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Ohio Investigating Possible Vote Machine Tampering Last Year

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the bit-of-dirty-pool dept.

Government 213

MozeeToby writes "The Columbus Dispatch is reporting on a criminal investigation currently being performed in Franklin County Ohio. It seems several voting machines listed a candidate as withdrawn from the race when in fact he wasn't. By the time the investigations tracked down which machines had been affected, the candidate's name was back on the ballot. Normally, we could dismiss this as confusion or a mistake on the part of the voter(s) who noticed it. In this case, the person who first noticed the discrepancy was Ohio Secretary of state Jennifer Brunner. Further compounding matters, the Franklin County Board of Elections had disabled virtually all logging on the machines to speed setup of the ballot. Naturally, the county board remains skeptical of these accusations."

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Skeptical? (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799056)

These morons can't even program their VCRs and they're skeptical of tampering? I vote at a place where the people running the polls were alive when the results would have been passed using goddamn pony express, and they say the same crap here.

We seriously need to toss this crap in a landfill and go back to paper. Any idiot can figure out a paper system, and the system should have that sort of transparency.

Heh. (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799130)

Dated myself...Should have said, "Can't even program their DVRs."

The fact remains that people who don't understand the issue have no basis for commenting on it. If there are reports of ballot tampering, and the machines are set up without logging (how is this even fucking possible in a supposedly secure system?), there is no way in hell that any non-technical user should be able to get away with being skeptical...If someone told them the goddamn machines were running Halo 3, they wouldn't have any way of telling.

Re:Heh. (4, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799364)

The problem is that paper based elections are no more secure, and if the physical ballots are lost, you're screwed. Accidents do happen, so you can't say they never would be. We need a better voting system that takes advantage of our new computing technology.

I'm not saying that the current electronic systems are a good idea though.

The primary flaw of the currently available voting machines is that they are all proprietary. This means a company has a commercial interest in hiding flaws, and is more likely to push out a device with flaws (or fight to prevent their discovery), if they convince themselves that fixing the flaws isn't worth it, in view of the profit reduction that would result.

We need a voting machine system which is impartial, and not run as a for profit exercise.

I think the best method would be to set up a consortium of major technology corporations to create the voting machines, and have them run it as a tax break, with rental fee's going to charities, not to the corporations themselves. After all, they have all the smart people working for them, and if profit is not a factor, and no single company has control, the system is less likely to be flawed.

Before anyone starts foaming at the mouth about big companies I say this. They already run your health system, your financial institutions, your currency, transportation systems, and your food supply. It's not such a big leap.
Plus, co-operation is already happening with software technology.

Re:Heh. (4, Interesting)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799414)

The problem is that paper based elections are no more secure, and if the physical ballots are lost, you're screwed.

They aren't? How many man-seconds alone with the ballots does it take to change the result of a paper election by editing the ballots? How many cubic meters of stuff do you need to carry to swap in forged ballots? Now how about electronically stored ballots?

Re:Heh. (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799596)

They aren't? How many man-seconds alone with the ballots does it take to change the result of a paper election by editing the ballots?
You mean to print ballots that are pre-filled out? I could print about one a second. Not that this matters as I could do it at my leisure.

How many cubic meters of stuff do you need to carry to swap in forged ballots?
If I pre-stuff the box with my pre-printed ballots before the polls even open... Zero. If you swap the ballot box out after the polling and dispose of the original, then you need a replica of the box.

Now how about electronically stored ballots?
Well, since you need physical access to the machines since they are not on the network, this could take a while. Once you get access, how long to upload whatever changes you want to make could take a while. Of course, you also have to make sure to clear all logs of your access and try to make sure that any changes you made are not detected by something as simple as MD5SUM on pre-polling files.

Sorry to say it but any retard can stuff a paper ballot box. It takes an experienced hacker to hack an electronic election.

Personally, I feel that an electronic voting machine should print out a serial numbered, easy to read paper ballot that you have to drop into the box before you leave. Now you have the best of both worlds. If the electronic numbers do not match what is in the paper ballot box, investigate. Each serial numbered ballot should have a corresponding electric vote. Now to steal this kind of election, you'd need to stuff the ballot box with votes that are actually in the machines memory. Not impossible to hack, but much more difficult that hacking either a paper or electronic system alone.

Re:Heh. (2, Interesting)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799826)

It takes a single well paid experienced hacker a very short time to change A LOT of the ballots. It takes a retard at each polling place or box collection point to initiate each swap. Now, add in the fact that a box of ballots can be sealed with a label with a tamper evident serial number, the changes on electronic seem much more difficult.

Re:Heh. (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799828)

These P.O.S machines didn't even have logging turned on. Fraud, no fraud, it'd be impossible to tell.

And while it may take an experienced person to write an exploit, it only takes a "retard" to load it.

Monkeying physical ballots can be done, sure. But you need a lot of people to do it. You need the poll workers, you need the ballot printers, you need the ballot box movers...And all this is for a polling place that may only serve a few hundred people. Now multiply that by the millions of voters in a general election. One person can keep a secret. A hundred? A thousand? Never.

I have to agree with the puppy on this one. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800050)

This mythical "retard" who is somehow a management/distribution savant?

More correctly stated, any "retard" can stuff a ballot box ... and be caught doing so.

It's like saying that any "retard" can rob a bank but it takes a skilled hacker to electronically loot your accounts. It is just wrong. It is far easier to secure a physical object because people have far more experience with doing just that.

Archer seems to be postulating a perfect scenario for electronic voting. Just read TFA and the others like it.

Re:Heh. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799844)

> Sorry to say it but any retard can stuff a paper ballot box. It takes an experienced hacker to hack an electronic election.

