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US Election Year, Still No Voting Reform 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the we'll-procrastinate-in-a-little-while dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A year ago, we discussed this on Slashdot: E-Voting Reform In an Out Year?. The point was that due to the hoard of problems with electronic (and mechanical) voting, it is best to approach reform in an out year, when it is not on everyone's mind yet too late to do anything about it. Well, we failed, didn't we? Another election year is upon us, and our vote is less secure, less reliable, and less meaningful than ever. To reference the last article, we still have no open source voting, no end-to-end auditable voting systems and no open source governance. So don't complain if this election is stolen. You forgot to fix the system."
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US Election Year, Still No Voting Reform

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  • ... we have an election where close races are open to challenges based on the inability to have a reliable recount.

    • TFS also left out: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No one worthwhile to vote for, and congress will screw up everything anyway, so even if you DID fix the voting, nothing would change.

      If voting actually worked, they'd probably outlaw it.

    • Re:In other words, (Score:4, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:40PM (#40566301) Homepage Journal

      ... we have an election where close races are open to challenges based on the inability to have a reliable recount.

      Not only that, but polling is down to such a near exact science someone *cough* Florida in 2000 *cough* could finagle staffing and access to voting centers which prevent a large population of registered voters passing through to cast their votes, thus throttling the representation of their precinct and overall vote count. i.e. Select some very slow or officious people to staff it, make sure there are no where near enough polling booths, transportation or parking is highly problematic and when the doors shut at 8 PM you've stifled the vote, because you knew ahead of time this area would go against your party.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Actually, polling is becoming increasingly unreliable. The press had universally decided Walker would lose his Wisconsin recall. They were all wrong.
        And if they were all wrong about that they are asking themselves what else they were wrong about.

        People have taken to lying on polls, mostly because they are sick of them.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      You may, we don't. The feds do NOT have much say over voting, that is left to the individual states. Here in Illinois there's a paper trail, probably because of our long history of election fraud. AFAIK Florida still uses punch cards.

      Any election reform is up to your state's legislators, not the feds.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        AFAIK Florida still uses punch cards.

        And practice creative incompetence with their seeming inability to deploy machines that can reliably punch holes in paper.

  • Is there a good package that
    1) protects privacy
    2) is online
    3) allows voter to confirm or change their vote
    4) allows anybody to count the votes
    5) have I missed anything?

    • Whenever I hear people toting the line that open source is equivalent to security, I immediately imagine Peter Gutmann unzipping his pants [auckland.ac.nz].

      (Search for 'sound wave')

    • 6) Checks if a voter can be mapped to at most one vote.

      Off course, that bites privacy very much. Some techniques are just no golden hammer for every problem. Doing things on-line is a terrible way to organize an election.

      • That would require voter ID, and Democrats are against that.

        Ostensibly this is because getting an ID costs money, and that amounts ot a poll tax. I could agree with that argument, but then they still complain when laws are passed that make the ID free if a person can't afford it. The truth lies in a recent attempt in North Carolina to remove foreign consulate matricula cards from the list of valid forms of identification that can lead to someone getting a driver's license (valid state ID). The Democrats opp

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          That would require voter ID, and Democrats are against that.

          Nice try but this is slashdot not Faux News.

          The reality is that Democrats are opposed to voter ID laws that disenfranchise the poor. Many, many Democrats supports voter ID systems that do not create a disadvantage. For example, making sure that voter IDs are free, available to people in remote locations who can't travel, and available to people who don't have a copy of their birth certificate. If you're trying to catch actual fraud, you don't have to have a draconian system that is happy to turn voters away

    • Re:Open source? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:53PM (#40566489)

      > 2) is online

      No, that is just stupid. And so is mail in btw. Anything other than voting in person with a photo ID on election day with a paper ballot where the count is validated right after the polls close while poll watchers from all interested parties are there to witness is asking for fraud.

