Why don't voting Machine count properly?


I just want the machines to count for whoever the voter intended. is that asking too damn much? This video shows the machines do not work properly. That is inexcusable .

I don’t think ‘vote flipping’ is a good term to describe what is happening with those voting machines. It suggests that it at one point it shows your intended candidate as selected and then ‘flips’ over to a different candidate when you’re not looking or something.

What’s shown in that video is a potential problem with any device that uses a touchscreen. The touchscreen needs to be recalibrated. It isn’t in sync with the underlying image. So when you touch one part of the touchscreen it registers as touching somewhere else. In this case, it looks like several inches below. That touchscreen is very badly calibrated.

If a voting machine is in use with a touchscreen that is not calibrated properly, I would say it is the fault of the poll-worker who set up the machine and put it into service without checking that the touchscreen is calibrated.

They can make flawless ATM’s and electronic funds transfer systems. Why they choose not to when it comes to voting machines is an interesting question. There’s nothing complicated about a machine or the supporting software that only has to accurately record a choice.

As noted there can be lots of reasons for the machine screwing up ranging from faulty hardware to actual vote tampering.

On the face of it having a machine count your vote correctly should be simple. In practice though the machines are filled with a myriad of tiny details all input by faulty humans. Each machine needs to know which district you are in and provide the appropriate choices for that district. The amount of data in there is huge…think of a state like California and every machine needs to be customized for every district. Lots and lots of fiddly details to get wrong likely input by minimum (or low) wage workers. You do the math…

Then of course there is actual vote tampering which with a machine is simplicity itself. Scary stuff…

Again - it appears not to beyond our boundless ingenuity to make tamper-proof ATM’s yet they choose not to build any serious safeguards against tampering into voting machines.

No, it only needs to know its IP address, what to display, and the selections you made (Line 4, Choice A, B, or C). The server downtown would know where that address is calling in from and know that Line 4, Choice B is a vote for Joe Blow, 5th District Dogcatcher. C’mon, kids! The programming is theoretically so simple that I, mighty near a non-programmer, could write the code.

The machines and laws just need to be standardized, but since both parties appear to see some advantage in screwing around with the process for some perceived advantage, that won’t happen.

What would be an example of a serious safeguard against tampering?

You really want the tabulation to be centralized and the data transferred over the internet?

Jeeze, I hate this.
You sound like my old boss, who thought that all problems required a maximum of 5 minutes to solve.
I can absolutely guarantee that the problem is more complicated than you think, which is why there are still so many issues with something a seemingly trivial as voting.

I just want them to put the intended vote in the proper count. That is not an unsurmountable problem. Computers are actually very good at that kind of task. The stock market computers keep accurate track of millions of pieces of input every day. It has been done many times.There is no excuse for this shit. Voting is our bedrock right. I do not want that ruined by shitty programmers or lousy machines. It is not a huge programming problem. They are stand alone machines. All they have to do is input what the voter wants and add it up. A chintzy spreadsheet could do that.

If I thought for one moment that that was a serious question I’d answer it.

Fine, let it be via modem. :rolleyes: Or held locally with each entry stamped with the machine’s Super Seekrit number, to be downloaded to a thumb drive by an elections official, who then carries it someplace to be tabulated. Of course, then you need to worry about what would happen if one or more machines crashes or the thumb drive fails or the election official does the ol’ switcheroo and submits a drive with doctored results.

Why should I have a problem with central tabulation? It presents no more opportunity for shenanigans than counting at each polling place.

It’s entirely your prerogative I suppose to decide whether that is a serious question.

Maybe if I rephrase. The voting machine that is in use in West Virginia and is shown in the video on the OP; How could it be working differently or what features could be added that would improve or add safeguards to avoid tampering?

It is not a programming problem. It is simple enough to tell the machine what it is supposed to do (someone pushes the spot for A register a vote for A).

The problem is more the data input thing. Whose name is under the “A” spot? The machine needs to display Joe Blow, 5th District Dog Catcher in spot A in the 5th District, in the 4th District it needs to display Mary Jane Dog Catcher. Or maybe no one. Or maybe there are 5 people running for dog catcher in the 5th District and none in the 4th. The display must change to reflect it all and know that pressing “A” means a vote for Joe Blow and nothing in another district or add five slots on the display in another place and only three slots somewhere else.

Trust me things get wonky fast. The chance for simple human error is large when compounded across the country.

Calibration? WTF? Wouldn’t it be better to use big colored buttons, like game show buzzers?

For Obama, push the huge blue plunger marked Button #1.
For McCain, push the huge red plunger marked Button #2

Etc.

It would be like playing Press Your Luck but with multiple physical buttons.

You could even put the buttons on the sides of the machine to align with the candidates name on the screen.

“Obama, Obama, No whammies, STOP!”

Why does any of it have to be electronic? We should be voting on hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, which are kept in sealed ballot boxes that should never be out of the view of the public from the time voting starts to the time counting is finished.

And if voter fraud is a problem? It seemed to me our administration’s celebrated Iraqi election offered the solution … indelible ink on the right index finger.

I dunno. Us nose pickers are gonna end up with purple nostrils.

Ypu may not know, but forging an IP address is not a big deal. We could have someone in Nigeria sending fake results to the server.

I think the biggest problem for computerized voting is that ballots are secret and there is no “receipt”. Banking problems occur ocassionally but can be fixed becuase there is an audit trail on both sides of the transactions.

I came up with a semi-foolproof method of computerized voting a few years ago but it involves the voter getting back a receipt. The problem is that this would aid vote buying scemes.

Yes it does. It provides a single point of failure. As bad as it is that individual machines can be compromised, at least the (potential) fraud is limited to a few machines (or requires a substantial conspiracy to effect widespread corruption). If you put all the data in one place, you greatly increase the incentive for attacking that one place, while reducing the coordination costs. Make the incentive high enough, and someone will figure out how to break your security.

To be fair you could easily setup multiple tabulation sites. Say 20 or so (wouldn’t be too expensive in the scheme of things). Each could be cross referenced to the others and if there is a discrepancy you know something is up.