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More on the Dangers of eVoting 339

Posted by michael
from the up-the-creek-without-a-paddle dept.
blamanj writes "A lot of discussion has been focused on the lack of security in electronic voting systems. What hasn't been as widely discussed, is just how tiny the voting manipulations have to be to have an effect. In this months CACM (cite, pdf of original paper is here), some Yale students show that altering only a single vote per machine would have changed the electoral college outcome of the 2000 election. Changing only two votes/machine would have flipped the results for four states."
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More on the Dangers of eVoting

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  • Unrealistic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_mad_poster (640772) * <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:02PM (#10676757) Homepage Journal

    First of all, this "study" was done with full knowledge of the outcome of the election. While this makes for a slightly amusing statistical exercise, for it to work right, one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines, he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

    Second, this doesn't show any problem specific to electronic voting. Each of those votes in the "one vote per machine" total could have been "flipped" by countless other fraudulent activities if the aforementioned prerequisite of psychic ability had been met.

    Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen. The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

    I suppose that pointing this out to Sims is a waste of time given his history of childish antics and self-serving coniptions, but I'll do it anyway: this sort of nonsense being given face time on Slashdot just serves to stir up a bunch of clueless 16 year old zitheads who go around yelping about a real problem in an unrealistic way which just galvanizes everyone who needs to know about it against the people who actually understand the threat and have a real case to make. Congratulations, Michael. You not only continue to lower the overall level of discourse in the technical arena, you even manage to get paid for it now.

    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jelloman (69747) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:17PM (#10676816)
      ...unrealistic access to countless voting machines..

      That kind of access is far from unrealistic, and the number of machines necessary is far from countless. The latter was kind of the point.

      see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it.

      OK sir, I'll stop talking about or caring whether my vote is being counted. Very responsible of me, thanks for the suggestion.

      The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

      How do you know that hasn't already happened? Seems to me circumstantial evidence points to it happening in Georgia in 2002. Unless there's a paper trail (which I admit I think is likely, eventually) or someone spills the beans about manipulating electronic vote counts (which I think is inevitable), we'll never know. ...yelping about a real problem in an unrealistic way which just galvanizes everyone who needs to know about it against the people who actually understand the threat and have a real case to make...

      That OTOH is a great point.

      To me, talking about touchscreen systems is crying wolf. The problem is not touchscreens, it's the totally independent issue of secretively operated and maintained closed-source vote counting servers.

      We don't need vote counting servers to have touchscreen voting.
      • Re:Unrealistic (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Jelloman (69747)
        One more thought:

        Something fantastic may happen in a couple days on this issue: there may be massive electronic vote fraud in several states, and yet Bush will lose anyway! If that happens, I think some things might come to light about Diebold, Sequoia, et.al., or groups of GOP operatives connected to them somehow.

        But if there's massive e-vote manipulation that throws the election to Bush, I think the opposite is likely to happen: there will be a massive clampdown by the GOP powers-that-be as they realiz
        • "But if there's massive e-vote manipulation that throws the election to Bush, I think the opposite is likely to happen: there will be a massive clampdown by the GOP powers-that-be as they realize they can make our current one-party state a permanent affair, as long as they can keep their fake-election-toy under wraps."

          I wouldn't be so sure. They may realize that, if they do it very much more, they'll get caught, and if they get caught, they'll get so utterly crushed it will be disgusting.

          No voter fraud ca
          • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Insightful)

            by eh2o (471262) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:10AM (#10677044)
            No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top.

            Uh... and who was Katherine Harris again? Its just not called "fraud" when its up-top -- its called "oops, sorry" and the current laws are too weak to prevent it from happening. As long as there is no accountability, there will be fraud -- at every level.

            if they get caught, they'll get so utterly crushed it will be disgusting.

            Crushed how, exactly? Voter rebellion? Not if the machines don't work, the laws are gutted and the courts packed with facists. Riots? Maybe in the ghetto but not in middle class america, plus its a great excuse to establish martial law and kill all the "terrorists". Massive non-violent protests? You might get some good turnout but Americans are dangerously complacent these days.
          • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Informative)

            by Jelloman (69747) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:31AM (#10677134)
            No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top. Most likely, those in positions even close to power don't even consider that the fraud could be happening. Most of the fraud is done by individuals on a lower level.

            The truth lies somewhere in between, I think. It's hard for me to look at something like this [thehill.com]:
            An official at Nebraska's Election Administration estimated that ES&S machines tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in Hagel's 2002 and 1996 election races.

            In 1996, ES&S operated as American Information Systems Inc. (AIS). The company became ES&S after merging with Business Records Corp. in 1997.

            In a disclosure form filed in 1996, covering the previous year, Hagel, then a Senate candidate, did not report that he was still chairman of AIS for the first 10 weeks of the year, as he was required to do.
            ... and accept the notion that Sen. Hagel has never once considered or talked to anyone about the possibility that election results might have been manipulated on his behalf.

            From what I've read, it seems many of the employees of Diebold are pro-VV-paper-trail, and the resistance to it from Diebold comes from on high. That, and a philosophical commitment to bad engineering, exploitable vote servers, aggressive lawyers, and closed source (all of which seems to be in evidence), is all the guys up top really need to do. There doesn't have to be any coordination with the parties that manipulate elections, you just have to be committed to giving them the right tools to succeed.

          • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Interesting)

            by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @07:01AM (#10678169)
            No voter fraud cases are being in any way instructed by anyone up-top. Most likely, those in positions even close to power don't even consider that the fraud could be happening.

            Don't bet on it:

            "Hi All,
            A friend sent this to me... wanted to pass this information on... double check your votes before you leave the polling location....

            From my friend Maryellen.

            No joking around. Here's an important heads up ...

            Yesterday a friend voted early at a polling location in Austin. She voted
            straight Democratic. When she did the final check, lo and behold every vote
            was for the Democratic candidates except that it showed she had voted for
            Bush/Cheney for president/vice pres.

            She immediately got a poll official. On her vote, it was corrected.
            She called the Travis County Democratic headquarters. They took all her
            information, and told her that she wasn't the first to report a similar
            incident and that they are looking into it.

