×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

More on the Dangers of eVoting

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the up-the-creek-without-a-paddle dept.

United States 339

blamanj writes "A lot of discussion has been focused on the lack of security in electronic voting systems. What hasn't been as widely discussed, is just how tiny the voting manipulations have to be to have an effect. In this months CACM (cite, pdf of original paper is here), some Yale students show that altering only a single vote per machine would have changed the electoral college outcome of the 2000 election. Changing only two votes/machine would have flipped the results for four states."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

339 comments

Unrealistic (3, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676757)

First of all, this "study" was done with full knowledge of the outcome of the election. While this makes for a slightly amusing statistical exercise, for it to work right, one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines, he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

Second, this doesn't show any problem specific to electronic voting. Each of those votes in the "one vote per machine" total could have been "flipped" by countless other fraudulent activities if the aforementioned prerequisite of psychic ability had been met.

Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen. The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

I suppose that pointing this out to Sims is a waste of time given his history of childish antics and self-serving coniptions, but I'll do it anyway: this sort of nonsense being given face time on Slashdot just serves to stir up a bunch of clueless 16 year old zitheads who go around yelping about a real problem in an unrealistic way which just galvanizes everyone who needs to know about it against the people who actually understand the threat and have a real case to make. Congratulations, Michael. You not only continue to lower the overall level of discourse in the technical arena, you even manage to get paid for it now.

Re:Unrealistic (4, Informative)

Jelloman (69747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676816)

...unrealistic access to countless voting machines..

That kind of access is far from unrealistic, and the number of machines necessary is far from countless. The latter was kind of the point.

see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it.

OK sir, I'll stop talking about or caring whether my vote is being counted. Very responsible of me, thanks for the suggestion.

The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

How do you know that hasn't already happened? Seems to me circumstantial evidence points to it happening in Georgia in 2002. Unless there's a paper trail (which I admit I think is likely, eventually) or someone spills the beans about manipulating electronic vote counts (which I think is inevitable), we'll never know. ...yelping about a real problem in an unrealistic way which just galvanizes everyone who needs to know about it against the people who actually understand the threat and have a real case to make...

That OTOH is a great point.

To me, talking about touchscreen systems is crying wolf. The problem is not touchscreens, it's the totally independent issue of secretively operated and maintained closed-source vote counting servers.

We don't need vote counting servers to have touchscreen voting.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Interesting)

Jelloman (69747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676869)

One more thought:

Something fantastic may happen in a couple days on this issue: there may be massive electronic vote fraud in several states, and yet Bush will lose anyway! If that happens, I think some things might come to light about Diebold, Sequoia, et.al., or groups of GOP operatives connected to them somehow.

But if there's massive e-vote manipulation that throws the election to Bush, I think the opposite is likely to happen: there will be a massive clampdown by the GOP powers-that-be as they realize they can make our current one-party state a permanent affair, as long as they can keep their fake-election-toy under wraps.

Re:Unrealistic (1)

Jameth (664111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676931)

"But if there's massive e-vote manipulation that throws the election to Bush, I think the opposite is likely to happen: there will be a massive clampdown by the GOP powers-that-be as they realize they can make our current one-party state a permanent affair, as long as they can keep their fake-election-toy under wraps."

I wouldn't be so sure. They may realize that, if they do it very much more, they'll get caught, and if they get caught, they'll get so utterly crushed it will be disgusting.

No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top. Most likely, those in positions even close to power don't even consider that the fraud could be happening. Most of the fraud is done by individuals on a lower level.

Re:Unrealistic (5, Insightful)

eh2o (471262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677044)

No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top.

Uh... and who was Katherine Harris again? Its just not called "fraud" when its up-top -- its called "oops, sorry" and the current laws are too weak to prevent it from happening. As long as there is no accountability, there will be fraud -- at every level.

if they get caught, they'll get so utterly crushed it will be disgusting.

Crushed how, exactly? Voter rebellion? Not if the machines don't work, the laws are gutted and the courts packed with facists. Riots? Maybe in the ghetto but not in middle class america, plus its a great excuse to establish martial law and kill all the "terrorists". Massive non-violent protests? You might get some good turnout but Americans are dangerously complacent these days.

Re:Unrealistic (5, Informative)

Jelloman (69747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677134)

No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top. Most likely, those in positions even close to power don't even consider that the fraud could be happening. Most of the fraud is done by individuals on a lower level.

The truth lies somewhere in between, I think. It's hard for me to look at something like this [thehill.com] :
An official at Nebraska's Election Administration estimated that ES&S machines tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in Hagel's 2002 and 1996 election races.

In 1996, ES&S operated as American Information Systems Inc. (AIS). The company became ES&S after merging with Business Records Corp. in 1997.

In a disclosure form filed in 1996, covering the previous year, Hagel, then a Senate candidate, did not report that he was still chairman of AIS for the first 10 weeks of the year, as he was required to do.
... and accept the notion that Sen. Hagel has never once considered or talked to anyone about the possibility that election results might have been manipulated on his behalf.

From what I've read, it seems many of the employees of Diebold are pro-VV-paper-trail, and the resistance to it from Diebold comes from on high. That, and a philosophical commitment to bad engineering, exploitable vote servers, aggressive lawyers, and closed source (all of which seems to be in evidence), is all the guys up top really need to do. There doesn't have to be any coordination with the parties that manipulate elections, you just have to be committed to giving them the right tools to succeed.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Insightful)

aacool (700143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677021)

I believe something fantastic has already happened - the humorous, social video release of Eminem's Mosh - as I read somewhere on the NET - it makes Fahrenheit 911 look like a Republican recruiting video.

Eminem's appearance on SNL tonight was unremarkable and evidently an attempt at carpe diem, or in this case, carpe jugulum - I've blogged about this point in my blog.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677093)

I'm sorry; we need to rename the site to \. because there's no way anyone can accuse the site of having a right-wing slant.

