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United States Government Politics

CA Proposes Rigorous Voting Machine Testing 172

Posted by kdawson
from the red-five-standing-by dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "During her successful campaign for California Secretary of State, newly-minted California Elections Czar Debra Bowen spoke repeatedly of the need to use free open source software in voting machines to ensure the integrity of California's elections. Now that Secretary Bowen is acting on that campaign pledge, closed-source voting machine vendor Diebold worries aloud that rejecting its black-box voting machines could snarl California's elections. Diebold's concerns come at the same time that it is suing Massachusetts for declining to purchase those same voting machines." Quoting: "California's elections chief is proposing the toughest standards for voting systems in the country, so tough that they could [have the result of banishing] ATM-like touch-screen voting machines from the state. For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with 'red teams' of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes."
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CA Proposes Rigorous Voting Machine Testing

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  • novel idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:22PM (#18529655)
    Thoroughly test the voting machines before deploying them? Wow! Why didn't I think of that?
    • Re:novel idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:29PM (#18529755)
      I smell a "Diebold sues California" /. headline coming.
      • Re:novel idea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:32PM (#18530631) Homepage
        I can't for the life of me understand why California even considers doing business with Diebold any more.

        Shouldn't the list of requirements for Calfornia's voting machine aquisitions have a clause about "Company should not have repeatedly lied to California legislators, covered up known flaws, nor violated deployment policies by modifying units in the field without validation of those modifications"?

        Diebold has been in trouble with California before. The fact that they can continue to even try to offer voting machines in that state kinda surprises me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by noidentity (188756)
        "I smell a "Diebold sues California" /. headline coming."

        I smell another "Diebold sues Massachusetts" /. headline first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by avronius (689343) *
      Here's a complete solution:

      1. Create software for electronic voting. Use pictures of candidates (and their names, of coz').
      2. Add a printing plugin that spits out a little chit with the picture of the candidate that the voter selected, as well as a bar code that includes the name of the candidate.
      3. Place chit in voting box for validation if required - used in case recounts are requested.
      4. Profit!!!
      • In retrospect, perhaps Step 4 should have said "Govern!" and Step 5 should have been "Profit!!!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        Use pictures of candidates (and their names, of coz').

        A picture of the candidate and the names of their cousins?
        • by avronius (689343) *
          Sorry - was trying to be casual. What was I thinking?
          I have some friends in South Eastern Asia that I chat with from time to time. They quite often type "of coz'" rather than "of course". I was using the expression to refer to an attribute being included as a matter of course.

          However, if you'd rather the ballot include a listing of the candidates cousins, far be it from me to stand in the way of progress :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gyroid (1081639)
      If a state selectively purges voter rolls, supplies too few machines for specific precincts, or uses law enforcement and batteries of volunteers to challenge or intimidate voters, the accuracy of the machines doesn't really matter.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:23PM (#18529681)
    I thought I read "Computer Associates Proposes Rigorous Voting Machine Testing", and my head started to hurt.
  • Good idea (Score:4, Funny)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:24PM (#18529693) Journal
    I agree with this proposal. They need to double -- perhaps, triple -- check to make sure the code works as intended.

    But I also think CA has been otherwise prudent. For example, using Diebold instead of volunteer open source code. I mean, how can they afford all the volunteer labor?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105)
      check to make sure the code works as intended.

      The next step would be to check and make sure that the intention the code works with is the intention the people desire.

      -Rick
      • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:49PM (#18530941) Homepage Journal

        The next step would be to check and make sure that the intention the code works with is the intention the people desire.
        And this is why formal specification should be used. It provides a middle tier between implementation code, and English language specification. Verifying that the code properly implements the formal specification can be done programatically and independently quite easily. In turn, validating the formal specification, by comparing it to the peoples desires in terms of a English language set of requirements is easier than trying to compare coed to the requirements, since it is only intentions that are formally defined, with no issues of implementation to complicate the matter. Stating your intentions in an unambiguous way, via formal specification, ought to be an obvious first step for anything where the need for assurance is as high as it with electronic voting.
  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:24PM (#18529695) Homepage
    One principal of a democracy is that everyone can verify the counting of votes.

