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Public Clearinghouse Proposed For Evoting Failures 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the colllecting-the-mistakes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Alice Lipowicz writes in Federal Computer Week that Lawrence Norden, senior counsel to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, has reviewed hundreds of reports of problems with electronic voting systems during the last eight years. He is recommending a new regulatory system with a national database, accessible by election officials and others, that identifies voting system malfunctions reported by vendors or election officials and new legislation that requires vendors report evoting failures to the clearinghouse. 'We need a new and better regulatory structure to ensure that voting system defects are caught early, officials in affected jurisdictions are notified immediately, and action is taken to make certain that they will be corrected for all such systems, wherever they are used in the United States,' writes Norden. Adding that election officials rely on vendors to keep them aware of potential problems with voting machines, which is often done voluntarily and that voting system failures in one jurisdiction tend to be repeated in other areas, resulting in reduced public confidence and lost votes."
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Public Clearinghouse Proposed For Evoting Failures

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  • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @12:02AM (#33596280) Journal

    They don't get to vote in America, and we shouldn't let them count the votes either.

    Look, I'm an IT guy. I completely get the labor savings, the fallibility of humans, the difference in cost. We ought to be willing to pay the cost for humans to count our votes - if it costs more, maybe we'll let less stupid stuff on the ballot, or vote less than every few months. I get that when people want to cheat, a way can often be found - though most vote-counting setups have multiple interested parties to limit the cheating. I get that the average American voter is mindless cattle whose vote can be bought with sufficient advertising. But still, I'd rather that people tried to get their cheating past other suspicious-minded people than that machines introduced the opportunity to rig elections wholesale in advance and without a trace.

    In the mean time until the machines are granted the right to vote, they've got no business counting the vote.

    As for the rest of it, well I believe it's been described as the worst system for managing society - except for all the others that have been tried. It's mostly working.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Diebold does not like your attitude. Their corporate shills have reported you to the DHS, who will put you on a terrorist watch list.

      Your big mouth is a threat to national security. Enjoy being gang-stalked, prole. We have cameras in your bathroom.

      -- signed, a thug who gets paid 37 grand a year plus free housing to troll nonviolents into, well, violence...tee-hee!.

      -- also signed, the FBI. Man, we love watching hard-working Americans being laid off as we pay thugs to fatten our salaries!
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      See, but academia has fairly solid proposals for machines that DO leave traces and that DO let voters verify votes. Better anonymity and transparency than now at a ballot box. Its just that somehow only shoddy adaptations of pure banking-type of systems (which only give a sysadmin or even only the creator's company some real insight into what's going on, not voters) are being employed.

      In reality, academia thinks (and I think) that electronic voting machines could be quite strongly accountable, with better a

      • by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @09:16AM (#33598614) Homepage Journal

        but academia has fairly solid proposals for machines that DO leave traces and that DO let voters verify votes.

        Even so, I'm with the First Poster. He's got it exactly right. We can let machines do the counting if and when the machines are smart enough to vote and to care about those votes, presuming we're still engaged in pretending to stick to our constitutionally based, vague semblance of a democratic republic. Until then, machines that control vote counting are potentially proxies for corporations. No more, no less. And that is extraordinarily dangerous.

        In the meantime, the system is absolutely corrupt from the top down, and introducing new mechanisms that may or may not allow wholesale election buying are a bad idea, because what is here now -- that is, people doing the counting -- is extremely difficult to corrupt all at once. It's probably the only thing in the entire process that works half-decently on a reliable basis. And yes, we can wait a few hours or even day for results if we have to. There's no actual need for a McDonalds/FedEx mentality about the vote. It isn't like the elected must start work on the very next day.

        What we need (since I'm on my soapbox) is to stop regarding corporations as "persons", and forbid them from coming anywhere near a lawmaker or a political party or an election with money, opinion, gifts, or offers of employment before, during or after their elected term. Under penalty of having the executives hung. Corporations are not people. At best, they are sociopaths. Dangerous, without any concern for actual humans, and with goals that have no natural connection with the best interests of humans except at the executive levels. As demonstrated by such things as nine million dollar salaries. And higher.

        The original idea of the constitution was, here we make the federal government, which we strip of most powers, not in ignorance that it will make things difficult for the government, but because it will make things difficult for them.

