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Diebold Demands That HBO Cancel Documentary

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the because-we-say-so dept.

514

Frosty Piss writes "According to the Bloomberg News, Diebold Inc. is insisting that HBO cancel a documentary that questions the integrity of its voting machines, calling the program inaccurate and unfair. The program, 'Hacking Democracy,' is scheduled to debut Thursday, five days before the 2006 U.S. midterm elections. The film claims that Diebold voting machines aren't tamper-proof and can be manipulated to change voting results. 'Hacking Democracy' is 'replete with material examples of inaccurate reporting,' says Diebold. 'We stand by the film," said a spokesman for HBO. 'We have no intention of withdrawing it from our schedule. It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing.'"

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514 comments

Thanks Diebold! (2)

rufo (126104) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696823)

I hadn't heard of this before, but now I'm sure to record it (assuming it gets on the air).

I love publicity-bringing lawsuits, don't you?

Re:Thanks Diebold! (1)

cmeans (81143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696915)

Same here. It's now on my TiVo's schedule for recording later tonight. Diebold is obviously run by idiots...let's hope that's not the same quality we can expect of their hardware and software developers.

Re:Thanks Diebold! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16696939)

Torrent link, anyone?

Re:Thanks Diebold! (1)

Truman Starr (949802) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696999)

It hasn't aired yet AC (of course, that might not stop some of you hooligans)

Re:Thanks Diebold! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697163)

D'oh. Of course it hasn't. The question is addressed to those enthusiasts that do care and will sort the matter out in a few hours from now.

Re:Thanks Diebold! (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696977)

I demand that you withdraw your post, or . . . I'll stamp my feet and demand again.

Don't expect a lawsuit to come of this. That would mean discovery.

KFG

Re:Thanks Diebold! (1)

JakusMinimus (49854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697363)

Don't expect a lawsuit to come of this. That would mean discovery.

If SCO can get away with it why not you ?!

This is the best time for it to be aired... (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697449)

This is the best time for it to be aired (and the worst time for Diebold to try and stop it) because people might actually sit up and listen, it being election time.

Anyone who thinks that 5 days before an election is the worst time (because it might give people ideas and not enough time to stop it happening) are wrong because although it is relatively easy to hack a Diebold voting machine you still need a bit of know-how and the people who have this know-how will have known about it for a long time and there will be nothing new in the documentary.

That's what Diebold wants you to think... (1)

gforce811 (903907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696833)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. Wow, they even got Slashdot!

Re:That's what Diebold wants you to think... (1)

dinther (738910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697619)

Go an tell your right hand what to do mate. There always is someone on slashdot who feels the need to exert some "authority" and tells people to "move on". Why the hell would I take your opinion for that eh!..Indeed, so shut up

I just want (-1, Flamebait)

Soporific (595477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696847)

I just want to be the first to say fuck Diebold! I'm tired of their fooling around with the voting process.

~S

Re:I just want (1)

SueAnnSueAnn (998877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696893)

You got that.
Their crapy hardware is as hackable as a wondows 98 box.
It was built to do just that.
Vote Fraud.

Sue
When it's time,
it's time,
and it mabe sooner then you think.

Re:I just want (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697481)

Their crapy hardware is as hackable as a wondows 98 box.

Look, they know a genuine Panaphonics when they see one, hookay?

Re:I just want (1)

SueAnnSueAnn (998877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697625)

Yah Buddy...

hay save that tuna melt for me.
Unless there is a Salmon melt waiting.

Sue
Rhen it's time,
It's time,
And
It may be sooner then you think

Re:I just want (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697351)

Then you surely are writing your representative and telling them you want public oversight over voting machine software and hardware?

Re:I just want (1)

sekunder (1000643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697515)

sorry, you missed the bandwagon.

Deibold should place a warning on their website... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696859)

On Sept. 26, Byrd wrote to Jann Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, saying a story written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., "Will the Next Election Be Hacked?" was "error-riddled" and that readers "deserve a better researched and reported article."

And the People deserve better researched voting methods and ones that aren't error riddled as the Diebold machines have proven to be. Diebold should be required to have warnings on their machines and paper ballot stations nearby.

Let the people decide which is better.

about to backfire.. (5, Informative)

adam (1231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696871)

You have to figure HBO has a pretty sizable legal department, and wouldn't air a documentary that wasn't accurate (for fear of being sued). So if diebold's claims are untrue, all they are really doing are serving to help publicize the documentary before it airs. Brilliant move, haha. I know I had my DVR set to record it, but I can imagine many other /.ers did not... and now undoubtedly, some will.

Regarding Diebold's claims, although the article is a little short on facts, for instance, following this section, "According to Byrd's letter, inaccuracies in the film include the assertion that Diebold, whose election systems unit is based in Allen, Texas, tabulated more than 40 percent of the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election." ... "The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines." I would like to see an actual fact that states whether their claims are true or not. For instance, maybe they weren't in electronic voting business in 2000, but that doesn't mean they didn't still tally many paper votes (the aggregate of which amounts to 40% of the votes in the election)-- or that he hasn't screwed up interpreting what the film says (since he apparently hasn't seen it). Regardless of which, I think it's probably safe to assume if HBO isn't backing down, and does air the documentary, that this is largely smokescreen on the part of Diebold to try and convince the public that HBO is just an extension of the "liberal media" lying to them.

