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Aftermath Of Failed Electronic Voting

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the how-do-you-recount-an-electronic-ballot dept.

United States 84

dstates writes "The Christian Science Monitor and NPR report that failed electronic voting machines lost thousands of votes in Carteret County North Carolina, and the election for state agriculture commissioner is headed to court. A combination of human error (setting the machine to record a maximum of three thousand votes when eight thousand people voted) and a software malfunction (the machine kept accepting ballots after its memory was overloaded) resulted in the loss of 4,500 votes in an election decided by only 2,300 votes."

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Old News (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069362)

This was reported in the "Election Results Weirdness Continues" story, some time back.

Two wrongs... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069394)


> A combination of human error (setting the machine to record a maximum of three thousand votes when eight thousand people voted) and a software malfunction (the machine kept accepting ballots after its memory was overloaded)

Sounds like the errors should cancel each other out.

Re:Two wrongs... (1)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070287)

Unfortunately, the errors tend to mostly favor one particular side...

Re:Two wrongs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076060)

if you get your news outside of slashdot, no they dont. both sides are getting many errors in their favor (remember which side invented the idea of "vote early vote often")

Re:Two wrongs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11189118)

And what have they (that side) done to you lately? The people in each party now are a lot different than who used to be in each party.

Re:Two wrongs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070533)

> A combination of human error (setting the machine to record a maximum of three thousand votes when eight thousand people voted) and a software malfunction (the machine kept accepting ballots after its memory was overloaded)

Sounds like the errors should cancel each other out.

Read it again. The memory was overloaded. Where do you think it was putting those ballots that it was accepting? Yeah, that's right... they went right into the ol' bitbucket.



You sound like a H1-B programmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070890)

Give up and die while flushing data isn't really an acceptable mode of failure.

A program should always fail in a manner similar to, "Dear User, I have tried best and failed. This is what I was trying to do [insert itemized list here], this is why I failed [insert error here]. I finished what I could, and this [insert data here] is that which was leftover and I don't know what to do with. This is who you should contact. Should I try one of these [itemized list] recovery methods, start again, or give up and die? Thank you."

Re:You sound like a H1-B programmer (1)

kimba (12893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071089)

A program should always fail in a manner similar to, "Dear User, I have tried best and failed. This is what I was trying to do [insert itemized list here], this is why I failed [insert error here]. I finished what I could, and this [insert data here] is that which was leftover and I don't know what to do with. This is who you should contact. Should I try one of these [itemized list] recovery methods, start again, or give up and die? Thank you."

I'm guessing you're the programmer responsible for the endless loops of "Abort, Retry or Fail?" in DOS, where no matter which option you chose it asked the question again.

Stats don't make sense... (1, Flamebait)

menscher (597856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069409)

Ok, so it only recorded 3000 votes of 8000? I'd guess that would mean 5000 votes were lost, not 4500. But let's just think about those 3000 votes for now... the election was decided by 2300 votes. So that means, of the 3000 votes that got counted, 2650 were for Candidate A and 350 were for Candidate B. If Candidate A got 88% of the vote so far, isn't it somewhat silly to think that it's going to suddenly swing to Candidate B if they count the other 60% of the ballots?

Re:Stats don't make sense... (3, Insightful)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069438)

I think you're missing the point... If that many votes weren't counted, there is something very very wrong with the system. Who cares who had more votes in the first XX% of voters who showed up? Fix the problem, don't argue semantics.

Re:Stats don't make sense... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069441)

That's like saying "I'm going to decide the outcome of this election by checking 5 votes from each district."

How do you know that the votes wouldn't have gone for Candidate B?

You cannot know.

Bush lost, cheated, and was declared the winner (1, Insightful)

js7a (579872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069534)

It is obvious that Bush actually lost. [truthout.org] I wonder what the electorial college will do.

And still more... (1, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070139)


If you do the math on the machine shortages, it becomes clear that, just by fudging which precincts get more machines, and which get fewer, someone could set an arbitrary absolute cap on the number of votes a candidate could get, by forcing their strongholds to be resource-limited rather than voter-limited. A little more math shows that this effect could be sufficient to tip a close race. If you look at the distribution of the long lines and the votes in Ohio, it becomes hard not to believe that this was in fact done.

If you look at the racial pattern [copperas.com] of the lines, it also starts to look like whoever did it was a racist jerk.

--MarkusQ

Re:And still more... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11077655)

Even if he was of the same race.....it's amazing what a partisan Black Republican will do to make sure his white guy wins.

Re:And still more... (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11128281)

Thanks for the link! I posted it all over Daily Kos today, and based my latest JE [slashdot.org] on the work of the artist who did the map that you liked to. Kerry won by about 10,000.

Republicans FEAR the TRUTH! (0, Troll)

BushIsEvil (839548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076027)

We all know it's obvious Bush lost. No one can fool us my comrade js7a. We are the wise ones. We see the plan behind Bush's first term. We all understand that George W. Bush lowered taxes so that SUV owners, big corporations, and the Christian Coalition could oppress The French.

They can't hold back the truth forever!

