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Colorado Decertifies E-voting Machines

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the sudden-outbreak-of-common-sense dept.

United States 169

mamer-retrogamer writes "On December 17, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman decertified election equipment used by 64 Colorado counties, including machines made by Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold Election Systems. A report issued by the Secretary of State's office details a myriad of problems such as lack of password protection on the systems, controls that could give voters unauthorized access, and the absence of any way to track or detect security violations. Manufacturers have 30 days to appeal the decertification."

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Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743422)

I heard the e-certified devoting machines.

Its true we need security (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743446)

They have images of the new machines and a description of their functions within the new system here [myminicity.com]

There's an idea. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743564)

"Impeachment" sounds so... nasty. Let's change the term to "devoting", which has a nice neutral ring to it.

Re:Really? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744250)

Or was it they were devoted to e-certifying machines? Or were they certifying voting on e-Machines? Argh! I'm so ocnfused!

skynet wants to vote (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743428)

Colorado Decertifies E-voting Machines

Bad move. Everyone knows that lack of suffrage for machines is one of the catalysts of the machine uprising.

Help the Environment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743476)

Nothing is bad about this once you see the truth [myminicity.com]

Re:Help the Environment (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743868)

Man this chucklehead hasn't eaten more mod points over the last few days than the Cloverfield monster. Can /. ban his IP address?

Re:Help the Environment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743944)

The secret to posting so much is changing your ip (dynamic - reset router) and voila you have mod eating monster [myminicity.com]

Re:skynet wants to vote (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743810)

Bah! I'll take on a Diebold voting machine any day. Hell, I'll take on hundreds of them.

I'm more worried about Mother... But she's busy with the politicians.

Re:skynet wants to vote (0)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744112)

transformers\ Don't touch it to the cube! you don't know how evil it will become!\ end Transformers

Re:skynet wants to vote (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745224)

Before you give suffrage to machines, you must first program them to feel pain.

- RG>

I love it. (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743462)

Quote: formerly known as Diebold Election Systems . . . Funny how some companies change their name and expect to carry on their shady, underhanded, public-trust-violating business practices with few or no consequences. Wonder how often this happens in other industries related to government contracting.

Re:I love it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743528)

There is nothing funny about what you say.... people who can't control themselves [myminicity.com]

Diebold's former names (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743600)

I heard Diebold used to be a subsidiary of Citibank's medieval "what's in your wallet" steel-weapon-wielding competitors. They invented AMT fees, remember?

What's in your voting booth?

Re:Diebold's former names (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743722)

I was going to vote, but heard some guy named Chad hung himself in the booth. Must have been the frustration of it all.

Re:Diebold's former names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21745502)

Thanks for posting the most un-funny thing I have ever read. I was looking for a benchmark for anti-humor. Thanks!

Re:Diebold's former names (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743914)

Asian Massage Terminals used to be free? Man did I miss out...

Don't forget Haliburton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743676)

n/t

Re:I love it. (4, Informative)

jackpot777 (1159971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744146)

Wonder how often this happens in other industries related to government contracting.


Dig around on SourceWatch [sourcewatch.org] . Here's what I found:

BearingPoint was formerly KPMG Consulting Inc., the consulting division of the huge accounting firm KPMG LLP that was brought down in the Enron/Arthur Anderson scandal of 2002. In July of 2003, BearingPoint was awarded a contract by USAID worth $79.5 million to facilitate Iraq's economic recovery with a two-year option worth a total of $240,162,688

Amoco got rid of its company name when it merged with British Petroleum, greenwashing their hands of the Amoco Cadiz oil spill.

Just for the sheer cheek of it all, the Astroturf page [sourcewatch.org] gives you cause to ponder at just how amoral businesses can be.

Re:I love it. (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744322)

Just for the sheer cheek of it all, the Astroturf page [sourcewatch.org] gives you cause to ponder at just how amoral businesses can be.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:I love it. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744776)

Amoral is without morals... I think it means exactly what he thinks it means. Companies are amoral because the only thing that matters is getting more money. If they can make it legally, they will. If not, they weigh the reward vs the risk of penalty. That's pretty much the definition of amoral. Only if companies did the illegal thing simply to do something bad would they become immoral.