    Now unless you teach everyone how to program I don't see how you can preserve this principal.
    • One principal of a democracy is that everyone can verify the counting of votes.

      Umm... this is a new one to me. I mean, it sounds like a good idea, and all... but then again, if we're using the old punch-card type of voting machines, being able to verify them requires being able to read them, which many people can't do anyway. Besides the fact that in a typical presidential election, there's, what, nearly a hundred million votes cast? It's physically impossible for a single person to check that many b

      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        I was just writing to my Senator Mac Middleton (Maryland Senate) that losing the ritual of hand counting ballots means that we also lose a means of strengthening community ties. You don't actually have one person count all the ballots, it is done in a group with observes from all campaigns watching for errors. In the end everyone goes to bed late and is civil about the result. There is a greater level of participation and more human interaction this way.

        Maryland's house passed a bill to adopt optical s
    • Funny thing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:37PM (#18529875) Journal
      is that we seem to keep learning and re-learning that lesson. Back in the 1960 election, there was a lot of evidence that indicated that kennedy won chicago by having the dems cheat. Many systems were put in place to prevent that cheating. Now, with the new current system, the evidence is even more overwhelming and yet, we are back to trying to prevent cheating. In particular, it appears that Ohio, Florida, and even texas had massive amounts of voter fraud during the last couple of elections. I guess that our society will be doomed to re-living the same problems over and over as long as we have politicians like rove ( and the dem == before).
    • One principal of a democracy is that everyone can verify the counting of votes. Now unless you teach everyone how to program I don't see how you can preserve this principal.

      It also requires you teach everyone to count, which is up for question given the quality of our schools these days. ("Principle", by the way.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      One principal of a democracy is that everyone can verify the counting of votes.

      We do not now, nor have we ever had, any system to verify votes. We can count them again, certify them, but never verify them. Until I, as a voter, can see how the state counted my vote, no vote is ever verified. They may count my ballot twice, but I can never know who they count it as having voted for. True anonymous verification is a system where I can identify my vote, but no one can determine how I voted.
    • by tchdab1 (164848)
      Another principle of Democracy appears to be the right to continue to make gobs of money regardless of the needs of the market or the quality of the product, and to "give back" by kicking a small percentage of that money back to the elected officials who made it all possible.

      Sue the state for making a decision? If you're going to die, die bold.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:26PM (#18529717) Homepage Journal
    31 machines out of 340 districts? How many were in each district?

    Heck, from what I've read, they've had problems with more than 10% of the diebold machines.

    At least with an automark type system you still have the paper ballots to fall back on, even if a voter might require assistance to fill it out.

    When a diebold type device malfunctions you have the potential for lost and/or erronous vote information, not to mention that NO votes can be taken.
    • 31 machines out of 340 districts? How many were in each district?

      I've really got to ask - how hard is it to write a machine that tallies clicks? Seriously?

      I've been writing code in several languages for going on 9 years, and I've got to tell you, counting votes sounds like something we did in CS 102.

      Of COURSE it should be open source. Of COURSE any shmoe should be able to audit the code. Because - and I've gotta tell ya, I'm not the greatest dev that ever lived - there are about a million people in CA th

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Firethorn (177587)
        Security is the only place where it becomes an issue - but seriously, it shouldn't be that hard. Google built an empire on white-box commodity-hardware. We can't build a machine that properly counts clicks?

        Las Vegas manages to operate thousands of video gambline machines that are far more complicated mechanically speaking(it has to dispense stuff) that have to pass extremely rigorous standards, there are millions of ATM machines that have incredibly low error rates.

        Sure, we could build it. It'd likely be m
    • by Irvu (248207)
      Ahh but thanks to the intervention of well-paid lobbyists Federal standards make 10% an "acceptable rate of failure" for an election.
      • As noted by VoteTrustUSA [votetrustusa.org] the Election Assistance Commission's Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines:

        This standard allows 9.2% of all e-voting systems to fail in any 15-hour Election Day, and a much higher failure rate during the extended "Early Voting" periods now being implemented in many states.