Re:Stats don't make sense... (2, Insightful)

solistus (556078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069449)

First, you're assuming that these 8000 voters were the only in the county. That seems rather unlikely; I assume this is just one polling station. Second, you're assuming randomness. Even if you ignore the very real possibility of fraud (come on, who can't count voter rolls and compare to memory space?), those who voted earlier would have their votes counted, while those that voted later - the last 4500 - would be ignored. Working class voters that don't get off work to go vote until 5 or 6 would therefore be all but guaranteed not to get their vote in, whereas those with white collar jobs that could take the day off and vote in the morning would be far more likely to vote. Stats don't apply if there are outside factors not reflected in the numbers. Your test fails on assumptions.

Re:Stats don't make sense... (1)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070258)

Aside from the fact that we should be counting all of the votes whether they affect the election or not...

If Candidate A got 51% of the statewide vote and Candidate B got 80% of the vote in the district where the majority of the votes were thrown out, what does that tell you?

Re:Stats don't make sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11113731)

Indeed. America likes to claim it is the greatest democracy on earth. If this is true why is it 'ok' for votes to disappear? It shouldn't be ok.It is irrelevant whether or not it would have swayed the result, the fact is that it is symbolic of the fact that America is no longer democratic.

Re:Stats don't make sense... (3, Insightful)

CodeMonkey4Hire (773870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085626)

You do realize that this was a statewide election and that the problems happened at a single polling station in a single county (out of 100), right? ~2.5 million North Carolinians voted for President, and I would assume that about that number voted in this race as well. so 2300 votes is a margin of less than 0.1%. That is a pretty close race.

I don't really have a dog in this race, despite being from NC, but it seems to me ($0.02) that they should only repoll the ~4500 people whose votes were lost. Rather than letting the candidates affect the outcome by campaigning to people who didn't bother to vote the first time. If only the lost votes are repolled, the results should be pretty similar to what they would have been if the votes had not been lost.

Oh, and since you were nit-picking, when you only have 1 sig-fig, 8000-3000=5000 doesn't mean that the answer isn't actually closer to 4500.

Re:Stats don't make sense... (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11152040)

> isn't it somewhat silly to think that it's going to suddenly swing to Candidate B if they count the other 60% of the ballots?

No, it isn't silly. As another pointed out, those voting later usually have jobs, whereas those without jobs (and more likely to vote Democrat, not that the "side" matters too much) would vote earlier. What if the first 5000 votes were missed? The result would have probably favored Republicans slightly. However, you are right in that I don't think it would usually affect the outcome enough to change the winner.

All Human Error... (3, Insightful)

curunir (98273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069435)

A combination of human error (setting the machine to record a maximum of three thousand votes when eight thousand people voted) and a software malfunction (the machine kept accepting ballots after its memory was overloaded) resulted in the loss of 4,500 votes in an election decided by only 2,300 votes."

It was human error on the part of the those who set it up and human error on the part of election officials who decided to use a product that wasn't thoroughly tested. Someone beyond the techs that administer the machines needs to be on the hook for this. Just because the machines that failed are electronic doesn't mean that there was no negligence on the part of those that chose to use them.

Re:All Human Error... (1)

Richard M. Nixon (697603) | more than 9 years ago | (#11099283)

It was human error on the part of the those who set it up and human error on the part of election officials who decided to use a product that wasn't thoroughly tested. Someone beyond the techs that administer the machines needs to be on the hook for this. Just because the machines that failed are electronic doesn't mean that there was no negligence on the part of those that chose to use them.

That's the problem with people that don't understand computers.

They just bow to the computer gods and chant "Computers don't make mistakes."

But maybe us geeks can take advantage of this.
We are the ones that know how to turn the elections.
It is high time we take over this country!

Gerald Ford: "Frankly, I've never felt voting to be all that essential to the process."

OK, I'm joking but think about it. This is what happens when we put politicians in charge of things. And it isn't just electronic voting that most politicians are clueless about. Maybe it is high time we get the government out of our lives, and for real, not just the pandering we get from the Republicans about smaller government.

Yup that should take care of it... (2, Funny)

tealtalon (714179) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069467)

Who needs more than 3000 votes?

Re:Yup that should take care of it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070386)

"Who needs more than 3000 votes?"

I hear that! I've never voted more than 2500 times in any one election - and I'm a Republican!

Re:Yup that should take care of it... (1)

markh100 (696858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11106850)

I originally read about this story several weeks ago. The company that produced the machines sold several different models of the machine with different price tags. The people who made the decision to buy a machine with a 3000 vote cap are partially to blame. The company who designed the machine is mostly to blame. The tried to pass the buck by stating that a little light would start blinking on the machine after the memory was full.

Okay, I sort of understand the idea behind the pricing scheme, but they went about it in entirely the wrong way. They should allow the machine to count all the votes it wants...but then go back and charge the precinct based on the number of votes tallied.

Time to find someone else? (2, Informative)

Markaci (718341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069514)

After all this crap, isn't it time that Diebold (and similar companies) be dropped, and another one (preferably FOSS) be chosen? Or is that solution too obvious? I wonder how many more elections fall victim to stupid and/or rigged coding....

... I've been reading about this, and ... (3, Insightful)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069527)

What I can't understand is:

A. Why you would have a maximum number of votes for a machine AT ALL.

B. Why you would have something like a memory contraint AT ALL in these days of cheaper-than-dirt storage.

C. Why you would have either or both of A and B if you wanted a fair election.

Can someone fill me in?