Furthermore, the article is short on explanation, but I don't think this is just a crass comment, "It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing." ..but rather that HBO's spokesman is actually suggesting they are responding to this film, VoterGate [imdb.com] , and not Hacking Democracy [imdb.com] , whose UK working title is listed as "VoterGate" and whose tagline says, "Computers count America's votes in secret. 'Votergate' hacks the votes." The co-mingling of the word "Votergate" does lead to some confusion, even though the directors of each film are totally different, one is produced by "Digital Bazooka [digitalbazooka.com] " productions and the other by "Teale-Edwards [teale-edwards.com] " Productions (which produced another good, but sad HBO documentary that I would reccomend watching -- Dealing Dogs [imdb.com] ). My suspicions are probably best supported by the line,"The company, which hasn't seen the film, based its complaints on material from the HBO Web site, Bear said." ..if they haven't seen the film, it's a bit difficult to suggest it is full of eggregious errors, and maybe they are commenting about 2004's VoterGate [votergatethemovie.com] .

On a personal note, I am a documentarian, and no documentary can ever be completely "true" to everyone. Laymen make the mistake of thinking to shoot a documentary you just point some cameras at stuff, edit it, and voila. But there is so much more than that.. a documentary is about capturing the "truth" the documentarian sees. For (s)he to use cameras and mics to tell the story that (s)he saw. There is always some bias in this, and one important trick to being a good documentarian is divorcing yourself from this bias as much as possible.

Fear of being sued??? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697137)

They are surely not too worried about being sued, so long as the amount is less than the benefit (more viewership == more dollars). If the benefit to them is greater than expected legal costs then they will run it.

a documentary is about capturing the "truth" the documentarian sees more likely a domcumenary is about stacking up "evidence" to support the documentarian's point of view.

Re:Fear of being sued??? (1)

dalerb (935786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697433)

They are surely not too worried about being sued, so long as the amount is less than the benefit (more viewership == more dollars). If the benefit to them is greater than expected legal costs then they will run it.
The calculation isn't quite so simple for HBO. They're a subscription service. They only get more dollars if more people subscribe. So the question for an HBO executive isn't, "Will this program attract more viewers than Dancing With the Stars?", but rather, "Will this program generate so much interest that it might actually motivate someonen to subcribe to our channel?".

Re:about to backfire.. (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697177)

I would like to see an actual fact that states whether their claims are true or not. For instance, maybe they weren't in electronic voting business in 2000, but that doesn't mean they didn't still tally many paper votes (the aggregate of which amounts to 40% of the votes in the election)

From quick and dirty Wiki [wikipedia.org] searching, it looks like Global Election Systems counted 40% of the ballots in the 2000 election (well, Wiki says 100 mil, which seems too high to be 40% of an election return...) and Diebold purchased them in 2001.

They might have a point there...

Course if this is their ONLY point, I think the straws are being grasped at pretty hard.

Re:about to backfire.. (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697297)

I know I had my DVR set to record it, but I can imagine many other /.ers did not... and now undoubtedly, some will.

You are correct. I'm a case in point.

I saw the headline, immediately queued it up on the Tivo, and only then came back to rtfa and comments.

Re:about to backfire.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697341)

There is always some bias in this, and one important trick to being a good documentarian is divorcing yourself from this bias as much as possible.

So basically, you're saying that Michael Moore is the worst documentarian ever. ;)

Re:about to backfire.. (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697739)

"one important trick". One. I've only seen one Moore, film, and while clearly "biased", I found the film to be funny as hell. Certainly entertainment is another "important trick".

Got a better... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696879)

Why don't we take vote on whether or not the movie can be shown? We can use the Diebold machines...

Re:Got a better... (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696967)

Should we show the Diebold documentary?

Yes: 25%
No: 21%
Republican: 54%

Re:Got a better... (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697009)

Totally hilarious! I wish I had mod points..

Thanks a lot! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697113)

Coffee and oatmeal-raisin cookies bits out the nose - that stings!

Re:Thanks a lot! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697407)

Obviously, the machine is broken. It's supposed to tilt in favor of Republicans only when Democrats are on the same ballot.

Re:Thanks a lot! (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697669)

Either way, thanks for the setup. Comedy gold.

Re:Thanks a lot! (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697741)

Can't be too broken, at least it totals up to 100%

Re:Got a better... (1)

mik (10986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697317)

Intended: Y:75, N:25
Registered: Y:50, N:50
Tabulated: Y:45, N:60
Reported: Landslide!

Re:Got a better... (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697573)

There are some comments that require an exception to rule of a max score of 5.

Re:Got a better... (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697749)

Hey, wait a minute! I didn't mean to vote for Pat Buchanan!