I am positively amused by the doom and gloom which you have forecast. Thanks; you've made my day. :)

Re:Unrealistic (2, Interesting)

1ucius (697592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677026)

I'm not disagreeing with you per se, but this whole thing seems overblown. My state has a so called "motor votor" law. This allows anyone to both register and vote at the polling place without *any* form of picture ID. IMHO, the chance of problems from this seems many orders of magnitude higher than that from somone hacking an electronic voting machine.

Re:Unrealistic (5, Insightful)

asciiwhite (679872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676828)

he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

Nope, they allready know which states are needed to win elections, they do have a research department which gives them a good idea of which states are in favor of which candidate.

Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen.

Yes your right, but many country's worldwide have a electronic system that works. Why is it America can't seem to implement one?

sort of nonsense being given face time on Slashdot just serves to stir up a bunch of clueless 16 year old zitheads

Why is it your willing to go to war for democracy, but your not willing to make sure the key process for a democratic selection is secure? It really amazes me that a American like you is willing to let his fellow American die for a cause, but won't put up a stink when his democratic election process is being torn apart. Without a working electional system you have yourself a country where the people don't decide government. Which isn't exactly something "the land of the free" would have, would it?

Re:Unrealistic (-1, Flamebait)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676838)

Hey, chucklehead. I note that while you were responding in righteous indignation, you conveniently ignored everything I posted that invalidates that entire last paragraph in your post. Go back and read my position again slowly and carefully. Maybe you'll get the point if you don't go ripping through it with the intent of attacking a position you couldn't be bothered to understand.

Re:Unrealistic (0, Flamebait)

asciiwhite (679872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676987)

Maybe you'll get the point if you don't go ripping through it with the intent of attacking a position you couldn't be bothered to understand.


Maybe your point was fucking stupid. So i thought id just babel on with righteous indignation to counter your flawed attack on differenting opinions.

The typical... "I'm right, everyone else is a bunch of clueless 16 year old zitheads who go around yelping about a real problem in an unrealistic for questioning my brilliance shit.

Only the simple minded have to categorize people to understand their views... Maybe just maybe because you dont think its important doesn't mean it i'snt.

Re:Unrealistic (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677135)

If his point was fucking stupid, why didn't you attack it you fucking moron?

Re:Unrealistic (2, Interesting)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676836)

While this makes for a slightly amusing statistical exercise, for it to work right, one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines, he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

Agreed, it would be impossible to do this in practice. But as you suggest, the important point is that something like this could happen, even in theory. The implication is that electronic voting is much less robust than hand-counting, and certainly more opaque. It's been pointed out on Slashdot before that hand counting is actually not that difficult.

Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen.

In a sense, I agree with you. It doesn't seem like electronic voting is going to go away, so there are probably better issues we could be pursuing, even in the area of the electoral process. On the other hand, saying "It's happened, there's nothing we can ever do about it" seems to be rolling over so The Man can tickle your belly, and that kind of thing never goes down well on Slashdot. We're an idealistic bunch, I suppose, but I respect your right not to be.

You make some good points but I suspect you are really addressing the wrong audience.

On a totally offtopic note, anyone else find it funny that bin Laden's intervention has probably helped Bush's chances of re-election?

Re:Unrealistic? Not really... (2, Insightful)

drlake (733308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676874)

The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

You're right on one count, electronic voting is here to stay. However, since we're already seeing signs of the massive error and possible fraud you allude to, this is a very salient issue. The article is a rather silly statistical exercise in one way, since there's no way a single person could skew all the different machines they would need to if they wanted to fix an election in this way. The difficulty of doing so is compounded by the different types of machines in use.

That said, it does point out a real issue with American elections. Very small shifts in the popular vote have such radical effects on the outcome that we can't afford to keep tolerating all the irregularities in the election process. The relatively high number of "spoiled" ballots with the touch screen systems, the partisan involvement in voter registration that's leading to corruption of the voting register in at least Nevada and Ohio, and the systematic efforts of the Republican party to suppress the vote of people likely to support the Democrats has got to stop. This type of crap is bad enough in countries where elections are mere ratifications of the party in power, it shouldn't be allowed when the election really counts.

Re:Unrealistic? Not really... (2, Interesting)

aacool (700143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677091)

There is something to be said about a true multi-party system like India or other democracies, where for the most part, have to govern as a coalition, representing diverse interests and state-level parties, who otherwise might not have a voice.

A good illustration of this came in the inability of the far-right party that held power in India till this year to execute the agenda of their core base, and hew to a 'Common Minimum Programme'

To remind one of the reality of direct voting through electronic machines that did not get hacked in India might be to belabor the obvious, yet it is what happened. The close similarity of the Republicans and Democrats makes one feel they are 'oppo-sames'

Re:Unrealistic (5, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676899)

"one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines"

Uh, the people at Diebold had exactly this kind of access in California and Georgia in previous elections and all the manufacturers probably have it this time around too. Local election officials who all tend to be very partisan have it too. California is pursuing Diebold in court for precisely this kind of unauthorized access to their machines. Unrealistic indeed.

Unless there are extraordinarily rigorous procedures followed in auditing the source, doing builds controlled environment, and making sure properly signed builds are on the machines, they are constantly vulnerable to compromise. If they had a paper trail it would be less bad because you could do random audits to catch cheating. With these paperless machines you have absolutely no way to catch fraud.

You only need a compromised software load distributed across all machines. Its silly to act like some guy in black needs to go around and stuff ballots in each machine individually like they have to with good old paper ballots.

This is a very real danger. STOP TRYING TO DOWNPLAY IT.

"he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand."

Both sides know exactly the places where they need to jigger the results to steal the elections. They are called swing states and two of them with huge electronic voting presence are Ohio(home of Diebold and where Diebold's execs are a key part of the Bush campaign apparatus) and Florida where the election apparatus is dominated by the President's brother and his appointed Republican secretary of state.

"Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen."

You are so wrong. This horse is just out of the gate. If this election ends up at all close the jockeys(thousand strong armies of lawyers on both sides) are going to being whipping this horse all the way around the track. Its likely the losing side will blame these machines whether they are at fault or not forever because they are so fundamentally untrustworthy.