        It is important to note also that these standards are voluntary and as such are the "upper bound" for the practical rules, and many states ignore them altogether. Few if any exceed the standard, especially when it c

  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:32PM (#18529801) Homepage Journal
    Properly monitored paper ballot voting system is about as good as you can get for the average person. It's main weakness is that it's not private for people who cannot see or read the language of the ballot and for people who cannot mark the ballot for whatever reason. The fact that you must go to a voting station rather than voting from home is also a disadvantage.

    Any replacement system must preserve the strengths of a paper ballot.

    This means
    • Open specifications
    • validation and verification of all equipment and procedures concerning the vote


    In practice, this means the voting hardware and software must be open to public inspection. The same goes for the procedures used by voting officials.

    It also means to the extent possible, the entire process must be observed by interested and neutral parties. Obviously the actual voting must be done in secret but anything that doesn't reveal an individual's vote should be observed. Those things that cannot be easily observed, such as actual electronic count, must be repeatable by another method, such as a hand-count, with the same results.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Right. And that's why I keep saying that if you want to know what I think is the approach, it's touch screens with Open Source software/firmware with a paper receipt trail. This allows for the accuracy of electronic counting with a paper backup -- if the paper doesn't match the electronic count, then the software either has bugs or has been tampered with (or there are forged paper ballots, but that's easily countered). Either way, the software can be reviewed by independent computer experts to determine
      • by zCyl (14362)

        if the paper doesn't match the electronic count, then the software either has bugs or has been tampered with (or there are forged paper ballots, but that's easily countered)

        This is facilitated by a procedural approach of mandatory on-site auditing of the vote with the paper ballots.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751)

      * Open specifications
      * validation and verification of all equipment and procedures concerning the vote

      In practice, this means the voting hardware and software must be open to public inspection. The same goes for the procedures used by voting officials.

      I would go even further and demand that both an English language and a formal specification that are open. That way you can validate the formal speciifcation against the English language version, and you can formally verify software code against the formal specification. There are plenty of independent systems that would allow such formal verification of code to be done, and machine checked. Sure, this requires more work to write a formal specification and to write code that can be verified against it... b

    • I have lived in Arizona for over 4 years and have NEVER gone to a voting station, yet I vote in most of the elections. Every election I get a letter with a form that I can fill out to request a ballot be mailed to me. I fill out and return the form, and in a few days get a packet of information that includes a ballot. I believe the ballot is in both English and Spanish, although I don't have one so I can't validate that statement. Of course, they might shred the ballot when I mail it back it for all I know
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "I have lived in Arizona for over 4 years and have NEVER gone to a voting station, yet I vote in most of the elections. Every election I get a letter with a form that I can fill out to request a ballot be mailed to me. I fill out and return the form, and in a few days get a packet of information that includes a ballot."

        I hear ya. Voting, is actually VERY easy. Anyone that shows interest, can get an absentee ballot.

        This is fuming me a little..in that down here in LA (mostly about New Orleans area), the st

  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:38PM (#18529885) Homepage Journal
    The request by Diebold to block Massachusetts from buying from another vendor was blocked: http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command =viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=hardware&articleId= 9014518&taxonomyId=12&intsrc=kc_top [computerworld.com]
    --
    The proper use of a silicon ballot: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
  • "For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with 'red teams' of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes."
    And this is a bad thing for the public... HOW?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mOdQuArK! (87332)
      Well, it'll cost the taxpayers a fair bit to do that kind of testing properly - looking at it that way, you'll get a dollar value of how much the taxpayers think a corruption-resistant democracy is worth!
    • by abb3w (696381)

      "For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with 'red teams' of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes."

      And this is a bad thing for the public... HOW?

      Because Democrats have an equal or superior history with vote fraud; the effort is obviously incomplete without 'blue teams' to try hacking them as well. =)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:55PM (#18530111)
    Any electronic voting machines should be regulated to at least the same level as a slot machine. But for some reason we apparently believe that handling the $20 dollars we want to gamble in a casino is more important than the results of an election.