You seem to claim its more likely that one retard exists that can stuff a paper box, than that one hacker exists that can hack an electronic election. However, you don't understand scalability. It takes at least one retard in every paper voting site, or at least each paper voting site that matters, to stuff a ballot box. Probably there are far fewer box stuffing retards that there are polling sites. On the other hand, it only takes one hacker in the whole country (or world?) to hack any or all electronic elections.

Even weirder, think of multiple retards trying to stuff paper ballots at the same site. That result is at least defined, or perhaps comical. What happens when 20 individual hackers all try to simultaneously hack the same electronic system, which probably has no proper file locking, etc? That will be comedy indeed.

Re:Heh. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800064)

Well, since you need physical access to the machines since they are not on the network, this could take a while. Once you get access, how long to upload whatever changes you want to make could take a while. Of course, you also have to make sure to clear all logs of your access and try to make sure that any changes you made are not detected by something as simple as MD5SUM on pre-polling files.

Sorry to say it but any retard can stuff a paper ballot box. It takes an experienced hacker to hack an electronic election.


Or ... one sysadmin/dba to do a little data messaging after it 'comes in'.

This sort of argument is retarded. Both can be rigged, just depends on who and how many people are involved in order to get away with it. If you're talking about a presidential election in the US, both of the primary political parties have more than enough money right now to fix the next 10 elections if they really wanted to.

Like most government projects in America, it all comes down to who is the lowest bidder. In this case, the lowest bidder loses and the highest wins (which typically of course its that the lowest bidder wins then fails to meet their contractual obligations, in which case they get paid again to fix the problems they created originally).

So ... since the people running the election are just people, which ever political party pays off the most people in the election processing system is likely to win, of course if someone gets paid off by both sides, then it comes down to who paid more.

Do I believe all of that crap? No. But I do believe its retarded to think either system is 'hard' to cheat, you just have to pick the right people to make the cheat work. Atleast until we start making voting records completely public so anyone in the country can 'verify the vote'.

Re:Heh. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800120)

Or don't clear the logs and make sure they noticed you tampered with it. Then, they can't count any of the votes that the machine took, since they could be tampered. Make sure to to that in a location that is leaning towards your competitor. Maybe do it to a few polling places where your opponent is expected to get more votes.. TADA! You didn't rig the election so you win, you rigged the election so your opponent lost! (with the same end result)

Re:Heh. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800126)

You mean to print ballots that are pre-filled out? I could print about one a second. Not that this matters as I could do it at my leisure.

There's a reason I differentiated between an editing attack and a swapping attack. In order to perform a swapping attack on paper ballots, you need to carry great stacks of ballots with you (i.e. cubic meters of them).

Once you get access, how long to upload whatever changes you want to make could take a while.

I'm pretty sure that plugging in the connector would take longer than any data transfer if the attack was properly automated.

Sorry to say it but any retard can stuff a paper ballot box. It takes an experienced hacker to hack an electronic election.

Any idiot with 5 minutes alone with a ballot box can stuff it, assuming that proper fake ballots had been prepared beforehand. Any idiot with 5 seconds alone with a DRE voting machine's input port can stuff it, assuming appropriate pre-preparation. Further, any idiot with 10 seconds alone with a DRE system's central tabulator can "stuff every ballot box" in like 10 seconds.

It's not that there aren't attacks against paper systems, it's that 80 year old poll volunteers know what to watch for and have a lot of chance to see it. Further, a successful attack has a much smaller potential impact. With a clever electronic attack the entire county election may be compromised with nothing apparently sketchy happening at all.

Re:Heh. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799674)

They're not.

How many seconds does it take to "misplace" or otherwise disappear a batch of paper ballots?

"Not counted" works just as well as the missing entries, etc.

None of it is actually at all "secure" in the normal sense of the word. There's more secure means- and if you're going to
do something like this, one should pick more as opposed to less. Unfortunately, for the electronic ballot system makers
they've been in a race to the bottom, trying to out cheap (and by that, I mean lack of quality) each other on things such
that there's no good semblance of security at all present in ANY of the units- period.

Re:Heh. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799904)

Ever been to a polling place where they didn't check to see if you were a registered voter? When that polling place has a record of serving 5000 registered voters and no ballots to show for it, that is a pretty clear indication of fraud, don't you think?

Pardon the pun, but paper ballots leave a huge paper trail. They're physical objects; they exist, and therefore it is much harder to make them disappear than it is an ephemeral digital record.

Re:Heh. (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799480)

Lost ballots are easy to track; just number them. If you can't find them, you know there is fraud.

Paper is cheap, paper is reliable. Paper doesn't require a ton of training or big fancy machines. Paper doesn't require we put our trust in anyone.

The problem with the technical systems is that they're complex, far far far more complex than they need to be. The more complex you make them, the more likely you are to have bugs, the more likely you are to have fraud, and the less likely you are to have someone who can spot the fraud.

Having a pile of for-profit companies putting together the machines is a terrible idea; we're already doing that. It's not working. Having them do it without a specific contract with a specific dollar figure on it is an even worse idea. It is always better to do a contract and set a finite price. Finally, the code has to be open source, which you'll never get from a for-profit.

Bullshit. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799538)

The problem is that paper based elections are no more secure, and if the physical ballots are lost, you're screwed.
No. You do not understand "security". It is possible to have a representative from each candidate WATCH the ballot box to make sure that it is not "lost".

Even if someone is watching the computer, there is no way for them to tell if ballots are being "lost" or changed.

We need a better voting system that takes advantage of our new computing technology.
Why? What's wrong with pen and paper?

Counting and validating paper ballots is simple. As is protecting them. They are PHYSICAL objects. People have lots of experience in keeping physical objects secure.

