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Voting Machines Routinely Failing Nationwide 237

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the to-boldly-die-where-many-machines-have-died-before dept.
palegray.net writes "Voting machines in several critical swing states are causing major problems for voters. A Government Accountability Office report and Common Cause election study [PDF] has concluded that major issues identified in the last presidential election have not been corrected, nor have election officials been notified of the problems. How long can we afford to trust our elections to black box voting practices? From the article: 'In Colorado, 20,000 left polling places without voting in 2006 because of crashed computer registration machines and long lines. And this election day, Colorado will have another new registration system.'"
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Voting Machines Routinely Failing Nationwide

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  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:21AM (#25069453)

    Maybe it would just be easier to bribe Diebold more than whoever is holding their leash now? Saves all that pesky trouble of actually fixing the problem.

    • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:26AM (#25069495)

      I think it's insane that this is left to a private company to do anything more than fit the parts together.
      I mean this is the sort of thing which Open Source would be perfect for.
      There would be no shortage of coders willing to review the code and point out any problems.
      It would help with the "open" part of "open and fair" election

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:33AM (#25069555) Homepage

        Aye, but then thar be no booty in it, and what's good for gold is good for all landlubbers, savvy?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by flitty (981864)
          Do th' good thing and rend the electronic monster asunder wi'd yer cutlass! Be sure to grab any booty that spills forth from th' gut of the beast!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by superdave80 (1226592)
          I think he's trying to communicate with us...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by noundi (1044080)
        It might be off topic, but if a country can have a private (at least quasi-public) central bank, they sure as hell can have private voting systems.
        ---
        In the States no one can hear you vote.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AvitarX (172628)

        I mean this is the sort of thing which Open Source would be perfect for

        I like to use open source thinking when I vote:
        Vote early and vote often.

      • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Insightful)

        by txoof (553270) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:53AM (#25069759) Homepage

        I mean this is the sort of thing which Open Source would be perfect for. There would be no shortage of coders willing to review the code and point out any problems. It would help with the "open" part of "open and fair" election

        You make an excellent point. A community reviewed and verifiable voting machine system is the best way to ensure that the voters have faith in the vote. Democracy as a concept is worthless if the voters have no ability to verify the vote. If voters can not have faith in the system of elections, then the voters cannot have faith in their government. Electronic voting machines are eroding voters faith in their government and faith in democracy. It's hard to convince people to trust their government if they can't even trust the system that elects the government.

        • Re:Voting machines (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Talderas (1212466) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:33AM (#25070239)

          You make an excellent point. A community reviewed and verifiable voting machine system is the best way to ensure that the voters have faith in the vote. Democracy as a concept is worthless if the voters have no ability to verify the vote. If voters can not have faith in the system of elections, then the voters cannot have faith in their government. Electronic voting machines are eroding voters faith in their government and faith in democracy. It's hard to convince people to trust their government if they can't even trust the system that elects the government.

          You know the problems with these machines and I know the problems, but are you willing to bet (and how much) that the majority of Americans are aware of the problem or even care? Ask yourself how much you would be willing to bet that the majority of Americans care, and if you can't justify a significant amount of assets, you'll have your answer.

          • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Interesting)

            by txoof (553270) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:42AM (#25070353) Homepage

            I don't think the problem is the lack of caring, but rather the lack of understanding. When I talk to my mom about this problem, her eyes glaze over and I can tell that she can't quite wrap her head around this problem. She doesn't get the mechanics of the problem and gets frustrated. Once she's frustrated, she can't move on to the other points and develop an opinion.

            I saw this when I sold computers and cell phones. People would come in, not knowing what they wanted, try to ask some questions and then end up frustrated when they didn't "get it". They would usually leave empty handed, or buy the one that fit their price point the best. It's not that they didn't care, but rather they couldn't hold all the variables in their head. This problem is similar, non-technical people can't quite conceive of the problem and its intricacies so they'd rather not be frustrated and just ignore it.

            This means that those of us that do "get it" need to be responsible in advocating for proper solutions.

            • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Informative)

              by smoker2 (750216) on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:22AM (#25070873) Homepage Journal
              Try describing it using money. If she has $10 and buys something costing $5, if the till says she gets $4 change then the machine is wrong. Obviously.
              The voting machine tells you things via a process you can't and more importantly aren't allowed to independently verify. But the results seem to be wrong. The machine must be examined to see where the problem lies. They won't let you. How long would you argue in the store that the till was wrong ?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ikkonoishi (674762)

                I work retail. Most people wouldn't notice if I added an extra dollar to every purchase with over three items.

            • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Interesting)

              by DavidTC (10147) <[slas45dxsvadiv. ... ] [neverbox.com]> on Friday September 19, 2008 @12:29PM (#25072777) Homepage

              The way I explain it is to say that, contrary to all movies on the topic, computers can lie. Here is what I say:

              Computer do exactly what they're supposed to do, and if they're supposed to lie about who won an election, they will. We have no idea how the manufacturer, or anyone with physical access to the machine, may have rigged the election.

              Most of the people are convinced at this point. Some are more knowledgable and ask things like 'Don't they check each machine and certify the code?'

              Although they check the code, 'this check' consists people carefully looking at the code the computer is supposed to be running.

              Which is fine, but then they just ask the computer if that's the code they're running. Which, obviously, the computer can lie about.

              There are programs called rootkits, and their entire purpose is to lie during system checks, to present one set of files to be 'checked' and another set to actually run. This is how many viruses operate, presenting one set of files, without the virus, to the virus scanner, and actually executing another set with the virus. It would be easy enough to activate such a program on voting machines, and it would be undetectable without removing the hard drive to scan it in another machine.

              Furthermore, remember those cards you carry to the voting machine? Anyone, before the election, could have used them to get such a rootkit onto the machine. Behind that pretty voting application is a standard Windows machine that can run all sorts of rootkits, and the code to write your own rootkit is readily available.

              And all computer scientists understand this, that it is in fact a fundamental concept of computer security that there is no way to stop a computer from lying, even to itself. Computer programmers have cracked all the security protocols set up to keep us from copying CDs and DVD and satellite signals, and voting machine security is much much crappier.

              I think this gets the point across without being too technically inaccurate.

          • The People (Score:3, Insightful)

            by conureman (748753)

            The majority of the people who vote think that they are making a real choice. They believe that Tweedledee or Tweedledum are, in fact, meaningfully different. It's true! They saw it on television.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by pjameson (880321)
            I doubt it's a majority, however I know when we had our primary elections in my precinct, we had poll workers trying to get us to use the voting machines. When I said no, one of the other workers asked why the first wasn't getting more people to use the voting machine. The response was, surprisingly, that most people said they didn't want to use it because they didn't trust it to be accurate. Only anecdotal evidence, but it gave me a bit of hope that maybe other, normal citizens are aware of the problems wi
        • More importantly ... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday September 19, 2008 @03:16PM (#25075823) Journal

          If voters can not have faith in the system of elections, then the voters cannot have faith in their government.

          More importantly:

          If the LOSERS can not have faith in the system of elections, they may convince themselves that they have enough support to reverse the result by force.

          The real purpose of elections is not some kind of fairness. It is to head off civil war by convincing the losers of the election that they'd lose the war too. Thus the perception of fair elections is stabilizing and the perception of massive cheating destabilizing.

          For this purpose it's OK to come out wrong if the election is very close. But if it is perceived that the election was so badly off that it reversed a landslide, it doesn't just lose its stabilizing effect: It becomes actively destabilizing, causing the losers to believe that a war to reverse it is not just possible, but justified.

          Of course the easiest way to create the perception of fair elections is for the elections to actually BE fair and to be fair in a way that is VISIBLE and can be CHECKED.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lbgator (1208974)

        ...this is the sort of thing which Open Source would be perfect for.
        There would be no shortage of coders willing to review the code and point out any problems.
        It would help with the "open" part of "open and fair" election

        Then why not do it? That's how open source works, isn't it? Identify a need and get to it?

