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NYT Notes Flaws In Current Electronic Voting Methods

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the judge-carefully dept.

United States 121

dstates writes "The New York time has an informative article on electronic voting with some frightening statistics and interesting anecdotes. Printers on Diebold machines in Cayahoga County OH jammed 20% of the time, making paper trail recounts suspect. Crashing voting machines in California reportedly resulted from Windows CE sensing fingers sliding from one key to another as a drag and drop event, and the Diebold software failing to handle the event. Of course, rather than just ignore this unanticipated condition, the OS did the right thing for a voting machine and crashed."

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121 comments

Absentee Vote! (4, Informative)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924878)


In California, you can be an Permanent Absentee Voter, which guarantees a paper trail for your vote. I deliver mine directly to the County Registrar of Voters, but I believe you can drop them off an any polling place, or mail them, though they have to arrive by the deadline, postmark does not count.

Re:Absentee Vote! (2, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924968)

or mail them, though they have to arrive by the deadline, postmark does not count.


Doesn't that open up a whole bunch of ways to do fraud?

In the post office, possibly:
"Here are the votes from the very (hated political party) area"
"Put them behind box over there, I will get to them next week"
"But they have to be counted by tomorrow"
"Yeah, so?

Re:Absentee Vote! (4, Interesting)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925012)

Unfortunately, being an absentee voter doesn't really guarantee you much more of a paper trail - not only is the anonymity protocol violated (there's no way to make sure people aren't forcing or bribing you to vote a certain way), but there is also no way for the counters to make sure all of the absentee votes make it to the counting table (or whether they have been selectively pruned).

Also, many places use the optical scanning machines to sum up the absentee ballots, then add the votes to the database of the central tabulator machine being used to count the votes from the balloting machines.

That being said, at least the paper is existing somewhere at some point (and the voter has had a chance to look at it), so it could be looked at as a marginally better process than the paperless machines. Absentee balloting is just the best of a bad process though.

Re:Absentee Vote! (1)

opec (755488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925662)

Absentee voting can be a real sham.

As a college student away from home, I wanted to vote for the first time in my life. I called my home county's (duly elected) official clerk's office and requested an absentee voting form. I had to explain that I was in college away from home. Surprise, no form came. And no form came after the following two times I requested one.

It's enough to completely demoralize me from voting any more [wikipedia.org].

Re:Absentee Vote! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925358)

Too much work for one stupid vote. Especially when the electorate is the one whose vote really counts anyway. And even more so since there won't be any reasonable viable candidates. You'll have a religious nut who wants to invade your wallet on one side and a religious nut who wants to invade your bedroom on the other. Don't fret. Go have a nice cold beer and do something that is actually truly useful.

NYT Notes Flaws In Current Electronic Voting Metho (3, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924918)

I found one already without even reading the article:

...reportedly resulted from Windows CE sensing fingers sliding...

Re:NYT Notes Flaws In Current Electronic Voting Me (2)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925436)

yeah seriously why the hell would you put Windows on a voting machine?!?! What a bunch of morons. The simpler the better. All it has to do is record a goddam vote and print something. You don't need internet protocols and windows update and Free Cell on it.

Re:NYT Notes Flaws In Current Electronic Voting Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21926370)

you're an idiot. windows CE is not full blown windows.

Software standards are just terrible, complicated (5, Insightful)

compumike (454538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924926)

I am totally shocked that even Diebold could screw up this badly, making systems that crash under normal usage conditions. But the design philosophy they took is the wrong one. Look at the complexity behind these things! Keep it simple and they might have done much better. Why base something like this off of Windows CE? How many megahertz do I need to do a voting machine? Seriously, all of this extra hardware and software means more abstraction (which is considered a good thing in the computer science world), but it also means more abstractions that can be misinterpreted and misused. For a system whose job is so simple, keep the product equally simple.

--
Coder? Want to learn electronics? Microcontroller kits. [nerdkits.com]

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925068)

I am totally shocked that even Diebold could screw up this badly

At this point I wonder why Microsoft doesn't enter the market of voting machines. Even they wouldn't fuck it up this badly.

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925114)

A vote counter could be done in 1980:s technology using Basic - except that you may want to use more than a 16 bit integer to count the votes or you will get a rollover into negative after 32767 votes. Not a big problem...

Anyway - when it comes to voting machines the requirements should be that they are mathematically verifiable [tfhrc.gov] for correctness [correctnes...uction.com]. This essentially rules out Windows CE and a lot of other systems. Mostly since the complexity of those systems are too large.

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925458)

when it comes to voting machines the requirements should be that they are mathematically verifiable for correctness

And how will that keep the printer from malfunctioning, or the ram from spiking under a very specific, untestable state (include temperature and a particular set of bits that causes the CPU to malfunction?

Your solution sucks. The issues are not from mathematical failures, but from mechanical/electrical ones.

These machines should consist of a single MCU which is connected to pushbuttons and feeds to a dot-matrix printer and a EPROM (not EEPROM) via RS-485 or SPI (each of which is run by a single MCU that only does that).

Which pushbutton means which candidate is *printed* on a card and placed next to the buttons.

Cost to construct: $10 of hardware+outer casing (which is presumably hundreds of dollars).
Chance of failure: extremely small.

Why this hasn't been done yet considering the amount of money poured into the process: because they like it to be the way that it is.

I should mention that the above procedure doesn't actually require an OS and can be easily represented by a finite state machine. In other words, this level of simplicity actually results in mathematically verifiable functionality automatically, while at the same time it actually solves the problem.

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925578)

Why not just use paper? Any use of computers means that nobody can verify what software is actually running when they walk up to the machine on election day. There is no problem with paper and pen, and hand counting. It is completely verifiable, completely transparent, and with people watching the polling stations, ballot boxes, and counting, is actually quite hard to cheat the system. It's also very hard to do cheating en masse. Sure you could stuff a couple ballot boxes, but it is very hard to stuff all the ballots across the country.

Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925218)

Why on Earth would you be surprised that Diebold machines malfunction?

They're designed that way.

Seriously, why would Diebold install working printers on them? What incentive is there for this corporation, whose financial and political involvement with this administration is well-documented, to do anything approaching ethical? Diebold fights this tooth and nail despite the fact that most governments are willing to pay extra for this added reliability. Either Diebold lacks the technological savvy to make the printers work reliably or they're intentionally sabotaging it.

Draw your own conclusions.

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925300)

For a system whose job is so simple, keep the product equally simple.

I have already proposed a new hardware solution: using a core component based on carbon nano-platelets, encased in a security layer composed on bio-cultivated fibres, coated by a impact resistance plastic polymer coating. This can be used to encode ultra-high resolution glyphs at the atomic level onto a wafer of specialised high contrast bio-cultivated fibre sheets. These sheets are collected in high security aluminium casings, with secured access points.

For vote counting, these casings are accessed via a private key security method and the sheets are distributed through a double-pass grid based visual recognotion system. This system is based on ultra-low cost, long life bio-degradable wetware, each grid node containing a state-of-the-art high density neural-net based visual recognition system. The grid system collates the vote totals through a summation n-ary tree to the final local arbiter. These arbiters then declare, or organise further summation passes as required if any grid nodes are suspected of mis-computation.

I have already been granted a patent for this from the USPTO, so I'll sue anyone who uses a similar system. These items will be marketed under the trademarked names of Carbonomark(TM) and Organosheets(TM).

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925980)

"But the design philosophy they took is the wrong one. Look at the complexity behind these things!"

Do you really think that the designers at Diebold are stupid? I don't. I think the unnecessary complexity is purposeful. Much like modern legislation, if you make it a bloated hypercomplex thing, it's much easier to hide and manupulate things in there. Now of course this sounds like conspiracy theory, but there is another very simple thing that occurred to me in the first ten seconds of reading the article. "Why was there only one tally server doing the counting? Why not enter the information into each of two or more separate tally servers? Would that expose even more "errors"? Tallying votes securely should not be a difficult thing. Here on slashdot there have been dozens of well thought out ways to do that. The only reason that makes any sense for Diebold's "blunders" is that they are not actually trying to count the votes securely and accurately. So while some may say: "Don't attribute to malice what can be more more easily explained by stupidity." I'm saying that multi-million dollar high profile contracts like these are not engineered by teams of incompetent fools. This cannot be attributed to stupidity, other than using Diebold or ESS machines in the first place.

Re:Software standards are just terrible, complicat (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926258)

I am totally shocked that even Diebold could screw up this badly

Nah, I worked for 2 Fortune 500 companies ($LargeHardwareAndServicesProvider and $WeMakeHighendElectronics) and the arconyms SNAFU, TARFU, BOHICA, TAFUBB etc. were par for the course.

Combine poor communications, bad management, short deadlines, sale of vaporware or processes, over selling of the product, political infighting and a blind gold rush mentality and this isn't really surprising. What is surprising is after all these years the customers have never learned after having been burned so many times.

I VOTE FOR YOUR MOTHER (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924938)

because she is a dirty whore

Re:I VOTE FOR YOUR MOTHER (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925588)

It may be flaim bate but it is true! She is whore.

Re:I VOTE FOR YOUR MOTHER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21928372)

Everyone seems to be voting for your mother! Its a landslide of pubic hair!

As a voter (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924948)

can I refrain from using the voting machine and request that my vote is registered by other means?

Just curious since I can't vote - but is there legal room that allows it?

What about disabled people that for some reason can't use a voting machine - what are their options?

Re:As a voter (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925066)

A lot of the reason behind the push for voting machines was supposedly to be easier for disabled people to use to vote. After all, a blind person will have a lot of trouble with "scantron" or other "visual" type ballot.

Re:As a voter (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925390)

In Canada, disabled may get somebody to help them. Almost all polling stations have level access (so wheelchairs can access them). There are also mobile polling stations for those who are unable to travel to their polling station. I understand how a computer might help some disabled people, but it would probably be better if it was just used to mark a ballot which would be the same as those marked in pen by the non-disabled voters. Then they could all be counted by hand.

Re:As a voter (1)

AlinuxNCSU (589202) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926566)

In Canada, disabled may get somebody to help them.

That's true in the United States, as well. Disabled groups have pushed for electronic machines precisely because they do not want to require the help of others. As the argument goes, such a system necessarily makes them beholden to others and casts disabled voters as second class citizens.

I'm feeling old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924956)

It it incredible how much poor code is used in real life mission critical applications. Isn't annotations teached anymore? How about test-driven development?

Re:I'm feeling old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925000)

I think the first principle that needs to be applied is: The simpler the system is, the easier it will be to verify. This guy just wrote a thesis on the usage of prerendering each screen to get the code size down, and avoid all the complexity and nonsense of a full blown GUI framework: Pvote [livejournal.com]. I'd like to see someone pick this up and try it in a real voting machine.

A minimalist open approach is needed (2, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21924964)

Why the hell do you need Windows CE to count votes? Can't you just flash a chip and use basic hardware? The developers of this stuff are too lazy. They just want to open Visual Studio, make some code and then be done with it. They don't see that if you go minimalist, work from the hardware up and just use the bare minimum software needed to count the votes you get even better security.

Re:A minimalist open approach is needed (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925230)


Why the hell do you need Windows CE to count votes? Can't you just flash a chip and use basic hardware? The developers of this stuff are too lazy. They just want to open Visual Studio, make some code and then be done with it. They don't see that if you go minimalist, work from the hardware up and just use the bare minimum software needed to count the votes you get even better security.