        First, we should get back to that, and stop accepting the government's complaint that is "has to do something despite the constitution, because it needs to (if it really needs to, there is article five, ready and waiting... we will decide, not them, if it's really required.)

        Second, we should apply the same general idea to corporations. These entities, when medium sized or larger, by their very nature, can collect more power in a day than most citizens will in their entire lifetime under the current setup. That's a really, really bad thing. Putting them in control of the voting process -- that's a REALLY really really bad thing. And that's what voting machines do. So lets not go there.

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          What we need (since I'm on my soapbox) is to stop regarding corporations as "persons", and forbid them from coming anywhere near a lawmaker or a political party or an election with money, opinion, gifts, or offers of employment before, during or after their elected term.

          I agree with you on everything save opinion -- citizens who band together for a common cause (think: the ACLU, the Sierra Club, the NRA, etc.) under the guise of a corporation can not be muzzled if the 1st amendment is to mean anything.

          Putting them in control of the voting process -- that's a REALLY really really bad thing. And that's what voting machines do.

          No they don't. It's up to your state board of elections to set the specifications for their voting equipment when they request bids on such equipment. If those specifications leave room for manipulation than your grievance is with your state government, not the corporation

        • IMHO we were better-off with the old scantrons (mark your machine-readable ballot with a pen).

          It has the advantages of electronic voting (fast, easy counting) plus the security of thousands of pounds of paper (hard to rig).

          • by I_M_Noman (653982)

            IMHO we were better-off with the old scantrons (mark your machine-readable ballot with a pen).

            It has the advantages of electronic voting (fast, easy counting) plus the security of thousands of pounds of paper (hard to rig).

            We just implemented this in New York State with this week's primary elections. To call it a disaster would be an understatement. No privacy (reports of poll workers seeing how people marked their ballots and commenting "Well, there's another one for Schneiderman!"); confusing ballots (why weren't the incumbents listed first?, type so small that each ballot marking station had a magnifying glass as standard equipment); poorly-trained poll workers who didn't know who made the scanning machines, how to set

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Even so, I'm with the First Poster. He's got it exactly right. We can let machines do the counting if and when the machines are smart enough to vote and to care about those votes

          No, yes, well yes and no.

          Yes we still need humans to count but machines can help humans. Ultimately we need someone to sign off that the voting was legit as well as a paper trail. Voting machines can create a paper trail by printing out a slip and the voter putting that slip into a ballot box the old fashioned way. This allows

      • by MobyDisk (75490) *

        They've had those proposals before the current crop of voting machines. Why didn't they use them? No for-profit corporation will ever make a truly safe secure voting system. Even if they did, no government is qualified to judge if the corporation actually did it or not. The only way to really make this work to it is to have academia design the machine and release those designs. The governments would then hire multiple different companies to implement those designs in hardware and software, then have ac

    • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:50AM (#33598008) Homepage Journal

      As for the rest of it, well I believe it's been described as the worst system for managing society - except for all the others that have been tried. It's mostly working.

      I believe Winston Churchill said that with regards to democracy. Here in the US, we have a limited representative republic, not democracy.

      A few key differences:
      (a) No direct representation, but voting for an electorate who in turn votes for who goes to office.
      (b) A dictator with the power to veto the will of the people.
      (c) A third of the government (the supreme court) isn't elected, but appointed. And sits for life too.
      (d) Disenfranchisement is allowed and common. Not only felons lose their right to vote, but in many cases unconvicted suspects and vagabonds are prevented from voting.
      (e) Only pre-planned voting is allowed. You have to register to vote.
      (f) No de-facto freedom of who to vote for. You're generally barred from voting in more than one primary election, and the two-party system doesn't give a lot of real choice.

      It would be nice if we tried democracy here in the US. One man, one vote, without any "unless" clauses and hoops designed to keep the powers that be in power.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 16, 2010 @09:25AM (#33598692) Homepage Journal

        I'd like to see a true representative democracy. The Senate and House votes a bill up and the President signs it, but it doesn't become law without referendum. Laws would be voted on annually by the people, and would take a 2/3rds majority to pass. Laws against activities like murder, rape, robbery, etc. would have no trouble passing, while they'd have a harder time passing laws against things like smoking pot and playing poker at home with your friends.

