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Ohio's Alternative to Diebold Machines May Be Equally Bad

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the stand-and-be-counted dept.

Privacy 174

phorest writes "One would have thought the choice of Ohio lawmakers to move away from Diebold touch-screen voting terminals would be welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Instead, the group is warning the elections board that their alternative might be illegal under state laws. 'The main dispute is whether a central optical scan of ballots at the board's headquarters downtown would result in votes not being counted on ballots that are incorrectly filled out. The ACLU believes the intent of election law is to ensure voters can be notified immediately of a voting error and be able to make a second-chance vote.'"

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You'd think ... (3, Insightful)

BrianRoach (614397) | about 7 years ago | (#21852830)

That voting just simply couldn't be this complicated. ::shaking head::

- Roach

Re:You'd think ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21852980)

Can't the candidates just roshambo for it or something?

Persistent need to leave holes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853020)

The US elections managers seem to have a chronic and persistent need to leave loopholes in whatever systems that they use that enable easy fraud.


Re:Persistent need to leave holes (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 7 years ago | (#21853274)

Well, because putting the code out in plain sight for general review simply doesn't work, as revealed by such diasters as GCC, the apache httpd, and the linux kernel.

Re:Persistent need to leave holes (3, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 7 years ago | (#21853318)

Why do we even need "code"? My aunt works at the town hall of a small town of about 600 people, when election time comes around they fill out a piece of paper and it goes into a wooden box. When the voting is over, an official counts the ballots by hand. I'm pretty sure we've been voting since before we had computers, but I did go to public schools I could be wrong... why not check out what we did 30-50 years ago and.. well, do that?

Re:Persistent need to leave holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853392)

My aunt works at the town hall of a small town of about 600 people, when election time comes around they fill out a piece of paper and it goes into a wooden box. When the voting is over, an official counts the ballots by hand.
That sounds great for a small town of about 600 people. But there are hundreds of millions of potential voters and most of them don't live in small towns. Yeah, I know, most of them don't vote either, but, hey, at least give them the chance.

btw--sexwithanimals@gmail.com--if I may ask, WTF??!?

Re:Persistent need to leave holes (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 7 years ago | (#21853650)

It works for more than 600 people, and I'm sure there's no county in the US that has 600 million people in it.

Re:Persistent need to leave holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853784)

Cut that number in half and add a few million. Ugh.

Re:Persistent need to leave holes (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 7 years ago | (#21853432)

Dammit man: if she ain't broke, fix her until she's tits up!

Define democracy. (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 7 years ago | (#21853810)

"Democracy is a system of government whereby the people get no better than they deserve."

Yes, democracy is the best system of government available. Still, the question isn't one of "is the general population aware of voting issues", it's "does the general population actually care about voting issues"... That question leads to some pretty depressing answers.

Re:You'd think ... (2, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about 7 years ago | (#21853064)

No matter what method is selected, someone will whine about it.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

Buran (150348) | about 7 years ago | (#21853170)

What's wrong with the method that worked fine for years that no one (at least not enough to get into the press) complained about? Making everything electronic isn't the answer to everything.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

KillerCow (213458) | about 7 years ago | (#21853504)

They complained about it in Florida.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

Buran (150348) | about 7 years ago | (#21853674)

Was it exactly the same system, though? (this is a serious question) - also, since states are separate from one another, Ohio wouldn't be affected by Florida anyhow.

Re:You'd think ... (3, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about 7 years ago | (#21853602)

Which method is that? Every method had people complaining about it, from fill-in-the-dot optical scan cards (like this one) to butterfly ballots (like Florida) to machines that were supposed to fix the butterfly "dimpled but not fully popped out" problem (like the voting booths where you flip the switches and pull the big handle down to punch your ballot). They were all "rigged" or subject to interpretation or something.

The only other alternative is the "check this box" kind, which requires human counting (again subject to rigging) and takes ages to count. Now, I can wait a day - even a week, for my election results, but with a large turnout it would take even longer than that, and then there'd be less time to certify and recount if there was a problem.

Again, people complain every single election; maybe you don't remember it, maybe sometimes it's worse than others. There's nothing new here, it's happened since the dawn of... uh... electing... things.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

Buran (150348) | about 7 years ago | (#21853700)

Oh there will be some complaints about any system for anything, but then again we didn't get the big hissyfits until, say, the Diebold e-voting fuss. It was all minor stuff. Now, when e-voting has been proven over and over to be a cause of trouble, we're rushing to implement it, and then when more problems are found, we ... try to keep e-voting?

Better to stuck with the system that wasn't anywhere near as controversial.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853314)

It's not. the powers that be WANT it this complicated because complicated means it's easier to RIG it.

It blows my mind that amercians are not up in arms over this.

