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New Jersey E-Voting Problems Worse Than Originally Suspected

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the lazy-or-shady-it's-still-evil dept.

Government 118

TechDirt is reporting that the New Jersey e-voting troubles are even worse than originally thought. Apparently the "minor bug" which was supposed to be fixed is still not corrected, suggesting that Sequoia still doesn't know what is going on. "Ed Felten has received a bunch of 'summary tapes' from the last election in New Jersey, and while many of them do have the vote totals matching up correctly at the end at least two of the summary tapes simply don't add up, meaning that Sequoia's explanation of what went wrong is incorrect. Given how often the company has denied or hidden errors in its machines, despite a ton of evidence, we shouldn't be surprised that it was inaccurate in explaining away this latest problem as well. However, we should be outraged that the company refuses to allow third party researchers to investigate these machines. It's a travesty that any government would use them when they've been shown to have so many problems and the company is unwilling to allow an independent investigation."

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118 comments

Ooops (1)

Leptok (1096623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992476)

Minor "Big?"

Re:Ooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992516)

Tom Hanks unavailable for comment.

Re:Ooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992572)

I hear that Major Small is ready to take questions.

Re:Ooops (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992564)

Minor "Big?"

That's not an oxymoron, that's a feature! (Rather like most proposals for electronic voting itself...)

Here's the link that should have been in summary (4, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992494)

Here's the link that should have been in the summary, [freedom-to-tinker.com] to the post in Ed Felten's blog, Freedom to Tinker, complete with images of the paper tape in question.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (4, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992708)

I think the scary part is that the small error is definitive proof that the voting machines are wrong, but that there is no mention of a method in NJ for the poll workers to go back and check out that there really were X number of votes for each candidate.

The thing that is important for the integrity of the election is that there is a verified paper "receipt" that the voter has checked and dropped into a box that can't be tampered with.

Sure, the summary print outs are "nice" for instant access to the results, but there isn't really a good reason not to have a bi-partisan check of the paper records at the end of the day.

After 5 or 6 election cycles are validated with this computer/receipt method, then we could start to put more trust in the machines... but Diebold and their ilk have proven time-and-time again that they cannot design voting machines that stand up to scrutiny of even the simplest checks (like Felten's comparison between total votes and reported number of total voters).

What bothers me (4, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993762)

What is really bugging me is that computers are great at counting and adding. ITS WHAT THEY DO! The fact that nobody can come up with a believable voting machine tells me something really rotten is going on. I could understand if they were having troubles with advanced CFD code making or some other complex process where the real-world results are not completely understood, but these machines are basically taking $NumVotesCast +1 many many times.

Re:What bothers me (2, Interesting)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994198)

What is so goddamn hard about producing a simple, easy to use, secure, electronic voting machine/method?
Take a podium, put a mini-atx MB in a locked metal box under it, a touch-screen lcd on the top, and strap a printer to the side. The thing boots over the network from a server locked a cage in the corner of the room.
The software is not much more than a web page that displays the pictures/names of the candidates (or the text of referendums, etc), and allows you to touch the name/face of who you want.
The printer uses a big 2-ply roll of paper. The 'upper' copy is the receipt the voter can take. the 'lower' coppy is stored inthe printer as a journal.
I know what you're thinking- receipts are a problem, you can sell your vote, or your boss will threaten to fire you unless you show him a receipt for the candidate he likes. Not with this- there is no info on the receipt that links to a specific person, thus no way to prove it is 'your' receipt, and not one you picked up off the ground. All it contains is the voting machine ID number, the time (to the minute, nothing more required), and the votes, in both barcode and human-readable formats. Need a recount? Run the journal spool(s) thru a barcode scanner, and beep, beep ,beep, it counts the votes. Need a more in-depth recount? have humans look at the journal spool, and add the names up. As a final recount method, you can have voters return with their receipts for machine and human verification.
There, simple, safe, and secure. And not too expensive.

Re:What bothers me (2, Insightful)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994748)

the simplest solution with receipts, is to fold them in half, and drop them in a separate box, that the voting poll place provides, so they can compare receipts to the big master rolls.

the end user, if they see a print out other than what they chose, can take it straight to the voting officials, tear off a special the code at the bottom, and they can hand them a paper ballot, and they type the code in on their workstation, invalidating that entry in the electronic tally.

Re:What bothers me (2, Insightful)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994838)

the simplest solution with receipts, is to fold them in half, and drop them in a separate box, that the voting poll place provides, so they can compare receipts to the big master rolls.


They're printed on 2-ply paper. Both receipts get impact-printed at the same time. There is no way they can differ.

if they see a print out other than what they chose,

They would get a chance to review their choices before printing, and a chance to view the receipt before it feeds out of the machine. If it is incorrect, they hit 'cancel, and a special 'cancel this vote' barcode is printed. If they hit 'okay', then a 'this vote confirmed' barcode is printed and the 'upper' copy emerges from the machine.

Re:What bothers me (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995222)

And what do you do when the print out doesn't match what the screen shows due to a bug in the system?

hrm?

Re:What bothers me (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995302)

I'm not sure what you mean. It's a fairly simple system, with only one purpose. All the software, including print drivers, will be designed and tested exclusively for this system. The possibility of a random error does exist, however.

And the solution is simple- A voter can always go to the officials, give them the ID number off the receipt (or, lacking that, the machine number and time) and they can enter a 'manual' cancellation. These manual cancellations will be done on a seperate client, and require passwords from more than one official.

I mean, come one, people. Do I HAVE to think of ALL the details?

No barcodes! (1)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995600)

Barcodes are not going to work for a voting application.

The problem with barcodes is that most ordinary humans cannot read them, so the ordinary humans don't know for sure what information is contained in them. Sure, you say you pushed the button for void, but how do you know it's the word "*VOID*" that's printed and not "*CONFIRMED*"? As a human, you don't.

To be trustable and easily understood by the average voter, the receipts must be human readable. If there is a real need for them to be machine readable, then they should be printed in an OCR font.

Re:No barcodes! (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995974)

The problem with barcodes is that most ordinary humans cannot read them, so the ordinary humans don't know for sure what information is contained in them.

