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Man's Vote for Himself Missing In E-Vote Count

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the there's-your-smoking-gun dept.

672

Catbeller writes "The AP is reporting that Randy Wooten, mayoral candidate for Waldenburg Arkansas (a town of eighty people) discovered that the electronic voting system hadn't registered the one vote he knew had been cast for him ... because he cast it himself. The Machine gave him zero votes. That would be an error rate of 3%, counting the actual votes cast — 18 and 18 for a total of 36." From the article: "Poinsett County Election Commissioner Junaway Payne said the issue had been discussed but no action taken yet. 'It's our understanding from talking with the secretary of state's office that a court order would have to be obtained in order to open the machine and check the totals,' Payne said. 'The votes were cast on an electronic voting machine, but paper ballots were available.'"

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672 comments

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In one word... (4, Funny)

Frobnicator (565869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816400)

Oops.

Re:In one word... (5, Funny)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816552)

no, I believe the word is:

PWNED!

Re:In one word... (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816688)

I believe that the preferred spelling is "pwn3d."

the funny thing (5, Interesting)

f1055man (951955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816406)

about the article is that his wife was the one who told him he got zero votes. She asked him if he had voted for himself to make sure it was wrong....err, someone's going to be sleeping on the couch.

Re:the funny thing (5, Funny)

casings (257363) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816648)

women voting?!?!

thats preposterous!

Re:the funny thing (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816788)

No many countries now allow women to vote, some even let them drive cars as well . . . now that's truly preposterous. It's a mad world!

Re:the funny thing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816902)

How could she vote! Woman not equal to man!! In my country, we say:
  1. God
  2. Man
  3. Horse
  4. Dog
  5. Woman

Please note (-1, Offtopic)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816420)

Had his vote, and the votes he assumes had been cast for him (because his friends said they did), he still wouldn't have received enough votes to win the election. Further, it's not clear he would have received even enough votes to change the *outcome* of the election (there will be a runoff due to two other candidates having won the same vote count).

Yes, the county should take the voting machines apart and verify the printed tape count. No, this incident is probably not an example of electronic voter fraud.

Re:Please note (5, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816458)

It doesn't matter if it changed the fucking outcome! The point is that VOTES WERE NOT COUNTED!

Re:Please note (5, Insightful)

LuckyLefty01 (803490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816460)

It doesn't matter if it was abject fraud or not. Either way it needs to be determined why his vote wasn't counted, and then the issue needs to be fixed. Just because it's not intentional doesn't mean it's okay for votes to go AWOL.

Re:Please note (2, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816502)

Which is why the country election commissioner should take the machine(s) apart and check the vote tape. It is only 36 votes, so it shouldn't be hard to do. I am simply pointing out that this example is more likely error than fraud.

Re:Please note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816550)

I think the issue is with your dismissive tone with respect to what is almost universally held to be our most important right.

Re:Please note (5, Informative)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816728)

It's a trade secret, you can't look inside the voting machines.

Re:Please note (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816824)

You didn't RTFA, did you? The machines contain a roll of paper similar to what is used in a cash register. These are used to verify vote totals and then signed by the county elections commissioner prior to the Secretary of State certifying the state vote. Other, fully electronic, systems record that vote tallies upon a smart card. It is this unverifiable system that computer security experts like Avi Ruben have been so concerned about.

Re:Please note (5, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816834)

That's not meant to be funny. It's true. The software and insides of the machine are considered trade secrets, and nobody can look at either.

Re:Please note (4, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816480)

It doesn't need to be fraud to be disturbing. It means the machines don't do their fundamental job, to wit, correctly counting votes. Even if nobody was trying to manipulate the vote, that should scare the hell out of you.

Re:Please note (2)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816586)

If the machines cant do their fundamental job then the programmers need be shot because they are impersonators.

$candidates['candidate 1']++;

Re:Please note (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816668)

Well, if someone hires an incompetent, what does that make him? The real culprits aren't the software guys but the suits that either a. hired incompetent engineers or b. hired good ones but didn't give them the resources to develop and test sound software.

