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Evoting in the News

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the your-vote-won't-count dept.

United States 218

key45 writes "Just a few days after California rejects Diebold E-Voting machines, and Ireland bans e-voting too, the Information Technology Association of America (which represents election equipment makers and other technology companies) released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines. The war for public opinion is on!" Reader theRG writes "The U.S. Election Assistance Commission held hearings on May 5 about the pros and cons of electronic voting machines. They debated whether or not machines should have paper trails, and what standards should be set. Meanwhile, NPR reports on California's recent decertification of Diebold machines and on one Ohio county's switch from punchcards to electronic voting." And finally, our own OSDN has a report from the election commission meeting: Joe Barr writes "Thom Wysong has a report at NewsForge this morning on the first public meeting of the new U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Questions like whether or not a voter verifiable audit trail and open source should be mandated for e-voting solutions were the order of the day."

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First post? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085200)

I don't vote...You insensitive clod.

American opinion is no measure of truth (3, Insightful)

eyeye (653962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085201)

More than half think that Saddam and Al-Qaeda worked together!

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085226)

What? I thought the truth along with science in America was democratic!

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (1)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085269)

Uhh, you mean they didn't?

Apparantly you don't read the REAL news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085310)

Apparantly you don't read the news. documents [shorl.com] were found PROVING that Saddam provided funding together.

Mod Parent Down! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085338)

It links to the tubgirl image.

Re:Apparantly you don't read the REAL news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085344)

I love how they blur out the pussy, like that is repugnant and should not be viewed by people.

Re:Apparantly you don't read the REAL news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085355)

Parent post should be modded insightful not troll.

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (0, Insightful)

USAPatriot (730422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085324)

More than half think that Saddam and Al-Qaeda worked together!
Because it might be true?

The proof that Saddam worked with bin Laden [telegraph.co.uk]

Of course Europeans think Israel is the most dangerous threat in the world, so I guess their opinions are no measure of the truth either.

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085418)

SIG:Slashdot: News for leftist, America-hating pussies. Stuff that matters to the tinfoil hat crowd.

If the /. crowd is that loathsome to you, why do you keep on coming back to post on it?

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (2, Insightful)

LtOcelot (154499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085495)

Actually, if that document is real, it just proves that up until at least March of 1998 there was no relationship, and at that time someone wanted to establish one. An interesting lead that could point the way to something more substantial, but pretty tenuous by itself.

...discovered in Baghdad by The Telegraph.. (4, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085511)

Iraqi intelligence documents discovered in Baghdad by The Telegraph have provided the first evidence of a direct link between Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network and Saddam Hussein's regime.

With the British presses high journalistic standards, I trust that The Telegraph on their own found the conclusive proof that Saddam worked with bin Laden. I also believe in Sasquatch.

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (3, Insightful)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085592)

The Telegraph is the most right-wing mainstream newspaper in Britain. It's also the most popular. And it's a European paper (albeit one that doesn't like other European countries). Proving:

  1. Your sweeping generalisation about Europeans is nothing more than, well, a sweeping generalisation - much of Europe is as ill-informed as much of the USA;
  2. That one right-wing paper believes that Saddam worked with Bin Laden - while pretty much every other newspaper in Europe knows that Saddam worked with Cheney and Bin Laden worked with our friends the Saudis (oh, and the CIA).

And, for the record, it's not Sharon who gives me nightmares: apart from the 6-day War Israel has very limited experience of invading other nations, and it's arsenal of WMD is presumably very limited. My personal nightmare is a Texan.

Re:American opinion is no measure of truth (2)

eyeye (653962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085763)

Wasnt rumsfeld invited to baghdad too? Or was it cheney.

OMG they were in it with saddam!

Oh shit.. they actually were, weren't they ;-)

The Telegraph (or torygraph as we call it) was one of the news outlets along with the christian monitor that falsely alleged george galloway UK MP was being paid off by Saddam.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0620/p01s03-woiq.htm l [csmonitor.com]

Christian monitor (hey thats like trusting news from Islamic Jihad!) now say
"An extensive Monitor investigation has subsequently determined that the six papers detailed in the April 25 piece are, in fact, almost certainly forgeries."

There goes your credibility USAPatriot (hmm... nice nick!).

penz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085207)

penzam first post ++

Those of us in the know... (-1, Flamebait)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085215)

Who gives a damn? If you had your wits about you, you'd be voting via absentee ballot and not worry yourself with whatever fucked up machine Diebold's put in place.

But when it comes down to it in the end, it's really a game of very large numbers. Your one vote makes little difference in the final outcome of the election. Whether you vote or not, enough idiots are out there voting to negate any positive effect your vote could have. Just consider all the dolts who blew Gore's chance in 2000 by voting with their heart for Nader.

