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ACLU of Ohio Sues To Block Paper Ballots

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the something-you-don't-see-every-day dept.

The Courts 243

Apu writes in to inform us that the ACLU is trying to block an Ohio county from moving from touchscreen voting machines back to paper ballots. While it may seem like Cuyahoga County — which includes Cleveland — is moving in a good direction from the perspective of ballot security, the system chosen tabulates all votes at a central location. This means that voters don't get notified if their ballot contains errors, and thus they have no chance to correct it. The ACLU of Ohio is asking a federal judge for an injunction against any election in Cuyahoga County it they move to the new system.

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Voting is a serious activity (5, Insightful)

benzapp (464105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227908)

If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all.

A frivolous lawsuit.

Disenfranchising the minuscule number of people who cannot fill out a paper ballot pails in comparison with the threat posed by computerized voting systems. The ACLU has their priorities all wrong.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (2, Insightful)

bytta (904762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228034)

Of course voting is serious. But traceability is a big part of a fair election.

Why American voters put up with a system that does not give them the chance of a recount (or even confirming that the terminal cast your vote correctly), is beyond me...

Re:Voting is a serious activity (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228450)

Is it really too hard to imagine what it's like not to care about things like voting? It has long been observed that the people of the US regard themselves as powerless to change anything at all. Commonly spoken expressions such as "you can't fight city hall" have dated back more than four decades and probably more. The fact that the US civil war and the American Revolution war of the 18th century happened shows that many things have changed but not the least of which is where the center of power actually lies.

We just don't have the correct amount of oppression or corruption from our government yet. We're actually quite a long way from that point at the moment. But one sign of that tipping point approaching is when hundreds are made to suffer when a few act. That is to point out that when the Revolutionary war happened, there really weren't that many people acting in revolt. But when they did, the oppressive and corrupt government was to come down on everyone which ACTUALLY made the war start. There were plenty of people loyal to England and the British Empire. There were lots more who were indifferent and only cared about their daily lives. But that all changed when these indifferent people became victims of war, then they had to fight or die.

So you see, we're rather far away from that point. To make revolution even more unlikely, our educational system churns out products good enough to be workers, but not quite good enough to think for themselves, and there is certainly no real emphasis on history because if there were any, even the 'workers' would be able to realize there are some pretty big problems going on.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228688)

We're actually quite a long way from that point at the moment.


Ha!

Re:Voting is a serious activity (4, Interesting)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229060)

While I agree with most of your posts, I have to question the education aspect. First off, I think if you look at the educational system in place pre-revolution, you have to admit it's a bit lacking. Especially for the "workers" you talked about. I think it's much more likely today that some son of a working class family will get an education that allows them to think on the level of the revolutionary thinkers. I think in revolutionary times, the lack of education more likely allowed the "thinkers" to be able to control and direct the population towards rebellion. Second, it was the wealthy that actually got any kind of good education in revolutionary times. The wealthy can still get such an education. Things haven't really changed that much in those terms.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229412)

Except that the story of the American revolution is taught throughout the k-12 years. Often I find that the real lessons of history go over kids' heads because of an emphasis on dates, names, places, facts. Content knowledge that is necessary but not sufficient. Kids' knowledge and understanding of historical events doesn't equip them to look around and see when similar events and situations are coming to pass. Pattern recognition is generally regarded as a math skill, and in math classes we mostly use visual and numeric patterns for illustration.

Since I started teaching in 1997 I've noticed that calls for interdisciplinary education (for the kids) and cross curricular connections have given way to emphasis on bare competence on tests of a pretty low standard. Our state's NCLB compliance test for high school math is in Algebra I, which isn't even high school math really. This could be just a difference between middle and high school, but even that is telling. When students reach high school, no one really talks about interrelationships between bodies of knowledge. Math class should be the most direct contact with the mental skill of abstraction but it's less and less so.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228066)

If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all.

No, they should be notified of their error immediately and be allowed to correct it. You are wholly wrong here.

A bad system vs. a bad system. Except the paper ballot system is likely easily corrected by pulling the scanner machines out of the centralized location and placing them in the polling venues. In stark contrast the systemic flaws seemingly designed into most electronic voting systems.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (4, Insightful)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228228)

I have to agree. Centralized vote counting? Forget people trying to correct their mistakes for a moment(I do think that's important though), how in the hell can people independently validate the vote tallies? In my state, the vote tallies for each precinct at the end of the day are posted outside of the voting stations. There are numerous individuals representing numerous interests who go around and count those tallies. I'm not saying my state's system is perfect or anything, but there is a degree of transparency in our system that I just can't see a central counting system ever having. Is it as "efficient"? No, but this isn't mass production in a free market for christ's sake, this is the vote of the people of our republic deciding the future of our government.

Getting back to the error getting corrected at the polling place... I saw this on several occasions having grown up in a neighborhood with a lot of seniors. When you have trembling hands, mistakes can be made. I don't see why having trembling hands should mean their vote gets disqualified as if that means they're stupid or something. There's a lot of valid physical ailments people can have that might lead to a mistake, and I personally have seen optical scanners onsite at polling stations catch them and allow the person to correct them.

Voting is indeed a serious activity, serious enough to warrant a system that concerns itself with making sure that everyone's vote gets counted accurately whether they make a mistake or not.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228572)

The problem is, the computerized system ALREADY centralizes the vote counting, and in a MUCH less transparent way. The memory cards containing the vote tallies from the machines are brought to the board of elections and the votes downloaded to the server there (the server that repeatedly crashed during the last election causing the switch to scantron ballots). Now both parties have numerous people there overseeing the process and if they think there is something wrong they will of course ask for a hand recount where the ballots are tallied twice by a representative from each party. My problem with the ACLU petition is that NO system can be idiot proofed and so demanding a perfect system before we can switch off the damned electronic machines is asnine. Sure if there was time and money ideally they could get scantron machines for each polling station and train the poll workers to use them but there isn't and I think it's MUCH less dangerous to a fair and transparent election to go with the proposed scantron method. If this lawsuit proceeds it's likely I will be disenfranchised from the primary election (because I seriously doubt there is time to lineup all the technicians needed to oversee the electronic machines in time) and I am pissed about that.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228242)

It's ironic that only the so-called "smart" democrats are such fucking retards when it comes to filling out a ballot.

