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Blackboxvoting.org Raises Vote-Audit FOIA Request

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the transparency-or-pseudo-transparency dept.

United States 1023

aacool writes "Blackboxvoting.org has raised the largest Freedom of Information request in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit. Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips."

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1023 comments

great... (2, Insightful)

torrents (827493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713307)

just when we thought the election was over... hopefully everything was computed properly...

Re:great... (5, Insightful)

Frequanaut (135988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713500)

WTF. Sarcasm?? You're upset that someone is trying to independently validate the election?

What will your response be when their request is denied?

Re:great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713643)

What will your response be when their request is denied?

They will mod it down as troll [slashdot.org] .

Ohio and Florida (5, Interesting)

StudyOfEfficiency (826511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713327)

I understand made use of electronic voting machines manufactured by Diebold. Their CEO pledged to do whatever was in his power to swing the election towards George. Interesting... Plus the exit polls seemed to suggest a different winner.

Re:Ohio and Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713466)

Correction. He pledged to deliver the votes to the president. This could be taken to mean the results of the election. I think people were and still are reading way too much into this.

Re:Ohio and Florida (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713496)

There were more electronic voting in Florida, but not much of Ohio made the transition. 73% (68 of 88 counties) of Ohio voters still used punch cards yesterday.

They do? (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713499)

First, no, the exit polls do not suggest that [cnn.com] . They perfectly mirror the results.

Secondly, Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, said that about only Ohio, because he lives and works in Ohio, and is a GOP backer.

Bad taste? Yes. "Interesting" that a CEO of a company is a Republican? Nope. Do I wish he would have had the scruples to stay out of politics since his company is making voting machines? Yep.

But please, take off your tinfoil hat. When he said he was committed to delivering Ohio to Bush, he meant that as a GOP campaigner, contributor, and backer. Not that he was going to secretly have a 13,000-employee company rig a presidential election.

Re:They do? (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713629)

I wish I had some mod points for you, but instead I'll just have to second you. The national results pretty well match the exit polling results, and the national polls for the past few days. Kerry lost largely on high voter turnout for those who opposed him on moral grounds, especially gay marriage.

I still wish that there were some way of doing a recount, even though it doesn't appear to be necessary in this case. It wouldn't entirely surprise me if there were shennanigans; I've heard of various ugly games played to influence voters. But here it seems that the Deibold machines did their jobs. I stil don't trust them but I'm not going to dispute the results.

Re:They do? (1)

Sepper (524857) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713706)

Not that he was going to secretly have a 13,000-employee company rig a presidential election.

Still, it is a scary thought...
It always makes me think about this article:
http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0404.html#4 [schneier.com]

Disclaimer: I am Canadian. I don't care about American politics as long as WE don't get screw...

Re:Ohio and Florida (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713543)

Troll. The CEO made no such promises, and the exit polls? Maybe the people (the majority, I might add) who voted for Bush simply didn't want to piss with the already Democratically biased media (Dan, Tom, Wolfe, et al -- with the exception of Foxnews which is evening sickeningly biased to me on the right-hand side of the fence) and their polls. I know that's why I didn't stop to be 'exit polled.' I knew that no matter what I said that it would still look on the Tele like Kerry was ahead. Go figure.

Re:Ohio and Florida (5, Informative)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713587)

Here's [newmediamusings.com] one of the articles which talks about this case of fraud.

I can't believe they didn't require a paper trail. Simply can't believe it.

Punch cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713714)

69 of Ohio's 88 counties still use old fashioned paper punch card ballots.

Concession speech in 3, 2, 1..... (4, Funny)

general_re (8883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713330)

We call on every candidate not to concede.

So much for that....

Illegal! (4, Insightful)

Anusien (705743) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713451)

I don't think it should be legal to concede. Screw checking out the voting machines, and have all the uncounted voters sue Kerry, Bush, and whomever else. By conceding the race and not counting those votes, it's effectively denying the right to vote for those individuals. This includes overseas (military and civilian), uncounted provisional votes, and absentee ballots. Every vote counts, so count every vote!

Re:Illegal! (5, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713618)

A concession speech is not a legally binding construct - it is a political move, not a legal one. All the votes must still be counted, including the ones that haven't been counted a half-hour from now, when Kerry is in the middle of his speech. All Kerry is doing is signaling that he is not planning on pursuing recounts or legal strategies designed to bring about his victory - his campaign for president is ending as of 2:00 PM today.