Re:I love it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21746218)

Amoral is without morals... I think it means exactly what he thinks it means. Companies are amoral because the only thing that matters is getting more money. If they can make it legally, they will. If not, they weigh the reward vs the risk of penalty. That's pretty much the definition of amoral. Only if companies did the illegal thing simply to do something bad would they become immoral.
There are no degrees to amorality, you either are amoral, or you are not. Thus "how amoral they are" is wrong.

BearingPoint != Arthur Andersen - you're confused (4, Informative)

Steve Hamlin (29353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745556)

Bearing Point: I realize you're just quoting from SourceWatch, but both they and you have it wrong, and you're removing the limited context that they had.

the huge accounting firm KPMG LLP that was brought down in the Enron/Arthur Anderson scandal of 2002

No, ARTHUR ANDERSEN was the huge accounting firm that failed due to Enron. KMPG Consulting just bought a piece of the corpse: mostly the U.S./Western Europe operations of the business consulting unit of Arthur Andersen (AABC).

More detail:

The consulting division of KPMG-U.S. was spun of as a separate U.S. public company in early 2001. They then started acquiring other consulting companies (some of them from KPMG-Brazil, KPMG-Japan, etc - all separate accounting partnerships that really are not the same company as KPMG-US.)

In addition, they would also buy smaller (non-KPMG branded) consulting firms.

Arthur Andersen LLP had spun off Andersen Consulting in 1989. Again, two separate companies. After that split (and subsequent protracted litigation between Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting to the tune of $billions), Arthur Andersen started a consulting divison again, called AABC.

After Arthur Andersen fell apart as a result of Enron, different companies started buying up different pieces of Arthur Andersen - by country and by business unit. In the U.S., AABC that was part of Arthur Andersen-U.S. was purchased by KPMG Consulting, Inc. (the relatively new separate public company).

By this point, KPMG Consulting had acquired tons of firms, people, accounts, etc, and re-branded themselves as Bearing Point.

KMPG != Arthur Andersen

Obligatory replacement criteria (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743506)

Might as well get this over with...

Any machine they get must be better than what they used before 2000.

The main problems with 20th-century machines were:

* some were prone to jamming, losing votes, or having impossible-to-read votes
* most were impossible for the blind or severely-mobility-impaired to use without someone else seeing their vote.

E-voting attempted to fix both of these problems and did so quite well.

The problems are that they did not maintain the good things about most existing voting systems:

* privacy of the vote
* what was cast was what was counted - voter-verified paper trail
* transparency of the vote-counting process
* ability to do a completely manual recount in a transparent manner

Compromise these and you are worse than what you had before.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743598)

I have some better replacement criteria. All voting machines should be replaced with pen and paper. The counting should be done by people. Works just fine up here in Canada. Sure it's not perfect, but it seems to have way less problems than voting machines.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743640)

Blah blah blah 50 issues on a ballot blah blah blah not immune from keying error blah blah blah optech eagles already work like this blah blah blah.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21744750)

That needs to be modded up. Every time the voting issue comes up, someone points out that there exists a system of voting that has worked well for the past, well, thousand years or so. (Whenever it was that paper became common.)

And the answer thrown back is always that American ballots are "too complicated". But ask why Americans pass dumb laws like the US PATRIOT Act or condone torture, and you're told that US isn't a direct democracy, it's a representative republic.

Really? Then why are that ballots so complicated that pencil and paper can't work?!

Either it's a representative republic and paper ballots will work, or it's a direct democracy and these crazy electric voting machines are need to get instant results. It doesn't work both ways.

The simple reality is that not only can paper ballots work, in a lot of polling places in the US they DO WORK and are in use.

So why voting machines? There's the obvious reason, money. And then there's the paranoid reason, power...

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745958)

"And the answer thrown back is always that American ballots are "too complicated". But ask why Americans pass dumb laws like the US PATRIOT Act or condone torture, and you're told that US isn't a direct democracy, it's a representative republic.

Really? Then why are that ballots so complicated that pencil and paper can't work?!

Either it's a representative republic and paper ballots will work, or it's a direct democracy and these crazy electric voting machines are need to get instant results. It doesn't work both ways."