        As to "(b) a dictator with the power to veto the will of the people," that's not accurate. The veto can be overridden.
        For (c) A third of the government (the supreme court) isn't elected, but appointed." But they have no power to pass laws, only to judge the legality of those laws. Many if not most local judges, where the majority of suspects are tried, are elected.

        The "two party system" is a myth (call it a conspiracy if you like) perpetrated by the corporate media and the Democrats and Republicans they own. There were six candidates for President on my ballot in the last election, and all were on the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical chance of winning, had anyone heard of them. The corporate media won't cover them and perpetrates the lie that a vote for a "third party candidate" is a wasted vote.

        "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        No direct representation, but voting for an electorate who in turn votes for who goes to office.

        It's called the House of Representatives for a reason....

        A dictator with the power to veto the will of the people.

        Huh?

        A third of the government (the supreme court) isn't elected, but appointed.

        Thank the gods for that....

        but in many cases unconvicted suspects

        Citation needed.

        and vagabonds are prevented from voting

        In what state?

        Only pre-planned voting is allowed. You have to register to vote.

        What's wrong with that?

        No de-facto freedom of who to vote for. You're generally barred from voting in more than one primary election, and the two-party system doesn't give a lot of real choice.

        There is no "two-party system". You are free to vote for any third party candidate that you want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      We ought to be willing to pay the cost for humans to count our votes - if it costs more, maybe we'll let less stupid stuff on the ballot, or vote less than every few months.

      It depends on the system. By your reckoning we should do away with computers in business and government altogether, and go back to filing paper in cabinets.

      Here in Illinois we may have the world's most corrupt politicians. Our last Governor was convicted of a felony and the jury deadlocked on 12 other felony counts that will be retried n

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        A friend of mine has parents that run an "Evil collections agency." They DO keep paper records, despite most collections and debt agencies keeping digital-only ones.

        An interesting fact is that paper records are not destroyed by a filesystem malfunction; just momentarily misplaced. They have actually had larger agencies ask for copies of their paper files when the larger agency's data has been lost or damaged by technical malfunctions or disasters, on several occasions. (Debt collectors also share informat

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fruviad (5032)

      I used to be a deputy director at a board of elections in Ohio. The county used Diebold machines.

      These systems are drastically more expensive than the older method of voting; there is absolutely no cost savings, whatsoever. It is not uncommon for poll workers to break the systems because of their ignorance or carelessness in working with the hardware. A broken Diebold voting system is VERY expensive to correct. The old systems? Cheap as dirt and easy to replace.

      The likelihood of a major problem is far

      • by hellop2 (1271166)
        If your "Tallying" software was more than a case statement, you were being scammed.
      • by Uzuri (906298)

        Which county?

        If it's the one I'm in, I think that some of the latest pass/fails would start to make sense...

  • eVoting is a scam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @12:30AM (#33596436) Homepage
    Aside from the pure things that can go wrong aspect, there is the fact that requiring independent counting of votes at the local level increases participation in our democracy.

    Of course the ruling class (wealthy and political dynasties) wants to sabotage that exactly because it benefits them directly.

    Personally, I believe we should have a national holiday for big vote days so we can celebrate the most important function of a citizen in a democracy.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Personally, I believe we should have a national holiday for big vote days so we can celebrate the most important function of a citizen in a democracy."

      You mean, paying for corporate welfare? That's done every April 15th. Oh, you meant in ACTUAL democracies, huh?

    • The most important function for citizens is to pay tax.
      • The most important function for citizens is to pay tax.

        Correction: The most important function for subjects is to pay tax.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2010 @12:36AM (#33596468)

    It seems a paper and pencil work just fine for Canada, and would be a lot cheaper than electronic voting, a clearninghouse, committees to oversee this crap, etc.

    The companies making voting machines sure did cash in on the failure of the Florida paper/punch ballot.

    • by gslavik (1015381)

      Scantron ...

      When I was in high school (and junior high school). We took these multiple guess tests (as my physics teacher called them), which used a #2 pencil and were checked using a machine the size of an HP Laserjet 1020 (6" by 6" by 12" thereabout). Why not use the similar technology? Or just give a big screen (24" with all the pictures of the candidates) with a touch screen element and let voters poke the candidate they like. Then give them a review screen at the end with names. ??? profit?