            So check before you leave the polling booth, and if anything is wrong, get
            it corrected immediately. Report any irregularities to your local Democratic
            headquarters.

            Make sure you pass this along to your friends ... hopefully this is all over
            the airwaves by tomorrow ...

            DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!!!"
            • Re:Unrealistic (Score:3, Insightful)

              by furball (2853)
              A friend sent this to me ... who sent it from some other friend. Isn't this how most chain letters start?

              Does anyone actually have first hand experience with this sort of malfunction? I'd be more likely to believe someone lying to me with a first hand account than 3rd or 4th hand account that are true.
          • LIARS (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Doc Ruby (173196)
            "Iraq has WMD"... "Smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud"... "Cakewalk"... "Throwing flowers"... "I declare an end to major military operations"... "Second anniversary of Iraq invasions sees over 1000 dead American soldiers, over 30,000 gravely wounded"... "We invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people"...

            These powermad sleazebags don't care about getting caught. They've been repeating "Nixon was guilty only because he got caught" for 30 years, so they've decided to just ignore getting caught. Their incessa
        • Re:Unrealistic (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aacool (700143)
          I believe something fantastic has already happened - the humorous, social video release of Eminem's Mosh - as I read somewhere on the NET - it makes Fahrenheit 911 look like a Republican recruiting video.

          Eminem's appearance on SNL tonight was unremarkable and evidently an attempt at carpe diem, or in this case, carpe jugulum - I've blogged about this point in my blog.

          • by h4rm0ny (722443) * on Sunday October 31, 2004 @03:52AM (#10677721) Journal

            Just to bring a further humour to this election (God knows, it needs it), have a look here [thestranger.com]. In amongst the photos of easy to make Halloween costumes, is this:
            "Give Democrats in your neighborhood the chills with this adorable re-creation of a computerized, touch-screen voting machine!"
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I'm sorry; we need to rename the site to \. because there's no way anyone can accuse the site of having a right-wing slant.

          I am positively amused by the doom and gloom which you have forecast. Thanks; you've made my day. :)

      • Re:Unrealistic (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 1ucius (697592)
        I'm not disagreeing with you per se, but this whole thing seems overblown. My state has a so called "motor votor" law. This allows anyone to both register and vote at the polling place without *any* form of picture ID. IMHO, the chance of problems from this seems many orders of magnitude higher than that from somone hacking an electronic voting machine.
    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by asciiwhite (679872) * <asciiwhite&gmail,com> on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:19PM (#10676828)

      he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

      Nope, they allready know which states are needed to win elections, they do have a research department which gives them a good idea of which states are in favor of which candidate.

      Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen.

      Yes your right, but many country's worldwide have a electronic system that works. Why is it America can't seem to implement one?

      sort of nonsense being given face time on Slashdot just serves to stir up a bunch of clueless 16 year old zitheads

      Why is it your willing to go to war for democracy, but your not willing to make sure the key process for a democratic selection is secure? It really amazes me that a American like you is willing to let his fellow American die for a cause, but won't put up a stink when his democratic election process is being torn apart. Without a working electional system you have yourself a country where the people don't decide government. Which isn't exactly something "the land of the free" would have, would it?

    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:2, Interesting)

      While this makes for a slightly amusing statistical exercise, for it to work right, one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines, he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand.

      Agreed, it would be impossible to do this in practice. But as you suggest, the important point is that something like this could happen, even in theory. The implication is that electronic voting is much less robust than hand-counting, and certai

      • Re:Unrealistic (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @01:09AM (#10677256)
        Funny? No.

        Will it help bush? I hope not. Many of us foresaw something regarding OBL happening immediately prior to the election anyway. The great masses of the brainwashed electorate won't be affected by this. It's only the very scant few that haven't made up their mind by now that could be affected. The anti-bush crowd is probably scared more by the bush adminstration than OBL.

        So, in summary, I'm not convinced that bush has been helped at all.

    • The only way people will rise up and kill it is if (when) some massive fraud or error occurs that totally fucks the outcome of a major race.

      You're right on one count, electronic voting is here to stay. However, since we're already seeing signs of the massive error and possible fraud you allude to, this is a very salient issue. The article is a rather silly statistical exercise in one way, since there's no way a single person could skew all the different machines they would need to if they wanted to fix

      • There is something to be said about a true multi-party system like India or other democracies, where for the most part, have to govern as a coalition, representing diverse interests and state-level parties, who otherwise might not have a voice.

        A good illustration of this came in the inability of the far-right party that held power in India till this year to execute the agenda of their core base, and hew to a 'Common Minimum Programme'

        To remind one of the reality of direct voting through electronic machi

    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by demachina (71715) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:34PM (#10676899)
      "one candidate would not only have to have unrealistic access to countless voting machines"

      Uh, the people at Diebold had exactly this kind of access in California and Georgia in previous elections and all the manufacturers probably have it this time around too. Local election officials who all tend to be very partisan have it too. California is pursuing Diebold in court for precisely this kind of unauthorized access to their machines. Unrealistic indeed.

      Unless there are extraordinarily rigorous procedures followed in auditing the source, doing builds controlled environment, and making sure properly signed builds are on the machines, they are constantly vulnerable to compromise. If they had a paper trail it would be less bad because you could do random audits to catch cheating. With these paperless machines you have absolutely no way to catch fraud.

      You only need a compromised software load distributed across all machines. Its silly to act like some guy in black needs to go around and stuff ballots in each machine individually like they have to with good old paper ballots.

      This is a very real danger. STOP TRYING TO DOWNPLAY IT.

      "he'd have had to have guessed WHICH machines he needed unrealistic access to beforehand."

      Both sides know exactly the places where they need to jigger the results to steal the elections. They are called swing states and two of them with huge electronic voting presence are Ohio(home of Diebold and where Diebold's execs are a key part of the Bush campaign apparatus) and Florida where the election apparatus is dominated by the President's brother and his appointed Republican secretary of state.

      "Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen."

      You are so wrong. This horse is just out of the gate. If this election ends up at all close the jockeys(thousand strong armies of lawyers on both sides) are going to being whipping this horse all the way around the track. Its likely the losing side will blame these machines whether they are at fault or not forever because they are so fundamentally untrustworthy.