Or worse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085247)

Some of those dolts voted for Buchanan.

Re:Those of us in the know... (5, Insightful)

daymitch (699517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085311)

Well, This may be a bit inflammatory, but I think your comment demands some, umm, comment.

First, I'm going to ask for clarification. Is voting a game of big numbers or is voting a game of small numbers? Your comment supports the first then instantly switches to the opposite point. My one vote doesn't count, then, suddenly, we have a close race and it counts. Which is it?

I'll reveal my personal stance on the voting machines. Big, Bad Idea. The darling old ladies who serve as ballot judges in my local precinct have eyes like hawks, but they can't see potential voter fraud on a purely electronic platform. This is a clear case of a manufacturer using its superior resources to push an agenda against the public interest.

Plus, I insist that my vote does matter. It's not all presidential politics. Local referenda on city and county issues can directly affect my quality of life. In a race where voter turn-out is maybe 3,000 folks, my vote definitely counts. Heck, a guy of meager income like me can even swing an election through personal effort alone.

Time to quit bitching and get off the apathy wagon, kids.

Re:Those of us in the know... (1)

tsg (262138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085879)

Time to quit bitching and get off the apathy wagon, kids.

Sorry, but I have to take issue with this. Voter apathy is not a problem unto itself. If voters have lost faith in the system, it's because the system is broken, not the voters.

Re:Those of us in the know... (2, Interesting)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085483)

I think successful machines might yield greater turnout, which might clarify where people stand at any given time and provide a more accurately appointed set of leaders. In that sense, I hope we CAN implement more accurate voting, but I think we need to do it in such a way as to minimize the chance of corruption. Even if Diebold doesn't intend to leave the door open, so far they have and that shouldn't be ignored if we want this technological advancement to succeed.

> Your one vote makes little difference in the final outcome of the election.

I've always thought that this was an unfortunate existential conundrum. From a certain view, yes - in the end, the ordinary voter is just a speck of dust on the political landscape - but you could view every action you take in life the same way from the appropriate perspective.

I am only responsible for my vote, no one else's - and even if it only matters to a tiny degree, that is infinitely more than zero, which is fine for me right now. America is still an adequately free place in the sense that there are other forums besides the voting booth with which I can increase the awareness of my position if I wish. My vote and my actions can "matter" in this sense as much as I choose.

> Just consider all the dolts who blew Gore's chance in 2000 by voting with their
> heart for Nader.

Maybe if Gore had been more liberal he would have gotten Green votes. I wouldn't have voted for him in either case, but the moral is that this is just the way the cookie crumbles (ignoring the closeness of the results for simplicity).

No comments and already /.'d (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085245)

Mirror here [shorl.com] .

US Elections 2004... (3, Funny)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085248)

...please, PLEASE let there be a CowboyNeal option...

Re:US Elections 2004... (3, Funny)

eepok (545733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085294)

There is. It's called "incumbant."

Re:US Elections 2004... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085456)



> It's called "incumbant."

You misspelled "in cum bath."

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085499)

That was really unfunny. I've seen some dumb posts in my day. Hell, I've made some! *guffaw* But OMFGROR, that was just stupid.

There is a write way and a wrong way to troll. Your post is a shining example of what happens when people who don't know any better try to do it.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085633)



No kidding. I had to go look at tubgirl just to get the stench of that post out of my brain.

Re:US Elections 2004... (1)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085610)

...please, PLEASE let there be a CowboyNeal option...

Well, if there is no CowboyNeal option, then Destroy your ballot [edibleballot.tao.ca] . Might be a bit hard with E-voting though...

Don't vote, it only encourages them!

Public Opinion? (5, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085249)

Do remember that Diebold is waging a 500k/month PR war and they're no doubt buying off whoever can be bought.

OTOH, I wonder how the results would have skewed if the poll question was preceded by "Who is Diebold?" and the question had to be answered correctly. Americans (of which I'm one) are uniformly ignorant of anything that doesn't happen on Survivor XXXVIII. It's easy to give a yes or no answer when you don't have to prove that you know anything about the subject!

Re:Public Opinion? (2, Insightful)

Branc0 (580914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085426)

I do not believe Americans (I am not one) are "uniformly ignorant". I do believe, however, that Americans tend to see technology as the solution for every problem in the world... and they trust technology to do just that!

Maybe they think this will help the current state of Democracy/Government in the USA...

Once again, I am not American, so I can be taking this out of my ass.

