Is it too early to start? Voting machines in West Virginia are showing tallying problems. There are not long lines yet,so people are seeing the machines flip their vote from the intended candidate to the other one. They get the workers to help them and can not get the vote to count for the proper candidate. What is the point of having computer voting if it does not work correctly? Unless of course that is what was intended. This really pisses me off. The machines across the country have had certification problems. They were not fixed.
Oh boy. Can’t the programmers who design the software for these machines figure out a way to flip the vote in such a way that the voter doesn’t even notice? I could probably manage it, and as a programmer, I make a great chef.
The point is not to influence the election but rather to undermine public confidence in Democracy.
How fucking hard can it be to make a damn voting machine anyways? its just a freaking poll, any message board could handle the elections better than the machines specially designed for it seem too.
CNN covered this story today the same as the article. They were upset that the machines do not work properly. It is a nasty part that they all favor McCain or the repubs . It is not a flaw but a program working as programmed. Shouldn’t it favor the dems some times if it is just a mistake?:
In the original story, it appears that this sometimes happens, and that recalibrating the machine fixes (and has fixed) the problem.
I remember watching a Senate hearing on electronic voting machines, maybe about five or six years ago. They brought in all kinds of experts in various fields, but the most interesting testimony that I saw being delivered was from IT security guys and computer programmers. It was the overall opinion (unanimous) that IF electronic voting was going to become the prevalent mode of collecting votes, that they must also deliver paper receipts for individual voters to reference (and I believe submit if there was a necessary recount). There was also some talk about programmers burying a simple little algorithm in the source code that could manipulate data on the back-end of the process (post-receipt delivery) and be virtually impossible to find if the source were to be scrutinized.
In fact, they said that they themselves cold perform such tasks, so they saw no reason why there weren’t others capable of the same.
Here’s a *Wired * article detailing some fact about the Diebold machines that were examined late last year: Diebold Source Code Review - 08/2007
It’s my personal opinion that there really will never be a way to insure that the voting process is actually secure. It’s actually a bit comical, if you’re capable of separating your emotions from the situation and just look at how pathetic this process really is. Here you have a competition between two parties trying to gain control of the most powerful empire in the history of mankind, with technology probably beyond the wildest dreams of most people alive 200 years ago, and we can’t even come up with a way to count some fucking votes.
It’s pretty damn freaky to me. Even after watching that entire hearing, which also discussed the unreliability of paper ballots, I can’t say that there was a solid case presented by anyone giving testimony as to which system was actually more secure. One thing that was particularly interesting to me at the time was that the Diebold source code wasn’t allowed to be inspected, for proprietary reasons.
Regardless of all of that, I’ll still be casting my votes on the 4th.
It is all we have,whatever it is.
I read the title and was worried that Diebold had already declared McCain the winner in Ohio.
Watch Hacking Democracy, it shows exactly how these machines could be altered without leaving a trace. Be warned, it’s one of the most depressing movies you’ll ever see.
This has always puzzled me. We just voted up here in the Great White North. The process was:
- Go to polling station
- Get ballot
- Mark X for candidate
- Put in Box
I’m not sure what exactly happens at this point, but I’m pretty sure that:
Non-partisan polling volunteers count votes (I think there are members of each party who supervise)
I’m under the impression there are LOTS of polling stations and I’ve never heard of someone unable to vote because of a lineup.
I’ve never heard of any serious implications of ballot box stuffing, vote manipulation or other shenanigans.
It seems so simple and straightforward.
How long did it take to tally the results and declare a winner?
(ETA: That was a question for Euphonious Polemic.)
One possible difference is that here the ballot is, by necessity, very complicated. Take my own ballot in California. It’s not just the president we are voting on. It’s also a member of congress, our city mayor, state propositions, a city propositions, even members of the local hospital board. I count 23 separate items I am voting on on my ballot at this election. It would be a nightmare to count them all by hand. (My ballot uses a paper optical scan technology.)
Yes it is a simple and straightforward process. We had a very reliable punch card voting machine system in my state that produced a verifiable log of the vote. The machines were small and easy to set up. This was a major improvement over the massive mechanical units they replaced. The new electronic systems use a touch screen which operate on the same principle of the punch card system. A finger is used instead of a stylus and a tape is transcribed as a backup to the electronic record. A great deal of money was spent (wasted) trying to reinvent the wheel and now we have software separating a vote. The punch cards were a direct mechanical vote that could not be altered.
Even though Florida has become the byword for screwed up elections, I’m lucky enough to live in a county with a great supervisor of elections. We’ve been using optical scan for years (he fought with the FL Legislature over touch screens after 2000) and every time there’s been a recount, the new count has matched the old exactly. We get results in all races before midnight.
Oh, so the republican Secretary of State does the old Obie Wan hand wave and we’re supposed to think these aren’t the droids we’re looking for? Seems reasonable…not.
And of course, every vote cast before the machine is recalibrated gets screwed up. And this is just early voting: What happens when it’s discovered that one of the machines is miscalibrated on November 4, when there’s a line of voters out the door waiting to use it? Are there enough machines and volunteers at all of the polling places to be able to take machines out of service for recalibration and still get everyone through in a timely manner?
We usually know who won in a couple of hours. But we also only have to mark the ballot once. Only municipal ballots have multiple candidates.
Results for each electoral riding were counted and on the internet within a few hours.
I forgot about all of the other things that are on the ballot down south. Sounds like a major pain. Our federal, provincial and municipal elections are on completely different dates.
It just seems really efficient here. And the people at the poling stations seem to me to be the kind of people that would walk 3 miles to return an overdue library book. They take their non-partisan duty VERY seriously.
I’d bet that electronic voting is more accurate than hand ballot counting, despite these issues. I don’t think I would call what’s happening in West Virginia “fraud” yet because it doesn’t seem to be deliberately favoring one candidate over another.