      This issue isn't ever going to be over until all machines have a paper trail at a bare minimum. I'm inclined to say all of the purely electronic machines should be replaced with paper ballots run through a national standard optical scanner like most sane precincts are using. You can take the all electronic machines and put one in each precinct for the handicapped to use but otherwise get them out of the process because they are fundamentally untrustworthy.
      • Re:Unrealistic (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rossz (67331)
        Uh, the people at Diebold had exactly this kind of access in California
        Which is why I have already mailed in my absentee ballot. I know too much about computers and Diebold to ever vote via one of their machines.
    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blamanj (253811) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:54PM (#10676990)
      First of all, this "study" was done with full knowledge of the outcome of the election.

      Irrelelvant, as it applies to all elections that are close.

      Second, this doesn't show any problem specific to electronic voting.

      True, the same mechanisms could be used, however, the likelihood is higher with computer voting because the processes are often hidden even to those running the balloting, and a single manufacturer may supply an entire state (or states).

      Finally - see that horse? It's dead. You can stop beating it. Electronic voting has happened, is happening, and will happen.

      Not the point. No one suggested that we turn back the clock. The point is to show how seemingly trivial effects can have consequences.

      If you told someone that in an election of several million voters, having a set of voting machines off by only a single vote would affect the results, they probably wouldn't believe you. This analysis shows otherwise.
      • Re:Unrealistic (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eh2o (471262)
        it applies to all elections that are close.

        Furthermore, elections which are reasonably close tend to get closer due to economics. That is, opinion polls are used to gauge the amount of money to spend on advertising, which is calculated to push the margin just slightly past the half-way mark -- no more, no less -- and correspondingly there is a huge incentive to try to manipulate the outcome by making these small changes -- it is easy, cheap, and its also devastatingly effective.
    • Re:Unrealistic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:54PM (#10676991)
      Its very realistic but not limited to computer voting.

      Electronic voting is not the issue here, its unverified voting.

      Both India and Australia have used electronic voting with out issue. Mainly because the code and the process is open.
      You can not privatise your electoral system and not expect something to go wrong.

      Perhaps it should be paper ballots with electronic counting.

      Do your thing with paper, get the machine to check it, i.e. if it can not read it it asks the voter to fix the error or get them to ask for help from the ballot people.

      Then put the paper vote in the big box of votes.

      Quick machine counts and if need be humans can check the real votes.

  • code (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elid (672471) <eli@ipod.gmail@com> on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:07PM (#10676775)
    We examine the effects of a type of electoral fraud easily perpetrated by someone with access to the system software for a direct-recording electronic voting system.

    I guess it would be something like this (qtd on Slashdot recently)

  • On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cloudkj (685320) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:14PM (#10676804)
    A little off-topic, but something that is quite relevant. Is anyone else a little apalled at the "Vote or Die" campaign put on by MTV to try to encourage kids to vote? The fact is, they are getting pushed to head to the polls, but often don't know anything about the issues at hand and will just vote randomly. What's the point then? Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?
    • Re:On a side note (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drlake (733308) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:18PM (#10676822)
      Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. I teach American politics at a campus where P. Diddy and crew just came through, and we talked about it in class after the rally. The point isn't simply to vote, but rather to take responsibility for your life. That entails being an educated voter, not a random one. That message is getting through to the kids, so I'm most definitely NOT appalled by it.
      • Re:On a side note (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:06AM (#10677033)
        Except the Vote or Die campaign carries a political agenda along with it. Propaganda and education aren't the same thing.

        I didn't attend the Vote or Die rally at my school (mainly because I greatly dislike P. Diddy, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mary J. Blige somewhat), but the reports I've heard indicated that DiCaprio fully admitted his support for Kerry during his speech, and Blige's incoherent ramblings were something to the effect of the war in Iraq being bad because it leads to a cycle of domestic violence. P. Diddy at least spread around the criticism by noting that neither major candidate spent much time politicking to large urban centers.

        • Re:On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

          by siriuskase (679431)
          The message that the students should get is that if people as moronic as diCaprio and incoherent as Blige can participate, then surely the cream of the United States educational system should not allow themselves to be intimidated by scary politicians and ballots. Heck, knowing which way DiCaprio is planning to vote might send the more thoughtful students running to the other parties.

          If after seeing this dog and pony show they still feel unqualified and unmotivated to vote, maybe they are right. Much as
        • Do you think the GOP drive to get out the vote among evangelical Christians is intended to neutrally educate people on the issues? This is how things go during campaign season.
          • Do you think the GOP drive to get out the vote among evangelical Christians is intended to neutrally educate people on the issues? This is how things go during campaign season.

            The difference is free association and where the funding comes from.

            The GOP is using campaign donations to reach out to people who voluntarily go to church and may get up and leave at any point. No law is compelling them to sit and listen to the speach, nor are tax dollars paying for it.

            Activities during the school day are at lea

        • Re:On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ajs (35943)
          I didn't attend the Vote or Die rally at my school, but the reports I've heard [...]

          Let me paraphrase a lot of people who said roughly the same thing under different circumstances:

          I haven't seen The Last Temptation of Christ, but from what I've heard it's very anti-Christian

          Turns out that that movie was anythnig but anti-Christian, but even to this day (last time was actually a few months ago) I hear from Christians who think it's a movie that was designed to make them hate their faith or some such fool

    • Re:On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fossa (212602)

      Absolutely. But see, there's this little problem: education takes time and effort. If I can't decide who to vote for based on sound bites from TV, then hell, I'll vote for Kerry because Bush looks like an ape. Yes, I am the problem with America today. I watch TV and never hear mention of any concepts covered in, say entry level economics or history courses. I hear tax cuts this, free trade that, but have no concept of the long or short term effects of these policies. I don't know what my senator has done; I

    • Usually I'd agree with you, and I switch between the two major parties fairly regularly, with the occasional third-party vote. But this year, it's really a no-brainer. There's a complete jackass as president, so as long as his opponent is Josef Stalin, there's really only one reasonable choice. What exactly Kerry stands for I don't care; he can't possibly be worse.
    • Re:On a side note (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:44PM (#10676937)
      A little off-topic, but something that is quite relevant. Is anyone else a little apalled at the "Vote or Die" campaign put on by MTV to try to encourage kids to vote? The fact is, they are getting pushed to head to the polls, but often don't know anything about the issues at hand and will just vote randomly. What's the point then? Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?