If, however, it should turn out that he has won Ohio, for example, when all the ballots are counted, then he will still gain Ohio's electoral votes and, presumably, the presidency, in spite of the fact that he has conceded defeat. That is not going to happen, as a practical matter, but it is at least theoretically possible. Elections boards don't stop counting just because one candidate or the other admits defeat - they still have to have a final count for the records, if nothing else.

Re:Concession speech in 3, 2, 1..... (0)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713600)

Some people, unfortunately, don't see the big picture. Convinced of their role as watchdog over everyone else (including the other watchdogs), they proudly don their tin hats and demand the equivalent of a recount everywhere.

The country is divided enough over the actual issues. Can we at least agree (within obvious boundaries) to trust the process? I guess I'm arguing for a more 'obvious' definition of the word 'obvious'.

Get over it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713332)

It's done. Move on. Get over it.

This is it, folks. Donate! (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713335)

Blackboxvoting.org is a non-profit supported by donations. Screw the FSF and the EFF. Give your money now to these guys and shine the light on the roaches.

Do you call yourself a Geek!? (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713581)

I just sent in my $100 donation. Put your money with your mouth is.

I hear Diebold uses WWIV for it's BBS Software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713342)

I hear Diebold uses WWIV for it's BBS Software...

I wonder if I can play Foodfight when I logon to their vote tally BBS's?

WWIV: flashback to the 80s in Los Angeles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713458)

I remember that software when I was in middle school. back in the good ole days when wardialers were the newest thing

What are the possible consequences? (4, Interesting)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713345)

Assuming that enough fraud is uncovered that it could have swung the election the other way, what recourse is there? Would we have to rehold the election? Or could the current winner be undone?

Re:What are the possible consequences? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713430)

The electors haven't voted yet, so there is nothing to be "undone".

Re:What are the possible consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713460)

Undo Bush? I'm liking the sound of this...

Re:What are the possible consequences? (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713464)

Fortunately Diebold software comes with multiple undo capacity. All thats required is for the Election Officer to select the 2004 presidential election tab hit the undo button and time will roll back to Nov 1.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (3, Interesting)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713470)

Assuming that enough fraud is uncovered that it could have swung the election the other way, what recourse is there? Would we have to rehold the election? Or could the current winner be undone?

What should happen, if there was fraud, is to invalidate the election and schedule another one. In the new election, throw out (or make illegal) whatever machines were used to create the fraud. Plug the holes and do it right. You can't declare anyone a winner if any fraud was involved without holding a new election. Yeah, it would be a pain in the ass, but it would be the right way to go about fixing it.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (1)

marmoset (3738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713526)

I would think that one goal would be to establish precedence and ensure accountability for 2008.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713529)

Wahhhhh. You don't give up, huh? Funny how we'd never be looking for "the truth" in a Kerry victory.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (1)

yali (209015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713548)

Worst case scenario: Even if nothing can be done about the '04 election, it is still very, very important to start the reform process as soon as possible. Think back to all the people who dismissed electoral reform as partisanship, and the "it's too close to change now" excuses this last time around. If there was fraud or even inaccuracy this time around, it's important to start to address it before it becomes too late for yet another election.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (1)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713604)

The recourse is, we spread that word as far and as clearly as possible, and most importantly, acquire every record and publicy distribute them so others may look at them. You can still acquire diebolds e-mails off of gnutella, afterall.

It's one thing for your canadate to lose or win an election. It's different for a corporation to put them in power.

Re:What are the possible consequences? (2, Insightful)

ageoffri (723674) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713715)

I really doubt that if fraud is found it will have any effect on Bush winning his second election. The amount of data they are requesting is huge. So first they need to get this data in a timely manner which I doubt happens. Then they need to sort it. All this has to be done before the Electoral College meets in December.

Now if widespread fraud is found, it will greatly impact the next election.

Wow, that's a lot of data... (4, Insightful)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713352)

Out of curiosity, can anyone expect to process and audit that data in a reasonable timeframe? Especially on a volunteer basis?

Before it's slashdotted, here is the request: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713483)

Public Records Request - November 2, 2004
From: Black Box Voting
To: Elections division

Pursuant to public records law and the spirit of fair, trustworthy, transparent elections, we request the following documents.