<tinfoil_hat action="dons">
D'you think it's because North Carolina was John Edwards' home state, mebbe
</tinfoil_hat>

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (2, Insightful)

winterdrake (823887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069646)

The machine I voted on used scanned paper ballots, so it would presumably only be physically able to hold so many before they'd have to empty it or whatever. However I don't see any legitimate reason either to make a machine have a maximum of only 3,000 when something with the power of a four function calculator would damn near be enough to count many orders of magnitude higher. And why the hell does the thing have a selectable maximum anyway? This implies that someone deliberately added this as a feature.

Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1, Troll)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069834)

D'you think it's because North Carolina was John Edwards' home state, mebbe

Except, of course, that the errors were in Bush's favor. That means it's a vicious Democratic conspiracy, natch.

Look man, I'm a Democrat because the GOP has become so jaw-droppingly criminal and almost cult-like. And don't give me any of that "they're all corrupt" BS, because when it comes to corruption, no one can hold a candle to the modern Republican party. Don't believe me? Do your own research. I did [kuro5hin.org] , and was as surprised as anyone at the outcome.

Yes, there are crooks on both sides of the aisle. No, it is not a 50/50 split.

When it comes to vote fraud, though, if the Democrats had any balls they'd be stringing up certain Republicans up by their scrawny fascist necks. Justice freakin' demands it.

Not the Republicans, but certainly the Neo-cons (3, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070249)


I'm a Republican, as are most of the people in my family, and for that matter most of the people in my state. And I don't know anyone who approves of what was done in this last election, once they are confronted with the facts. The closest is a sort of lame "well, they probably meant well" or "it must have been overly enthusiastic grunts"--but you can see in their faces that they don't buy it.

But none of them are happy about it. We were raised, I guess, with those "moral values" that everyone's talking about. And I don't recall cheating on that list, anywhere. No, I take that back. There was "Cheaters never prosper" and "If you cheat, you only cheat yourself" and "Better to die for the truth then live a lie."

But to hear the media tell it, we're all a bunch of saps that aprove of doing anything to win (When in fact we were taught "The ends don't justify the means." and "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.").

As my brother said at Thanksgiving, "I want my party back!"

--MarkusQ

Re:Not the Republicans, but certainly the Neo-cons (1, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072474)

But none of them are happy about it. We were raised, I guess, with those "moral values" that everyone's talking about. And I don't recall cheating on that list, anywhere. No, I take that back. There was "Cheaters never prosper" and "If you cheat, you only cheat yourself" and "Better to die for the truth then live a lie."

I wish there were more Republicans like you, instead of Sean Hannity/Limbaugh/random GOP apologist. The "good" Republicans seem to have been almost entirely sidelined, while those in power (Bush, Delay) are corrupt and willing to commit any crime in order to advance their power.

The last good Republican president was Dwight Eisenhower, and he's the one who warned against the "military industrial complex" that seems to have since successfully taken over a large part of the national agenda.

Re:Not the Republicans, but certainly the Neo-cons (1)

Richard M. Nixon (697603) | more than 9 years ago | (#11099497)

As my brother said at Thanksgiving, "I want my party back!"

Republicans aren't what they used to be.

GWB puts shame on the whole party.
I don't know what is worse, that he is acting as if he has a mandate when he just barely one, and some are even contesting the legitimacy of the election, or that the media doesn't seem to be questioning this. [reclaimthemedia.org]

Politicians have always been scumbags, but while they used to be wallowing in a Cesspool scumbags, now they are wallowing in a septic tank scumbags.

Think about it. Compared to what is happening today, was I really that bad of a President?

Republican and Democrat politicians are scumbags. The media are a bunch of scumbags. The people, well I guess the people are just stupid, or at least deluded. But there are a few good, and smart people here and there, and you can't tell who they based soley on if they are a Republican or a Democrat.

I think the Democrats want their party back too.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (3, Funny)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071830)

Look man, I'm a Democrat because the GOP has become so jaw-droppingly criminal and almost cult-like. And don't give me any of that "they're all corrupt" BS, because when it comes to corruption, no one can hold a candle to the modern Republican party. Don't believe me? Do your own research. I did, and was as surprised as anyone at the outcome.

Are you on crack? That list is all well and good, but how conveniently you ignore Bill Clinton. The guy got a blowjob and lied about it so that his wife wouldn't find out. Impeachment was too soft a punishment for such a criminal act.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072678)

Bill Clinton ... got a blowjob and lied about it so that his wife wouldn't find out.

So where in the world did you grow up?

When I was a boy growing up in the US, one of the firm lessons that was drilled into us was that a guy with any brains wouldn't "kiss and tell". We had a name for such a guy; we called him a "jerk". If you wanted the slightest chance with the chicks, you'd keep very quiet about what you did with them in private. I understood all this at an early age, perhaps because most of my good friends were of the female persuasion. I suspect that this was true for Bill Clinton, too. Talking about your sex life would get you a bad rep and cut your chances.

Bill was just being a normal American guy who likes women and wants to "protect their reputation", as the saying goes. And his choice of a wife tells us that he sees women for who they are, not just for their bod. "Yeah, he fools around with bimbos. But look at the woman he married. What a man!"