Re:Heh. (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799882)

We need a better voting system that takes advantage of our new computing technology.

I have a pretty good idea where you'd begin.

  • Two stations that must conform to a set standard and may not be built by the same vendor in any polling place.
  • First station casts the vote, second station allows you to verify it. Both count the votes independently and report back independently to separate counting systems built again by separate vendors.
  • The voting station must generate a unique symmetric key that must be registered upstream to the backend counting system, but may not be recorded on the vote token. That backend must then make it available to any other counting system that asks. Appropriate cryptographic protection must be used to ensure no unauthorized system can ask.
  • The checking station must then request that key to decrypt the vote for verification purposes.
  • If the vote verification shows that the vote was incorrect, the user cancels the vote and, upon returning to the voting station, revotes. The cancellation is propagated back to the voting station by the transportation of the vote token as a negative vote.
  • After voting, you retain your voting token, and can connect it to a USB port (or a flash card reader, perhaps) and run a program that queries the vote counting system. Because the encrypted vote is still present, the servers can each independently verify whether the vote was, in fact cast. This path should not allow access to the key needed to decrypt the vote, however, thus preventing people from using this as a way to sell votes.

Of course, the security would still depend on the standards being defined by a group of people familiar enough with crypto to come up with a robust and reasonably secure standard for doing all this, but at least by requiring independent verification, this significantly reduces the likelihood of vendors being bought off successfully without getting caught, and by allowing vote counts to be verified independently after the fact against all of the counting servers, this significantly reduces the ways in which blocks of votes can get "lost" by corrupt election officials.

Re:Heh. (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800202)

Before anyone starts foaming at the mouth about big companies I say this. They already run your health system, your financial institutions, your currency, transportation systems, and your food supply. It's not such a big leap.

Let's see....

Health system = millions of uninsured, outrageous costs, inconsistent care with no coordination

Financial institutions = scandals, bailouts, housing bubble, credit crunch

Currency = check current exchange rates: need I say more?

Transportation systems = Think about that next time you're in gridlock, or sitting on a plane for hours on the tarmac, or trying to efficiently utilize most cities' mass transit

Food supply = E. coli, Mad Cow, various recalls, food poisoning, not to mention the overall lousy nutritional value of most processed foods

And so, I'm supposed to trust "big companies" with my vote....why, exactly? I realize we may have to do something along your suggestion to fix the voting system, but the examples you chose hardly inspire confidence...

Re:Heh. (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799404)

...people who don't understand the issue have no basis for commenting on it.
If I wasn't guilty of it so often myself, I'd use that as a sig...

Re:Skeptical? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799398)

We seriously need to toss this crap in a landfill and go back to paper. Any idiot can figure out a paper system, and the system should have that sort of transparency.
Paper? What is this 'paper' of which you speak? Is it some sort of precursor to a monitor?

Re:Skeptical? (2, Insightful)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799796)

The real problem, with any voting system, is the quality of the voter. Let me explain what I mean. The voting system as it was, prior to 2000, had a fail safe. A voter would punch a ballot with the stylus. They were then supposed to removed the card from the machine and VERIFY via the numbers that their card was punched as they wanted it to be. If they could not read English, or were not capable of "punching" one hole and one hole only for a given race/issue/levy etc. then their vote would be negated. This prevents Captain Insano from just punching every hole.
It is presumed that voters have the intelligence necessary to cast a vote properly. This apparently isn't good enough because it "disenfranchised" too many voters, who were not intelligent enough to check their ballot after voting to verify that their card was correct. So, the solution is to throw money at a problem that really wasn't a problem. Personally, the solution is much simpler than the Diebold solution. you put a picture of the candidate on the touch screen, you touch the one you want, after voting on all the issues/races/ etc. It prints a paper ballot, you remove the ballot from the machine, now here is the tricky part, you VERIFY that EVERYTHING is accurate, then drop it in the little box. WHY IS THE SO FRIGGAN HARD TO GRASP!!!! Again, if you aren't intelligent enough to follow directions you shouldn't be voting anyway.
This is just another example of the government trying to protect the stupid from themselves.

Never leave a paper trail (4, Interesting)

MisterSquirrel (1023517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799072)

Further compounding matters, the Franklin County Board of Elections had disabled virtually all logging on the machines to speed setup of the balot. Because we all know what a vastly time-consuming task turning on logging during setup must be.

Re:Never leave a paper trail (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799438)

If that level of logging isn't on by default, then the voting machine manufacturers are even more incompetent than I thought. And that's saying a lot, because I doubt they could fasten their own shoes with velcro.

You can't make this stuff up... (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799104)

Further compounding matters, the Franklin County Board of Elections had disabled virtually all logging on the machines to speed setup of the balot [SIC].

Unbelievable. It's like they're trying to make the machines as unreliable and untrustworthy as possible. I know that the problem of properly implementing electronic voting machines is not a simple one by any means, but this is just plain ridiculous.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (5, Funny)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799150)

It's better than when Diebold leaked the election results. http://www.theonion.com/content/video/diebold_accidentally_leaks [theonion.com]

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799242)

Ahhh...that was priceless. Thank you. ^_^

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799158)

I know that the problem of properly implementing electronic voting machines is not a simple one by any means, but this is just plain ridiculous.

See... that's just the thing. I don't think it would be terribly difficult. I've been writing software for about 6-7 years now, and I don't think that there should be a huge issue coming up with standardized, secure voting machines that leave some form of detailed logging or trail of votes.

