Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Democrats Government Politics

John Edwards on Open Source Voting Machines 128

goombah99 writes "John Edwards, the presidential candidate and lawyer, is standing out from the pack by showing himself to be a bit tech savvy. In 2003 he was a guest host on Lawrence Lessig's Blog, giving his view on the imbalance between property right protection and the good of public access. As of this week he has become the first presidential candidate to support 'open source code' for election systems in addition to voter verified paper records. He's even personally using Twitter. 'Currently, software used in election systems remains the proprietary property of vendors. This situation has created a continual problem when anomalous results have been reported and independent experts are denied the ability to review how the systems work. A growing body of critics oppose this privatization of the voting system.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

John Edwards on Open Source Voting Machines

Comments Filter:
  • by dn15 ( 735502 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @02:40AM (#19697885)

    As of this week he has become the first presidential candidate to support 'open source code' for election systems in addition to voter verified paper records.
    That's the kind of stuff I like to hear. Putting aside whether or not elections were "stolen" in the past (how can it be proven one way or another?) it's important to have as much transparency as possible in the voting system. That way we can at least reduce the likelihood of election fraud.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Holmwood ( 899130 )
      Honestly, I'm not sure open source voting machines make a big difference either way. Don't get me wrong: the present Diebold mess (and others) is a disaster. And I agree with the parent, transparency matters. But process transparency matters even more than open-source transparency. Why? Because open-source systems have bugs and are eminently hackable. It might well be that open-source systems indeed have fewer bugs, and are more easily fixed. But an open-source system that isn't transparent in process is
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dn15 ( 735502 )
        I understand your point. What I was said regarding transparency was more about avoiding a "black box" where nobody knows what's going on in the back end. With closed-source electronic voting, we have to trust that whoever made it isn't stacking the deck in favor of a certain candidate, or hasn't written in a back door that allows the results to be changed at will. With accusations of stolen elections flying in previous elections, that's a lot of trust to put in a company's proprietary software.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Can we please stop getting all warm and cosy about candidates because they throw out "tech-savvy" words and we're supposed to be nerds? I find it more likely that Edwards is keen about open-source because the proprietary voting software is one possible scapegoat for his 2004 election loss, rather than open-source as a moral, ideological principle. The fact that he supports "open source for election systems" means crap because (a) it's in his own interest and nothing more (b) it's absolutely no indicator of
          • by dn15 ( 735502 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:36AM (#19698077)

            Can we please stop getting all warm and cosy about candidates because they throw out "tech-savvy" words and we're supposed to be nerds?

            I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I've been thinking we needed open-source election software (if we are to use electronic voting) ever since the whole Bush election debacle originally occurred. Am I supposed to not care when a candidate makes a statement in support of that idea? The fact that this idea also happens to be popular today with geeks on Slashdot doesn't make it wrong.

            And yes, I fully realize he would not be in a position to mandate open-source voting kiosks even if elected. But it is reasonable to judge our candidates based on their views (in addition to their track records, of course), right?

          • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday June 30, 2007 @04:17AM (#19698165) Homepage

            congress makes laws, not the president...in case anyone forgot. sure, he can veto


            Literally true, but when Congress and the White House are held by the same party, the President is generally the one who begins any significant initiatives, since he is the "standard bearer" of the party. Many of the major laws passed in the last 7 years have been written entirely by White House staff and then handed off to a sponsor in Congress. Presumably if a democratic presidential candidate wins, that will mean the democrats have at least held congress if not built an even more significant majority, so Edwards' opinion on legislative matters is hardly irrelevant.
            • Literally true, but when Congress and the White House are held by the same party, the President is generally the one who begins any significant initiatives, since he is the "standard bearer" of the party.

              I would submit that it is corporations and moneyed special interests that primarily get represented, even when the Congress and White House are held by different parties. Aside from a few issues like abortion, there just isn't that much difference between the Rs and the Ds.