We are requesting these as a nonprofit, noncommercial group acting in the capacity of a news and consumer interest organization, and ask that if possible, the fees be waived for this request. If this is not possible, please let us know which records will be provided and the cost. Please provide records in electronic form, by e-mail, if possible - crew@blackboxvoting.org.

We realize you are very, very busy with the elections canvass. To the extent possible, we do ask that you expedite this request, since we are conducting consumer audits and time is of the essence.

We request the following records.

Item 1. All notes, emails, memos, and other communications pertaining to any and all problems experienced with the voting system, ballots, voter registration, or any component of your elections process, beginning October 12, through November 3, 2004.

Item 2. Copies of the results slips from all polling places for the Nov. 2, 2004 election. If you have more than one copy, we would like the copy that is signed by your poll workers and/or election judges.

Item 3: The internal audit log for each of your Unity, GEMS, WinEds, Hart Intercivic or other central tabulating machine. Because different manufacturers call this program by different names, for purposes of clarification we mean the programs that tally the composite of votes from all locations.

Item 4: If you are in the special category of having Diebold equipment, or the VTS or GEMS tabulator, we request the following additional audit logs:

a. The transmission logs for all votes, whether sent by modem or uploaded directly. You will find these logs in the GEMS menu under "Accuvote OS Server" and/or "Accuvote TS Server"

b. The "audit log" referred to in Item 3 for Diebold is found in the GEMS menu and is called "Audit Log"

c. All "Poster logs". These can be found in the GEMS menu under "poster" and also in the GEMS directory under Program Files, GEMS, Data, as a text file. Simply print this out and provide it.

d. Also in the Data file directory under Program Files, GEMS, Data, please provide any and all logs titled "CCLog," "PosterLog", and Pserver Log, and any logs found within the "Download," "Log," "Poster" or "Results" directories.

e. We are also requesting the Election Night Statement of Votes Cast, as of the time you stopped uploading polling place memory cards for Nov. 2, 2004 election.

Item 5: We are requesting every iteration of every interim results report, from the time the polls close until 5 p.m. November 3.

Item 6: If you are in the special category of counties who have modems attached, whether or not they were used and whether or not they were turned on, we are requesting the following:

a. internal logs showing transmission times from each voting machine used in a polling place

b. The Windows Event Viewer log. You will find this in administrative tools, Event Viewer, and within that, print a copy of each log beginning October 12, 2004 through Nov. 3, 2004.

Item 7: All e-mails, letters, notes, and other correspondence between any employee of your elections division and any other person, pertaining to your voting system, any anomalies or problems with any component of the voting system, any written communications with vendors for any component of your voting system, and any records pertaining to upgrades, improvements, performance enhancement or any other changes to your voting system, between Oct. 12, 2004 and Nov. 3, 2004.

Item 8: So that we may efficiently clarify any questions pertaining to your specific county, please provide letterhead for the most recent non-confidential correspondence between your office and your county counsel, or, in lieu of this, just e-mail us the contact information for your county counsel.

Because time is of the essence, if you cannot provide all items, please provide them in increments as soon as you have them, and please notify us by telephone (206-335-7747) or email (Bevharrismail@aol.com) as soon as you have any portion of the above public records request available for review.

Thank you very much, and here's hoping for a smooth and simple canvass which works out perfectly for you. We very, very much appreciate your help with this, and we do realize how stressful this election has been.

If you need a local address, please let me know, and we will provide a local member for this public records request. In the interest of keeping your life simple, we thought it best to coordinate all records through one entity so that you don't get multiple local requests.

Re:Wow, that's a lot of data... (2, Informative)

isurge (574887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713590)

Not really we deal with volumes this large on a regular basis, just need a cluster of boxes to start tearing through the data. Break it down to components store the interesting bits and chunk the rest. I spend way too much time importing/exporting databases and integrating applications. This project should only take a couple of weeks for 2 or 3 good programmars/sysadmins.

It is not rocket science it is just tedious.

Re:Wow, that's a lot of data... (1)

Pirulo (621010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713640)

Sure, the whole world will contribute, not just a bunch of democrats,

Re:Wow, that's a lot of data... (1)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713679)

Well, I volunteered to help. I'm just one software geek, but there are a bunch of us who are unsatisfied with the security and auditability of this election.