      • The scantron approach didn't work out so well for NYC recently. [nytimes.com]
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          I'm a poll worker in New York State and familiar with our system. To address a two of the points in that article:

          Some polling sites did not receive the optical scanners needed to read paper ballots by 6 a.m., when voting was supposed to begin.

          This is a logistical problem, not an indictment of the new voting technology. Any technology (including pen and paper) is rendered moot if the people in charge of it can't get it deployed on time.

          At other polling places, the scanners failed to operate properly when they were switched on, forcing voters to wait while election workers struggled to get the devices going.

          The poll workers were not properly trained. We have emergency (pen and paper) ballots on hand for this contingency. If they couldn't get their machines running for whatever reason they should have

          • I only saw it in the papers, I live in NJ so I did not experience it firsthand. I find it very interesting to get the point of view from someone who was there, I noticed a few articles mentioned training but most of the information I could find implied issues with the optical scanning.

            I do find it curious they went with that method as opposed to a touchscreen solution that would maintain printed record of votes as well (something similar to a cash register ticker tape). Seems like that would cause less pr

            • by Shakrai (717556) *

              I could find implied issues with the optical scanning.

              We had issues at my polling place upstate -- the geniuses with the county board of elections gave us the wrong security keys for the tabulators and we couldn't turn them on -- but we just switched to our emergency ballot procedure until they were able to get us the right keys. It was no big deal.

              The emergency ballots are the same as the regular ballots, they just get dropped into a separate locked compartment in the machine instead of being scanned. Once the machine is functional again the poll workers f

    • Yeah, but if you want Americans to count their votes by hand like in Canada, then you got to start by fixing their public school system so that the people can actually count and then wait 60 years for them to get into the old age homes so they can be used to do the counting, so the next election could only be in 2070. I think that they would be rather tired of Obama by then...
  • What we need to keep doing isn't reject an overly complicated electrical solution that's proven to be a technological dead-end. Instead we need to throw good money after bad and complicate the system even more. More paperwork will solve the problem!
  • Why even bother? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Evoting is a solution in search of a problem. There's no compelling reason not to use paper ballots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cappp (1822388)
      Cost. That's most likely the driving force. It's hard to find accurate numbers on a federal level but I stumbled across, what I think is, small town [maysville-online.com] coverage of a local special election which included some data:

      The Senate election cost Lewis County approximately $22,000

      State regulations require each precinct to have at least four workers on election day. Workers in Lewis County receive $115 for their work, including mileage and training costs, according to Lewis County Clerk Glenda Himes. That salary varie

      • by arth1 (260657)

        Cost. That's most likely the driving force.

        What's the cost of the actual voting system compared to the money spent on campaigns in front of an election?

        Make a, say, 10% "campaign tax" that goes to the voting district of the representative. To offset popular districts being able to hoard money, any funds not used within the next election period gets redistributed evenly between all voting areas.
        That should pay for a lot of vote counters, guards and statisticians, I would think.

        Of course, some of the distric

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DavidTC (10147)

        And how the fuck does buying computers, which have to be replaced every decade or so, and require more training and more people, save any money?

        All that stuff you listed has to be done anyway. You still need polling sites, you still need election workers, you still need all that.

        And then you need computers and servers. The county you mentioned has 23 precincts, so pretending that each voting machine was $1000 (Which is absurdly low), they'd cost more than then the entire rest of the election if each preci

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @01:18AM (#33596672) Homepage Journal

    with the fill in the oval, scan it system. it worked ok. at least it has a paper trail, and that's all you can ask for

    it is superior in that respect to the mechanical voting machines they replaced: mechanical black box has less attack vectors that electronic black box, yes, but mechanical black box has more attack vectors than paper trail. yes, you can cheat in any voting system, but a massive conspiracy of ballot stuffers, drivers losing boxes of ballots, etc.: this can be replaced with a much smaller group of well-placed corrupt bureaucrats to manipulate mechanical voting, and with electronic, one well-placed hacker and a few milliseconds can alter the vote in ways that even statistical analysis can't reveal the manipulations