              Many of the major laws pass
          • I find it more likely that Edwards is keen about open-source because the proprietary voting software is one possible scapegoat for his 2004 election loss, rather than open-source as a moral, ideological principle.
            And I find it likely that RMS is only keen on Free Software because of that printer driver issue he had. Most F/OSS advocates only get that way after being bitten by proprietary software. As George W would say, 'Fool me once...'
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bit01 ( 644603 )

        process transparency matters even more than open-source transparency

        The two are not mutually exclusive as you imply. We need both.

        ---

        Open source software is everything that closed source software is. Plus the source is available.

      • Holmwood, you're comparing apples and oranges here. In your comparison, the closed-source system has a paper trail while the open source system does not. Here's a more apt and fair comparison:

        1) The closed source system has a touch screen and no paper trail. The company making the machines likes George Bu...err...likes a particular candidate, and accusations fly that the company has embedded a mechanism to ensure that the shrub wins. The code cannot be reviewed to prove its security and consistency, so
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          ... accusations fly that the company has embedded a mechanism to ensure that the shrub wins.

          This is such an absurd theory, and yet it seems to be "accepted truth" around here. Think for one second. Who writes code? Here's a hint - it isn't upper level managers and company executives (ie those nasty Republicans). The only way something like this could happen is if low level employees (ie the engineers) were complicit. Do you think upper management *ordered* the engineers to make the code favor Bush, in whi

          • by orzetto ( 545509 )

            The only way something like this could happen is if low level employees (ie the engineers) were complicit.

            Upper management can and usually do ask their engineers for such things. They have to bring home some bucks. Management simply has to select some programmers who are ideologically aligned, but most importantly need the job or can be blackmailed otherwise. As every employee knows, no one wants to hire a whistleblower anyway.

            Do you think upper management *ordered* the engineers to make the code favor Bu

            • The only way something like this could happen is if low level employees (ie the engineers) were complicit.

              Upper management can and usually do ask their engineers for such things. They have to bring home some bucks. Management simply has to select some programmers who are ideologically aligned, but most importantly need the job or can be blackmailed otherwise. As every employee knows, no one wants to hire a whistleblower anyway.

              Management regularly asks programmers to fudge some numbers or create artificial functionality, or things of that nature. Election rigging, however, is on a scale where I doubt you will be able to get someone by threat. Now if an average programmer suddenly got a 7 figure salary and an executive position, then maybe.

              Do you think upper management *ordered* the engineers to make the code favor Bush, in which case, don't you think word would have gotten out?

              What about NDA's? Keeping secrecy on such a project is fairly easy, you simply threaten everybody who knows with lawsuits and call it "trade secret". By the way, coding the whole program may require a large team, but making a simple back door takes only one programmer. You simply have to change an int, after all.

              Criminal law trumps contract law. A contract that requires you to do something illegal, or prevents you from reporting illegal acts can not be enforced.

              This would be the biggest story in the history of the country.

              On one hand, English has the word "conspiracy theorist". There should be another word, the "it-can-happen-here"-ists, for those who simply refuse to consider alternative explanations than the official one.

              It's not that we are refusing to con

          • by DavidTC ( 10147 )
            Clint Curtis [wikipedia.org]
            • Who the heck is "Yang Enterprises"? If anything your reference proves my point. If Diebold had tried to pull anything like this, it would be all over the web.
        • Let me start by correcting a single typo from my original post. Of course, I prefer OPEN source. As I hope the context made clear. But... as I said, I don't really care a lot, relative to transparency of process.

          I've acted as a scrutineer in elections. Have you? It's pretty plain to see you haven't. I've verified code for emergency nuclear reactor shutdowns (open and closed source, and, incidentally, I think it's a terrible idea to have a nuclear reactor primarily under software control). I know how tough i
          • But there's an old joke about NASA. When astronauts needed something to write in zero-g, NASA spent millions developing a pen that could so so. The Russians used a pencil.

