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New Jersey Residents Displaced By Storm Can Vote By Email 189

First time accepted submitter danbuter writes "In probably the most poorly thought-out reaction to allowing people displaced by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey [to take part in the 2012 presidential election], residents will be allowed to vote by email. Of course, this will be completely secure and work perfectly!" Writes user Beryllium Sphere: "There's no mention of any protocol that might possibly make this acceptable. Perhaps the worst thing that could happen would be if it appears to work OK and gains acceptance." I know someone they should consult first.
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New Jersey Residents Displaced By Storm Can Vote By Email

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  • Official Directive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Robadob ( 1800074 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:32AM (#41871865)
    This seems to be the official thing about it because there's some stuff going around twitter that it's a lie. http://nj.gov/state/elections/2012-results/directive-email-voting.pdf [nj.gov]
  • by Azathfeld ( 725855 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:36AM (#41871895)
    You can't just send an email with your vote in it. They're allowing scanned copies of absentee ballots. It's no less secure than absentee voting in general; they'll check the names against the voter rolls just like they do when you vote in person.
  • Re:I didn't know (Score:4, Informative)

    by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:46AM (#41871931)

    I think the Swiss have been using online voting for a while now: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-202_162-645615.html [cbsnews.com]

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:48AM (#41871943)

    ... already. They are merely letting people be treated like overseas military.


    "Officials say electronic voting is also an option for emergency workers. The option is already open to New Jersey voters overseas and in the military."

    It's not like someone just came up with an idea yesterday.


  • by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:52AM (#41871969) Homepage

    Absentee voting already works this way pretty much everywhere in the United States:

    First, you have to already be registered, so the notion that nonexistent people are suddenly able to vote is nonsense.

    Second, you must file a request to get the absentee ballot. In most states you do not have to show any form of ID to do so, but your name is checked against the registration records before any ballot is provided.

    Third, you fill out the ballot form, sign it, and mail it in. Note that the signature means your ballot is not really "secret."

    Fourth, the forms are checked against the registration rolls again when they are counted, and signatures also may be checked (usually a sampling are spot-checked). In many places, absentee votes are counted AFTER the live votes and they may even be skipped if the number of absentee votes would not change the outcome of the election. If a voter has voted at his or her precinct, and an absentee ballot from the "same" voter shows up, that's an obvious case of fraud and the ballot is set aside.

    There is no reason to imagine that email makes this any less secure than the snail mail system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:41AM (#41872171)

    " I've seen two distinct stories about voting machines registering Obama when people tried to vote for Romney"

    Yeh, the usual trick Republicans do of accusing the other guy of their crimes.

    We have statistical tools that show voter fraud, those tools work EQUALLY WELL for Democrat as Republican fraud.
    When applied to the primaries they showed the Republican primaries were rigged to make Romney win by vote flipping. Making a few sham counter claims and hoping that will cover for voter fraud won't work this time.


    If you can get the Republicans out of control of Congress, you can finally eliminate these vote rigging machines and go back to a proper paper count system. Those paper votes didn't show the signs of widespread vote rigging, and where the system flagged fraud in the paper vote, fraud was found and confirmed.

  • Re:I didn't know (Score:5, Informative)

    by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:45AM (#41872185) Homepage

    There was a project sponsored by GNU to develop software that would permit online voting securely. Obviously this would be hugely useful if it were secure and freely available. http://www.gnu.org/software/free/ [gnu.org]

    Production stopped in 2002.

    Here's what they had to say, "From my experience of designing and developing GNU.FREE over the past three years it has become clear that creating an Internet Voting system sufficiently secure, reliable and anonymous is extremely difficult, if not impossible. As Bruce Schneier points out "a secure Internet voting system is theoretically possible, but it would be the first secure networked application ever created in the history of computers.""

    Of course, it's possible the Swiss know something about secure software development that Schneier doesn't. Or perhaps they're just happy to accept the risks.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:51AM (#41872223)

    ..as they ask for a "waiver of secrecy": they actually *realize* that the e-mail voting will need the removal of one of they key things in a democratic election: the secrecy of voting.

    Since when is secrecy of voting key to a democracy? This democracy, for one example, was founded without it...

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:09AM (#41872323) Homepage

    The NAACP story looks manufactured. It's only about twelve hours old. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is reported about it once it's been properly investigated. I suspect that there will be no followups on the several dozen right-wing blogs that are currently the _only_ source for this story.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:58AM (#41872677)
    Because the US constitution says the vote happens on Nov 6. You start making exceptions for hurricanes, do you extend those to nasty thunderstorms, or a little bit of snow on the ground, or below freezing temperatures, or global warming in general? Some things you just have to be a stickler for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @05:37PM (#41874793)

    I'm surprised that postal votes are not secret. There's no reason for that.

    In Australia if you do a postal vote, you're given 2 envelopes. you put your vote inside the first unmarked envelope. Then you fill out all your voting details on the other envelope, and put the first envelope inside.

    When they receive, your vote. The details on the outer envelope are checked. Once they are happy that it's a valid vote, the unmarked envelope is thrown into the pile of other postal votes.

    Simple, low tech solution...

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