1) use an established barcode encoding standard such as code 93 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_93 [wikipedia.org] ). That way, anyone who wants to can read it.

2) You can tell the difference between 'thick line, thick line, thick line, thick line, thick line, thick line' and 'thin line, thin line, thin line, thin line, thin line, thin line', right??

3) I said "in both barcode and human-readable formats". You Can tell the difference beween "VOID" and "VALID", right?

Re:What bothers me (1)

Socguy (933973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995962)

Very nice, very simple. Although in my opinion you ought to do away with the barcode. If a recount is required it should be done manually, (by a neutral 3rd party of course). If you can't trust the machine the first time around, I won't trust it the second... Further, a manual recount should be automatic when the results differ significantly from exit polling.

My rant: We can put a man on the moon. We can create new forms of life one gene at a time. We can alter the chemistry of the seas and atmosphere. We can split the atom. We can convince the big-wigs at Wall Street that packages of Subprime mortgages are a fantastic investment vehicle. So why in name of all that is holy can we not build a machine that can do simple arithmetic?

Re:What bothers me (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996304)

Although in my opinion you ought to do away with the barcode. If a recount is required it should be done manually,

That's fine by me. It's just easier and faster to feed a roll of paper under a laser scanner than it is to manually read each name.

If you can't trust the machine the first time around, I won't trust it the second

Different machines. :-) The recount machine is just a laser scanner (like at your local grocery store or whatever), hooked to a pc that 'translates' the barcodes into text, and counts them. If you use a standard barcode format, anyone with a good eye can 'manually' translate the barcode to verify.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22993800)

If you're just going to print out and count paper voting receipts anyway, why even bother with an electronic voting machine?

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994004)

You don't have to count them every time. Just when something like this comes up, or maybe take random samples.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (2, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994132)

If you're just going to print out and count paper voting receipts anyway, why even bother with an electronic voting machine?

From the post you replied to, "the summary print outs are 'nice' for instant access to the results". Basically, the summary voting gives a sense of instant gratification that let's the voting public know who "won" the election the day after it is held. Computers can aggregate and publish the sum votes of millions of voters at the instant polls close and provide a result that meets the anticipated "instant-gratification" needs expected by the population.

Now, I think each polling place has an order of magnitude within 1,000 voters... so if the 10-20 workers open up the box with the votes at the close of the polls, it is reasonable for them to spend 2-3 hours doing a double and triple check count before actually "validating" what the machine summary said.

Trouble arises when the a human count differs from another human count or from the machine count. When this happens, obviously the data cannot be immediately validated and "official" results cannot be made available.

However, as long as "vote receipts" that have been checked over by the pair of eyes who cast that vote exist, then I think using a machine to vote is fine.

So - the first advantage of running an election with a computer voting system is instant gratification.

I am sure there are other advantages, too. Because computers have the ability to provide easier-to-use interfaces to complex systems than old-fashion analog machines. Not that voting for an individual office is a complex system... but imagine (god forbid) John McCain dying two days before election day and the complete mess it would be to retool 50,000 voting machines to have some other guy's name in it. In an analog world, that is impossible. In a digital world, the change can be managed from a central server and pushed down to the client machines.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996682)

But you can already tell who won the day after, the rest of the world counting manually have been doing so without problems for ages.

The reason they want electronic is to feed the media and nothing more.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994506)

For all their fancy screens and print-outs, what problem do e-voting machines actually solve? Counting votes by hand seemed to be old-fashioned, but working just fine, thank you. :\

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996536)

what problem do e-voting machines actually solve?


Democrats in public office. Solves the problem perfectly.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994710)

In Wisconsin, they ask you 'paper or electronic' when you ask for a ballot. Knowing what I know, I always say 'paper.'

Eventually there will be a time when they stop asking, just like grocery stores stopped asking 'paper or plastic' and just give you cheap plastic bags that drop your groceries to the ground before you get to the car.

The fact that voting machine companies have refused to use an open model for handling votes shows that they are just in it for the money, they could give a damn if the election is skewed by bugs in their machines. all they want is that big multi million dollar budget for essentially a 200 dollar computer in a special case and with a $20,000 dollar touch screen.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996518)

Money? They are in it to *cheat*. No system so simple could f* up so badly unless someone wants it to. It's counting, for FSM's sake, not modeling a nuclear explosion.

Re:Here's the link that should have been in summar (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993022)

Here's the real story [theonion.com] . Just in case you missed it. Diebold has already accidentally leaked the 2008 election results. Warning - Stupid non-skip 10 second ad before story.
-b

Here's the real big "rat" (1)

craighansen (744648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995092)

Go read Sequoia's explanation. Under their scenario, voters were presented with THE WRONG CHOICES for PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. Specifically, Democratic party members were presented with Republican party choices or vice versa - and (this is important) - the error was not detected by the voter. This should be reason enough to disqualify the equipment!

I also note the use of the term "Democrat party" in Sequoia's explanation - I'll reserve my own comments on this slur, instead referring the reader to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_(phrase) [wikipedia.org]

Minor Big (3, Funny)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992514)

Make up your mind.

Same story, different day. (4, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992528)

This is getting old. Nobody in Government wants to say anything against this, as they might just end up on the wrong side of an upset vote. The people don't care as long as the majority doesn't feel disenfranchised. The minority can't do anything, because the majority doesn't care.

Bullsh!t (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993484)

The minority can't do anything

And there's your excuse for you and the ~4 moderators let sleeping dogs lie.

It's partially your fault for not participating. Own up and get involved in the voting process.

Or, maybe you'll have another excuse for doing nothing.

I hate bigs. (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992530)

Apparently the "minor big" which was supposed to be fixed is still not corrected

I guess I'm a dork for enjoying the second-order kind of humor in that statement.

This is New Jersey (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992592)

However, we should be outraged that the company refuses to allow third party researchers to investigate these machines. It's a travesty that any government would use them when they've been shown to have so many problems and the company is unwilling to allow an independent investigation.


