Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Bug United States Politics Technology

Another Election, Another Slew of Voting Machine Glitches 388

An anonymous reader writes: As Election Day in the U.S. starts to wind down, reports from around the country highlight another round of technological failures at the polls. In Virginia, the machines are casting votes for the wrong candidates. In North Carolina, polling sites received the wrong set of thumb drives, delaying voters for hours. In Michigan, software glitches turned voters away in the early morning, including a city mayor. A county in Indiana saw five of its polling sites spend hours trying to get the machines to boot correctly. And in Connecticut, an as-yet-unspecified computer glitch caused a judge to keep the polls open for extra time. When are we going to get this right?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Another Election, Another Slew of Voting Machine Glitches

Comments Filter:
  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:08PM (#48314361)
    We'll "get it right" when we knock off the electronic BS and use what has been tested to work, marked paper ballots. It.Just.Works.
    • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:36PM (#48314529) Homepage Journal
      The ballots are counted when cast, and results reported in the hour after polls close. If there is anything suspicious, the paper is there for a judicial recount. And it's way cheaper than touchscreen PCs.
    • My town uses paper ballots. Make your marks heavy and black, fill in the bubble completely...just like in grade school. Automatically counted, but the voter marked originals can still be counted manually. Voting machines are fixing a non existent problem. Just like voter ID laws.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        So how does that let a blind person vote unaided (the original reason electronic voting machines were "invented")? And how does that fix the large number of people that don't fill in the bubble completely or otherwise spoil or partially spoil their ballot? And what happens when someone stuffs the ballot box with extra votes?
        • So how does that let a blind person vote unaided (the original reason electronic voting machines were "invented")? And how does that fix the large number of people that don't fill in the bubble completely or otherwise spoil or partially spoil their ballot? And what happens when someone stuffs the ballot box with extra votes?

          How does a blind person see the touchscreen? How is this an improvement over a paper ballot with fixed braille next to each option?

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

            How does a blind person see the touchscreen?

            touchscreen isn't the only e-voting possibility. And a "blind" person can read. At least in most cases. Completely blind (everything black) is pretty rare. I know "lots" of blind people that can read. They just need each letter to be 6" high, or thereabouts. Easier on a screen than printing out papers of variable size.

            How is this an improvement over a paper ballot with fixed braille next to each option?

            I've never seen a braille ballot. Where are you where those are available? http://www.accessiblesociety.o... [accessiblesociety.org] Though theoretically required, 20,000 polling places are violating the law

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Yeah, I can pre-mark 1,000,000 ballots, and stuff them without a trace. Much easier to manipulate elections with untraceable paper ballots.
    • We're talking about people trying to use hardware that they haven't been trained in, or hasn't been properly tested and debugged, or any of a million other issues for various reasons. It doesn't matter if you are talking alien telepathic brain scanners, or pen and paper, the bureaucrats and politicians will find a way to screw it up. They always have, and I am confidant that they will continue to do so as long as they have their fingers in the pie. It's not really an "electronic" issue, it's an idiot issue.
    • We'll "get it right" when we knock off the electronic BS and use what has been tested to work, marked paper ballots. It.Just.Works.

      Yeah, you should go talk to a guy named "chad" down in Florida about how paper just "works"...he used to hang around a lot...

      Or perhaps you could go talk to the absentee voters...if they actually exist. Or are still alive.

      Oh, and we'll actually get it right when we stop electing liars in office who win elections based on empty promises. You know, bullshit like how they're gonna "get it right"...

    • We'll "get it right" when we knock off the electronic BS and use what has been tested to work, marked paper ballots.

      It.Just.Works.

      This area you mail in you votes, there are many errors one can make to have your vote(s) tossed out, today I wanted to go to the polls and vote only to find that you just don't do that, it's snail mail only.

      At least it's not electronic.

  • Feature (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:09PM (#48314363)

    ...not a bug.

    They've proven elections can be hopelessly unreliable and the electorate still won't care.

  • Vote by mail. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:10PM (#48314369) Journal

    Meh. I voted by mail a week ago. Got a paper ballot. Had lots of time to look up details on all the issues, including the judges, some obscure issues, and the people I'd never heard of.

    Much better solution. No lines. No scheduling around work. Several weeks to study out everything.

    I highly recommend it for everybody.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm at least 80% sure your vote wasn't tampered with.

    • by hsmith ( 818216 )
      Yeah, no one could ever tamper with the mail.
      • Yeah, no one could ever tamper with the mail.

        So you start with a fairly reliable delivery service, add in severe federal penalties for tampering with the mail, then additional severe federal penalties for interfering with an election.