WHAT THE FARK IS WRONG WITH PUTTING A GOD DAMNED X IN A BOX? it works in almost every other country on this planet.

nobody really gives a crap if we know 3 seconds after polls close who won, tell me a month later after they all are HAND COUNTED 3 times by 3 seperate parties.

elections are not complicated, only those that want to rig it and control the outcome will make it complex.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

andruk (1132557) | about 7 years ago | (#21853804)

How are the politicians supposed to rig the results then? Who do you think is making the decisions to use Diebold in the first place? Politicians pretty much count on Americans being...stupid, which proved correct in Florida. This isn't any different; how many lay (read: non-technical-don't-read-slashdot) people know, or care, about how exactly they vote?

Fucking pigs...the politicians, I mean.

Re:You'd think ... (1)

aichpvee (631243) | about 7 years ago | (#21853356)

You'd think that if the purpose were not to make it easy to commit election fraud, and you'd be right. If only the world were that good a place.

One thng you need: software freedom (5, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | about 7 years ago | (#21853456)

It's not that difficult. But people in positions of political power are disincentivized from doing the right thing. This includes talking to technical people who advocate for free software voting machines [counterpunch.org] so that we can end up with machines that produce voter-verifiable paper ballots which are stored for manual counting and are built on a free software system so that the county/state can get programmers they can trust when things don't work correctly. Having a choice of proprietors is just picking your monopolist and then hoping they'll do what you want when the contract is signed.

Instead of spending millions on a new proprietary system that will not adequately address local needs issues (and thus cause great embarrassment for the clerks who chose them), they could spend money (even with other states and counties) developing voting machines they can maintain and inspect as much as they like. Counties and states can purchase the required black box testing themselves, they don't need ES&S, Diebold, etc. to do this for them.

In this particular case, the ACLU's fear—voters not being immediately notified that their ballots are invalid—can be dealt with by a computer which scans (but doesn't count) their paper voter-verified ballot. Not only can most voters have an opportunity to read their paper ballot, they could plug in a pair of headphones into the computer and have the computer read them their ballot back and then determine if that comports with their intended vote. Then after this proofing (human and/or computer) each voter has a reasonable expectation that their ballot is valid and accurately reflects their intention.

I was part of the appointed group that recommended a set of voting machines for Champaign County, Illinois' elected County Board. Due to some not-completely-honest measures about only hearing from "approved" vendors, and a bunch of poor choices, I was pushed into picking the least-worst which happened to be a set of ES&S machines (one scanned and/or produced a paper voter-verifiable ballot, the other counted that paper ballot and physically retained it in a locked cabinet). Champaign County ended up with ES&S machines, only one of which had been approved for use by the state (in the state's bound-to-be-bullshit testing regime). The hurdles to overcome aren't ridiculously difficult. It will be hard to get some people to understand that it's beneficial to have local control over the voting machine so the machines can be reprogrammed to meet local needs (including changing the software to accommodate non-first-past-the-post voting, and generally fixing bugs or adding enhancements a county decides they want after the voting hardware contract is signed).

One thing that would really help (nothing like the power of a good example) is a free software voting machine that works just like the ES&S paper ballot scanning machines. These machines have a remarkably simple interface, good and adjustable voice, clear display, and headphone jacks. But these machines run on proprietary software which ES&S isn't willing to relicense (despite being their customer). So you're stuck with them for "support" and that means hoping they'll share your county's idea of what your voting system should do.

Concur (2, Informative)

happyslayer (750738) | about 7 years ago | (#21853824)

I was in the same position: Asked to come in as a technical consultant to look over the proposals for the electronic voting system to be used.

Again, it was "least deficient" when I made my final recommendation. ES&S at least tried to look like they were supplying a system that following the boilerplate RFP (Request for Proposals, a govt term meaning "I want a system to do this; waddaya got?"). One item that particularly stood out was the following:

  • RFP specified a three-tier database system. (For non-geeks, it means that the database and front-end GUI were separated by a third system that "translates" between what the user wants and what the system supplies.)
  • ES&S stated that theirs was a three-tier database system with "blah-blah-blah".
  • Diebold stated that their system was a "two-tier, three-tier, or n-tier system" depending upon the customer's setup.

Now, this is a geeky point of contention, but to me, it said that Diebold's marketing folks were just throwing in crap to make it sound like they were fulfilling the requirement. I recommended that Diebold should not be used because of their marketing double-speak.

(To finish up, I was told by the Election Board that they were already bound to a solution if they wanted funding: "If we don't buy the system the state wants, we won't get the funds to do the upgrade at all, and we will not be in compliance." Being that this was on Kenneth Blackwell's watch as Secretary of State, I wasn't surprised, only mildly disappointed.)

But, bad purchase aside, Scioto County, OH now uses optical scanners at each of the polling places. The voter gets immediate feedback on problems, and this point of contention never came up. (*chuckle* Not even going to touch all the other problems...)