      No, don't jump in with a reply until you STOP and think for a minute. Then you will realize I'm right. The problems with voting boil down to these:

      1. Ensure that registered voters have unrestricted access to their polling place.

      2. That inelligible people do not vote.

      3. Ensure people only vote in the races they are elligible to vote in.

      4. Ensure that the vote is secret and immune to outside influence.

      5. Ensure that every vote is counted and only counted once.

      Violate my formula in any way and one of those rules is impossible to ensure and thus the election by definition is unfair to some extent. Allowing a small percentage of absentee voting, contested ballots, etc. are perhaps acceptable compromises but must be understood as a compromise to prevent certain parties from trying to extrapolate those exceptions into bad general rules like universal mail in ballots, online voting, etc.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:11PM (#40565865) Homepage

    We have one. It's called the "paper ballot".

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      Ha ha! That is a good one. Seems to me that about 12 years ago there was a hotly contested race down south somewhere that revolved entirely around paper ballots.

  • Of Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535)

    So don't complain if this election is stolen. You forgot to fix the system.

    The system doesn't want to be fixed. It is, of course, setup that way on purpose. Sometimes it is better to just start over than it is to try to fix something broken beyond repair. If voting actually had the power to change anything, it would most certainly be illegal.

  • That's so cute. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:14PM (#40565893)

    You think voting is anything other than a public circlejerk to keep people busy.

    Ahh to be young and stupid again.

    • by KhabaLox (1906148)

      "[S]ince Americans require the illusion of self-government, we have elections."

      -Matt Taibbi

    • by kiwimate (458274)

      You think voting is anything other than a public circlejerk to keep people busy.

      Ahh to be young and stupid again.

      In many ways that's far better than old and cynical/jaded/paranoid, as is the wont of many a Slashdotter. Just take a look at the monumentally idiotic discussions overwhelming almost any article these days on these pages.

      And on another note, is "anonymous submitter" another way to describe "anonymous coward who works for Slashdot and wants to generate page views by posting a sheer flamebait-war-initiating item"? Apparently so.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:14PM (#40565901) Homepage

    E-voting cannot be transparent and therefor cannot be acceptable.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      E-voting cannot be transparent and therefor cannot be acceptable.

      Let's consider something else, which is supposed to be secure and is still in some kind of dark ages at the present - the credit card.

      Mine was recently charged for a videogame download, likely the details obtained when I gave them over the phone for a hotel reservation, the download was sent to an email address not registered with my card. Meanwhile, friends who have had their cars broken into find there are a few gas stations which still don't ask about pin numbers or zip codes when a card is swiped, let

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        In 2006 I lost my cards at the gym - don't go there any more either. Next morning, on the way to work I get a call from my bank - 'Are you in las Vegas by any chance?' No, I am not, but my cards are, and had just bought something at a gas station for a few bucks, triggering an alert. Yup, my card was at a casino trying to load up on chips for some fun. I was assured they would not be loading up on my dime. I got two other calls in rapid succession from other banks and such, same story.

        If my card was sn

        • Using similar methods for e-voting sounds appealing; dispute resolution, notificaiton of out of pattern activity, etc, but this could be solved by giving you a receipt for your vote, scanning it with your phone or inputting the key into the website, and protesting anything that looks wrong.

          This would destroy the secrecy of the ballot. It is essential that no one be able to ascertain how you voted, even with your cooperation. The paper ballot does this in a simple, transparent manner.

      • > why should you expect extreme care for voting?

        Your money is important only to you, and you have many choices as to how you manage it.

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:14PM (#40565913) Journal
    I'm more interested in the results that a different kind of voting system [wikipedia.org] would produce, such as how the ability to rank candidates on a ballot would affect campaign strategy and the kinds of people we'd elect.
  • "We"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:15PM (#40565925) Homepage

    "We"? Who is this "we"? Here in New Hampshire, they passed a paper trail law [votersunite.org] in 1994 and we've not had any of these problems.