    A casino would never field a slot machine (even a 1c machine) that was as insecure as a Diebold voting machine.

    The security model for a slot machine is rock solid. The hardware and software (source included) must be submitted and approved by each jurisdiction. The security model ensures that if even one bit in the software has been corrupted, the machine ceases to function. The cash-in and payout of each machine is redundantly logged. The machines are completely power tolerant, meaning you can cut the power at any time; when the power is restored the machine will come back up in exactly the same state that it was in before power loss. The machine can print tickets (for a paper trail), as well as talk securely over a network.

    Basically, all the requirements we'd like to see in a voting machine are the same that a slot machine already conforms to. There's no reason to re-invent the wheel here, most of the work has already been done.
  • this gives me A BIT of hope (heh) that not everyone connected to the gov is a madman, moran or corrupt.

    I now think there may be a non-zero amount of sane people still left. before, I really did think the number WAS zero.

    I now have new hope for democracy to RETURN to the US.

    • I now have new hope for democracy to RETURN to the US.

      Return? It would have had to have been here in the first place. The US was under the UK with no say, and then it was formed under a republic, which is referred to as a "representative democracy" but which really means that a select few are in control. Beyond that, the whole thing is really under the control of the people with the money to buy the government's interest. Democracy? It's a kleptocracy.

  • Treason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loftling (574538) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:13PM (#18530391)
    I think that attorneys for the government should be able to demand to see source code for all the machines already deployed. If source cannot be produced (or it does not compile to the same machine code present on the voting machines) then those responsible should be rounded up and tried for treason. Seriously: at no point should *anything* related to how these machines tally votes have been regarded as a secret: that's simply not how voting works in the US.

    I believe that California shouldn't have to demand transparency, I think that we citizens have implicitly expected transparency all along.

    Donate to the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org], they've been working with Debra Bowen and many others to fix the system.
    • by abb3w (696381)

      If source cannot be produced (or it does not compile to the same machine code present on the voting machines) then those responsible should be rounded up and tried for treason.

      No, no, no; the constitution strictly defines and limits "treason" for compelling reasons. Maintain a sense of proper proportion. I'll settle for having the corporation and its officers convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges (both criminal felony and civil damages); and any elected or appointed officials who facilitated such sh

  • by dostojevski78 (1004267) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:24PM (#18530545)
    It amazes me that the US can't get their elections done right. They have the technology to power the worlds most important financial systems, to pilote a drone on the other side of the world and beat any given human in a game of chess. WHY THE ##CK haven't they managed to come up with a voting system that's rock solid, transparent, secure and dependable?!? Why is that even a hard thing to do?

    Heck, I think even _I_ could design such a system:

    - Buy a standard issue PC with a standard issue laserprinter
    - Make a simple voting program
    - Give every voter a Live CD with a unique hard coded serial.
    - The CD is inserted under the supervision of election workers, and the PC is booted up.
    - The voters goes behind the curtain where they find a screen, a mouse and a printer.
    - The voter casts his/her wote. The vote and the unique ID is stored on the local HD, and two coppies is printed out on paper.
    - The voter comes out, ejects the CD AND KEEPS IT, and puts one paper vote in a ballot box. Keeps the other copy.
    - The computer is powered down before the next vote.

    This way one can always check the DB against the paper ballots afterwords. AND: Every citizen who thinks the election has been tampered with can A: Review the software on their CD. B: Check the official "election website", punch in the unique ID from the CD/paper coppy and verify that it's registered correctly.

    This is not complex, this is not expensive, this is not difficult, and as far as I can see; this is practicaly fool proof given a certain degree of random manual chek of wotes. (To eliminate the factor involving electorial workers doing nasty stuff to the PCs etc.)

    Or am I over looking something here...?
    • by faloi (738831)
      Or am I over looking something here...?

