From West Virginia.
It would be interesting if some folks would take video cameras into the polling booth and document this.
Rick, There’s actually an initiative to do just that
Can you say, “Class action suit?”
Are these Diebold machines?
How have the makers of these infernal devices gotten them to be so accepted? Has nobody in the decision making world ever seen a computer glitch? How could anyone trust computers with the vote?
I trust computers with my banking, my school records, my purchases, and lots of other activities that are important to me. I don’t have a problem with computer voting. I realize full well that computers can glitch horribly (I’ve lost several huge papers in my school career so far and I’m always nervous about that), but I also know that there ways to prevent or minimize glitches.
What concerns me are not the computers themselves, but the companies that originally program them. If there was a way to make that process open so that more people could look into the code, I wouldn’t be as concerned. I don’t fully understand code, but I have come across people whose understanding of code I trust. If they could look into the voting machine code, I would trust their opinion. I think the problem with these machines is not their existence but the fact that they are created by companies that keep the code secret because they make money on it.
In holland, in the last elections, there were a few types of machines that could be ‘read’ from a distance. But even if remote spying is a critical problem, we have never had problems with missvoting because the user-interaction failed so dramatically. If you wanted to rig an election there would be al lot of ways to do this, without being so obvious.
• Vote machines in Tennessee and West Virginia reporting that early voters click Obama and McCain shows up on the screen; Bradblog.com tells about these at:
This may be another of those services and products that should belong to “the people”…yes, as in socialized voting machines. The code and the machines should be under the control of committees of voters of all political stripes.
Rick, I’m starting to think you are an anarchist. First taxpayers owning their water…and now socialized voting machines?
And, “under the control of committees” is…oxymoronic ;).
Seriously though…Chandra raises an excellent point and so do you…private companies controlling the voting is really, really scary.
There are two kinds of people who support trail-less electronic voting:
Those who are ignorant of the technologies limitations and it’s human factors, or those who maliciously want to control vote counting.
There is no middle ground, and people who imagine themselves as reasonable adopters of technology holding a position between those two are simply members of the first group.
Trail-less electronic voting is an abhorrent evil that ought not be tolerated anywhere planning to have representative eelctions.
A Dutch citizen action group has exposed weaknesses in voting computers (they are computers not ‘machines’) and returned Dutch elections to the paper ballot. They have been getting a growing international following as can be read on their site:
all computers are machines. not all machines are computers.
the resident grammar teacher
Amber (the name of my first wife, btw…), I’m basically a communitarian who thinks that some goods and services are best done in the public sector and many are best done privately. That’s how things really work, anyway, and I just thing we need an open dialog free of scare words like “socialist” or “communist” or for that matter “fundmentalist” or “fascist”. There are goods and services that we’ve all come to absolutely require in our modern and mechanized society. Many of those things are already “socialized”, so let’s just admit it and draw up the lists of what should be public and what should be private. There is plenty of room for people who are bright, have good ideas, and who work hard to get way far ahead and make a lot of money, but the monopolization of some things…yeah, like water…starts to move over into the evil territory as far as I’m concerned.
Cheaper and easier to vote by mail. Solves the whole issue. No lines or understaffed polling places, no worry about hours open, or weather, harder to game than any voting machine (in ten years a statistically insignificant number of claims of fraud), cheaper than maintaining machines and updating them, simple bubble ballot that has been standardized state wide for 10 years as is the process, hard copy you can verify before you put it in the envelope, no significant election staffing costs as votes come in for a steady two weeks, easy optical counting, easy visual recounting if needed, people can take their time deciding if they are so inclined, no problems with getting absentee ballots or military ballots out, easy for college students to vote in their place of legal residence, excellent adaptive aids for people with disabilities, and no worries about Networks projecting before voting causing people not to vote. Oh yeh, increased voter participation (though not by a giant amount).
What’s not to like?
Telling you folks, push your legislators and bypass the whole voting machine hassle in a simple, low cost way. You’ll love it.
Rick, is ‘communitarian’ the word for that? Because, as much as I joke about ‘socialized water’, I was really bothered by one of your other comments that said water access was being privatized in some developing and third world countries.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that some things are better handled publicly than privately. That’s why I’ve never really understood extreme libertarians (everything should be handled by ‘free’ markets…even if there were such a thing in reality, that’s just scary). I usually ask libertarians something along the lines of “Do you drive?” and follow up with “do you really think roads, traffic signals, etc. should be completely privatized? How much would you be willing to pay for a driver’s license and access to the roads you need?”
Your ex-wife wasn’t a Taurus was she? Now that would be just plain freaky (but then it is getting awfully close to Halloween). 😉
I live near where some of these problems have been reported and I’m not worried. Yet. Only a small handful of voters and the people at the polls say it may be because the machines were not properly calibrated. But I’ve very much got this one in my “watch carefully” file.
As I suspect have a lot of people.
The very thought that the machines need calibration is something to worry about. What devices that are made to be calibrated work without that human intervention? These damned things can be calibrated any way someone wants them tweaked. Who’s to say that there isn’t a 15 second delay when someone is done “voting”, and then when the voter’s back is turned, blip, the votes are switched…or should I say re-calibrated…to a different result.
Paper ballots and mandatory voting, that’s what they have in Australia. My pal there cannot believe what we put up with here.
I’m bringing my camera (which has video capability) to the ballot booth with me. Just in case.
An article at blog.wired.com today reports that ” the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and the Verified Voting organization sent a fax to secretaries of states on Monday urging them to follow West Virginia’s lead and re-calibrate touch-screens,” and “warning them that voting machines they use could be susceptible to the same kinds of problems that voters in West Virginia, Tennessee and other states .”
In West Virginia, the Secretary of State ordered the 34 West Virginia counties that use the touch-screen machines to re-calibrate them each morning.
For those who like details, the blog quotes Rice University professor of computer science Dan Wallach, describing how calibration works and fails on touch-screen machines.
Heh, whenever talk of touchscreen voting machines come up, I shiver…
I used to write software for a company that made video gambling terminals with touchscreens. The screens on those things drift the longer they remain on, and needed regular calibration. They were horribly unreliable over the long term.
Though those terminals kept a paper trail… Funny how voting doesn’t seem to need that kind of scrutiny…
Though what’s even worse, is that you don’t even need to take screen drift into account to commit this sort of fraud. When they’re writing the software, all they need to do is define the touch area for one candidate or the other to cover a larger area, or overlap the graphic that shows on the screen for the other candidate… But of course, the source code is closed and proprietary, so we’ll never know…
It really bothers me that these things are legal as they are currently built… There have been far too many known exploits and security holes to ever consider these things trustable…
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