Well, it is a bit more complex than that. We ARE a democratic republic. Our representatives (unfortunately) passed the Patriot Act...not by a vote of the people. That was a Federal thing. The thing is, the US is NOT just one country, but consists of 50 states. We're more like the EU now is...each state (supposedly, but, that's another thread) is like its own country, and representatives from each state goes to the Federal govt. But, when we have elections, things can vary a great deal by state. When federal elections come around, they usually coincide with local elections, and often voters do get direct power to vote locally on referendums, state constitution issues, etc. So, the ballot the avg. person gets, in each city, can contain on some voting days (local voting way more often that national voting)...some people may have a ballot, that has city issues, state issues, local officials running for office, state officials running for office, federal officials running for office, etc. So, the ballots are not the same at all often even for 2 cities during the same elections period.

While it wouldn't confuse me to paper and pen it....well, it probably would mess with other people. Heck, every method they've come up with to vote...has historically confused some people, and caused their votes to be thrown out.

But, voting on local issues varies by state and city...some put some items up for democratic vote by their populace, others, not so much. But, this comes due to the independence of local and state govts. from the Federal system...yet somehow, all the separate entities still manage to interact together.

Next week, I'll be discussing the 'blue lines' in hockey.................

:-)

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743946)

Seems like we have to choose between two different categories of risks. We get to tolerate either:

(1) Closed electronic voting systems that suffer from numerous problems, such as lack of accountability. No way to tell if the company producing the systems and collecting the data was paid to alter the results.

(2) Pen and paper voting systems that suffer from numerous problems, such as lack of accountability. No way to tell if the guys collecting and tabulating the ballots were paid to alter the results.

Sucks.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (4, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744064)

No way to tell if the guys collecting and tabulating the ballots were paid to alter the results.
How about you WATCH them? Make ballot counting committees of multiple people from each political party and force them to count together and check each others' counts, and make the entire process a public event. Hold it in a high school gym, let [up to] a thousand interested citizens watch. I live in a voting precinct of about 10k people, and I know at least 50 of them would show up to watch this, out of a sense of civic duty or even just curiosity. ONE of those people is going to notice if some ballots marked A end up in the box for ballots marked B, and any of them can compare the scoreboard totals from their event with the reported totals for the next step up the chain of accumulation, probably available online and in a newspaper.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744800)

Yeah... that watching the counters sure did wonders in Chicago in the 60's/70's/80's when election stealing w/ PAPER BALLOTS was the norm. Paper trail is a bunch of BS. Elections were stolen w/ a paper trail - what difference does it make??

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745046)

In theory, this is exactly how it works in Germany. In practice, no one seems to be too interested. The counting is mostly done by teachers and other state employees that couldn't shirk the task. I recently volunteered to help out and I think everybody who cares about democracy should do so, too.
 

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

koh (124962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745524)

I recently volunteered to help out and I think everybody who cares about democracy should do so, too.


And in doing so, if there had been fraud, maybe, just maybe, you'd have noticed it. You're Internet-savvy and you can post your opinion and proof worldwide. There are more people like you in your country than you think. GP has a good point.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744120)

(2) Pen and paper voting systems that suffer from numerous problems, such as lack of accountability. No way to tell if the guys collecting and tabulating the ballots were paid to alter the results.


Unless, of course, you have representatives of all the candidates present at all times while the votes are handled. You know, *the way every proper pen-and-paper balloting system works.*

Chris Mattern

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744778)

Why restricting it to affiliates of the candidates? Just let everyone watch the count who wants to watch! There is nothing secret about a vote count.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745166)

In some countries, each political party on the ballot can have a representative at each poll to make sure no shenanigans take place. There's no such thing as a perfect balloting system, but to claim the old-fashioned pen-and-paper system is somehow critically flawed is not bourne out by the evidence. The problem in the US is a) fear-mongering by companies making electronic voting equipment and b) overly-complex ballots.

International election observers have never, so far as I'm aware, in countries such as Canada, which use a standardized pen-and-paper ballot for all national elections. The good old fashioned rule of an incredibly tight ballot count between different candidates triggers a recount, and if need be, a judicial recount in front of a judge.

