit numbers on the card, with your name, picture, and address. One of the 32-bit numbers is your personal identifier, and the other is your signing key.

Now, for the ballot, every candidate also has a 32-bit number. When you want to vote for your candidate, you swipe your card, then select the candidate on the screen. Your pid is appended to the end of the candidates pid, and then it is hashed with your signing key. At the same time, a publicly available signing key from the government signs the 32-bit pid of the candidate. Two slips are then printed out, both with one barcode indicating your hash of the candidate + your pid, and a barcode with the hash of the government signed pid.

One slip is given to the poll people, and you keep the other. Also, a copy of the slip is sent over some network to the vote counting place. If you doubt that your vote has been tallied correctly, all you have to do is search for your signed 64-bit candidate + personal id in some government database.

Paper trail. Verifiability. Randomness. What am I missing? Was t overly complicated? Input, please!

P.S.: Want to vote for someone not on the ballot? Do a write in. They're rare enough that counting by hand isn't an issue.

Re:Now, really.. (2, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544173)

Interesting idea but doesn't this remove the anonymous aspect of voting which would make it a very tough sell.

Re:Now, really.. (1)

Polo (30659) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544195)

One thought - although this is a way of ensuring that your vote was tallied correctly so you can check it, what about padding the ballot box (for example, what about all the dead people that voted the other way?)

Re:Now, really.. (5, Insightful)

jtcampbell (199660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544205)

There's one problem with this scheme, namely lack of anonymity. Also if you give a receipt it opens the door to bribery, since an outside party can verify who you have actually voted for. Anyone with access to the database can also see who you voted for.
Voting has to be anonymous.

Re:Now, really.. (1)

NegativeK (547688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544247)

Anyone with access to the database can also see who you voted for.

You do have a point. Perhaps the government signed key won't be printed on the voter copy. In fact, you could probably get away with disposed the voter copy all together.

Unfortunately, I can't see a method of verifying that your hashed vote is still there without having someone else be able to beat you up and do it... Same thing with paper voting, though.

Re:Now, really.. (2, Interesting)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544222)

Your system doesn't preserve the secret ballot.

For example:

I want to be elected, and I want you to vote for me. I offer you a bribe to vote (or threaten to break your legs if you don't). Now I can verify that you did vote for me.

Voting needs to be secure, but it also needs to be anonymous.

if nothing else (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544134)

this article was a great post for the simple nifty javascript menu on the sunbee articles. dig that - info, font scrolling, printing, emailing, other stories by the author, and more - all from a slick little menu built into the side of the article itself. sweet. kudos to the web developers over @ sunbee for this neato mini app on their newsite. i like.

I think ... (1, Funny)

Zemran (3101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544143)

that we should have a vote on it ...

Re:I think ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544217)

That you are not funny...

headline (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544175)

that was about the worst written headline i've read on /. in a long time.

the real point (5, Insightful)

mrsev (664367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544176)

Most people are missing the point. An election must not only be fair but it must be seen to be fair.

I have no idea why the US has such problems with their voting. In the UK everyone votes on paper..... with a fucking pen. (No dimpled chads crap!) It is counted by hand and is never out by more than 10 votes in 30,000. We also have the result by the early hours of the morning.

The point is if you want to go and count all the votes yourself you can. The whole idea of an election is that it is open. For this there must be a paper trail. Why complicate the matter? The other point is that it is secret. Who I vote for is none of anyones bussiness. I would always be nervous with electronic voting for two reasons. I want to know that my vote has really bean counted and I want to know that I am anonymous.

As regards election fraud it is easier to imagine someone messing with an electonic count than someone turning up with a few suitcases of paper and trying to stuff them into a ballot box in fron t of the election officals.

.

Black Hat Hackers (1, Insightful)

Obscenity (661594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544179)

A system is only as secure as it's weakest link. Voting is mostly secure because everything is done physically. And to change the votes all over america physically would be impossible. But if you could controll votes from your home computer, you are more dangerous. I dont believe that electronic voting should be used unless it's on a closed network, off of the internet. Even then there is a risk that somebody could tamper with the process.