Waste of time... ? (-1, Troll)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713373)

Blackboxvoting.org (Score: 0, Redundant)

Sanity Check (1)

Taim (1157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713374)

I'm all for electronic voting, with the promise of easy to use polls that allow for more immediate and accurate tracking of results, but hopefully this will shine the light onto the glaring need for greater audit measures and failsafes to be built into the software used to power these applications.

That didn't take long (1, Insightful)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713375)

The sore losers are coming out of the woodwork.

Good (4, Insightful)

wandernotlost (444769) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713377)

I'm glad someone's on this. The scariest thing about all these new voting technologies is the idea that if something were to go wrong, intentionally or otherwise, we wouldn't even find out about it.

Re:Good (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713527)

Here's one of the many [newmediamusings.com] instances of vote tampering. Thankfully, this one might provide enough intent to really fuck things up for Mr. Incumbent.

Re:Good (1)

raque (457836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713533)

I so agree with this - Is this election honest? All the exit polls and showed this going the other way and with all this being hidden who knows what happened. All of this has to be carefully double checked. As for the quesion on what can be done about this if there is extensive fraud is simple, none of this is official until December when the electors vote and it is counted in Congress, anything can happend until then.

WHAAAA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713381)

Shut up you baby just admit defeat, throw your tin hat back on and crawl back into your cave Al Gore

glad SOMEONE is challenging it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713387)

I was thinking if *I* could mount a legal challenge , even if Kerry doesn't. I am an affected party. Glad to see someone's on the case.

The biggest can of worms in the world (5, Interesting)

Andr0s (824479) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713396)

A most... daring move, I have to say. The very perspective and magnitude of task such as doing independant audit of complete US presidential elections is... staggeringly humongous. I am afraid that the blackboxvoting.org does not posess facilities, technology and manpower to handle the avalanche of raw data that might hit them as the result of this request - obviously, to do a proper audit, they'd need to start from individual ballots... all 110+ million of them, plus all the disqualified ballots, duplicate ballots, questionable ballots?

In the aftermath, I am afraid that, if the audit indicates there are irregularities or foul play involved in the elections, reply might simply be 'It is counting error on your end, you don't have capacities for competently performing an audit of this size.' Besides, I just might think not enough of Americans will actually care.

Bottom line... I sure do hope the audit works out. I sure do hope it proves elections were rigged (being from a former communist eastern european state myself, I saw a number of those :). But I'm afraid it'll be a wasted effort.

Re:The biggest can of worms in the world (1)

{tele}machus_*1 (117577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713560)

You're right. But I'd be glad to volunteer my time to assist. Heck, I'd quit my job if they would pay me to work on this audit.

Re:The biggest can of worms in the world (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713608)

Rigged or not, this is just good for Democracy. Keep those who would influence things on notice.

Freedom... (2, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713400)

The only people who would question the authenticity of the United States of America's election process via the "e-voting" method are those are support the ending of freedom and the resurgence of terror!

Why wouldn't you just trust the results you see in the media? Why must you map the tunnels that carry our infastructure only a terrorist would need that information [slashdot.org] !

Remember 10 out of 10 terrorists support John Kerry! If you are questioning the election results you must not support Bush and thus you must be a terrorist.

I'm only 52% kidding.

We failed America (4, Interesting)

exmet paff dexx (824084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713406)

Every Slashdot reader knew going into this election that the Diebold machines were unaccountable, had no unalterable audit logs, no paper to subpoena, no WORM media to recount from. They are rewriteable and they are in the hands of the GOP. Now, suddenly, only two states have a vote count which is wildly divergent from the exit polling. Those states are Ohio and Florida. They were polled entirely by Diebold machines.

There is no accountability, no log, no going back. And it's OUR fault. We knew, and we didn't take action. We KNEW this would come.

It's not about who votes. It's about who counts them.

Re:We failed America (1)

aacool (700143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713532)

The Indian EVMs seem like a really good idea now Check the EVM FAQ out at http://www.eci.gov.in/faq/elecvtmach.htm [eci.gov.in]

EFF has a really good audio response to press releases from Diebold on their site

Re:We failed America (1)

adius (613006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713549)

Not all of Florida used the machines. Mosty the southern area. Maybe these are the areas they had to focus on with the machines. I wonder what Jub Bush was thinking.