      Perhaps I'm getting too tin-foil-hatlike here... But you're overlooking the fact that, in my opinion at least, the two party system has an inherent interest in a system that can be fudged one way or the other. Even relatively sane, simple mandates like checking for a valid ID at the poling station get shut down. The less sinister thing that you're overlooking is that a majority of the citizens in the US don't seem to care that much. We've got small percentages of
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Manchot (847225)
        Even relatively sane, simple mandates like checking for a valid ID at the poling station get shut down.

        Those laws are often struck down as unconstitutional, and for good reason. If you are an American citizen who doesn't have an ID (which you cannot constitutionally be required to own as a direct result of our right to privacy), you should still be able to vote. More practically, from a statistical viewpoint, people with lower incomes and the elderly are surprisingly likely to not have IDs. You might say, "

        • The reason that many elderly lack ID cards is because the state issued ID cards that they have are expired. Expired ID cards are not accepted as identification.

          If you live at the same address, are the same height, same gender, and eye color - why do you need a new ID card?

          Why the heck ID cards expire is a good question. Anyone have an answer? I always wondered why. Change of appearance is a poor reason. I could grow a beard and dye my hair the day after getting an ID card. Is it because they are worri
        • by Teancum (67324)
          Of course by not requiring ID and proof of citizenship, you also disenfranchise voters by "stuffing" the ballot box with illegal aliens and other non-citzens who cast a ballot. Sure, it is a crime, but it is one that you can get away with when you don't even have a way to prove who you really are.

          "Vote early... vote often"

          That is another consequence of not requiring ID: There is nothing stopping you from casting your ballot in a dozen precincts all over the general location where you live... depending on
        • by Dirtside (91468)
          While I approve of not being required to carry ID in the U.S., I have to ask, without providing ID when you vote, how are they supposed to know that you're eligible to vote in the precinct you're at, and that you haven't voted already?
    • by vux984 (928602)
      Well, I'd hack MY live CD, and then when I'm behind the curtain I install a rootkit into the firmware of the PC, so that future voters live CDs print out the right paper, but what gets written to the hard drive is just republican, republican, republican!

      Or perhaps, while I'm behind the curtain, I'll just run a utility to modify the contents of the hard drive, adjusting all the voters votes previous to mine.

      Ok... ok... your system has a safegaurd in that people can verify their votes after the fact online. S
    • by goofy183 (451746)
      There is always the concern of buying votes. There can be no way to verify how any person voted once they leave the booth otherwise someone with $$ could very very easily buy an election.
    • It amazes me that the US can't get their elections done right. They have the technology to power the worlds most important financial systems [...] Or am I over looking something here...?

      Today's piece on the largest financial data breach in history [slashdot.org], perhaps?

      HTH. HAND.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by uncqual (836337)
      Check the official "election website", punch in the unique ID from the CD/paper coppy and verify that it's registered correctly.

      One minor nit... This is a bad idea because it makes buying and selling votes more reliable. With a scheme like this, the vote-buyer can verify that the vote-seller really followed instructions before payment is made. As it is now, vote-buying is unreliable (at the retail level) because the buyer can't tell if they got what they paid for.

      But, overall there are plenty of good
    • Heck, I think even _I_ could design such a system:

      [8(!) steps and commentary elided]

      Or am I over looking something here...?

      Perhaps you might not have heard the story of the king and the toaster [netinteraction.com]?

      This may not be quite that bad, but the point still stands: Don't use more technology than is needed to solve the problem. In this case, it's much simpler than you suggest:

      1. Election supervisor checks that voter is authorized to vote.
      2. Voter takes pen and paper ballot.
      3. Voter writes candidate's name on paper.
      • Please.... this is as silly as it gets to suggest this solution, and gets to the heart of why American elections are so complicated with so much technical hardware: Marking an "X" on 100+ candidates and ballot questions is enough to completely overwhelm any voting judge in a typical American voting precinct.

        My wife is an election judge, and has done the paper and pencil thing on municipal elections where there was just three options to count. Even then, it took her and the team of voting judges nearly thr
    • by dodongo (412749)
      Ballots in the US have to be anonymous. Your unique ID thing would provide a way to connect a voter to a vote, and that's a strict no-no.
    • Or am I over looking something here...?