        Don't stop at just software though. Make a playbook for the entire system that any precinct is free to implement. Call out the check in procedure, how to handle privacy, how to aid people with disabilities, minimum manning requirements, the redundant paper trail, etc. Make an open source rock solid "how to run an election without blowing it" guide.

        • by DrLang21 (900992)
          If someone were to do this, I would be happy to help with the hardware end of it. Keep in mind that a lot of the existing systems have security problems beyond just the poor software implementation.
        • Yes. This would be a perfect cause to start an organization around.

          1) Design open source voting hardware / software.
          2) Have lots of people try to poke holes in the ideas.
          3) Improve them.
          4) Build prototypes.
          5) Hold a contest for people to try to hack them. Offer prize money. Make videos of the attempts. Put them online. (At this step you're also pointing out the anti-democratic failures of the current designs.)
          6) Repeat until you've got an all-but-unhackable design.
          7) Take all that evidence and the plans to

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        I think it is insane to even let a company fit the parts together. How do you know that they don't patch the software beforehand ? When it is proved than in less than two minutes with physical access you can rig a machine to falsify stealthily its results, how can you trust a private company to assemble it or even to store it ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why do you need open source?
        Make a mark on a bit of paper, and putting said bit of paper in a closed box - It's easy to operate, easy to understand, failure tends to be highly localised (one bit of paper, or possibly one box full of bits of paper).

        Closed source - very bad, only gets reviewed by those that own it.
        Open source - bad, only gets reviewed by techies.
        Bits of paper with a tick on it - good, anyone who can read can review it.

        Does it matter that it takes a bit longer to know the result? Is the potent

      • Re:Voting machines (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dpilot (134227) on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:37AM (#25071063) Homepage Journal

        Keep in mind that the message is clearly and loudly being sent:

        "Profit is the most important thing in the United States of America."

        Never in so few, or just those words, but sent nonetheless.
        "Government should not do anything that can be done by the private sector."
        "The Medicare Part 4 specifically prohibits the government from using its buying power to negotiate a better price on pharmaceuticals."
        "A company is *only* responsible to return value to its shareholders, while obeying the law."
        etc, etc, etc

        With mantras like these, what do you expect?

    • Maybe it would just be easier to bribe Diebold more than whoever is holding their leash now? Saves all that pesky trouble of actually fixing the problem.

      Too bad diebold already leaked the results early:
      http://www.theonion.com/content/video/diebold_accidentally_leaks [theonion.com]

  • big deal (Score:5, Funny)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:22AM (#25069465) Journal
    voters have been routinely failing nationwide for years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by adpsimpson (956630)

      voters have been routinely failing nationwide for years.

      However, doctors have made good progress at unravelling the mysteries of their interior designs and workings, and have been making good progress in recent years at 'hacking back together' malfunctioning units.

      It should be pointed out that their efforts are being slightly hampered by businesses patenting certain bits of the voter units, methods of interacting with it and chemical processes for alteration of failures and reactions.

  • Problems: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:26AM (#25069493)
    FTA:
    ""We're seeing a lot of problems where people are being kicked off the data base rolls if their name is on as Alex as opposed to Alexander or they've put a middle initial in there name and it's not there," said Susan"

    It sounds like these problems could have been avoided if the system was designed properly in the first place. Whoever was contracted for this should be made to solve the problem for providing a product that clearly lacked testing.
    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:28AM (#25069513)

      You can't actually hold companies responsible for their mistakes!!!

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Whoever was contracted for this should be made to solve the problem for providing a product that clearly lacked testing.

      Testing? This is a requirements problem, plain and simple. Unless the spec says "Must be able to perform name lookup in the case of name variation, such as missing middle initials or shortened forms", then they would've implemented it.

      The real question is, who wrote the requirements for the thing, and why did this get missed?

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Quoth the EULA:

      THE VOTING MACHINE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL PREMIER ELECTION SOLUTIONS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE VOTING MACHINE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE VOTING MACHINE.