Re:Please note (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816660)

Even if nobody was trying to manipulate the vote, that should scare the hell out of you.

Even if the fucking machines *do* count votes correctly in this and future elections, the fact that certain people *can* and *will* manipulate votes without anyone ever being able to tell otherwise is what scares the hell out of me.

Why the fuck can we not have E-Voting machines for those people that want to use the pieces of shit and then the same old paper ballots that we have used for thousands of years for the people that know they are pointless and crooked?

You do not know that. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816490)

If one vote was missing or applied to the wrong candidate, other votes could also be lost or shifted.

If other votes could, then enough votes to change the election could have.

It all starts with verifying a single vote.

Re:You do not know that. (2, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816608)

We're talking about a local county election with a sum total of 36 votes cast. Clearly there was an error of some sort. Which brings up two fundamental questions all election officials must ask:

1) Did this error change the outcome of a race? That is the first consideration, because if it didn't then the severity of the error is vastly reduced.

2) If this error changed the outcome of a race, was it intentional? That is, was the outcome of democracy subverted, and done so with fraudulent intent?

I think (but don't know) that the answer to those two questions will ultimately be "NO". That is, the error did not affect the outcome of his loss - though the error might have impacted the necessity for a runoff. And, further, it is highly unlikely that for a race this small anyone would have been actively engaged in voter fraud. Certainly, if these results are the result of fraud, it is almost certainly not due to party involvement.

It may be a justifiable fear that someone might perpetrate a nationwide fraud using unverifiable electronic voting machines. But this example does not support that fear. Mostly because there is a verifiable paper trail within the machines, and the race is too small for organized fraud to be worth the trouble.

Re:You do not know that. (3, Insightful)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816694)

We're talking about a local county election with a sum total of 36 votes cast. Clearly there was an error of some sort. Which brings up two fundamental questions all election officials must ask:

1) Did this error change the outcome of a race? That is the first consideration, because if it didn't then the severity of the error is vastly reduced.

2) If this error changed the outcome of a race, was it intentional? That is, was the outcome of democracy subverted, and done so with fraudulent intent?

3) Is this the only instance of an error?

4) Is this the only office for which there was an error?

5) Is this the only machine in which there was an error? (If not, how widespread is it?)

Besides, with a dead tie between the other two candidates, there's even an important question for that particular office:

6) Was the error a failure to count his vote, or was his vote counted for the wrong person?

More to the point... (0, Redundant)

skids (119237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816724)


If his vote wasn't counted, how do we know the votes for the winning candidate and runner up were correct? Investigating this could indeed change the outcome.

Re:You do not know that. (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816754)

Which brings up two fundamental questions all election officials must ask:
1) Did this error change the outcome of a race? That is the first consideration, because if it didn't then the severity of the error is vastly reduced.
2) If this error changed the outcome of a race, was it intentional? That is, was the outcome of democracy subverted, and done so with fraudulent intent?

I would have to say that the first question you really ought to be asking is:

1) What caused this error, and could the problem be systemic?

Until you have answered that question adequately then you can't really say whether the error changed the outcome of the race. Perhaps it was a simple screw-up that just meant this single vote didn't get counted, but perhaps it was a systemic error that means that none of the counts are valid. Dismissing this until the nature of the error has been adequately determined is remarkably premature. It probably is nothing of consequence, but there is every reason to go to the trouble of finding out that that is the case.

Re:You do not know that. (3, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816854)

with a sum total of 36 votes cast.

No, with a sum total of 36 votes counted. Your belief that the result of this investigation would not change the outcome of the election contradicts this statement: if there were only 36 votes period, then when this man's vote is "fixed", the race ends 16/15/1, and there will be no runoff. Either there were more than 36 votes, or the outcome changes.

Re:You do not know that. (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816914)

Fine point. I'm happy to have the machine count checked against the paper trail stored within these machines. But I don't think *this* example is indicative of rampant fraud through electronic voting machines. I think it's a minor local screw up that ought to be verified.

It's just slashdot (and reddit, and dailykos, etc etc etc) looking for reasons to get people riled up and draw ad revenue. If you want to freak out about voting machine problems, check out the Princeton Diebold study [princeton.edu] .