It's a helluva lot better than some proprietary blackbox that everyone has to take on faith actually works. It's good to see some states now seriously questioning the use of these machines, and the liberties which the companies that make them have been afforded.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (2, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745340)

I propose a much better form of direct democracy that will solve all these problems once and for all.

For each candidate, get a large sack that is heavy enough that it requires exactly half of the electorate to lift it.

Tie a big, long rope around the sack, and hang the rope from a pulley.

Put an extension on this rope around a second pulley, and tie the other end of it around the candidate's neck.

Then let the electors loose. Politicians will be *highly motivated* to not piss off more than half of the electorate. Whichever candidate survives gets to run the government. Instant results, no counting required. Problem solved.

And if no candidate wins the confidence of a majority of voters, or if they all step aside before the vote, then there will be no politicians left to run the government. Problem also solved.

- RG>

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746192)

Yeah, but then the "obese vote" would suddenly become a power bloc on the political scene.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745358)

No way to tell if the guys collecting and tabulating the ballots were paid to alter the results.
 
That's been thought of, but I think you're probably trolling by bringing it up. I'll bite anyway since I'm sure some people do think this is a valid concern.
 
I'm not sure how it works in other countries but here in Australia each party can send scrutineers to polling places. After polling closes, the scrutineers stand around looking at ballots as they are counted to make sure it's done right. Of course though, they will ignore informal votes for their party while pointing them out those for other parties. That's why you need scrutineers from every party there. Take a look at the scrutineers handbook [aec.gov.au] for more details of what they do before, during and after polling.

And you can always go back and recount the paper votes a second time if need be.

Paper voting is old and well proven technology. Only a fool would choose an unproven technology just because it's new or marginally faster.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745414)

It was supposed to be a humorous reference to grossly rigged elections of the past. Oddly, everyone seems to be taking it pretty seriously by offering repeated explanations of ballot observers. Wow.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746114)

This is pretty much how it works in most former British possessions. England went through a good many reforms over the years as the Commons evolved into a fully elected body via universal suffrage. There were many inequities in the system which were, over a few centuries weeded out. The idea of scrutineers was an important one, allowing parties to look over the shoulder of those counting the ballots, and just as importantly, over each other's shoulders. When you've got four or five party scrutineers hanging out, it becomes a good deal harder to commit election fraud.

Let's also remember the bad old days, when election fraud was more than ballot stuffing, stealing ballot boxes and other such dirty tricks, but was also evil deeds like intimidation and voter bribing. All sorts of things have been tried over the years, and every once in a while something new comes down the pike, like a candidate secretly helping out some third-string candidate in the hopes of splitting the vote and gaining him victory. Election systems are not immutable creatures, carved in stone. You have to continue to work at them to keep them fair and honest, and that's what the decertification is about, to make these manufacturers aware that at least some states are becoming aware that these systems may be the greatest around, but that without controls and standards, how could anyone ever know.

Do I think the conspiracy theories against Diebold are outrageous. You bet. But considering the lack of ability to confirm that, it's clear things have to change.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21745550)

"(2) Pen and paper voting systems that suffer from numerous problems, such as lack of accountability. No way to tell if the guys collecting and tabulating the ballots were paid to alter the results."

There are scrutineers from all parties in ridings who watch the vote count.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

cwills (200262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744400)

I live in Boulder County, one of the areas that had the voting machines de-certified..

We use a pen/paper for marking the ballots. The problem is in the machines that count them..

Just remember ... the power in voting is not with the people who cast the ballots, but with the people who are counting them.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743604)

Stop summarizing issues in clear, concise manners! What the hell will we have to argue about at this point?

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743670)

Advantages of 20th Century voting machines:

  * Easier to rig since you can do without the trunk full of ballots.

Advantages of E-voting machines:

  * Even easier to rig than the mechanical voting machines.

  Counting paper ballots is easy to parallelize, which is why the time to count them doesn't rise significantly with the size of the population. But if you don't tell people that, they might be persuaded to believe we must have some kind of machine to count for us.