    • Re:"We"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:38PM (#40566255) Homepage Journal

      And in my NH town, we just use a simple paper ballot with checkboxes. There are about 800 voters in a typical election and about ten volunteers spend an hour tallying them. I think the town buys a few sandwiches from the convenience store in appreciation. At the end, they use a website to report the results to the Secretary of State's office (used to be a phone call) and lock the ballots in a wooden chest in case of a recount or audit.

      Somebody explain how this system doesn't scale to any appropriate-sized town/district/ward...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by HornWumpus (783565)

        They keep finding more boxes of paper ballots until the selected candidate wins.

        Also how do you know the box starts empty?

        UN has this figured out. Clear boxes and finger dyes are required to prevent most of the blatant fraud. Of course one party will not allow this (hint: it's the same one that won't allow for ID checks).

        • They keep finding more boxes of paper ballots until the selected candidate wins.

          Also how do you know the box starts empty?

          The whole process is open to independent observers (I've done this). When the box is locked, there's a seal placed upon it with the vote statistics. This data is available to independent observers.

          I like your question, though - it makes me wonder if what people are really after is a system that can be trusted with no additional diligence on their part. I'll posit that the need for

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      There's a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is that your Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, is strongly non-partisan. He sees his job as first and foremost ensuring a free and fair election in New Hampshire, and because of that he's kept his job even as governors, executive councillors, and legislatures have come and gone. That means, among other things, that his salary isn't tied to who wins, which eliminates any incentive he'd have to cheat.

      Other states aren't so lucky - in many states, if the "wron

    • by sommere (105088)

      MN has paper ballots and also has automatic recounts of random precincts within each county regardless of the vote margin. We have had two major state wide recounts in recent years and both have been successful - they have been transparent and fully auditable.

      http://www.ceimn.org/ceimn-state-recount-laws-searchable-database/states/Minnesota

      There are other issues about whether certain people are eligible to vote, and how to handle that on election day and what to do if it is later determined that someone who

  • by CajunArson (465943)

    I live in what the Europeans like to call the backwater redneck racist Christian "fly-over" part of America. I guess we are so stupid here that our voting system isn't worthy of being audited. We are so stupid that the state actually has a balanced budget.. what a bunch of inbred hicks we are.

    All we have here are simple to fill out scantron ballots that are anonymous, simple to scan in, and trivially easy to recount in an offline manner if needed. We get our election results within hours of

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What the fuck kind of post is this? You use sarcasm to disguise an apparent inferiority complex and ascribe attributes to Europeans who don't know and don't particularly care where the "fly-over" part of America is? It's terrific that your state has a balanced budget and that you're confident in the trustworthiness of your voting system but I reckon you've gone out of your way to seem like a huge dickhead with that irritating post of yours.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      You know, I grew up in Oklahoma, and always heard that folks on the coasts thought of us as "fly-over" territory. However, as an adult I spent a decade living in various places on the eastern seaboard, and never once heard anyone use that term.

      Now I'm back in Oklahoma, and suddenly I hear it again. With some perspective, its pretty clear this is some kind of weird persecution complex. The sad part is I can now also pretty cearly see how rich folks (who of course do live on the coasts and wouldn't be caugh

    • I live in what the Europeans like to call the backwater redneck racist Christian "fly-over" part of America.

      You Exaggerate off course. As a European, I think America is a no-fly zone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by bit trollent (824666)

      The only problem with Redneckville is that it's full of ignorant loudmouths like you.

      Redneckville is so full of small minded, self righteous, dipshits that the governor has actually convinced you fools that he balanced the budget while taking out millions of dollars in bonds and laughing all the way to the bank, where he has lined his pockets with public money.

      Meanwhile, the governor has put in place voter suppression laws which run afoul of the Voting Rights Act, which was itself necessitated by racist dum

    • by hey! (33014)

      I live in what the Europeans like to call the backwater redneck racist Christian "fly-over" part of America.

      It's those Europeans and their 35 hour work weeks and thirty days of paid leave per year. They have so much time on their hands they have nothing better to do than think about you and dream up long-winded, patronizing ways to talk about you.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:16PM (#40565947)

    ... get the basics right.