            The Russians also got wood and lead bits causing problems with their electronics, their health, and a significant fire risk. The Russians now use the NASA pen. Sometimes under-engineering a solution is worse than over-engineering one. http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp [snopes.com]

    • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:56AM (#19698119)
      Open source voting machines are useless, unless you can verify that the software and hardware in use at the time you cast your vote is trustworthy. If you can't, it might as well be a closed-source system.

      • Why does it have to be at the time you cast your vote?
        • Why does it have to be at the time you cast your vote?

          The implication is that dishonest hardware/software could be used for an election and swapped out later for honest systems so as to make the previous election appear legitimate.

          • And how would that happen if the machines are secure to the UN inspection committee's satisfaction? I'd trust the UN pretty well, oh wait, we don't allow them sort in our country. I forgot.
      • by bit01 ( 644603 )

        Open source voting machines are useless, unless you can verify that the software and hardware in use at the time you cast your vote is trustworthy. If you can't, it might as well be a closed-source system.

        Nonsense. Open source voting machines don't allow you to walk on water but they do improve the transparency of the process. Yes, you need to verify the voting hardware/software also but regardless of that it doesn't change change the fact that open source makes it harder to compromise.

        Just like "secu

        • Do you have the skills to verify the source code for a voting machine? Being generous, I would say that maybe 50% of the people who post here regularly do. If more than 1% of the population at large do, I would be very surprised. This mean, open or closed, 99% of the population have to rely on the judgement of others as to whether the system is fair. In contrast, pretty much anyone can understand a pencil and paper ballot, and so no one has to take the system on trust. If you don't believe votes will b
          • by bit01 ( 644603 )

            This mean, open or closed, 99% of the population have to rely on the judgement of others as to whether the system is fair.

            True, but with open source they can trust a larger group of people, not just the vendor. No single point of failure.

            In contrast, pretty much anyone can understand a pencil and paper ballot,

            Agreed. Wasn't arguing that electronic voting systems are necessarily better than pencil and paper, just that if you want an electronic voting system then open source is better than closed so

      • No, proprietary secret code is worse. You're right that open source counting software isn't a perfect solution that solves all possible ways of fraud. But it is still vastly better than secret code, which is nearly an open invitation to cheat without being noticed. Replacing hardware and even software is going to take a moderately well-orchestrated conspiracy. Crafting software with deliberately indetectable weak points takes one person, if nobody is allowed to see what the software is. A paper trail i
        • Or just an elections department that wants the vote to go a specific way. Witness all the nightmares at King County Elections here in Washington State...
      • No, with open source you can determine whether it was a tamper or the original programmers.
      • And with GPLv3, you can't have the hardware restricted to only running an approved build of the software.
        • by Tacvek ( 948259 )
          Actually you can! The anti-tivoization clause only applies to "consumer products". The definition of "consumer products" does not include voting machines.
    • by numbski ( 515011 ) *
      No, now we just have to worry about dead people voting even more now that John Edward [johnedward.net] is involved

      It's a joke. Laugh. :)
  • by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @02:49AM (#19697919) Homepage
    Ah, fragmenting the geek vote I see. You know geeks could be a powerful voting block, if they could organize and officially support a single candidate. Unfortunately partisinship destroys this, and geeks seem willing to get in bed (so to speak) with whoever is willing to throw them a few treats (i.e. favoring Edwards just because he utterd the words "open source", not even in support of it in general).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TodMinuit ( 1026042 )

      You know geeks could be a powerful voting block, if they could organize and officially support a single candidate.
      Impossible. Have you ever seen an IRC flamewar? Imagine that, but magnified.
    • by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:44AM (#19698091)
      Actually, organizing to avoid fragmenting is what causes partisanship. Duvergers law [wikipedia.org].