    the lesson being: if your voting system is a black box: votes in, elected representative sausage out, people won't trust the vote. they need something tangible, something they can trust and understand, in their hands, which only a paper ballot is. the most advanced technophilic society 100 years form now should still be using paper, for the sake of legitimacy of the government in the eyes of its people

    it's just too easy to hack a machine, and once you place doubt in the legitimacy of your elected officials, democracy itself is in trouble. we have enough angry idiots running around the usa today in the form of the tea party mumbling about "secret muslims." all we need is even the slightest perception of election machine untrustability, and the social unrest will be considerable. the reality or lack thereof of genuine hacking events isn't even the issue: PERCEPTION is the issue. enough people don't have faith in their government as it is, don't give them more reason to spin their paranoid schizophrenic fantasies and rabble rousing hysteria. because they will do it. and idiots will believe it

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by tfiedler (732589)

      I've always "placed doubt in the legitimacy of your[my] elected officials"

      They're all almost always liars, cheats, hypocrites, scammers, lawyers (evil onpar with pedophiles), or general scum. I don't trust any system where the representation is from a ruling elite, made up of monied families and friends, bought and paid by corporations and unions. Personally, anyone that places any trust in the current system is delusional.

      eVoting is just another scam foisted on America that will result in less representati

      • distrust (Score:3, Informative)

        there is trusting too much in this world: a sort of gullibility to someone because you look too much at certain shallow easily manipulated signifiers of what a trustworthy person should be (like: wear a suit)

        then there is genuine trust or genuine distrust coming from someone with a competent intelligence: a wise wariness, an awareness of what you lack in knowledge of a person, an emphasis on looking at what they say and what they have done in the past: sound judgment leading to an appropriate trust level

        the

      • That's not doubt in the legitimacy of your elected officials. They could be complete out-and-out vermin, but if the people fairly elected them, so be it. That's the danger of democracythe people can speak, but you don't know what they're going to say.

        On the other hand, a candidate might win who is everything you could want in a representative; smart, kind, engaging, dedicated, filled with a zeal to make things better etc. and yet be completely illegitimate because the voting system used was riddled with h

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        eVoting is just another scam foisted on America that will result in less representative democracy. Any politician in favor of it should be summarily executed.

        I like how you bemoan the perceived loss of our democracy while simultaneously advocating for the violation of the 5th, 6th and 8th amendments......

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. You cannot as easily deceive people if your electronic voting system is monitorable and verifiable. You can, for instance, disclose the collected but anonymized votes. You can make it so that people can verify that their own vote is in there WITHOUT making it possible for anyone else to guess whose is whose vote. You can verify the total count adds up, and you could establish voter eligibility in a variety of ways. Votes could be sent to two or more independently run counting institutions/machines, and

      • the only way you are not an idiot is if you work for an electronic voting machine manufacturer and are therefore hopefully compromised

        look, it's very simple: the more complicated a machine or a process, the more the attack vectors. understand that, or understand nothing

        take a ballot box stuffed with papers. list the ways you can manipulate it

        take a mechanical voting machine. list the ways you can manipulate it

        take an electronic voting machine. list the ways you can attack it

        if there are 10 good ways to atta

    • by timholman (71886)

      with the fill in the oval, scan it system. it worked ok. at least it has a paper trail, and that's all you can ask for

      And what happens when the numbers of votes separating the candidates falls with the margin of spoiled ballots? Sure, filling in an oval seems simple enough, but a certain percentage of voters can't manage it.

      I can tell you exactly what happens - both sides start fighting over how to interpret and count the spoiled ballots, leading to gridlock and accusations of cheating and vote tampering.

      • and you accuse me of not remembering?

        furthermore, for the sake of argument, i grant you complete acknowledgment of every concern you have just raised with the gore-bush florida fiasco of 2000...

        and electronic voting is STILL worse and more delegitimizing for democracy. really

        think about it: with a black box electronic voting process, voted go in, legislator sausage comes out. what happens in between?

        at least with a hanging chad, you can look at the damn hanging chad and try to interpret intent. bt with elec

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          There is another problem with paper - it is slow. Al Gore was announced as the winner in 2000 by CBS long before Florida was done counting.