    Like having an non-partisan public service, a non-partisan committee of civil servants administering the election and drawing the boundaries?

    Like any non-banana republic?

    From the point of view of other Anglo-Saxon countries, and Europe, the US is a basketcase.

    Recent US elections, e.g. Florida during Bush Jr's reelection campaign, would make disgrace your average Third World shithole, let alone the richest and most powerful nation on Earth.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:30PM (#40566155)

      let alone the richest and most powerful nation on Earth

      The United States is not the richest country on Earth by the most important measure [wikipedia.org]. It's #6.

      I live in the USA and from where I'm standing, mine is not the most powerful nation on Earth either. The most powerful country is one that doesn't have to listen to what anyone else says. I give that honor to China, based on my observation that China is completely unaccountable for its misdeeds (annexation of Tibet and currency manipulation come readily to mind).

      • by PhilHibbs (4537)

        I'm pretty sure the US government has more money to spend than Luxembourg does.

      • Your most important measure lists Qatar as the wealthiest nation on Earth.

        China has had some rather embarrassing incidents over the past couple of years, such as the story of Chen Guangcheng. They aren't really able to just do what they feel like.

        Perhaps you should rethink your ideas.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        China is unaccountable because it has sovereign immunity.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      In 2000, it got bad enough in Florida that Fidel Castro half-seriously offered to send Cuban election observers.

      The disgrace in 2004 (Bush Jr's re-election) was in Ohio, where:
      - The CEO of the Ohio-based voting machine manufacturer, Diebold, promised to deliver Ohio for the Bush campaign.
      - The election results differed significantly from exit polling, suggesting some sort of problem.
      - Voter registration forms from the northeastern area of the state (which is heavily Democratic) were rejected by the Republic

    • > Like having an non-partisan...

      Only a fool believes that there is any non-partisan anything.

       

  • Sensationalist Post (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:16PM (#40565953)
    People would rather blame an election on stolen votes instead of realizing the electorate really is that stupid.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Like a magician's card trick, the entire thing is rigged before you even make your selection.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      The problem is that we have to deal with BOTH issues.

      The electorate is stupid AND votes are stolen.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:19PM (#40565979)

    The powers that be have both of their choices lined up. It's a win-win for them and a lose-lose for us.

    Putting rhetoric aside, can anyone tell me what real policy differences there are? From what I've seen it's a matter of degree not direction.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      The powers that be have both of their choices lined up. It's a win-win for them and a lose-lose for us.

      Putting rhetoric aside, can anyone tell me what real policy differences there are? From what I've seen it's a matter of degree not direction.

      You mean the parties. You can always vote for non-Democrat non-Republican choices. Lots of smaller parties abound and every now and then a third party rises (usually to vanish again within a few years due to infighting.)

      Personally I like the idea of run-off elections. Stop the parties giving us only one choice, each, because (as we can see with Mitt) between locking up the nomination and election day they could falter, utter something completely at odds with their party and suddenly look far less worthwh

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:19PM (#40565993) Homepage Journal

    In so much as it is the candidate my voting machine company has coded into the ballot software.

    Well, that was about the same threat as the Diebold chief.

  • RTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rwv (1636355) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:20PM (#40565997) Homepage Journal
    I guess the original article is a year-old Slashdot discussion for this one.... so some of us may *actually* have read it, but surely we don't remember and for the integrity of this discussion I hope nobody goes back and re-reads it.
  • And more out of touch? You seriously think that the electoral process could be completely changed in one year? You'd probably do as well not to vote given that you clearly have a very poor understanding of how the system actually works. You seem to want a dictatorship, which is the only kind of government where such sweeping reforms could be discussed and implemented across a large diverse nation in such a short time.

    Also as for all your whines about auditing and transparency, that is actually something exi

  • First things first. How about we just get Voter ID laws passed first so we know who is actually voting. Then we can work on getting everyone the simple scan-trons that work so well around here.