The lady doth... (1)

amazon10x (737466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696885)

protest too much, methinks

oh what a terrible injustice (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696903)

Oh my, well golly, diebold's feelings are much more important than the integrity of our elections.

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697173)

Oh my, well golly, diebold's feelings are much more important than the integrity of our elections.

Um... you notice that this has NOTHING to do with whether Diebold is "demanding" that any jurisdiction, anywhere, actually use their equipment? Did you vote for the people who are now running the election board in your county? What brand of equipment did they choose to use?

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697389)

Most people don't even know what officials handle the selection of voting machines. Do you?

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697453)

Most people don't even know what officials handle the selection of voting machines. Do you?

Yes. And in my county, the election board is overwhelmingly populated by Democrats. And while the equipment they chose worked fine in the recent primaries, the procedures they followed completely botched it. If it had been a paper-based process, it would have been the equivalent of not including pencils in the deliveries to the polling stations.

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697457)

So you don't think it's actually Diebold's responsibility to deliver a quality product? You think their fly-by-night reprogramming shenanigans are just fine?

Wow.

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697589)

So you don't think it's actually Diebold's responsibility to deliver a quality product? You think their fly-by-night reprogramming shenanigans are just fine?

I think that making the leap from "running a technology product company just about the way that pretty much everyone else does" to "evilly manipulating the election at the behest of their Ceasar-like master" is absurd. Diebold's hardware runs billions of dollars and transactions through it every day. Whatever marginal rough spots that same operation brings to people who would throw them out the door if POS or banking hardware had random flaws would already have them out of business if they acted the way you're presuming that they are.

Of course they're on the hook to provide decent equipment and software patches. And if they don't, the county/state officials that procure voting equipment should turn elsewhere (hopefully, not to a company that has Venezuela's fingerprints on it). But that's a lot different than finding that they're on the payroll of the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Masons, etc.

Re:oh what a terrible injustice (1)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697639)

I'm not defending Diebold, as I'm sure they pitched these machines as secure to the election officials.  But ScentCone is also correct that the blame does not fall wholly on Diebold, but on the officials that selected them, and by extension the voters that elected the officials.

Most people aren't aware that in California the voting system is handled by the California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.  I wish the media would point out who is in charge of voting systems for all the mindless cows out there.  While he has made efforts to validate the systems, including alot of <a href="http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/elections_vs. htm">correspondence with Diebold</a>, his decision to just continue using these machines despite all the red flags is bothersome.

Already discussed on the BRAD BLOG (2, Informative)

blckbllr (242654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696917)

Apparently, Diebold actually did comment on the wrong documentary and screwed up factually too. Already reported on the BRAD BLOG [bradblog.com] .

posturing implies admission of guilt (2, Insightful)

notnAP (846325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696937)

If the reporting is truly unfair, the Diebold should sue, in a court of law.
Anything else is just posturing, and should be treated (read: ignored) as such.
Now this being Slashdot, I think we all know how we feel about whether or not their machines are secure.

Open Voting System (5, Interesting)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696991)

I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work. (And yes I know the major hurdle would be beating the peoples in power to transition to one)

Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs, when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number. That'd allow for everyone to do their own count if they wanted.

I've just don't like technology getting a bad name because people abuse it. An electronic voting system would be more secure then a paper trail with PEOPLE manually counting each vote.

No?

No (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697081)

With people manually counting each vote, you can have representatives from all interest groups observe the process.

Re:No (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697199)

With people manually counting each vote, you can have representatives from all interest groups observe the process.

Which is also a good justification for open electronic voting; not only could all parties watch for fraud, everyone could watch for fraud so long as they were willing to learn about the system.

Electronic voting is not the problem. Closed source electronic voting, that is the problem. Sadly, the media is only phrasing the problem in terms of "electronic or not electronic?" So if the choice is electronic (closed) or not electronic at all, I guess we have to form a coalition with the luddites.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697119)

I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work.

That depends a good deal on how you define "work."

An electronic voting system would be more secure then a paper trail with PEOPLE manually counting each vote.

No?


No. Do not confuse issues of accuracy with issues of security.

KFG

Re:Open Voting System (2, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697343)

I was listening to Science Friday the other day -- they had a segment about a security researcher's take on electronic voting. Essentially, he'd like to bag it whether it's open source or not because electronic voting makes recounts incredibly problematic. His suggestion was an electronic system that would generate a scanable ballot but play no part in counting/storing data. You look at your ballot, if it's right, you deposit it in the ballot box. A different machine would then scan and count ballots (we already have the scanners, the electronically generated ballot would simply be cleaner and more readily scanned than hand-filled ones). If an issue arose, the ballots could be recounted mechanically or by hand.

Here's the link to the show -- it's rather interesting and I think his arguments are persuasive: http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2006/Oct/hour1_ 102706.html [sciencefriday.com]

Re:Open Voting System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697145)

*Bzzzzzzttt*

This allows vote selling. Hell it almost begs for it.

