What can we do, now, to prevent Pubs from suppressing Dem votes in 2008?

Help, help! I’m being suppressed!

Properly made, balloting machines would be proof against hacking and leave a perfectly good (electronic) paper trail. Overall it should be more secure and difficult to fudge with than paper.

If the machines aren’t being properly made, it’s because neither of the parties want them to be.

Right, but everything on that ballot was on the same plane. The arrows on that paper point to the same holes on that paper no matter what angle your perspective is. I did read the caption, by the way.

Or because, you know, the only party in charge at the time wanted them to be. Did you forget when the head of Diebold, the single largest maker of electronic voting machines (IIRC), pledged to deliver Ohio to Bush? That doesn’t seem impartial to me.

I think we’ll get completely free and fair elections when we get real campaign finance reform, which is to say, I’m not exactly standing here tapping my foot in breathless anticipation. There are too many very powerful folks who seem to like it this way.

The trouble with some of these straightforward and reasonable Republican proposals is that they are designed to suppress votes. Things like making the voter go a long distance to get his ID or have the hours for getting the ID such that the hourly first shift worker has no chance to ever get it.

The people in charge of making these machines are not interested in conducting honest elections. It isn’t a matter of neither party wanting it to work right, as evidenced by the partisanship expressed by Diebold.

Electronic voting is a solution in search of a problem. Any time you take away from creating a tangible physical record of each and every vote that can be counted and recounted and counted again over and over, you’re creating the potential for fraud. Instead of competing with ideas, elections could be decided by which side has the better hackers and the will to use them.

Which is of course you would rather have your bank doing all of its money tracking and routing solely through people power… :dubious:

But pretty much you can either buy into the party rhetoric or you can trust a programmer. As a programmer, all I can say is what I said. An electronic system that is properly made will always be superior to a human one. Hard drives are physical records, and everything from the touch screen to the hard drive and up to the wire can be perfectly well tamper proofed and inaccesible to anyone who shouldn’t have access. And data on the wire can be encrypted beyond anything crackable by modern means, if so desired.

Identifying unique voters and finding a third party to run the election are the only sticking points. Minus those and you’re up a creek regardless of anything. Really we should be asking Switzerland or someone to oversee and run our elections.

Castro has volunteered to oversee our elections, perhaps we should have taken him up on the offer.

I’m not a programmer, but I work enough with databases and applications that I don’t trust them. There will always be a back door for someone to exploit. I have no doubt that the system COULD be made to work (for example, ATMs have handled transactions error free for years) but if you can’t guarantee that the programmers don’t have an agenda there is no way to trust what they come up with.

Yeah, it was sooooo evil and Republican that Jimmy Carter signed off on it. Not to mention that the commission included Tom Daschle, Lee Hamilton, and the former president of the National Council of La Raza.

Did you even bother to read my link?

As a matter of fact, I did read the summary of recommendations. I guess I’m not as good at ignoring a Baker Commission report as Bush is.

Regarding voting IDs:

In theory, quite innocent. But in practice, some people are going to have a lot more difficulty getting this card than others. This is swatting the fly and ignoring the elephant. The electoral fraud in undercounting votes or distributing voting machines or manipulating the numbers exceeds by several orders of magnitude the problem of fraudulent voters, but Republicans continue to focus exclusively on the least of the issues.

That’s hardly the least of my focus. I am also concerned about the problem of registration drive fraud of the type practiced by groups such as ACORN in past years. I am concerned about double voting, facilitated by the poor quality of voter registration rolls. I am concerned about vote buying, which led to convictions in East St. Louis, and election day dirty tricks, which led to convictions in Milwaukee.

I am in particular concerned about absentee ballots, which have proved to be a massive source of election headaches and fraud. They led to an overturned mayoral election in Miami in 1998, and in my old hometown a former congressman used them to pressure nursing home patients to support his wife for a local post. He got six months probation and community service for that stunt.

Funny thing is that I would like to end those problems, as well as end the type of “management of voter rolls” that Florida engaged in in 1999-2000. Your anecdotes don’t at all make it clear that you are not still jumping up and down in concern about the maple tree and ignoring the redwoods.

I do want to make sure that other people, people in charge of things, aren’t pushing bogus concerns like yours in a partisan way to influence elections. It sure looks like they are, and it sure looks like you could not care less about that.

How do you decide which type of fraud and abuse to be concerned about and which to disregard?

A good solution would be to implement the recommendations of the bipartisan commission in toto. That way everybody gets reforms important to them, nobody feels their ox is being gored too much, and the public feels the system overall has been strengthened.

As it stands now, Democrats aren’t doing enough to tighten up registration and identification issues, Republicans are too blase about machine integrity, and both sides look the other way when their side commits outright fraud.

Of course the Republicans know that insisting that all reforms, whether needed or not, be implimented at the same time pretty much guarantees that none of them get implimented, which suits them just fine.

I’ll buy that. If there was a way to clean up registration and identification without disenfranchising people, I’d go for it. It’s a small problem in my opinion, but if it would get some action on things like machine distribution and integrity I’d take that deal. Better to fix both issues than neither.

Regarding machine distribution, how about a federal law mandating one voting machine per X number of people in a given area?

I wouldn’t see that as necessarily a solution. It might ignore actual voters and voting rates. It would also not take into account interesting new technologies such as voting centers that have been successful in some places. These concentrate polling technology near transportation, retail, and employment hubs, and employ economies of scale to make polling easier and more efficient.

I honestly don’t understand this obsession with voting machines and increasing the technology involved. Sheet of paper and a pencil works pretty damn well. Supervise the counts out the wazoo with representatives of all parties. Yes, results might take longer to come out, but given that there appears to be zero trust in the programmers etc for these machines, is a delayed result that much of a problem?

Something called he Bradblog has covered this subject for about 5 years now. They have many articles and studies available on line, http://www.bradblog.com/


Yeah, I’ve read that book. (Have you?) It says (among many other things) what Kimstu, in the post right after yours, says it says.