I think you're missing the point. [commondreams.org]

Re:A minimalist open approach is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925258)

Yeah but the more hardware and software that Diebold purchases the more $$ their 40% markup makes them. Everything in this country is about money.

Re:A minimalist open approach is needed (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926800)

Why the hell do you need Windows CE to count votes? Can't you just flash a chip and use basic hardware?

You don't. ES&S iVotronic machines (as of at least 2004) don't have an operating system. They consist of a custom system board with the embedded version of the 386 processor. I assume Diebold chose their path to jumpstart the development process, avoiding the need to work out a file system, hardware drivers, memory management and the rest that using an OS brings.

A lot of the ES&S iVotronic embedded code does things like system-level file operations that would be a system call if they'd used WinCE (or another OS). I had the task of porting the iVotronic code to Linux (except for boot code and system display -- that was the other guy's job). Most of my work boiled down to figuring what chunks of code corresponded to system file operations and removing pages of code, replacing them with one or two system-level functions. ES&S put a lot of time and money into all that low-level code, including hiring a contractor to complete most of the embedded work. That contractor didn't even have the manpower needed, so they had to hire temps like me.

None of this is meant to imply that ES&S machines are necessarily more secure than Diebold's because of that design choice. I'm just saying Diebold went they way they did to save time -- calendar time -- and money.

And as far as I know, ES&S never did finish the Linux-based iVotronic. My temp gig there ended when it got shelved.

Re:A minimalist open approach is needed (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21929208)

That would suggest something that has nothing to do with Windows. Let's say an embedded version of Linux. These are extremely pared down with only the essentials. Add one more component to handle the counting, and there you have it. There's FAR less chance that something will go wrong with a setup like this. The fact that it's open source is icing on the cake, since it makes the counting process a bit more verifiable.

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The only "safe" voting machine is a ballot marker. (4, Interesting)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925018)

I understand the need for machines which make it easier for disabled people to vote, but the only "safe" machine is a machine which just marks ballots in a human-readable manner. The machine can ensure that ballots aren't created in an invalid state (multiple candidates when only one is allowed), and that non-vote selections are explicit (voter must choose 'none of the above' to proceed). The machine then prints the ballot in a human readable form and makes it available to the voter. The voter inspects it and either places it in the ballot box, or takes it to another machine which reads the ballot and makes the selections apparent to the voter (think vision impaired voter needing the ballot to be 'read' to them) and then after they confirm the ballot is accurate, places it in the ballot box.

This still doesn't deal with the fact the many voters will vote without making 'hard' selections. Candidates at the top of the ballot get a 'bump' just by their position. There are other ways which a machine could subtlety influence an election, as well as marking some percentage of the ballots "erroneously" in hopes that voters wouldn't inspect the ballots closely and find the errors.

In short, accurate elections with anonymous, non-voter-provable (to prevent blackmail/vote purchasing) votes are hard, but since they are the basis for our system of government, we need to do the work to do it right.

Re:The only "safe" voting machine is a ballot mark (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925468)

``In short, accurate elections with anonymous, non-voter-provable (to prevent blackmail/vote purchasing) votes are hard, but since they are the basis for our system of government, we need to do the work to do it right.''

The good news is that the hard work [wikipedia.org] has [wikipedia.org] been [wikipedia.org] done [votehere.com].

The bad news is that none of the better systems have taken off yet. Part of the problem is that people really don't care. Part of the problem is that politicians actually don't _want_ to admit there is something wrong and fix it (that, at least, is how it is in the Netherlands). Part of the problem is that people keep re-inventing the wheel, usually poorly, instead of using the solutions others have already come up with. And part of the problem is that all these new systems are just _complicated_.

All things considered, I believe simple paper voting and counting votes by hand is the best solution to date. It isn't perfect, but the security implications are easy to understand, and there are established procedures that provide the desireable properties for voting systems (accuracy, verifiability, privacy, etc.)

What a load of shit (1, Troll)

nokilli (759129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925030)

Is this the same band of rat monkeys at The New York Times who were busy ridiculing all of us in the aftermath of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential election who were crying foul and fraud and who were to a man and on every detail proven right?

And now they want to pose as the guarantors of our future democracy?

Why? So they can build back up their cred so when next racist Jews lust for Muslim blood they are better able to flip the switch?

God Damn The New York Times.

Re:What a load of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925144)

Is this the same band of rat monkeys at The New York Times who were busy ridiculing all of us in the aftermath of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential election who were crying foul and fraud and who were to a man and on every detail proven right?


If they were indeed to a man proven right, then shouldn't we be listening to them?

Re:What a load of shit (1)

nokilli (759129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926202)

Wow, to be able to make light of a minor grammatical error in the face of further atrocity, it must really be nice to be you.

Re:What a load of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21926592)

Right... because there [scoop.co.nz] wasn't [reasontofreedom.com] a [fraudfactor.com] single [democrats.com] shred [truthout.org] of possible evidence to NYT's claims.

Re:What a load of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927312)

make light of a minor grammatical error

Reversing the meaning of the sentence is not a "minor" error, unless you're 10. Then, it's a minor's error.

I don't understand what's wrong (4, Funny)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925032)

Now, I'm not a US citizen, but the way I see it, Company X convinced officials A and B to buy these machines. The machines were bought, company X was paid by the taxpayer, officials A and B were paid by company X, the board, employees and shareholders of company X were paid. The voting machines went wrong so more money will have to be spent on them.

Who cares about right and wrong? Rich people and public officials made themselves some money.

Surely an American dream. What could be more perfect?

Re:I don't understand what's wrong (1)

Sleeping Kirby (919817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925552)

It would be more perfect if company X was also the company that has an affiliation with the vice president and he is also getting kick backs from Company x for every machine sold. There was a similar slashdot article about how there were numerous reports of votes flipping one way without warning, but never the other...