This story, by comparison, is a big fat nothing.

Re:Please note (5, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816532)

Had his vote, and the votes he assumes had been cast for him (because his friends said they did), he still wouldn't have received enough votes to win the election. Further, it's not clear he would have received even enough votes to change the *outcome* of the election (there will be a runoff due to two other candidates having won the same vote count).

As others have pointed out, who cares that he wouldn't have won? The votes should be accurate purely out of principle. Even if the leading candidate is winning with 99% of the votes and the losing candidate is 1 vote off, we must know what happened to that one vote so that the system can be improved.

However, in this case I think those missing votes certainly did change the outcome. The other two candidates got 18 votes each. If there are several votes missing for Wooten, which candidate got the benefit of those misplaced votes? This results in a runoff election on November 28th instead of declaring a clear winner already.
 

Re:Please note (2)

necrogram (675897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816848)

As others have pointed out, who cares that he wouldn't have won?

Simple. Assume He's not crazy and he voted for himself. Then canidates X or Y should have one less vote. Vote counting is a zero sum result. Votes for X + Votes For Y + Votes for Z - Number of Votes == 0

Since the results had to pass this basic smell test, then one can figure one canidate has too many votes.

Re:Please note (1)

LuckyLefty01 (803490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816864)

And also, could there be any missing votes for either of the other candidates as well, which could definitely have changed the outcome (seeing as how they allegedly received 18 votes each).

Re:Please note (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816534)

It is completely irrelevant if he would have won or not. The election results are wrong.

Therefore, there needs to be an invetigation even if there is no reason to suspect fraud.

Why is that so hard to understand? Do not try to downplay botch election results just because the outcome might've been the same if everytihng went smoothly. If the machines can't reliably count up 80 votes then you can't trust them to count up 100+ million.
=Smidge=

Re:Please note (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816750)

Voting machines (or processes) will never reliably count one hundred million votes. Or one hundred thousand. There is always a margin of error. Which is why election officials care about race outcomes and not individual votes. However, in this case the vote totals are small and obviously in error. So, open the machine and count paper trail.

But IMO, this is not the instance to freak out over. I highly doubt this is a case of voter fraud. More likely it is a case of election official error, or possibly a machine malfunction.

Re:Please note (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816922)

This machine possibly made 1 error out of a total of 36 votes. Since we don't know what actually caused the error, it is possible that this machine would make the same error for every 1/36 votes. What happens if this machine, or one with a similar defect, is used in a larger election? Wouldn't you say it is better to at least investigate the error this time, so as to head off a serious problem next time?

Re:Please note (0, Troll)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816540)

Had his vote, and the votes he assumes had been cast for him (because his friends said they did), he still wouldn't have received enough votes to win the election. Further, it's not clear he would have received even enough votes to change the *outcome* of the election (there will be a runoff due to two other candidates having won the same vote count).

So accuracy in counting votes only matters when it could change the outcome of an election? Bullshit. How do you know whether or not the votes will change the outcome if you don't accurately track them? In a close race, especially in a small town of only 80 voters, one vote could make all the difference even if it's not cast for the two parties in contention. Besides that, voting for third parties is often used as a statement even if the percentage of votes the parties get is miniscule. Getting 5% of the vote is nowhere near enough to win an election, but it's a significant minority and is quite a bit more than 0%.

Re:Please note (-1, Troll)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816674)

So accuracy in counting votes only matters when it could change the outcome of an election? Bullshit.

Yup. That's how election officials do this sort of thing. In a case where so few votes are counted, one might reasonably argue: Why was there not an accurate tally? It's a good question, and one local election officials should investigate. But when scaling up an election to even just hundreds of thousands in a medium sized county election, it becomes impossible to count _every_ vote. It's just a statistical impossibility.

When confronted with such large numbers, it has become standard practice for election officials to concern themselves not with each individual vote, but with verifying outcomes for any particular race. That is, what matters is the outcome, not specific votes in the process.