Republicans didn't have any "hanging chads" in Florida, and now these voting problems in heavily democrat Cleveland...

More evidence that the Democrats are clueless fools who can't be trusted with the job of Dog Catcher let alone anything serious like a Congressional Seat or the Presidency.

Yes, Democrats, I'm calling you stupid. Especially those of you that can't figure out how to read a fucking ballot and follow simple instructions.

And the Dems trot out [insert biased study here] that says that the Dems are smarter than the GOP? LOL.

The stupid ass Dems can't even get a Presidential candidate to get over 50% of the Vote. Clinton? Nope. Never got over 50%. Dubya did.

Suck it, Democrats.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228308)

Clinton? Nope. Never got over 50%. Dubya did.

Maybe, but Clinton was elected.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (4, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228884)

Having your vote tallied by someone in running a machine in front of you defeats the whole purpose of confidentiality. They know exactly what I voted for, since they are right there at the machine. I would be against having my neighbor run my vote through a machine. (And if you can't expect the people to vote correctly, you certainly can't expect them to run it through a machine correctly, you would need someone "trained" to do it)

In oregon, all votes are mailed back to each respective county clerk. The mailing envelope is opened, (it has your name and signature on it) and saved separately. Then the "secrecy envelope" is opened, with your ballot in it. Then you can know that your vote was counted, but they don't know what you voted for. Then, a team of people go over the ballots to count them (along with machines as well). Every vote that is handled has to have 3 people present while it is handled, to ensure fairness. (I believe that they can't all be of the same party). Paper ballots are never destroyed, so recounts are easy, and votes are verifiable. The whole process is really stinking easy, no driving to locations to vote on a day you have a bunch of meetings, school, etc. HUGE voter turnout. Basically, the whole state does voting the way that most states do "absentee" voting.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229318)

Paper ballots are never destroyed, so recounts are easy, and votes are verifiable.
Never destroyed?
Where are you from that they have the last 50 years worth of ballots saved?

Ballots get destroyed after a set amount of time that (AFAIK) varies depending on the municipal/county/state law.

For example, there was a big fuss over the Ohio ballots from the 2004 election, because their destruction date was set for Sept 2006*, but the 'there were election problems' folks still wanted to do more recounts. IIRC, they delayed the destruction, but I don't recall what was finally done with the ballots.

Some States put the 200 &/or 2004 ballots in the state archives in order to preserve them.

*Federal law permits destruction no sooner than 22 months after the Presidential election

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229582)

Having your vote tallied by someone in running a machine in front of you defeats the whole purpose of confidentiality. They know exactly what I voted for, since they are right there at the machine.
That's how it was when I voted in '06, but there was no confidentiality issue. The ballot was optical (fill-in-the-bubble), and when I was done I put it back in this little folder or under a cover sheet or something, and then gave it to one of the poll operators, who then fed it into the machine right in front of me, with the cover still on it so she couldn't see. The machine verified the ballot was filled out correctly and I was done.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229156)

No, they should be notified of their error immediately and be allowed to correct it. You are wholly wrong here.
So, according to the ACLU, all ballots were unconstitutional until the introduction of computers into voting?

The ACLU has got it wrong here, it's not just a case of one bad versus another bad, it is a case of one system where people who don't notice their mistakes will have their votes disqualified versus a system that is open to tampering on a massive scale. The ACLU (and you) need to develop a sense of perspective.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (3, Insightful)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229206)

No, they should be notified of their error immediately and be allowed to correct it.
Sorry, but anonymous voting is more important than disenfranchising people who can't follow instructions.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (2, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228074)

Wait, I can't remember anymore, are we for or against paper ballots, or for or against touch screen?

Yes! (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228182)

We're against all possibility of errors. Defensive programming, dontcha know.

So like good programmers, we're going to leave the current version in place (no matter how buggy it is) rather than upgrade to something else with different bugs until we've got every last possible bug worked out.

My answer is ... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228208)

Yes.

We're against everything that has errors, so we're against anything distinctly human, which is why we like technolog(&#$#$OOO@ no carrier

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228232)

Ideally people would fill out a paper ballot. It would then be scanned by an optical scanner at the polling station and print out the official ballot (confirming your choices on a screen first I guess). You would then deposit the ballot that was printed out. Touch screens would still be in place for blind people so that they can fill out a ballot without assistance. These would also print out ballots, replacing the step of filling one out with plain old pen and paper with using the computer.

I don't know if it's necessary to print out a copy of your ballot, but it seems that could be a nice fail-safe to ensure that it will always scan correctly since it would essentially be a perfectly filled out ballot. Also, having two copies of each ballot may help prevent any voting fraud (only the computer-generated ballot would be counted in the election of course, keeping the other copy to verify the results with random samples).

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228258)

Wait, I can't remember anymore, are we for or against paper ballots, or for or against touch screen?

We're against stupid shit, which includes machines where nobody can confirm whether they're reporting the correct numbers or not, as well as having people (who, as blackboxvoting discovered, may or may not meet the legal requirements) truck boxes of ballots to a central counting station where a few (if not "one") people get to "count" the ballots in privacy and comfort.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (2, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228394)

We're for and against paper ballots, and for and against touch screens - As long as the outcome is the one we want.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228998)

It seems everyone thinks it's no longer possible to run an election. I don't know how it managed to work for the last 200-some years in the U.S....

And yes, I do have a problem when our system needs so much work to account for people who are barely functional. The average voter isn't sufficiently educated, and when you get someone who can't even figure out how fill out a ballot, does voting even mean anything?