As an Ohioan, my first question would be "What the fsck is going on up in Cleveland?!?" But, as a voter in these times, I am, again, only mildly disappointed.

Re:You'd think ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853544)

A cynic would say that it isn't actually complicated. Only the incredibly confused and dumb can mess up filling out a ballot. A cynic would also say that perhaps these same people tend to vote for a certain party...and that certain party also tends to support certain groups that complain of such things.

Re:You'd think ... (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 7 years ago | (#21853822)

Voting as a concept never has been complicated. However, you have to consider the fact that a huge portion of the American voting public cannot name:

1. The Vice President

2. The Speaker of the House

3. Their own state governor.

4. Any member of Congress.

When this is your voting public, how do you expect them to (a) understand, or (b) work up the gumption to care about voting issues? To most people, something's not an issue if they don't see it on headline news at 6.

Ohio's alternative: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21852844)

Have niggers do it?

Re:Ohio's alternative: (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 7 years ago | (#21852866)

What, vote?

Simple = Better (2, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | about 7 years ago | (#21852864)

In canada we have a piece of paper with a check box for each candidate. They manually count it and results are known by the end of the evening. Recounts are done by the next day. Not expensive, not confusing, it leaves a paper trail, and it is as physically secure as any computer box could ever get.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

idiotnot (302133) | about 7 years ago | (#21852892)

And Ohio, alone, has a third of Canada's population. In large precincts, this is becoming impractical, if not impossible. I'm sure it'd work in smaller cities in the US, too.

They use the optical scan ballots where I used to vote (I just moved last month), and they're very easy to use, and very accurate.

Re:Simple = Better (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#21852922)

It scales perfectly with population count. India is the world's largest democracy and they still use mostly paper ballots.

Re:Simple = Better (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21853080)

Any process scales if you don't care about the quality of the result. Vote rigging is rampant in India, and all that hand-counting is often blamed.

There's also the slight difference in the cost of labor in India versus the U.S.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

locokamil (850008) | about 7 years ago | (#21853280)

Proof plz, kthxbai.

Re:Simple = Better (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21853536)

I don't argue with cats!

Re:Simple = Better (1)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | about 7 years ago | (#21853352)

Could you please cite a current reference for your statement.

It seems either out-of-date or simply false. I don't believe they've used hand-counting for a while now.

Indeed, India seems to have got a better handle of this than we do in many ways:

Indian voting machines [wikipedia.org]

Their system isn't without issues. But it seems to have handled fraud rather well. Furthermore, it's a rather interesting that they have electronic voting, instead of computerized voting which is what the US seems to get stuck with.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21853552)

I stand corrected. Please note that I was replying to a guy who cited India as proof that hard counting scales.

Re:Simple = Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853448)

There's also the slight difference in the cost of labor in India versus the U.S.
Therefore the obvious solution is to use paper ballots and outsource the vote counting to India.

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Senjutsu (614542) | about 7 years ago | (#21853040)

And Ohio, alone, has a third of Canada's population. In large precincts, this is becoming impractical, if not impossible. I'm sure it'd work in smaller cities in the US, too.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is complete and utter bullshit. Ohio has fewer total voters than Ontario, but paper ballots work in Ontario. Ohio's largest city by metropolitan population, Cleveland, has a population of 2,114,155, doesn't hold a candle to the metropolitan population of Toronto, 5,555,912, and yet paper ballots work in Toronto. Paper ballots work. They work in small populations, and they work in big populations. This "abloo abloo abloo the US alone is too big for paper ballots" meme needs to die. It's utter bullshit.

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 years ago | (#21853162)

It is the very definition of modern corporate marketing. Computerised voting is only needed to inflate the profit margins of politically biased corporations. The unimaginably stupid idea of second chance voting is ludicrous. Voting is meant to be secret and anonymous but some corporate slug comes up the the marketing bull shit of checking peoples votes, which is inherently the most anti-democratic obscene idea.

Corrupting election based upon manual systems requires a huge amount of effort and in countries where there is even a minimum of honest election auditing, more often than not, gets found out and the anti-democracy offenders get prosecuted.

Electronic voting allows for the mass corruption of elections and is most often supported by corporate executives for exactly that reason.

Re:Bullshit (1)

danhs7 (970647) | about 7 years ago | (#21853590)

We have much more complex ballots in the United States than elsewhere.

In Canada, voters only have 1 decision: their representative for parliament.

In the United States, ballots can have, literally, dozens of choices. Presidential, senate, house of representatives, propositions, and various local elected officials. All of which adds up to dozens of options.

Hand counting so many options would be much more complex than in a country like Canada.

Zestyping (see grandparent) described this in his dissertation: http://zestyping.livejournal.com/234617.html [livejournal.com] .


Re:Bullshit (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853890)

I call bullshit.