      Condorcet and/or approval voting solves this problem, but until we have that, we're stuck with partisanship and all the screwiness of plurality elections.
      • Absolutely. It's hard to emphasize how much the actual balloting system determines the outcome. The balloting system we have tends to push the outcome to a choice between extremes; it does not have any mechanism pushing toward center candidates-- the center gets eliminated before the election even starts. I'm a great fan of approval voting; it avoids a lot of the problems and doesn't eliminate the center candidates. (Condorcet voting is a bit too complicated for my taste; I think the balloting system sh
        • by catbutt ( 469582 )
          What you describe is not ranked approval voting, but Borda count, which has some big problems. If I want to have the best outcome, I wouldn't want to rank, say, Nader first, Kerry second, then Bush last in your system (assuming that is my true preference), because ranking Kerry second doesn't give him as many points to beat Bush as he would have if I ranked him first. So strategically, knowing Kerry has a greater chance of winning, I would still be smart to vote Kerry first. Therefore Nader is still hurt
          • catbutt wrote "What you describe is not ranked approval voting, but Borda count, which has some big problems."

            No, it's not Borda count. In the situation you describe, I can rank Nader 100 (out of 100), Kerry 100 out of 100, and Bush zero out of 100, if that's how I chose to vote. Unfortunately, there is no uniformity in nomenclature of some of the alternate voting systems.

            • by catbutt ( 469582 )
              Oh, that's known as range voting. "Ranked" means putting them in order, and that goes beyond putting them in order, it actually gives each a value. It is just like approval, except it allows you to, in essense, decrease the weight of your vote. There is no strategic reason to vote with anything but zero or 100 in range voting, so doing so is like saying "make my vote count less".

              Condorcet may be complicated to explain, but one thing it isn't is complicated to know how to best vote, since voting honestl
    • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:47AM (#19698097)

      You know geeks could be a powerful voting block, if they could organize and officially support a single candidate.

      We can't, and shouldn't. Being a geek is only one small part of who we are as human beings. Technology issues are important to us, and in that sense we could all probably get together on who supports the positions we espouse the best.

      The thing is, there are bigger problems going on in the world. We're literally at war. There's the "war on terrorism." There's the issue of things like the Patriot Act and domestic spying. There's immigration and visas. Of course on top of all these relatively new (or updated) issues, we have issues like education, health care, social security, civil liberties, privacy, economic policy, foreign policy, taxes, plus many others.

      These are all far more important and far-reaching issues, and ones where there will be a lot of different and valid view points. We should vote for the person we believe best supports our entire range of issues, rather than trying to band together to support the biggest technology geek running for office at the time.

      We should all vote our consciences in that regard. What we geeks should do, however, is band together on these technology issues where we mostly tend to agree and become an influential force on those specific topics, regardless of who we voted for in a particular election or who ended up in office.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        We're literally at war. There's the "war on terrorism."

        I take it you're using "literally" here to mean "figuratively". There is no "war on terrorism". There is simply a group of people finding any way possible to divert government funds to private industry - in this case defense contractors.
      • The thing is, there are bigger problems going on in the world. We're literally at war.

        LOL. You mean the invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam? That's an invasion, not a war. Get over it.

        For the Sunni and Shia, it's a war. For the foreign fighters, it's a war. We don't get to call it a war. When you go into other people's neighbourhoods to stir things up or bust heads and don't expect resistance, that's simply A Really Dumb Idea.

        Or were you referring to the War on Insert-Your-Favourite-Vague-Concept-He
    • Know of anyone else who is as geek friendly?

      Ron Paul does not support open source voting systems and is rather extreme in his views (liberatarian). Edwards may have a change of winning the democratic nomination alot more than Paul has the chance of winning the republican. Besides geeks who are registered democrats may not be able to vote for Ron Paul depending on their state.

      So I do not see how this is fragmenting the geek vote. This is only the primaries and it would be nice to see geek friendly candidates
  • Support AB 852 (Score:2, Informative)

    by mhale_85 ( 670144 )
    I work for Paul Krekorian and I hope that all Californians here will call their state legislators and ask them to support AB 852, the Secure, Accurate, Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, a bill that would require disclosed source code for all election systems. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_n umber=ab_852&sess=CUR&house=B&author=krekorian [ca.gov] The bill is currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee and won't move until January, but it's a very important piece of legislation that we hop
    • AB 852 [ca.gov] includes the following provisions:
      1. Section 3, Paragraph 9(f)(3) requires voting machine vendors to also provide "Any vendor-authored proprietary binaries used in the compilation of source code for voting systems." meaning a vendor would be foolish to hide his exploit in the source code when it could be inserted by the compiler (which is exempt from source requirements) at compile time.
      2. Section 3, Paragraph 9(h) provides "Each county shall make available for public inspection one sample of any voting
      • Thanks for the feedback. I'll be working your comments into amendments before the bill is taken up in January.