Why, why, oh WHY? (5, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085263)

What I find amazing is that in the face of arguably questionable performance, security, and auditing issues with e-voting machines, the vast majority of elections officials still want to move full steam rather than wait until a solid solution is developed. Remember, these are the same people that will be developing the ulcers on election night when their systems start shitting out garbage. They have to realize that they will be under extreme scrutiny. Why put yourself and your staff through this? Makes me think of payola, but that's not really realistic. Maybe the executive elections staff training is in Bermuda or Hawaii?

Re:Why, why, oh WHY? (3, Insightful)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085528)

When confronted with computers, most people lose their capacity for rational thought and fall back to wishful thinking and superstition.

Try manning a helpdesk for a while if you don't believe me.

Re:Why, why, oh WHY? (2, Informative)

StormyMonday (163372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085531)

Maryland legislators make $37500/year. Next question?

Re:Why, why, oh WHY? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085878)

Clue me in. Not sure what direction you're going with this.

Re:Why, why, oh WHY? (2, Insightful)

john82 (68332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085641)

Remember, these are the same people that will be developing the ulcers on election night when their systems start shitting out garbage

Remember a few years ago? There was this national election. One side did not get the outcome they wanted from a few counties in one state. Something about not being able to determine whether a card was punched or not... No one really cared about problems or lack thereof in any other town. Just the ones in Florida.

Anyone in a position of authority in Florida was tarred with a very big brush over a very common voting machine that a) has been in use for years, and b) was in use in other areas of the US on the same night with little or no complaint.

So now, having publicly condemned these individuals, you are surprised that their compatriots in other jurisdictions are eager to put into use anything that is new and bears no resemblance to a punch card system.

Essentially, this crowd will damn them NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO. And while I'm at it, to those of you filing lawsuits. If only you would put half as much effort into designing, developing and delivering a voting system that would satisfy everyone. Seems to be a lot easier to bitch about the current state than to actually try and fix it. And a lawsuit is not a fix.

Lots of valid alternatives.... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085937)

So now, having publicly condemned these individuals, you are surprised that their compatriots in other jurisdictions are eager to put into use anything that is new and bears no resemblance to a punch card system.

Punch cards are not the olny alternative to e-voting. For example, in local elections in my area, we use a felt marker to draw a big black line between two arrows, and these cards are then read by a scanner. No hanging chad here... There are reasonable alternatives that do not require unreliable Diebold machines.

Mirrors Anyone? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085273)

I found a mirror for the first article [shorl.com] , anyone have mirrors for the others?

how in the world does this matter (3, Funny)

razmaspaz (568034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085274)

released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines.

If we based everything off what the majority of Americans trusted, we would get someone like George Bush for President.

Oh wait, Damn!

Re:how in the world does this matter (3, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085305)

If we based everything off what the majority of Americans trusted, we would get someone like George Bush for President.

No, we would get someone like Gore.

Re:how in the world does this matter (3, Interesting)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085803)

Instead we have men like Jeb Bush who cajole Disney into stifling free speech, and who just yesterday removed 40,000 felons from the voter rolls - even though it was proved in 2000 that many of the people he removed were, in fact, not felons. Just Democrats. Mostly Black Democrats.

Ol' Jebby is ALREADY starting to throw the election, and we are 6 months away from actually voting. He must have to wipe the drool off his chin when he reads about E-voting.

Re:how in the world does this matter (4, Funny)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085411)

released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines.

Well of course, the poll was taken using electronic voting machines.

no indication (0, Informative)

acceber (777067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085288)

Based on a stratified random sample of 1000 registered voters performed for ITAA by the Winston Group, the new poll finds that 77 percent of respondents are either not very concerned or not concerned at all about the security of election systems, regardless of technology platform.
A sample group of 1000 people is just that. A sample, and hardly reflects whether the majority of Americans trust e-voting machines or not. A thousand people do not speak for 291 million people [bbc.co.uk] which number the American population.

Re:no indication (2, Informative)

scd (541350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085500)

You're ignoring the statistics of sampling. With a properly chosen sample group of 1000, you can predict with a certain confidence how correct the results are. For 1000 properly chosen people, most of these kind of studies have an uncertainty around 5%.

Which means that you might be able to interpret this as being (77 +/- 5)%, which is meaningful.

Statistics 101 (2, Informative)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085504)

A sample group of 1000 people is just that. A sample, and hardly reflects whether the majority of Americans trust e-voting machines or not.

Very rarely, polls are conducted with significantly more than 1000 respondents. The marginal decrease of the sampling error beyond 1000 observations is too small to make a larger sample worthwile. 77% being in favor of e-voting machines is pretty damn significant, and it can be said that the majority of all 291 million Americans is in favor of them (of course, I'd need to know the standard deviation of the sample to be absolutely positive).