Australia has complex ballots as well - potentially far more complex than yours. We do use manually-counted paper ballots. We deal with it by breaking them up into separate ballot papers, which are counted separately, and indeed into separate elections as well. So we have separate federal, state, and occasionally even local elections, along with separate referendums where required.

A federal election has two separate ballot papers. One for electing the local member of parliament, and one for the senate.

In the case of the MP ballot, all voters are required to cast a vote for each candidate, in order of preference. That means that this ballot contains a list of around ten candidates, numbered starting from 1 for the first choice. This is the simplest of the two.

Here is what it looks like [aec.gov.au]

The senate ballot contains a list of everyone running for a senate seat. There are two options - vote for a single party and use their choices for the rest of the senate seats, or number each runner in order of preference.

Here is that one looks like. [aec.gov.au] Bear in mind that the real one is much larger, and has many more options than that sample.

Every citizen is required to vote. Voter turnout is therefore somewhere higher than 99%. Since everyone must vote, we have a system designed to make every vote count. In the case of the MPs, your vote eventually ends up going to one of the two major parties anyway - as each candidate is eliminated, their votes are reallocated according to voter preference. In the case of the senate, the guy with the most votes gets a seat, and their votes are reallocated among the remaining candidates according to voter preferences, and this repeats until all candidates are eliminated.

This is all done manually.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853910)

Last i checked that was what? 20% of the total population of Canada? And Cleveland is less than 1% of the US population.
The way I see it, we in Ohio are just guinea pigs for the rest of the country with crap like this.

Re:Simple = Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853330)

Not true. The larger the population base, the larger the more people you have available to count ballots. Actually, Canada is probably one of the worst case scenarios as far as manual ballot counting goes. Think about it, vast territory, very scarcely populated outside a dense southern strip of land. In those scarcely populated locations you probably need a relatively speaking large number of polling station to cover a given number of inhabitants because of the very large distances.

On the other hand, in a place like NY, it's great. Yes, you have lots of people, but so concentrated that you can setup a large number of polling stations... and it each would still cover more poeple over a much smaller area than in most of Canada. It'd be much easier to find volunteers, and it would be much cheaper per capita.

As someone else was stating, it scales very well, and works well in India with a very high population (and pop. density). Low population density would be the only thing going against this poling method, and as we've seen, it works well even in Canada. Therefore, all the sophisticated thingamagigs are only a gimmick for some people to cash in.

(an yes, despite the remote areas an all, we know who won the elections by the evening of the voting day in Canada... with the manual counting and all).

Re:Simple = Better (2, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 7 years ago | (#21853584)

We have the same system in the UK and it works fine for higher population densities (200 times that of Canada) just fine. From what I understand of the US system it was perfect for coping with the communication system of the 18th century but come on guys it's the 21st century now! In fact I think the US system was actually best summed up by one of your past presidents (Carter IIRC) who stated that if a dictatorship adopted the US system it would not be recognised as fully democratic by the UN.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 7 years ago | (#21853922)

What? Like the Electoral College? I totally agree with you Bond. The population of the United States has never elected a President thanks to the current system of elections. That's why I'm abstaining from voting this year.

lawsuits (2, Funny)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 7 years ago | (#21853116)

If the US govt implemented this idea then everyone who was illiterate or born without arms would sue under the disability act.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

iabervon (1971) | about 7 years ago | (#21853286)

That system is essentially what the ACLU is complaining about: if a ballot is unclear, there's no way to allow the voter to try again. The advantage of optical scan machines in the polling places is that they reject unclear ballots when the voter tries to cast them, so the voter can cast a replacement. The physical ballots, after they're scanned and accepted, go into a box and can be recounted by humans if necessary.

Ohio wants to do the scanning in a central location, which is approximately equivalent to counting them manually in the central location, so far as it really matters, because the scanners will never count a ballot that humans wouldn't argue over.

Re:Simple = Better (5, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about 7 years ago | (#21853414)

I really don't mean to flame, but every single voting issue thread attracts at least one post from someone explaining how Canada votes, and how simple it is, and how the U.S. could just do it the same way. Most of the time this post gets modded up insightful.

About half the time, someone responds, explaining how U.S. elections are more complicated than those in Canada, because U.S. elections usually feature a dozen or more separate items to vote on; in addition to national elections (up to three at a time), there can be a dozen state, county, and municipal elections, plus votes on city propositions, bond packages, and constitutional amendments (almost every year in Texas). It's simply not possible to count all of this quickly and accurately by hand in one day.

To this post, someone from Canada usually responds, asking why we have to vote on all that stuff, and wondering why we don't let our elected officials decide some of that for us.