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745186)

The fact is that there's a simple way to have the best of both worlds. Just have every voting machine/terminal produce a paper copy; the physical ballot. That way, if things get called into question, you can physically recount.

It simply amazes me that this isn't a requirement.

Re:must be better than what they used before (1)

patmandu (247443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743842)

You mean like No Voting Machine Left Behind?

Re:Obligatory replacement criteria (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743908)

It should be noted that Coffman believes that these problems can be fixed [denverpost.com] in time for 2008 using upgrades and patches, so this is definitely not a death knell for e-voting in Colorado.

Severe System Malfunction (0, Troll)

Derek the Donutmaker (1204868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743510)

This was actually the result of a severe malfunction that they went to ridiculous lengths to try to keep quiet [tinyurl.com]

Premier/Diebold decertified or not? (5, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743546)

I couldn't find a confirmation in TFA as to which companies really had machines decertified. Our local (Boulder) paper reported this morning that of the four companies involved, only Premier/Diebold had *no* certification revoked. So that's rather at odds with the summary. Seeing that I couldn't see any confirmation of the summary's statement in TFA, I suspect that the local paper got it right.

Re:Premier/Diebold decertified or not? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743656)

Let's hope, though, that none of the electronic voting machines were certified. Not that paper voting is any more secure. Last I checked, paper burns rather nicely. Maybe we should chisel votes in stone?

Re:Premier/Diebold decertified or not? (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744278)

Forging millions paper ballots is harder than forging millions of electronic votes. Manipulating elections by arson draws too much attention, thus it is not really a problem.

Try reading it (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743692)

Perhaps reading TFA will assist in seeing confirmation.

Re:Try reading it (1)

shlashdot (689477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743836)

Except it doesn't. OP is right, the reports I heard specifically cleared Diebold/Premier.

Re:Try reading it (2, Informative)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744440)

Ah, you're correct. The AP story [google.com] is slightly more specific. It appears now that only Diebold machines are allowed, unless the other companies apply some patches. Well now, isn't that interesting. Only Diebold machines allowed.

Re:Premier/Diebold decertified or not? (3, Informative)

Odin's Raven (145278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743882)

I couldn't find a confirmation in TFA as to which companies really had machines decertified. Our local (Boulder) paper reported this morning that of the four companies involved, only Premier/Diebold had *no* certification revoked. So that's rather at odds with the summary. Seeing that I couldn't see any confirmation of the summary's statement in TFA, I suspect that the local paper got it right.

Looks like your local paper got it right - according to this News Release from the Colorado Secretary of State [state.co.us] , the results were:

Premier (formally known as Diebold) All voting equipment submitted for recertification passed.

Sequoia The optical scan devices, Insight and 400-C, used to count paper ballots both passed, but the electronic voting machines, the Edge II and the Edge II Plus, both failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.

Hart The optical scan devices, eScan and BallotNow, both failed because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots. The electronic voting machine, eSlate, passed.

ES&S The optical scan devices (M 100 and the M650) both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors. The electronic voting machine (iVotronic) failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.

Maybe the Colorado Sec of State should go read yesterday's 1,000 pages of bad news: Ohio e-voting report released [arstechnica.com] article over on Ars Technica, then chat with the Ohio Sec of State about the EVEREST Testing Reports [state.oh.us] , which document high-risk issues with equipment from all the vendors that were tested (including Premier/Diebold).

Re:Premier/Diebold decertified or not? (1)

Joe Helfrich (837865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746256)

The Premier/Diebold machines were "conditionally certified," and the Secretary of State's office is going to provide a list of things they have to do to be recertified. That list is supposed to be available on the department's website, but it wasn't there when I last checked this afternoon.

See http://www.denver.rockymountainnews.com/documents/2007/2007-12/20071217/20071217premier.pdf [rockymountainnews.com] , which is a copy of the letter to Premier from the SoS.M

Those machines were the only ones to receive this rating--everything else mentioned in the report, including Boulder's optical scan machines that they've been using for years, were decertified with no path to reinstatement outside of the courts.

This isn't about securing elections. This is about getting the whole state, particularly the metro counties where electronic counting was used, on Diebold machines.

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743556)


In Soviet America, E-voting machines decertify Colorado.