Re:Open Voting System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697259)

Pffft. There is already widespread voter fraud. Have you ever been to an inner city when the polls open? They practically pick people up in a bus and tell them who to vote for. My brother voted for John Kerry twice in 2004 and he still lost. Which tells you how much Bush and co cheated.

There are ways to have vote verifiability and still have an anonymous ballot. And in the end if it's possible to sell some votes it's still better than what we have now.

Re:Open Voting System (4, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697159)

I do not believe any system that lets someone track a single vote will stand up against the provisions in the constitution which protect anonymous voting. There are very good reasons that it is not a good idea to have confirmation of a vote that can be check outside the polling station. Mainly you do not want to allow the buying of votes.

While I understand the desire to know exactly how your vote was counted I think that having a paper trail that can be counted by humans would make it a lot harder to have widespread voter fraud. Even if you are given a encrypted key that only you know there is no reason that you should expect that what the computer tells you is what it counts in the tally. The ONLY way to be sure is to have two distinct methods for getting a count then comparing the statistical corroelations. You being able to check how you think you voted online doesn't tell you how the machine acutally tallied the votes.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697249)

This is why I voted absentee again this election. For one thing, here in Colorado we had about 80 items on the ballot. There is no way I'm going blind and crazy checking that all 80 were recorded properly.

Best of all, the 2 double-sided legal sized pieces of paper are a permanent, human-readable record. They count them with a machine and do limited hand-counts to sanity-check the results. If the election is close, they'll be entirely hand-counted.

If everyone voted absentee, we'd have no problems with machines. I just wish they could use the same system in the polling places instead of stick-crazy machines.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

Blaze74 (523522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697321)

The verification number only shows that the vote you entered was included in the database. It does not show who you voted for, only that there is a vote in the database that matches the number you have.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

hchaos (683337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697377)

I do not believe any system that lets someone track a single vote will stand up against the provisions in the constitution which protect anonymous voting.
I'm pretty sure that there are no provisions in the US Constitution that say anything at all about anonymous voting.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697381)

if there is a paper trail, who is to say that someone can't tamper with that? Voting fraud has occurred with plain paper ballots in the past, so I'm sure someone would be working on a way to get around any sort of paper trail the electronic voting machines would generate. In the 10 years that I've been voting in my current city, I can't recall ever touching a paper ballot. We have computer touch screen machines now, but before that was a machine with membrane buttons beside each candidate's name and a light would turn on to indicate the choice. I didn't have anything to verify what lit up on the panel was what was going to be tallied by the election commission.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697387)

Everyone always says this when people propose this simple and logical scheme. "You can't do that because people could buy votes." Well, you know what? People buy votes already. You can look at almost any election and you'll see that the party that spends more, wins. It's not a perfect correlation but it's very close.

And how about voting by mail? Anybody can watch you vote and pay you for what you do. Or eliminate the middleman and just hand over your signed, blank ballot for cash, to let them fill in and mail for you. Did you know that over 45% of California's votes this election will be by mail? Did you know that 100% of Oregon's votes are by mail? How could that be legal, if as you say the Constitution requires perfect anonymity?

It's time to recognize that vote selling is not something that can be forbidden by technological means. Old fashioned detective work, sting operations, and the like can be used to keep it under control. Eliminating this boogeyman from the discussion will allow voting systems to be created that are far simpler, easier to use, and more reliable than anything we have had so far.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

openright (968536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697451)

I generally agree with you.

But one way that it could work is if the ticket that you get is _not_ certifiable.
Meaning that you get a ticket that is printed on standard paper using a standard printer, using a font that is randomly picked from a pool of common fonts.

This way it is not possible to buy these vote records, as they are easily forged.

Now if you had a complaint, they could have a temporary database that has your vote record, letting you complain with the proper ID. But this add more security issues.

It is better is to have no such record.

If you have a voting mis-vote complaint, you log it using your voter-id. They log the mis-vote according to how you meant to vote.

Then you end up with results like:

Winner 53%
Looser 47%

Reported Vote Error: Winner +0.03%,-0.05% Looser +0.05%,0.03%

This acts as a way to track error, not correct for it.
Correcting for it would be fixing it next time or a re-vote (if error breaks some threshhold).

Re:Open Voting System (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697233)

>only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number.

Only you, and your abusive spouse who beats you if you vote the "wrong" way, and the vote buyer who doesn't pay until you log in and prove that you delivered, and your pastor who warned everyone they'd be thrown out of the church if they didn't vote for his candidate (that is a real case from recent history), and your union rep who will skip you in the hiring hall unless you show your ticket number and vote, or your psycho employer.

Re:Open Voting System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697271)

Obligatory [mit.edu] (PDF).

Re:Open Voting System (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697279)

It doesn't matter if the code is open or not. The people crying the loudest aren't worried about coding errors (which open source might make finding easier), they are convinced that those writing the code are actively tampering with votes. So, opening the code does no good unless you are going to compile the code yourself on election day (bring your own compiler) on your own hardware. Your system of checking your own vote via a serial number is similarly flawed. If I wanted to cheat, I would simply write the query engine to return the "real" vote whenever it was queried for a single or small number of votes, but to always report the results I've programmed in aggregate.