        I think we will definitely require compiler source per your first suggestion.

        As for your second suggestion, the county will select a machine to make available to the public for inspection. The vendor will never know which machine the public will be able to inspect in any given county. Additionally, the county will be responsible, in concert with the Secretary of State, for ensuring that the certi
  • by fluch ( 126140 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:03AM (#19697975)
    It is a principle mistake to think that electronic voting can ever replace manual vote counting. Or if it will replace it, then you will always lose the audibility.

    If you want an election to be publicly auditable, then the only (!!) way to do it is to count votes manually by hand in public.

    You can use an electronic voting machine to get a faster preliminary result, but if you give up on manual counting the electronic voting machine will become a black-box. Regardless what kind of software, security etc. you use and implement.
    • So let me get this straight.
      Paper ballots cannot be lost, thrown out, replaced, or stuffed?

      Just because there are flaws with the current implementation of electronic voting, you can't sit back and ignore how monumentally fragile the paper ballot voting system really is. Sure you can sit there and hand count a stack, but how can anyone ever prove that the stack is the exact same one cast by the voters?
    • What if the voting machine told (not printed) you a temporary ID that wasn't tied to your real ID in any way. Then votes are always pushed to multiple publicly accessible listings and you can go home and verify how your vote was recorded with multiple sources.

      Then the government could produce their results and independent groups could produce their own results based on publicly available information. Individuals could verify with multiple sources that their vote was counted accurately (so long as they can r
  • How open source is it in canada? It is as open as it can ever get. It is done on paper. You get a pen and a piece of paper with a list of all the candidates from all the major parties and then some. It is all counted before the turn of the day and recounts are done within another. We've never had a problem.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by grimdawg ( 954902 )
      But is the paper distributed under a GPL???? Is it some proprietary paper, or is it open source??
    • by Glytch ( 4881 )
      Offtopic, my ass. I wish I had some points to counteract that example of mod stupidity.

      But to correct a technical point, we use a pencil and paper in Canadian elections, not pen and paper. :)
      • by Tuoqui ( 1091447 )
        OMFG we need to switch to pen! They could be stealing our votes w/ erasers and bootleg pencils! Vote yes for pens!
  • by Datamonstar ( 845886 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @03:28AM (#19698047)
    According to this [nist.gov] paper
    • From Your Article:

      A malicious vendor (or a well-placed malicious employee of a vendor lacking sufficient internal controls and external supervision) places a small piece of code in its DREs' video BIOS, such that it will be invoked regularly during ordinary machine operation. This "malware loader" polls a communications device (such as a WiFi or WiMax port, broadband-over-powerline (BPL) port, IrDA port, Ethernet port, proprietary radio receiver, etc.) within the DRE for a signal to begin cheating. The vend

      • Wouldn't the open source code still be vulnerable to an attack launched from malware embedded in firmware by the hardware vendor? Unless the firmware is open too, I think it would be.
      • How can you be so wrong? Open source would completely prevent this!

        How? Even if the BIOS is open source, how can you verify which code is actually installed in a given machine?

        • You compile the source code and validate it against the binary that shipped with the machine.
          • How do you validate the BIOS binary?
            • By ripping the BIOS, like they do with game consoles for emulators, then comparing what you get with what you're given.
              • By ripping the BIOS, like they do with game consoles for emulators, then comparing what you get with what you're given.

                Who does this? When? How often? How do we ensure that the guy who's ripping it isn't really reprogramming it? And... can I do it when I go to vote?