Cheers.

Decertification not enough (1)

zgregoryg (1061612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743566)

What we need now is an investigation into who in government certified this product in the first place, and how they were able to afford their Cayman on a gov worker salary.

Voting Made Easy, Secure (3, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743642)

Go to polling location.
Tell attendant your name and address.
They look you up on a list, and you sign.
They give you a paper card, you mark your votes, you place it in a locked box.
It is later hand counted.

Hand counting doesn't take long (hey herds: think distributed computing), and should always, always, always be an option - never trust the machines.
If someone wants to vote electronically (old people who can't figure out chads), just give them a touch screen that prints out a physical ballot that they turn in.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

Leet0 (1201497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743760)

"Hand counting doesn't take long (hey herds: think distributed computing), and should always, always, always be an option - never trust the machines." That should be (hey NERDS: ...) sorry, had to! i'm a nerd.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745716)

Damn - I even proof read it.

Re: Damn - I even proof read it. (1)

jeremiahbell (522050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746426)

It was probably a Freudian slip. People do have a herd mentality when it comes to computers, and the herd thinks that computers are better for everything. They can be great for voting, but we need a paper trail if computers are used. In Kansas they have elected to create a system where all electronic votes are centrally tabulated in Topeka, the state capital. [anything else I say after that sentence would be obvious]

Vote-filling-out machines: great idea (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743902)

If someone wants to vote electronically (old people who can't figure out chads), just give them a touch screen that prints out a physical ballot that they turn in.
Excellent idea.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743930)

you left out a step:

Show government certified ID to PROVE that you are who you say you are.

Otherwise you are wide open to fraud.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745440)

Otherwise you are wide open to fraud.

I'm always amazed when people say this. Voter fraud is like counterfeiting pennies--a lot of work with very little to be gained. If you're going to put all that time and energy into getting a candidate elected there are many much easier ways of doing it.

And if you were to do it, it wouldn't be through the misrepresentation of other people. If the dead voted in Chicago, it wasn't because people were pretending to be other people, it was because the most powerful man in American politics was pulling the strings at the top. Far easier to get the pollworkers to do everything for you.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744238)

Hand counting doesn't take long

Right. The 150,000 votes for three elected offices and eleven measures in the 2007 San Francisco Mayoral election, which were counted by hand, took almost a month to tally. Imagine how long it would have taken if all 450,000 registered voters had submitted a ballot.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (2, Informative)

richkh (534205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744348)

Canadian Federal election, 2004. Paper ballots. 13.5 million votes. Less than 24 hours for results. It's not that hard.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744504)

In Canada we count votes so fast, we had to create laws against reporting the results so the west coast voters wouldn't be influenced by the results of the east coast voters. That should give everyone a good idea of how quickly votes are counted in Canada.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746342)

Is that hand-counting? Or using Scan-Tron-type counters? Most states in the US currently use some form of electric counter, and we also deliver reports within 3 hours of the polls closing. As a Washingtonian, I kind of wish we had a "shut the f--- up, press" law to prevent them from reporting results before the west coasters have even had a chance to vote.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744684)

It appears that vote counting is done at the polling stations and only the results are tabulated centrally. Is this true?

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21744894)

True. Also, while the voting stations are run by volunteers, each voting station also has representatives from every political party present, overseeing the process of voting and counting. I think it's a pretty good system; I fear the day when electronic voting starts making inroads here.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744930)

Canadian Federal election, 2004. Paper ballots. 13.5 million votes.

Correct--Each voter cast one vote (for their MP) multiplied by 13.5 million voters= 13.5 million votes to count.

2004 US election: State of Ohio, Franklin County. Each voter had 57 choices mulitplied by 560,000 voters= 31,920,000 votes to count.

One medium sized US county created nearly 3 times the quantity of votes to count that the entirety of Canada did in a federal election. Remember, our elections are quite different down here...pen and paper ballots would make things "complex."

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745920)

57 choices or 57 decisions?

If I can choose 1 person out of 57 candidates, that's 57 choices, 1 decision. That's 1 vote.
We don't go and add up all those useless 0s.

Obama: 01011101101...
Clinton: 11010100010...

No.