Verifiability (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697295)

>I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work.

In principle it could provide unambiguous ballots, accurate counts, and as much audit trail as you could want or imagine.

In practice the systems aren't being bought with security as a criterion.

Also, hundreds of millions of people can judge the security and accuracy of a paper ballot system. The number of people who can spot off-by-one errors and exploitable memory corruption in 50+ KLoC is much smaller.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

grand_it (949276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697333)

I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work. (And yes I know the major hurdle would be beating the peoples in power to transition to one) Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs[...],

Openness of the source is important, but the real problem is: who happens to have the root password?

Re:Open Voting System (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697361)

"I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work."

No. You don't understand that the Powers that Be don't want a working voting system.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

??? (35971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697401)

"No?"

No. It seems I end up responding to this argument every time a Diebold (or other voting) story comes up. Just to shake things up, I'll review your points from the bottom-up.

"An electronic voting system would be more secure then a paper trail with PEOPLE manually counting each vote."

A well-designed manually counted paper system (yes, you do need design in manual processes too), like implemented in Canada, can significantly improve both accuracy and security. Secondarily, it allows the resolution of contentious races more quickly. A well designed system (paper or electronic) does not rely on trust of any individual. The entire process is observed by individuals who have diametrically opposed interests (with respect to the outcome of the election) - namely representatives of each of the candidates. The artifacts of the vote (the ballots) are readily observable without intermediaries. The physical and information characteristics of all tools used are well understood by most people (i.e. We can make assertions like "A solid box with a slot on the top was confirmed in public to be empty, and immediately sealed. The box was in public view from the point of sealing to the point of unsealing. Thus, no ballots could have been added or removed without being observed"). Standards for what constitutes a vote are well established in statute and in case law.

The key is that the process is transparent.

"when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number."

Which provides you the ability to prove your vote, which introduces coercion and provable vote-selling into the system, neither of which have been deemed desirable.

"Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs"

Read Thompson's "Reflections on Trusting Trust" Turing award lecture (http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95/) for an explanation of why this is inadequate.

"I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work"

Because without a voter-verifiable paper trail, such a system is unauditable.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697607)

The problem with any manual system isn't necessarily that someone wants to alter the outcome... the problem is that today we require accuracy greater than that which can be provided by a manual system.

If the manual system has a 2% error rate - which is pretty good for as messy a manual system as counting votes in most places in the US - then any election where the difference between the candidates is 2% or less is a random selection. People are discovering this and realizing that every recount will offer different results within the error tolerance.

When the difference between the candidates is 10% of the votes and the manual system has an error rate even as high as 5% it doesn't matter. The voting system in the US is designed to accept this level of error and not worry about it at all because it makes no difference. When the difference between candidates is less than the error rate it has led to some notable election results in the past but these have been extremely rare.

Now it seems to be standard for most contested elections. Such that any error rate at all is intolerable.

So tell me, how do you build a manual vote counting system with a 0% error rate?

Re:Open Voting System (1)

Doobeh (193083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697411)

I've noticed lot of people suggest the lookup reciept but it wouldn't work, nor be allowed. One of the important aspects of the voting procedure it that the vote itself is entirely anonomous. You might not understand that, but in the same way that your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) could affect your standing in society, so can your political affiliation. If you get a receipt that ties you to your vote, then an outsider could see your ticket and your vote would be known, thus those who are worried, would simply not vote, bad for democracy!

You're quite right about an electronic vote not being inherently bad--The problem I see with the current crop of electronic voting machines is that they are far to complex, why on earth do they need to be? Surely it can be a custom chip running, the complexity of it should match a toddlers toy. All it needs are buttons with pictures on them (analog or digital) for each of the candidates, a big okay button.

To record it you just need a simple tally and a receipt being printed on a paper spool behind a glass cover, so the voter can be sure that it's been recorded. The spool can be run through a OCR machine, or looked at manually to verify the vote.

Throw a development team together and give them a couple of million, and you'll have a cheap, working solution that will work anywhere around the country or world.

Re:Open Voting System (2, Insightful)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697475)

Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs, when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number. That'd allow for everyone to do their own count if they wanted.

There's no guarantee that the code on the boxes is the same as the code on the web site.

Re:Open Voting System (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697677)

I just thought of a way to exploit it:

Each voting center probably only takes on about 5-10k voters. Therefore you only need about 20k unique IDs. "You voted for Presidential Option A". Of coures you did... but #2408 in LA did too.

You would need to ensure that people all over the country were receiving unique ids.

That's all they're refuting? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697013)

It's interesting to see the selection of facts Diebold has chosen to refute.


According to Byrd's letter, inaccuracies in the film include the assertion that Diebold, whose election systems unit is based in Allen, Texas, tabulated more than 40 percent of the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election
...


The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.


In other words, in the light of allegations of insecurity and the ease of which a Diebold DRE or tabulator (GEMS) can be modified, they nitpick the date in which they got into the voting machine industry.