This issue isn't ever going to be over until all machines have a paper trail at a bare minimum. I'm inclined to say all of the purely electronic machines should be replaced with paper ballots run through a national standard optical scanner like most sane precincts are using. You can take the all electronic machines and put one in each precinct for the handicapped to use but otherwise get them out of the process because they are fundamentally untrustworthy.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677151)

Uh, the people at Diebold had exactly this kind of access in California
Which is why I have already mailed in my absentee ballot. I know too much about computers and Diebold to ever vote via one of their machines.

Re:Unrealistic (4, Insightful)

blamanj (253811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676990)

First of all, this "study" was done with full knowledge of the outcome of the election.

Irrelelvant, as it applies to all elections that are close.

Second, this doesn't show any problem specific to electronic voting.

True, the same mechanisms could be used, however, the likelihood is higher with computer voting because the processes are often hidden even to those running the balloting, and a single manufacturer may supply an entire state (or states).

Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen.

Not the point. No one suggested that we turn back the clock. The point is to show how seemingly trivial effects can have consequences.

If you told someone that in an election of several million voters, having a set of voting machines off by only a single vote would affect the results, they probably wouldn't believe you. This analysis shows otherwise.

Re:Unrealistic (2, Insightful)

eh2o (471262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677090)

it applies to all elections that are close.

Furthermore, elections which are reasonably close tend to get closer due to economics. That is, opinion polls are used to gauge the amount of money to spend on advertising, which is calculated to push the margin just slightly past the half-way mark -- no more, no less -- and correspondingly there is a huge incentive to try to manipulate the outcome by making these small changes -- it is easy, cheap, and its also devastatingly effective.

Re:Unrealistic (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676991)

Its very realistic but not limited to computer voting.

Electronic voting is not the issue here, its unverified voting.

Both India and Australia have used electronic voting with out issue. Mainly because the code and the process is open.
You can not privatise your electoral system and not expect something to go wrong.

Perhaps it should be paper ballots with electronic counting.

Do your thing with paper, get the machine to check it, i.e. if it can not read it it asks the voter to fix the error or get them to ask for help from the ballot people.

Then put the paper vote in the big box of votes.

Quick machine counts and if need be humans can check the real votes.

Re:Unrealistic (1)

nullportal (811666) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677120)

I disagree that electronic voting is a fiat accompli. I've been doing it for several elections now, hate it passionately, and I am determined to see a return to mark the box with the blotting pen ballot, regardless of the wasted expenditures in those dubious machines.

first positive post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676759)

I love all of you!

Wouldn't it depend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676763)

On if you shifted votes from the winner to the loser? If you shift votes from the loser to the winner, the outcome should still be the same.

Re:Wouldn't it depend (3, Insightful)

Midajo (654520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676971)

If you shift votes from the loser to the winner, the outcome should still be the same.

If there is any shifting of votes, then we *all* lose.

code (2, Interesting)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676775)

We examine the effects of a type of electoral fraud easily perpetrated by someone with access to the system software for a direct-recording electronic voting system.

I guess it would be something like this (qtd on Slashdot recently)

On a side note (3, Insightful)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676804)

A little off-topic, but something that is quite relevant. Is anyone else a little apalled at the "Vote or Die" campaign put on by MTV to try to encourage kids to vote? The fact is, they are getting pushed to head to the polls, but often don't know anything about the issues at hand and will just vote randomly. What's the point then? Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?

Re:On a side note (5, Interesting)

drlake (733308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676822)

Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. I teach American politics at a campus where P. Diddy and crew just came through, and we talked about it in class after the rally. The point isn't simply to vote, but rather to take responsibility for your life. That entails being an educated voter, not a random one. That message is getting through to the kids, so I'm most definitely NOT appalled by it.

Re:On a side note (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677033)

Except the Vote or Die campaign carries a political agenda along with it. Propaganda and education aren't the same thing.

I didn't attend the Vote or Die rally at my school (mainly because I greatly dislike P. Diddy, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mary J. Blige somewhat), but the reports I've heard indicated that DiCaprio fully admitted his support for Kerry during his speech, and Blige's incoherent ramblings were something to the effect of the war in Iraq being bad because it leads to a cycle of domestic violence. P. Diddy at least spread around the criticism by noting that neither major candidate spent much time politicking to large urban centers.

Re:On a side note (2, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677102)

The message that the students should get is that if people as moronic as diCaprio and incoherent as Blige can participate, then surely the cream of the United States educational system should not allow themselves to be intimidated by scary politicians and ballots. Heck, knowing which way DiCaprio is planning to vote might send the more thoughtful students running to the other parties.

If after seeing this dog and pony show they still feel unqualified and unmotivated to vote, maybe they are right. Much as I want people to come out and vote, I don't ever want anyone to vote against their will.

Re:On a side note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676862)

And the worst part is that they interrupt the shows for these little messages. Not a commercial, but an actual in-show interruption where you miss what was going on. I need to know what happens on Road Rules/Real World Battle of the Sexes 2!!!

Re:On a side note (3, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676888)

Absolutely. But see, there's this little problem: education takes time and effort. If I can't decide who to vote for based on sound bites from TV, then hell, I'll vote for Kerry because Bush looks like an ape. Yes, I am the problem with America today. I watch TV and never hear mention of any concepts covered in, say entry level economics or history courses. I hear tax cuts this, free trade that, but have no concept of the long or short term effects of these policies. I don't know what my senator has done; I don't know the name of my current House representative.

Ignorance is bliss, and bliss is god.

because there's nothing to decide this year (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676890)

Usually I'd agree with you, and I switch between the two major parties fairly regularly, with the occasional third-party vote. But this year, it's really a no-brainer. There's a complete jackass as president, so as long as his opponent is Josef Stalin, there's really only one reasonable choice. What exactly Kerry stands for I don't care; he can't possibly be worse.

Re:because there's nothing to decide this year (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676917)

why hasn't someone modded the parent as flamebait yet?