If you had 57 things to vote on, then you're still exaggerating - state propositions and local measures are handled differently than national stuff.

Regardless - if we take 1 minute to count each ballot, and 200 million ballots are cast...

4 million per state. Say we've got only 25 counting stations per state...
160,000 per counting station. Say we've got 40 volunteers / counters per station...
4000 per volunteer. Say they work 6 hours a day...
Just over 11 days.

Now we have to add them back up!
40 volunteers report their numbers at each station, and they're added up...
1 hour to add, double check, and see if anyone's counts were statistical outliers.

Now we count together the stations in each state...
25 stations per state report their numbers, and they're added up. Again, 1 hour is plenty of time.

Then we simply add up the electoral votes each state is worth, take another hour, if you must.

Hay guys, that's less than 12 days total, and we can re-inspect any statistical outliers.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744332)

That's not far off from what Cuyahoga County Ohio is planning to do for the upcoming primaries. They are proposing to drop the error prone, insecure electronic machines they spent millions on and going to photo-scan sheets similar to those used for basically all standardized testing in the US. The known error rate for those machines is lower than any other technology including double checked hand counting and of course you can always go the hand counting route if you want to because the forms are completely human readable.

Re:Voting Made Easy, Secure (1)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745710)

Hand counting it just as susceptible , if not more so, not only human error, but influence from shady politicians. In my humble opinion, voting should be done electronically using open source software in a secure but open environment that can he checked by all those involved, including the voters. With the advent of PGP, Kerberos, and the multitude of other security mechanisms, there is no reason why this particular issue has been such an enormous point of contention. I always love how so many of these companies involved in this sort of thing are always tied to certain politicians in some way shape or form. Could they be more obvious?

Is this a surprise to anyone (1)

rambag (961763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743662)

I don't need to say much other than, this is the company we employee to make these machines and we expect fair and working products? http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0307/S00065.htm [scoop.co.nz] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0211/S00081.htm [scoop.co.nz] http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2004/04/63298 [wired.com] /case

"appeal the decertification." (5, Insightful)

Lookin4Trouble (1112649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743706)

Manufacturers have 30 days to submit bribes to appeal the decertification.

Fixed for ya

Re:"appeal the decertification." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21744346)

Colorado is not the east coast.

Was this decision the result of a vote? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21743720)

The 64 Supervisors of Election voted yea or nea on decertification

The result was 79-4 for decertification, motion carried

Remember kids, you can't spell penis without... (0, Troll)

patmandu (247443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743802)

...Premier Election Solutions (PES)!

Re:Remember kids, you can't spell penis without... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746468)

Why is this a troll? Diebold is owned and operated by dicks.

Diary is incorrect (2, Informative)

Phoenix Rising (28955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743818)

Premier systems are the only ones NOT decertified. This is contradictory to every other decertification and audit performed in other states and brings into question the validity of the testing in Colorado.

I'm surprised. (4, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743838)

So far, nobody's mentioned projects like the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org] in this discussion. This might be a perfect time to point Colorado officials in the right direction. Just a thought...

In Related News... (0, Offtopic)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743856)

The Republicans will get blown away in the 2008 elections. Go figure.

Re:In Related News... (2, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743888)

The Republicans will get blown away in the 2008 elections.

Monica is a turncoat, too?

Holy Shit... Yay! (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743898)

As a Colorado resident, I have to say I wasn't expecting this sort of a move. It seems like most people I talk to about this sort of issue are grossly anti-informed, and try to dismiss anybody talking ill of the new magic electro voting machines must be a luddite incapable of understanding the issues.

I have been considering rambling for five minutes about voting machines at the next Freak Train in January. (It's an open mic show in Denver at the Bug Theater on a Monday at the Bug Theater.) I was sort of assuming it wouldn't be worth my trouble, but with this local news as a starting point, I may just do it.

BTW, if anybody local knows of any good venues for talking about these sorts of things, I enjoy rambling in front of an audience. :)

What I want to know is... (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21743984)

Are the people at Premier Election Solutions fools??? I am sure they think they have great machines.

SO WHAT?