Is that bad policy? I don't think so. Perhaps you disagree. *shrug*
 

Re:Please note (0)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816764)

You know, it's a good thing you're trolling (I can recognize a troll when I see one) or I'd actually think you were serious.

Re:Please note (1)

NichG (62224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816828)

If a bank pulled this sort of thing with your finances would you give them a pass because 'it becomes impossible to count _every_ dollar, so our records are differ from the actual amount of money by 3%, but hey, we can probably tell you if that latest check you wrote will bounce or not'? A machine _can_ count every single vote. That's part of the reason to employ electronic voting. If it fails to do that accurately then there is no excuse.

Re:Please note (1)

GeffDE (712146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816912)

Good point. So far, slashdot hasn't gotten over the "The Sky is Falling" effect. A vote is either missing, or miscounted. It is easy to determine which it is: look at the number of signatures/voters at the office. If it isn't 36, then the vote is missing. If that number is 36, then the machine registered the vote for the wrong candidate or the guy lied, and nobody will ever know. However, if the vote is registered for the wrong candidate, how is it possible to verify the election.

Re:Please note (1)

DHM (35419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816548)

That's not the point. Hopefully it's just that the guy's too dumb to work a voting machine, and his friends lied about voting for him, but if it turns out that the machine did, for whatever reason, fail to accurately record the votes of a mere few dozen people, this has disturbing implications for the integrity of elections nationwide. I certainly hope they don't just shrug this off.

Re:Please note (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816568)

Dude, you are totaly missing the point of why this is news. Just *what* *the* *hell* is going on inside of these voting machines if they are making this kind of error. With such a small number of votes to count, missing a single one, much less 8 or 9, is exceedingly suspicious.

It really makes one wonder what the algorithm inside these things is. They're essentially black boxes, and if there is some code inside that ensures that the "right" candidate gets elected, it's very possible that the malicious programmer didn't consider the case where a single vote by a single voter would be able to be identified by this. Think about it: Typically you're dealing with thousands or millions of votes, and a 5-10% "error" in the direction you want would not be able to be traced or proved because votes are not mapped to specific voters. But in this small community this total anonymity wasn't there, and someone *did* notice.

The guy didn't win, and maybe he had no chance of winning. But this is _definitely_ something that should make people raise their eyebrows.

Re:Please note (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816582)

>>>"No, this incident is probably not an example of electronic voter fraud."

How can you say that???? This is most certainly an major indicator that something is very wrong. Whether it be one person or 100,000, if a vote is missing there is a problem. It would be very hard to prove 100,000 votes were manipulated so this one known vote missing is probably the best indicator you will get. If someone did manipulate the machine they made the fatal mistake of not registering a 'minimum' vote count against a candidate.

Re:Please note (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816594)

Holy crap! It doesn't matter if the votes would have mattered. That's not even close to important. If every vote wasn't counted properly, the election is meaningless - especially in a small election like the one in the article. With computer voting systems involved, we should expect 100% accuracy - there's no excuse for any "issues" like this.

Re:Please note (1)

foxpaws (28518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816600)

I am not sure that it really matters to me if he would or would not have won.

The article does not specify whether the total votes that should have been cast totaled the number of voters that voted as shown from the polling place records. So from this article you can't tell if Wooten's vote went to another candidate or if it just wasn't recorded at all. Of course, the error could be that he used the machine incorrectly or that the transfer of totals from machine to the official record was inaccurate.

However, whether it is fraud, machine error or human error, it is still quite alarming, isn't it?

Re:Please note (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816642)

At best it is an indication of inaccuracy.

You say it is is probably not an example of electronic voter fraud, but in fact you have zero data at this point to make that assertion. It may, or may not have been an example of fraud. Imagine a fraudster who decides to salami-slice n votes from other candidates and add it to his/her preferred candidate. That act is likely to result in something like the reported error.

The jury isn't just out - it hasn't even been assembled yet.