Re:We failed America (1)

exmet paff dexx (824084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713652)

You don't need to control all the voting machines to swing 1% of the votes. You only need a few counties. A few counties and no audit logs. If history tells this election truthfully, it will be the election of "Nobody Knows Who Won".

-1, Who Needs Facts (5, Informative)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713669)

Speaking as a Kerry supporter...

#1, The election results were statistically similar to the exit polls in Ohio and Florida.

#2, only 20 out of 88 counties in Ohio (IIRC, I may be fudgy on the exact number) used Diebold machines, the rest were punch card ballots.

Re:We failed America (5, Informative)

orikerus (677340) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713698)

They were polled entirely by Diebold machines.

What makes you think that? I live in a suburb of Cleveland and we had the same old paper ballots as previous years.

Wrong (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713712)

The machine that tallied my vote (Satellite Beach, FL) wasn't from Diebold. A bunch of us in line were wondering why there were'nt even voting machines. Just a marker and a paper ballot being tallied by a scanner.

This is necessary (2, Insightful)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713409)

Good work. This is really necessary to prove if electronic voting is really reliable. The difference between the polls and the results can be fraud in a master scale, especially when there is absolutely no trail or checks.

Although I am against Bush, I would prefer him winning the vote in a straight way, I can live with that. I can't live with the fact that he might have stolen the election for a second time.

Favourite quote (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713410)

I R'd TFA this morning (UTC). My favourite quote is:
The central servers are installed on unpatched, open Windows computers and use RAS (Remote Access Server) to connect to the voting machines through telephone lines. Since RAS is not adequately protected, anyone in the world, even terrorists, who can figure out the server's phone number can change vote totals without being detected by observers.

and none of it will make a damn bit of difference (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713415)


they could find all the evidence they need of record tampering... of votes being miscast... of these machines being totally unfit for the democratic process....

and you would never see anything about it in the mainstream media....

Re:and none of it will make a damn bit of differen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713693)

Really? The same MSM that ran forged documents in an attempt to derail the Bush campaign? Please, the MSM would be all over it.

And so it begins... (2, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713426)

Yep. Get ready for the Diebold conspiracy wackos to crawl out of the woodwork, because Diebold's chairman said in his capacity as a Republican party backer that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Really, really poor taste? Yep. Probably a fucking stupid thing to say when you're CEO of a company that makes electronic voting machines? For the *state* about which you're making those comments, no less? Yep. But don't forget one thing: the exit polls exactly and perfectly describe the 2% Bush margin. That's one thing you'll never see the Diebold conspiracy blogs mention. They'll just fantasize about how a 13,000 person company secretly rigged the election, and that somehow, the mainstream media is "hiding" the story because it's in bed with Bush. Ahh, conspiracy theorists. Gotta love 'em.

Interestingly, they showed footage on NBC's TODAY show of some of the polling places using electronic equipment in Ohio; some polling places had waits of over 9 hours with the last people voting at shortly before 4AM local time. Voting officials offered the alternative of paper ballots to move people through more quickly. Ironically, students and other members of the line were yelling "Do not use the paper ballots! Wait to use the machines!" explaining later that they felt their votes wouldn't be counted if they voted on paper...

And no, the exit polls [cnn.com] didn't indicate a different winner.

Re:And so it begins... (4, Insightful)

RalphSlate (128202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713673)

Really, really poor taste? Yep. Probably a fucking stupid thing to say when you're CEO of a company that makes electronic voting machines?

I'd go farther than that. I'd say that having made such a comment should either make Diebold ineligible for the election, or should make him lose his job. That's the kind of thing you don't joke about when you're in a position of power.

It would be like the Supreme Court justices joking that they would make sure that Bush got elected before rendering their 2000 decision.

A Technical Issue now. (2, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713429)

The audit of the unprecedented use of electronic voting would be a pretty good learning experience for us as a potential nation of future electronic voters.
However, I wonder what the potential political repercussions of an audit would be should the audit find inconsistencies or possible voter problems that skewed a state to the candidate that lost after the fact. Would Kerry renounce his concession?

Well, sure there were probably errors ... (1)

isolationism (782170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713431)

... And maybe even hacked information in someone's favour. Believe me, I'd like to be the first to say the electoral results just don't seem to make sense -- but is a post-mortem analysis going to do much to change matters now?