      And now again, this
  • Easy Solution... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blcamp (211756) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:38AM (#25069601) Homepage

    Paper. Pencil. Manual count. Done.

    I love tech as much as the next geek. It's my life, and my living. But sometimes, the better solutions are the simpler ones.

    • by snsh (968808) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:51AM (#25069731)
      Pencil? Pen!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kalirion (728907)

        Even pens can be erased. Felt Tip Marker!

        • That's what we use, and the paper ballots are stored in sealed boxes in case we feel the need to do a manual recount.
          Unlike those third-world states listed in TFA

    • by thermian (1267986) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:52AM (#25069739)

      Paper. Pencil. Manual count. Done.

      I love tech as much as the next geek. It's my life, and my living. But sometimes, the better solutions are the simpler ones.

      Its not that computer based voting is a bad idea, its just that it was tackled as a means to make money, not to provide a better voting service. Corners were cut in the name of profits, and the result is the shit systems currently giving the concept a bad name.

      • by shilly (142940) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:16AM (#25070039)

        Of course it's a bad idea! At the end of the day, any computer-based system is inherently opaque and impermanent, whereas paper-based systems are inherently transparent and permanent. It requires the simplest of skills (literacy and numeracy) to check out the veracity of a paper poll, and once a mark is made it's difficult to erase. Contrast that with computer systems.

        • "At the end of the day, any computer-based system is inherently opaque and impermanent, whereas paper-based systems are inherently transparent and permanent."

          I agree but, for the sake of speed of results and convenience, we will move to an electronic system. I just want that system to print a paper receipt that can be used in the case of a dispute and a recount.

          "It requires the simplest of skills (literacy and numeracy) to check out the veracity of a paper poll

          Skills which are rapidly disappearing in this

          • by Jesus_666 (702802)

            I agree but, for the sake of speed of results and convenience, we will move to an electronic system.

            Do you really need realtime updates with to-the-second exact numbers? Manual counts can have the results available within a few hours if done properly. IIRC Canada does exactly that and they have the election results the next morning, with fairly accurate forecasts within three or four hours after the poll is closed. Anything longer than that is simply incompetence, not something insurmountable without comput

      • by houghi (78078) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:20AM (#25070067)

        Not only that. It provides a solution for a problem that is unrelated to the issue.

        The fact that it takes longer to count should not bother anybody. So what if the counting takes two weeks? For all I care they only release the information all at the same time one month after the election for all of the country.

        I am not interested in knowing who is the winner at 14h04. I am interested in the fact if the winner has been elected in a fair way. And if you can not bring people in to hold up your counting (by volunteers, appointing or by paying them) then perhaps you should abandon this whole democracy thing as it is clear that the people have no real interest in it.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          I wonder how you guys manage to take two weeks to count your votes. Do you use some kind of centralized system? In Germany each polling place determines their own result, with counters from all local parties being there, counting and double-checking each others results. The polling places then report to the district election supervisor, the districts report to the state election supervisor and the state reports to the federal election supervisor.

          This system should scale extremely well because the only thi
      • by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:23AM (#25070097) Homepage Journal

        Its not that computer based voting is a bad idea...

        Yes it is. Computer based voting is a bad idea. Computer based vote counting is a bad idea. I cannot fathom how any honest person who knows anything about computers and computer programming would ever condone the use of computers to count votes in elections. A lot of Slashdotters in particular need to get real on this issue. Technology is great, but sometimes it's better to keep things simple.

        When it comes to elections the most important thing is that people have faith in the vote. Computers have never, and will never be able to provide this. This is true today, and it will be true a thousand years from now. A thousand years from now democratic societies will be voting and counting on paper ballots. Lip service democracies and the like will be using computers.

    • Re:Easy Solution... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MikeDirnt69 (1105185) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:04AM (#25069885) Homepage
      Here in Brazil we use voting machines for more than 10 years and it works pretty good. Also, the new version we're using this year is running over linux.