      Oh, and adults know the issues? Kids nowadays are more informed than their parents, and there is nothing wrong with a GOTV campaign aimed at young voters.

      • Re:On a side note (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:13AM (#10677054) Homepage Journal

        Kids nowadays are more informed than their parents

        Well, the kids think so, anyway. Their parents might disagree... and might remember when they thought the same.

        • Re:On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cgenman (325138)
          And I'm sure their parents' parents realize just how little the parents still really know.

          Bush is getting his 50% approval rating from somewhere, and I don't think it is college campuses. If I had two kids, a morgage, and a carreer, I doubt I would have the time to follow the hundreds of millions of dollars that is getting funneled to a company who is openly paying the vice president.

          • Bush is getting his 50% approval rating from somewhere, and I don't think it is college campuses.

            I think support for Bush is largely a side-effect of mental illness, a very severe lack of cognitive processes, and/or such a burned-in zeal that the sky is pink and the earth is flat no matter what. There was this senile woman at the grocery store the other day, and she asked us if we were going to be "good Republicans" on Tuesday. Then there are the people who only care that Bush isn't a "baby killer". Th
      • Re:On a side note (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JudgeFurious (455868) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:17AM (#10677068)
        Saying that kids nowdays are more informed than their parents is almost exactly as idiotic as saying that they're going to vote randomly.

        There IS nothing wrong with a campaign aimed at young voters though. It's hard to disagree with that.
      • Re:On a side note (Score:3, Insightful)

        by siriuskase (679431)
        While I disagree with the idea that kids are always more informed than their parents, I do think it is valuable to get anyone the least bit interested to register, research, and vote. They should get into the habit of voting while they are young and more likely to get into meaningful debates with their friends. If they can't find the time to vote when they are in school, they will never find the time when they are employed.

        They all have internet access, so they have the means to be very informed voters i
    • Re:On a side note (Score:2, Informative)

      by demachina (71715)
      Uh, how exactly is this different from the rhetoric coming out of Bush/Cheney and the Republican convention. Remember how they said if you elect the wrong person you risk another 9/11 attack, how you and your children are in grave danger if you make the wrong choice, or the wolves lurking in the forest. Humans have a strongly imprinted fear of wolves, using them in an add is designed entirely to stoke primal fear.

      So, are you equally upset about that rhetoric or are you only upset when liberals engage in
    • yeah (Score:2, Redundant)

      by SHEENmaster (581283)
      How educated must voters be with regard to the issues when they only get to choose between a giant douche and a turd sandwich? Personally, I prefer the votergasm [votergasm.org] campaign.
    • Re:On a side note (Score:4, Informative)

      by siriuskase (679431) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:03AM (#10677025) Homepage Journal
      It gets the kids interested. Once registered, they usually talk about politics with their friends and sometimes even do research. Most people, even kids, feel kind of stupid showing up to vote when they haven't done their homework.

      The hope is that they will come in and vote even if they aren't completely knowledgeable on every little issue. It's not a test, they can skip over anything they know nothing about. The typical American ballot is quite intimidating especially since you must vote for a variety of people and referendums both statewide [city-directory.com] and local [city-directory.com]. Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom where we get to vote on the definition of marriage and who should be the official local land surveyor. This can take you long time and if you are the kind of person who usually gets in the 90% on tests, it can make you feel kinda stupid.
    • Re:On a side note (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wass (72082) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:28AM (#10677119)
      I disagree strongly. People SHOULD vote if they have the opportunity. Can you offer any sensible reason why a vote from an allegedly uninformed person is bad? Democracy shouldn't favor the informed over the uninformed.

      Why is a brainwashed person who listens to news from the radical (right/left) more informed than someone that just watches Oprah/MTV and the local news, and otherwise wouldn't care to vote? Yet the radical right/left person will definitely vote for their cause, why is the vote of the Oprah/MTV fan less important?

      Shouldn't political education be placed in front of political mobilization?

      I actually think that political mobilization will encourage political education.

      Many countries (eg Australia) actually fine people for not voting. The point of the campaign is to get people involved with the political system, which is the whole foundation of democracy to begin with.

      By going out and voting, whether you do for a major candidate or even if you write-in 'mickey mouse', you get involved with the system. You begin to get some sense of not just the presidential candidates, but of state and city government, and many other proposals which you might not have otherwise known existed.

      For example, if you own a pizza shop near the waterfront, and you go to the polls and learn there's a proposal for the city to borrow/spend $5 million to enhance the waterfront area, that resolution will definitely impact you greatly.

  • by oldosadmin (759103) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:15PM (#10676810) Homepage
    I'm more afraid of a glitch along the lines of "all diebold machines count an extra presidential vote whenever this combination of votes is chosen" ... or something like that. Some kind of UNINTENTIONAL glitch to fuck up the results.
    • That's ok, they'll catch it in the recount when they tally all the paper receipts. ;)
    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:48PM (#10676960)
      From County Responds to Voting Machine Problems [austinchronicle.com] BY LEE NICHOLS
      Travis County election officials have responded to complaints that voters casting straight-party Democratic ballots are discovering, when performing a final check of their ballots, that their votes for president have been changed from Kerry/Edwards to Bush/Cheney. The officials say that, after trying and failing to replicate the problem on its eSlate voting machines, they have concluded the vote changes are due to
      voter error rather than mechanical failure.

      Gail Fisher, manager of the county's Elections Division, theorizes that after selecting their straight party vote, some voters are going to the next page on the electronic ballot and pressing "enter," perhaps thinking they are pressing "cast ballot" or "next page." Since the Bush/Cheney ticket is the first thing on the page, it is highlighted when the page comes up - and thus, pressing "enter" at that moment causes the Kerry/Edwards vote to be changed to Bush/Cheney.