That doesn't rule out other errors, though, such as a sampling bias. If the pollsters picked 1000 employees of e-voting machines manufacturers, that would be a voting bias. So would be if they picked 1000 Slashdotters. However, arguing that the poll result is wrong because the sample was comparativelly small is wrong.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085805)

Exactly! You made my point so I didn't have to. 1000 people compared to 291 million is a joke. And the Diebold machines are, as I said once before, funked. Head on over to SafeVoting.org [safevoting.org] and take a look at the video. Ya can't trust 'em, folks.

I E-Voted in FL (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085291)

An election or two ago, I voted with a touch screen voting machine. It had a red button that flashed after you voted. You just went through and picked who you wanted, were prompted for review, then on the screen, it says "HIT THE RED BUTTON". It flashed, so I pressed it and my vote was off.

I can't see how people can't figure out how to use the voting machines around here.

Re:I E-Voted in FL (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085509)

Well the problem here in Orange County is that if you "hit the red button" on accident before you were done completing your ballot, the machine would send it off then and there anyway. Not to mention that our Orange County Diebold machines are contoled by a wheel, not the intuitional arrow keys. Remember that when you say "Well I can do it just fine!" you are most likely a curve breaker as you have a better understanding of technology (as most Slashdot users do) than about 95% of all voters. Then again, your "I can't see how people can't figure out how to use the voting machines around here." comment shows you have a lesser understanding of society as a whole.

Re:I E-Voted in FL (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085564)

Was there a paper trail? (A hardcopy that shows who the vote was cast for anonymously) If not, then it's not safe from manipulation. Was it open source? If not, then there's no way to prevent a company from fixing the elections through closed source 'black box' software. Those are the two conditions that need to be satisfied for me to trust e-voting. I don't care about 'ease of use.' I use Windows all day, so I think I can figure out just about any voting system, now matter how illogical or convoluted.

Who cares what most Americans think? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085300)

Why is that at all relevant? Either the machines are reliable and trustworthy, or they aren't. This can't be altered by the opinions of a bunch of people who know nothing about it.

If the machines are not rigorously trustworthy, and provably so, they should not be used. End of story. What Americans think is irrelevant.

If the machines are totally secure and reliable, but most Americans don't trust them, they still shouldn't be used. The voting system not only has to be trustworthy, but has to be seen to be trustworthy. If machines are more reliable, faster and more secure than paper, then election authorities should try to persuade the public that they are reliable, but until the public so believes, they should not be used to determine the result of an election.

Re:Who cares what most Americans think? (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085538)

Oh... silly you. Where you from? Britain? France. Figures. Here in the good U S of A we don't give a dag nab about what them "know it all" smarties think. We have gut instinct here and that's good enough for me.

Re:Who cares what most Americans think? (2, Interesting)

Poor College Student (657160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085620)

I think people not in IT have a perception that large quality software projects are easy to do. Plus, the general public probably has not followed this particular story (or probably at least outside of California).

Yeah, maybe a Windows app might crash every now and then, but it doesn't entirely alter that non-technical person's perception of industry.

On the other hand, we know that flaws exist all the time. Many of us here feel that at least of any software, that the software used in voting machines outght to be available. We know that software needs plenty of testing before its put into production.

Re:Who cares what most Americans think? (2, Interesting)

tsg (262138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085802)

If the machines are not rigorously trustworthy, and provably so, they should not be used. End of story. What Americans think is irrelevant.

You are absolutely correct, but the problem is that what Americans think tends to drive public policy. People vote for those who support their views, even if their views are demonstrably wrong. That so many people trust the machines means that not enough people know how bad they are and is an indication that the people need to be educated, not that the machines should be used.

So, yes, what Americans think is irrelevant to whether the machines should be used, but is compeletely relevant to whether they will be used.

Split the difference (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085309)

Give everyone a card with a magnetic stripe, have them register their vote, and have the machine encrypt that information with its public key onto the card, along with date and time. Encode in plaintext the number of the machine. Give each machine a different key, and have them keep track of all the votes registered on it. That way, there's no trail that can be traced back to original voters, and the voters have a method of contesting the results if they think something's fishy.

When I worked at a hotel, those magnetic plastic keys cost us about $0.09 each when we bought them in packs of 5,000. Buy them in packs of 500,000 and I bet you get a better price.

Re:Split the difference (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085382)

A majority of the idiots around here are gonna lose their card.