Bravo, Diebold.

Also, the article's implication if I'm not mistaken is incorrect:


The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.


If I'm not mis-reading this passage, the article is implying that Florida ballots in 2000 raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines. The only problem is that the problems in Florida were due to "hanging chads" and the poor design of "butterfly ballots" in Palm Beach County, two problems which are entirely specific to paper voting methods. Maybe they meant to say "and raised questions about upgrading their voting technology" but who knows.

Self-inflicted wounds........ (0, Troll)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697091)

Looking back to an election that was pretty much STOLEN (by the Bush brothers and a cousin, just to mention a few), one has to wonder just how it was pulled off. Just HOW IN THE HELL do you successfully pull the wool over the eyes of 300 million people?

Easy. Manipulate the tools in which we have based our democracy, most importantly, voting. A huge portion of the votes tabulated in Florida were done so on Diebold voting machines. Since then, their use has become much more prevalent. I my home state, there are 11 counties using their machines for voting, including my own. I don't like it one bit.

Now I ask you this, If they were successful in taking a presidency illegally, wouldn't they want to protect the tools by which they did so? If not to keep stealing elections, but, at the VERY least, to hide the facts surrounding previous use of such means? That is exactly what Diebold is doing. Protecting their current tools of manipulation while preventing the public from questioning the past uses.

If your current state of mind prevents you from questioning the validity of the claims made in the show, just do a little research into Diebold. I did so. It took a surprisingly short amount of time to find apparent "conflict of interest" regarding Diebold. And its not just Diebold but Sequoia as well.

Watch the show, then do your own research. America and our Democracy are being stolen right out from under us. THAT doesn't surprise me that much, to be honest. What really surprises me is the transparency in which it is being done. Are we, as a nation, really that gullible?
 

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697309)

Looking back to an election that was pretty much STOLEN (by the Bush brothers and a cousin, just to mention a few), one has to wonder just how it was pulled off

"pretty much stolen"? Is that like being kind of pregnant? Which is it? Are you confusing "didn't turn out the way I wished it would" with "stolen?"

Or do you mean "stolen" as in "trying to fake up thousands of democratic-leaning votes [kxma.com] ?

A huge portion of the votes tabulated in Florida were done so on Diebold voting machines.

And no one has indicated, once, that there was anything suspect about the actual results. Plenty wrong with the people actually understanding how to cast a vote, but that's rather a different thing, isn't it.

America and our Democracy are being stolen right out from under us

So, other than just repeating that meme, what's your actual evidence that what you're saying is actually true?. The fact that someone could screw with what a piece of technology can do doesn't mean that's happening. Diebold could also screw with your bank account while you're withdrawing money through one of their ATM's. No question they could. Does this mean they're undermining the economy? What I smell is a frenzied effort to have, in pocket, a handy explanation for why fewer people that some political camps might wish will actually vote they way they're stamping their feet and insisting that they do.

Two different things . . . (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697529)

Diebold could also screw with your bank account while you're withdrawing money through one of their ATM's. No question they could.

Cause there's no way to catch that. No audit trail available, there. No way. Banks don't keep records, and customers don't even balance their books. Not once, not ever.

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (1, Flamebait)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697533)

no, I think the words he meant were "was STOLEN" - but (I would assume) his intellectual honesty lead him to hedge his language because he knew he doesn't have evidence himself.

However, the evidence does exist and has been published. For you - read this:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/1171710 5/robert_f_kennedy_jr__will_the_next_election_be_h acked [rollingstone.com]
for first hand accounts of memory card transfers in 2004, in Diebold machines, from an insider/whistleblower.

The Left has to grow up and start calling a spade a spade - by asserting the TRUTH directly and clearly, without blame of judgment: The Neocon executive leadership in the US are criminals, their actions undermine the tenets of Democracy, and they need to be reigned in, now (as in arraignment).

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697743)

Sorry, but Bobby Kennedy Jr. is a shame to his father's memory.

What he writes may be true - I'm not saying it's not - but anything that man says I take the same way as something that the Drudge Report or Limbaugh or Hannity tries to report as FACT.

Stop using him as a credible source, and I can take the accusations seriously.

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697601)

if people screw with my bank account, I can tell when I check my bank balance. i have no way to know if my vote was counted, although in any system of elections that isnt based on proportional representation, most peoples votes are wasted anyway.

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697641)

if people screw with my bank account, I can tell when I check my bank balance. i have no way to know if my vote was counted, although in any system of elections that isnt based on proportional representation, most peoples votes are wasted anyway.

Hey, I'm all for a complementary paper trail following behind electronic voting, validated by the voter. But I don't assume that local election boards procuring equipment that doesn't do that is a sign that Diebold is a franchise operator of the Illuminati, etc.

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (4, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697683)

You are so twisting the story.

First off, you link to a new site which has reposted a blogger post from "Say Anything" blog - who apparently will say anything to make his point, even if it doesn't make sense. Most conclusions on his blog page are completely illogical.