Election standards are below standard (3, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925614)

Imagine Diebold going to NASA/Air Force and trying to peddle their sub-standard hardware for mission-critical situations. I'm sure they would be given the boot faster than they can cry in pain. Why should our nation's most critiqued software/hardware (Think: Space shuttle computer, NORAD tracking software) work 99.99999% of the time, but our Elections hardware/software is bought only on the good faith of some business executive?

Re:Election standards are below standard (1)

dprovine (140134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926648)

Imagine Diebold going to NASA/Air Force and trying to peddle their sub-standard hardware for mission-critical situations. I'm sure they would be given the boot faster than they can cry in pain.

You might be interested in reading up about the use of Microsoft Windows by the US Navy, which you can read about at http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/1998/07/13987 [wired.com].

Also of interest is the NewsHour's report on body armor, in which it turned out that the colonel in charge of approving the armor retired from the military and went to work for the company that he'd just signed a huge contract with: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/july-dec07/armor_09-21.html [pbs.org]

No politician will die if body armor is poor, and the old men at the Pentagon won't die, and the owners of body armor companies won't die either. What makes you think they care about the people who will die?

Re:I don't understand what's wrong (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928536)

I don't get it. Can you produce a deeply flawed car analogy instead so my sleep deprived understand it better?

hooray for Canada! (2, Interesting)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925094)

I'm so very glad that we do our voting by putting a little "x" in a box and they're then hand counted by thousands of election workers while representatives of each party scrutinize each ballot to see if they're acceptable instead of this electronic no paper trail machines that screw up crap.

Re:hooray for Canada! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925302)

Electronic voting can work and be transparent. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voting_in_Estonia [wikipedia.org]
However that exact solution would never work in United States because in Estonia people are able to trust their government.

Anyway, electronic voting (like electronic money) is here, did you like it or not. Perhaps in that year when a black woman is elected for the president of United States we finally get it working correctly...

Re:hooray for Canada! (2, Interesting)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925782)

Electronic voting is there not here. Like I said, here we put a mark in a box and it's hand counted. No software to screw up, no voting machines that automatically register a vote for the party most friendly to the manufacturer of the voting machine instead of the opponent, not even any hanging chads! And wouldn't you know, it never took us a week to figure out who was in charge, all the votes are counted by the morning after. Although I really do like Estonia's idea, it would be nice to be able to vote from the comfort of my home or office instead of having to make a special trip. And they also allow non-internet voting, so people who don't trust the process or want to do it by hand can do so. It doesn't seem to have helped their voter turn out though (47%).

i am no luddite (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925100)

i am also no technofetishist

sometimes, more tech thrown at a problem makes it worse, not better

there is no compelling argument, NO COMPELLING ARGUMENT to use anything more than

1. pencil
2. paper
3. optical scanner

there is however, with electronic voting, AND mechanical voting something else:

1. increased number of attack vectors
2. loss of transparency in the voting process, and therefore mistrust in democratic results, and lingering lack of faith in government

the only arguments for electornic voting are:

1. kickbacks to officials
2. increased business for a business that shouldn't exist

no electronic voting. ever. anywhere

accepting it means that people will begin to erode their fatih in democracy

if they can't see it, smell it touch it, they won't trust it

once again:

1. pencil
2. paper
3. optical scanner

anything else represents an eroding faith in democracy

Re:i am no luddite (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925248)

Please mod the parent up.

I've yet one single good reason for using touch screens that can't be (simply) solved by other means. My county uses paper ballots that are optically read. After they are read the drop in a sealed bin. Hand recounts are no problem.

Technology does not always equal better. Sometimes it's worse.

Re:i am no luddite (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925620)

My country uses paper ballots that are marked by pen, and optically scanned by the human eye. I don't see any reason why we need machines at all. Votes are counted so fast. That they had to make a law that results couldn't be reported before all polling stations were closed, because they believed the people on the west coast were being influence by the results from the east coast.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926310)

Actually, he optical scanner is a technology...

In this case, it's even
"more visible technology does not always equal better."

Re:i am no luddite (I just don't RTFA) (1)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925322)

there is no compelling argument, NO COMPELLING ARGUMENT to use anything more than

1. pencil
2. paper
3. optical scanner
You're right. Except of course for the argument in the article:

Still, optical scanning is hardly a flawless system. If someone doesn't mark a ballot clearly, a recount can wind up back in the morass of arguing over "voter intent." The machines also need to be carefully calibrated so they don't miscount ballots. Blind people may need an extra device installed to help them vote. Poorly trained poll workers could simply lose ballots. And the machines do, in fact, run software that can be hacked: Sancho himself has used computer scientists to hack his machines. It's also possible that any complex software isn't well suited for running elections. Most software firms deal with the inevitable bugs in their product by patching them; Microsoft still patches its seven-year-old Windows XP several times a month. But vendors of electronic voting machines do not have this luxury, because any update must be federally tested for months.
If you did read the article, you would find all the arguments for and against the various voting systems of the past, including paper ballots, lever machines, and punch cards. Hanging chads made touch screen voting a promising technology back in the year 2000.

no electronic voting. ever. anywhere
How is an optical scanner not electronic?

Re:i am no luddite (I just don't RTFA) (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925376)

Our ballets have a broken arrow (=== ====>) that you fill in to vote. They are a good 1.5in apart and easy to mark. If you don't mark them correctly, the machine simply rejects the ballot with a loud error beep, from there you can re-try.

Simple.

separation of concerns (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928242)

The hanging chad problem was a confirmation problem: confirming that the punched ballot card would be tabulated by the voter as intended.

I've never understand why this isn't broken down as a two step process. To me this is a separation of concerns problem.