Please forgive my ignorance, but I was under the impression that for all the investigations that examined the "tricks" used to fudge the numbers (some of which we already know were repeated this time before the polls even opened yesterday) it still didn't mean the shrub was stripped of his presidency ... And it doesn't look like it secured a more honest democratic process four years later, either.

Re: Well, sure there were probably errors ... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713538)


> but is a post-mortem analysis going to do much to change matters now?

Probably not. However, the down side of getting a 'clean' election yesterday is that there won't be much demand/motivation for producing a robust system for the future.

I hope this produces enough question marks to ensure that we get a legal requirement for a fully auditable voting system before next time.

meaningless and worthless (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713436)

It is completely useless to have electronic voting logs/records if there is no paper trail to back it up. Without a paper trail, a completely fake vote tally would look just like the real thing.

Re:meaningless and worthless (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713672)

You should tell that to Alfie Charles of Sequoia Voting Systems. There were some issues with touch-screen voting in Florida where users would choose a candidate but the machine would not light the correct person.

You can read this article [excite.com] off of Excites site regarding some issues that came up and Mr. Charles' response.

exit polls (1)

mrbeaton (529364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713437)

I was kinda surprised that I hadn't seen more about people questioning the voting systems, especially after exit polls seemed to reflect a different story than vote counts.

I guess we'll see what happens....

Maybe we'll learn something interesting. (1)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713438)

I'll be interested to see what the results are and if this gets any traction in the media

Fishy? (4, Interesting)

riggz (516733) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713439)

It seems fishy to me that the two states with computerized balloting and no paper trail, had Kerry winning in the exit polls, but the outcome was decidedly different. In fact these two states had the highest discrepancy in exit poll vs. final poll numbers.

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713441)

I voted on an electronic doohickey (sorry; couldn't find the maker, but the logo looked like a lowercase "h", dotted like a lowercase "i"). There was one booth for people to vote on paper, and I was seriously considering asking to use it instead of the electronic booths... If someone with sufficient privileges wanted to change my vote after it'd been recorded electronically, it wouldn't take much, and no audit would bring it up.

No secrets... (2, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713459)

Hopefully everyone will comply with this order.

There are too many questions about electronic voting, and the legitimacy of the election in question. If these requests are not filled, it will really help to calm down the cries of voting fraud.

Because time is of the essence (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713471)

...please provide [the items] in increments as soon as you have them.
(from TFA)

I guess it will take more than 4 years before they have gathered enough informations to come to any conclusions.

How much is all of this going to cost? (1)

dnaboy (569188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713472)

The thing that amazes me is how much all of this is going to cost. Lawyers will need to pour through the information request in each jurisdiction, someone technical will have to get the requested info out of the systems (if that's possible), and every nitpicky error in the logs will require some justification to demonstrate that it didn't affect the vote tallys. What on earth is the point? Do they honestly think that there is something unscrupulous going on? It can't be worse than trying to decide which hanging chads count and which don't...

Re:How much is all of this going to cost? (2, Insightful)

nbert (785663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713631)

Nobody knows yet. However, this section somehow amuses me:
We are requesting these as a nonprofit, noncommercial group acting in the capacity of a news and consumer interest organization, and ask that if possible, the fees be waived for this request. If this is not possible, please let us know which records will be provided and the cost.
Are they seriously believing that there is a slight chance of getting it for free?

Fantastic Initiative! (1)

Trevoke (821533) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713477)

"- Don't concede: Candidates, make a statement about voting without auditing. Hold off on your concession until the canvass is done". they say. May I laugh? Finally, people who understand technology wish to discuss with the machines themselves what actually happened. I don't care what the logs end up showing; I laud the initiative. Maybe we can advance from there.

This is great. (1)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713482)

I don't think there's any reason to think that there was widespread shenanigans, but this'll help make sure, either way.

I think that any place that used any sort of electronic voting should be made aware that they're going to be under a microscpoe because of it. Complying with lots of FOI requests needs to be an expensive part of the TCO for Diebold machines, and their ilk.

astronomical copying fee (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713485)

The FOIA allows agencies to charge a reasonable "copying" fee for labor and material. $2-$3 per page is not out of the question my experience. Image the fee for printing or copying millions of ballots.

Re:astronomical copying fee (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713588)

$2-$3???? The most expensive of lawyers only charge 25 cents to copy a page.