ATM Analogy (4, Interesting)

BrynM (217883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544196)

From the article:
"Dollars and cents are 'commensurable.' A bank doesn't care if it loses $200 to a hacker who makes unauthorized withdrawals, so long as it gains back something more than $200 in cost savings from using the ATM that the hacker attacked. There is no difference except in amount between the dollars lost and the dollars gained. Their value is commensurable.

But there is no such commensurability between the false vote tallies that electronic voting systems might yield when things go badly, and the benefits of speed and efficiency that they might offer when things go well.

So the ATM analogy fails."

I don't think that this analogy fails. From my experience, banks tend to think of the money they hold as "their money". Their business is to use the money that they hold to generate income (fees/investments/interest charges on loans). To me this is the major danger of the voting companies. Do they consider the votes they process as "theirs"? Just look at what O'Dell wrote. To me the issue is control and the ATM analogy fits that well. Ever try to prove a fraudulent transaction to a bank? Were they evasive and controlling of the situation? Did they deny culpability? Did they deny a weakness in their process?

I think that the voting companies will eventually lobby to regulate out any scrutiny of their process. Will every attempt to investigate the security of such systems by an average citizen be dealt with as a "hacking" crime eventually? With today's fear of the "terrorists" exploiting things, the time for this type of legislation is ripe.

How's the weather in Ontario? Is rent cheap?

NO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544204)

Next!

Rock the Vote? (2, Funny)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544214)

In Diebold America, the vote rocks YOU!

Cheers,
IT

Re:Rock the Vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544227)

IntelliTubbies uh? More Tubbies than Intelli it would seem ...

Electronics is not the untrustworty part. (4, Insightful)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544232)

Why can we trust computers to handle hundreds of billions of dollars in international business, but not voting?

The problem in the equation is the involvment of our government, who have failed to earn our trust in the last few decades, not the concept of electronic voting itself.

-Z

Re:Electronics is not the untrustworty part. (4, Insightful)

Effugas (2378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544253)

Because anonymous financial transactions are a difficult and vaguely illegal proposition, while anonymous votes are a mission-critical top priority line item.

--Dan

voting (2, Insightful)

Gurudev Das (694832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7544233)

how about we vote for which ballot system to use?

Electronic Voting?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544235)

It's all rigged...

USA makes a fool of themselves. E-voting IS mature (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544241)

Hi all,

With more and more surprise I am reading all those articles about how the USA (nr 1 in IT in the world) is struggling with E-voting.
I am 30 years old now, the first time I voted was when I was 19 or 20 yo (first chance), and that was electronical. I have never casted my ballot on paper, ever. At the time, we are talking 1990, about 50% of The Netherlands was using voting machines, a few years after it was 100%. The first machines were installed in 1985.
Agreed, no fancy touch screens (how would that work?? 15 parties, up to 40 candidates per party - that can never be shown on one normal touch screen, thereby giving an advance to the party first shown of course), though a reliable, robust, and secure way to vote it is. It uses a panel with a huge number of buttons (one per candidate), a display to tell which candidate you are about to vote for, and a "Vote" button. That's all. No Internet connection (what is that good for other than allowing hackerse to access the machine). Never, ever has there been a dispute on voting security with these machines.They work, everyone is happy with it, and they are a great improvement on the paper voting.

USA is making a true fool of themselves.
How come they can not even design something simple (not easy, but simple as in few functions needed) as a voting machine? How can we ever trust their electronic "smart bombs" and whatnot? And their computer based aeroplanes? And more computer software which has to be tamper-proof and absolutely safe.

Electronic voting is not rocket science. Ask the Europeans about it, there the technology can be bought in from the shelf. Not fancy, though tested in several elections and found good.
Maybe they need another election disaster like Bush to realise it is time to have a look across the border and see how a real election is held.

Wouter.

The Mexican system is best (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7544245)

"Maybe they need another election disaster like Bush to realise it is time to have a look across the border and see how a real election is held"

You are right. The Mexican system is the best example in the world in how to run things.
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