When the stories about Bill's sex life started coming out, we also heard the reports about 80% of American women having dreams (or daydreams) of sex with him. As an experiment, I tried mentioning the above explanation to various women. Invariably, they'd grin. Quite a few of them said that this was one reason they dreamed about sex with him.

Sorry, but outside of the most extreme anti-sex right-winger crowds, Bill's secrecy about what he and Monica were doing was not only not criminal in any way; it was the expected behavior of a fellow who wants to avoid the "jerk" label. It was highly honorable behavior.

If you think otherwise, you're simply announcing an extremist anti-sex attitude, probably having something to do with extremist religious beliefs.

As for the "lying to Congress" charge; Congress had no business asking him about his private sex life. That was underhanded politics in the extreme, and it's a lot of why so many people are dismissing the Republican party as a gang of radical fundamentalists now. No honorable American male would even think of asking such things in a public forum. When the Senate Republicans did so, it merely told us that they are a bunch of jerks.

(We would gossip about him in private, of course. But we'd never expect Bill to tell us the truth. A grin and a chuckle would do. Nudge, nudge; wink; wink. ;-)

Now back to bashing Wally O'Dell and company ...

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

MisterMoney (615506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076022)

One of the reasons you said Bill might have lied:

"Talking about your sex life would get you a bad rep and cut your chances."

So Billy just wanted to be sure he'd be able to get some from someone else when this was over? Is that a good president? Someone who cheats on his wife, then lies about it so he doesn't cut his chances with the other women he wants to cheat on his wife with?

"As for the "lying to Congress" charge; Congress had no business asking him about his private sex life."

So are you saying it's ok for a lawyer to lie while under oath if he deems the questions don't merit a truthful answer?

One more thing, Billy wasn't lying to protect Monica's reputation. He was lying to protect his own ass.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11077042)

Well then explain:

Filegate, Travelgate and the murder of Vincent Foster!

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (2, Insightful)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078127)

While I agree with most of your points. Clinton was asked, in a sworn deposition during a trial whether he had sexual relations with Lewinsky, to establish a pattern of behavior. This was during the Tripp trial (if memory serves), where the pattern of behavior would have been relevent.
What he did was perjury, something for which you and I, mere mortals, would have spent a little time on probation for (first offense, probably wouldn't have served any time). Now, did this warrant an impechement? Hell, no. Maybe a congressional censure, or a very firm letter, but that's about it. But let's not go to the other extreme and say he didn't do anything wrong. Lying under oath is treated differently for a whole host of reasons.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (2, Insightful)

cabra771 (197990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090605)

How would you feel if you were on trial for let's say shoplifting. Now you got your wife/girlfriend in the courtroom to give you support and out of nowhere, the prosecuting lawyer asks you if you've ever cheated on your wife/girlfriend. Now let's say that you have. I have all my money on you saying that you never cheated on your significant other. Especially since it has nothing to do with the original case at hand.

Maybe you need to read up a little more on your history and why Clinton was actually on trial in the first place. If lawyers were allowed to make convictions for every little thing under the sun besides the exact reason they are in the court in the first place, well...there would be a lot more people in jail for shit that's not illegal, but just stuff they were just too ashamed to want anyone else to hear about.

Think about it.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11114039)

What he did was perjury

No, its not, in the slightest. Wether or not Clinton had had consensual sex with Monica is irrelevant to wether or not he harrassed Paula Jones(Tripp trail? wtf?). Even the judge said so, look it up if you want to.

something for which you and I, mere mortals, would have spent a little time on probation for

Nonsense. You forget that Starr and Republicans in Congress didn't set out to convict him of any specific crime, they set out to convict him of *something*, by any means necessary. They couldn't find anything with Whitewater, they couldn't find anything with Vince Foster, so they asked him enought irrelevant questions about his private life until he was forced into telling a lie, and then making a bs pergury charge. If the government spent over $60 million dollars going over every inch of your life with a microscope, the worst thing they could dig up was you cheating on your wife/girlfriend? No, normal individuals get investigated for a specific charge, get indited and go to trial. Not have the government ingestigate and investigate and investigate until they find SOMETHING to charge you with.

Maybe a congressional censure, or a very firm letter

The real justice would have been prosecuting Starr and the GOP reps in Congress for malicious prosecution.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are ******* criminals (0, Troll)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072837)

Don't feed the trolls. This guy is so far removed from reality that you can't reason with him. Besides, he is doing our party a favor by believing all of those obvious lies. If he only realizes what the rest of America thought of him...

As for the real Republican party, you only have to walk ten steps to see the effects of it. Afghanistan, once under shariah by the Taliban, is now free and democratic. Iraq, once under the murderous tyrannnical despot Hussein, is on track for elections. Al Qaeda and ALL major terrorist rings are on the run. The United States has yet to be hit by another terrorist attack, while Spain has been hit by two. North Korea is looking at regime change (bet you didn't know that, did you!) China is cooperating with the US and looks like they will be our ally against North Korea. The US has unprecedented influence in the old Soviet Union, with Yuschenko likely the next president of the Ukraine. The economy is doing better than it did in the 80's, which was better than it did in the 90's. Unemployment is at all-time lows. There's this new concept of an ownership rather than rent society, where people own things rather than borrow them. More and more people are owning their own homes or their own businesses or their own retirements. National crime rate is at a low. Taxes have been significantly cut for everyone, and it looks like it will get cut again. Social Security is finally going to get the overhaul it needed 30 years ago to keep it solvent. Medicare now covers prescription drugs, thus reducing the cost of medical care for our seniors. I can go on and on.