So what the hell do you expect? This is New Jersey, whose various governments have a reputation for corruption that makes the chicago machine green with envy. Someone is benefiting from the use of these voting machines, payment for them, support of them, transport of them, incumbent protection by them... oh hell, its New Jersey; all of the above!

Re:This is New Jersey (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993052)

So what the hell do you expect? This is New Jersey, whose various governments have a reputation for corruption that makes the chicago machine green with envy. Someone is benefiting from the use of these voting machines, payment for them, support of them, transport of them, incumbent protection by them... oh hell, its New Jersey; all of the above!
By your anonymous posting, I'm guessing you live in New Jersey.

Re:This is New Jersey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22993732)

Nope... Illinois, which is rapidly decreasing NJ's lead in overall corruption, and could probably teach them a thing or two about obtaining desired vote tallies without nearly so much hassle.

New Jersey is just so much more efficient in the day to day corruption compared to Illinois' clumsier efforts.

where are the whistleblowers? (4, Interesting)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992702)

So many stories have "the company did this" or "the company denied that." Aren't these companies made up of people?

I can imagine an effort by management to cut corners and maximize profits at the expense of quality and company reputation, but is there really no one in a position of first hand knowledge who knows better?

With the multitudes of avenues for anonymous communications, it's not like I'm asking someone to put their job on the line. (Not that it would be too much to ask. There are people out there risking their lives in a very real way to protect this country. You won't even risk a job you most likely hate anyway?)

Re:where are the whistleblowers? (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992800)

You won't even risk a job you most likely hate anyway?
Whistle-blower laws exist because companies don't exactly line up to hire such paragons of virtue and honesty.

Re:where are the whistleblowers? (2, Funny)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994790)

"Whistle-blower laws exist because companies don't exactly line up to hire such paragons of virtue and honesty."

Ahh, so THAT was the question i kept screwing up when i tried to get a job at best buy. Who the hell knew that if you saw someone steal 20 dollars from the company they wanted you to say you'd do nothing.

Re:where are the whistleblowers? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992802)

Come on now, lets put this in perspective a bit, I am perhaps the least technically savy reader slashdot atracts on a daily basis, and even I could manage to throw a program together that would require little more than a 286 running dos that could ask people a few mutiple choice questions AND acurately keep a count of the results.

Can there REALLY be any question that something shady is going on?

((lol at confimation image of "booths"))

Re:where are the whistleblowers? (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993940)

Whistleblowing works best in response to fraud. To report your company for incompetence requires someone capable enough to recognize it. Diebold seems to lack that employee. And given their response to these reported errors, I can understand why they failed to attract such employees. Competent engineers embrace criticism, and tend to avoid work that suppresses it.

Why is anybody surprised? (1, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992778)

You have a "Perfect Storm" of apathetic voters, an administration that has displayed its contempt for democracy at every turn and aggressively appointed people who place ideology above honour and country to positions affecting all levels of government, a company that has exhibited at every opportunity a predilection for cover-ups, a House and Senate that have abrogated their role in the checks and balances equation, and a judiciary that has similarly abandoned its responsibility to remain independent of politics.

What the hell did you expect?

Re:Why is anybody surprised? (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996260)

Looks like I tripped over one of those nasty little fascists who somehow manage to get Moderator privileges from time to time. Perhaps somebody should teach them what "fair comment" means, and how it contributes to open, honest discussion. Or, in this case, how "fair comment" includes a very reasonable analysis of how a truly unacceptable and potentially dangerous situation was permitted to arise.

"Flamebait" my ass!

Man... (1, Interesting)

Copley (726927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992820)

Your country's elections are screwed up!

How'd your elections get to be such a mess?! USA - the 'bastion' of democracy, and you can't even organise a fair, verifiable election.

You might want to take a quick look at how so many other nations manage with just paper ballots and pens. Don't forget kids, K.I.S.S.!

Re:Man... (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993092)

It isn't really all that screwed up. But we do have a few problems. First is that each state (province in most other countries) decide how to have their elections independent of the federal government. Then you have situations where someone demands that fraud happened because their guy lost and they aren't willing to accept that. So you get state governments wanting to figure out how to look like their going to do something to compensate for what really amounts to stupid citizens and here comes all the companies with plans to make them money.

So know you have politicians who think something needs to be done, companies lobbying them thinking they can make a buck, and when they do, it isn't enough, they have to cut corners, which then turns the same sour puss crowd that turns it into a We gotta do something again message that perpetuates the companies claiming give us more money and we can fix it.

The problem is that it is getting represented as worse then it is. There might have been a few problems here and there but the major ones you hear about are more or less citizen errors. Things like claiming disenfranchisement because someone passed out a flyer saying Vote on X day if your voting republican and vote on Y day if your voting for a democrat (ohio), people claiming disenfranchisement because cops are parked in the medium strip watching traffic 4 or 5 blocks away from a polling place, or that they couldn't figure out how to line up their cards properly and look to see if a hole was actually made on certain selections (florida). Now we have new jersey and Maryland where where Electronic voting seems to have made a couple of errors that would be somewhat par for the course if paper ballots where used anyways. But because it is electronic, it is receiving much more scrutiny.

In all, it isn't nearly as bad as it is being made out as. Still it isn't something that should be ignored either. The real interesting thing is that they areas having the problems seem to be more liberal in nature which is probably why you get the loud screaming if something doesn't go the way they hoped it would. (the perpetual underdog syndrome where we can raly the grass roots but claiming someone is mysteriously attempting to use the magic smoke in the decices to stop your vote from counting.)

Re:Man... (0, Troll)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994958)

The problem is that it is getting represented as worse then it is.

Got any evidence for that? Any comparison of electronic voting totals with real voting totals in an actual election somebody cared about? Some sort of plan for gathering such evidence?

If not, then I do think it's as bad as it's being made out, or worse. Specifically, with no assurance that our votes are counted accurately, what happened to democracy?

How hard can this be?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992828)

I don't mean the security of the evoting process - that is very hard.

But getting the numbers to add up?? Come on - that should be trivial. If they're FBARing that, I have absolutely no faith in the rest of it.

Re:How hard can this be?? (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992890)

There's one point this indirectly makes, though... I think this illustrates incompetency rather than fraud. It is was fraud, they would add up.