                Don't get me wrong. I think open source voting software is a good idea, but it's not a full solution. Given a choice between open source DRE and closed source VVPT, I'll take the paper. I'd rather have open source VVPT, of course.

                • I dunno, but trusting one guy who you can incarcerate for election fraud is much easier than doing jack shit about our problem and trusting a corporation known to have a bias toward one political party. Are you suggesting that because Open Sourcing doesn't remove humans entirely from the loop it's not worth requiring? Because that's what it sounds like to me.
                  • You need to re-read my previous comment.

                    Open source is useful in this context, but it's not a complete solution. Voter-verified paper ballots are a complete solution[*], whether the machines that print them are open source or closed. The machines that count the ballots should be open source, but the real trust comes from the fact that the ballots can be counted by hand.

                    [*] This presumes that the ballots are collected correctly, but we know how to do that. Partly because we have centuries of experienc

    • Anyone that truly understands voting knows that open source buys NOTHING as far as the integrity of the election is concerned.
  • More than a haircut: He actually knows what's going on and what to do!
    • by dbcad7 ( 771464 )
      I like him better that Hillary or Obama. I liked him better than Kerry. Although Kerry didn't do too bad debating Bush, I think Edwards would have demolished him.. He's a smart guy, and a good speaker. I think the Democrats screwed up on the last election by going with Kerry over Edwards. I think he's the best choice of the Dems now, but they'll probably screw up again and pick Hillary.

      • Did you see him debate Cheney?
        He didn't do well against Darth Cheney, how would he have demolished Bush. Kerry might not have been the best the Democrats could have come up with but Edwards was (and is) a complete lightweight.
  • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @04:08AM (#19698141)

    the Edwards campaign stated that, "To ensure security, these machines should be programmed with an open source code for complete transparency, and election results should be safeguarded by voter-verified paper records."

    I know RTFA is uncalled for, or even RTFS, but maybe if I put this quote in the comments section I can head off the "It needs a paper-trail *snort*" comments. Already, those seem to make up 35% of the comments. Ron Paul comments seem to come in second at 25%, and comparisons to Canada and bad jokes seem tied at about 10-15% each.

    • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Saturday June 30, 2007 @05:43AM (#19698409) Journal
      election results should be safeguarded by voter-verified paper records

      There's an article from nist linked somewhere up that page (open source doesn't help..), that says something I never thought of before: even if you have a paper trail, a compromised machine could still effect the result - by (for instance) placing a candidate's name in a hard to see place or somehow making it a bit harder to vote for them. Given the fact that quite a few people only decide who to vote for in the booth and are lazy, I could see this swinging a close race.

      Not to say that a paper trail isn't a good thing, just interesting that it doesn't solve everything...
      • Not to say that a paper trail isn't a good thing, just interesting that it doesn't solve everything...

        Nothing will solve any problems without an educated electorate, which we largely do not have. Most people's voting decisions seemed to go no more deeply than "I'm gonna vote against those war-mongering gay-bashers" or "I'm gonna vote against those pot-smoking socialist baby-killers."

        Of course, the saddest part of all of this is 95% of the time, that's all you _can_ do, because most elections in the U.S. h
    • by Tolkien ( 664315 )

      the Edwards campaign stated that, "To ensure security, these machines should be programmed with an open source code for complete transparency, and election results should be safeguarded by voter-verified paper records." I know RTFA is uncalled for, or even RTFS, but maybe if I put this quote in the comments section I can head off the "It needs a paper-trail *snort*" comments. Already, those seem to make up 35% of the comments. Ron Paul comments seem to come in second at 25%, and comparisons to Canada and

  • Maybe they can tout the closed source system as: Yes, one man can make a difference*.



    *Must be a Diebold programmer to qualify.
  • John Edwards, the presidential candidate and lawyer ...
    Damn! I was hoping to hear what John Edward [wikipedia.org] had to say about it.

    He could have asked Democracy what it's like being dead...