      Fisher stressed very strongly that voters should not rush, but carefully and thoroughly examine their ballots on the final review page before pressing "cast ballot."

      Fisher said the county has received "less than a dozen" complaints from the more than 70,000 voters that had cast ballots by Friday afternoon. She said the county has also received a complaint from the Travis County Democratic Party. TCDP Executive Director

      Elizabeth Yevich said it was not a formal complaint, but that the party had expressed concern and the county had been "receptive and responsive."
      After reading the above selection-

      1. Can you identify any UI design flaws in the user interface described above?
      2. What would be a more reasonable default selection in this case?
      3. Are poor UI design and user error mutually exclusive?
      • by realdpk (116490) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:05AM (#10677029) Homepage Journal
        1) There is no need for an "enter" key.
        2) There shouldn't be a default selection, it wouldn't matter though, since there should not be an enter key.
        3) No, they're not. You can still call it user error if they weren't paying attention, the blame rests on both sides. Now, since one side has a sinister reason, and the other side doesn't, I think it's not unreasonable to investigate and perhaps conclude it was intentional.
    • I was just thinking.

      How scary would it be to go to bugzilla.election.gov.us or something and see "BUG #1212 -- Votes from Slashdot readers weighted based on karma"
    • "I'm more afraid of a glitch along the lines of "all diebold machines count an extra presidential vote whenever this combination of votes is chosen""

      One vote per machine could swing the election? Hands up anyone who's never found an off-by-one error in their code? Bonus points if it's in visual basic (as Diebold use) which has it's own, built-in off-by-one errors (e.g. when defining arrays)

  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:17PM (#10676820) Homepage
    year...

    It should sicken everyone that both major parties are willing to go so far to win that we are now hearing about so many voter fraud problems arising before the election. Voter fraud should be one of the most severe crimes on the federal law books, it should be classified as a form of "attempting to overthrow the United States Government." No less than five years in prison IMO.

    That said, America needs a much more comprehensive solution to voter fraud. It is one of the few things that I think warrants having a DNA tag for every citizen. There should be a national voter database that has the DNA of all citizens in it so that instead of having a national id you only have to go to the precinct and get a quick biometric test done to verify your ID.
    • by boisepunk (764513) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:30PM (#10676876)
      I'm not trying to start a flamewar, but there's a reason they don't catalog all of our DNA or give us all numbers or something like that.
      You do have a really good point about voter fraud in your first paragraph. Maybe you should push this point a little more. You just convinced me that voter fraud is a tantamount to overthrowing the US Government.
    • by physicsphairy (720718) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:35PM (#10676904) Homepage
      Before people start jumping on you for "dna database == evil government control of our lives" let me just suggest that a dna database would be less intrusive than our present methods.

      Why?

      Because you don't have to story peoples' names or any other information! You just have a bunch of dna entries, but you don't know who they belong too, where they live, etc. You can't even figure out who is a voter from the database. If you have the dna from someone you can check them against the database, but you can't do it the other way around. So as far as the government or anyone else who might abuse voter information is considered, the database is just about useless.

      What about removing, say, a convicted felon from the database? Just get a sample of his dna and pull the matching strand from the database.

      The downside: First, electrophoresis probably doesn't scale well to millions of samples. It's a lot better than the old methods, but not really designed at present for large scale work. Second, getting the DNA is going to annoy voters. Probably the easiest thing to do would be to swab cheek cells, but still. Third, while I firmly believe this could eliminate almost all voter fraud, this is not some super-secure database. I mean, what method are you using to check whose dna is allowed in? Probably birth certificate and social security card. And as easy as it is to forge those, so would it be to get into the database.

      • Are you so naive to believe that the government wouldn't store additional data with your D.N.A. chain? They'd just keep a file of A's T's C's and G's without assigning a person's SSN or name, or both to it?
        • Are you so naive to believe that the government wouldn't store additional data with your D.N.A. chain? They'd just keep a file of A's T's C's and G's without assigning a person's SSN or name, or both to it?

          I have proposed a database in which that is the only information kept, and in which that is a strict requirement of keeping the information. So, yes, that would be the only information kept in my hypothetical database.

          The government might like to have a repository of names connected with in DNA, but I

    • A massive nationwide database is a scary thing. It can start off for one little purpose, but it is very convenient to hang new uses onto it. Look what happened to Social Security.

      If I could be assured that names and other personal information would never be added to it, this seems like an ideal system to eliminate voting by dead people [msn.com] and Operation [msn.com] Snowbird [operationsnowbird.com] participants.
    • A far better system would be to have each vote (paper or electronic) digitally signed in a way that cannot identify the signer but where the signing key is personally held by the voter.

      The signature system would need to be public-key based, so that the signing key was different and undeterminable from the verifying key. The verifying key could then be made available to all election monitors and the vote counters.

      All monitors would then be in a position to validate that each vote was cast by a real voter

  • by wviperw (706068)
    Sorry, I haven't been following up on the whole e-voting thing. Will there be e-voting for the election coming up in a few days or will there not be? If so, link? I haven't seen anything to confirm or deny it, just a bunch of complaints about the system.
  • I totally agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kujila (826706) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:24PM (#10676853) Homepage
    eVoting might be the "wave of the future" but the future ain't here yet!

    One of the most troublesome states to meddle with the faulty "eVoting" system is Florida. In addition to this, there are thousands of absentee ballots missing.

    I expect Florida to be somewhat troublesome come this November. :) ...now, for this eVoting stuff...It's easy to spoof an e-mail and not get caught, but it's not so easy to spoof an actual letter and not get caught... I apply this same analogy to eVoting. You could attempt to forge a physical ballot (like the guy in Ohio who recently attempted to register celebrity's names as voters), but you would most likely get caught in the long run, whereas if you modify an "eVote" you can slide home-free into office.

    Politics is a crooked business to start with, and this eVoting stuff is just twisting it even more!

    Maybe next time, but I hope they lay off of these things this time around!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:25PM (#10676856)
    The Baltimore Jewish Times is reporting that Diebold uses DES encryption in their voting machines, and the key is publically available!
    http://www.jewishtimes.com/2435.stm [jewishtimes.com]
  • "off by one" software mistakes even more significant. Maybe this has been The Secret Plan (tm) all along.

