Assuage my paranoia. Explain to me why I should have faith in E-voting machines

I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist about anything in my life but I am sincerely worried about all these new electronic voting machines, their lack of a paper trail and their VERY dubious results in the '04 elections. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

I’m not being facetious when I say that I’d like somebody to assuage my paranoia. I really would like somebody to explain why my fears are irrational. Tell me why I’m crazy. Please tell me what I’m missing and why I should have faith that the results from these machines will be accurate (Bush and Rove seem to be suspiciously confident that they will keep both houses).

If we at least had a paper trail, I’d be placated. I said the last time that I’d rather lose and be sure the results were accurate than win with doubt.

Hardly irrational. I don’t know why everyone isn’t concerned. You saw video of how easily the Princeton students were able to hack voting machines.

Link from the other thread for the video

From the HBO special, Hacking Democracy

“Electronic voting machines count 80% of the votes cast in America today. But are they reliable? Are they safe from tampering? From a current congressional hearing to persistent media reports that suggest misuse of data and even outright fraud, concerns over the integrity of electronic voting are growing by the day. And if the voting process is not secure, neither is America’s democracy.”

Why isn’t there a huge public outcry?

Among folks who know, there is. Unfortunately, not a lot of folks do know, relatively speaking.

One thing that’s not helping is that the Democrats – who tend to get the shaft in these rigged e-voting machines – are unwilling to raise more attention on the issue, out of fear that people who know their votes won’t get counted won’t bother to vote at all. The few efforts by the Dems to hold hearings on the matter have been successfully suppressed by the Republicans, who are all too eager to sweep the problem under the rug (why do you think Republicans have been the biggest supporters of the Help America Vote Act, which fast-tracks adoption of electronic voting machines?).

I’m sure you’re correct about that being one of the Democratic party’s apprehension, but I tend to think they’re more worried that they’ll reinforce the wrong-headed (imo) view that Dems are “whiners” and that they’re just still “whining” about the 2000 & 2004 elections.

I’ve no idea why (it’s really not much of an issue for me usually, being Norwegian and not much into politics), but just tonight I dreamt I had somehow gotten American citizenship and were supposed to vote at this machine. There was a one-hour countdown at it, because you were supposed to answer all these questions so the machine would calculate how much you agreed with each party, and in between the questions, there were little games where you could win token money you’d later donate to a charity of your choice. I ran out of time and couldn’t vote. PROBABLY A PROPHECY OHMYGOD

I can’t, because you shouldn’t.

More from ABC:

There should be riots in the streets over this. The trouble is, if you question the voting methodology you are immediately tarred as a sore loser. We’re all supposed to be good sheep and cast our votes, and if the final results are radically different from the exit polls then that’s just the breaks. Exit polls can only be used to prove fraud in the Ukraine, not the US.

The endless unproven conspiracy theories about those two elections color any Democrat complaints about the election process.

I do actually agree that we should have a paper trail, and I don’t understand why it’s not part of the most basic standards. Unfortunately, the Democrats are leading the charge, and they’re now reaping what they’ve sown, a reputation for unproven conspiracies. The discussion is not about vote integrity, it’s about how the Pubbies are going to hack into the system to steal the election. If you don’t believe the prior conspiracy theories, you don’t think it’s an issue, and the complaint doesn’t have traction.

If you believe the prior elections were stolen, via an election fraud conspiracy, I’m afraid there is nothing that will fix the paranoia problem.

There’s nothing theoretical about the fact that the 2000 election was stolen, and the '04 results were at least highly suspicious given the disparity with the exit polls. Cheesesteak is just proving Ambushed’s point. The Democrats haven’t “sown” anything, they’ve only been victims. If the Dems don’t have a legit complaint then the Pubs should have no reason to oppose paper trails. Why are the Pubs so afraid of a fair count?

Well, I WAS agreeing with his assessment of what the Dems are worried about. I’m only disagreeing with the “wrong headed” part.

It’s not a coincidence that so few people are up in arms about the lack of a paper trail. The issue is viewed entirely as one of Election Fraud instead of Election Integrity. There are huge numbers of people (me included) who think the Election Fraud thing is bupkus.