One concern is to produce an accurately punched ballot (intentional, complete, unambiguous). This step has no memory of voter actions.

The other concern is to verify that the punched ballot reads back as intended when tabulated or manually verified. Few voters should be allowed to escape without obtaining a green light from the ballet confirmation test. This step has no input buttons. It scans the ballot, displays a summary of what it read (and any problems detected), and provides a green light (or not).

1) voter marks ballot (punch card)

1a) provide a manual mechanical punch for determined voters wishing to do so (highly unlikely to fail, and serves as a backup if the fancy technology fails or engenders controversy)

1b) provide access-enhanced display screens with automatic punch for voters who can't or don't wish to do (1a)

2) voter presents ballot to a (secret) vote confirmation reader, which indicates the selections detected on a screen, and notifies the voter of whether they have cast valid votes in all available races (this machines has no other inputs)

3) validated ballot stuffed into secure ballot box under oversight of voting officials

Notes

The auto punch should display an image of the confirmed punch pattern to be verified before pressing print (aka mangle) which remains to be verified by the voter after the machine spits out the auto-punched voting card.

The auto punch has no memory of voter actions whatsoever.

Every screen presented by the auto punch should correspond to printed posters which anyone can corroborate as accurate. It should be possible for any voter to download these posters off the internet prior to the election. There should be practice software available which allows users to walk through the autopunch procedure. The practice software should be able to print the desired punch card pattern, which a voter would be able to carry in and visually duplicate (in secrecy).

Every race on the ballot has exactly one mark, for a candidate, or for no-vote. There should be *exactly* one possible punch pattern for every possible voting preference (combination of votes).

The ballot confirmation machine can maintain "pre-counts" to focus manual recounting on the close races. At least one non-close race should be challenged (at random) to verify reported pre-count accuracy.

I personally like the punch system that physically removes shards of paper. Ink is subject to fancy chemistry.

Summary

The official vote (ballot) is a physical object which is physically altered by the vote selection.

The ballot has exactly one physical state to represent each allowable voter preference.

The voter can determine in the weeks before the election what that pattern will look like according to the voting preference, and every carry a printed likeness into the voting process.

Any machine that touches the physical ballot displays the ballot pattern it 1) intends to stamp, 2) or detected during read-back.

There is an issue with the pre-counter being tricked into counting the same finished ballot more than once. This shouldn't matter, as it mostly exists to get quick results so we can watch the concession speeches and head to bed.

Double counting will show up on the official count later. It should be armed to count once by an election official for each person who enters the booth.

The main difference is the voter will leave the process with far greater confidence that their physical ballot indicated their preference in a way that must later be counted unambiguously.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925398)

Right. And there is no good argument for using ATMs or computers either. Or the Internet, fuck it, who needs it.

You tinfoil liberals are making me sick.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925460)

What an idiotic comment. I'm far from liberal btw.

This is about voting, nothing else. Not ATM's and not computers. Voting needs to be 100% transparent, for the people running the election, the people running and the people voting.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

stg (43177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926190)

In Brazil, electronic voting has been used for a LONG, LONG time - on all elections. There weren't any major problems or reports of fraud.

There weren't any changes in perception by the people. Well, except for the very large lines we had to take when we still used paper ballots...

Machines do break down, of course. The officials are trained to switch to paper ballots in that case. That do create extra lines and wait, but that's pretty much it.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

Troy (3118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926234)

Well, optical scan voting systems are a business as well. Diebold even has a line out. Don't indulge too much in the "evil corporation and corrupt government" line of thought. While I'm sure it is accurate in some cases, using it as a sweeping analogy just weakens your overall argument.

Optical scanning seems to be currently in vogue in Ohio. After some controversy, Cuyahoga county (metro Cleveland) is in the process of abandoning its touch-screen voting machine for optical scanning. It won't be ready for the primary, but will hopefully be ready for the general election. Unfortunately, optical scanning also has some semi-legitimate objections. The biggest objection is that optical scanning systems don't warn the voter is s/he made a mistake.

At first glance, it is baffling how an intelligent person can screw up something as idiot-proof as filling in a bubble. It isn't too hard, however, to imagine situations where an otherwise intelligent person could make a mistake. Intelligence isn't a legal requirement for voting anyway. Unfortunately, reasonable and commonsense solutions to this issue will probably play backseat to elaborate and expensive solutions that create twice as many problems as they solve. That's pretty much how we got here in the first place, and wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money on an unreliable system.

Re:i am no luddite (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926744)

there is no compelling argument, NO COMPELLING ARGUMENT to use anything more than...

Pen and paper is fine, I'll grant you: everyone, however technophobic, knows how to mark an X with a pencil, and even the illiterates can recognise the insignia of their favoured party. Counting is laborious, but it scales: if your electorate is bigger and thus produces more votes, presumably you can also recruit more volunteers to count. It's why we in the mother country laughed at the silly colonials in 2000; we do it by pen and paper and get a result by the small hours of the morning, they do it with machines and end up spending months arguing the outcome.

However, this only really works for a one-shot election. One issue, one list of options, one count. Americans don't always do it that way. They elect everything. President, regional representatives, state governors, state representatives, sheriffs, judges, refuse administrators (famously H. Simpson on one occasion)... No wonder they want to mechanise this process. You can motivate people's sense of civic duty to turn up and count votes for the General Election, but who'll do that job when the election's for county ratcatcher?

Re:i am no luddite (1)

Dave Fiddes (832) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926896)

there is no compelling argument, NO COMPELLING ARGUMENT to use anything more than

1. pencil
2. paper
3. optical scanner
I'd extend your point 3 to require that the optical scanner's be installed in someones skull. In Scotland we replaced our age old, reliable 10,000 grannies in sportshalls approach to vote counting with optical scanners this year. The result was a complete farce with thousands of votes being declared void. Human eyeballs are the best scanner and with appropriate oversight the fairest vote counting mechanism IMHO.