Re:Split the difference (1)

KojakBang (721296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085728)

Sure... then what you will have is various lobbying groups and/or companies which will give people FREE if they can show that they voted for a particular candidate and what do you have? An election that's fixed by offering the millions of sheep of this country free burgers/discounts/shirts/whatever to vote for what that group wants.

I like the idea of the paper receipt that drops behind glass so the person can see it, then goes into a bin. That way, you can't bribe voters for their votes.

Re:Split the difference (1)

KojakBang (721296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085778)

Oops, first line should read "... FREE stuff..."

And for quite some time, the majority ... (2, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085312)

of people believed that asbestos was safe. Who'd like to chow down to an asbestos sandwich now?

Having an industry tell me that the majority of people are uninformed, misunderstand or are unconcerned about major failures of their product is not particularly presuasive in my book.

In other news (2, Funny)

kcornia (152859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085332)

The Tobacco Industry Supporters Organization of America has released a study showing a majority of Americans think smoking is good for you and should be encouraged!

And who built the polling machines? (2, Funny)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085334)

How much do you want to bet that the poll was taken using the evoting machines in question?

[Sarcasm] Yeah, those numbers are totally reliable and will definitely reflect the average American opinion. [/Sarcasm]

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085339)

....(E)Voting rejects YOU!

Campaign for Verified Voting in Maryland (3, Interesting)

plsuh (129598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085345)

If you're in Maryland and want to help out, come join us at www.truevotemd.org [truevotemd.org] . We have a lawsuit going to force the state to decertify the Diebold machines, and we're also planning a number of other public actions to raise awareness and put pressure on our elected and appointed officials. Linda Schade, one of the co-directors, was a speaker at the press conference that MoveOn held outside the EAC hearing.

--Paul Suh

Wouldn't you need a biometric for e-voting (2, Interesting)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085351)

Would you need a fingerprint scan to verify that you only vote one time?

How would the Voter Verifiable Audit Trails (VVAT)work? Could I check online to see that my vote was recorded correctly?

Paper trail? (3, Insightful)

scaltagi_the_pirate (777620) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085361)

Can anybody enlighten me on why it is so difficult to insist that voters approve their ballot on paper? I guess some think that since it is a computer, it wont make a mistake and computers are here to rid us of paper anyway. It just confuses (and scares) me.

Open Source Evoting (2, Insightful)

Cirrocco (466158) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085377)

I am appalled at the absolute paranoia that these companies experience regarding their 'proprietary' software used to run e-voting machines.

Look, folks, it isn't that hard! If situation X occurs, then y (being the number of votes for Situation X) = y + 1. At the end, y = the number of votes for (candidate, proposition, measure, etc.) z.

Simple! *I* could probably program the stupid thing, and I've got CRAP for programming skills! Why does this need to be proprietary? Why does it need to be so damned EXPENSIVE?

Re:Open Source Evoting (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085561)

Well, a company is probably going to have to do it regardless, because people are going to demand indemnity if things fuck up, and they are going to want certified tech support.
However, I think an open source implentation could be viable provided you can find a company that would support it. It will be safer, and quite possibly chepaer than the proprietary system.

Re:Open Source Evoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085926)

I call bullshit. It would indeed be "Simple!" to count vote totals. It is not, however, nearly so simple to bulid a system which counts vote totals and does so verifiably and securely.

I agree with you about the ridiculous cost of these systems.

Most don't care (2, Insightful)

lythic1 (728653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085384)

A huge chunk of "registered voters" don't even care enough to vote, even few more give a whoop beyond that. Of those who do desire a secure vote, I'm betting more than 70% think the machines are insecure, and it's this group that needs to be convinced.

Ireland didn't ban e-voting (5, Informative)

batgimp (323956) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085406)

Ireland didn't ban e-voting. We merely postponed it. We've already had e-voting machines used in an election two years ago (in a few consituencies on a trial basis). This summer, the Irish government tried to introduce e-voting in every county, and was met with protests. It was taken completely by surprise, and set up a commission to look into the matter and report back with a recommendation. I'm pretty sure that this commission was just set up to reassure the "Luddite" public, and tell them that everything was ok.

To everyone's surprise, the commission said that there wasn't enough time to guarantee the accuracy and security of the machines, and that their introduction should be postponed until such things could be guaranteed.

So, it hasn't been banned, just postponed.

remember this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085416)

back when the US invaded Afghanistan, a majority of Americans didn't know the difference between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Re:remember this? (1)

razmaspaz (568034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085506)

back when the US invaded Afghanistan,

But they do now?