Re:On a side note (3, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676937)

A little off-topic, but something that is quite relevant. Is anyone else a little apalled at the "Vote or Die" campaign put on by MTV to try to encourage kids to vote? The fact is, they are getting pushed to head to the polls, but often don't know anything about the issues at hand and will just vote randomly. What's the point then? Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?

Oh, and adults know the issues? Kids nowadays are more informed than their parents, and there is nothing wrong with a GOTV campaign aimed at young voters.

Re:On a side note (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677054)

Kids nowadays are more informed than their parents

Well, the kids think so, anyway. Their parents might disagree... and might remember when they thought the same.

Re:On a side note (4, Insightful)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677068)

Saying that kids nowdays are more informed than their parents is almost exactly as idiotic as saying that they're going to vote randomly.

There IS nothing wrong with a campaign aimed at young voters though. It's hard to disagree with that.

Re:On a side note (2, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677157)

While I disagree with the idea that kids are always more informed than their parents, I do think it is valuable to get anyone the least bit interested to register, research, and vote. They should get into the habit of voting while they are young and more likely to get into meaningful debates with their friends. If they can't find the time to vote when they are in school, they will never find the time when they are employed.

They all have internet access, so they have the means to be very informed voters if they only have something to motivate them. Being registered is a motivator. If you are registered you are more likely to research. If you research, you are more likely to vote. If you aren't registered, research is a waste of time. When young people couldn't vote, they had to resort to mass demonstrations that were a much more dangerous way to express their opinions [cnn.com] .

Re:On a side note (1, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677019)

Uh, how exactly is this different from the rhetoric coming out of Bush/Cheney and the Republican convention. Remember how they said if you elect the wrong person you risk another 9/11 attack, how you and your children are in grave danger if you make the wrong choice, or the wolves lurking in the forest. Humans have a strongly imprinted fear of wolves, using them in an add is designed entirely to stoke primal fear.

So, are you equally upset about that rhetoric or are you only upset when liberals engage in these tactics.

This is called the politics of fear, both sides are doing it on a range of issues, and doing it so much many Americans are voting entirely out of fear. The Republicans are almost certainly benefiting from it and far better at it than the Democrats. It sucks, but unfortunately it tends to work really well.

I assure you there are plenty of ill informed voters of all ages and many of them are voting out of fear and not on issues, so don't try to hang it on young people. Numerous studies of Bush voters show they consistently have no clue what Bush's actual position is on most key issues, and frequently get his positions exactly backward. They are just voting for him because he says he will make the "safe" or because he is God's chosen one, or at least so he says.

I'm not sure mandatory training of all young voters to be good Republicans or good Democrats before they are allowed to vote is how these democracy things are supposed to work. Its a personal responsibility to educate yourself, and unfortunately most Americans are pretty bad at it.

As for the whole draft proposition there is a reasonable chance the draft is going to come back real soon now, and it may come back under either Bush or Kerry. Unless the U.S. pulls out of Iraq soon or slashes its troop commitments elsewhere it is going to run out of bodies to put in the boots on the ground. The volunteer army works a lot better when you just get great benefits and aren't volunteering to drive a truck in Iraq and get your ass blown off, literally.

Indications are volunteers for the Army and Marines are in fact slowing and the U.S. can't use the current tactics indefinitely(calling up the guard and reserves in perpetuity and using stop loss to keep people in the military indefinitely). So there is a pretty good chance young voters may be voting over whether they are going to get drafted after the election. The only catch is Kerry is about as likely as Bush to reinstate it. Kerry after all has said he is going to put about 40,000 more bodies in army boots first thing and I doubt he is going to do that with volunteers if it entails combat duty.

yeah (1, Redundant)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677023)

How educated must voters be with regard to the issues when they only get to choose between a giant douche and a turd sandwich? Personally, I prefer the votergasm [votergasm.org] campaign.

Re:On a side note (3, Informative)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677025)

It gets the kids interested. Once registered, they usually talk about politics with their friends and sometimes even do research. Most people, even kids, feel kind of stupid showing up to vote when they haven't done their homework.

The hope is that they will come in and vote even if they aren't completely knowledgeable on every little issue. It's not a test, they can skip over anything they know nothing about. The typical American ballot is quite intimidating especially since you must vote for a variety of people and referendums both statewide [city-directory.com] and local [city-directory.com] . Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom where we get to vote on the definition of marriage and who should be the official local land surveyor. This can take you long time and if you are the kind of person who usually gets in the 90% on tests, it can make you feel kinda stupid.

Re:On a side note (4, Insightful)

wass (72082) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677119)

I disagree strongly. People SHOULD vote if they have the opportunity. Can you offer any sensible reason why a vote from an allegedly uninformed person is bad? Democracy shouldn't favor the informed over the uninformed.

Why is a brainwashed person who listens to news from the radical (right/left) more informed than someone that just watches Oprah/MTV and the local news, and otherwise wouldn't care to vote? Yet the radical right/left person will definitely vote for their cause, why is the vote of the Oprah/MTV fan less important?

Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?

I actually think that political mobilization will encourage political education.

Many countries (eg Australia) actually fine people for not voting. The point of the campaign is to get people involved with the political system, which is the whole foundation of democracy to begin with.

By going out and voting, whether you do for a major candidate or even if you write-in 'mickey mouse', you get involved with the system. You begin to get some sense of not just the presidential candidates, but of state and city government, and many other proposals which you might not have otherwise known existed.

For example, if you own a pizza shop near the waterfront, and you go to the polls and learn there's a proposal for the city to borrow/spend $5 million to enhance the waterfront area, that resolution will definitely impact you greatly.

Should a Fool Vote? (2, Interesting)

d102804 (826077) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677177)

The fundamental question is whether a fool should vote or deserves to vote.

If you know nothing about the issues, then your vote is a wasted vote. You might as well just write a computer program to randomly select the candidates and the propositions (in the state referendum) to support.

Furthermore, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the paper ballots. The problem is not the ballots. The problem is the fool who cannot understand the simple instructions about how to properly complete the ballot. Because the fool did not follow instructions in 2000, the tallying committee discarded the fool's ballot.