          What do you think the result would be in 2012 if Obama was announced as the winner at midnight and then at 2:00 AM the real results were in an Sarah Palin was then announced as the winner? With all the newspapers saying Obama won but the TV news in the morning saying Palin won. There would be rioting and people killed.

          I know for a fact that the first Obamite that got

          • 1. speeding things up and destroying the perception of trust in the voting process
            2. slowing things down, but garnering trust amongst the voters

            i would rather the vote take 3 months myself. because i think i have my priorities in order a hell of a lot better than you do

            "I know for a fact that the first Obamite that got in my face would be bruised. And a lot of those people can't help but getting in your face, it is who they are."

            well you know, the tea party has a reputation as a bunch of angry hysterical th

          • Al Gore was announced as the winner in 2000 by CBS long before Florida was done counting.

            Al Gore was announced as the winner in 2000 in Flordia by CBS(I think it was CBS, one of the networks anyway) long before Florida was done voting, let alone counting. It doesn't matter how fast you count the votes if people announce the winner before the voting is done.
            Actually, there is reason to believe that the announcement that Gore had won Florida before Florida was done voting contributed to the closeness of the actual votes. The reason that the announcement was made before the voting was finished i

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        The way to get rid of that is to have a computer print the ballot.

        Which is not 'electronic voting'. Do not confuse them. Saying 'electronic voting is okay if we print ballots' means people just hear the first four words, and then get reassured that actual electronic voting is 'safe'.

        That is not eletronic voting, anymore than paper voting is called 'pencil voting', or scantron voting is 'pencil voting'. You don't refer to it by what makes the marks, you refer to the ballot.

        It's paper voting. The ballot is

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      it is superior in that respect to the mechanical voting machines they replaced

      I would dispute this. The old lever machines were far more intuitive. They would physically not allow you to overvote -- you could not pull down multiple levers for the same position. The new system does nothing to prevent you from corrupting your ballot. The machine will catch said corruption and offer you the chance to get another ballot but I regard that as inferior to the previous system and a huge waste of resources (we had 800 ballots on hand for the primary this Tuesday and only used 120 of them.

      • by cduffy (652)

        This measures assume that the process of "verifying the machines' programming" provides meaningful security. I want to see that process analyzed against the numerous attacks against these machines (chip-switching and otherwise).

        Until I've seen an undisputed analysis to the effect that the procedural measures in place are in fact effective against all known attacks, I have no faith in the machines in place.

  • I don't get it. Why don't we all just get a public rsa type key when we register, then use our private key to submit our votes, at either a public terminal or via the Internet from home?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by migla (1099771)

      Being able to vote from home would open up the possibility for unscrupulous types with access to violence to force you to vote their way.

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        Right, because they can't do the same by holding your family hostage while you paper-vote. (And before you argue with this, what's to stop you from contacting the police after both situations are over?)

        There's a billion ways to make that happen and it doesn't require voting at home to do so.

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Right, because they can't do the same by holding your family hostage while you paper-vote.

          That's not "the same". If you hinder someone from voting, you get at most 1 vote (yours) for your preferred candidate. If you coerce someone to vote, you get their vote AND yours, at least 2 votes.

          (And before you argue with this, what's to stop you from contacting the police after both situations are over?)

          The same reason why harsher sentencing and other reactionary measures is not the answer to domestic violence an

        • Right, because they can't do the same by holding your family hostage while you paper-vote.

          Because, if I go to the voting booth and vote with a paper ballot, they have no way to know how I voted. If I am voting over the Internet from my home computer they can look over my shoulder to see how I voted.

          • by jpapon (1877296)
            I really don't see this as being an issue... You'd have to go through so much effort to have any visible effect on the vote that it just wouldn't be worth it. Not to mention if you coerced enough people to actually have an influence on the vote, I really doubt you could keep it from leaking to the authorities. Somebody would talk.
            • Not to mention if you coerced enough people to actually have an influence on the vote, I really doubt you could keep it from leaking to the authorities.

              What if it was the authorities who were doing the coercing?

              • by jpapon (1877296)

                What if it was the authorities who were doing the coercing?

                Well then you're boned. If the powers at be are trying to influence votes through coercion then it doesn't really matter where you're voting from. It's time to grab your pitchfork and torch and start rabble-rousing.