Scanned paper ballots (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085431)

My favorite voting method is paper ballots where you fill in ovals with a black marker and then feed them into a scanner. You get the advantage of nearly instant results after the polls close with the advantage of a full paper trail for a manual recount if necessary. And when they did a recount when the vote for our new high school failed by 29 votes, it changed it by 6 votes, indicating that some people didn't fill in the ovals correctly, but only a very tiny percentage.

And, of course, our public education is increasingly geared towards teaching kids how to properly fill in ovals.

Of course, if we had had fully-electronic voting, I might not have lost the town election on Tuesday (I was a candidate for Selectman, which is roughly the equivalent of city council). :)

Re:Scanned paper ballots (1)

PaschalNee (451912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085599)

Better would be where you fill on the vote on a computer and the computer prints out your vote slip in a computer and human readable format. This slip then gets scanned by the vote counter and retained for later recounts. That means you don't run into the "some dolt filled in two ovals" situation as the computer would force a valid vote (or spoiled vote where you want to offer the option of a spoiled "I vote for the turkey [noneoftheabove.ie] " vote).

Re:Scanned paper ballots (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 10 years ago | (#9086055)

Not really, because people would probably not verify the printout as being correct. Automated counting systems are perhaps decent shortcuts for getting a good idea of the outcome of an election quickly, but in the end it needs to be human beings looking at ballots that were directly filled out by human beings.

People think its secure?? (1)

panic911 (224370) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085437)

Hasn't enough proof been shown that they AREN'T secure? How can people possibly think they are. I am totally for e-voting, but the software needs to be written by someone who knows the difference between their ass and their elbow (/me slaps diebold around with a large trout).

League Women Voters Opposes Paper Trails (4, Informative)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085439)

The League of Women Voters opposes [lwv.org] voter-verified paper trails. More [lwv.org] .

-l

& they require control of source! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085568)

i was fully prepared to be pissed off, but their statement (rather quietly) states that the source should be in the hands of the people in charge.

that's great. it'd be even better if the people in charge could be required to understand it.

Re:& they require control of source! (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085806)

I'm just annoyed that they pooh-pooh VVPT through an either/or fallacy: "Either electronic only or crappy handcount paper receipts." Nevermind that the printout could be a scantron ballot that would be easy to verify by people and computers. The e-vote could still be the real vote, but the scantron would give a chance for people to doublecheck and stand as a backup. The backups can also be used to check the e-votes weren't compromised.

Good point about the source, though. I mean, how many state employees know what a buffer overflow is? Still, the real problems with Diebold et al. have been endemic to the social system surrounding the software (e.g., pushing uncertified updates, having poor corporate security, etc.), not so much on the hackers.

-l

Re:League Women Voters Opposes Paper Trails (1)

DoomHaven (70347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085666)

Man, that's just twisted!

I mean, really, that's just wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. That, not just one person, but a lot of people had to think of that. I imagine people letting women vote. What will they think of next?

For the humour-impaired, yes, I'm kidding. A woman's vote is just as important as a man's vote, as in, not at all.

e-voting in MD (2, Insightful)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085452)

We used the machines to vote in the MD primaries. I mentioned to one of the poll workers that I was extremely uncomfortable with e-voting, and he just shrugged.

The bottom line is that (IMO), e-voting will win the day because

it looks slicker than paper votes

it's easier on polling officials

the lack of serious recount ability will make all election outcomes final, which will substantially reduce the uproar in contested elections.

In short, e-voting is pitched towards the masses. It's sad, but likely inevitable.

Re:e-voting in MD (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085906)

You're quite likely right.

That certainly is a boon to my world domination plans tho. I'm looking forward to the lack of uproar as the Znork for Lifelong Dictator option gets 100% of the votes.

E-Voting Conference today, in San Mateo (2, Informative)

lythic1 (728653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085457)

Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation is the main speaker: "Computerized Voting: The Solution or the Problem?". Hosted by the California League of Women Voters, in tribute to Dr. Who writer Jane Baker today, 11:30 - 2, San Mateo Marriott, $60 at the door. Lunch is included. Call 650 342-5853 to reserve a seat, or stop by!

http://csmc.ca.lwvnet.org/calendar.html

Magic! (1)

slashrogue (775436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085481)

a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines.
I'm sure most of those Americans also think that computers work on magic and don't even begin to comprehend how things work under the hood. Same way most people are with cars, etc.

Why doesn't the govt produce the code? (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085496)

Why doesn,t then govt produce both the code and the machines. Produce the code in a open manner subject to anyones review.

What about learn from other people for a change? (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085505)

Here in Brazil have e-voting for years and the same technology is used in several other countries. Can't the USA just admit it can learn something from a "developmment country" and come down here to see how we did it?
I don't want to start a flame war but sometimes I think that most of the USA people keep their noses too high.