To which someone else responds, pointing out that our system of government doesn't work the same as Canada's; once we elect someone we are pretty much stuck with them for two, four, or six years, so if our officials start doing things we don't like, we don't have the opportunity to call new elections and replace them. We also only have two viable political parties, so it's less likely that we agree with our elected representatives on every issue. Thus, we like to have a chance to directly vote on more items than most other countries. Also, to increase the likelihood of high voter turnout, we combine elections to minimize the number of election days. In Texas, I believe there can only be three election days a year: the March primaries (if needed), and the May and November general elections.


So, in summary, this concept and its responses have been beaten to death. If you feel the same way I do, do as I will and start modding all "Canada votes like this, why doesn't the U.S., too?" redundant.

Re:Simple = Better (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | about 7 years ago | (#21853596)

> We also only have two viable political parties, so it's less likely that we agree with our elected representatives on every issue.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one...
With 2 parties, they winners had to compromise with lots of people in order to get elected, so you end up not so much with "the favorite" person, but the "least unfavorite"... the one who is likely to piss the fewest people off.
With 10 parties, you don't have to compromise as much, so you end up with someone who will piss more people off more severely.

Re:Simple = Better (2, Insightful)

can56 (698639) | about 7 years ago | (#21853936)

"once we elect someone we are pretty much stuck with them for two, four, or six years, so if our officials start doing things we don't like, we don't have the opportunity to call new elections and replace them."

Do you believe that Canadians have the opportunity to boot elected officials we don't like at any time??


Re:Simple = Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853908)

Yeah, we did exactly that for about, oh I dont know, 200 years...

Heres the difference:

Because we have a "federalized" government, it means each state (and sometimes county) casts, collects, and counts each vote differently than the next. The real problem was never with the paper ballot system as a whole, it was just with the paper ballots for certain states. Therefore electronic voting machines, though sometimes convenient, aren't really attacking the problem.

Oh and plus, paper ballots don't "Scale Perfectly," because as the population increases, your error rate increases (yes, the RATE increases, not just the total amount of errors) So while Canada might only have an error rate of 0.5-1% of ballots cast, the US will may have an error rate of 1-3% of ballots cast, and India even more. Combine that with the non-standardized methods of vote collection, and its easy to understand why people are freaking out about this next election.

(On a side note, the non-standardized way in which votes are cast and collected actually helps prevent voter fraud. By having each district count votes, then toss the totals to the state, it means that MANY many more people are involved in the counting process than any other democracy on earth. Therefore in order to "fraud" an election, a candidate would have to bribe/buy an incredibly LARGE amount of people...people who take their job as vote counters very seriously.)

Oh Please.... (3, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | about 7 years ago | (#21852868)

If that's the standard, then every method used is probably illegal. How can a voter verify he pulled the correct level? Handwritten ballots can't be relied upon, either.

Optical scans have historically been regarded as the best, and practically everyone who went to school since 1960 has filled out a scantron sheet.

The ACLU is a bit off base here, IMO.

Off topic....the "Related Links" this time were interesting.

Compare prices on YRO Products

What, exactly is a YRO product?

Re:Oh Please.... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 7 years ago | (#21852884)

Two options: one [mozilla.org] two [slashdot.org] .

Re:Oh Please.... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 7 years ago | (#21852992)

Since when has the ACLU been on base? Until they are in favor of some form of voter ID, I'll ignore everything the ACLU says.

If optical scanners aren't reliable, then maybe my old test scores really were higher. :)

Re:Oh Please.... (1)

Punt3r (926089) | about 7 years ago | (#21853304)

As I understand it, the issue is not in the failure rate of optical scanning, but in the proposed process to scan them in a centralized location, rather than scanning them at the polling location as the voter submits their ballot.

If the machine rejects the ballot as the voter submits it, they have a chance to correct any errors or issues related to their submission. If the machine rejects the ballot later in the day, they have no such opportunity.

The ACLU, in this case, seems to just be trying to make sure every ballot is actually counted.

Re:Oh Please.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853662)

Voter ID is a scam to prevent the poor from voting. Period. If the Republicans who support voter ID laws were serious, they'd just adopt a finger-dipping policy like in the third world. But the fact is, voting fraud on the precinct level (as opposed to what happened in 2000) simply isn't a problem in this country.

Re:Oh Please.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853796)

Bullshit. People who are against voter ID are, by default, supporting voter fraud. And, whether you believe it or not, voter fraud at ALL levels is a serious problem in this country.

Retirees who move to another state routinely vote in their new home in person, and by absentee in their former home state. The dead routinely vote all over the country. Illegals vote in every election. Some people vote twice. Etc. Etc. Etc.

You're not serious enough about the issue to even debate with. Go drink your Kool-Aid.