Re:How hard can this be?? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993376)

Or it could be incompetent fraud.

Of course, New Jersey is Dem through and through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992884)

Kinda hard to blame this on "Bushco" or "Hallibushitler", but I'm sure the barking moonbats will try anyway.

I'm going to so laugh my ass off when Barack Obama finally goes down in flames. Or, even better, when he's sworn in as President and doesn't withdraw the US from Iraq.

Re:Of course, New Jersey is Dem through and throug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994176)

Kinda hard to blame this on "Bushco" or "Hallibushitler", but I'm sure the barking moonbats will try anyway. I'm going to so laugh my ass off when Barack Obama finally goes down in flames. Or, even better, when he's sworn in as President and doesn't withdraw the US from Iraq.
Really... and you don't see anything wrong with wishing ill on your country so long as it satisfies your ego?

Re:Of course, New Jersey is Dem through and throug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996020)

The way Dems, liberals, and "progressives" all wish ill upon the US, why not?

Don't think they wish ill of the US?

Just look at how Pelosi is "warning" Gen. Patraeus to not report good news in Iraq. Because the Dems are fully investing in a US defeat in Iraq.

It's New Jersey... (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992892)

...and, you know, the voting machines fell off the back of a truck - if you know what I mean - which is why the state was able to get them "wholesale". You got a problem with that? I got your warranty right here.

Re:It's New Jersey... (3, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993152)

The fact that this problem is taking place in New Jersey should be disgusting and shocking...keep in mind we have the gambling sub-mecca of Atlantic City over here. What you might not be aware of is that the state government maintains strict controls on slot machines and other electronic gaming devices for gambling. In fact, the source code to the machines is reviewed by the govt for fraud detection.

If the state government maintains strict controls on slot machines and has access to the source code of slot machines....why the hell doesn't it have a better grasp on voting machines?!

Re:It's New Jersey... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993558)

Good points all.

If the state government maintains strict controls on slot machines and has access to the source code of slot machines....why the hell doesn't it have a better grasp on voting machines?

Simple: Voting *costs" money and gambling *makes* money for the state. Voting machine companies aren't really held for any liability and casinos are.

Add some vendor-inaccessable accounting to the voting machines and fine the vendors for every discrepancy and see if the quality of their product changes, or (more likely) see if they simply stop making voting machines.

Re:It's New Jersey... (1)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993726)

You've got a good point. At this rate, these voting machines are more random than slot machines.

Re:It's New Jersey... (2, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994850)

"If the state government maintains strict controls on slot machines and has access to the source code of slot machines....why the hell doesn't it have a better grasp on voting machines?!"

Just to be fair, people have died because they worked for a slot machine company (one that sold to bars, etc, in Nevada, where they have the same or similar laws) and were going to whistle blow (testify in court, witness protection and all that) on them about the fact that the company had forced them to work on two versions of source code. One version that the state got, and a special version they charged the bar $$$ for, that would make the machine skip it's top payout 50% of the time.

The company that sold these machines, and they hired a gunman to shoot the man dead, while he was in witness protection!

If only they really _had_ been stolen (3, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993602)

the voting machines fell off the back of a truck .. which is why the state was able to get them "wholesale".

I get the joke, but..

One of the interesting things about the situation, is that New Jersey apparently does not own the machines. They neither stole nor bought them. They licensed the machines, and the terms of the license are what prohibits them from analyzing the flaws. Without the state signing a contract that prohibits them from auditing the machines, Sequoia would have had no muscle to prevent it, and Felten would have his hands on one by now.

Re:If only they really _had_ been stolen (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994894)

they may have licensed the machines, rather than bought them, but they still were able to analyze the data output by them in a real election, compared to voter registration (voter registration is not handled by their machines, they only tally votes)

this is how they know that they have a serious bug, the numbers didn't mesh by a large enough number to be more than statistical chance.

Is it just me.. (3, Insightful)

gdog05 (975196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992940)

or does "worse than originally thought" define the daily dose of reality we Americans keep receiving?

Zimbabwe (1)

jetpack (22743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992990)

I wonder how the recent election in Zimbabwe would have turned out if they had used Sequoia's kit.


Then again, maybe they *were* using Sequoia's gear ...

news coverage (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993088)

Are e-voting news and problems covered in US print media? Is there some form of discussion or is it just too technical?

Re:news coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994188)

I've not seen this covered by any major news outlet, the only coverage I've seen is when they were ridiculing Dennis Kuchinnich (sp) for requesting a recount however many months ago in whatever state that was..

(appearently I am a good case in point for the apathetic american voter. I think if the news reported that there was a rise to arms against voter fraud then there would be. If the magic box was telling everyone that everyone else was pissed, everyone would get pissed as well. otherwise we all have the attitude "well i guess i am the only smart person in the world, so if i speak up noone else will follow." Instant access news has ruined our country's motivation to act.

Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993090)

I think the number one reason people are suspecting corruption and election tampering is the idea that adding one (1) is somehow a complicated action to perform. And that is the basic operational notion behind voting after all.

But why aren't people outraged? I think it's because we, the people, don't believe our votes count anyway and so none of this comes as a surprise. There may have been a time when men with pistols and rifles might gather and demand a recount, but guess what? We don't have gun ownership any more... at least not the kind that we had in the past. And if a group of people with guns gathered together for just about any reason at all, I think the potential outcome would be easy to guess based on recent historical events.

I really don't think our votes count. They don't because of a variety of reasons prior to the ballot being printed. Independents don't stand a chance... even the people who are actually pretty well liked by most. The news media is incredibly biased. When debates are being held, lots of people are simply not allowed to even participate. Some states such as Texas even have laws that state you cannot participate in getting an independent on the ballot if you have voted in any party primaries. The end result is that we can "vote" for whoever we want... but the selection is more or less out of our hands.