It's almost impossible to make an informed decision with access to all the resources in the world because there is little or no correlation between the candidates representation of themselves and what they actually intend to do if elected.

The system is bottoming out at the lowest common denominator.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229588)

Indeed. But with a little common sense, and the willingness to devote an entire day to the issue (make election day a national holiday) then it seems entirely possible to have the system quite transparent. I never got any response to my last message about a highly sane voting system (at least prior to the centralized summing of the votes from the precints). I will post it again. If I could get any comments on it, I would appreciate it.

This will assume an electronic ballot making machine. Please note it is not a voting machine. It does not attempt to store any information, but merely prints out a ballot. The ballot it prints out will have 2 parts, a human readible portion, and a machine readable portion (using some form of bar code technology or something similar). If somehow the two portions do not agree, the human readable part will prevail. That is because the human readable portion is the part the voter most likely verified.

Now for the way the vote counting works, it works by machine tallying with human oversight. There is a projection screen showing a running tally of the votes. There is also a projector. Each ballot is place on the projector one at a time to allow the audience to see the human readable votes on it. Then the ballot's bar code is scanned, and the vote tallies on the screen update. The audience can thus easily verify that the changes to the running tally match the human readable votes on the ballot. (In a many issue ballot, not everybody would be able to track every issue, but as long as at least a few people from the audience track each issue, things should be fine). People would be watching to be sure that the tallies increase only by one with each vote, never change except when a vote is scanned, and no vote is ever scanned more than once. Lack of a vote on an issue can also be tallied to ensure the sum of the votes and lack of votes tallied is equal to the total number of ballots. The precinct's final certified counts for all the issues would be presented to the audience so they can verify that it does indeed match the final tallies. Then it can be sealed, and sent on. This system would make the entire process up to the precinct level completely transparent.

Obviously this does not eliminate problems occurring at higher levels, but it does seem to work very well for the rest of it. Also note that there is noting about this system that truly requires electronic devices. The ballots could be filled out by hand, and the ballot tally process could be done using a bunch of regular old mechanical counting devices, (the odometer like ones that increase each time the button is pushed). However, here the electronics would be not be black boxes at all. They would simply be helping to speed up the process some. In fact that is quite desirable at the vote counting portion, as the speed is fast enough so that the audience does not fall asleep, but slow enough that the audience an still verify that the tallying is still correct.

Looking forward to any critiques of this system.

I'm against both (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229532)

I'm against voting in general (in the sense that people seem to think that an overly invasive and controlling government is okay as long the majority of us voted fot it). Parhaps the ACLU agrees with me and thinks that discrediting the physical mechanism of voting will cause people to re-think blindly accepting democatric rule in situations where no rule at all may be better.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (2, Insightful)

SuseLover (996311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228136)

...is moving in a good direction from the perspective of ballot security, the system chosen tabulates all votes at a central location.
I don't think "central location" is a good way to tabulate the votes though. It would be easier to manipulate votes at a single location by a few people than it would if the tally is distributed across many people and locations, plus it distributes the work load in parallel so that sub-totals are quick. At least it would be much harder to hide with so many different personnel involved.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229078)

I don't think "central location" is a good way to tabulate the votes though. It would be easier to manipulate votes at a single location by a few people than it would if the tally is distributed across many people and locations, plus it distributes the work load in parallel so that sub-totals are quick. At least it would be much harder to hide with so many different personnel involved.

The idea of the central tabulation facility scared me a bit, but I wasn't sure exactly why. Now that I've thought about it, it seems that it would indeed be much easier to tamper with totals, and to achieve a desired result without making the numbers from any one ward or precinct look too suspicious - a little bit here, a little bit there, a few over there, and bingo: you have changed enough votes to flop a close race the other way.

Give 'Em Bingo Blotters (3, Funny)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228188)

Seriously.... give them bingo blotters. Make the ballot look like a bingo card. Even the biggest id10t *ought* to be able to figure that out. If you're not smart enough to figure out *how* to vote, you don't get to. - I'm calling this principle democratic darwinism.

2 cents,

QueenB.

Re:Give 'Em Bingo Blotters (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229136)

I like bingo blotters. We should really work to idiot-proof this, since even idiots are entitled to a vote, and there is no mistaking a big ol' circle in a big box next to a name, one page per contest/issue. Hand counting and reverification is slow, but something like this would be about as simple as it could get. If voting were like that and some idiot decided to draw pictures on his ballot, or pretend the "bingo" game was a "fill up" and marked every box, then oh well, sorry. (Images of Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy suddenly come to mind.)

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228400)


If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all.

A frivolous lawsuit.

Disenfranchising the minuscule number of people who cannot fill out a paper ballot pails in comparison with the threat posed by computerized voting systems. The ACLU has their priorities all wrong.


That's not the point. The point is pulling all these in a central database makes it absolutely trivial to rig an election. There's a reason people are asking for a paper TRAIL not just paper ballots.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228414)

People don't need to be disenfranchised if they can't fill out a paper ballot. It's quite possible to set up a procedure where the paper ballot is filled in, block by block, by an election official working with the voter, and in the presence of two election judges. The ballot is then reviewed by all concerned. It's a reasonably fair and impartial method, and a private area can be set up at the polling place to accommodate such voters. The presence of the two judges (one from each party) provides a substantial assurance that the ballot will be completed in accordance with the voter's requirements. I've seen this done many times over the years in my own precinct. Ironically, in my own state (Maryland), a goodly majority of the visually impaired citizens who were interviewed for a recent newspaper article have expressed a preference for the paper ballot. They cite exactly the same doubts about electronic voting as the rest of the population.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229188)

ALong the lines of this, there is a procedure in Ohio to assist the blind or those who can not otherwise utilize a normal ballot themselves. I'm not sure how this works entirely, but there is an understanding that not everyone can work a regular ballot, whether for some physical or cognitive impairment that would not make them legally incompetent or otherwise ineligible to vote. There are conditions that prevent people form being able to read effectively, but that would not necessarily preclude them from being intelligent.

spare us the snobby elitism (2, Insightful)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228806)

If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all.