Re:i am no luddite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927246)

Vote taking and counting methods aside, I think that under our (US-ian) winner-take-all dual party system, the thing that is eroding faith in democracy the most is the fact that a candidate can win despite having the majority vote against him.

Borda count and other similar systems (like the Nanson and Baldwin methods) are the way to go, and we need to do this soon. Nobody has faith in democracy anymore because a lot of people don't have the option of realistically voting for the candidate they like and have it mean something.

Until this happens, the majority of the people will be voting for the lesser of two evils, throwing their votes away on third party candidates (and thus enabling candidates that are NOT preferred by the majority to win), or just plain not voting.

There's your erosion right there.

Realtime Embedditis (3, Funny)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925116)

Of course, rather than just ignore this unanticipated condition, the OS did the right thing for a voting machine and crashed.

That is realtime ebedditis for you. A well known brain rotting disease which affects a specific portion of the programming community which most likely has a bit too much of Klingon blood in their veins. They can program a multitasking system only according to the 17th maxima of Klingon programming. "Klingon multitasking systems do notsupport "time-sharing". When a Klingon program wants to run, it challenges the scheduler in hand-to-hand combat and owns the machine." It looks like in this case they have also followed the other maxima of Klingon programming: "Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak. Bugs are good for building character in the user." and "Perhaps it IS a good day to die! I say we ship it!".

On a more serious note this is someone strictly following the specs. There are systems where it if you encounter an unknown situation your spec says that you crash instead of trying to be original and let the watchdog sort it out. Quite common in embedded systems and standard spec requirement in things like voting terminals and ATM.

Diebold considering open source (2, Interesting)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925178)

Propbably the most interesting part of the article: "Amazingly, the Diebold spokesman, Chris Riggal, admitted to me that the company is considering making the software open source on its next generation of touch-screen machines, so that anyone could download, inspect, or repair the code."

Re:Diebold considering open source (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925644)

Or so that any polling station could compile their own version of the code, with minor changes, and load it on the voting machines so that they can mess with the results. I would trust electronic voting, if you could provide a way for each and every voter walking up to the machine to prove the the machine was indeed running the correct software.

Re:Diebold considering open source (1)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926356)

Allow each user to load their own software upon arrival, then record the results on paper ;)
I can't think of many cases where you would like to mess up your OWN vote...
On a more serious note, why is there no rfc for voting by avian carrier?

Re:Diebold considering open source (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928350)

How do you ensure the boot code hasn't been tampered with, and is actually booting your own code, and not some other code. Also, If you thought the voting process was slow before, just imagine the line-ups this would cause, as well as the blank stares when you try to explain it to the voters.

Another supplier's approach (1)

tcgroat (666085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925226)

Hart Inter-Civic prefers to criticize the test. [timescall.com] Apparently 99% accuracy should be good enough. Would they accept the same from their accountants and bankers?

Re:Another supplier's approach (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925496)

99% is more than acceptable in King County, state of Washington... In fact, the county executive is on record stating that an error rate of 1.5% is "accuracy any bank would envy"...

We might be just like those in the 3rd world (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925272)

It's good that these flaws have been noted but what saddens me is that nothing might be done. This is what happens in 3rd world countries. Do not laugh. This is serious business.

These flaws were discovered at least 4 years ago http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2003/10/60713 [wired.com]. Like I said, nothing was done!

After that, we go to those same 3rd world countries "teaching" them about how to serve the common man through democracy, accountability and the rule of law. Very sad indeed.

NYT Flaws in Current Reporting Methods (2, Informative)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925326)

Well, congratulations the to NYT for the extremely timely reporting, more than a year after the elections they're talking about, and more than 3 years after the election when the HAVA voting machines were first used. Also, years after articles in magazines such as Harpers and many progressive sites, not to mention news report the day after the elections about voting machines failures, and statistical anomalies in the declared election results vs exit polls, not to mention anomalies such as number of undervotes bigger than the total number of voters in some precincts.

And as for the machines themselves, you have to try to make machines and voting systems as pathetic as these. Pure incompetence alone cannot account for this.

What have you done about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927648)

The elections in USA have been proven fraudulent, yet Secret Service and americans have done nothing about it. The fraud will continue and elections will favor the candidates of big corporations. http://www.electionfraud2004.org/ElectionFraud2004.pdf [electionfraud2004.org]

People like Ron Paul aren't given a fair and equal chance.

Sometimes I wonder... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925408)

... if people are just fucking morons, how hard can it be to setup a vote which is hard to manipulate I mean really? Sometimes I think we should just have a national holiday for one whole week where everybody just goes, gets together and stands and gets counted openly triangulation of picture day via digital cameras, cell phones, etc. (multiple images everyone taking them, etc).

Right, it's MS' fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925416)

Obviously the operating system should know it's being used in a voting machine and drop all errors. It wouldn't be the application developer's responsibility to catch exceptions, oh no. Ah, another slashdot summary takes a half baked jab at MS.

Re:Right, it's MS' fault. (2, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925438)

No, it's not Microsoft's fault. It's the vendor's fault for adding extra complexity to a system that needs to be more reliable than your MP3 player.

Programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925418)

The problem is simple. Using simple programmers, instead of licensed engineers.

If you have a group of engineers working on this, who are licensed and held accountable, this problem would probably not have happened. Nobody wants to have a finding of negligence/incompetence/criminal liability on their record.

But what's the worse you can do to a simple programmer? Fire them? reprimand them? and then on to the next 'code monkey' gig.

Re:Programmers (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926786)

Wrong as wrong can be, my friend.