      Believe or not, it works without frauds in the 3rd world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      My opinion exactly. Keep things as simple as possible. It takes a really long time to change 10,000 votes on paper. It can be done in .25 seconds for electronic voting.
    • by conureman (748753)

      I found TFA to be quite enlightening. As a long time poll worker in the People's Republic of California, I have worked through the transition from paper to machine. And I have sort of been mystified by all the hubbub. Now I understand. We haven't ever had the problems cited. Unless someone has hacked the machines, (?), Everything is kosher here. The only problem we ever have is provisional ballots for out-of-precinct voters, and that is just a little extra work as they have to be hand counted, as long as th

    • I still believe that a well done electronic voting system can be significantly more secure than the most secure paper ballots.

      • by conureman (748753)

        We have machines that count the paper. If the software was open source, I think the only improvement possible would be worthwhile candidates.
        That will never happen.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Reminds me of the last Eureka episode.
  • by Spatial (1235392) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:39AM (#25069607)
    This is a company that makes ATMs, right? If their money was at stake, I'd wager they'd suddenly become rather reliable.
  • Hey (Score:5, Funny)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:41AM (#25069625)
    As long as my guy wins, who cares right?
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:41AM (#25069629)
    How about we fix this problem a few years instead of a few weeks before the next major election? This is further proof that voting needs to be standardized in order to uphold the virtues of our 'democracy.' Otherwise any election can be rigged, and we will end up with another hanging chad fiasco or Diebold epic failure.

    it's not too late to fix many of these problems. Although many states don't have the laws on the books to require some safeguards, they can act now to make sure that there are enough back up ballots at the polls, workers are properly trained and there are enough poll workers on election day.
    Why does this exact same scenario happen every 4 years? Haven't we learned ANYTHING?
    • by Tridus (79566) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:10AM (#25069949) Homepage

      Its honestly baffling sitting up here in Canada, looking down there and trying to understand how this keeps getting screwed up year after year.

      Up here, federal elections are handled by a federal body (Elections Canada), and are done the same way everywhere in the country. Its all standardized. We use a pencil. The whole thing is over pretty fast, and all these problems just don't come up.

      Considering how much more often Americans vote, and how many more things there are to vote for, its hard to figure out why the process hasn't been perfected down there yet. If anything it seems to be getting worse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        What I find truly bizarre is this belief that adding more technology to the problem will fix it. As you say, here in Canada we use simple paper ballots marked by hand. Once voting is complete the votes are hand counted. The process is simple, transparent, and reliable.

        The American system, by contrast, seems like an exercise in complexity for the sake of complexity. Yeah, there's more people voting, but that just means there's more people who can do the counting. Yeah, the ballots are more complex, but

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        I agree with you. Things are much simpler in Canada. I find it amazing that Americans actually have to wait in line to vote, for hours sometimes. Last time I went to vote, I only waited maybe 10 minutes, although that's probably an upper bound. I don't really think there was any waiting at all. The US seems like they want to make it difficult for people to vote.
        • by tzhuge (1031302)

          In all fairness, I believe the Americans vote on way more than we do. Our ballots have like one, maybe two questions. I get the impression that their ballots read like insurance claim forms (designed to make you fail). They also vote more often, which could make the logistics of hand counting more of an issue.

          I want to jump on my Canadian high moose, but I think the Americans just have a very different system overall, and I'm sure someone down there genuinely believed a computer based system would be benefi

      • by sorak (246725)

        We don't trust our politicians to do it right. I can't speak for everybody, but I'd bet that there is a significant population of us who are worried about handing the entire Democratic process over to congress and saying "Ok, give us something that works well, and doesn't have any crazy or corrupt loopholes in it"

        We also can't trust each other to do it right. The most disgusting thing I remember in politics was after the 2000 election, when my party, the democrats, started complaining about all the corrupt

      • The important question is not HOW this keeps getting screwed up year after year, but WHY.

        If elections were done with paper and pencil, and the processes were fully transparent and observable, and if the several parties all observed carefully, then the elections could not be rigged.