Voting is a serious activity, and votes should not be thrown away over trivial errors if they can be easily corrected. And unless you never make mistakes, perhaps you should not be throwing stones in glass houses.

Re:spare us the snobby elitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22229024)

Voting is a serious activity, and votes should not be thrown away over trivial errors if they can be easily corrected. And unless you never make mistakes, perhaps you should not be throwing stones in glass houses.
Everyone makes mistakes. However, when I make mistakes I have to accept responsibility for it. For something important like voting, you should put forth the bare minimum effort required to fill out the ballot correctly. If someone can't do that without making a mistake, maybe they should learn to accept the consequence that their vote doesn't get to count.

Most important things in life don't get do-overs if you screw it up. Coddling people who can't be bothered to doublecheck their ballots doesn't do them any favours.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229026)

If the casino industry can get the user interface to a digital slot machine so simple that a child can play, how difficult can it be to get a digital voting machine to get a valid vote?

You haven't seen some of the ballot papers used in Scotland. To save money, the polling stations chose to have two votes on one ballot paper. On the left column, you had twenty candidates, of which you had to select in order of preference. On the right column, you had a smaller number of candidates of which you could only pick one. The result? 100,000 spoilt ballot papers [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229222)

If the casino industry can get the user interface to a digital slot machine so simple that a child can play, how difficult can it be to get a digital voting machine to get a valid vote?

I'm not sure how to compare slot machines to voting machines. With slot machines, you generally give away your money and are then told how much you can have back, if any, without any choice of your own.

Oh wait, now I see!!! Voting machines can operate in the same way: you give it your input, then it decides what to do next! This perfectly illustrates the potential problem with closed-source voting machines that produce no paper trail. You give your money to the tax man rather than to the voting machine, but the end result is similar: you lose control of what happens to! A good analogy after all.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229036)

If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all. A frivolous lawsuit. Disenfranchising the minuscule number of people who cannot fill out a paper ballot pails in comparison with the threat posed by computerized voting systems. The ACLU has their priorities all wrong.

WRONG. Why can't the system used be better than the touchscreen system that runs on voodoo and responds with winks and nods, AND be better than the scanned paper ballot system? EVERY vote should be counted. I'm not sure how their system differs from the one we used recently in Summit County (Akron, Ohio area, adjacent to Cuyahoga County), but I think the one I used last checked for errors when we submitted our ballots by feeding them into a scanner of some sort. I don't know if this officially counted my vote then, but I seem to remember it giving feedback that the ballot was accepted. If I hadn't had a fever of 104F I would have paid more attention to that, but I was busy trying to see straight and not pass out in line.

ANY voting and tabulation system that leaves a paper trail is better than ANY similar system that does not, in my opinion. Cuyahoga County screwed up in more ways than one in recent elections, so the ACLU (and all the friends and family I have in the county) want to make damn sure they fix their shit as well as possible this time. I've heard the tales of HOURS-long lines, broken machines, a lack of staff who knew how to operated the machines, and serious result irregularities in Cuyahoga County, so this isn't just about disenfranchising a few numbskulls. The ACLU has their priorities perfectly in order.

Re:Voting is a serious activity (1)

1000baseFX (120418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229184)

Not to wrong, There are 10's of millions of absentee ballots cast in almost every election held and yet this issue is not brought up and you know full well that many of those are discounted because of the issues the Ohio ACLU is trying to force upon Cuyahoga County. Why don't they bitch about those "disenfranchised" voters?
hmmm?

Re:Voting is a serious activity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22229198)

If someone cannot take the time to devote a minimum amount of effort to fill out a ballot properly, perhaps they should not vote at all.
Yeah, great idea. After all, it's not as if the Right Sort of People are going to be disenfranchised by this. And let's bring back some of those literacy tests [wikipedia.org] while we're at it, maybe even some poll taxes.

Tough (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227930)

If you mis-mark your ballot and you know it they should give you a new one. If they don't then sue.

If you forget to double-check your ballot for non-votes, double-votes, stray marks, incorrect votes, etc. before you drop it in the box that's your problem. [flamebait]You've got a brain, use it[/flamebait].

It's convenient if the ballot box spits out obviously spoiled ballots but no machine can detect all errors. We've voted for 200 years with paper ballots that didn't get counted completely because someone voted for two candidates in a given race. If you accidentally voted R instead of D or vice-versa the machine isn't going to be able to read your mind.

Re:Tough (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228462)

f you mis-mark your ballot and you know it they should give you a new one. If they don't then sue.


They do, in California. You can get up to two replacements if needed.

Re:Tough (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229028)

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think the limit up here is 8. It'd take some dedicated screw-ups to mess up that many ballots.

In addition, it shouldn't take too much effort to have the machine spit out ballots with anomalies for hand counting.

The other concern is balancing handicapped access and anonymity. Still, touch screens aren't exactly friendly to the visually impaired by default either.

Secret motto (4, Funny)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227944)

Ohio! Committed to throwing elections since 1803!

Re:Secret motto (2, Funny)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228538)

So they obviously are really, really committed to vote fraud in Ohio. If this doesn't work out, could I suggest:

* Voters drop their ballot in the box themselves, instead a poll worker has to 'reset' the voting booth after the voter leaves by taking the vote and dropping it in the box before the next voter uses it.

* Some voters get special "not" votes, where they select all the candidate they DON"T want to vote for rather than the on they DO want to vote for. Which ballot they get can be at the discretion of the poll workers, and look identical.

* Have two sets of boxes to drop votes into, marked "republican" and "democrat". If your vote was not filed in the correct box it doesn't count. Also, the "democrat" box is half the size.

* At closing, the votes are tallied separately by each poll worker. They each write their counts on a piece of paper and drop it in a hat. One is pulled out of the hat and that is the official tally. Then the votes are shredded so they can't be tampered with. ... seriously, wtf ohio?