If a voter is so stupid that she cannot complete a ballot properly, then the loss of her vote is no loss to democracy.

Screw fraud, what about bugs? (3, Insightful)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676810)

I'm more afraid of a glitch along the lines of "all diebold machines count an extra presidential vote whenever this combination of votes is chosen" ... or something like that. Some kind of UNINTENTIONAL glitch to fuck up the results.

UI designer interview questions (5, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676960)

From County Responds to Voting Machine Problems [austinchronicle.com] BY LEE NICHOLS
Travis County election officials have responded to complaints that voters casting straight-party Democratic ballots are discovering, when performing a final check of their ballots, that their votes for president have been changed from Kerry/Edwards to Bush/Cheney. The officials say that, after trying and failing to replicate the problem on its eSlate voting machines, they have concluded the vote changes are due to
voter error rather than mechanical failure.

Gail Fisher, manager of the county's Elections Division, theorizes that after selecting their straight party vote, some voters are going to the next page on the electronic ballot and pressing "enter," perhaps thinking they are pressing "cast ballot" or "next page." Since the Bush/Cheney ticket is the first thing on the page, it is highlighted when the page comes up - and thus, pressing "enter" at that moment causes the Kerry/Edwards vote to be changed to Bush/Cheney.

Fisher stressed very strongly that voters should not rush, but carefully and thoroughly examine their ballots on the final review page before pressing "cast ballot."

Fisher said the county has received "less than a dozen" complaints from the more than 70,000 voters that had cast ballots by Friday afternoon. She said the county has also received a complaint from the Travis County Democratic Party. TCDP Executive Director

Elizabeth Yevich said it was not a formal complaint, but that the party had expressed concern and the county had been "receptive and responsive."
After reading the above selection-

1. Can you identify any UI design flaws in the user interface described above?
2. What would be a more reasonable default selection in this case?
3. Are poor UI design and user error mutually exclusive?

Re:UI designer interview questions (3, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677029)

1) There is no need for an "enter" key.
2) There shouldn't be a default selection, it wouldn't matter though, since there should not be an enter key.
3) No, they're not. You can still call it user error if they weren't paying attention, the blame rests on both sides. Now, since one side has a sinister reason, and the other side doesn't, I think it's not unreasonable to investigate and perhaps conclude it was intentional.

Bugs in OSS Voting software ... (2, Funny)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676963)

I was just thinking.

How scary would it be to go to bugzilla.election.gov.us or something and see "BUG #1212 -- Votes from Slashdot readers weighted based on karma"

Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of th (4, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676820)

year...

It should sicken everyone that both major parties are willing to go so far to win that we are now hearing about so many voter fraud problems arising before the election. Voter fraud should be one of the most severe crimes on the federal law books, it should be classified as a form of "attempting to overthrow the United States Government." No less than five years in prison IMO.

That said, America needs a much more comprehensive solution to voter fraud. It is one of the few things that I think warrants having a DNA tag for every citizen. There should be a national voter database that has the DNA of all citizens in it so that instead of having a national id you only have to go to the precinct and get a quick biometric test done to verify your ID.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676858)

There should be a national voter database that has the DNA of all citizens in it

Sorry, but you need a really, really good reason to convince me that something like that is necessary. The fact that a relatively tiny proportion of people are able to defraud the system is not one of them.

If you can give me a great argument for a national DNA database, I'll listen, but with all due respect, this is not one of them.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676933)

Sorry, but you need a really, really good reason to convince me that something like that is necessary. The fact that a relatively tiny proportion of people are able to defraud the system is not one of them.

In Oberlin, in Loraine County Ohio, voter turnout is exceptional this year. In fact, 117% of eligible voters have registered.

What would you expect voter turnout to actually be, max? Maybe 70% at most? So the rest are fraudulent votes, probably, barring gross errors made elsewhere.

That is just not acceptable.

How few votes determined the last election? In my state, 377 votes called it.

You have two problems when you tolerate voter fraud. The first is that you let criminals choose your candidate. The second is that you turn your candidates in to criminals, as only those politicians willing to pander to fraudulent votes are likely to get elected.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677061)

You know, I'd be fine with a national DNA registry, and I live in Canada. It's not like taking photos of my genitals and tattooing me on the forehead, come on.

Benefit of this is, whenever anyone leaves DNA at a crime, you know who they are.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (4, Insightful)

boisepunk (764513) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676876)

I'm not trying to start a flamewar, but there's a reason they don't catalog all of our DNA or give us all numbers or something like that.
You do have a really good point about voter fraud in your first paragraph. Maybe you should push this point a little more. You just convinced me that voter fraud is a tantamount to overthrowing the US Government.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677168)

Well, cool, glad you're convinced now. The problem is when the people overthrowing the government *IS* the government, how do you stop it?

And as to the GPP point about it being minimum of 5 years, i say: Not even close to being good enough. It's treason, and the death penalty is warranted. Again, the problem with that is, how can that happen if the government (that 'enforces' the laws and penalties), *IS* the government that is committing the crimes?

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (4, Informative)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676904)

Before people start jumping on you for "dna database == evil government control of our lives" let me just suggest that a dna database would be less intrusive than our present methods.

Why?

Because you don't have to story peoples' names or any other information! You just have a bunch of dna entries, but you don't know who they belong too, where they live, etc. You can't even figure out who is a voter from the database. If you have the dna from someone you can check them against the database, but you can't do it the other way around. So as far as the government or anyone else who might abuse voter information is considered, the database is just about useless.

What about removing, say, a convicted felon from the database? Just get a sample of his dna and pull the matching strand from the database.

The downside: First, electrophoresis probably doesn't scale well to millions of samples. It's a lot better than the old methods, but not really designed at present for large scale work. Second, getting the DNA is going to annoy voters. Probably the easiest thing to do would be to swab cheek cells, but still. Third, while I firmly believe this could eliminate almost all voter fraud, this is not some super-secure database. I mean, what method are you using to check whose dna is allowed in? Probably birth certificate and social security card. And as easy as it is to forge those, so would it be to get into the database.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (2, Insightful)

mog007 (677810) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676941)

Are you so naive to believe that the government wouldn't store additional data with your D.N.A. chain? They'd just keep a file of A's T's C's and G's without assigning a person's SSN or name, or both to it?