All signs point to a nation led by a party that is doing wonderful things in the world.

About the negatives. Is there corruption? There is always some corruption. If there weren't any, our nation would be carried up into heaven like Enoch's city of ancient times. However, the level of corruption at national levels seems to be at a low. The kinds of corruption we hear about are things that are very minor compared to ten years ago.

Foreign opinion of us isn't too favorable. But I don't hold the opinions of French, Russian, and Chinese officials with too much weight, especially because of the multi-billion dollar scandal they were involved in that undermined the US' foreign interests. (Hint: Kofi Annan is being asked to resign because of this scandal.) Also, when we discover fresh military equipment from our so-called allies being used against us, it causes me to wonder why we call them allies in the first place. You should conduct the opinion polls in the place where it matters. Go ask the Afghans or Iraqis what they think of us. Or cross the border into neighboring Iran and ask them what they would like us to do. (Hint: During the Afghan bombing raids, they would paint "BOMB US NEXT!" on their rooftops. Betcha didn't hear that either?) Go ask your local Iraqi who is an expatriot living in the US what they think of the US. You should check the pro-Bush rallies at state capitals and in DC if you want to find them. Betcha didn't hear that either?

Go ahead and allow the left to ignore all of the good things and focus on rumors and unsubstantiated claims. The more the far-left does it, the more the republicans will win in '06 and '08. (Hint: We may get that 60 seat majority in the senate as early as 2006. Count the number of red states, and multiply by 2. That comes to over 60.) Remember, the keyword of Bush's presidency is "misunderestimate". The left, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Saddam, and Kim Jong Il are all doing a great job misunderestimating our president.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11077228)

Remember, the keyword of Bush's presidency is "misunderestimate"

No, the keyword of the Bush presidency is "incompetence". Wake up and smell the coffee.

I notice, by the way, that you didn't bother trying to refute any of the points mentioned in the *parent's post. Clearly you don't mind the corruption in the administration, which speaks volumes to your selective "morality".

Re:Answer: The Republicans are ******* criminals (1)

goatan (673464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080834)

As for the real Republican party, you only have to walk ten steps to see the effects of it. Afghanistan, once under shariah by the Taliban, is now free and democratic.

About 90% of Afghanistan is in the hands of the same warlords who held power during the Taliban years, the same ones that are currently hiding bin laden and CO., that's Republican progress for you

Iraq, once under the murderous tyrannnical despot Hussein, is on track for elections. Al Qaeda and ALL major terrorist rings are on the run.

Even the Republicans quisling PM Iyad Allawi says elections can not be held under the current conditions and that a lack of American foresight is to blame. The Replicans biggest ally in Iraq says you and they are wrong.

Go ahead and allow the left to ignore all of the good things and focus on rumours and unsubstantiated claims.

That is a perfect description of your post. Rumours and unsubstantiated. For the support of the winning party you sound worried and on the defensive (like US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan) BTW China Co-operates when it is its advantage to do so i.e. not very often and grudgingly. They work with Japan South Korea and other Asian countries far more than they do with the US, they even work with Europe more. The trend and belief among Asian countries (especially Japan and South Korea) is to work as little as possible with US companies as history has shown you end up getting shafted if you do.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11077681)

Sex != Treason and theivery. Blowjobs ain't in the 10 commandments.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080118)

I know, I was just trying to be silly.

Although technically, I think some (not me) would argue that Clinton's infidelity would fall under the realm of the 10 C's.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11082858)

Under adultery- possibly, though when the facts came out, no worse than Father Abraham himself....

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073449)

In Bush's favor?

In Iowa, a poll supervisor had to drive hundreds of miles to find a working counting machine. Worse, the state didn't accept a federal absentee ballot for military personnel, which meant that some Iowans fighting in Iraq were not able to vote.

Given that the majority of the Military are republicans, this would be a blatant way of tipping the results towards a Democratic candidate.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074184)

Except, of course, that the errors were in Bush's favor.

The lost votes that this article is referring to were in Carteret County. Carterey County is heavily Republican (Bush had about 70% of the vote there), so lost votes in that county hurt Bush and the GOP. In other words, you are full of crap.

Look man, I'm a Democrat because the GOP has become so jaw-droppingly criminal and almost cult-like.

I think it is sad how irrational and hate-filled the Democrats have become. Seriously.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084441)

I checked out your Kuro5hin page, and one thing stands out:
Bill Janklow incident in which he was driving intoxicated and killed a motorcyclist.

It really has nothing to do with the republican party, or their criminal activities.

It could have happened to anyone who drives drunk, and there's no evidence that republicans do it more often than democrats.

Re:Answer: The Republicans are fucking criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11114011)

It could have happened to anyone who drives drunk, and there's no evidence that republicans do it more often than democrats.