Oh Bother (3, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227960)

Like the ACLU is the shining torch bearer for all that is right and good in this country. How is someone's "civil liberties" encroached by using a paper ballot? Next they're gonna be gluing chicken feathers on bullfrogs and trying to teach them to fly.

Re:Oh Bother (2, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228946)

How is someone's "civil liberties" encroached by using a paper ballot?

They aren't. It's an incorrect heading (surprise). The ACLU is objecting to voters not knowing that the paper ballot they filled out will not scan correctly. They want the scantrons (or similar devices) at the polls, so you can verify that the ballot can be read. As is, no record will by made of the ballots until they are at a central location.

Re:Oh Bother (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229284)

Like the ACLU is the shining torch bearer for all that is right and good in this country. How is someone's "civil liberties" encroached by using a paper ballot? Next they're gonna be gluing chicken feathers on bullfrogs and trying to teach them to fly.

For the 800,000th time, it ISN'T that paper ballots are bad, it's that a crappy system that may or may not count all votes correctly IS bad. Why settle for a slightly less crappy system when a better system could easily be put in place? Did Rush Limbaugh rant against paper today, or something? I don't support everything the ACLU says or does, but I'm also not afraid to support their position if it is the right position. Your comment is absurd.

And yet a new five-year study... (2, Informative)

buzzardsbay (989804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227970)

...from three major universities seems to say there's no problem at all with electronic voting [baselinemag.com] and people trust it MORE than paper ballots.

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228240)

And lots of security experts disagree, I trust security experts to analyze security over five political science majors and one user interaction computer scientist.

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (1)

mrv20 (1154679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228392)

That article also seems to imply that people got warm fuzzy feelings about it simply because it looks more high-tech than paper ballots.

The security of the voting system is not validated simply because the users like the interface more. A more helpful and accessible interface is a welcome improvement but not if it compromises the underlying ability to count the votes in a verifiable manner.

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (2, Insightful)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228422)

"People" are not who should be the ones to determine "security" no matter how Warm & Fuzzy they feel about said technology.
I want a unique timestamped paper receipt which I can look up later to verify my actual votes! NOTE: This *IS ALREADY IN PLACE* with retail credit/debit card sales.

I want the NSA (yes, them. http://www.nsa.gov/home_html.cfm [nsa.gov] ) to certify ANY electronic voting apparatus used in the US and to further guarantee its accuracy.
This means they would be one the ones doing the recounts along with an certified third party (or two) paid for by each region/state choosing to use electronic voting.

I would like all records including the evidence (in-situ timestamps generated printed paper vote ballot recipts) be available for and dispute review.
Each electronic voter would be issued a unique identifier number on their receipt at the time of their voting, that way they could login into a secure web server with that number to review their vote selections. There would also be a dispute console available for any discrepancies. Metrics revealed from the 'disputes' submitted would indicate a problem. This would be a more ideal way to merge the speed of 'paperless' electronic voting technologies with the exacting re-countability of 'paper' voting methods.
I get a receipt that is both unique and timestamped when I purchase a single pack of gum at the grocery store with my Debit Card.
Why are there no accountable unique and timestamped receipts provided to every electronic voter and some secure method with which they could later review them?
I believe that the NSA has both the technical knowledge and resources to set up said secure verification of-your-vote web servers.
If it works for retail transactions, why not for voting? Heck... Mastercard/Visa and the NSA could team up and develop a FAST *and* far more secure electronic voting system with paper receipts user verification. I'd even pay the Card companies their 1%-3% cuts for that kind of reliability!
The real problem here is that there are too many cooks with too many agendas in the voting methodology kitchen!!!

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (2, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229032)

I want a unique timestamped paper receipt which I can look up later to verify my actual votes!
...
they could login into a secure web server with that number to review their vote selections
Allowing a voter to verify their vote "after the fact" from any location (or by direct examination of a receipt that leaves the polling place with them) makes vote-buying (or coercion) much too easy. Albeit, this is already a problem with absentee ballots, but we should not make it worse. However, there are schemes that would allow a voter to verify their vote privately at centralized secure locations (and allow them to contest the counting of their vote based on their receipt if they are willing to give up their "private ballot" privileges to do so) using encryption and election judges where various bits of key material are provided by (1) the voter, (2) randomly (and printed only on the voter receipt), and (3) by "election judges".

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228680)

Did you actually read the article you are referencing?? The university studies only claim the machines get high marks in voter confidence and satisfaction (i.e. usability). It says nothing about receiving solid marks in accuracy and even talks about dropping accuracy rates when elections get complicated. Plus this little gem:

According to the study, all of the voting methods tested were susceptible to various types of voter error, including missed votes and voting for the wrong candidate.
Mod that dude down, he is not informative at all.

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228700)

Because, you know, as long as people TRUST it, it doesn't matter if it ACTUALLY works.

Re:And yet a new five-year study... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22229170)

Read reflections on trusting trust. Electronic voting is insecure.

huh? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227984)

Wait a minute... a government lobbying agency is actually suing for the use of Diebold machines. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one. And the reasoning? Stupid errors that have happened since voting on paper existed. Someone in the ACLU has got to be on the take.

At least paper can't lie. (3, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22227996)

With paper, if you didn't vote for the candidate you intended to...it's your fault and visible if you follow the directions.

With a compromised e-voting machine, you could walk in and have the machine say "Thanks for voting for candidate A" while it adds a vote for candidate B.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1, Interesting)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228062)

Heh, well, paper maybe doesn't lie, but paper also doesn't choose the president. The Electoral College does. If you're worried about corruption/compromising in the system, there's probably enough nodes between the paper and the EC to worry about that you shouldn't feel safe just because you're marking paper rather than pressing a touch screen.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (0, Troll)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228112)

Red herring, offsides, 10 yard penalty, still first down.