    For what it's worth, this same statistical analysis is what means *your* vote actually counts for something.
  • by hotspotbloc (767418) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:32PM (#10676889) Homepage Journal
    One of the "solutions" being pushed by many is a paper receipt of one's vote. If a voting machine has been compromised wouldn't a receipt be useless? I mean if the machine has been hacked what's keeping said hacker from just writing a routine to print out whatever the voter voted for and recording something different? What are the election officials going to do, ask everyone who voted to bring in their receipts? Kinda kills off the whole "secret ballot" thing.

    IMO optical mark recognition (aka: bubble sheets), also made by Diebold and others, is the closest thing out there that allows for fairly secure vote protection while allowing for electronic tallying. I know that evoting is also about access to others but at the cost of a honest election?

    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:42PM (#10676928)
      Agreed, paper receipts taken home by voters are a bad idea. It leads directly to vote-buying. And there is no use-case I can imagine where this would be useful. "Could everyone please bring their receipts back to the school gymnasium for the recount!"

      An auditable paper trail shouldn't involve paper that leaves the custody of the state.
    • The receipt doesn't leave the polling place. It is a human readable printout of who all you have voted for. You look over it, then go stuff it in the ballot box just like the old butterfly ballots.

      Ideally, a random sellection of these ballot boxes would be opened up and counted and compared with the results of the electronic machines. This would verify that the machines were operating correctly. They would also be opened up and counted if a recount is needed.

      At no time, would a voter carry a receipt
      • The receipt doesn't leave the polling place. It is a human readable printout of who all you have voted for. You look over it, then go stuff it in the ballot box just like the old butterfly ballots.

        Great reply. Thanks for information. It clears up some things.

        Ok, so the paper receipt stays there. I wonder what happens if the printer jams or runs out of paper. Wouldn't that mess up a recount? What happens if you only alter the electronic tally of the visually impaired (triggered when someone resizes the

    • by demachina (71715) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:16AM (#10677067)
      We are talking about voter verifiable paper trails. You enter your vote on the machine and it prints out what you voted in human and ideally machine readable form so you can verify the machine did what you told it to do and there is a record that is put in a box like an old fashioned paper ballot. There are two forks here.

      In one fork the paper trail is machine readable and it gets fed into an optical scanner which actually counts it. In this scenario the electronic voting machine is of marginal value though it can reduce errors, double voting for example or not filling in the ovals properly for an optical scanner. But the main thing they do is provide electronic assistance to the blind so they can vote without assistance. We are blessed with these machines partially because the handicapped, especially the blind, are rightly complaining they are denied their right to anonymous voting by most/all non electronic voting machine.

      In the other more likely fork the electronic machine does the count, but their is a paper receipt for every vote so you can:

      A. randomly recount a subset of the machines to verify that the paper trail matches the machine count and catch fraud.

      B. If the election is close or their is a dispute you can do a complete manual recount and disregard the machine count if it appears suspect.

      Venezuela recently had a hotly contested recall electon for Hugo Chavez and they used all electronic machines, but with a paper trail unlike the U.S. which is sorely lacking paper trails. Here [economist.com] is a good writup on some of the issues the Carter foundation found in trying to monitor and audit the election.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:33PM (#10676896) Journal

    is that each voteing place has at least 2 workers. One is democrat, and another is republican. This was started a long time ago, BECAUSE ppl tend to corrupt. Chicago, Texas, and Tennase were great examples of cities/states that have notorious voter fraud in the past.These days neither party trust each other and will be sueing in huge amounts over the next couple of weeks.

    Yet, here is a system that is fairly easy to defeat esp. when a paper trail is not created. And both major parties seem to want to push it.

    • Yes, those little teams of old ladies and gents watching paper ballots like a hawk is a pretty good system though its increasingly hard to find enough of them because younger people don't value elections like they do, and of course politicians are so pathetic most people are completely disenchanted with the whole process.

      They beauty of electronic voting without a papertrail is all these little old ladies and gents are completely cut out of the system. They are wasting their time sitting there because the s
  • We had it here... :( (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smoothwallsamuel (753105) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:37PM (#10676911) Homepage
    Here in Canberra (that nice little capital city of Australia) we had electronic voting for our election, and it is now probably going to be the focus of a court challenge by a losing party.

    Personally, I agree with the time honoured tradition of paper voting...at least there is some physical record of votes.

    samuel
  • by bubbaprog (783125) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @11:49PM (#10676962)
    We have e-voting because those in control know they can use it to their advantage. There was nothing wrong with a paper ballot with a box that you place a mark in next to the candidate you choose. They replaced it with error-prone punch cards and butterfly ballots because it was EASIER. If they wanted to guarantee the most accurate recording of votes, they'd use a paper ballot you marked with a pen, which was then counted by a human being, then recounted by a different human being. You know, like you had in high school? They don't do it that way anymore. They could, if they wanted to. They don't. And so we have systems that are open to interpretation and manipulation.
    • You are right, pen and paper are the only way to go. I like the idea of going back to something primitive because simple normally works best.

      Reading most of the other comments here proves it. The number of possible corruptions is staggering. From a spoof of what software is actually running on the machine to a script to do a print screen on a receipt and recording different votes.
  • What software? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hobadee (787558) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:00AM (#10677016) Homepage Journal
    I don't know if this has been brought up before or not, but either way I will bring it up.

    How can electronic voting ever be trusted? (Surprisingly, my mom of all people, who knows nothing about computers brought up this point with me.) Even if we use open source voting software, we still have a major problem. How do we know the open source we saw is actually running on the machine? It would be more than easy to get the GUI to SAY that it was running "so-and-so version X.X". How do we actually KNOW it's running that though?