No (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9086001)

The USA can't admit that it has anything to learn from anybody.

Who answers these polls anyway? (2, Interesting)

Ra5pu7in (603513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085523)

If a completely random selection of several thousand people occurs for every one of these polls, why is it that no one I know of has ever been a participant? I suspect it is more like the Nielsen ratings, where specific individuals who are supposed to be representative are involved each time.

The other thing that wasn't clear is whether trusting e-voting in general means anything related to trusting companies like Diebold. The very action California took to reject Diebold, while not rejecting e-voting in general, sends the message that it is possible to have trustworthy e-voting.

We have come a long way toward getting paper voting to be relatively secure and reliable. In spite of that, we heard all about dimples and miscounts in 2000. We can't expect the first few trial runs of e-voting to instantly be problem free.

Why not use telephones? (0)

pointbeing (701902) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085539)

If we're concerned about hacking why not just vote using POTS instead of computers?

One issue would be non-repudiation, but once we've figured out a way to make sure people are who they say they are voting via telephone should be a pretty simple process to implement.

Those machines are junk (2, Informative)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085563)

I voted using one of those machines in the last election. I've never seen a worse, design, rittled with security issues and no verification mechanisms at all. Thank god they've been banned!

There was no receipt, no way to determine after the fact whether my vote actually made it out of the polling place, or even if it was properly recorded. The machines should never have been allowed to be used in the first place.

-Matt

PR war has more than one side (1)

FreshnFurter (599451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085581)

Apparantly not only Diebold is trying to convince the public a Washington Post editorial gives a fair overview of the current situation in a readable way. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A701 2-2004May6.html Registration might be necessary to read the article

Ireland "bans" evoting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085588)

Ireland hasn't banned e-voting- it's just not using it in the votes which are due to happen this summer.
It's actually doing exactly the opposite: the government here has is pushing through a bill making e-voting legal- without allowing the slightest bit of debate over it by the opposition parties...
Ahh democracy, a load of bollix.

Automating traditional forms of election fraud... (1)

MioceneMan (153194) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085639)

That's what these machines are good for, and I'm afraid that's why some election officials are defending them. The fact that "electronic" votes can't be audited or recounted is another "feature."

These electronic voting machines are a dream come true for those who want to subvert democracy.

Slight problem (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085686)

Information Technology Association of America ... released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines.

Yeah, but the majority of Americans are stupid, especially when it comes to technology.

The point is that these machines are not WORTHY of that trust.

War for public opinion (4, Informative)

bobv-pillars-net (97943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085716)

Personally, I spent Tuesday (local election) passing out the following flyer:

Will Your Vote Be Counted?

Diebold

  • Produces the "Accuvote" touch-screen voting machines used in Virginia and at least 36 other states.
  • Made over 40,000 internal company files, including passwords, encryption keys, source code, and user manuals, available to internet hackers worldwide.
  • For a step-by-step guide on how to modify the votes in a Diebold-controlled election, see www.equalccw.com/dieboldtestnotes.html [equalccw.com]
  • Despite Diebold's promises to tighten up security after two independent investigations in July and September, a third investigation in March of yielded the following quote:
    Diebold
    "basically had no interest in putting actual security in this system," said Paul Franceus, one of the consultants. "It's not like they did it wrong. It's like they didn't bother."
  • In the the recent California audit, Diebold's own lawyers admitted that their client had "probably broken the law." Frustrated investigators asked whether Diebold was lying, or only "trying to be misleading" in their answers. Here's what Bob Urosevich, president of Diebold Election Systems, had to say for himself:
    We were caught. We apologize for that.

Direct Recording Electronic "DRE" Machines

Though Diebold has gotten bad press lately, (it's costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign "contributions" to stay in business), their competitors are no better. Any DRE machine would be just as vulnerable to error, tampering, and fraud. Because they do not produce a permanent record of each vote, modern computerized systems are no better than the huge mechanical lever machines of 1890. Because there is no reliable way to even detect errors, the results of any election using these machines is open to question.

Voter-Verifiable Audit Receipt

For at least ten years, security experts around the country have recommended the use of a Voter-Verifiable Audit, or "VVA," to guard against these problems. If passed, Voters Confidence and Increased Accuracy Act would require electronic voting machines to produce a paper printout of each vote. This "VVA Receipt" must be made available for each voter to check before being securely deposited into a sealed container. The paper ballots would count as the actual votes, taking precedence over any electronic tallies in case of doubt.

Urge your Senator and Representative to support the Voters Confidence Act, also known as H.R.2239 (in the House), and S.1980 (in the Senate.)