The best way is to hire good designers, hire good programmers, then hire good management and give them clear targets. A small, close-knit development team can do wonders. You see, the production of good software is as much a function of good management as it is engineering talent. You can hire the best, most accountable engineers on the planet, but put a fool in charge and you're still going to ship crap. And you know what? Nobody ever complains about the fact that the moron who was running the show was just that: a moron. No, they always blame the developers, while their manager goes on to screw up yet another team somewhere else.

The reality is that you need a good architect, someone that understands not only what the system is designed to accomplish, but can account for most of the possible failure modes. There are plenty of good programmers out there (possibly some of them work for Diebold) but it's pretty obvious that Diebold's leadership is defective. Trying to hold the engineering team responsible for managerial failures serves no purpose.

Editorial Nit (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925618)

machines in Cayahoga County OH


I would not expect the slashdot editors to know this but FYI it is spelled Cuyahoga County [wikipedia.org] not "Cayahoga" which is roughly correct phonetically but not correct otherwise. For those unfamiliar, Cuyahoga County is where the city of Cleveland [wikipedia.org] is located.

Electronic voting machine discussions on /. (2, Interesting)

notnAP (846325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925676)

I love watching these stories and the threads that ensue.


How telling is it that the overwhelming majority of /. users seem to despise the idea of technology in the ballot box? We're the group that one would think would be the first to welcome the modernization of voting, the elimination of the "arcane" technology of scribbles on paper as a way for millions of people to vote?

Surely, we all recognize the benefits electronic voting could offer... With proper UI, disabled voters are given a voice undiminished by their physical limitations. Language barriers dissolve. Costs could be reduced. The environment is saved from literally truckloads of paper per state per election consumed. In theory, we could make voting easier via the internet or some other remote casting of ballots. The ease could even lead to a more democratic society, with voting happening more frequently - wouldn't it be nice if more people in local towns voted in town meetings than the vocal minority so directly benefited by the decisions made? The accuracy and speed of vote tallying would surpass anything we could do manually.

And yet, the cries against anything more than optical scanning of ballots is so loud here.

It seems an outside observer - or an insider observer trying to glean some wisdom from the group mentality - could infer one of two things from this behavior. Either this group of knowledgeable technophiles has managed to collectively do a 180 on this one topic, or the wisdom /. members collectively have regarding technology and the way soceity implements it leads us to the inevitable conclusion that while the theory of electronic voting is promising, its practice is doomed.

So how could such fans of all things technology reach such a seemingly self-contradictory conclusion? Do we really despise the technology behind electronic voting? Or is it just that we realize there are two components when people employ technology: people and technology. And we do seem to like technology. Or would respect be a better word, that "we respect the power technology can give?" We fear the power the abuse of technology can win, and we know enough about this technology to see how easy it is to abuse.


Disclaimer: I share what I seem to see as the majority opinion. I have counted ballots manually in the distant past, and I'm now employed at a company that prints paper ballots.

Re:Electronic voting machine discussions on /. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926290)

``How telling is it that the overwhelming majority of /. users seem to despise the idea of technology in the ballot box? We're the group that one would think would be the first to welcome the modernization of voting, the elimination of the "arcane" technology of scribbles on paper as a way for millions of people to vote?''

I much rather think that we are, by and large, a group that understands technology, and makes at least somewhat informed decisions on what is good and what isn't, what to use and what to avoid.

Re:Electronic voting machine discussions on /. (1)

Troy (3118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926292)

I think the concerns revolve more around how the technology was developed and deployed than the concept of using technology itself. No voting system is tamper-proof, but the current batch of voting systems fail the most basic tests for reliability and security.

If a system was developed/deployed that was as resistant to electronic manipulation as (for instance) my banking information, I'm sure most of the people here would have few objections (except for the handful who always think they know better than everyone else).

Re:Electronic voting machine discussions on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21926518)

I think the collective /. is suffering from a severe mistrust of the government (not that it isn't warranted). If the electronic voting machines had their source code released, I doubt the collective would be so adamant against electronic ballots. The problem is that as far as we can see, with these electronic ballots we cast our votes, something happens, and then results are spit back at us afterwards. It's not, then, so much an issue of using technology, but an issue of transparency.

Keep in mind that we've been hearing stories about how Diebold screwed the pooch with the electronic ballots for four years now. With surely a significant portion of /. feeling cheated out of the last election, it's not all that surprising that they're less than supportive with doing the same thing all over again.

Re:Electronic voting machine discussions on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21928230)

it leads us to the inevitable conclusion that while the theory of electronic voting is promising, its practice is doomed.

That's not a bad conclusion at all. As you said, this involves people and technology, and as long as people are involved, it will be doomed to error and mistrust. The solution, as has been pointed out over and over then over again, is to minimize the amount of trust necessary in parts of the system that cannot be verified by the user. For instance, the inner operation of a machine that accepts user input and produces a completed ballot would be incomprehensible and unverifiable to the user. However, if that confounded contraption produces a paper ballot, the user can verify the ballot.

One trap is in assuming that verifying the ballot verifies the operation of the machine. If the paper ballots are not counted, it's trivial for the machine to record a completely different vote in its memory to the vote cast by the user and printed by the machine.

Another trap is in having yet another impenetrable machine count the ballots. Using an optical scanner may be the cheapest way to an electronic democracy, but users are beholden to the assumption that it operates correctly, unless they intend to recount by hand to verify it.

If someone was desperate enough to use machines to do this, they should consider:
1) Ballot machine that produces a paper ballot and nothing else. Verification: User looks at the ballot before turning it in.
2) Sorting machine that sorts paper ballots for a given race and nothing else. Verification: User (in this case, the election observers) flips through each stack to confirm that all ballots in that stack have the same candidate selected for that race.
3) Counting machine that counts a stack of paper ballots and nothing else. Verification: Total of each individual candidate's ballots should equal the total size of the stack minus the total non-votes for that campaign, or stacks can be counted by hand (counting presorted stacks should be faster than tallying the ballot by hand from scratch, plus only the smaller stacks of the loser(s) would need to be recounted to verify the count).