Hurrah!! But.. manpower? (2, Insightful)

Gryffin (86893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713488)

I wish them luck in their efforts to get this info. As another Slashdotter posted in the other election thread, it's amazing how no one in the media wants to talk about how the exit polls, which are normally quite accurate, showed Kerry strong in places where he eventually lost. I won't rehash all the Diebold issues, but in an election this close, some modest vote fraud, spread thinly enough, would be more than enough to sway the result.

I do wonder, though where they're gonna find the manpower to process all this data, if they do succeed. The recounts in a few Florida counties took days; this is a few orders of magnatude more work!

Re:Hurrah!! But.. manpower? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713668)

The Florida recounts weren't of electronic data. If the logs are at all sensible then a bit of Perl / language-of-choice will do the job.

I bet the FOIA requests come back.... (1)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713498)


....as fluffy piles of chad!

So many requests (3, Funny)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713502)

Who are these people, requesting so much information?! They must be terrorists!

Let me save them some time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713503)

... yes, America really is this stupid. Being in denial won't help. After all these are the same people who have trouble using windows and think its a good OS.

Bonus points for tying it all together!

Touch Screen Voting (5, Interesting)

whiskeypete (305461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713505)

The election yesterday was my third experience with the new-improved voting machines. And for the third time, I walked out of the booth wondering if my vote would really be counted.

After tapping my choices with a stylus -not really that easy for a left-handed-choice-tapper on a right-handed machine, I had to re-do a lot of them- I pressed the vote button. And the screen flashed something like "vote recorded" and then it went blank.

There was nothing to drop in a ballot box, nothing to show me that the machine was really hooked to anything, and of course, nothing that anybody could re-count if there was a question of fraud.

The friendly octogenarian on duty assured my that the it was all run by computer and that we didn't need a paper trail, since they could recount the computer records if they needed to do a recount. And since it is impossible for hard drives to die and memory chips to fail...

Yeah, it probably worked this time but the empty feeling I had as I walked out of the polling station left me strangly envious of those days when I could look at my punch card to make sure that none of the chads were hanging.

Waste of time, money, resources... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713506)

Blackboxvoting.org is wasting both their time and the government's time. It is highly unlikely that they will actually find huge errors in the voting. I would find it hard to believe that they will find 100,000 votes in Ohio have been miscounted. That is a huge amount of votes. Exit polls are not clear indicators of who is winning. Not everyone has time to do an exit poll. The exit polling people might only approach certain types of people. There are many many many possible sources of error in the exit polling... waste of time...

Voting machines? (3, Informative)

palad1 (571416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713520)

I live in a country where 36.6 million people are registered as voters.

Every 5 years, we vote for our president and sometimes mayors / deputies as well.

It takes roughly 3 hours after the closing of the voting offices before we know the name of our president, without room for contestations over the regularity of the vote.

How come we can achieve that by using such a primitive method as ballot-paper-goes-into-ballot-enveloppe-goes-into- sealed-urn ?

Re:Voting machines? (2, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713658)


"I live in a country where 36.6 million people are registered as voters."

I live in a country that is comprised of fifty-one separate, sovreign governments, each with its own constitutional system of law, each with its own method of nominating its proportional share of electors to select the chief executive.

national security (4, Interesting)

acvh (120205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713531)

Don't be surprised when these requests are denied on the grounds that providing this information would compromise our ability to prevent vote fraud. (my head spins just typing that)

The radical right now control the White House, the Senate and the House. Some of the senators voted in last night make Barry Goldwater look like Ted Kennedy. This faction will not allow anyone to look behind the curtain.

C'mon 3.5 million votes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713542)

Please people ... stop your bitchin ...

They would have to find 3.5 million votes +

Woohoo.... (2, Funny)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713557)

Let the conspiracy theories begin...

4 MORE YEARS! (4, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713576)

4 MORE YEARS! Wait a minute, before you mark this troll or flamebait. I'm talking about 4 MORE YEARS OF SLASHDOT! Slashdot has been on the verge of death lately and probably couldn't survive a Kerry victory. With another 4 more years of Bush, Slashdot is virtually guaranteed an extra 2-5 stories per week that generate 1300+ comments and thus traffic and ad revenue. Look in the HOF [slashdot.org] , all the top stories are politically related. Thanks to Bush's victory, Slashdot will generate enough add revenue to continue. We should all be happy.