The actual article to which you refer is here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/kmbc/20061102/lo_kmbc/1021 4492 [yahoo.com]
and the leadership of ARORN had nothing to do with the fraud - they immediately fired the people involved.

Now contrast this to the litany of counter examples and suspicious patterns listed here:
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/wa s_the_2004_election_stolen [rollingstone.com]

Re:Self-inflicted wounds........ (2, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697687)

"Pretty much pregnant"? Attacking the phrasing I used is needless. I made my point. To be honest, I did not "like" either candidate.

In response to the link you included, I never once stated that nobody else has an interest in rigging votes. I was NOT taking political sides here. A democrat is just as "able" to resort to such means as a republican. Your link merely backs up my assertion that vote tampering/harvesting is taking place. Thanks.

As far as the results in Florida being in question, have you actually researched that? I am not touting it as being "THE" truth, but the documentary "Farenheit 9/11" certainly raises questions about the validity of that race and the results of it. I research issues for my OWN benefit, NOT to persuade people to change their own opinions. If you look at my statements, you may notice that I suggest that readers view the show and then do their OWN research. I do NOT direct them to any information specifically, as that can be construed as biased information based on the idea that it was "provided"(such as the link you provided).

But I'll humor you. http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ [blackboxvoting.org]

The gist of my post was to point out that people need to inform themselves. In order to do so, one must have access to information. The documentary in question is simply that. It is not incontrovertable, thus my suggestion to follow up with research into the issue. Your statement that "just because the can, does not mean they are..." is besides the point. The simple fact that they CAN, is, in itself, sufficient justification to question the whole premise of e-voting.

liar liar (5, Funny)

dustwun (662589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697109)

Is anyone else reminded of Jim Carey in Liar Liar?

Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
Judge: Why?
Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
Judge: Overruled.
Fletcher: Good call!

Well... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697121)

...they are certainly bold. I wonder if they will live up to the rest of their name?

Re:Well... (4, Funny)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697535)

...they are certainly bold. I wonder if they will live up to the rest of their name?

Well, if you do a German-to-English translation of "Diebold" on Babelfish, it comes back with "thief old".

Even worse, if you rearrange the letters of Diebold Election Systems, you get So Dems Lose Indetectibly.

Coincidence? You decide.

Irony (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697151)

For people concerned with democracy you'd think they'd let the whole censorship thing slide.

Re:Irony (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697417)

America and our Democracy are being stolen right out from under us

You mean, kind of like the entire left side of the punditocracy screaming about ABC's "Path to 9/11" docudrama? You know, the one that people were insisting (having not even seen it!) that they change, or pull off the air? Yeah, like that.

Get big media attention (4, Interesting)

teslatug (543527) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697221)

Lou Dobbs on CNN was talking about the Sequoia voting machines operated by the Venezuelan company, and I think we should bring to his attention the Diebold ones too. Please take a moment and send a polite comment at their feedback form [cnn.com]

Try other big media outlets. We need the general public to become aware of this potential debacle before it's too late.

very significant (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697347)

on election cheating... rfk jr. had a very nice article in Rolling Stone on 10/5 with many details; first few paragraphs below and link to full text.

Along with all the OTHER deathblows dealt to liberty (even over the last few weeks) this one is also a critical blow. It feels like we're at the very end of a mortal combat battle and Democracy is sailing backwards into the spiked pit after the triple-katana lightning-strike mortal-blow-to-the groin attack.

ANYWAY, I found the full article fascinating.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/1171710 5/robert_f_kennedy_jr__will_the_next_election_be_h acked [rollingstone.com]

Will The Next Election Be Hacked?

The debacle of the 2000 presidential election made it all too apparent

      to most Americans that our electoral system is broken. And

      private-sector entrepreneurs were quick to offer a fix: Touch-screen

      voting machines, promised the industry and its lobbyists, would make

      voting as easy and reliable as withdrawing cash from an ATM. Congress,

      always ready with funds for needy industries, swiftly authorized $3.9

      billion to upgrade the nation's election systems - with much of the

      money devoted to installing electronic voting machines in each of

      America's 180,000 precincts. But as midterm elections approach this

      November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead

      of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the

      technology to fix an election - and across the country this year,

      faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election

      primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some

      ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were

      actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for

      unsupervised "sleepovers" before the vote, leaving the equipment

      vulnerable to tampering. And in Ohio - where, as I recently reported

      in "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" [RS 1002], dirty tricks may have

      cost John Kerry the presidency - a government report uncovered large

      and unexplained discrepancies in vote totals recorded by machines in

      Cuyahoga County.

      Even worse, many electronic machines don't produce a paper record that

      can be recounted when equipment malfunctions - an omission that

      practically invites malicious tampering. "Every board of election has

      staff members with the technological ability to fix an election," Ion

      Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. "Even

      one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it

      could happen under my nose and there is no way I'd ever find out about

      it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to

      >

Forced to wonder... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697357)

I'm really forced to wonder if the Slashdot group-think would hate Diebold as much as they do if Gore won in 2000 or Kerry won in 2004. I sincerely doubt it. If anything, they'd probably be considered as heroes in that case.