I think the main roadblock to it isn't technology or money or lack of decent workers, the real problem is outlined here. Politicians have a knack, whether intentionally or not, for getting into this kind of thing and just royally messing it up. Me, personally? Seeing as to how this kind of thing keeps happening, I would assume it is intentional. In that case, I doubt it will be fixed (in the "not broken anymore" sense) any time soon.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (2, Insightful)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799422)

I've been writing software for 30 years, I can assure you there's no way to make totally secure software. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we'll move on to a real solution. It's almost like the media companies thinking DRM couldn't be hacked.

We need to get over uninformed thinking, and move to a VERIFIABLE system. Whether it's paper or plastic or silicon, all votes must be made public (with individual privacy protected by code numbers or some similar mechanism). With the voting results in full view (perhaps on a website?), everyone and anyone can confirm their vote got counted right, and that the sum total of all votes is correct. With a little extra effort, we could even ensure each vote on the list was cast by a real person.

I know this will remove a lot of power from some very powerful corporations, and all corrupt election-stealing politicians will cry foul, but at the end of the day, public verification is the only true solution. Anyone who disagrees is probably selling 'their' system, in which they, no doubt, have a vested interest.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799502)

If you can prove to yourself that you voted for candidate X, you can prove to someone else that you voted for candidate X. This leads to things just a vote buying, and coercion of voters. The vote is supposed to be anonymous. And it should be impossible to link back a vote to who cast it.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (2, Interesting)

malilo (799198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800242)

I have decided I am tired of this argument. Honestly. It's already illegal, so anyone caught doing this would face DIRE consequences... and if you can convince anyone that keeping it under wraps would be possible, I'll be amazed.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800248)

That isn't true -- a secure method was submitted to slashdot a few years ago, but I can't find it for the life of me. Basically, ballots are printed with some randomness. "yes" is printed on the left half of the time, and on the right the other half. If you vote "yes", your receipt says, "you voted for the choice on the left", and has an identification number. You get online, and look up the ID number -- if it disagrees with your receipt, then you have evidence of fraud. Yet, you can't prove anything to anybody about who you voted for -- just that your vote was counted correctly.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799190)

Further compounding matters, the Franklin County Board of Elections had disabled virtually all logging on the machines to speed setup of the balot [SIC].
Unbelievable. It's like they're trying to make the machines as unreliable and untrustworthy as possible.
The reports don't make it clear if this was Board policy or if this was simply one rogue employee who turned off the audit logs.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799206)

but this is just plain ridiculous

And hopefully criminally negligent. I'd like to see more people go to jail for these mistakes, intentional or otherwise.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (4, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799244)

...problem of properly implementing electronic voting machines...
There is no proper implementation for an electronic voting machine.

There can be proper vote printing machines.
There can be proper vote tabulating machines.

But the same device can never do both properly.
The votes must be inspectable by humans between these steps.
EOT.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (1)

webrunner (108849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800022)

One has to wonder though.. counting is like, the most basic thing a computer can do with complete and total reliability. Human eyes can be used to verify, but wouldn't you trust a computer count more than a human one for anything other than voting? So what makes voting so different?

A properly developed voting system is not farfetched, it's the security that's the issue, and the companies currently making voting machines seem to be extremely bad at making verifyiably secure machines.

Re:You can't make this stuff up... (1)

Cyclump (967815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799576)

As a resident of Columbus, I hate the new machines. The old ones were truly idiot proof from a voter's perspective. The ballot was one large, pre-printed mat with every race on it. Each race/decision was grouped into a box with the appropriate text and choices in it. Each choice had a red LED that flashed if you hadn't made a choice. You selected one (or more depending on the election) of the options and it would cause the one you selected to stay red and the other leds for that election would turn off. You could see every choice you made at once and there was no way to fuck it up. I miss the old machines and shit like this does not surprise me anymore living around here.

Bad Summary (2, Informative)

eli867 (300724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799114)

The problem isn't really that the candidate got screwed -- he actually did resign form the race, but he missed the deadline after which the ballots were supposed to be finalized.

A pretty minor mistake (if you ask me), but the big deal is that all the machines are supposed to have exactly the same ballot. And they didn't. That's bad.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799156)

BZZZZZT. Try again.

Perez withdrew one day after Franklin County had finalized its ballots. He had hoped to avoid playing spoiler in fellow Democrat Patsy Thomas' race to retain her appointment to the Franklin County Municipal Court.
Instead, Perez's name remained on the ballots -- or allegedly, most ballots -- and Republican David Tyack won.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799226)

Huh? Isn't that what the GP said? That the candidate withdrew, but too late.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799314)

I don't think so. The GP was saying "no harm, no foul". Indeed there was - this potentially changed the outcome of the election.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799340)

The problem isn't really that the candidate got screwed
"The candidate" is referring to Perez, not Patsy Thomas. So the GP did not mention anything about Patsy Thomas. You just want karma don't you?

Re:Bad Summary (2, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799440)

No, the GP had it pretty much right. To recap, had things been done properly, Perez would have been listed as a running candidate on all machines, which might have cost the other Democrat candidate some votes. However in places he was listed as withdrawn, which in principle should help the running Democrat, who lost despite the error, not because of it. Had the Republican lost, you might wonder if Perez being listed as withdrawn despite missing the deadline had changed the results of the vote.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799280)

The problem isn't really that the candidate got screwed -- he actually did resign form the race, but he missed the deadline after which the ballots were supposed to be finalized. A pretty minor mistake (if you ask me), but the big deal is that all the machines are supposed to have exactly the same ballot. And they didn't. That's bad.
and

Perez withdrew one day after Franklin County had finalized its ballots. He had hoped to avoid playing spoiler in fellow Democrat Patsy Thomas' race to retain her appointment to the Franklin County Municipal Court. Instead, Perez's name remained on the ballots -- or allegedly, most ballots -- and Republican David Tyack won.
Say the same thing. So I guess you took the "I am going to be an asshole" pill this morning.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799338)

Yep. But the major ones (changed votes) aren't the kinds of things these stupid machines have the ability to log for us. Only the secretary of state seeing something so obvious as an incorrect ballot will generate enough publicity to learn to do this right.