        If you are worried about tampering (or if you didn't send your ballot in time, they must be postmarked the day before the election) you can deliver them yourself to any polling place or the election office on voting day. If you still don't trust that a paper ballot delivered to the polling place will be tampered with, y

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          So what stops your boss from filing in your ballot for you, getting you to sign, then sending it in for you? Any system that allows others near while the vote is cast is open to all sorts of different abuses. If you allow that, you might as well abandon anonymous voting. Open voting has much less fraud than secret ballots, so long as the government is relatively stable. It was only abolished in the US because of a little Civil War.
      • Yeah, no one could ever tamper with the mail.

        But, but... that's a felony.

    • by steveha ( 103154 )

      Much better solution. No lines. No scheduling around work. Several weeks to study out everything.

      It's also much easier and lower-risk to vote fraudulently by mail. Even if someone comparing the signatures detects a forged vote, it will be pretty much impossible to find the person who forged it.

      I much prefer showing up at a polling place and marking a piece of stiff paper or light cardboard, with volunteers (all political parties welcome) watching everything. I want the ballots hauled away in locked boxes

    • Re:Vote by mail. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @05:34AM (#48316191)

      Meh. I voted by mail a week ago. Got a paper ballot. Had lots of time to look up details on all the issues, including the judges, some obscure issues, and the people I'd never heard of.

      Much better solution. No lines. No scheduling around work. Several weeks to study out everything.

      I highly recommend it for everybody.

      And how do you know that your vote was received and accurately counted?

      I voted by mail against a certain president. Twice. Didn't make any difference and I had no way to know if my vote was even taken into account as there is no feedback mechanism.

  • Just use (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@ya ... .com minus punct> on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:11PM (#48314381) Homepage Journal

    a system like Oregon's mail ballot.

    Until we do an open federally sponsored voting system, no one is going to engineer a solution properly.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:21PM (#48314435)

    Electronic voting machines are a solution looking for a problem. Good old paper ballots work just fine for elections and are easily recounted if necessary.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      I'm still on the fence, on this.... As much as we rely on computers for in modern society (even life and death scenarios, such as computer systems warning about dangerous drug interactions when you're given a prescription), it doesn't seem impossible to get electronic voting done securely and properly.

      The big problem seems to be a lack of understanding of the technology and security issues on the part of the folks who selected "approved" voting machine systems?

      For example, all of this talk about touch scr

      • Cost-Benefit.

        Your stated advantage is loss of paper ballots.

        Your stated negative is "to get electronic voting done securely and properly"

        I think paper ballots win. More security staff is a much larger payout than developing a fully trusted and accountable complex computer system.

      • When you vote via computer, you're voting via proxy.

        Would America allow the following idea:
        "You walk into a polling station. You tell a person there everybody you want to vote for. That person disappears into a back room, comes back a minute later, and assures you your votes have been cast as you directed."

        If the answer is 'no,' then you also must be against computer voting, because it's exactly the same. You are directing a system to cast a vote, then trusting it to do so.

        Paper ballots and proper electi

  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:30PM (#48314481)

    Every ballot creates a new Bitcoin address (polling locations keep track of the generated ballot addresses) with a negligible fraction of bitcoins.. Every vote sends a tiny fraction of bitcoin to whatever addresses are represented by candidates. Only transactions from ballot-list addresses are counted. Candidates with the highest amount of bitcoins in their voting addresses from verified ballots win. Any screwups or attempts at fucking with the votes could be seen on the blockchain.

    There's probably 1000 different ways voting can be done anonymously while still being verifiable using the blockchain. Don't ask me to solve all the problems - but they are solvable.

    I believe the whole point of the 'closed source' ballot bullshit we have now is the same reason we have a ridiculously bloated war on terror. The real purpose is to concentrate power in the hands of the few. They make us believe our votes are counted.. but they haven't been counted right in years.

    • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:39PM (#48314535)
      But why put the voting mechanics into a computer that the average Joe doesn't understand enough to verify? What is the advantage? The least technically literate person eligible to cast a vote should be able to understand and verify the vote casting and counting technology. Everybody understands paper; the same cannot be said for Bitcoin blockchains.
      • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @09:16PM (#48314683)

        Exactly. I'm a computer professional and I don't trust computers for voting and counting votes. It's too easy to do stuff behind the veil of the interface that you have no idea is happening. Even if it's open source unless you personally vetted and loaded the software you have no idea if it's what you think it is or not.