Call that a flame or troll if you want (and I'm sure that politically-charged mods who love to abuse their mod privileges will be more than willing to do so); but with the collective hatred for anything republican on Slashdot, things have finally gotten to the point where any statements against Diebold are as knee-jerk or fashionable as the rampant anti-Microsoftism and anti-republicanism that we all see. They're almost as cliché as the "overlord" and "you insensitive clod" comments.

Re:Forced to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697581)

Hmmm, yes, I see your point. If Paul Revere had been bought off and instead of alerting us to the correct method of the British Army's travel, we would still be a hero. After all, it would have been a great service to the Crown for him to turn against his criminal brethren.

God save the Queen.

Re:Forced to wonder... (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697631)

You insensitive Microsoft promoting, Republican clod! I, for one, welcome our new Diebold denouncing overlords as happy additions to our Slashdot community. We need more right thinking people like them!

Re:Forced to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697679)

Oh, wow! Like no one expected anyone to respond like that! You are just, like, so original! :/

*sigh*

Diebold in general (1)

twistah (194990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697385)

Anyone who's ever worked with any Diebold product shouldn't be surprised by any claim of insecurity. I've never worked with their voting machines, but I have with their banking products. Most of their Windows-based solutions are unpatched, and their stance on upgrading often invovles buying an upgrade. One client was told, for example, that if they wanted to patch holes in a current ATM produc they'd need to "buy a firewall upgrade." They configure sensitive databases with usernames/passwords of "DIEBOLD." And the list goes on and on. While many companies have started to see security as a vital part of development, Diebold is stubbornly stuck in the dark ages.

It's not who watches that counts.. (3, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697403)

Unfortunately, as both the NYT [nytimes.com] and Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] report, the documentary itself is a stinker. They both claim it does little to present actual problems, showing instead unfeasible hacks that admittedly would never work, and contenting itself to merely cast doubt over the voting machines rather than providing any solid evidence. And let's be honest -- it's easy to cast doubt on anything, including paper voting or anything else. On top if it all, the woman at the center of it all reportedly comes off as a crackpot, rather than someone with whom the public would actually empathize.

Not having seen it myself, I can't make any conclusions of my own, but if the reviews are accurate, this film does a disservice to the concept of secure voting by further validating the fringe/crackpot image that people already have regarding this issue.

The real news is that Diebold is so furious over such a vague "expose." What they should be doing is simply ignoring the whole thing, unless questioned specifically. By launching their own campaign against it, they're legitimizing the film -- which may actually be a good thing -- and giving it more attention than it may have otherwise received.

Personally, I think there are much bigger problems with the voting system than the machines that count the votes. Primaries, party politics, and campaign financing all throw much bigger wrenches into the gears than a couple of districts in Ohio that might have gotten shafted.

Or ELSE! (1)

haggie (957598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697455)

Huh! A proposition just suddenly appeared on electronic ballots nationwide which proposes banning HBO on all cable systems and throwing all HBO executives in a Guantanamo prison. And the default value is set to "Yes" and the "No" box has been disabled. How odd...

The public should decide if the documentary airs.. (1)

Ltar (1010889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697489)

but how would we vote on it?

Fry the fuckers! (1)

turbofisk (602472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697493)

Fry the fuckers!

Voting is too important (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697531)

if electronic voting is going to be implemented then both the hardware and software should be Open-Source so it can be reviewed and checked for backdoors/rootkits malware & other misc. Vulnerabilities by non-partisan & impartial third parties, anything less is untrustworthy, the Voting process is too important to not be scrutinized...

Give HBO Some Support! (1)

jouvart (915737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697541)

If you have some time, go drop a note to HBO at their feedback site [hbo.com] . Make it polite and show that you appreciate HBO's support of US democracy. We really need more skepticism and scrutiny in the mass media.

To vote or not to vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697551)

I have to say as a Canadian living in Canada that I plan on voting in all forth coming U.S. elections. Thank you Diebold and American voting system for making it possible for anyone to tamper with the voting process.

where's the fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697667)

I would just like to state that I've personally seen democratic voter fraud, and it appears a manual grassroots sort that is easier to do in thousands of small packets across the country. Obviously diebold will make it easier for republicans to execute their own sort of big corporate voter fraud, as one would expect.. but do not dismiss the possibility that republicans are excited about it because electronic machines will help put to an end the democratic voter fraud. And do not dismiss the possibility that democrats are overplaying the devious failure of these things in order to undermine public confidence in them. And I do not dismiss the CERTAINTY that regardless of all these conspiracies, sheer ignorance and pressure from vote reform laws is causing fundamentally flawed systems to be rolled out. Failure does not imply criminal intent, only criminal negligence.

Disclaimer I dont know anything about republican voter fraud. I never looked. cue jokes about katharine harris and supreme court. and now hacking and backdoors and secret code and embarassing quotes about delivering the election. oh ho ho ho so old.

I look forward to watching this show and learning something new.
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