Oh, since it doesn't tell you what was actually going on in this race, and who was running for what, see
this article [dispatchpolitics.com] to know what's going on here.

Re:Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22800138)

I'd say the bigger issue is the ballot changing midday. That implies someone having the ability and access to alter the SW mid election.

Einstein's kids, grand kids, great grandkids ... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799148)

...the great-grandson of Albert Einstein working in collusion to pull this off," White said.

Actually, his kids, grand kids and great grand kids are all pretty average. One of his great grand kids owns a furniture store and 3 warehouses. See the current issue of Discover Magazine - has Einstein's photo on it [discovermagazine.com] .

At least he HAD a grandson... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799316)

The other participant "The grandson of Al Capone" never actually existed, and the only person who could have fathered said mythical grandson was Capone's only kid: Albert Francis Capone. That poor kid later changed his name to "Brown" and his entire criminal record consists of one arrest for misdemeanor shoplifting.

The election guy sounds like a complete moron.

Damn (0, Troll)

Garrick68 (1165999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799162)

Just fucking have a system that takes your vote, prints out 2 pages one you keep for your records, the other scanned by a bar code reader and but in a lock box. How fucking hard is that????

Re:Damn (4, Informative)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799262)

Make sure you bring me your receipt showing you voted for my uncle Tony or else your thumbs and you will be spending some time apart.

Re:Damn (-1, Troll)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799332)

So put a fucking paper shredder next to the exit! It's not that fucking hard!

Re:Damn (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799372)

Sorry. Doesn't help. "What? You shredded it? BAM" (a bullet hole through your head.)

Re:Damn (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799380)

You're right, the man who's going to cut off your thumbs is going to accept "I accidentally shredded the piece of paper proving that I did what you said. Oops." Why hasn't everyone threatened by the mob thought of that!

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799630)

You're solving the wrong problem.

This is really simple:

1. Voter uses machine, machine prints one copy.
2. Voter checks to make sure vote on the copy matches what was intended.
3. Voter hands in printed ballot.

DONE.

No two copies, voter-verified, paper trail.

Of course, you could always replace step one with:

1. Voter uses a fucking PENCIL AND PAPER and fills out the ballot WITHOUT requiring a fucking $1000 machine.

But that doesn't satisfy the need for pork.

Re:Damn (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799692)

So put a fucking paper shredder next to the exit! It's not that fucking hard!
But then you still have the option of keeping the receipt, which means Tony will still want to see it. The only way for you not to have the option of keeping the receipt is if you never have it in the first place.

Re:Damn (1)

Otter Popinski (1166533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800158)

*Whew!* Now we've solved that problem. The Ohio mob is gonna be pissed...

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799548)

Make sure you bring me your receipt showing you voted for my uncle Tony or else your thumbs and you will be spending some time apart.
Mob bosses generally don't run for office... of course, they do have friends [wikipedia.org] who do so.

Re:Damn (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799346)

Secret ballots are secret for a reason. People shouldn't be allowed to prove who they voted for, or else they could just sell their vote or be coerced into voting for a candidate.

Re:Damn (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799912)

s/allowed/forced/

Re:Damn (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799386)

Just fucking have a system that takes your vote, prints out 2 pages one you keep for your records, the other scanned by a bar code reader and but in a lock box. How fucking hard is that????

What's the point of printing it in a human-readable format when that's not what's getting counted, unless they taught how to read Barcode in school that day I was sick at home?

Re:Damn (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799622)

Because there could be random audits by actual people who actually read the ballots and make sure the machine count matches. Geez, do I have to think of everything for you people?

Re:Damn (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799588)

How is this flamebait? This is what they SHOULD be doing. The election board literally has an IQ less then that of the fungus growing on the bathroom door handle in my office.

Re:Damn (1)

GHynson (1216406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799930)

Then the "System" won't be able to forge the results.

What's a balot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799198)

Some French flying machine?

Elections need auditability (1)

bokmann (323771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799202)

Skeptical? Sure... they should be. But shouldn't they be able to answer a question like this definitively one way or the other?

Elections need to be auditable.

Related story (3, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799208)

If you're not yet completely convinced that the electronic voting currently being rolled out is a craptastic idea, here's a little story [zdnet.com] on how a simple malformed URL can get the online voting registration page in Pennsylvania to yield other voters' registration files on demand.

Re:Related story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799746)

Funny that. Voter registration != voting. Here in the People's Republic of Cambridge, all the information on my voter registration card (name, address, party) is printed along with all of my neighbors' data and nailed to a nearby telephone pole by the city. Voter registration data is not supposed to be private.

With big (corrupt) companies like Diebold, et al.. (1)

mamono (706685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799220)

We have corrupt politicians, corrupt corporations, corrupt government officials. Voting is a big farce as it is, without introducing tamperable electronic voting into the mix. I've always said, your vote does NOT count. Corporate America chooses all the major political positions in this country. When you get down to the local level, small to medium-sized cities and sometimes counties, you are ok. Anything bigger than that, though, it is all about corporate interests. This country is run by the oil and pharmaceutical industries, with defense contractors close behind. They buy and sell their way into whatever position they can get to further their own interests and fill their pockets with more taxpayer dollars.

If you want to know what the situation is really like, listen to Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy. Rage puts it best when they say "What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy!"