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676978)

Are you so naive to believe that the government wouldn't store additional data with your D.N.A. chain? They'd just keep a file of A's T's C's and G's without assigning a person's SSN or name, or both to it?

I have proposed a database in which that is the only information kept, and in which that is a strict requirement of keeping the information. So, yes, that would be the only information kept in my hypothetical database.

The government might like to have a repository of names connected with in DNA, but I do not think hypothesizing on the existence of one in which that would not be allowed makes me naive....

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677162)

The government might like to have a repository of names connected with in DNA, but I do not think hypothesizing on the existence of one in which that would not be allowed makes me naive....

You have already illustrated one case where names are tied to the DNA.

How are you going to prevent voter fraud unless you can determine that the voter lives in the precinct they are voting in? The voter will have to submit a sample at some point. When they do, they have to identify themselves.

How are you going to make sure a voter switches to their new precinct when they move? Will they have to submit another sample?

How are you going to deal with identical twins? Or triplets? Or...

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677075)

A massive nationwide database is a scary thing. It can start off for one little purpose, but it is very convenient to hang new uses onto it. Look what happened to Social Security.

If I could be assured that names and other personal information would never be added to it, this seems like an ideal system to eliminate voting by dead people [msn.com] and Operation [msn.com] Snowbird [operationsnowbird.com] participants.

Re:Voter fraud is going to be the biggest issue of (1)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677139)

A far better system would be to have each vote (paper or electronic) digitally signed in a way that cannot identify the signer but where the signing key is personally held by the voter.


The signature system would need to be public-key based, so that the signing key was different and undeterminable from the verifying key. The verifying key could then be made available to all election monitors and the vote counters.


All monitors would then be in a position to validate that each vote was cast by a real voter (ie: the digital signature matched up to a key in their posession), which means that ballot-box stuffing would be much harder to impossible. If one group has keys that another group doesn't, then you've pretty clear evidence of an attempt to create fictional voters.


It would also prevent vote tampering - the changing of a vote once cast - because the signature would no longer match up to the document.


Although I can't quite see how you'd do this, it may allow voters to validate that their vote did get through. Such a system is essential, if we're to prevent the fiasco of 2000 where ballot boxes regularly got misplaced. Nobody can be 100% sure that all votes actually made it to their destination, because nobody can be 100% sure what happened to the boxes during the time they were missing.


Security through obscurity doesn't work. We all know that. (We do, don't we?) What is needed, then, is to take the obscurity out of elections whilst preserving anonymity. If, in doing so, it becomes possible for anyone and everyone to "independently monitor" the election process, we can apply the "many eyes" doctorine to elections to cripple corruption. If we can also, again whilst preserving anonymity, find some way of allowing voters to verify or repudiate a vote in their name, it would be possible to make voter fraud so difficult and so easy to catch, that we might have elections we can trust.


Then all we need is some politicians we can trust. Y'know, that might be tougher...

Umm.. (1)

wviperw (706068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676851)

Sorry, I haven't been following up on the whole e-voting thing. Will there be e-voting for the election coming up in a few days or will there not be? If so, link? I haven't seen anything to confirm or deny it, just a bunch of complaints about the system.

Re:Umm.. (1)

niktesla (761443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676916)

It depends on where you are. I did early voting here in Dallas,TX and we had e-voting. I think I heard that about a quarter of the US would have e-voting this year, but I don't remember the source.

Maybe its just me, but a paper trail would do two important things: a verifiable trail for recounts and tactile feedback. When I finished voting, I pushed the big flashing red "vote" button and felt like something was missing. I stood there a few seconds making sure I had actually voted. After seeing the "screensaver" on the screen I was sure my vote had finished, but if I had a paper printout to fold and put in a box, it would have been a lot more "finalized". Some things just need that physcological effect of tactile feedback. Any how, thats my $0.02.

I totally agree (3, Interesting)

Kujila (826706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676853)

eVoting might be the "wave of the future" but the future ain't here yet!

One of the most troublesome states to meddle with the faulty "eVoting" system is Florida. In addition to this, there are thousands of absentee ballots missing.

I expect Florida to be somewhat troublesome come this November. :) ...now, for this eVoting stuff...It's easy to spoof an e-mail and not get caught, but it's not so easy to spoof an actual letter and not get caught... I apply this same analogy to eVoting. You could attempt to forge a physical ballot (like the guy in Ohio who recently attempted to register celebrity's names as voters), but you would most likely get caught in the long run, whereas if you modify an "eVote" you can slide home-free into office.

Politics is a crooked business to start with, and this eVoting stuff is just twisting it even more!

Maybe next time, but I hope they lay off of these things this time around!

Re:I totally agree (1)

oneishy (669590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676875)

Somehow I wish the wave of the future wasn't here now, but for me it is. My state (maryland) happens to be the only state to fully adopt Touchscreen Voting [npr.org] for this year.

... sorry to burst your bubble

Re:I totally agree (2, Interesting)

oneishy (669590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676908)

oops... that article talks only about partial use in 2002, This one [foxnews.com] talkes about full use in 2004. It also seems Georgia followed suit [washingtonpost.com] . So much for being the only idiots come november 3rd.

Diebold using DES encryption! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676856)

The Baltimore Jewish Times is reporting that Diebold uses DES encryption in their voting machines, and the key is publically available!
http://www.jewishtimes.com/2435.stm [jewishtimes.com]

Re:Diebold using DES encryption! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677005)

Oh... Jewish Times. I thought for a second you were using the word Jewish as an infix to substitute for the F-word. You know, like abso-fucking-lutely.

Read the Baltimore Fucking Times, man!

In Soviet Russia... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676860)

In Soviet Russia vote counts you!

Thus making the infamous series of ... (1)

Ricdude (4163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676871)

"off by one" software mistakes even more significant. Maybe this has been The Secret Plan (tm) all along.