Except he wasn't drunk. Janklow has a history of speeding, and possibly was in insulin shock at the time. The accident was still his fault, but it wasn't DD.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070385)

A. Why you would have a maximum number of votes for a machine AT ALL.

You might want to limit the number of votes to the total number of registered voters in a precinct, to prevent ballot box stuffing.

B. Why you would have something like a memory contraint AT ALL in these days of cheaper-than-dirt storage.

(scratches head) ... you got me there.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070712)

Only problem is WHEN is the box 'stuffed'. Probably not 100% at the end. thus if you cap at say 5k votes and 1k vote twice somehow, unless they all vote last, you lose up to 1K real votes that count.
A better system would be one that didn't have a cap, just big ass warning when it thought too many had voted.
An even better sytem is one that prevents Joe Smith from voting in 2 states and three precints of each twice. Though that is much harder to do and maintain the anonymity required to prevent bought or coerced votes.

Mycroft

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072579)

Only problem is WHEN is the box 'stuffed'. Probably not 100% at the end. thus if you cap at say 5k votes and 1k vote twice somehow, unless they all vote last, you lose up to 1K real votes that count.

True. I wasn't trying to say that it was an effective mechanism, only that there could be a legitimate rationale for limiting the number of ballots issued at a precinct.

An even better sytem is one that prevents Joe Smith from voting in 2 states and three precints of each twice. Though that is much harder to do and maintain the anonymity required to prevent bought or coerced votes.

It's already hard for Joe to vote twice in the same county, unless he is willing to steal someone elses identity, or submit false registration forms. For instance, counties will not count the vote-by-mail ballot of someone who has signed the voter roster at a precinct. Or at least they shouldn't if they are following the right procedures.

States are now supposed to have statewide registration databases available to county registrars to help prevent voting across county lines, but I doubt they are implemented well, if at all. Going across state lines to vote is pretty much undetectable without a national I.D. system and database - good luck with that.

The whole registration system is based around voters making out affidavits swearing that they are indeed only registered in one place. Unless you want to hand out I.D.s and check identity at the polling place (a real political battle, that one) you pretty much are depending on the statement of the voter.

Don't forget that voting twice is a felony, so there is a least a legal deterrent :)

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072865)

An even better sytem is one that prevents Joe Smith from voting in 2 states and three precints of each twice. Though that is much harder to do and maintain the anonymity required to prevent bought or coerced votes.
Franklin County, OH already has this--they put too few voting machines in heavily populated areas and make people wait upwards of four hours to vote--and you can't easily spend four hours in line more than one or two times per day.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170695)

You might want to limit the number of votes to the total number of registered voters in a precinct, to prevent ballot box stuffing.

But why? If there's 1000 voters in a precinct and you see a recorded total of 1000, you might think "Wow, every citizen is really committed to voting!" However, if you see a recorded total of 1001 (exceeding the limit), you know for sure that fraud occurred. A cap can only serve to mask fraud, imho.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (2, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070815)

"Why you would have a maximum number of votes for a machine AT ALL."

To throw up a red flag if it looks like some individuals voted more than once.

"Why you would have something like a memory contraint AT ALL in these days of cheaper-than-dirt storage."

Lowest bidder.

"Why you would have either or both of A and B if you wanted a fair election."

It's not a fair election they're after, it's the appearance of a fair election that really counts. After Florida 2000, electronic voting appeared to be more fair, so viola.

"D'you think it's because North Carolina was John Edwards' home state, mebbe"

And this has what exactly to do with a state office? Besides, North Carolina is a Southern state and nobody should be surprised by the ~30% margin Bush/Cheney won. Sure, it's not quite South Carolina, but it sure as hell ain't Massachusetts either.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070863)

You mean "voila".

Hope that helps, have a nice day.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072726)

Why you would have a maximum number of votes for a machine AT ALL.

Because talks with the client have made it clear that they want a way to limit the number of votes in certain "problem" precincts with a history of voting "problems", and you won't get the sale unless this feature is included.

Re:... I've been reading about this, and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11073237)

B. Why you would have something like a memory contraint AT ALL in these days of cheaper-than-dirt storage.

What I can't figure out is how it's even possible for a voting machine to run out of memory. I suppose that could happen if everyone submitted a different write-in vote for every position (and even then, they ought to be prepared for the situation). But under normal circumstances, ballots are very easily compressible, so I can't imagine how you'd fill up even a 1 MB memory stick.

Aftermath Of SUCCESSFUL Electronic Voting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069597)

I love how slashdot only posts the bad news with e-voting, but never acknowledges its accomplishments and success which are many.

Instead, slashdot just posts all the chicken little stories and black-helicopter conspiracy theories related to e-voting. Pretty sad line of attack for such self-proclaimed geeks.

Re:Aftermath Of SUCCESSFUL Electronic Voting (1)

Ratso Baggins (516757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070399)

If it's such a success then why are these issues still popping up? If we had an old fashion, all paper and pencil ballot, even with recounts, we would be completely finnished by now. If it is not a method of istitutional corruption - why is it so easy now? I thought eVoting was supposed to fix these "problems", not make them worse.

Re:Aftermath Of SUCCESSFUL Electronic Voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11156331)

I love how slashdot only posts the bad news with e-voting, but never acknowledges its accomplishments and success which are many.