Re:Please note... In what country did you grow up (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816656)

This is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT in our entire country. Votes MUST COUNT, and the VOTING PROCESS MUST BE ACCURATE! It doesn't matter at all if this "might" not have affected the outcome. How will we even know if the outcome that is presented is correct without a valid audit? And how can there be a valid audit if there is no trail other then the known incorrect data? We KNOW for a FACT that the data is wrong. We KNOW for a FACT that there is no paper trail in the machine. And because of that, we KNOW for a FACT that ANY RESULTS which use THIS MACHINE or ANY OF THE SAME TYPE are also subject to KNOWN BAD DATA.

How do we know that 40 people didn't vote for the person on the defective machine? We DON'T know that.

My point is, that without a valid paper trail, which the voter can verify him or herself at the time the vote is cast, we will never have valid voting on electronic machines. I have noting against using an easy to use machine. It can be electronic or otherwise, but I want actualy, tangible, physical proof that my vote is set to whomever I picked. Any programmer or system administrator will tell you that there will always be bugs, flaws, and system failures that result in strange things happening. I don't want a fault piece a RAM to keep my vote from ever being reported. Voting is too important to not have a simple, easy to read paper print out that the voter can look at and verify that the vote was correct.

Re:Please note (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816658)

If there is one error on the machine, why would it not be possible for there to be more? In fact, it is possible that 20 of the votes were for him, which would mean that he won. Until the check this machine, and hopefully, several other machines from other areas are checked. If there is a failure, it needs to be determined if it is in one machine or is system wide.

What I want to know, is why is it that we are not spot checking ALL system across the nation? It strikes me that all systems should be checked. What is amazing is that all closed systems AND both major parties seem to fight this.

Re:Please note (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816740)

Fraud, manipulated voting machines or simply voting machines that don't work. Your pick.

Whatever it is, those things should go to the dump. Now.

No wait. After they've been taken apart and checked.

Re:Please note (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816802)

But the outcome of the election may have changed. What if his vote was actually counted as someone elses? Then that means the top 2 vote count should really be 18-17, which is not a tie, so no runoff needed.

In related news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816434)

Donald Duck demands a recount.

What happened to his wife's vote? (5, Interesting)

Nick Gisburne (681796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816446)

So he voted for himself, but his wife went to check the vote for him. Okay, so who did his WIFE vote for?!

Re:What happened to his wife's vote? (2, Funny)

Fullhazard (985772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816530)

Nobody. Women aren't allowed to vote in arkansas! Please. Next thing you know, you'll be telling me they have electricity, running water, civil rights, and high schools down there!

Re:What happened to his wife's vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816606)

And shoes! Only men-folk wear shoes, and then only in the winter. Hence the old expression for the certain winner of an election held in November: "He is a real shoe in"

Re:What happened to his wife's vote? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816900)

Please. Next thing you know, you'll be telling me that ignorant bigots have false ideas about what it's like in any other place than in their own city.

It finally happened... (-1, Redundant)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816448)

Mr. None-of-the-Above's vote didn't get counted!

Write in candidates (0)

Moderator (189749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816450)

What there needs to be is a way to check that write-in candidates are counted properly. This last election, I voted for Michael Jordan, Dave Mustaine, Ford Bronco, and Global Warming for the school board. There's no way to know if my votes got counted, or if someone thought it was a joke and threw it out (along with my "real" votes).

Re:Write in candidates (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816500)

A write in doesn't count if the person written in isn't a registered write in candidate.

Don't forget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816466)

I VOTED FOR HIM TOO!

so its his fault how? (4, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816472)

this comment makes it sound like its his own fault as he didn't cast a paper vote:
"Poinsett County Election Commissioner Junaway Payne said ...'The votes were cast on an electronic voting machine, but paper ballots were available.'"

WTF? Blame the guy for his own vote not being counted!!

It's just teething problems.... (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816878)

It sounds like they're going 'pppft. Well, if you wanted accuracy, you should have voted by paper.' This is one damn good reason why computers shouldn't be used for something as important as a vote. Having worked in IT, I've seen systems in business that have errors and bugs and so forth and the general reaction is 'Well, it's just teething problems.. it'll get sorted out.' Seems to me there's a similar reaction here. The system should not be in place unless it's 100% accurate. I just hope no-one's been applying the same attitude to air traffic control computers. I *do* know that the UK had an ambulance system screw up which caused major problems, though I don't how many if any lives were lost.