If people really believed their votes counted, they would be outraged. The lack of rage is a pretty telling indication that the people aren't interested in voting irregularities in the least. If there were irregularities in their bank statements, their phone bill or their paychecks, they'd be outraged to the point of violence as is often the case when such issues occur. So if outrage is an indicator of how much someone cares when things go wrong, then I'd say people are more upset over [literally] spilled milk than they are over elections.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (0)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993312)

I think it's because we, the people, don't believe our votes count anyway

Sadly, that is all most Americans think is required to maintain the Republic. (hint, it's not a democracy)

I really don't think our votes count.
You get exactly what you put into your ~1 hour a year of effort. A government that is best-suited to work against your ideals. It's your fault. It's not some multi-headed hydra of wealth and political power running the show. They participate, you don't. Period.

Independents don't stand a chance
Which shows your complete ignorance of how the U.S. Republic was designed. It's a two-party system!!! If you want multi-party elections try Italy and see how they are doing.

If people really believed their votes counted, they would be outraged.
No! They would participate in their Republic by ridding their local municipality of electronic voting and the elected officials backing electronic voting. It's how the system works. No bloodshed. No violence.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993660)

You get exactly what you put into your ~1 hour a year of effort. A government that is best-suited to work against your ideals. It's your fault. It's not some multi-headed hydra of wealth and political power running the show. They participate, you don't. Period.

Ah that's the great thing. It's not "my" fault for not participating in a system that is clearly rigged to favor particular groups and particular parties. In fact, the opposite would be true... if I were to feed the corrupt system with my participation, the notion that I think it works would be indicated. It *is* some multi-headed hydra of wealth and political power running the show.

Which shows your complete ignorance of how the U.S. Republic was designed. It's a two-party system!!! If you want multi-party elections try Italy and see how they are doing.

"...ignorance..." right back atcha pal. It's not a two-party system. It's a non-party system dominated by two parties. Officially, the government isn't supposed to recognize any particular party or affiliation... and yet it does. There are other parties [Green and Libertarian] in existence and some are growing in ways that make the two controlling parties a bit uneasy. And prior to the Republicans and Democrats, there were other parties... do you know what the Whig party was? The whole idea of parties and affiliations is largely what is responsible for the state we're in. Political parties and revolving doors have effectively disenfranchised the common citizen from actively participating in government.

No! They would participate in their Republic by ridding their local municipality of electronic voting and the elected officials backing electronic voting. It's how the system works. No bloodshed. No violence.

Either way, it's not happening. I feel lucky to have heard of these problems at all... the "free press" is the only form of democracy this nation still enjoys and even that has been limited, controlled and watered down quite a bit.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995432)

Actually, independents mesh well with our two-party system. Credible independent parties (parties that can claim at least 1% of the vote) regularly change the platform of one of the two parties to get those independent voters back. Seems to work pretty well - there's no need for the independent party to win an election for its idea to win, after all.

Most voters as so apathetic because life is so good here - as much as people whine and complain, stability and even gridlock is what most people seem to want, and the system reflects that nicely.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Sethalos (1090699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993856)

People are tired and worn out, they are too busy to care anymore and that's the way the big corporations and the Gov't like it. There are just too many things going on for people to protest, or complain about, and this lack of caring is a direct result of todays Corporate and Social pressures on the working class of people.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994018)

Are you suggesting that this is "by design"? I'd be inclined to agree with you. A recent example of this is where the Bush administration put forth this ridiculously complicated set of options for government medical benefits. They've got us worried about unemployment, health care, taxes... the media has us watching Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Yeah... we're a pretty distracted group of people...too distracted to care.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Sethalos (1090699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995228)

That is precisely what I am suggesting, and trying to do so without some labeling me a "conspiracy theroist", hehe. Smoke and mirrors have worked very very well for the Bush agenda, and I have no doubt that it is still a prime means of dealing with issues. People are easily distracted in todays society and for the most part many of us have the concentration and focus of caffeinated monkeys with ADHD. So many newsworthy stories have been buried because of just this type of maneuver.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994052)

I think the number one reason people are suspecting corruption and election tampering is the idea that adding one (1) is somehow a complicated action to perform. And that is the basic operational notion behind voting after all.

Counting is hard. The 2010 US Census will cost nearly $50 per person counted. (!!!) No wonder Sequoia's machines have "trade secrets."

It's a good thing computers don't have to deal with multiplication very often. You'd think multiplication would be easy, because you can just add logarithms, but then you have that whole problem of adding, come up again.

I think it boils down to memory still being too expensive. Suppose you have to "carry the one", but the malloc() fails? Where do you store the carry bit then? You can't reliably store it, so when you'r adding up the next column, there's a whole bunch of heuristics for guessing whether or not the previous column carried. It's really complicated, but Top Men are working on it. Top Men, like Sequoia engineers.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994238)

Suppose you have to "carry the one", but the malloc() fails? Where do you store the carry bit then?

Well... this one goes to eleven.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994932)

the last time i dealt with a census worker they came to the front door, and asked to verify some data... i was living with my sister at the time (i think it was the 2000 census) and i didn't recall the ages of her kids, but they were okay about it, said i didn't have to know.

considering the amount of data they have to collect, hiring enough temp workers to go door to door in every city in America... it's no wonder it costs $50 per person.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995026)

I think it's actually that counting is easy, and people know it. But verifying the count is hard, and people know that too. And the advocates for the voting machines, and the companies that make them, have all been incredibly vehement in their opposition to any form of audit trail. And that immediately makes most people suspicious.

The audit trail itself turns out to be a non-computer problem. It has to be, because the definition of an audit trail is a check against something independent of what you're auditing (in this case, the machine's count). You can't, for example, audit a hotel clerk's tally of rooms sold and revenue taken in by looking only at his transaction sheet. You have to check against something else. In the days of physical room keys, that's what we checked against. Every room had a known number of keys, and the clerks didn't have access to the spares, so every room's key slot should have 3 keys in it minus the number of guests recorded on the room register. A clerk could give someone a room, not record it on the register and pocket the money, but he'd still have to give that someone a key. When I did the audit his transaction sheet and cash bag would all balance but I'd find a room short a key with no explanation. The same independent audit trail is needed with a voting machine: something you can check the machine's count against without having to assume anything about the counts reported by the machine (the memory cards used to hold the count are considered part of "the machine", since their content is completely under it's control). And that pretty much precludes any electronic count being used for the audit.