    The only viable solution I see would be to actually have every voter load the software onto the machine, and the machine interface somehow, but then again, this has some major downfalls. How does the community feel about this? What solutions do you propose, in this election, and in future elections?
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:08AM (#10677037)
    None of this even mentions the serious problem that one of the people running might actually get elected.
  • by suso (153703)
    I heard that in Texas there were reports that selecting a straight democrating ticket down the line would still select Bush for president. I wonder how many people "accidently" voted for Bush.
    • by davidstrauss (544062) <david@davidst r a u s s . n et> on Sunday October 31, 2004 @04:58AM (#10677861)
      I heard that in Texas there were reports that selecting a straight democrating ticket down the line would still select Bush for president. I wonder how many people "accidently" voted for Bush.

      It's not a bug. It's just an easy way to misuse the eSlate tablets. After selecting a straight-ticket, it takes you to the next selection box, which it the presidential race. Ol' Dubya is first on the ballot, so he gets highlighted. Pressing the selection button instead of the "Cast Ballot" button selects him.

      I'm familiar with the issue because I work with the Travis County Democratic Party in Austin, Texas, the headquarters of eSlate and a county that exclusively uses eSlate machines.

      • If it's not a bug, it's certain very poor design. There should be no default choices. What if I didn't want to vote in the presidential race?

        Besides, I don't get why after voting Democrat for every race, I would have to go to another screen, and reselect Kerry. It doesn't make any sense.

        It sure sounds like whoever designed these machines intentionally made it so that people would "accidently" vote for Bush.
  • by antdude (79039) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:26AM (#10677106) Homepage Journal
    here [stupidvideos.com].
  • by Kenja (541830) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:27AM (#10677108)
    Just because Diebold has said they are committed to delivering votes to George Bush [blackboxvoting.com] and they make e-voting hardware without an auditing system that a monkey can hack [asp.net] is no reason to suspect everything is less then on the up and up.
  • Then again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:34AM (#10677144)
    Very little discussion has taken place on the wholesale repeal and replacement of several election laws in states like California, where people line up to vote at the entrance to grocery stores.

    Under the old laws, which were repealed in grand fashion without so much as a whisper from the press, such voting would be flagrantly illegal. Voting less than 40 feet from a newsstand, for example, or voting on a day other than election day was unheard of...

    ...until now.

    The election of the people whose responsibility it is to run our government is now treated with the same level of consideration as a sale on ground beef in the frozen food aisle. Naturally, this is fine, since everything in our society is evaluated based on the convenience factor for the SUV moms, and whether it can be scheduled between trips to the dry cleaners and the bank. More thought is invested in the right windows for the breakfast nook and the new countertops for the kitchen renovations at Home Repo than is invested in the sober consideration of who should run the country.

    Selfishness, greed, apathy and laziness are great criteria for elections.

    It was possible to vote before the most recent debate. It was possible to vote before several very lengthy and comprehensive articles on various propositions were published in newspapers. It was necessary for the legislature in California to repeal no fewer than EIGHT election laws in order to make "election month" legal, and nobody pays it a second thought. We did just fine with election DAY for 228 years, but now, that doesn't seem to be enough.

    The potential for fraud and inaccuracy is immense, but there wasn't even the most rudimentary opportunity to even COMMENT on this before it showed up next to the paper towel display weeks before the election.

    Election without representation is even worse than taxation without representation. We had better turn off the fucking high-definition entertainment center and develop some reverence for the democratic process, and soon.

  • by spisska (796395) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @12:44AM (#10677182)
    Voting Machines, including DREs, are only a small part of the reason why this election will be a train wreck.

    There are a few others of pressing concern.

    1) Provisional ballots: The Help America Vote Act (HAVA), passed by Congress to prevent some of the nonsense from Florida in 2000, requires that a voter who tries to vote but does not show up on the list of eligible voters be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which will be set aside to be later verified and counted, if valid.

    There are a number of legitimate reasons why this may happen -- a voter shows up at the wrong precinct for example, or has moved to a different precinct in the same county, or a different county in the same state, or their registration wasn't properly processed, etc.

    HAVA, however, only requires that these prospective voters be given a provisional ballot; it does not require the states to count provisional ballots. In Ohio, the Secretary of State issued an order that provisional ballots will not be counted, and instead errant voters are to be directed to the proper polling place. This order was upheld, overturned on appeal, and overturned again in Federal Appellate Court about a week ago -- meaning the secretary's original order stands, and provisional ballots in Ohio may be collected but not counted.

    Expect more lawsuits, especially if the vote is as close as it now appears it will be.

    2) Absentee Ballots: All states allow for voting by absentee ballots, but most require that the ballots are returned by the close of polls on election day. Not postmarked, but returned.

    A state cannot even print absentee ballots untill all primary election results have been certified by the state. Some states (can't remember which off the top of my head) have primary elections as late as October, meaning there's less than one month to certify primary results, print, mail, and recieve absentee ballots.

    I suppose most of you heard about the 58,000 missing absentee ballots in Florida. They were supposed to mail out new ones on Friday, but even with overnight mail, there is no way those can be returned by Tuesday, 7:00 pm, at least by mail. There is talk about extending the deadline, but one can expect quite a few gripes in the coming weeks about lost ballots. Again, expect lawsuits.

    Also of note, though purely anecdotal, is that in 2000 I was living in a former Warsaw-Pact country and requested an absentee ballot (Cuyahoga County, OH) through the US embassy in September. I never got my ballot. Expect more complaints, and yes, lawsuits.

    3) Multiple voting: In most states, it's piss easy to get on the voter registration rolls, and much more difficult to get off them. This issue has already been raised in Florida this year, particularly concerning 'sun birds' who have residences there and in other states, notably New York. It is not difficult at all to cast valid votes in both states, provided one is registered in both states. This shouldn't be possible, but it is not unusual.

    4) Experience. This is something that has largely been ignored by the media, but an unprecedented number of county-level election supervisors will be running their first national elections.

    There are an awful lot of county clerks, board of elections chairmen, recorders, and elections supervisors who saw the writing on the wall after November 2000, and who opted for private sector jobs or retirement, early or otherwise, to avoid a Florida-type scandal. Not that their replacements are not competent, but they are rookies. Check with your local government to find out who is running this election, and how long he or she has been there.