    • Actually this off topic, but the "Militia" is defined under the US Code as any US Citizen or resident male between 17 - 45 with or without prior miltary experience, to age 64 with prior military experience, and all female members of the national gaurd. So technically, every man 17 - 45 is part of that "Well Regulated Militia"
      • How well regulated is it if anyone whose simply that age is a part of it? Do we kill boys before they reach 17 if they aren't good enough to own a good?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who cares if its open source or not, who actually compiles the code?

    Just cause you think you know what its running cause its in some source control doesn't make it so, i do it all the time on servers ;)

    It should be completely regulated from top to bottom, full accounting.
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @04:48AM (#19698257)
    While not impossible to forge and cheat, as they say here in Chicago: vote early, vote often, but I liked the idea of a paper ballot.
  • Alternative (Score:2, Insightful)

    Anything that does not need long term recording nor fast processing nor complex processing does not require a computer.

    There are things that humans are not so good at. Financial systems allow data to be processed at high speed, to be stored in much less space for long term retrieval, transported around and for the complexity of data to be represented in many different ways. The results are required quickly. They run repeatedly, so despite a high initial cost, they pay off in the long term.

    Votes are the

  • If you are concerned about the prospect of fraud via electronic voting machines, do not be distracted by the prospect of any law mandating source availability in the absence of a voter-verified paper trail.

    Anyone who argues that (for whatever reason) a software-based voting system cannot function incorrectly must first argue that it does not function incorrectly.

    Seasoned programmers will recognize this as just another form of the well known fallacy about producing bug-free software.

    Do not be lulled into

  • from a previous discussion on slashdot [slashdot.org], a comment that I think bears repeating:

    The "e-voting" concept should be that the computer prints the ballot and that paper ballot is your vote. That ballot lists ONLY the names you chose. You read that and drop it into the ballot box.

    The computer counts the number of paper ballots it has printed for each candidate. This number can be released to the news agencies. But the real vote is the paper ballot.

    At the end of the day, the names of the voters who used that ma

    • *Single* paper ballots are the best way... where the candidate/proposition options are listed, and the voter marks the item they want to vote for on the exact same sheet. The paper ballot should also be posted in the voting booth so the voter can ensure that their paper ballot matches the ballot that they themselves have.

      At the end of the day, these are counted by machine. If a recount is necessitated, then two things are verified at the recount: 1) that all of the options listed on the paper ballots are
  • He's a lawyer that used fraud science in the court room. Like channeling a dead fetus's thoughts. Or blaming any birth defect (including genetic ones or the mother being alcoholic) on the use of a natural birth rather than the more expensive, more invasive, and more error prone C-section. People like him are the reason doctors make decisions based on reducing legal liability, not on doing what's best.
    • by Toonol ( 1057698 )
      And I'm caught without mod points. Seriously, Edwards is the exact sort of lawyer that most Slashdot readers rail against in "your rights online" threads. Are we all so knee-jerk that a few magic words uttered by a candidate can wipe out their pernicious history?
      • by Guuge ( 719028 )

        That's the problem with this country: too many lawyers defending the little guys and not enough defending the big corporations. Honest industry groups like the RIAA don't stand a chance against the litigious masses. No wonder slashdot is such a staunch supporter of the RIAA and an enemy of the individual.

        Yeah, that's sarcasm.

  • Vote fraud happens BEFORE the votes are even cast. Illegal/fraudulent registrations, hundreds or thousands of overvotes, multiple mail-in ballots from the same person.

    The polling machine is immaterial; the fraud that REALLY happens, and is the biggest problem happens BEFORE election day. Registration fraud is what everyone should worry about. If you can game the registration system, then you can cast as many votes as you want for your chosen candidate.

    Trying to catch voter fraud at the polling booth

  • Let's spend billions of dollars for unverifiable results for machinery that is used once or twice a year and is likely useless in 5 or 6 years.
  • You can't seriously expect me to put the fate of the free world in the hands of someone who decides that Twitter is useful, can you?

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.

Working...