Re:Oh Please.... (2, Informative)

Kilz (741999) | about 7 years ago | (#21853296)

Im an election judge in cook county IL. We have touch screens and paper ballots. When a voter fills out the paper ballot it is feed into a scanner that checks for errors like no votes in a race, or to many people voted in a race. The scanner returns the ballot on error. The voter is told that there may be a problem with the ballot and asked if they want a new ballot. If they want a new ballot, the old one gets SPOILED written in big letters on it and placed in the spoiled ballot envelope. If they dont want a new ballot , the ballot is reinserted and any races with to many votes or no votes in a race may not be counted in that race. The rest of the votes on it are counted.

Re:Oh Please.... (1)

guabah (968691) | about 7 years ago | (#21853458)

From a State Election Commision commercial

It's not your SAT.

It's not your Horse Racing ticket

It's your ballot for the Republican primary of 2000

Yes, in Puerto Rico we use paper ballots just fine, except for the Republicans who used Optical scans in their primary, and Bush won.

Re:Oh Please.... (1)

v1 (525388) | about 7 years ago | (#21853480)

I think what would make a nice system if they wanted to go electronic is some method by which the voting resuls were electronically transmitted to a central counting location, and that every voter had a "confirmation number" of sorts receipt on their ballot, that they could take home and punch in on a web page along with say, their ssn, that hashes to their ballot, allowing them to look up and verify their ballot. This would allow people to verify that their votes were counted, which is not something the current system allows. Technically, this could be taken a step further with auditors making random additional votes (that would be removed from the tally because they would be identifiable by their hash) which would help insure all votes were counted.

But then I assume this is one of those things that they won't consider because it would make too much sense and be hard for anyone to abuse.

Re:Oh Please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853770)

well, because then you could sell your vote

Could someone tell me why we need it at all? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#21852914)

Paper - pen - checkbox - count

What the hell is wrong with that system? It's in effect in nearly every other country. What is so terribly different in the US that this system won't work as flawlessly as it works everywhere else? Pardon the blunt question, but is it too hard to find enough people intelligent enough to effing count slips of paper?

What the hell is the deal about it all? We're wasting billions of dollars every year on worthless junk, flying our politicians around to pointless debates and toilet seats to boot. I don't think spending a few bucks to get good ol' paper elections done, which are tried, proven and simply and plainly working, is going to break the budget's back!

Re:Could someone tell me why we need it at all? (2, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#21852940)

The problem is that USAsians votes on every gawddamm thing on the same day. The rest of the world has the good sense to have separate ballots for separate levels of government.

Re:Could someone tell me why we need it at all? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 years ago | (#21852974)

I believe that the issue is that it doesn't work flawlessly everywhere else.

Here in WA we are about to move to completely absentee voting sometime in the next year or so. The system that we use is similar to a scantron. We fill in the generously sized square with a sharpy, and the ballot is then mailed into the elections office where it is scanned and stored until at least the time when the election is certified.

It works well over all.

The problem though is that it is virtually impossible to know that a given ballot has been received, and I think that it would be great if there were some system to check up on it to make sure that it was received.

The ballots themselves are simple enough to use, the problems arise because we can now, after many decades, only vote for one party in the primaries, and have to use two layers of envelope when sending them in. As well as the Republican parties complaints that roughly 0.2% claimed fraud rate. I had to crunch that myself, but its similar to the actual percentage. In my opinion, getting it that low is sufficient for a legitimate election result.

Re:Could someone tell me why we need it at all? (1)

lemaymd (801076) | about 7 years ago | (#21853256)

Well, we should be able to improve on paper ballots by permitting people to audit their own ballots, as in the schemes designed by Chaum and Neff.

Re:Could someone tell me why we need it at all? (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#21853436)

Paper - pen - checkbox - count

What the hell is wrong with that system?

Paper ballots are soooo... last century.

And among a significant percentage of the US population, especially those in charge of huge piles of public money, everything is always "better" when done with technology. And did I mention the huge pile of money these people have to spend? Everybody likes new toys!

Second Chance Vote?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21852916)

What is this? Kindergarten?

My vote didn't register! I wanna do-over, I'm telling!

Here's how to do it:

1. Standardized PAPER ballot
2. 1 Writing Instrument (Pen, indelible ink)
3. 1 "X" in a clearly printed circle , beside the candidate's name
4. Hand Count (with appropriate 'adult' supervision, the ballots.

That's how it's done. Can't make a simple X? you shouldn't be voting.

Optical scan per precinct (1)

HeraldMage (50053) | about 7 years ago | (#21852934)

they should do an optical scanner per precinct. Virginia does this and they work very well, they're not expensive (certainly when compared to the touch screen ones), they still collect the paper trail that can be audited (the actual ballot), they can verify you didn't overvote, or have any ambiguity in what you filled out...the problem the ACLU sees here is a valid one: if the ballots are all hauled away first, then scanned, then you find the ballot has a stray mark or an overvote and you have to reject it. If it happens in the precinct the election officer can spoil the ballot and give the voter a new one to try again.