      Yes, you are. One thing that many people forget when comparing voting systems to banking systems is that voting is anonymous. There is (supposed to be) no way to determine how a person voted once their ballot has been cast. In particular, voters do not take anything away from the polls that indicates how they voted. This is to prevent situations were people are coerced into voting a certain way -- if there is no way to prove they voted for a particular person, the

  • Nice to see (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frenchs (42465) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:38PM (#18530719) Homepage
    This issue is actually the very reason this woman got my vote in the last election. I'm glad to see she is holding to her promises. We definitely need more politicians to do this. She, unlike a large number of politicians, seems to have a reasonable grasp on the internets and tech as a whole.

    http://www.ss.ca.gov/executive/bio.htm [ca.gov]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MsGeek (162936)
      Indeed. The fact Debra became our Secretary of State was balm that soothed the wounds of four more years of Arnold Freaking Schwarzenegger and his signature on my Masters Degree diploma if I go to the university of my choice.

      Go Debra go! So nice to have a real, live she-geek in public office!
  • I suspect they'll really study software outside the machines, code which the manufacturer swears is the same as the software inside the machines, cross his heart. That's still an improvement over the current situation, but it's not good enough for democracy. If a computer is turning your ballot into a microscopic electromagnetic pattern rather than a human-readable printout, you simply can't be certain that your vote was counted. Software audits may make election hacking more difficult, but they'll never make it impossible.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PPH (736903)
      That's the same conundrum presented by Microsoft's 'open source' model. They'll let you look at something which they claim is thew same as what you are running on your system. But if you can't do a clean build, you can't be sure the two are really the same.

      This situation is unacceptable in critical systems' embedded software. Not only is the source subject to audit, but the entire compilation and installation process is as well.

  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:57PM (#18531083)

    They just take votes and record them. The only remotely novel programming problem should be the security, and they don't appear to have implemented any! How can these machines keep screwing up when ATMs keep on not screwing up?

    I'm not a computer scientist, but I know many of you are. Is there some hidden level of difficulty here? Some reason why making voting machines should be such a challenge for Diebold?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)
      It shouldn't be difficult. That's what makes these proprietary system claims suspicious.

      Microsoft, who sells into a huge and varied market, has to worry about copyright and competitors swiping their intellectual property. Diebold deals with a much smaller customer base which is easily audited. Do you really think that county election officials are going to risk buying their voting machine s/w on the black market?

      It is not uncommon for vendors to provide the source code for critical systems with embedded

    • by rsborg (111459)

      How can these machines keep screwing up when ATMs keep on not screwing up?
      Simple answer: by design (greed or corruption). Anything else is putting a facade on the truth.
    • by Teancum (67324)
      Who says that ATM machines don't screw up? Let's just say for the sake of argument that only one tranaction out of 100 from an ATM has a mistake. The ATM prints out a receipt saying you just pulled out $20, but no money actually came out. What do you do? You contact the bank and they verify your story... and at most you are out $20 (or whatever you punched in for withdrawl). Does this kill the American banking system or increase the level of distrust of banks for most customers? Not at all.

      Now what if
  • And voter-verified, it's still not good enough.

    You can verify the reference machine all you want, but unless all the millions of Californians are voting on that one machine then there's not much point to verifying it.

    If you want your vote to count, vote on paper.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Teancum (67324)
      While having it on paper is good, it can be better still.

      As I've mentioned before when this issue is raised, computers should only be used for electronic ballot preparation. The actual ballot which you use for casting your vote should be prepared in the voting booth, and be done using OCR characters and/or a bar code (or something simple but easy for a voter to evaluate). At that point, who cares what company has actually designed the equipment for the vote processing?

      You can establish standards for both
  • It is not as if you REALLY have a choice. You can select between two evils. That isn't realy a choice. As if you were asked wich leg you can miss and call that a choice.

    And after the "voting", the "lobbying" comes in and makes those choices you actualy made undone. And if that doesn't do it, you big chief trows in his veto.

    Thios is not trolling this is just being realistic or pesimistic, depending on what you think.

    Now you can all vote me up or down. ;-)

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