        A constant truth in democratic politics is that the party that is in power wants to stay in power. An actual, honest election might not have that result. So, they want to rig the election if they can. That involves changing jus

  • by cashman73 (855518) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:42AM (#25069643) Journal
    So, where exactly are these voting machines I keep hearing about? I have voted in every election (even in off-Pres years), and in several states (Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, and Pennsylvania), and I have yet to use one of these Diebold (or anyone else's) voting machines. I've used the punch-card system, with the "hanging chads" and all, although most of the time it's simple "fill-in-the-ovals". So, maybe I just haven't been lucky enough to live in a precinct with fancy-shmancy voting machines,... or maybe I'm still living in the 19th century and no one told me?

    Also, when are we going to be able to vote on the internets? You'd think they could work that out by now, right? Maybe the real reason we can't vote by internet is because the politicians know that it would increase the vote of the well-connected (and usually liberal) student population, and they really don't want to do that,...

    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      I used a touch-screen voting machine in the 2004 presidential election in Falls Church, Virginia.

  • I just don't get it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by txoof (553270) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:43AM (#25069649) Homepage

    How can law makers think that it is OK to buy and deploy unproven, closed-source devices to measure elections? There is no other segment of our society that would allow such a mission critical piece of technology to be deployed without independent or redundant systems. My electric tea kettle has been more rigorously tested by third parties than these voting machines.

    The only reasons I can come up with are these: 1. The senators are deaf, dumb and can't hear our collective screams or 2. Appreciate the uncertainty that electronic voting machines provide. I believe both could be true varying degrees for most of our representatives. We have certainly all been screaming enough that they should have heard us by now.

    What can we do? I've written to my representatives only to get a form letter back acknowledging their sincere concern for my "issue". When I lived in Colorado, I insisted on voting by mail. At least vote-by-mail provided a physically countable ballot. Unfortunately, in the 2004 election, my county clerk FORGOT to mail out a chunk of ballots and I had to vote by fax because I was out of the country. Perhaps the absolute worst way I could possibly vote other than a touch screen.

    If you are afflicted by touch screen voting, I suggest registering to vote by mail. At least then there's a chance that some real person will really count your ballot and really record the proper vote. Seems like only a chance these days though.

    • by thermian (1267986)

      How can law makers think that it is OK to buy and deploy unproven, closed-source devices to measure elections?

      To save money

      There is no other segment of our society that would allow such a mission critical piece of technology to be deployed without independent or redundant systems.

      What about the people responsible for the New Orleans Levy system? Wasn't that built under spec to save cash?

      My electric tea kettle has been more rigorously tested by third parties than these voting machines.

      And those laws are in place now because when such devices first appeared they weren't checked as well and people died.

      The only reasons I can come up with are these: 1. The senators are deaf, dumb and can't hear our collective screams or 2. Appreciate the uncertainty that electronic voting machines provide.

      or (3), they like the money it saved them because these crap machines cost less then rigorously tested and robust machines.

    • by houghi (78078) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#25070169)

      Voting by fax should be illegal as your vote can be traced back to you.

      Voting by mail is ok, as long as you put the ballot in a sealed blank envelope and at the other side people check if the envelope is really blank and closed.

      I have done some sit ins in Belgium and votes by mail were opened one at a time. And checked against a list, so that only one vote would be done for that person. If the envelope was not closed or if there were clear recognizable marks on it (somebody even put his name on the envelope) the envelope is destroyed without opening and the vote is not counted.

      All the blank envelopes where then placed in one place and then first opened one by one, to see if there were no two ballots in it. Once that was done, the ballots were divided by party and counted.

      This all under the watching eye of people who were of said party, but were NOT allowed to tough the ballots. Even with this paper, there was a LOT of overlapping control and about 4 to 5 times more people involved as would actually be needed.

      And still that is something I trust more then a machine that counts all that in 2 minutes, instead of us doing it in 6 hours.

      • by zippthorne (748122) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:39AM (#25070317) Journal

        In the US, we take all of the mail-in ballots, and put them in a crate. Then, if and only if there are enough to swing the election, we try to figure out the best way to count them, because we weren't really expecting that to ever happen.