Re:Optical scan per precinct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853076)

"If it happens in the precinct the election officer can spoil the ballot"

Problem with that is the election official would then have access to the ballot as the vote was being cast. The voting process would no longer have any confidentiality involved. Even if the precinct optical scanners had a way to notify, real-time, of a spoiled ballot without the election official being privvy to what was marked, the ACLU would still bitch that the confidentiality of one's vote had been compromised.

Yes, there are overvotes on paper ballots, here in TX, they are discarded.
Yes, some people are too stupid to understand scantron sheets.
I would imagine that there are probably people too stupid to understand check boxes as well.

If one does not follow proper procedures, one's vote may not be counted, regardless the method of casting the ballot. Where I am at, our voters use the Ivotronics voting machines, (http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=5165), and if they leave the poll site without casting their ballot, we, the election officials, are required by law to cancel the ballot rather than casting it for them. In 4 years of being a precinct judge, I've had to cancel around 1 dozen ballots for that reason. We try to catch the voter before he/she leaves, but that doesn't always happen. Fortunately, most of my cancelled ballots have been because someone chose the wrong language, or the screen on the voting machine needed recalibrated, and they got new ballots.

Confidentiality can be maintained (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 years ago | (#21853206)

If the ballot-counting machine is in the precinct and it immediately rejects unreadable and over-voted ballots, the voter can ask to have it spoiled.

If the spoiling procedure preserves confidentiality then there is no problem.

One way to do this is for the voter to put the ballot in an envelope with a see-through hole big enough to see the ballot's serial number. The election official writes down the serial number in an official log and the voter initials it. The sealed envelope is put in a secure location. Unless there is an irregularity, all spoiled ballots are later destroyed unseen. The "voter initials it" fraud-prevention step can be eliminated if privacy is deemed more important than fraud prevention.

No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#21852946)

it is a seriously dumb idea. increases attack vectors, makes something that is inherently transparent opaque



optical scanner

end of fucking problem


i expect this wisdom to enter the brain of bureaucrats everywhere sometime around 2050

hopefully we won't be a theocracy or fascism by then, hastened along by malignant voting schemes

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21853238)



optical scanner

end of fucking problem

Sigh. Everyone points to paper ballots as a guarantee that votes will be properly counted. May I point out that rigged elections predate electronic voting by many centuries?

Ok, so your hybrid system allows you to double check. But when do you double check? If we can't trust the electronic system (and if we did, what's the point in having a dead tree backup?) then you end up with the loser demanding a hand count every time. So you might as well do it by hand to begin with. Except that's too expensive.

It doesn't even matter what process you use to count ballots. What matters is that the process occur out in the open. It's as easy to do that with electronic voting as with paper ballots. Easier even, because it's easier to track the workflow. Harder to repeat the 1960 voting in Chicago, where the ballot boxes took a suspicious amount of time in transit.

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 years ago | (#21853358)

I don't think anyone claims that using paper ballots is a sure-fire guarantee that fraud won't take place. But electronic voting machines make fraud easier, and it's absurd to pretend otherwise. With paper ballots, you have to have a much larger number of people in on the scheme to change a large number of votes and cover your tracks afterward.

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#21853664)

With paper ballots, you have to have a much larger number of people in on the scheme to change a large number of votes and cover your tracks afterward.
Only because you have a lot of people monitoring the process. Give me 5 minutes alone with a ballot box, and I promise you a surprising shift in votes for that precinct. But there are a ton of people who are busy making sure I don't get that 5 minutes.

By the same token, you can design an electronic voting system so that every step is an open book. And I promise you that a zillion geeks and computer scientist will have nothing better to do than spend hours picking nits with your system. This is a level of double-checking no paper system can claim.

Any system is trustworthy to the degree that it is transparent.

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 years ago | (#21853924)

Five minutes alone with a ballot box, and you can change the count for that ballot box; it may be enough to change the results for the precinct (or it may not) but it probably won't be enough to throw a statewide election. Five minutes (or much less) of entering commands to an electronic voting system, and you damn sure can change the results of a statewide election, and furthermore, you can do it in a way that leaves no physical evidence. The "every step is an open book" and the "zillion geeks and computer scientist [who] have nothing better to do than spend hours picking nits with your system" idea is a red herring, since electronic voting systems aren't designed that way and probably never will be. They're all proprietary, with the inner workings protected as a trade secret, and given the insane state of US IP law and corporate/governmental mutual backscratching, that's not going to change.

The most reasonable assumption is that at some point, no matter what voting system you use, someone will compromise it at some point, so the best thing to do is design the system so that the least damage will result. Paper ballots fit this requirement much better than electronic systems do.

this has been studied to death by experts, (1)

klevenstein (1209886) | about 7 years ago | (#21853920)

and the only thing you need besides the voter-verified paper is a minimum of 5% automatically-triggered random audits.