There is so much public outcry against their machines, that they had to change their name from Diebold to Premier. Look is it THAT hard to realize that even if their machines are perfect at what they do they have a big image problem and no, changing the name won't solve it.

You want real intelligent advice, here:

Go through the YEARS of bad publicity. Pick out the most respectable of the people that despise your machines.

Invite them to make a presentation of what features they want in a voting machine.

Instant free consumer research. Then just have your designers create two or three models:

1. Economy model that offers only the features that are cheap to add on.

2. Moderate model that offers some of the more stuff that costs a bit more.

3. Deluxe model that offers every SINGLE one of the features that their critics asked for.

BOOM. They have just turned their worst weakness into their biggest strengths. I bet at least on of these models would be a huge seller. Even if none of the models sold, they can advertise them and say "Don't blame us - we tried. Those cheap SOBs refused to pay for it."

You don't even have to begin construction until you get an order in. Worst case scenario, they have paid their designers for a learning project.

Diebold machines were not decertified (1)

doit3d (936293) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744124)

From a summary I read earlier from another source:

* All voting systems made by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), both paper-based optical-scan and DREs, were completely decertified. Their op-scan systems tested, according to Coffman, "both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors." Their ubiqutous, and fatally flawed iVotronic DRE system "failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
        * Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems were conditionally certified, while their DRE systems were completely decertified for use, as they "failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
        * Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart Intercivic were decertified "because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots"(!), while their DRE voting system was conditionally certified.
        * And finally, both optical-scan and DRE voting systems made by Diebold/Premier were conditionally certified for use in Colorado.

Here is the source, but I do not know the accuracy of it: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5451 [bradblog.com]

Nice tags... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21744140)

politics, usa, myriadisnotanoun , !audittrail, nowbanitfederally

Wanna bet? [m-w.com]

Fantastic (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744214)

Finally the elected folks have woken up. This is obviously not a technology we want to base our democracy on...

How about this for a voting system? (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744254)

How about a ballot like this [elections.ca] , marked with a pencil? And after you mark it behind a privacy screen, you fold it and present it to a poll worker, who looks at the folded ballot and verifies there is only one, valid ballot and initials it, then hands it back to you and you put it in a simple cardboard ballot box [elections.ca] .

The votes are counted at each polling place by the poll workers, and representatives of each candidate can observe, and it is open to public observation.

Is this just too simple?

Re:How about this for a voting system? (4, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744430)

Is this just too simple?
Well, it sure is deeply flawed. Think: how can someone make a profit on it? At least require that it use a special kind of paper that only my company makes.

OT: tagging beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21744342)

The eventual implementation of /. Tagging clearly requires some kind of moderation system. Myriad is indeed a noun. [reference.com] I know this isn't the first occurrence of a bad tag, but on a site with a high ratio of educated users, this example is laughable.

- T

Re:OT: tagging beta (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21746496)

A high ratio of educated users to ... what, exactly? Orangutans? Baboons? Politicians?

this really annoys me (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744568)

pencil

paper

ovals

optical scanner

end of f***ing story

there is no compelling reason to make voting more complex than that, and any more complexity just means less transparency and more attack vectors for shady characters

hell, mechanical voting is more complex than that, and has a history of tampering shenanigans

of course people can still mess with pencil and paper. however, in LESS ways than mechanical or electronic voting

but you go ahead mr. slow-witted bureaucrat and champion a voting scheme that undermines faith in our democracy and our government

figure it the f*** out

just figure it the f*** out before we become a fascist state. k thx

Re:this really annoys me (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21744624)

Oklahoma is like this >= => draw a line to complete the arrow, run it through an optical scanner... why it has to mere difficult than that boggles the mind

It's all about democracy and freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21745476)

But apparently it's not just the USA where people have a problem when it comes to voting and voter representation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JJlI9swbsA [youtube.com]

tagging gone bad (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745564)

what the heck happened with the tags on this story? are they having a conversation now?

The trick is to keep it simple. (1)

mustpax (983305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21745610)

The simpler a system is, the easier it is to secure. India already uses electronic voting machines with great success [blogspot.com] . Now that is well engineered solution.

No, Diebold, it's not gonna be secure when you introduce 1024 bit encryption.

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