      • There's a Dade-county board of elections joke here, and I'm NOT making it.
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Voting by mail is ok, as long as you put the ballot in a sealed blank envelope and at the other side people check if the envelope is really blank and closed.

        I don't agree that voting by mail should be allowed for anything except exceptional circumstances. When voting by mail, people can sell their votes, or they can be coerced to vote according to someone else's wishes. Imagine a family where the dominant patriarch or matriarch gathers up the ballots and instructs each person in the family how to vote, th

  • by nadamsieee (708934) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:44AM (#25069671)
    http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ [openvotingconsortium.org]
  • athens, tn (Score:5, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:11AM (#25069963)

    Strangely enough, the last armed revolt against the government in the US was in Athens, Tn. in *1946*. The cause? Voting issues...

    http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1985/2/1985_2_72.shtml [americanheritage.com]

    Not that I am advocating it, but it will be interesting to see just how PO'd folks will get...

  • I guess the USA just has to follow its standard practice of problem solving and nationalize all the voting machine companies. Yes, that'll do it...
  • Why has an organization not filed a lawsuit against the states that agree to use the known failed machines? The EFF just filed against G.W. Is this something that can not be addressed legally?

  • It is vitally important that people write letters [rocknerd.co.uk] - actual paper letters, with a stamp - to their MPs, Congressmen or equivalent. MAKE NOISE.

    • argh. I meant to post this to the next story. Never mind, it applies to this one too! Where applicable.

  • Some people have stated that we need an open source voting software, and we do, but can you imagine how it will go over when Sean Hannity begins claiming that anyone can go to the website the night before the election and change the software to vote for their candidate? It doesn't matter if it's not true, bigger lies are repeated every single day, in politics. We would need a limited-access open source project, in which the general public has read-only access, but any changes must be made by a limited group

  • Obama is running with a promise to change America, talking up liberalism, while Bush is actually the biggest liberal this country has had -EVER-. Democrats 100 years of liberal activism, from a financial perspective, pales completely compared to Bush's federal takeover of the entire US mortgage market. I'm looking at drudgereport and I'm just stunned.... I'm almost really drawing a blank trying to imagine what Obama could do that could actually be more socialist then the government absorbing the largest

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:58AM (#25071383)
      I think you define the term liberal a bit too loosely. I don't think anyone would agree with you that Bush is a liberal. Bush is a conservative. In terms of spending and government he has gone the opposite of what he promised to do when he ran. These last 8 years what you've seen is a man with no plan making things up as he goes along based on his gut feeling and hunches rather than analyses. You've also seen a man who does not like details and relies on his staff to make too many decisions. This lack of oversight and placing loyalty over competence has led the nation down this path.
    • I'm almost really drawing a blank trying to imagine what Obama could do that could actually be more socialist then the government absorbing the largest financial part of the USA economy.

      Maybe you misunderstand the terms you're using. Federal bailout of the financial industry is not socialist, since the federal government is not acquiring control of the banking system.

      Instead, what we have is corporatism, or the beginnings of a fascist state (pick your terms). We have the military-industrial complex domin

      • by tjstork (137384)

        We have the extremely wealthy being bailed out by the government while the rank and file get laid off and foreclosed on.

        That's actually not true. What's going to happen is that extremely wealthy will get, at most, pennies on the dollar for all of these bad mortgages and they won't get much at all for stocks in financial institutions. On the other hand, the poor people suddenly have access to a housing market that is now suddenly affordable, and those who are in houses can now make deals but are otherwise

  • Oblig. (Score:2, Funny)

    by qualidafial (967876)
    Now your vote didn't matter.
  • Over here in the UK we have a bit of paper with everyone's names in a grid next to a box.

    You put a X in the box next to the MP you're voting for.

    Tricky, no?

  • Why not? Half of all voters barely know what month it is. The other half would rather blog about it.

  • It's not a bug -- it's a feature.

    Sincerely,
    Diebold and the GOP

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