    But..but..Voter ID laws disenfranchise people! Of all the things you need an ID for in life many of them are much less important that voting. Nothing worse than going to the polls and finding someone (unique name) already signed in as you and voted.
    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      We have Voter ID. It's called registering to vote. Your voter registration card should be all the ID you need. Anything else is a waste of peoples time and money. People actually showing up at a poling place to impersonate another voter is so rare that more people are struck by lightening every year than attempt this fraud.

      • by tomhath (637240)

        Voter ID means two things: You need to prove who you are (registration card is worthless for that), and you need to prove that you haven't already voted (finger dye is simple and cheap). Impersonating another voter isn't why identification is required. Id is needed to ensure that a person has the right to cast a vote in a given location.

        The most serious fraud is committed by officials tossing out votes during a recount. Look no farther than the 2008 Minnesota senate race; Democrats also tried this in the 2

    • How about we just get Voter ID laws passed first so we know who is actually voting.

      Existing law already requires that you identify yourself to the satisfaction of the electoral judges and provides precedures for protests. Electoral judges who fail their duties under present law are not going to notice fake IDs.

      Of all the things you need an ID for in life...

      There are far too many of them.

  • Democracy is dead. In today's world of overflowing money, the one with the largest pockets will win.

    In Mexico, we claim to have an institution dedicated to fight Vote Fraud, but despite innumerable amounts of proof that PRI (Political Party) bought votes, and people purposedly miscounted votes, or nulled them, they've done absolutely nothing.

    It doesn't matter the system, analog or digital. They (The ones with power) impose whoever they want. I've given up trying.

  • I think he meant to say "horde of problems" (meaning a great amount of them). However, perhaps under the circumstances, "hoard" (meaning a stash that is being purposely hidden away) is just as appropriate. :-(
  • by Jim Hall (2985) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:28PM (#40566121) Homepage

    Maybe this is a naive question, but what's wrong with bubble sheet voting ballots? Like those "A-B-C-D-E" forms you filled out when you took the SAT in high school. That's basically what we use in Minnesota, but just a little different because voting isn't just "A-B-C-D-E".

    Everyone knows how to fill out bubble sheets, so they're dead simple to use. When you've voted, you insert them into a scanner (it's also a locked box, old-fashioned key-and-lock, so no one except election officials can access they ballots once they're inserted). The scanner checks for simple stuff like "Did you vote for more than one presidential candidate?" and immediately spits your ballot out if it finds a problem. I made a mistake on my ballot once, and there's a simple, established procedure where they destroy your invalid ballot in front of you and issue you another ballot so you can vote again. It's easy.

    And bubble sheets are anonymous. No worrying about "Can someone figure out how I voted?"

    Above all, bubble sheets are auditable. While the scanners can easily keep track of how many votes for Obama v Romney, election officials can always go back to manually count the bubble sheets in the case of a recount. You may have heard about our 2008 recount [startribune.com] - they manually recounted the bubble sheets.

  • by sgt_doom (655561) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:28PM (#40566125)
    . . . .who owns those voting machine companies?

    Full Spectrum Dominance: Why transactional data matters

    During the Bush administration, at least on several occasions, the entire warrantless eavesdropping or wiretapping and FISA made the national news cycle for several days ---- yet each time, oddly enough, it was knocked off by the news of national immigration marches.

    What exactly was really accomplished by those national immigration marches?

    Other than occupying the news space on those days?

    Next obvious question would be who owned those Spanish-language radio stations responsible for organizing those marches?

    At that time, the major financial stake in those stations belonged to the private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, chaired by Peter G. Peterson, protégé of David Rockefeller.

    During that time the Blackstone Group also had a financial stake in telecoms in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Portugal and Malta (Malta being an important nexus point, or physical exchange point, between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East), as well as one of the three major privatized global satellite networks at that period, New Skies Network (officially later sold off, but we never checked to see if Blackstone Group actually owned the company it was sold to?).