For what it's worth, this same statistical analysis is what means *your* vote actually counts for something.

I think more likely.. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676877)

If a single machine were to change all the votes cast there, it would still be just as small a change as changing one vote at every machine, and would have just as much effect (and be a lot easier to pull off)

Re:I think more likely.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676918)

True, but if it were to be rigged, as you suggest, i doubt that it would merely switch the votes. Instead, it would change all the votes to one candidate.

Re:I think more likely.. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676961)

The numbers it spits out would have to look realistic. A predominantly Democrate precinct would be unlikely to vote all Bush or mostly Bush.

Your scenario is a reason to go for a voter verified paper trail, because unusual or contested results have a greater chance of triggering a recount. If a lot of machines are off by one, then the results wouldn't look unusual. The thing here is that this assumes that all the machines are off by one toward the same canidate. A Republican controlled area might "accidentally" have an additional vote for its party, the same with Democrats.

eSubject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676882)

I think this whole "eVoting" thing has come along as a result of everyone trying to tack the letter 'e' onto everything, even if it's not needed, or we're not ready for it.

Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (4, Interesting)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676889)

One of the "solutions" being pushed by many is a paper receipt of one's vote. If a voting machine has been compromised wouldn't a receipt be useless? I mean if the machine has been hacked what's keeping said hacker from just writing a routine to print out whatever the voter voted for and recording something different? What are the election officials going to do, ask everyone who voted to bring in their receipts? Kinda kills off the whole "secret ballot" thing.

IMO optical mark recognition (aka: bubble sheets), also made by Diebold and others, is the closest thing out there that allows for fairly secure vote protection while allowing for electronic tallying. I know that evoting is also about access to others but at the cost of a honest election?

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676928)

Agreed, paper receipts taken home by voters are a bad idea. It leads directly to vote-buying. And there is no use-case I can imagine where this would be useful. "Could everyone please bring their receipts back to the school gymnasium for the recount!"

An auditable paper trail shouldn't involve paper that leaves the custody of the state.

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (2, Interesting)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676943)

The receipt doesn't leave the polling place. It is a human readable printout of who all you have voted for. You look over it, then go stuff it in the ballot box just like the old butterfly ballots.

Ideally, a random sellection of these ballot boxes would be opened up and counted and compared with the results of the electronic machines. This would verify that the machines were operating correctly. They would also be opened up and counted if a recount is needed.

At no time, would a voter carry a receipt out of the polling place. This could encourage vote buying or bullying. The most a voter would leave with is one of those "I have voted" stickers.

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (1)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677118)

The receipt doesn't leave the polling place. It is a human readable printout of who all you have voted for. You look over it, then go stuff it in the ballot box just like the old butterfly ballots.

Great reply. Thanks for information. It clears up some things.

Ok, so the paper receipt stays there. I wonder what happens if the printer jams or runs out of paper. Wouldn't that mess up a recount? What happens if you only alter the electronic tally of the visually impaired (triggered when someone resizes the base font to 72pts). Enough to buy some voters and not tip off anyone. If they can't read a standard ballot I suspect they'd have a problem checking the receipt with 12pt type. Of course someone could just steal or trash the paper receipts making an audit almost impossible.

The "vote buying or bullying" issue you brought up is a good one. I guess a valid reason not to leave with a receipt. I recently heard of vote buying and using a cell phone camera for the proof.

Ultimately "if there's a will there's a way" to hack an election. IMO evoting just adds another layer to the process that can alter an election's outcome.

Thanks again for reply. Deserves a +5, Informative.

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (1)

niktesla (761443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676957)

I agree that the take-home receipt is bad, but if the machine printed out a receipt and you deposited it in a box, then you would have trail for recounts and would make it harder for this type of fraud to take place. I think the whole push for e-voting was to reduce the chances of a vote being counted wrong because of a hanging chad or pregnant chad. So if you can make the voting output a standardized format(machine readable and human readable), those errors would be reduced. Of course, you'd still have plenty of other ways to commit voter fraud, and that's something politicians have long been good at. :)

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10676996)

My county went to bubble-sheet voting this year.

In the primaries, both the voters and volunteers absolutely loved the new system. Everyone knows how to fill in bubbles, and the voter himself feeds the ballot into the machine (smaller than a copy machine), where it is instantly added to the tally. If there is a misvote, the ballot is kicked back out and the voter can re-vote. At the end of the day, the count has already been tallied.

The only thing I disliked is that the ballots are freaking huge pieces of (very heavy stock) paper, I guess so that old people can read the big fonts.

Re:Paper receipts and voter fraud question. (4, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677067)

We are talking about voter verifiable paper trails. You enter your vote on the machine and it prints out what you voted in human and ideally machine readable form so you can verify the machine did what you told it to do and there is a record that is put in a box like an old fashioned paper ballot. There are two forks here.

In one fork the paper trail is machine readable and it gets fed into an optical scanner which actually counts it. In this scenario the electronic voting machine is of marginal value though it can reduce errors, double voting for example or not filling in the ovals properly for an optical scanner. But the main thing they do is provide electronic assistance to the blind so they can vote without assistance. We are blessed with these machines partially because the handicapped, especially the blind, are rightly complaining they are denied their right to anonymous voting by most/all non electronic voting machine.

In the other more likely fork the electronic machine does the count, but their is a paper receipt for every vote so you can:

A. randomly recount a subset of the machines to verify that the paper trail matches the machine count and catch fraud.

B. If the election is close or their is a dispute you can do a complete manual recount and disregard the machine count if it appears suspect.

Venezuela recently had a hotly contested recall electon for Hugo Chavez and they used all electronic machines, but with a paper trail unlike the U.S. which is sorely lacking paper trails. Here [economist.com] is a good writup on some of the issues the Carter foundation found in trying to monitor and audit the election.

What I find amazing... (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676896)

is that each voteing place has at least 2 workers. One is democrat, and another is republican. This was started a long time ago, BECAUSE ppl tend to corrupt. Chicago, Texas, and Tennase were great examples of cities/states that have notorious voter fraud in the past.These days neither party trust each other and will be sueing in huge amounts over the next couple of weeks.