  • by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:05AM (#33597044)
    so it ain't gonna happen... the lobbyists will ensure it dies before ever getting debated...
  • I really don't see the point in these machines. In the UK votes are counted by volunteers, with quite basic fundamental (i.e. strong) overlapping controls. I fail to imagine an approach that could be any more secure, cheaper or better suited to audit.

    Better yet it's obviously so. People can observe the entire process in motion, volunteer yourself and take part if you like. With an electronic system everyone's utterly reliant on controls implemented and only observable by other people who they don't know th

    • > I really don't see the point in these machines. In the UK votes are counted by volunteers, with quite basic fundamental (i.e. strong) overlapping controls. I fail to imagine an approach that could be any more secure, cheaper or better suited to audit.

      Most of the push to move to electronic voting machines is to comply with the "Help America Vote Act" which requires that handicapped voters (including blind people) be able to vote without assistance.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:02AM (#33597826) Journal
    It seems to me that the organizers of such a system could look for precedent in the medical device industry. There is a central repository for medical device problems, the MAUDE database [fda.gov], that keeps track of adverse events, and is searchable by anyone. Any respectable medical device manufacturer will consult that database to make sure that their new wiz-bang product isn't susceptible to the same failings as existing products, and you can bet the FDA will do the same before approving a new device. Practitioners and users can search the database to see if there are issues with a particular device (or class of devices).

    It doesn't mean that problems with medical devices don't still exist, but at least there is mandated uniform reporting.

    Another key issue here is that the FDA is empowered to take devices off the market if enough serious problems come up. As far as I know, there is nothing like that in voting systems (but damn well should be).
  • I once asked a gentleman from Norway if they use electronic voting machines; he said they just use paper ballots. I just don't understand what is wrong with staying with paper (optical scan for high volumes, though even that could be hacked). The right wing claims this leads to voter fraud, blatantly ignoring that pulling off a large enough fraud to affect an outcome would be akin to herding cats. On the other hand, with a purely digital system from cast vote to final tally, it can be altered anywhere al
    • by cdrguru (88047)

      You have hit on the reason for electronic voting, or at least some sort of automation. The TV and cable news services require immediate results because if they do not get them from official sources they will make them up.

      CBS announced Al Gore as the winner in 2000 around 1:00 AM Eastern time. Lots of people went to bed after that and woke up with the election undecided. The result was these people "knew" the election had been stolen because CBS told them who the winner was before they went to bed. The n

    • The right wing claims this leads to voter fraud

      I have yet to see a conservative site where such a claim is made. The people who have pushed the strongest for e-voting have, by my experience, been Democrats. However, more importantly, I find that promoters of e-voting fall into two classes, the technophiles and the statists. The technophiles are those who tend to view a technologically more advanced solution as superior to a non-technological solution in most cases (they are early adopters). The statists are those who tend to view more government regulat

  • Essay (Score:2, Funny)

    by samsonaod (1794936)
    Ok this will never happen, but..... we shouldn't have a "Multiple Guess" ballot. People should be educated and informed enough before they walk in the door. Upon entering each voter should be handed a ballot (a blank piece of paper) where they need to list the candidate they want elected and for what position they want them elected. They also need to list 3 reasons they want them elected. "Ballots" should be water marked to ensure that voters aren't just using the a given parties cheat sheet. A cheat sheet
    • I see some benefit to your proposal, but I would suggest a much more basic change that would help. Let's stop with "motor-voter" and other ways for people to register without having to go out of their way. If you want to vote, you have to go down to the county courthouse (or other designated location) as a special trip and register. Let's stop with making registering to vote something that is so easy that you don't have to think about it and then make at least some effort to do so. If people can't be bother
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      True democracy gives the village idiot the same rights as the genius, and IMO that's how it should be. You have a RIGHT to vote, and having to take a literacy test was found unconstitutional over a century ago.

      • Ok literacy test may be a bit far. Still if the voters don't comprehend the position they are voting to fill, or know of any reason why they should be voting for someone to fill said position then it does us all an injustice including the village idiot.

        BTW - True democracy is 2 men and a woman on an island voting on weather or not non-consensual sex is ok. Luckily we live in a republic.

  • No, we've never heard of that sort of error before, sir.

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