Re:Is +1 really that hard for a computer to do? (1)

Backward Z (52442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995512)

I agree with you on the lack of outrage point, but I disagree with your comparison to bank statements, phone bills, paychecks, etc.

In those cases, there is someone you can call. If your phone bill shows up twice, you can call the phone company and complain. If your bank statement gets mucked up, call the bank and complain. If your paycheck doesn't show, bitch at your employer.

If the votes get miscounted, you call... the representative the phony votes put into office? Yeah, like that's going to go ANYWHERE.

The Government does not want it fixed. (1)

ramsejc (671676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993160)

That is why Sequoia sued all of the Princeton CS Profs and hired some drunk named Mike Gibbons to do the same thing that the Profs were going to do for free:

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5849 [bradblog.com]

The profs may have come up with their own conclusions, instead of just signing the ones that were handed to them the first minute they walked onto the job. - There's your problem.

When a gov allows for hidden votes (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993192)

it says a lot. If the feds had required that ALL machines had to have open code and closed boxes (i.e. truly locked down), then no doubt that a number of other companies would have come forward. And they would have sold it at a much cheaper price. But the problem is not just that the feds allow this, but it appears that a number of their policies ENCOURAGE this. It would be like the feds telling states that they had to allow only 1 republican to count all the votes.

To paraphrase an obvious progenitor of these kind of politicians said, "it is not who votes that counts, it is the vote counter that is important". Apparently, these politicians who push these kind of laws and rules are true descendants.

I'm a little surprised... (4, Interesting)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993242)

that members of this site haven't started an open source project around developing an OS and maybe a basic hardware specification for cheap E-voting machines.

Considering how many people get upset every time some article like this comes up and the expertise many claim that this hasn't occurred to anyone yet. I'm no programmer (outside of incredibly simple perl scripts) so "I" couldn't do it but I can't imagine that members of the Slashdot community would do any worse than these asshats. Besides, even if they did do a crappy job it would be open source so that security hats could look through it and point to all of the bugs for fixing.

Re:I'm a little surprised... (2, Informative)

tobiah (308208) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994044)

That's a great idea. Too good to not have happened, here's what a quick search yielded.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/03/173241&from=rss
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2004/01/61968
http://openvotingsolutions.net/

Re:I'm a little surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994100)

I think there is an open source project out there - can't recall the name.

I think the general feeling on /. is that eVoting is a Bad Idea.
It's extremely difficult to do it in a way that is truly traceable/auditable, private and secure against fraud by people who have direct access to the hardware.

If you decide to do it, it *HAS* to be open source in my opinion. It's only secure if it's provably secure, not merely obscure.

ha-ha - capcha checks my spelling: provable

Re:I'm a little surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22994310)

int tallyvotes(voteforbush,voteforkerry)
{

voteforbush++;
voteforkerry=0;

};

Solutions are out there. (1)

scionite0 (1160479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994480)

But they need our support. http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/our_solution [openvotingconsortium.org] Anyone out there care to match a $30.00 donation to help stop the next GWB® from buying key districts in swing states.

Re:Solutions are out there. (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995114)

that site doesn't specifically state that they'll use open source software. "that would be publicly owned or open source."

Basically they're saying they're selling the source code, along with licensing the machines. Part of this is due to dibold and others trying to make it illegal to use open source software so they can't predate on dibold's contracts to license voting machines to voting precincts.

Remember dibold and other companies are 'insiders' in politics, and competing open source projects are not. I know there have been (aborted) attempts at making open source voting reality, but they were mostly abandoned when they realized the amount of cash it would take to even get a seat at the table to show election officials what open source software could do for them.

Re:I'm a little surprised... (3, Informative)

number11 (129686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994606)

that members of this site haven't started an open source project

You mean, like the Electronic Voting Machine Project [sourceforge.net] and OpenSTV [sourceforge.net] and the Voting Software Project [sourceforge.net] and the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org] and Blue Screen Democracy [sourceforge.net] and probably a dozen other projects?

One problem is that voting software/hardware has to be certified by the state. A ponderous, time-consuming, and expensive bureaucratic nightmare not particularly friendly to amateurs (or even corporations, unless there's a good prospect for vast sales).

Gambling Machines! (5, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993292)

Someone made this comparison in an older post and i think it is key to making people see the point: gambling machines are required by law to go through a very stringent and thorough set of checks, including source code examination, in order to be certified for use. Why we don't do the EXACT same thing with voting machines is ABSOLUTELY beyond me. It makes perfect sense and it is insane that we don't. -Taylor

Nope. (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993382)

Nope.

The difference between the two devices is one is gaming HUGE income generator for Government. In order to keep the poor schmucks at the poker machines, they contribute to the scheme by certifying the devices. Voting infrastructure is all costs and the only people that benefit are the contractor and the representatives the contractor is paying.

You seem to have forgotten that government is supposed to be run more like a business.

even they are buggy... (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993518)

There have been a number of stories posted here and at Digg about payouts that were voided because of courts siding with casinos when they declared the winner only won because of a bug or the jackpot was wrong because of a bug.

So they aren't a great example.

Its not like either party wants it fixed, they do far better crying an election was stolen than do actual work.

It also gives them an out, elections are the ultimate ego bitch slap, its no fun when people don't vote for you and you lose, it means people didn't like you and that hurts

How hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22993724)

How the hell hard is it to actually develop a worthwhile voting machine? This shouldn't be rocket science. These should be devices designed with minimalism in mind in order to reduce the chances of error and on their own platform to reduce the chances of attack.

I bet someone could develop a halfway competent e-voting system in under 1,000 lines of code to run in a secure manner on a minimalist platform.

Re:How hard (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995356)

True, but the machines still couldn't be trusted, even if it was open source.
The code cannot be examined once its been compiled, and it would have to be verified that the compiler works correctly.
You could compare hash sums of the compiled programs, but then the hash generating program would have to be verified as secure as well. And even then, there is the hardware to consider.