But don't worry, most people still don't realize that the ACLU is to free speech what the RIAA is to music distribution.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228128)

While the EC may do the actual voting, I sincerely doubt they would actively vote against the populace of the state. So long as the votes of the citizens is accurate, any countermanding by the EC would be blatant and visible, and (hopefully) swiftly corrected.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228282)

The EC members aren't counting ballots in front of your face and voting, though. None of the current voting methods are totally foolproof, which is my point.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228284)

Unfaithful electors are fairly common. There was one in 2004, who put Edwards for POTUS and Kerry for VP. I don't believe it's ever had an effect on the outcome though. Wikipedia has more information.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228360)

You're right where they want you.

I mean, you still think votes count! That's amazing enough, but even more astounding is that you think there are good faith actors in power who would be willing to risk their own necks to refranchise the masses.

I'm tired of it all. Electronic, paper, centralized counting or decentralized counting, it can all be secure and auditable, or insecure and fraud-riddled. Guess which type benefits the people in power more? If you think secure and auditable, you're scoring pretty high on the naivometer.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229002)

So, I'm assuming that you can point to some instance in recent history where an elector flagrantly voted against his or her state and changed the outcome of the election (and no, Florida in 2000 doesn't count, no matter how bitter the whiny Democrats still are about it; the Republican electors all voted for Bush like they were supposed to after the election was certified).

Re:At least paper can't lie. (2)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229278)

You assume a lot. In addition to your assumption that I will provide proof for a specific scenario laid out according to your interesting rules, you assume that such events will be flagrant and singular (that is, not systemic). I don't consider those to be safe assumptions.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228094)

But the people, tabulating them in a centralized location, can and will lie just as bad as the machine that is hiding your voting record from you. Remember, it only takes one person to fuck with a e-voting machine but it only takes a few more people to fuck with centralized vote counting. Money works people.

Keep it decentralized and get over this "instantaneous statistics" bullshit that everyone is so fucking hyped up about. Who cares if you have to wait till the next day to find out who won? You have to put up with the bastard for at least four years, what's the difference if it takes a little longer to find out which one you are slowly going to learn to despise?

Re:At least paper can't lie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228236)

I didn't know people were in an uproar about instant results. Plenty of people vote for American Idol and you have to wait an entire day for those results.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (2, Insightful)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228186)

Indeed, paper can't lie! Unless your paper ballot gets thrown away or vandalized, or more ballots get stuffed into the process at some point. Where do you think the phrase "ballot stuffing" originated from?

It is simplistic to think that PAPER = SECURE, just because it's paper.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (1)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228420)

It is simplistic to think that PAPER = SECURE, just because it's paper.
You would think, as a site for geeks, there would be more people on slashdot that understand that. The comments and moderation show otherwise. The implication that any digital system is inherently less secure than any paper system is inherently Luddite, all the way down.

Re:At least paper can't lie. (2, Insightful)

lenski (96498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228866)

The implication that any digital system is inherently less secure than any paper system is inherently Luddite, all the way down.


Your focus is too narrow. Nobody says "paper ballots are secure". We say "it's far more difficult to swing an election with paper ballots without it being detected and corrected than with electronic systems."

For an individual precinct, it can be argued that paper is subject to (within an order of magnitude) similar levels of manipulation for particular insiders as electronic systems.

However, to really swing an entire election, the decentralized nature of paper ballots requires the concerted cooperation of a far larger population of manipulators with inside access to the ballots' chain of custody. On the other hand, a single easter egg in one version of voting system software can allow one *voter* in each of several, possibly many, precincts to secretly engage the easter egg's incantation to swing that machine's vote totals.

So paper requires concerted effort by many insiders with the concomitant increase in likelihood of one of them screwing up and spilling the beans. Electronic voting systems require a collection of non-insiders to engage a secretly emplaced easter egg to modify entire elections. There is a possibility of detection there too, but it is significantly more difficult.

Electronic voting systems have already been used to affect an election: In central Ohio where I live, districts and precincts with a statistical democratic bias (metropolitan and progressive districts) had reduced allocation of voting machines, while outlying areas that tend republican had appropriate allocation. The result, widely reported, was lines of multiple hours in one case and rarely more than minutes in the other. Voting occurred on a work day, and many people simply could not or would not wait to vote because they had to get back to work.

To claim that people like me are luddites is entirely stupid, by the way. My code has been working in the signalling and switching systems (both STP and NCP) the long distance network for 15 years, has been running cockpit avionics communications for 25 years, and I am at present involved in several autonomous UAV flight control projects.

There are people who really want to manipulate elections and are trying to establish a context in which their manipulations could be done with the minimum probability of detection. The people who run and monitor elections are not embedded system developers with years of experience in authentication and security. They would be very hard pressed to detect, much less respond to, a situation where sophisticated election system developers could be manipulating the process. Note further that the election system vendors steadfastly refuse to show their code to anyone. That makes me very suspicious.

During the late 90's, the Nevada Gaming commission's slot machines were hacked by an insider who used his diagnostic validation unit to insert easter eggs in slot machines. His hack was not discovered for many months (I forget exactly how long it lasted). The Nevada Gaming Commission is loaded with money, expert developers, and a strong economic desire to avoide even a hint of dishonesty, and were hacked. Compare that to Boards of Elections who are overworked, underpaid, have very limited budgets, and absolutely ZERO experience in system security.

don't get do-overs in life (1)

jupiterssj4 (801031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228110)

People need to take the extra second to make sure that they did not make any errors. You don't get second chances in life for many things. On school work, for example, you don't get a do-over, if you screw up, it's your fault, all you need to do is check to make sure you don't mess up. I live in Ohio, just south of Cleveland, and I think the paper ballots with optical scanners are fine, I don't punch the wrong hole and if I do... I guess I shouldn't really be voting. The explanation on the ballots is so high that if you screw up, it's because you are dumb

Can't mark an -X- on paper, eh ... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228126)

Then tufftit ... sez me. But the ACLU feels offence. Do have it's' fav pander-groups.