We should not have to post news articles talking about instances in which electronic voting worked. We're in a bad situation when we feel like we have to look for cases in which voting machines like these actually do what they were made to do. As an analogy, we don't give medals to people when they do things that they were supposed to do in the first place. For example, you aren't supposed to give a prize to a parent for *not beating their kids*. Parents aren't supposed to beat their kids in the first place and we shouldn't have to celebrate the ones that don't because no one should in the first place.

I might also add that even if every single voting machine worked except for a single machine in a single district, we as voters should demand that the problem be investigated and rectified immediately. A million sucesses do not excuse a single failure. No matter what political affiliation you hold, you should want the voting system we have in place to work with zero glitches. It is not unreasonable, then, for people to bring up and talk about issues like this.

I might also add, that even if there are zero glitches, we as voters should not accept a system that does not allow us to verify that protocols were followed and can not give us a play-by-play recap of every vote that was counted, every irregularity that occured, etc. This is something that a citizen of the US should demand, regardless of political affiliation.

I might also add that despite your political affiliation, the only people who are advantaged by having a glitchy system are those that intend to cheat. Look at it like this. If you belong to political party A and you believe that every member of political party A is righteous and just and honest, and if you believe that the opposition party B plays dirty and will do anything to win, then you should be wary of having a system which can be tampered with during any election. If you believe that party B is full of sleazy members and will stoop to any low to win an election, then it is not unreasonable to consider that that party will eventually suceed in stealing an election. At that point, we have a sleazy administration with the tools necessary to keep themselves in power for as long as they like. This is a situation that any citizen of America should want to avoid. The only people who have anything to gain from a glitchy election system are people with the intent to cheat. Someone who does not believe that their party would cheat has nothing to fear and everything to gain from a verifiable and glitchless voting system. Citizens of the USA should demand no less.

You may or may not like the fact that a lot of people are shouting about voting irregularities, but either way you should be grateful that there are some people who are standing up for accountability and fairness. You should be suspect of any citizen of the USA, Republican, Democrat or otherwise, who does not feel absolute outrage at hearing about voting irregularities and demand that they be fixed and stay fixed with adequate measures in place to avoid errors and verify correctness in the future. As a citizen of the USA, one should demand no less.

further evidence of flawed system (3, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069627)

This is just further evidence of a deeply flawed system. There is absolutely no reason that we can't have an honest and reliable election system in this country. You can do with old-fashioned paper ballots and hand-counting in the presence of scrutineers from all parties. Instead we've got a mishmash of systems, many of them untested, many with known flaws, some of them run by companies like Diebold known to be both incompetant and dishonest. We can't be sure who won this election.

Re:further evidence of flawed system (1)

winterdrake (823887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069687)

Less common non voting impropriety issue - why do we still use plurality voting? We have computers now, there's no reason not to use a Condorcet method [wikipedia.org] or some other form of voting system [wikipedia.org] that collects more data from a voter than just their first choice of candidite. Isn't it also significant who their 2nd thru Nth choices are? In the most recent presidential election we had alot of people fanatically in favor of Bush and almost as many (some would say more) that wanted him the hell out. Under a different voting system, Nader could quite well be the president elect right now - not that I'm entirely sure that would be a Good Thing. But it would certainly keep the PTB on their toes.

Re:further evidence of flawed system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074225)

Less common non voting impropriety issue - why do we still use plurality voting?

Because it's the elected officials that decide the voting methods, and they want to keep the two-party system entrenched.

Under a different voting system, Nader could quite well be the president elect right now

I doubt it. More likely, it would have been John McCain or Joe Lieberman.

Re:further evidence of flawed system (0, Troll)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072802)

There is absolutely no reason that we can't have an honest and reliable election system in this country.

Actually, there are two major reasons: the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party.

It used to be that the Democrats were the dominant party, and also the one that was well known for widespread voting fraud. But the Republicans seem to have learned, and have taken the lead in both areas.

Small area anyways (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069671)

I don't see the point about making a fuss over a canidate that is decided by 8,000 votes. If they don't represent that much who really cares enough to make a cort case out of it. People should pick battles more wisely and become a hippy.

Re:Small area anyways (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069883)

Don't make a fuss over it?

I guess I shouldn't expect more, seeing as how the majority of the population doesn't even register to vote, and only 50% of people registered to vote even bother to show up..

It doesn't matter how many people are represented by the person, votes were thrown away by these voting machines.

Re:Small area anyways (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075351)

It is true though - since these races are so close, the overall view must be that they are about equal in capabilities. Or seen another way, equally pathetic.

Re:Small area anyways (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088992)

Don't take me the wrong way. Voting is worth your time but I don't expect miracles to happen when I do vote. I did vote but I'm saying if 8,000 people represent a very small fraction then their votes for who is president is more important then who is a local councilmember or something.

Re:Small area anyways (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090434)

That is total bullshit and you fucking know it.

Every single election, be it for President, Mayor, or Town Dog Catcher is important and ANY fuckups cannot be accepted.

Re:Small area anyways (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090484)

Ya but the problem you have to remember is funding. Its a lot easier for a small town to fuck up because they have less people watching for problems. They aren't expected to be up to par with things. You know humans are going to be humans and to expect perfect results whether its with a computer or a piece of paper isn't fair. Accept that mistakes will happen when there is over 120 million votes being counted. 8,000 counted wrong does suck but hey its bound to happen and its statistically not possible to have everything go perfectly.