    So those national marches, which knocked warrantless wiretapping off the news cycle and involved AT&T, were organized by Blackstone Group-owned radio stations, chaired by the fellow whose financial-economic-political mentor was David Rockefeller.

    Now AT&T was broken up --- on paper at least --- but can anyone provide definite data to prove it was ever actually financially divested?

    Negative!

    Now, traditionally, AT&T was a Rockefeller-Morgan financial entity, which, by the way, happens to have re-conglomerated back to its original form, thanks in part to President Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996.

    And who led the charge in congress to grant immunity to AT&T and those telecoms involved in that warrantless wiretapping for the government?

    None other than Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia!

    My oh my, how those coincidences pile up?

    Recently, some very serious legislation has passed into law --- while other equally dangerous legislation has failed, for now --- although that failed legislation attacked net neutrality (equality of access to the Internet), it was really only to make into law that which is quickly becoming reality --- the end of net neutrality!

    Laws have been passed, in America and Europe and elsewhere, requiring ISPs to retain your data for 1 to 3 years or more.

    Why is this important to the ruling elites?

    Transactional data, surrounding information, dot connection, global linkage.

    Using existing DPI techniques (Deep Packet Inspection), they can virtually identify and extract information about you, your life, your family, the like of which most people cannot even imagine.

    Data mining hit critical mass around 2003 to 2004; and all it then required to identify a person exactly was their age and zip code --- today it probably requires less.

    A little while ago, a fellow from the New America Foundation wrote a book on ExxonMobil --- focusing on the personalities of its chief executives, and went on a book tour where not a single person who interviewed him (including NPR’s Terry Gross and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!) inquired as to the ownership of ExxonMobil?

    Now isn’t that freaking amazing? ? ? ?

    Of course, New America Foundation is funded by the Peterson Foundation, endowed by Peter G. Peterson, protégé of David Rockefeller. (ExxonMobil is a re-combining of the original Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Companies --- which were once broken up --- at least on paper --- as no valid data exists to suggest otherwise.)

    AT&T? ExxonMobil? Are we beginning to note a pa

  • We should require that every person fit to vote (adults not a felon not crazy/senile) do so or have "standing votes" where if you declare as %party% then unless you formally vote otherwise you count as having voted for the %party% candidate (require formal voting every Nth time to remain an active voter).

    • The Soviet Union used to have mandatory voting. Not a winning idea.

    • We should require that every person fit to vote (adults not a felon not crazy/senile) do so or have "standing votes" where if you declare as %party% then unless you formally vote otherwise you count as having voted for the %party% candidate (require formal voting every Nth time to remain an active voter).

      Because there's no way to abuse that, right?

  • by clodney (778910) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:33PM (#40566183)

    Another election year is upon us, and our vote is less secure, less reliable, and less meaningful than ever. To reference the last article, we still have no open source voting, no end-to-end auditable voting systems and no open source governance.

    We also have no credible evidence of any organized tampering of the vote, either in mechanical or electronic forms. The systems may be wrong, but they are probably no worse than they have ever been, and I haven't seen any smoking gun saying that the machines were tampered with.

    I do see 3 forms of election fraud/dirty tricks commonly alleged:

    1. Fraudulent registrations. Indicated by people with no valid address or suspicious numbers of people residing at the same address. Not something an electronic voting system can address.
    2. Felons voting while still on probation. Not clear that felons vote for one party vs another, but even if it is organized, not something that e-voting would address.
    3. Dirty tricks along the lines of too few ballots or machines delivered to certain precincts causing long lines. Or making precincts inconveniently large. These are potentially done by one party or the other, but a certain number of these snafus are certainly due to incompetence or unexpectedly high voter turnouts. Also not something that changing the voting machines would address.

    So what is the problem that we are trying to solve again?

    • We also have no credible evidence of any organized tampering of the vote, either in mechanical or electronic forms. The systems may be wrong, but they are probably no worse than they have ever been, and I haven't seen any smoking gun saying that the machines were tampered with.