Re:so its his fault how? (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816884)

We all know what really happened.

The menu said "Press the X to cast your vote" so he pressed the little X up in the right hand corner of the window...

I did a similar thng in maryland. (2, Interesting)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816484)

I put in a write in for a local office with a strange name. ANy idea where i could find the listings of write ins in MD? I checked the elections sites, but couldnt find anything.

Re:I did a similar thng in maryland. (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816570)

I doubt they even count the write in votes unless there is the potential for someone to actually win. For example, if one candidate has 47% of the vote and another has 42%, it is really useless to count the other 1% that contains write in candidates. It would take a lot of effort to tally up each and every person that was voted for when they have no chance of winning. That being said, I don't actually know what they do in MD or anywhere else for that matter, so I may be wrong.

Re:I did a similar thng in maryland. (1)

boster (124383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816686)

Actually, AFAIK, the issue is if the candidate filed. A lot of places will count the write-in votes for those candidates who actually filed to run as a write-in, because those are valid votes and must be included in final reports (whatever those are called in a given state). Note however that a lot of people vote for joke write-ins. Those are not counted because they are not valid votes -- you still have to file (at lease most places), even if you are running as a write-in. It is not a "I can vote for anybody" space.

Re:I did a similar thng in maryland. (3, Informative)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816704)

SOP in most places is to count the number of write-ins, but not the name of the candidate. If the number of write-ins is significant, they will go back and look for any trends in the names. Even if the vote goes 45-40-10 among named candidates and write-ins only account for 5%, they'll still look because if most of that 5% went for a single person, it could be newsworthy or insightful.

The actual, exact breakdown of the write-in names is usually not calculated (and therefore can't be released), except in presidential elections, where write-ins above a certain number (a relatively low threshold, at that--somewhere around 1000 IIRC) are counted and recorded.

Re:I did a similar thng in maryland. (4, Interesting)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816624)

In my state, at least, they only go to the trouble of reading and recording write-ins if there's a possibility they'd affect the outcome. So if any of the (regular) candidates on the ballot gets more votes than there are total write-ins, the write-ins for that office don't get recorded.

News at 11 (4, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816494)

Voting machines are rigged for the two-party system, who's really surprised here?

They use a voting machine for 36 votes? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816510)

Why? Don't they have first-graders who can help them count the votes?

Re:They use a voting machine for 36 votes? (2, Funny)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816584)

The first graders wanted too much for the job.

That's why they put a first grader in a box... (4, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816830)

.. with the words 'votting masheen' written on the cardboard box in crayon. He didn't count the vote because - in his words - Randy Wooten is 'a big poo-poo head.'

In Australia, money is flushed counterclockwise (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816596)

And you can bet that the machine was purchased using taxpayer money gleaned from the state or county. The e-voting machine for the town of 80 is like the bridge to nowhere of the electoral system.

Why would you need a voting machine for 80 votes? (5, Insightful)

ozzee (612196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816520)

I'm sorry, but who in their right mind would blow money on a voting machine for 80 votes.

Our election officials have gone mad !

I think I can tally 80 votes in less than 15 minutes so it's not as if "time to tally" is at issue.

Accuracy is certainly not at issue either.

I think the US must stop having elections driven by locals and have a federally mandated independant voting "authority" that answers only to the judicial branch. Politicians must not have any say in the way it is run and the legal standards must be very stringently applied.

The HBO special really did shock me more than I expected it to. Unless we have utmost confidence in our voting system, we will alienate our society.

Oh, while we are at it, we should also go to a preference system as this two party system just means can never hit your own party where it counts without voting for the dark side.

Re:Why would you need a voting machine for 80 vote (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816628)

I think the US must stop having elections driven by locals and have a federally mandated independant voting "authority" that answers only to the judicial branch. Politicians must not have any say in the way it is run and the legal standards must be very stringently applied.

Uhh... that's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's *already been shown* that federal standards on this sort of thing have exactly one effect - they require everyone to get it wrong.