All told, relying on electronic voting where the machines are trusted to tally the vote correctly is simply not possible.
Voting machines could be used to print ballots for the voter to verify and put in the ballot box as usual. They could even tally votes, as long as that tally is verified by a complete manual count (under supervision of partisan and neutral observers as per usual) of all the paper ballots.
This way "e-voting" could even make fraud harder, as any discrepancy between the paper ballots and the machine tally would be a cause for investigation.

Re:How hard (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996440)

Well done, sir. You cannot know what code is currently running, not if it is open source, not if is not OSS. You simply cannot know if someone swapped out the code in the last few milliseconds before you examine it.

And it's obvious that someone IS doing so. The tallies are not matching. This is not the hardest system to code. To so completely fail requires malice and an inside access to the system. The Diebold and Sequoia systems are compromised, and they know it to be so, for them to fight so hard and so long to keep out independent analysts. Occam's razor. They were built to cheat undetectably.

Well, duh. (2, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993820)

You can't help fix elections if you allow the public to review your machines and code! Come on, people, don't be ridiculous.

BSOD (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22993826)

The first time I saw one of Sequoia's units was at a demonstration in Philadelphia about 3 years ago. At that time they were demonstrating a prototype as they didn't have the displays they intended to use. Half way through the demonstration, in true Bill Gates style, the device threw up that old familiar blue screen.
One thing to point out is that Sequoia, or at least some of the companies that it now owns, has a history in the voting machine industry. Remember those big blue mechanical booths with the sliding curtains? Those things were as inaccurate as hell.
The argument for paper is good, but in many elections there can be thousands of individual ballots in a single county. If you overcome the logistic hurdles, then you have the problem of people doing the counting of thousands of ballots and compiling that information. I've spent many election nights reviewing paperwork from precincts that was just wrong - didn't add up or was off by an order of magnitude. These weren't people trying to hedge an election; they just screwed up simple arithmetic.
I studied this problem for years from a security analyst's position. In my opinion, a print on demand, image, scan, and destroy solution is the only practical solution. Sorting and storing tons of paper just doesn't make sense. Recycle it. Use barcodes on the ballot, steganography in the stored image, and encryption in the scan record to verify the match of the scan and the stored image to the print at the polling place.
Let's face it, we have exactly what the original GW warned us about, a two party system where the political aristocracy selects the possible candidates based on the influence of lobbyists. Their machines are calibrated to select issues and positions to give a 50% bias within the uneducated masses.
As a Libertarian, all I can do is sit and watch in disgust. This not what our ancestors had in mind, but they only had (much less than) 0.3% as many ballots to count.

Re:BSOD (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995168)

"In my opinion, a print on demand, image, scan, and destroy solution is the only practical solution"

I hope by that you mean 'destroy' only AFTER the election is made official by the state. the whole point of a paper trail is that it can be recounted.

your suggestion that the image should be encrypted baffles me... who can read a 3-d barcode Besides a computer? they come standard issue on almost every state drivers license... yeah regular barcodes can be read, by the exceptional individual, but we don't need to encrypt 3-d barcodes, because even though it has my address information in it so cops don't have to type it in, i couldn't honestly tell you anyones address by glancing at a 3-d barcode.

Re:BSOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996514)

An anonymous vote and security will always be at odds. It is ironic that the voting machine was originally introduced because of flagrant ballot box stuffing.
The barcode on the ballot is just for authentication. It would just secure that the ballot was printed from a given printer at the polling place, and that the ballot itself was unique and can be accounted for. There would not be a need to have voter information on the ballot. It would be, in essence, a sequence number that could not be anticipated, but could be verified.
Paper ballots can be manipulated, either by forgery or by removal. It is better to have a triple accounting process and to have the voter destroy the paper than it is to have that paper removed, tampered with, or duplicated.
Steganography doesn't make an image unreadable, nor does it introduce artifacts that would visibly distort the image. It is a technique to encode information in the image to verify that it has not been modified. Just as a CDC hash is commonly used to validate the authenticity of a file; an electronic signature would ensure the contents of a document have not been altered. This is the "paper trail"; however, it is more secure than the paper itself.
Scanning tallies the results, and again creating a hash to prevent tampering.
The point is that each of these modular tasks could be accomplished with small, static code sets that could be thoroughly tested and vetted. They could also be provided by separate vendors.
Having a complex operating system under the hood is just folly waiting to happen.
Destruction of the ballots is for logistics and for the security of the ballot itself. A county such as the one in which I live has nearly 1000 different ballot formats, with as many as 100 races on some of these ballots. There are also nearly 10^6 voters. Imagine thousands of reams of 17" X 22" sheets of paper, with each ream being a different format. The idea that someone will sit and count 10^6 votes from a large county is just not cost effective. There are, as always, trade offs in expense and expediency that we must weigh against some measure of trust. I have been a citizen volunteer on many election nights, and the people working, both paid and unpaid, are not interested in the outcomes of the election; they are interested in getting the tallies in, verifying the counts, and providing the results in a timely fashion.
It is better to trust a machine, especially one that is simple in design, thoroughly vetted, and robust in serving its purpose, than it is to trust this process to humans, who are far less perfect than the devices they create. People can not count or add as accurately or quickly as can a computer.
We make assumptions that are more rooted in by-gone custom than in reality. We take comfort in the notion that a human count is infallible, and that our written signature is some secure proof of our identity. Just as signing a document is a customary carry-over of a far simpler time when everyone you knew would recognize your handwriting, human counts are more often wrong than correct.
Unfortunately, I have come the venerable age that I have seen many administrations come and go. Some have sparked changes, many more just started running for the next election the day they took office. People in whom I had confidence failed to deliver or were corrupted by power, and others to whom I gave little credit surprised me in their ability and their honor. Given a two party system, it doesn't matter who wins offices in the end. Real changes, the kind that matter, come from the common shared attitudes of the people. Government either refines the quality or it magnifies the faults of the people which it represents in the measure that it is itself influenced by those individuals. Your vote is only a fraction of that influence. Your voice, attention, involvement, and the attitudes that you present to your elected officials will change more than the ballot box will ever be able to leverage.
Every uneducated voter waters down the rest of our votes. That's more a threat to our democracy than rigged elections. If you have an opinion, find others with that opinion and get that opinion out to your neighbors and family. Elections are won on bull shit platforms and calculated and manufactured issues. I recall overhearing someone saying that they were going to vote for George Bush because he was against late term abortions. My cousin's son was in a HumV hit by an IED in Iraq. I pretty sure I didn't sway that person's opinion, and it's not my proudest moment, but my opinion was heard (for a block or two).