        Paper ballots and hand counting is something that anyone smart enough to mark a ballot can understand and it's easily scalable.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        That's why open voting is better. The average person believes that their vote is counted as they intended. Florida 2000 proved that wrong. Many people (over 1,000,000 by some counts) had their vote "spoiled" or lost. Why vote if it'll just be thrown out? But with open voting, you can look up how you voted the day after the election, and if the government says you voted differently than you intended, you can appeal your vote. The only way a vote can count is if you can verify how your vote was counted.
  • by linuxrocks123 ( 905424 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:30PM (#48314491) Homepage Journal

    when we stop using computers to count votes.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      When we go back to ballot stuffing? That'll solve all the problems.
  • by ndykman ( 659315 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:31PM (#48314495)

    Marked paper ballots. Done. Braille versions can be made for the blind, different language versions (what, voting based on a person's preferred language, that's just crazy) and so on. Optical scanning is old, tried and very well tested technology, and you can always fall back to hand counts.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      But nobody can answer what happens when someone pre-marks 1,000,000 ballots and stuffs them into ballot boxes.

      There have been multiple places where the total paper ballots cast exceeded the number of eligible voters. Paper changes the fraud, but does *nothing* to stop it.
      • There have been multiple places where the total paper ballots cast exceeded the number of eligible voters. Paper changes the fraud, but does *nothing* to stop it.

        Absentee ballots are a much bigger problem and the biggest source of election fraud. No identity check, no chain of custody. And for some strange reason, none of the politicians who are crying about "voter fraud" seem to ever bring it up.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          The answer I get is that they are matched 1:1 with elligible voters. And if a person votes in person on the day, the absentee is destroyed. Thus, you would never have an absentee counted for a non-voter or in-person voter.

          But there's no problem printing out fraudulent absentee ballots, one per registered voter. And duplicates are discarded, but with 20% voter turnout, you'd get a 80% win. There hasn't been that level of abuse yet, but there's little to keep someone from finding out the "real" results,
      • by grnbrg ( 140964 )

        There have been multiple places where the total paper ballots cast exceeded the number of eligible voters. Paper changes the fraud, but does *nothing* to stop it.

        Stuffing a ballot box with fraudulent paper ballots is risky, and relies on many people to be effective in multiple polling locations.

        Falsifying electronic records requires a few people at a strategic points, and can be impossible to detect.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Falsifying open voting is nearly impossible, regardless of whether it's done electronically or on paper.
      • by ndykman ( 659315 )

        Ballot stuffing is actually pretty easy to protect against, and the method of voting doesn't do anything to change that equation. It's just as easy to telegraph votes on a voting machine versus paper. Also, voter fraud is really risky compared to the payoff. It's easy to get caught. It just takes one election judge to unravel a scheme to defraud. And it's much easier and less risky to disenfranchise voters to effect an outcome; history shows us that.

        As to why the counts are off, in most cases, it's confusio

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:34PM (#48314509)
    Most likely when the electronic machines are sent to a recycling company -- Ireland recently dumped all theirs -- and paper ballots are used. The electronic machines have proven to be way too unreliable and easy to manipulate.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @08:42PM (#48314551) Homepage Journal

    How hard is it to make a voting program?
    How easy would it be to "skew" results of said voting program one way, or the other? I'm not a conspiracy nutter, but it does make me wonder from time to time...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2014 @09:07PM (#48314643)

    I voted today using a real paper ballot which I placed into a real ballot box in the state of TN. Very satisfying. Not easy to do however, the state wants to force voters to use electronic black box voting machines. The precinct worker and the local supervisor tried to tell me that I could not vote using a paper ballot. I told them I had checked with the state election division (which I had done) and an election attorney confirmed that my right to vote using a paper ballot would not be denied. They actually called the secretary of state office on election day to confirm.

    It is not possible to verify a vote using an electronic black box voting machine. As Ronald Reagan said "Trust but verify".

  • Meanwhile:
    http://abc7chicago.com/politic... [abc7chicago.com]

    Quite ironic given the republicans argument for voter ID is democratic fraud. I wonder if anyone will go to prison?

    btw, before anyone calls me a democrat, I hate both parties intensely.

    • The 2000 election judges that didn't show up this morning all received phone calls yesterday telling them they were "ineligible" to be election judges and could face sanctions if they showed up.

      It's as if someone didn't want the polls in these Democratic precincts to open this morning. My guess is "True the Vote", a "grass roots" "voter integrity" organization who has a history of coming to polling places in minority communities and simply challenging every single voter. Until the police come and they mo

  • We still use lever machines for school budget voting. They just work, they provide actual privacy, and they are simple to operate.

  • When are we going to get this right?

    The question mistakenly assumes that this is not exactly the intended effect.

  • Come on Down Under, where we use the high tech method of paper and pencil. We did have an issue recently where a few votes were lost somewhere in outback Western Australia. The solution? The High Court decided to run that component of the election again. Easy, effective, safe and occasionally expensive.
  • That would be news in CT. It was a chain of human errors.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal

Working...