Re:Can't mark an -X- on paper, eh ... (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228334)

Sorry, your X wasn't dark enough and the scantron machine didn't pick it up. "Tuffit" indeed.

They aren't against paper but Central Count Paper. (4, Informative)

Irvu (248207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228190)

So the title is misleading. The ACLU is filing suit against the county's decision to switch to Centrally-Counted optically scanned ballots where the ballots are filled out at the polling place and sent to a single central warehouse for scanning. They are not against Precinct-Counted optical scanners where they are scanned at the polling place.

The crux of their argument is that central counts unlike precinct count and even mediocre touchscreens offer the user a warning when they overvote or undervote for a race thus warning them that they ballot may not be counted and thus giving them a chance to fix it. Their argument is that this lack of a warning (however poor) is likely to cause many errors that the voters are never aware of.

So strictly speaking they are not against the use of paper ballots (it is my understanding that they favor them) just against this particular type of scanning system.

Re:They aren't against paper but Central Count Pap (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228604)

That's just what I was coming to write.

Mod parent up, and also tag the story "badtitle". Because, well, it's completely wrong. :) They're not blocking paper ballots, they're blocking a particular method of counting which has problems.

Re:They aren't against paper but Central Count Pap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228912)

Here in Kern County, California we used to have a really fool proof system. It used IBM punch cards which were punched by the voter with a little card punch. Slide in the card and use an attached punch. If the card was not in the exactly correct position, the punch would be locked up. Tabulating the ballots was done with a card reader. The people at the registrars office did not like the system because they had to stay up until the ballots from the east end on the county were transported over the Sierra Nevada to Bakersfield.

Re:They aren't against paper but Central Count Pap (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229332)

The crux of their argument is that central counts unlike precinct count and even mediocre touchscreens offer the user a warning when they overvote or undervote for a race thus warning them that they ballot may not be counted and thus giving them a chance to fix it. Their argument is that this lack of a warning (however poor) is likely to cause many errors that the voters are never aware of.

Yes, voting is serious, and yes, we should check our own work. But we all make silly mistakes and typ0s sometimes, so why shouldn't we use every means possible to ensure EVERY vote is cast and counted as intended? Voting is indeed serious, so I don't understand how anyone can argue against using good designs and methods to ensure the proper result.

Remember..2 A's beats double E..or is it 2 pairs?! (1)

Justabit (651314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228204)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0483726/ [imdb.com] Touch screen or ballot paper, just remember to vote early and vote often.

In Arizona (4, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228270)

In the very backwards state of Arizona, they still use paper ballots. Yet when those ballots are inserted into the ballot box, they go through a visual scanner that kicks the ballot back out immediately if it is improperly marked. While you can choose not to vote on any given ballot issue, accidentally marking more than one vote for an issue will reject the ballot immediately, and you can get a new one on the spot to correct. Paper ballots don't need to have the problems cited here, and obviously have some advantages in recounts afterwards.

Of course, by the ACLU rules, voting Republican is a source of voter error, and reason for the ballot to be rejected.

Re:In Arizona (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228352)

Of course, by the ACLU rules, voting Republican is a source of voter error, and reason for the ballot to be rejected.

Good to see you can take a nice, reasoned post and taint it with partisan bullshit. Good job.

Re:In Arizona (1, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228670)

Good to see you can take a nice, reasoned post and taint it with partisan bullshit. Good job.

The ACLU is a partisan organization, so I don't see how the GP is doing anything wrong at all. After all, the ACLU claims to be in favor of "civil liberties" (it's in their name, after all), but then they're in favor of gun control, which goes against a very important civil liberty to many Americans. A true civil libertarian (well-known as the shortened form, "libertarian") is adamantly against gun control, and in favor of preserving civil liberties wherever possible. But the ACLU frequently works against civil liberties on this issue and many others; their actual stance is "liberal", not "libertarian". The ACLU, by co-opting the "civil liberties" term but then working against, not for, civil liberties, is the one that is partisan (and dishonest), so taking partisan shots against them is completely fair IMO.

Re:In Arizona (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228834)

Whereby "partisan" means "in line with 'conservative republican' philosophy." Am I right?

The ACLU has stated that they are not opposed to reasonable measures of gun control, but they won't say more than that on the issue. They don't cover gun issues at all because the NRA is dedicated to it entirely.

their actual stance is "liberal", not "libertarian"

Liberties, as in freedom. Not this damn epithet "liberal" that people spew out towards anyone they disagree with. And not "libertarian" as in the political party.

What other issues have they worked against civil liberties on?

Re:In Arizona (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22229564)

Daily Affirmations by Republican Smalley.

You know, if I found myself constantly defending a belief, even in situations where the belief itself isn't in question, I think I would reconsider my outlook on said subject. Dropping your political "religion" could add 5+ more years on your life, not to mention people won't think you are a moron.

And gosh darn it... people like you, unless they are libs, then they can suck it. --Republican Smalley

My City Was Gone (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228310)

Ay! Oh! A way to go Ohio...

The paper ballots aren't the problem (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228328)

The problem is the counting system, not the ballots. Paper ballots actually work fantastically well, if you have a smart system for counting ballots. Canada does, thankfully, and it uses paper ballots. We know for certain who our next prime minister is hours after the polls close, all ballots are counted at the polling station, and any interested voter is allowed to watch the counting. At the same time, we spend a fraction of what the US spends per capita on elections. For more detail or a non-Canadian perspective, Robert X. Cringely [pbs.org] has a good little write-up (it's down toward the end of the page).

Re:The paper ballots aren't the problem (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228632)

While I agree there are issues with the entire electoral process in the US keep in mind that Canada has a population of barely over 33 million while the US population has 10 times that; California alone has 36 million.

Re:The paper ballots aren't the problem (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229404)

So? I see no reason their system shouldn't scale well enough to work here. We have more voters, but we also have a more polling places and people help count votes, so any system we can conceive of could be implemented. Even if I had to wait 12 hours, or however long, for results, rather than having an idea of who won an hour after the polls close. I'd much rather wait one little day for reliable results than have instant results that may or may not be accurate and precise. What's the rush?