The federal government isn't more trustworthy than local governments. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case - as the governmental body governs more people it tends to have less accountability to the people.

Re:Why would you need a voting machine for 80 vote (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816736)

Many localities had no desire to move to electronic voting, but as of this year it is no longer in their capacity to make this decision. The Help America Vote Act [wikipedia.org] moved the responsibility from the local/county level to the state level, while also mandating upgraded/electronic voting machines nationwide. I know my locality was P/O'd that they had to upgrade, even though it was partly subsidized by the federal government since they converted in time.

Re:Why would you need a voting machine for 80 vote (2, Insightful)

the_wesman (106427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816792)

I must ask: what confidence do you actually have in our voting system?

The reason I ask is this: our voting system, though not _officially_ designed so support a 2-party system is fundamentally flawed in the way that votes are tallied. Let me give an example. Let's say there are 3 candidates - 2 conservative and one liberal. Let's say that 30% of people voted for each conservative and the remaining 40% voted for the liberal. The winner here would be the liberal despite the fact that 60% of the people that voted wanted a conservative winner. See the issue here?

This is why voting for a third-party candidate is considered "throwing your vote away" Unless this changes, we will rarely see the public's best choice as the winner.

A simple solution would be to have voters rank the candidates instead of simply choosing one. In the example above, a voter could give one conservative candidate a '1', the other a '2' and the liberal a '3' - the canidate with the lowest number wins.

People take about voting reform and doing away with the electoral college, but I don't think there is enough emphasis on this particular issue.
-w

Re:Why would you need a voting machine for 80 vote (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816890)

...While I agree with you about a machine for 80 votes, your comment only reveals how little you understand the U.S. government structure. It would be impossible to do what you are referring to without completely reorganizing the government.
          First of all, the politicians appoint the judiciary and therefore have a 'say' in everything they do.
          Second, your suggestion removes the only peaceful 'check' that 'the people' have on their government. Believe it or not, the constitution mandates a government for the people, of the people, and by the people. Removing the current voting structure is not going to help our problems with that, it will only make it worse. (Especially if Gun control legislation is passed, then the second 'check' the people have on government will also be gone.)
          If you really believe in your comment you need to move to Idaho or Montana and join some militia; because you have already torn up the basis for the constitution. (I am assuming you are not already a Montana/Idaho resident and member of said militia.)

Do they really need it? (3, Interesting)

tscholz (614009) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816544)

Why would a town of 80 people even use an electronic voting machine? Too much money in the budget? If people can't be bothered with count a 80 paper votes, i would label it the most lazy people in the world.

Hopefully, if they crack one, they will crack more (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816546)

for the article, it appears that they have to get a court order to see the paper. I would love to know why that is. But if they go for a court order on this, they should consider the idea of pushing to have other boxes cracked open and counted as well. In particular, they should do this in areas where the race was close AND had the same manufacturer.

Re:Hopefully, if they crack one, they will crack m (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816590)

Why does it even have to be close to do the checking?

Think about it - it's easy to verify when your write in isn't there. How do you check when it's just a checkbox?

Re:Hopefully, if they crack one, they will crack m (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816718)

Who said that it was a write-in? Not the article. The machines that I used, created a paper output that goes into the box. That box is sealed. In addition, the vote was recorded on a server. It is the total on the server that is used by Douglas county Co.. As a WAG, I would say that Arkansas is using the same or similar system. In fact, the fact that the courthouse had his name on the list with a count of 0 would say that he was on the machine.

Cthulhu for California Governor (5, Funny)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816574)

I wrote in "Cthulhu" for Governor and the optical scan machine was jammed so
the poll worker--some asian dude--told me to put the ballot in the lockbox
slot. I had trouble getting it in because one of the pages was bent so the
guy grabbed the ballot and moved them. On top was my write-in: CTHULHU
in big black letters. He paused. Looked at it, looked at me. Swallowed. And
I said "Thank you" and left.