      Well, that is kind of the point - these machines have such poor controls that tampering without leaving any evidence is supremely easy compared to paper ballot tampering of similar scale. These systems are inherently broken, like a car without brakes. You don't need to see it crash to know it shouldn't be built that way in the first place.

      Your examples of physical world problems with vote tampering are inherently limited by being physical world problems.

  • You can't tell Mittens' policies apart from Obama's without an electron microscope anyways. Flip a coin for it.

  • Political Castration of US is the baseline requirement for a nazi-republic or banana-republic north of the Río Bravo del Norte.

    Federal Union of Christian Kindness (FUCK) US will be a great republic of faux-christians, patriot-chickens, and pseudo-capitalist that excel at flag-waving, dogma-thumping, book-burning for the plutocrat-elites and their mindless neut-gestapo serial killers.

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:41PM (#40566323) Journal

    The problem is the voting system only allows one vote per voter. You can prove, mathematically, that a "pluralistic" voting system winds up electing better candidates. It also makes it hard/impossible for a 2 party system to push out 3rd party candidates.

    There's a number of ways to do it. One is to give every voter N-1 votes and let them assign their votes to amongst the N candidates. Another is to have them rank the candidates in order of preference. (I.E. Johnson > Obama > Paul > Romney might be one ranking.)

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:43PM (#40566349) Journal

    Look, tampering or wholesale stealing of the vote is about the worst thing that can happen in a democracy. No really.

    So punish the people caught with VERY severe punishments, like multi-decade stints in prison (sorry I'm against the death penalty). That way, even if you catch a little fish, chances are good he'll squeal like a pig and rat out the higher ups.

    My only fear is that some of the people who are crazy motivated might actually think that their cause is worth sacrificing the rest of their lives for. Fortunately the U.S. hasn't quite gotten to the point where those people are more than a tiny fraction of the population; otherwise you'd see suicide bombers at political events.

    (Also, "dirty tactics" like fraudulent robo-calls which claim to be someone who they aren't or send people to the wrong polling place, should have their punishments significantly increased. Again, you're subverting the basic premise of a democracy).

  • ... always come out whenever "elections" are mentioned.

    As though it actually doesn't matter who we vote for. It does. It's just that we always* vote for the same type of politician. We are gullible. It's also interesting that, even with all the cynicism, we have remarkably different states. Compare New York to Texas. There's a world of difference in the politicians, in the laws, in how people live, etc. So to think that "all politicians" or "all governors" are the same and it "doesn't matter who you

  • I'd rather give one candidate a negative vote than merely give the other candidate a positive one.

  • by jmerlin (1010641) on Friday July 06, 2012 @02:19PM (#40566991)
    It really isn't. What we're talking about here is voting platform reform. I don't really care how voting is done (via computerized terminal, via paper ballot, or even via Internet, after all I can file my taxes online). What I care about is that the system we have in place for voting for candidates almost always elects a candidate that a minority (generally a superminority) actually wants to be president. It also gives political parties extreme power based on sheer advertisement; most people view it as this-guy-or-that-guy and so they just pick the one they don't like and vote for the other guy. Political advertisement capitalizes on this behavior which is indeed caused by FPTP. It's also susceptible to gerrymandering and isn't friendly to new parties. And the entire electoral college is completely unnecessary given modern transportation systems, so we need to throw that out altogether.

    Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo [youtube.com]

    When we say "voting reform," I fundamentally mean that I want the actual voting system we use changed. We need a system that isn't susceptible to gerrymandering, that doesn't suffer from the spoiler effect, and that meets the condorcet criterion. Take your pick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system [wikipedia.org]. On top of that, we need to shut down campaign contributions from corporations, political advertisement in main-stream media, and require all of the relevant information be gathered somewhere online like at vote.gov or something and make it accessible to everyone via public libraries, etc.

    There's a lot of reform that needs to be done, the least of which is how we collect votes. Come on guys, this is such a strawman to the real issues. Having your vote for dumbass #1 stolen and given to dumbass #2 doesn't matter. You are getting a dumbass as president almost nobody wants either way.

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