Re:With big (corrupt) companies like Diebold, et a (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799312)

Perez withdrew one day after Franklin County had finalized its ballots. He had hoped to avoid playing spoiler in fellow Democrat Patsy Thomas' race to retain her appointment to the Franklin County Municipal Court. Instead, Perez's name remained on the ballots -- or allegedly, most ballots -- and Republican David Tyack won.
Keep drinking the cool-aid man :) He withdrew late, after they finalized the ballots. That is like getting them to correct the spelling of your name on your drivers license after they printed it. The candidate fucked up, I don't think it is corporate America out to get you.

Re:With big (corrupt) companies like Diebold, et a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799344)

The candidate fucked up

And? That doesn't change the fact that the ballot was fucked up as well.

Re:With big (corrupt) companies like Diebold, et a (1)

MoonlightSeraphim (1253752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799678)

Agreed. Even if the candidate messed up (and that's what he pretty much did) then why the hell his name was off on some of the ballots and was present on the others ..?

Ohio (4, Interesting)

Anivair (921745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799282)

I hate my state. On election night of the last election we almost immediately found a district near me where they had registered more voted for Bush than existed in the whole county. Gotta love when they're obvious.

Re:Ohio (1)

BECoole (558920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799558)

Happened in Cuyahoga County. It was Kerry voters.

Re:Ohio (0, Troll)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799994)

And you wonder why Ohio is in the shape it is? Maybe because folks like you can't even form a proper sentence. "found a district near me where they had registered more voted for Bush...". Did you mean to say "more voted for Bush than were registered to vote"??

Ohio... the next West Virginia.

Overly Complicated (0)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799290)

I fail to see why it is so difficult to create a reliable voting machine. It's an adder... computer have been doing this since they were first conceived.

Re:Overly Complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799432)

I fail to see why it is so difficult to create a reliable voting machine. It's an adder... computer have been doing this since they were first conceived.
Thank you for taking the time to appreciate the full depth and breadth of the issue at hand. I would like to extend my personal gratitude for your contribution to the discussion.

Re:Overly Complicated (2, Informative)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799568)

That wasn't very nice - A voting machine is just an adder. The only trick is that it must add perfectly, be tamper-proof, and make sure that nobody is able to contribute more than once.

Wait... That does sound kinda tough...

Re:Overly Complicated (2, Interesting)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799534)

An adder is generally either used by a single user who wants accurate results or by a group of users who all want the same accurate results. Further, adders are generally designed as general-purpose components that will be used in hundreds of different applications - making one that output 3 for 1 + 1 would simply be a poor business decision when it was noticed rather than an effective attack against some specific application.

In contrast, voting machines are specific-purpose devices that are *always* used by large groups of people; and any of those people might want to tamper with the election. It should be obvious that this creates a relatively complex *security* problem rather than a simple electrical engineering / programming problem.

Adder? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799724)

Adder? I didn't know that those snakes were that versatile!

Re:Overly Complicated (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799560)

I fail to see why it is so difficult to create a reliable voting machine. It's an adder... computer have been doing this since they were first conceived.

Exactly... if the software is really so simple, then, just why do the voting machine companies call it proprietary and refuse to let anybody inspect their code or their machines? Sequoia just threatened the state of New Jersey with a lawsuit if they let an outside lab access to a voting machine to test it [wsj.com] after about 60 Sequoia voting machines across the state seemed to malfunction during the state's Feb. 5 primary.

Re:Overly Complicated (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799864)

Sequoia'a threat succeeded. [nj.com]

Re:Overly Complicated (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799998)

The problem isn't creating a reliable voting machine. That's trivial. What's hard is creating a voting system (of which the machine is only a small part) that can be verified to have been reliable without having to assume anything about the reliability or accuracy of any part. The only feasible way of doing this so far involves keeping a record independent of the machine's counts. That, frankly, is the basis for every method of financial audit ever created. And it works. I dealt with systems in a casino that assumed that everyone, from the cashiers to the auditors themselves, was crooked and it could still identify the exact source of even a single penny of error.

Re:Overly Complicated (1)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800256)

Agreed. Seems to me that a machine that recorded a sequential number beside each vote, both of which could then be reproduced in both paper and read-only electronic form, ought to do the trick.

Each machine could be "calibrated" by a a bi-partisan calibration group who would pre-determined a particular sample number and voting order (equal of course). Each machine could then be validated by comparing the pre-determined sample against what was actually recorded. After that, look for absences in or additions to the sequence.

The biggest hurdle is that any code used has to be open for inspection to assure no chicanery. The code, by virtue of its performance requirements, should be relatively simple and the hardware, other than making it tamper proof, should be relatively cheap. (And by tamper proof, I mean unable to be tampered with without leaving evidence of the tampering - not indestructible.)

Unfortunately, the above suggests that there is little profit unless one can hide the simplicity behind a proprietary box. And it is the proprietary black box that is at issue with most people on /., not the possibility of producing a reliable voting machine.

moron ivestigating corepirate nazi # FUDging (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799308)

they make op new ones every day, whilst we celebrate yet another glorious victory. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Hilliard, lol :)))))) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799358)

The areas where these shenanigans "might have" occurred = upper class mostly white (to the tune of 95-98%) areas like Hilliard, where the richies flee to escape all the wonderful "diversity" of Columbus. In other words, these are mostly Republican voters anyway.

A secured voting system? (3, Insightful)

rmdyer (267137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799478)

Maybe I'm wrong (please feel free to correct me if I am), but is it not possible to create some kind of secured voting system based on methods of cryptographic techniques that would allow the following properies of a voting system...

a. Your vote can be cast without anybody else knowing who you voted for.
b. At any point in time after you cast your vote, you can verfiy that your
        vote is counted with the candidate you voted for.
c. The government can "verify" that you voted.
d. You can vote over the internet.
e. Only one vote per citizen.
f. Any cheating is immediately detected.
g. others where needed and appropriate.