Yet, here is a system that is fairly easy to defeat esp. when a paper trail is not created. And both major parties seem to want to push it.

Re:What I find amazing... (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677141)

Yes, those little teams of old ladies and gents watching paper ballots like a hawk is a pretty good system though its increasingly hard to find enough of them because younger people don't value elections like they do, and of course politicians are so pathetic most people are completely disenchanted with the whole process.

They beauty of electronic voting without a papertrail is all these little old ladies and gents are completely cut out of the system. They are wasting their time sitting there because the software in the machines could steal the election out from under their noses and there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop it. I'm not even sure a tech savvy youngester who can read code, route networks and sign binaries could stop it either.

If you want to steal an election these machines are a complete god send, which is why I figure so many Republican started companies to make them. I figure Republicans got tired of being out of power and now they will do whatever it takes to keep it, especially since they believe their own rhetoric that they are the only ones capable of running America and through America the world, so they can rationalize to themselves destroying America's democracy in order to save America.

We had it here... :( (5, Interesting)

smoothwallsamuel (753105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676911)

Here in Canberra (that nice little capital city of Australia) we had electronic voting for our election, and it is now probably going to be the focus of a court challenge by a losing party.

Personally, I agree with the time honoured tradition of paper voting...at least there is some physical record of votes.

samuel

Fixing what was never broken (4, Interesting)

bubbaprog (783125) | more than 9 years ago | (#10676962)

We have e-voting because those in control know they can use it to their advantage. There was nothing wrong with a paper ballot with a box that you place a mark in next to the candidate you choose. They replaced it with error-prone punch cards and butterfly ballots because it was EASIER. If they wanted to guarantee the most accurate recording of votes, they'd use a paper ballot you marked with a pen, which was then counted by a human being, then recounted by a different human being. You know, like you had in high school? They don't do it that way anymore. They could, if they wanted to. They don't. And so we have systems that are open to interpretation and manipulation.

Re:Fixing what was never broken (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677058)

You are right, pen and paper are the only way to go. I like the idea of going back to something primitive because simple normally works best.

Reading most of the other comments here proves it. The number of possible corruptions is staggering. From a spoof of what software is actually running on the machine to a script to do a print screen on a receipt and recording different votes.

eVoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677007)

In my home province of Otago, in New Zealand, we used an electronic voting method. The question that was later asked: why did our elections go worse than Afghanistan's?

What software? (4, Insightful)

Hobadee (787558) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677016)

I don't know if this has been brought up before or not, but either way I will bring it up.

How can electronic voting ever be trusted? (Surprisingly, my mom of all people, who knows nothing about computers brought up this point with me.) Even if we use open source voting software, we still have a major problem. How do we know the open source we saw is actually running on the machine? It would be more than easy to get the GUI to SAY that it was running "so-and-so version X.X". How do we actually KNOW it's running that though?

The only viable solution I see would be to actually have every voter load the software onto the machine, and the machine interface somehow, but then again, this has some major downfalls. How does the community feel about this? What solutions do you propose, in this election, and in future elections?

Another danger (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677037)

None of this even mentions the serious problem that one of the people running might actually get elected.

Straight ballot in Texas (1, Informative)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677052)

I heard that in Texas there were reports that selecting a straight democrating ticket down the line would still select Bush for president. I wonder how many people "accidently" voted for Bush.

As long as Kerry wins, who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677079)

Payback is a bitch, GW.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677137)

You just don't get it, do you? Bush is going to CLEARLY win this election. As much as we may hate it, a lot of people really believe that Bush has done a great job. Bush is going to win, Slashbots are going to whine and complain, and life will continue. I hate Bush as much as the next guy, and I'm voting for Anybody But Bush (i.e. Kerry), but in the end Bush is still going to win. We live in a sad world.

2001: Avi Rubin's Security for E-Voting in Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10677100)

Security for E-Voting in Public Elections [cmpnet.com] (Realplayer video 01:23:34) Avi Rubin [avirubin.com] (AT&T Labs-Research) discusses the security considerations pertaining to remote electronic voting in public elections and examine the feasibility of running national federal elections over the Internet. The focus of this talk is on the limitations of the currently deployed infrastructure in terms of the security of the hosts and the Internet itself.

Then again (4, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677144)

Very little discussion has taken place on the wholesale repeal and replacement of several election laws in states like California, where people line up to vote at the entrance to grocery stores.

Under the old laws, which were repealed in grand fashion without so much as a whisper from the press, such voting would be flagrantly illegal. Voting less than 40 feet from a newsstand, for example, or voting on a day other than election day was unheard of...

...until now.

The election of the people whose responsibility it is to run our government is now treated with the same level of consideration as a sale on ground beef in the frozen food aisle. Naturally, this is fine, since everything in our society is evaluated based on the convenience factor for the SUV moms, and whether it can be scheduled between trips to the dry cleaners and the bank. More thought is invested in the right windows for the breakfast nook and the new countertops for the kitchen renovations at Home Repo than is invested in the sober consideration of who should run the country.

Selfishness, greed, apathy and laziness are great criteria for elections.

It was possible to vote before the most recent debate. It was possible to vote before several very lengthy and comprehensive articles on various propositions were published in newspapers. It was necessary for the legislature in California to repeal no fewer than EIGHT election laws in order to make "election month" legal, and nobody pays it a second thought. We did just fine with election DAY for 228 years, but now, that doesn't seem to be enough.

The potential for fraud and inaccuracy is immense, but there wasn't even the most rudimentary opportunity to even COMMENT on this before it showed up next to the paper towel display weeks before the election.

Election without representation is even worse than taxation without representation. We had better turn off the fucking high-definition entertainment center and develop some reverence for the democratic process, and soon.

I smell conspiracy... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#10677165)

"... some Yale students show that altering only a single vote per machine would have changed the electoral college outcome of the 2000 election. "

Yeah? Well, George W. Bush and John F. Kerry were some Yale students. I bet they knew this all along. The fix was in from the start.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...