How to Buy an Election

"How do I know if the machine actually recorded my vote?" The fact is, you don't.
Representative Rush Holt (NJ) [house.gov]
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
There are literally hundreds of ways to tamper with the vote when computers are doing the counting. Here are just some of the possibilities:
Hire a programmer to create a "back door" program in the voting software which can alter the vote count on demand.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, during the 2003 elections, voters in three precincts complained that the machines changed their votes. Testing showed that a machine seemed to subtract a vote in about "one of a hundred tries." At least two close races may have hinged on that one percent "error."
Replace the vote-counting software through last-minute technical "service upgrades."
Most recently in California, thousands of election computers were "upgraded" just before the election, replacing the certified software with newer, un-certified versions.
Monopolize some critical portion of the vote-counting process so that all the DRE manufacturers must use your software.
All of the DRE voting machines in common use today run Microsoft Windows. When reviewing the voting software, certifying officials fail to test the Microsoft Windows portion.
Find out where the computer software service patches are stored. Replace critical portions with files by the same name, but subtly different contents.
As recently as 2002, Diebold Electronic Systems stored over 40,000 computer voting files on a publicly available FTP site. Some of the file dates indicate that files may have been transferred to and from voting machines while they were in use during an actual election!
Make sure the electronic memory cartridges are misplaced (or replaced) after the election is over.
In Georgia, during Election 2002, dozens of memory cartridges were "misplaced," representing tens of thousands of votes. The total lack of custody record means that dozens more may have simply been replaced with "updated" versions.
Hire a service tech to produce last-minute technical problems with the machines in districts which vote heavily for your competitor.
In Memphis, Tennessee, during the 2000 Republican primary, about 13,000 urban voters were turned away because of computer problems. The rural areas of the state, which usually vote more conservatively, were not affected.

For More Information

Visit the following websites:
VerifiedVoting.org [verifiedvoting.org] BlackBoxVoting.org [blackboxvoting.org] Why-Vote.com [why-vote.com]
Buy Beverly Harris' excellent book:
Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century [got.net]
ISBN:1-929462-45-X
Become an Activist
Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Action Center. [eff.org]

A copy of this document is available at: pillars.net/voting.html [pillars.net]

trust (1)

smatt-man (643849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085786)

...released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines.

Majority of Americans? or majority of Americans who bothered to fill out the poll while they were voting at an e-voting machine?

Super simple solution (2, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085812)

At the end of the day, the solution is super simple: add a receipt printer to the machine. White copy goes in the backup ballot box. The yellow copy is for the voter. The voter can validate his or her vote on the spot.

Why Diebold and these other jokers in the biz don't see $$$ for selling printers and supplies I don't know. That's more suspicious than anything.

India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9085833)

The fact of the matter is, India, the world's largest democracy, has successfully used electronic voting machines for at least one or two years now.

(It was conveyed to me by an interview conducted by the CBC radio program "As It Happens".)

Now, if India -- not always a place of "civil rest" -- has not had troubles using e-voting ... I have a hard time understanding the move by governments to ban it. It just seems silly.

it doesn't have to be open source (1)

zornorph (63846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085931)

It's funny how people seem to think that if the code isn't open source, you can't see it. It's still protected by copyright, so what's the problem with having people look at it? Copyright is also what protects GPL'd work from being blatantly copied, and anyone who wishes can look at it.

e-voting doesn't have to be open source (although that is what I'd prefer), but it should have it's source code available to be seen by all.

Diebold on Diane Rehm Show (2, Interesting)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085939)

I caught a decent chunk of this radio show a couple weeks ago, and it really made the whole push for non-verifiable e-voting here in Florida seem pretty shady:

An estimated 28% of U.S. voters will cast their ballots on electronic voting machines next November, but questions about security remain. A panel discusses the on-going concerns.

Joe Andrew, lawyer in private practice and former National Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

David Dill, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
www.verifiedvoting.org

Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting" www.blackboxvoting.org

Mark Radke, director of marketing,
Diebold Election Systems

Congressman Robert Wexler, D - Florida, 19th district


http://www.wamu.org/ram/2004/r1040324.ram [wamu.org]

It's a very interesting conversation no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately in Realaudio only :(

Americans trusts machines? (1)

Luguber123 (203502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9085998)

the Information Technology Association of America released a poll showing that the majority of Americans trust those machines. What was the name of the machine that made this poll?

Let's Solve This "e-Voting" Thing Once And For All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9086043)

Why don't they just let the American people vote on whether or not they want electronic voting. The vote could be done electronically, and......
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