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

Re:Cthulhu for California Governor (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816700)

I wrote in "Cthulhu" for Governor and the optical scan machine was jammed so the poll worker--some asian dude--told me to put the ballot in the lockbox

What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Re:Cthulhu for California Governor (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816810)

Good point. There _was_ way too much superflous information in his story. I'll shorten it:

"A person saw a write-in vote for CTHULU."

Re:Cthulhu for California Governor (2, Informative)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816842)

I was just trying to set the scene. There was this asian guy poll worker who took my ballot. If it had been an old lady I would have said: "a white-haired old lady." If it had been a hot young filippino chick I would have said: "a hot, young filippino chick." You have to get details to make it more readable. No harm intended.

Re:Cthulhu for California Governor (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816918)

It lends richness and setting to the narrative.

Re:Cthulhu for California Governor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816818)

It probalby didn't faze him after all those write-ins the last time for THE TERMINATOR

Oh, and to those people saying the one vote not being counted didn't matter - aside from the principle of the thing - it did make a real difference in the election. The results were 18-18-0, resulting in a tie, which will be resolved in a run-off election. If there were a totle of 36 votes, then the results should have been 18-17-1... with a clear winner.

You must be thrilled then (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816850)

Your candidate won!!

Don't Blame the Machines (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816588)

I think it's worth pointing out that the machines themselves don't appear to be at fault, but rather a person or persons that counted the votes, so to speak.

Re:Don't Blame the Machines (2, Insightful)

Leffe (686621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816908)

Oh, the machines do exactly what they are supposed to do. It's whoever dictated what they were supposed to do that is at fault.

This IS evidence of fraud (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816592)

It's very unlikely that someone would try to rig the vote for town mayor. But what if the machine were selectively droping votes for a specific senator or representative? Messing up the other questions on the ballot would be a side effect.

Arkansas sux (1)

phil42 (24711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816620)

It really does.

What if he DIDN'T vote for himself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816640)

That is, he COULD have an personal beef with the new voting machines, and is deceiving everyone to further his agenda.

maybe they should check... (2, Insightful)

Alcari (1017246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816676)

If the guy: A - Voted correctly B - Pressed the right button, not a slip of the finger to another candidate. They've all got printouts right? So comapre the 36 printouts with the 36 votes, and see if they match, easily done in such a small town. Also, 80 people and only 36 votes?

evoting = 100% acuracy requirement (4, Insightful)

pseudorand (603231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816768)

I think we need a law that requires 100% accuracy for any electronic voting system. When people counting votes, you'd expect some error and you'd expect that error to be some reasnabally small number. When a computer doing the counting, you'd expect 100% accuracy. If you have a mistake, you can't assume it's some small percentage that can be ignored. It's just as likely to be a very large error.

Anyone care to draft legislation to send to our reps?

Write-in votes frequently don't get counted... (2, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816780)

...or reported. I don't know whether this is a terrible thing or not. Anyone who has ever cast a frivolous vote for themself, their friend, or their pet and looked for it in the official tally has been disappointed. Only when you have a large systematic write-in campaign do they really get counted... and even then, the organizers of such campaigns routinely charge undercounting of such votes.

SECRET ballot (1, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816786)

There is no way of us knowing that he really did this. He could be lying for whatever twisted reason... he just doesn't like new-fangled electronic things.

The system works fine (5, Funny)

Subm (79417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816846)

The system works fine. I voted for the other guy 18 times and each time the machines worked perfectly.

And the count came out correct. I don't see the problem.

internet (2, Interesting)

emmanuel.charpentier (36227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816858)

Let's use the net to replicate all votes in real time, let's set an id onto each vote and trace its movements wherever it goes.

In fact it should be as easy as a mailing list of all votes!

http://leparlement.org/security [leparlement.org]

What's so hard about this? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816866)

You have a machine that facilitates the voter's selection by way of touch screen etc.... then it creates a paper ballot, the voter verifies the ballot and puts it in the ballot box. If there is any question, you just count the paper ballots. How is it that you folks can't seem to get this simple concept down?

That does it (1)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16816886)

It's time to switch back to beans.

Same as Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16816904)

The electronics reported the same votes from many precincts, showing how Chavez stole the election, and he does hold the codes for the back door into America's elections.
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