    All this is not to say that DREs are absolutely acurate and foolproof, but there are many more problems besides the physical mechanisms of voting, just as there were in 2000. Problems 2 and 3 happen every four year, for example; they just don't matter unless the vote is close.

    This has been all well and good in the past because the margin of victory has been
  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @01:20AM (#10677279)
    Yale students show that altering only a single vote per machine would have changed the electoral college outcome of the 2000 election

    You mean Bush would have won?!
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @04:16AM (#10677784)
    How can voting possibly have been made so controversial?

    PUT AN X IN THE BOX ON A PIECE OF PAPER!

    Simple, effective, auditable. It's worked for the UK for hundreds of years, it worked on the EU elections with hundreds of millions of voters. IT JUST WORKS!

  • by amper (33785) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @05:14AM (#10677914) Journal
    It seems fairly obvious that the fundamental flaws in our voting system (and indeed, our government and society) have been rather dramatically exposed by the last few election cycles in this country. Unfortunately, the main impediment to election reform in this country is the fact that the very institution that is designed to represent the interests of the people, the government, is comprised of the very people who stand to benefit the most from disallowing any election reform methods, and furthermore, cannot be considered as impartial auditors of the processes involved.

    There are many things we need to do in this country to improve our democracy.

    1. We need a drastic overhaul of election finance. Our current system is simply too opaque, and many political "contributions" (both monetary and rhetorical) are made by groups whose bias is indeterminate, or whose power to influence overwhelms large numbers of the electorate.

    All overt contributions (especially those made by non-individuals) to political campaigns should be forced to reveal their true sources and not be allowed to hide behind names like "The Center for American Democracy", or such. (NB: There may in fact be a "Center for American Democracy", but I do not mean to single out any particular group) Unfortunately, this aspect of our system has traditionally been left to the press, an institution that is increasingly becoming corrupted by conflicts of interest.

    This also has implications that reach far beyond electoral practices, but that's another argument for another day...

    2. We need to move away from "winner takes all" elections. The two-party system that has evolved in this country has resulted in vast swaths of the electorate being disenfranchised and unrepresented. Choosing between the lesser of two evils or voting "against" one or another candidate or party does not tend to produce an effective form of goverment.

    3. We need to ensure our vote-tallying methods are made as tamper-proof as possible by instituting a system by which all interested parties can have a transparently, independently verifiable, repeatable audit of the tally, and we need to do this without losing anonymity in the system.

    4. To quote the estimable "speechwriters" for President Josiah Bartlet, "Education is the silver bullet." Only an informed electorate can make responsible electoral decisions.

    I propose that we enact legislation to ensure that public education spending must equal defense spending in this country. I also believe that our education system should move to a year-round system and the age requirements for attendence be increased to 18 years of age, the age of voting majority.

    I also believe that basic education standards and funding need to be controlled by the federal government, not at a state or municipal level, and that access to all levels of educations, including college-level education, and continuing education should be provided for with public monies. (Note that this would not disallow state or municipal enactment of even higher standards, nor would it disallow private education, provided that it meets federal minimum requirements). And those basic standards need to be raised to a higher bar.

    The basic idea of NCLB was admirable, but the reality of that law is a disaster (and if we want no child left behind, then we need to ensure no teacher is left behind, as well as no parent).

    As far as Number Three, above, is concerned--clearly, we need to enact an amendment to the Constitution that will provide that all election methods must be "open source". We simply must apply the "many eyes" doctrine to our elections. Only through transparent, independent, repeatably verifiable means can we ensure the validity of our elections. This clearly requires open source methods and rigorous accounting and auditing standards. As this is a fundamental aspect of our government, it must be codifi

  • Form of things (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zpok (604055) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @07:49AM (#10678279) Homepage
    Call me old fashioned, but I would never trust a system that
    a) didn't give me a paper confirmation of my vote
    b) wouldn't give a visual printout to be put in the ballot

    Given the past election, I can't understand how the land of the free can put up with a system that doesn't provide either. I've heard the reasons for not providing printout, they were plain stupid and not technically challenging at all. OK, I prefer a paperless office, and quite like trees, but still...

    And why oh why is voting not compulsory? Democracy is not a right, it's a hard-won system of self government that implies some democratic duties to its part-takers. One of them is to go out and f*cking vote once every four years. If you don't, you don't participate and forsake your rights. Which is exactly what is happening now, but that's another story altogether.

    Imo the US of A spends too much time defending its right to be ignorant and stupid.
  • by radtea (464814) on Sunday October 31, 2004 @10:15AM (#10678795)
    We need someone to exploit one of the many Diebold machine vulnerablities and use it to report every single vote as being one for Nader. They'd only have to hack a few machines to make the problem glaringly obvious. Bonus points for doing it in a "dead-heat" state where the effect on the final election outcome will be impossible to determine.

    The point isn't to throw the election, but to show the world unequivocally that we aren't talking about theoretical possibilities, but a serious practical threat to American democracy.

    The outcome would be short-term chaos, as the whole U.S. electoral process would be thrown into disrepute, but the long-term result might be to get all major parties to insist on voter-verified, re-countable paper trails, as were used successfully in the recent referendum in Venezuala.

    On the other hand, the long-term outcome might be to round up and shoot everyone with the skills to exploit such e-voting vulnerabilities.

    --Tom
  • Did anyone RTFA? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mitchkeller (208117) <justice&gogeek,org> on Sunday October 31, 2004 @01:57PM (#10680041) Homepage

    Looks like /. is off jumping the gun and running into wild off-topic "discussions" again. I tried to read the article, but became disgusted with the poor quality of it early on. Just a couple of points that made me give up are (1) a blatant lie claiming that Georgia doesn't have absentee voting and (2) their wild and faulty assumption that 90% of all votes cast are cast on electronic machines. North Dakota is finally getting optical scan ballots state-wide, and I think they're likely to stay with them a long time, because they're cheap and reliable and not such a big change. Lots of other states are in the same situation, so assuming 90% is ludicrous. Also, an increasing number of votes are being cast early using absentee ballots or paper early ballots, so it's unlikely that in the future 90% of votes will ever be cast on election day.

    I applaud these Yalue undergraduates for trying, but there's not much to see here. Let's move along.

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