Time to write the ACLU (1)

plnrtrvlr (557800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228332)

The ACLU is dependent upon contributions to exist. I've contributed to them before. It's time to write and speak your mind. Email them at membership@aclu.org or call them at (212) 549-2585 and let them know what you think. The ACLU is supposed to stand for free and fair elections: they need to know that we want them to stand for TRULY reliable and honest elections by supporting machines with an auditable paper trail and opposing any other solution.

Re:Time to write the ACLU (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228772)

The problem in Cuyahoga County was never one of a verifiable paper trail, we've had that since we went to electronic voting. The problem was that the machines were often broken causing polling places to be so backed up as to cause people to give up. They also had a server crash during tallying which obviously doesn't instill confidence in the results of the electronic process. This means that we would basically have to hand count every ballot every election (not just in close or disputed elections) at a cost of millions per election, millions Cuyahoga County doesn't have (we're one of the poorest large counties in the country). I'm sure if there was time and money we'd ideally have scantron machines at every polling place but there isn't before the primary and probably not before the general election. Going back to the electronic machines probably isn't possible because of the time needed to get all the techies to fix and deploy the machines.

RFID is the answer (1)

crismoj (121205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228412)

The only sure way to reduce voter fraud is for everyone to be micro-chipped at birth, walk into the voting booth a sensor would determine how many guns you had, how you've voted in the past, how many times you've used the healthcare system, etc.. and then register your vote accordingly.

Quit fighting it, it's coming.

E-voting isn't the demon: the closedness is (1)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228486)

I think the ACLU's point is that technology isn't bad for the election process: its bad process and accountability.

There's nothing wrong per se with touch-screen machines, punch ballots, e-voting machines, or even raising your hand to count your vote. Its being able to verify that your voted for who you voted for. It's being able to verify that your vote was counted. That's important.

The ACLU is trying to say that the solution to problems with touchscreen voting isn't to take a step backward technologically. We should be finding better solutions, like using technology to make votes verifiable, and making it easier to do so.

Re:E-voting isn't the demon: the closedness is (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229248)

There's nothing wrong per se with [...] raising your hand to count your vote.
Yes. Yes there is. Any voting system that doesn't preserve anonymity is open to intimidation.

Re:E-voting isn't the demon: the closedness is (0)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229396)

Then thank God we have the ACLU to tell what it progressive and what is not. Lawsuits are certainly the best way to make sure everything happens the way they are supposed to.

Oh wait, I mentioned God. That's not progressive. Crap, are they going to sue me, or will I just be modded down as Troll again?

A thought (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228496)

Perhaps we could get Florida to count the votes in Ohio. We should have an answer about this time next year, unless there are lawsuits. There are always lawsuits in Florida. Even Florida sues Florida, it's their number one sport and they're trying to out-do California and the 9th Circus.

Democracy at its best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22228540)

Discounting the votes of those too stupid to fill them out correctly would fix the problems of democracy.

"The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter."

                -Sir Winston Churchill

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy#Quotes [wikipedia.org]

Re:Democracy at its best (2, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228588)

And remember, Democracy is two wolves and a lamb sitting down and deciding what is for lunch.

Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.

Your vote is how you cast it... (1)

Takato-chan (754112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22228882)

Not how you _wanted_ to cast it. Much like in any voting system, once you cast your vote, you can't go back and change your mind. Why should computerized voting be any different? At least with a paper ballot, there is a _paper_ trail!

best of both worlds (1)

yellekc (819322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229006)

The last time I voted was on an electronic machine. I forget the brand, but it required a key card, and had a paper tabulation of your votes that was visible behind a clear window for your approval. After approving the paper backup, it scrolled up out of sight. I really liked the system. It was easy to use, prevented voter errors, and provided a paper trail. Traditional paper ballots are beyond outdated, but having a paper trail is still necessary. This was in Ohio by the way, but I guess each county has different election commissions and therefore different machines.

Excellent (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229010)

Awesome! I didn't want to vote anyway. Thank God the ACLU is there to relieve me of the horrible task of making up my mind regarding who's the least of a dozen evils this year.

Seriously, though, my head is spinning from the shenanigans going on here from all directions. In 2006, the county BoE had fubared my voter registration, and I got stuck voting provisionally despite bringing ample identification with me, and despite having lived and voted in that precinct in every general election for the past several years. I filled out a paper ballot, jammed it into a big envelope, sealed it, and dropped it in the box. Not only do I have no idea whether my vote got counted, but I also didn't get these vaunted protections the ACLU is now complaining about.

Where was the ACLU when I needed them, I ask you?!

ACLU Sues Over Paper Ballot Counting Method (2, Informative)

defective_warthog (776271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22229328)

Ohio wants to remove the security risks of M-100's at the precinct level by moving to M-650's at one location. This does remove several security risks associated with the M-100's. M-650's cannot detect the paper ballot's orientation. -paper ballots have to be manually sorted and stacked in the same orientation. M-650's are sensitive for such large machines. -they need to be level and stay level as they operate. M-650's will reject an over voted ballot because it's using the same ballot definitions as the M-100's (precinct level). M-100's can detect the paper ballot orientation. -votes on paper ballots get counted regardless of orientation of the ballot. M-100's can detect over voted ballots. -machine kicks the ballot out allowing the voter to correct their vote -precinct procedure should include accounting for spoiled paper ballots This centralized counting of paper ballots does not give a voter a chance to correct a mistake on an over voted ballot. A mistake that would be detected by M-100's if they were used at the precinct level. I think Ohio is over reacting to it's own Everest study. Most of the security problems associated with the M-100's can be controlled by proper training of the poll workers and improved access control measures at the county or precinct level. Ohio should look to how the M-100's have performed in North Carolina. But North Carolina has one of the strongest laws in the nation. And perhaps more trainable poll workers. -the defect
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