Well of course (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713606)

I wonder if they'd be doing the same thing if Kerry had won. Well if course they would!

It's interesting that this "get out the vote" campaign which was so championed by the lib media and Hollywood because they figured "everyone hates Bush so the more ignorant teenagers we convince to vote, the better" didn't quite pan out, now did it.

The democratic party got reamed yesterday. Positively reamed. The friggin' House minority leader got shafted for the first time in 50 years. The GOP holds a majority on both the House and Senate, and they won more governor races.

What these things do is suggest there is some kind of evil conspiracy to elect Bush at all costs and ignores the bigger picture. That'd be a mighty big conspiracy, if you ask me.

The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it.

pollsters said their exit polls favored Kerry.... (1, Interesting)

hansreiser (6963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713621)

Last night on PBS the pollsters were saying that their exit polls favored a Kerry victory, and they were disappointed by how wrong the polling was.

The exit polls favored Kerry by 1-3 percentage points but the "votes" favored Bush.

If the elections were rigged, those unexpected gaps between polls and votes are what you would expect in a well rigged election.

I don't know that the elections were rigged. How many of you have played Tropico (where you get to rig elections and so forth)?

It wouldn't be the first fraudulent US election (Lyndon Johnson rigged the vote in Texas).

Question (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713653)

You don't think the Kerry campaign, and all the shitloads of people working for it, realizes this?

A $300M operation that's been going on for the better part of two years, for whom 55 million people voted and believe that the future of the country is at stake?

They're just going to roll over and say "Oh well" for no reason?

I have news for you: there is not wholesale or widespread fraud in the election. And what fraud (on BOTH sides), inappropriate behavior, etc., is statistically irrelevant in this election. If Kerry believed there was a way to win, believe me, they'd be doing it.

I hate to break it to you, but the geek community isn't "on to" something big, and everyone else just doesn't realize it. Electronic voting has problems. Big problems. We need transparency. Blackboxvoting is fighting for it.

But no one stole, or was handed, this election. Bush won it, with the largest number of votes in history, with an absolute majority, and with additional seats in the House and Senate to boot.

Face it. Bush won. Keep working on making electronic voting open and transparent.

And you know what? When you do, Republican candidates can and will still win.

Oh wahh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713656)

Oh cry me a river. You damorcrates lost and now you are crying over split milk. Face it, you guys suck. We won, just concede like kerry did. The reason why you lost is because you we know we couldn't afford another clinton.

Take a look at Miami-Dade (1, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713657)

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/sta tes/FL/P/00/county.001.html#12086

IIRC, they are using touch-screens there.

Miami-Dade was supposed to be incredibly Democratic and they only got a 54-46 margin.

Very suspect.

Excellent... BUT... (1)

conradp (154683) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713667)

We absolutely need transparency in the election process so that the electorate will have faith in the election process. And we all need to raise the issue about these Diebold machines and any others that don't leave a paper trail as being unverifiable, un-recountable, and subject to manipulation. So I think what BlackBox is doing is fantastic.

BUT... If this inquiry is tied to partisan bickering and whining by deluded Kerry-supporters who loudly proclaim their belief that somehow this information will reveal some sort of conspiracy that will reverse the recent 100,000+ vote victory margin for Bush in Ohio, then it will actually be counter-productive. Tranparency in elections and election equipment will become a partisan issue pitting Democrats against Republicans instead of being a non-partisan call for transparency that the enter population should be willing to support.

E-Vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10713702)

In my Florida county, there are verified reports of users that selected Kerry; the machine asked them to confirm their vote for Bush. They repeated this proccess ten times before demanding a vote for Kerry, how many older voters did not notice this.

The touch screen area for the Kerry icon was so small that you had to had a pencil eraser to select Kerry, while almost anywhere on the screen would select Bush!

Concession doesn't alter the worth of this inquiry (2, Insightful)

hairtrigger (736904) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713704)

It's too bad that Kerry has conceded the race, as it seems reasonable and worthwhile to check the accuracy of the electronic votes. However, the U.S. has a deep anti-intellectual bias and it's not surprising to me that the idea of simple factchecking of an important race seems intolerable.

So where's the Open Source ... (1)

n0tWorthy (796556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10713717)

Voting Machine OS project? Talk about somewhere that Open Source COULD have a major impact. Plus, kick Diebold's a$$ to boot!
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