Voting News

by TChris

Voting machines were in the news today as state and local governments scramble to prepare for elections. Fox News sounds curiously optimistic even as it reports widespread failures to comply with deadlines mandated by the Help America Vote Act.

Diebold scores in San Joaquin and at least 17 other California counties (more here and here):

"It's horrifying. It's staggeringly inappropriate," said Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, a Washington state nonprofit group that monitors election processes. "They've certified something that's illegal on its face."

Diebold scores in Florida:

Do you care that the Volusia County Council is being forced, because of illegal acts by the Department of State, to settle for a voting system that computer scientists have called unfit to use in any election?

Nobody wins in New York City and Long Island (more here):

So area residents who vote in the Sept. 12 primary and Nov. 7 general elections will make their selections on the same antique lever machines that their great grandparents may have used, officials said.

Although the linked article suggests that his motives may not be pure, Gov. Ehrlich in Maryland has come around to the belief that voting machines should issue paper receipts leaving an audit trail.

Ehrlich said he lost faith in Maryland's elections machinery because of continuing questions about the security of Diebold electronic voting machines, which were used statewide in 2004.

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  • Re: Voting News (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 04:39:52 AM EST
    Greg Palast and many others have done extensive research on the subject and I highly recommend that you all go seek out as much information on this that you can. There are a few documentaries on the subject as well. One titled "Unprecedented" goes into great detail on Diebold, but focused more on the scandalous 2000 election. Another titled "Invisible Ballots" focuses primarily on the voting systems and will make you hesitant about ever voting on these machines. *There is something wrong when every international election observer won't even oversee our elections because they are so corruptible.

    Re: Voting News (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 05:38:00 AM EST
    Analysis of an Electronic Voting System [.PDF] Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute Technical Report TR-2003-19, July 23, 2003. We discovered significant and wide-reaching security vulnerabilities in the version of the [Diebold] AccuVote-TS voting terminal found in [9] (see Table 1). Most notably, voters can easily program their own smartcards to simulate the behavior of valid smartcards used in the election. With such homebrew cards, a voter can cast multiple ballots without leaving any trace. A voter can also perform actions that normally require administrative privileges, including viewing partial results and terminating the election early. We identify several problems... We conclude that this voting system is unsuitable for use in a general election. Saturday, November 6, 2004 Election night... I was startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes had earlier sat George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd lost the election. The exit polls were clear: Kerry was winning in a landslide. "Bush took the news stoically," noted the AP report. But then the computers reported something different. In several pivotal states. "Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Dick Morris wrote. He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points." Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.

    Re: Voting News (none / 0) (#3)
    by Johnny on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 07:30:01 AM EST
    You dern librul pinkos still going on about that there 'lection?

    Re: Voting News (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 08:24:30 AM EST
    Do you care that the Volusia County Council is being forced, because of illegal acts by the Department of State, to settle for a voting system that computer scientists have called unfit to use in any election?
    That's because the entire CS community is a bunch of tinfoil hat LUNATICS with Bush Hatred Syndrome!

    Re: Voting News (none / 0) (#5)
    by Lora on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 04:26:51 PM EST
    Electronic voting systems are sweeping the country and largely getting nothing but complementary write-ups in the press. Objectors are often portrayed as older voters who just aren't comfortable with newfangled technology. Votes on these machines are impossible to verify and shockingly easy to hack. In instances where a paper trail is provided, it is nearly impossible to gain access to it, and in some cases the printout will simply reflect an altered vote and is no protection. Voter verified ballots are still subject to manipulation and there is no assurance that every voter will verify the printed record of his or her vote. Only a few switched votes (we're talking single digits) in each precinct of a swing state have the potential of changing the outcome of a presidential election. There is no way these machines are or can be made foolproof in time for the next election. Anyone who believes in democracy and the right to vote should throw these machines out. Your vote may not be counted as you intended, and there is no way to check.