I don’t think they are, but they’ll be willing to let the Dems blow their load on a this issue, instead of on something swing voters care about. Face it, the people most upset about it are Democrats who think the 2004 election was stolen, I don’t think those people are ever going to vote Republican.

If you don’t think there was a conspiracy, this is a minor issue, one of improving the count, not one of preventing fraud.

Here’s an interesting story about Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections of Leon County, Florida, and his frustrating efforts to secure a verifiable vote while still complying with HAVA.

It looks fairly likely that the Democrats will make some gains in the November election. If they do, will this further the conspiracy (“They” allowed this to lend legitimacy to the electronic voting machines so “they” can steal the '08 presidential election by using them), or disprove it (the Democrats won elections so evidently they aren’t rigged)?

I don’t think even the conspiracy theorists think that vote rigging was used to change votes in the tens of percents, the amount that would be necessary for the Republicans to keep all their contested seats. They think a couple precent here and there are shifted. Thus a blowout will still be a win, but a close race could be changed.

I think Americans are reaping the rewards of the drooling desire for instant gratification in all things.

Go back to paper ballots. Prepare ballots in advance for all registered voters, and deliver them to the precincts in sealed containers. Have absentee ballots delivered from the same set of ballots on or before the date that is set for such practices. Have tracking numbers encoded on the boxes, but not the ballots. Hand each ballot to the appropriate voter when he arrives, separated from his identified receipt. (accountability, without compromising secret ballot.) Put the completed ballot into the poll box. Precinct workers account for all unused ballots, all used ballots, all spoiled ballots. Physically carry the ballot boxes to the central voting authority for each county. Have all counting done by both machine, and an immediate hand count at the county level. Seal everything up. Place in a guarded archive.

Of course this means no results until say, Friday.

Tough shit.

Live with it.

Make it a criminal act for any official involved to even speculate out loud about the results, except to report possible fraud to the appropriate authorities.

Make a habit (individual voters, that is) of declining to be a part of random exit polls. Tell them it was a secret ballot, and give them as much history of electoral processes as they are willing to listen to. (Might as well waste as much of their time as you can, right?)

The news media will be just as happy printing blatant speculation as they usually are, and we won’t be actually hurt much by waiting three frickin’ days for the election process.


Not necessarily. The Canadians use paper ballots and their results are not appreciably slower in arriving than those in the US.

No? See here:

Ever since Dewey defeated Truman (and probably before then), predictions haven’t been totally accurate. That’s why we go ahead and have the actual election. Doesn’t mean the elections were rigged, I’ve never been asked either before or after an election how I’ve voted. Doesn’t mean I didn’t vote.

I the piece BrainGlutton cites, 1 in 8 sounds like a lot. It’s 12.5%. I wonder if 12.5% of people are 100% confident in the paper ballot process? Taken another way, you have 87.5% who were at least somewhat or more confident, or even 55.5% who were more than somewhat confident.

Doesn’t really mean anything, I think confidence in counting the votes, however tabulated, is way down after Florida 2000. Regaining that confidence is the central issue and I think that a tangible piece of paper instills more confidence in me than an electronc byte of data. We need a tamper proof method of dealing with tangible ballots, not some electronic rigamarole.

Can’t be done. Its like trying to assuage the paranoia of any conspiricy advocate…they know what they know. The government was responsible for 9/11, they killed Kennedy (and KENNY!), there WAS no moon landings, the earth is flat, evolution is a conspiricy of the jews or scientists or both, etc etc.

When I see some solid evidence, then I’ll believe there was a vast conspiricy to steal elections. I’ve SEEN some evidence that some of the eVoting machines may have some serious flaws…and if THAT was the issue at hand, I’d say that it should be a focus of concern. But its not really the issue…the issue is sour grapes about the 2000 and 2004 elections being stolen from the poor Dems, and fretting that these elections will go the same way.

As to paper ballots…well, you know, those can be messed with too. No voting (practial) voting system thats going to take in millions of votes is ever going to be above corruption of some kind or other. I think part of the reason the Dems are so frantic about these eVoting machines is that they recall when THEY were the ones doing the dirty deeds in the past, and they are feeling a bit jealous.


Anyway, don’t let me get in the way of the kumbyah circle…go to town guys.


Ah, I was wondering when the Republican apologist response was coming. Thanks, xtisme!