I'm wondering if some kind of one time pads could be generated by all parties involved, combined togther with public key cryptography, that would allow such a system.

It boggles the mind that more effort and resources are put into making sure the government gets their tax returns than whether the voting system works or not.

Why should I vote again?

Re:A secured voting system? (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799536)

Any system where a person can verify their vote after it has been cast is open to a very real kind of attack:

"Vote for #{my_candidate} or you are fired. Signed, your boss"
Or, husband, wife, mother, creepy guy standing outside the polling place, etc.

Re:A secured voting system? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799652)

That goes for both

b. At any point in time after you cast your vote, you can verfiy that your
                vote is counted with the candidate you voted for.
and

d. You can vote over the internet.
I'd love to verify my vote and I'm not really afraid of voting over the internet. However both cases expose you to possible coercion and a great deal of the computers are infected with malware and should not be trusted to do anything that you don't want stolen or manipulated.

Re:A secured voting system? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799764)

So make vote coercion punishable by death via flamethrower. I kid of course but the punishment should be large and severe.

Re:A secured voting system? (1)

rmdyer (267137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799894)

Any system where a person can verify their vote after it has been cast is open to a very real kind of attack:

"Vote for #{my_candidate} or you are fired. Signed, your boss"
Or, husband, wife, mother, creepy guy standing outside the polling place, etc.


Yet this "kind of attack" is not an actual attack on the voting system itself, it is a personal attack on you. You call it "very real" yet provide no statistics that this doesn't already take place, or if it did under the system outlined previously, whether the cumulative effect would make any statistically measurable difference. Like I said, using some kind of one time pad, or cryptographic technique, that you generate to protect your vote, no one else can see it, without "stealing" that key from you. Ok, so we add in the following property to the system outlined previously...

h. That you can generate different keys protecting different vote casts. One is real, the others fake. If someone forces you to disclose who you voted for, you give them all the keys. They then see that both (or all if several keys) candidates are voted for. They won't know which one is valid, only you do.

That should lock up that senario.

Re:A secured voting system? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799900)

Further, the feature of being able to verify your vote after it is cast is a feature that doesn't exist in the current voting system. I flip some toggles, and can verify which toggles I've flipped, but I have no guarantee (just by looking at the thing) regarding what happens after the lever is pulled.

Re:A secured voting system? (3, Insightful)

SEAL (88488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799750)

I'm wondering if some kind of one time pads could be generated by all parties involved, combined togther with public key cryptography, that would allow such a system.
Don't throw pseudo-cryptographic nonsense into it. The problem is a human one; it cannot be solved purely by technology.

You have a task that gathers data from many sources, and needs to verify the identity of those sources. Many people and groups will try to attack, corrupt or undermine that data. Furthermore, any verification in place to detect and prevent such attacks can also be considered vulnerable, but ALSO gets saddled with a deadline as laws in many states prevent recounts after a brief timespan.

The "attacks" could be purely technological -- (subvert the software), all the way to social (have poll workers set up certain locations in a way that delays people who are waiting to vote in areas that tend to be against your candidate).

People speak of the importance of a paper trail, but that merely diverts the point of vulnerability. How do we detect that a recount is needed in the first place? Who is doing the recount? How do we know it is any better than the first count?

Re:A secured voting system? (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799816)

'Secured' depends on your point of view. Some of the things you bring up are somewhat mutually exclusive. The cryptography involved isn't the problem, and assuming the systems use a real cryptoghaphy algorithm, its rarely the problem. Generally its implementation details not directly unrelated to the cryptography algorithms involved that cause the problems. For instance, the diebold photo on their website which showed a master key, in which someone was able to copy and open a diebold box. Atleast I think it was diebold, might have been another company?

Some of the things can be done but only if you don't expect the others.

In reality though, A - F are never going to be assured. The machines can always be tampered with (mechanical or electronic voting methods, it applies to both), its just a matter of how many people are involved in the cheating. If you had tamper proof machines, then E, C and either A or B can be assured, but not both A and B, since the data must be retrievable in some form. You can't just encrypt your vote with your private key and send it off to the machine (which would give you A) because the machine can't read it to know who you voted for.

You can sign the vote with your private key so that you can verify it hasn't been tampered with and can be verified later ( which would give you B), and likewise, if everyone only has (and can not possibly get another) private key, you can assure everyone can only vote once ( E ). But this is practically impossible as well, since generating fake identities is fairly common.

One of the problems with designing a voting machine is that we have A. If you properly audit and log the votes, you don't have A, but you can get B, C, and E. If you don't properly audit and log the votes, you can get C and E to some extent, but not B. Without logging you have no chance of detecting cheating ( F ), even with logging you can still cheat, it just gets harder.

In a perfect world (ha ha) then you would not care if anyone knew who you voted for, in which case the system becomes a whole lot less complicated. It just all becomes public record which anyone can look at and verify if they want to. Everyone signs their vote with a private key that can be verified against. But, since its common knowledge that people are persicuted because of their beliefs, we choose to hide who we vote for to ensure our own personal saftey. By personal safety I don't just mean from physical harm, but from prejudice at work, in the community as well because others disagree without choices.

So ... the short version of this is, while cryptography can help secure our voting records, it can not fully solve the problem itself, which is that people are corrupt beings.

If you want to know all about Ohio politics... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799582)

Read this. [wikipedia.org]
Then this. [moldea.com]
And finally, this. [freetraficant.com]

This guy is still getting voter support while he's in jail for mob related crimes.