MoveOn (-1, Troll)

kajoob (62237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069702)

I wonder if Kerry had won if we would have articles titled "Failed Election" etc etc. Guys, Bush won - wipe your tears and MoveOn.

Info on county's voting machines (4, Informative)

torndorff (566594) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070215)

Here is some info on the voting machines used in the county.

Unilect Corportation [unilect.com] is the manufactorer of the "Patriot Voting System" (because losing votes = being patriotic).

Interactive demo [unilect.com] of their voting system!

Verified Voting [verifiedvoting.org] has a Voter Information Sheet on the machine.

Disinfopedia has an article [disinfopedia.org] about Unilect Corporation. From this article:

The President of UniLect Corporation is Jack Gerbel, who has been actively involved in the election equipment industry since 1965. His career began in elections with IBM Corporation and then as a founder, Vice-President and Board of Directors member of Computer Election Systems (CES).

Mr. Gerbel had the distinction of personally selling and installing more election systems than any other person in the U.S.

Two major accounts that he sold and successfully installed were Cook County, Illinois and the City of Chicago.

Mr. Gerbel became Vice-President of Sales for Business Records Corporation (BRC).


So, there you have it. Background info. Side note: I live in NC and this is not the same machines that were being (these are the literal words of the poll workers) "tested" in Watauga County. And although they officially said these machines were only experimental and being tested, paper ballots were often withheld upon request and their availability was NOT posted. The Republic Party in Watauga County also refused to move polling locations onto Appalachian State University's campus, proposed by the Dem Party, although 22,000 of the 25,000 residents are students.

Re:Info on county's voting machines (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072363)

First screen of the demo:

"To begin voting, press anywhere on the screen."
"PRESS HERE TO BEGIN VOTING"

I guess it's good that they think they're simple enough to use without instructions, since the instructions seem to have nothing to do with the actual software.

Re:Info on county's voting machines (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072405)

Ooh, ooh, it gets better:

START OVER
PRESS HERE WHEN FINISHED WRITING IN WRITE-IN COMPLETE
CANCEL WRITE-IN

Let's say you're an interface designer, and you have to assign colors to these... let's say your choices are green, yellow, and red (why!?)... how can you assign them to maximize confusion... let's make canceling red, confirming be green, and being unsure (restarting) be yellow... that's logical. Wait, let's flip them! much better!

Re:Info on county's voting machines (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186784)

The best part is that green indicates Advance to next stage everywhere else, but on the write in screen, its indicating cancel.

It looks and feels like a nightmare to use, and I would be nervous using it.

Re:Info on county's voting machines (1)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11098672)

Appalacian State University has less than 15,000 enrolled students.

http://www.web.appstate.edu/news/glance.html [appstate.edu]

Where did you get the 22,000 residents are students number?

Are you counting High School and Grade School students also?

Time to do what America does best... (0, Flamebait)

mehu (92260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070332)

...and sue Diebold! Lawsuits solve everything, after all...

Oh, the tension! (0, Troll)

novakreo (598689) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070695)

I think I can safely speak for /., when I say that the suspense in knowing who will be NC's Agriculture Commissioner has me stuck to the edge of my seat with excitement.

Corporate Freedom (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071816)

In that entire story, there's no mention of which corporation made the failed machines. There's talk of "human error", talk of "software error", but no talk of "corporate error", where a corporation sold machines that wouldn't work, didn't work, and have sent North Carolina at least into a constitutional crisis. Less than zero accountability for the corporations getting rich off the destruction of democracy.

There's also no mention of the joke that is government testing and certification of these machines. Unless the elections controllers have demonstrated proof that the machines have been tested without failure or serious vulnerability, they must assume the machines will fail. And they can't claim ignorance of the risk, compounded by the absence of mitigation in a fallback auditable record, like a paper log. So these government officials, representing the people of North Carolina, are also unaccountable for their gross malfeasance.

These people have violated the public trust in North Carolina most seriously. It's not necessary to prove they colluded to design a failed election, for their political or economic benefit. Their gross malfeasance has deprived thousands of North Carolinans their fundamental right to vote, regardless of its effect on the election, though there seems to be at least one office, Secretary of Agriculture, which is seriously damaged. The irresponsible people must be unmasked, and sent to jail for these serious crimes against the people.

So which story is right? (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072406)

All the reports just after the election claimed that these votes were lost because the machine ran out of memory. Now we're reading the explanation that someone set a max-votes limit to 3000.

Are the reporters really so clueless that they don't understand the difference? Or maybe they do understand, but half of them are trying to put something over on us?

I notice that TFA's explanation is "... an exhausted poll worker failed to notice a "memory full" caption on a machine, ...". But the slashdot abstract says "... setting the machine to record a maximum of three thousand votes ...", which conflicts with the article's explanation.

So which is it? Inquiring minds want to know ...

Re:So which story is right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076103)

both of course, they have a hard limit in the memory, because they sell a "better" model without said limit.

it comes down to price for the lower model vs the better one, its not a TRUE limitation of the device, but rather a software introduced one.
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