Re:BSOD (1)

LocoMotives (881594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996688)

"Government either refines the quality or it magnifies the faults of the people which it represents in the measure that it is itself influenced by those individuals." Well said. Do you mind if I use that in my email signature? Apathy and voters only looking at the curtain and not what is behind it is the real problem with politics. If you only represent yourself with your vote, your voice is lost in the noise.

Re:BSOD (1, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996496)

Canada solved their paper ballot problems long ago. At every voting station, people from each interested party watch a manual count of paper ballots after the elections is over. The tally is checked and phoned up, and the original paper is kept for recount and audits.

The system scales to national elections, and... they finish the count in three hours or so. The whole country. Manually. No Scantron, no PC's, no networks. Examine that system.

Our US system is designed to take a long time, and provide nearly infinite possibilities to alter the count. E-voting simply finished our cheatamatic system, putting all audit capabilities into the hands of private companies beholden to the Republican party, with predictable and awe-inspiring in-your-face fraud. No meatworld games need be played anymore; they can phone in a fix now. And the evidence shows they have. A *lot*.

Criminals! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22993850)

Why does the taxpayer pay for these faulty systems? If a car fails to work they will fix it or eventually give you a new one, same thing with computers. Since these machines are obviously not working properly and can't be fixed all the municipalities that bought these things should demand their money back. These company's sold defective merchandise; they are LEMMONS, use the lemmon law to get their money back. And put the suckers in jail for selling crap that didn't work!

Re:Criminals! (1)

rbannon (512814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995160)

You're dealing with government, and that's the only reason why you have to deal with this nonsense. And if you think you can vote to change this, you need to leave the USA fast. We're a nation governed by crooks who are voted in by frightened minions.

Also, I wouldn't be so worried about voting machines---especially when they're about to drag your ass or your wallet to Iraq anyway. And it's doesn't matter who's in office, because you're screwed no matter.

Email thread from communications with Sequioa (2, Interesting)

QuesarVII (904243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994088)

Let him know how you feel too! "Smith, Ed"

Here is my email thread with him-

Buttressed by the fact that the email I sent only to two professors has been distributed without my knowledge or consent, why would we allow analysis of our machines by unlicensed parties? We are not afraid of the results. In fact, as mentioned to you earlier, the report from the code review that is in progress goes to the State simultaneous to release to Sequoia.

Ed Smith
VP, Compliance/Quality/Certification
Sequoia Voting Systems

Confidentiality Notice: This email message, including all the attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and contains confidential information. Unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, you may not use, disclose, copy or disseminate this information. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message, including attachments.

-----Original Message-----
From: Name Withheld for Slashdot
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:55 PM
To: Smith, Ed
Subject: Re: why are you refusing an independent analysis

Just because you are not aware of Felton's test plan does not mean he does not have one. If there is nothing wrong for him to find, why is there a problem with him analyzing it? You keep ignoring this question.

Name Withheld for Slashdot
On Wednesday 19 March 2008, you wrote:
> The lack of a published Test Plan, stated objectives for the study,
> voting machines for study that have been secured since Election Day
> and other facts in evidence do not support your contention that this
> is a structured review.
>
> Ed Smith
> VP, Compliance/Quality/Certification
> Sequoia Voting Systems
>
> Confidentiality Notice: This email message, including all the
> attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and
> contains confidential information. Unauthorized use or disclosure is
> prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, you may not use,
> disclose, copy or disseminate this information. If you are not the
> intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately by reply
> email and destroy all copies of the original message, including
attachments.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Name Withheld for Slashdot
> Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:07 PM
> To: Smith, Ed
> Subject: Re: why are you refusing an independent analysis
>
> Mr Smith:
>
> This is not an "ad hoc" review. Felton is an expert in the field.
> Are you afraid he will turn up problems with your machines like he has

> with others in the past?
>
> Name Withheld for Slashdot
>
> On Wednesday 19 March 2008, you wrote:
> > Name Withheld for Slashdot:
> >
> > We are acting against only these ad hoc reviews. There is an
> > independent source code and functional review in progress at this
> > time, with results going to the NJ Attorney General's office. We
> > support reviews that protect both our intellectual property rights
> > and
> >
> > have donated staff hours and resources to the on-going review
> > mentioned above.
> >
> > Best Regards,
> > Ed Smith
> > VP, Compliance/Quality/Certification Sequoia Voting Systems
> >
> > Confidentiality Notice: This email message, including all the
> > attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and
> > contains confidential information. Unauthorized use or disclosure is
> > prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, you may not use,
> > disclose, copy or disseminate this information. If you are not the
> > intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately by reply
> > email and destroy all copies of the original message, including
>
> attachments.
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Name Withheld for Slashdot
> > Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 8:06 AM
> > To: Smith, Ed
> > Subject: why are you refusing an independent analysis
> >
> > I recently read about the letter you sent to Princeton University
> > regarding analysis of your voting machine. Why are you threatening
> > legal action? Is there something you're trying to hide about your
> > machines? To me, and many others, the simple act of refusing is
proof
> >
> > enough alone that your machines are not acceptable.
> >
> > Name Withheld for Slashdot
> > Citizen for Open Voting

that explains it (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994430)

McCain got his highest percentage of votes in NJ.

how hard could it be? (2, Interesting)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22994664)

candidate->votes++;

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996256)

If you actually look it up you'll see that the new jersey institute of technology checked and approved these machines last year (they certified them around august last year). most likely someone changed something between now and then and rather than sending the machines through a full recertification they slid it in under the radar.

having them recheck it will simply show us their shenanigans and put them in a world of hurt.

Electronic Voting Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22996398)

If you vote using an electronic voting machine, then your vote doesn't count.
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