Remember that Star Trek:TOS episode where everyone was a cheesy mobster? That was filmed in Ohio. They did it to save on costuming and sets. I'm sure of it.

Old School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799618)

I think we need to vote like they did in Greece, instead of clay shards though colored marbles green for yes red for no. you would vote for and against the candidates. This way it would be a zero sum contest;
total marbles handed out for candidates = candidate (1) + candidate (2)... + candidate (n).
If the mass and volume of the marbles in consistent to a negligible fraction one could weight or volume displacement as a easy check against mechanical and manual counting.

Ironic typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22799710)

... Further compounding matters, the Slashdot editor Zonk had disabled virtually all spell-checking on the machines to speed posting of the article about a "balot." Naturally, the Slashdot readership remains "sceptical."

Doesn't fucking cut it. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22799720)

Too little, too late has been things "done" about voting irregularities.

In the 2004 elections around 3 million voters were denied from voting because of registration abuses. That is around 2.5% of the total voter turnout and more than the percentage Bush won in 2004 with. 5.2 million people are ineligible to vote because of their legal history. (The USA has biggest prison population on the planet, relative to population size).

It should be required by law that if any kind of irregularity exceeds 0.5% of the total voter turnout or half the difference between the opposing poll questions (between candidates or yes/no answers), then the election result is null and void. Otherwise, it cannot be said that the election was fair. If there is one thing there shouldn't be a shadow of a doubt about - it is elections.

Electronic voting is one area where things shouldn't be hacked together in a Microsoft or shitty phone software style. Election software should live up to the standards of NASA and/or nuclear power plant software, but ideally electronic voting should not be used, because otherwise it is impossible to provide a secure, relatively tamper proof election system which is also transparent to the voters in a way that the average person could verify the results if they wanted to. Shit hacked together in Visual Basic gives plausible deniability to those who say the election wasn't stolen, just glitched. Electronic voting is an overengineered solution: you have to design a computer from the ground up to serve as a voting machine and it requires advanced mathematics, advanced engineering to understand how the system works. The average person will never be able to verify if their vote was counted in a fair manner or not. Electronic voting machines are the worst things that can happen to the voting process, because it makes voting black box. There is no committee to watch whether you've inserted your voting sheet into the ballot box and ensure the ballot box wasn't tampered with. To do the same in case of electronic voting, the voting committee members would have to have a phd in computer science, hardware chip design and physics, apart from a lot of other involved fields. The voting machine would have to be in a Faraday cage and power should only be supplied to the machine when someone is actively voting. The voting machine is the ballot and the ballot box combined into one. This causes problems.

It is easier to do faster than light travel than to use electronic voting in a democratic manner. We didn't figure out FTL travel yet, but we have a better shot at it than electronic voting.

Not being sure whether an election was democratic is worse than a terrorist attack on the scale of WTC happening every single week.

Maybe the election problem was a honest mistake, but the point is that you cannot exclude the possibility of tampering. Laws, democratic rights and actions of the government should be viewed from a defensive viewpoint. "How can this law be abused? What is the damage potential of an action on this right?" Because, it is possible that this voting glitch was a honest mistake. The next one won't be, as soon as unscrupulous people learn how to exploit the lack of public outcry coupled with an insecure voting scheme.

Also, a constitutional amendment should be passed placing elections bigger than the scope of a state in the hands of the federal government (or a federal elections commission with clearly accountable personnel). It is necessary to standardize the voting procedures. You can't have 50 states voting in 50 different ways in a national election. Strict penalties should be created for those who try to tamper with voting results, either due to negligence or intentionally. While I don't agree with the death penalty, the harshest possible punishment should be used for voting fraud and currently in the USA it is the death penalty. Voting fraud is a covert overthrowing of the legitimate democratic order of a country. It should be treated as such.

To sum it up, "oh, a glitch, how funny", doesn't fucking cut it.

this is just stupid (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22800024)

I cannot believe we are STILL talking about electronic voting. Al Gore lost 8 years ago. Get over it. We bank online, fill out our taxes and even buy our clothes and music online but suddenly voting electronically is some kind of demonic practice. The problem (is there really is one) is poor implementation not a flawed concept. If you don't like one particular implementation of electronic voting, build something better and sell it to the county where you live. I am so sick and damn tired of people screaming about voter fraud and electronic voting problems because their guy lost.

Just one more thought: Since we do not tie ballots to a particular voter id, what would keep an unscrupulous poll worker from stuffing the ballot box?

I think the solution to this is not less technology but more openness. How bout every vote (paper or electronic) have your voter id number on it next to your vote. Then you can log in after the election and pull up your vote and SEE what you did. That's real verification. Anything less is limp dick masturbation.

Summary is very wrong (2, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800046)

Did the submitter or editor even bother to read the article. The controversy is that the candidate *did* withdraw, but his name was left on some ballots. for those who can't click:

Perez withdrew one day after Franklin County had finalized its ballots. He had hoped to avoid playing spoiler in fellow Democrat Patsy Thomas' race to retain her appointment to the Franklin County Municipal Court. Instead, Perez's name remained on the ballots -- or allegedly, most ballots -- and Republican David Tyack won.

Basically, same way Perot caused Bush #1 to lose in '92.

Summary incorrect (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22800190)

The candidate did withdraw, but after the ballot was compiled.

The reason for the withdrawal was to prevent vote splitting with a second candidate and prevent a 3rd candidate from winning. With the 1st candiate still in the race on some machines, the vote splitting may have occured and the 3rd candidate may have enjoyed the benefit (and did win).

The machine error may have played some part in deciding the election.

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