Each step involving a computation is sped up, each step involving a computation is verifiable. Of course, since people are people, there's no guarantee that they'll actually verify anything, but at least the system would permit it. Even though this system would require more equipment than others, some of the equipment should be cheaper, especially the ballot machines that will no longer need to save ballot counts. By removing the counting process from the ballot machines, they should be easier to certify, and if the government publishes a standard for the printed ballot to certify to, multiple vendors could compete, even with the option of buying machines from multiple vendors in the case that demand is greater than what one vendor can supply. Machines could even be swapped out in the event one breaks down, or if voter turnout is greater than expected, more could be deployed with the correct ballot for that precinct.

There are even additional steps that can be taken to verify the actions of the people involved in counting. Consider a box of pre-made ballot cards (sized to fit the length required for the ballot, that the user would load into a straight-paper-path printer on the machine according to guide markings and a nick in the corner to make sure they load it right-side-up... or this idea could even be used with a non-electronic voting system) The cards are wrapped in packages of 100. The first package is labeled 1-100, and contains ballot cards numbered randomly with the numbers from 1 to 100. The second package is labeled 101-200, and so on. When a person comes in to vote, they are given a card (with a random number to prevent identification) from an open package (or the next package is opened). At the end of the election, all of the ballots in the open package are individually invalidated and their numbers recorded (along with the numbers of any ballots invalidated during the election due to damage or incorrect voting), and any unused packages are invalidated as a block. This prevents a nefarious individual from "pre-stuffing" the ballot boxes, or using leftover ballot cards to vote, or showing up to the precinct with extra ballot cards under their coat. After the user votes, they place their card into one of several available boxes. If one box is substituted at some point for a different box, the ballot numbers would either be invalid, or conflict with the other boxes. This doesn't protect against ALL of the boxes being substituted by a person who knows the exact number of ballots cast and the numbers of the unused ballots that were invalidated, so it could be suggested that for maximum security, independent sets of observers should manage the invalidation process and the counting process.

drag-drop problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925718)

>Windows CE sensing fingers sliding from one key to another as a drag and drop event

This is really annoying problem even on the desktop

It used to happen to me many times to me while double double clicking that I managed to move a whole directory tree around (especially dangerous when browsing c:\Windows and don't notice the problem right away).

Article Summary is Bogus (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925784)

Of course, rather than just ignore this unanticipated condition, the OS did the right thing for a voting machine and crashed
Windows message processing is based on a message pump; Windows provides all messages without bias. The process is responsible for handling each message. Any 'unanticipated' messages are unanticipated by the process. Windows has no anticipation for them.

The best Windows could have done was let the process crash but not the OS. I also don't see how an unexpected message would cause a process to crash Windows. That must have been some seriously horrible programming on Diebold's part.

As someone who lives in the middle of this story (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925854)

First off, it's Cuyahoga, not Cayahoga. The county is named for the Cuyahoga River, best known for catching on fire several decades ago.

Secondly, there were lots of reasons why this particular county was scrutinized: Ohio was to the 2004 presidential election what Floriday was to the 2000 election, and there were lots of reports of irregularities in Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga Country is by far the most liberal area of Ohio, so a few thousand votes missing were likely to swing the election. Really the question still hanging over those election results is whether they were the result of incompetent poll workers or the efforts of Ken Blackwell (then Ohio Secretary of State and Bush campaign manager in Ohio). That's what the current Ohio Secretary of State Jen Brunner (a Democrat) is trying to determine.

Re:As someone who lives in the middle of this stor (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21925896)

Just so you know, it's Florida, not Floriday. :)

-Mike

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Re:As someone who lives in the middle of this stor (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926406)

Just so you know, the democrats have controlled the city of Cleveland for decades. I don't think it was a state-issue at all, especially since the Cuyahoga County Election Board was AND STILL IS incompetant. The new termers can 'investigate' all they want, but the truth is they won't find what everybody wants to paint as the reasons.


Sorry, I used to live there and still know some of those folks personally.

Re:As someone who lives in the middle of this stor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21928742)

I still live in Cuyahoga County. The executive director of the Board of Elections in 2004 and 2006 was Michael Vu. Vu is a Democrat. He resigned from the Board of Elections in February, 2007. All four members of the Board of Elections--two Republicans, two Democrats--also resigned.

I'm thankful for Diebold (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926182)

I'm thankful for Diebold and the other screwups that engineered and produced these machines. Can you imagine what would have happened if they'd produced good machines (and I can't imagine that being too difficult) but that still didn't have a paper trail or a way to guarantee the votes? They would have skated in all 50 states and the democratic process would be in a big mess. Due to their incredible incompetence, the big media is waking up. Seriously, thanks Diebold or whatever you're calling yourself now!

The New York time? (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926378)

The New York time

Can anyone edit at all? This is just retarded. It's The New York Times.

Wow. Just wow.

The big social flaw (1)

alegrepublic (83799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21926504)

American voting system has a huge social flaw that makes electronic voting attractive despite all the added flaws. Vote counting should be a compulsory duty similar to jury duty, and not left in the hands of a few volunteers. All the money wasted on voting machines should be allocated for compensation to citizens called to their vote counting duty. That is how many other countries manage to have results minutes after the polls are closed without the need for flawed technology. Furthermore, citizens may be encouraged to participate in the voting process more willingly if they see themselves as part of it and see that they can trust it. Forget about technology, make vote counting every citizen's duty.

mo3 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21926778)

and perso8al It a break, if
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  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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