We have it in New Mexico because we formed a voter group, studied it with experts, formulated the desired system, and made it happen.
http://www.votersunite.org/info/newmexicoaudits.asp [votersunite.org]
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/ [verifiedvoting.org]
http://www.uvotenm.org/ [uvotenm.org]

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#21853340)

i expect this wisdom to enter the brain of bureaucrats everywhere sometime around 2050

You sir are an Optimist.

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (2, Interesting)

klevenstein (1209886) | about 7 years ago | (#21853736)

We have that exact system in New Mexico.

After 2004, we formed a voter advocacy group in NM to study the problem.

Now, if you don't think this is a crucial issue for the future of our government (and consequentially, your entire future in this country), you haven't been paying attention.

We studied the various systems, looked for vulnerabilities, and came up with a legislative proposal that resulted in this system. We educated Governor Richards about it, and got it implemented in time to use it for the 2006 elections.

It works.

You cannot game this system without an unprecedented conspiracy, and even then, it would certainly be discovered. We also have random accuracy checks to track if anything weird is happening, and this is a critical part of the system. A certain political party that I won't name (but it's initials are GOP) doesn't like real voting to happen, and they tried to block it, but to no avail. It passed our Democratic-led legislature with flying colors.

You might think I'm just writing this to toot my horn. That would be wrong. I'm trying to show that citizens can do something if they work at it. None of us were getting paid or getting any benefits other than good elections in our state.

Get involved, if you care about the future of democratic government, which is essentially America's future.

Re:No. Electronic. Voting. Ever. (1)

klevenstein (1209886) | about 7 years ago | (#21853866)

To be clear, the system we chose is:

paper with numerical ID the voter takes it to the scanner and inserts it (with assistance right at hand) the scanner gives an error code if there is a problem access to the the scanner's storage is physically tamper-proof sealed the memory chip is physically tamper-proof sealed automatic random audits are performed by hand on 5% of the scanners' results (versus the paper) to verify accuracy

This system was studied by a team of data security experts, and the probability of undetected tampering is very, very close to zero.

Check out these sites, and get involved, especially if you are in one of the 6 remaining states with no VVPR (Voter-Verified Paper Record) requirement and no audit requirement:

http://www.votersunite.org/info/newmexicoaudits.asp [votersunite.org]
http://www.uvotenm.org/leg.html [uvotenm.org]
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/ [verifiedvoting.org]

better idea (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 7 years ago | (#21852954)

Why don't they just make a little box where you press some buttons (BUTTONS, NOT TOUCH SCREEN!) and it prints you a filled out ballot with Scantron abilities. It wipes its memory after it prints and you drop your ballot in the ballot box. Then they scan em in later with a scantron machine which would basically be 100% accuracy since they were all printed on the same paper from the same printer model in the same way. And there's your paper trail. It'd be like 3x faster and unhackable since it's still paper based.

Re:better idea (1)

crosson (1204404) | about 7 years ago | (#21853008)

Government Official: You mean all the added expenditure associated with e-voting, with none of the negative publicity? I'm sold.

Cyncial response (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 years ago | (#21853216)

Greedy Elected Official: You mean a cheap, reliable system that won't have to be replaced every few years, drying up campaign contributions by companies who want a piece of the action? I'll never let it happen!

Other options? (1)

throatmonster (147275) | about 7 years ago | (#21853024)

Do whatever the hell you want with electronic voting machines. Then make them print out your f'ing ballot, in whatever language you prefer. This gives the voter the ability to cross-check selections ("second chance?!?") before turning in the ballot, and leaves a scanable paper trail for recounts and other verification. You only get to turn in one ballot, and once you've turned one in, you're done - no whining or crying that you didn't do it right.

Let's do *one* thing right. (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 7 years ago | (#21853068)

Ohio's Alternative to Diebold Machines May Be Equally Bad

For God's sake, let us as Americans, do just one thing right before the year is out. This year has been dogged by negative news from A to Z. I certainly need a break.

Re:Let's do *one* thing right. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#21853226)

For God's sake, let us as Americans, do just one thing right before the year is out. This year has been dogged by negative news from A to Z. I certainly need a break.

I got laid last week. Does that (ahem) count?

Re:Let's do *one* thing right. (1)

sound+vision (884283) | about 7 years ago | (#21853368)

I scored some (high quality) meth and hydrocodone tonight. Certainly that attests to the resourcefulness of American drug dealers?

Re:Let's do *one* thing right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853442)

Well I'm 29, and I've never had sex. So your progress gets canceled out I'm afraid

I guess I'm not pulling my own weight as an American am I? :P haha

Get the facts (1)

gskouby (61416) | about 7 years ago | (#21853070)

First - the title is sort of misleading. This is not state wide. This is in one county - Cuyahoga. Their elections are a mess and they are grasping at straws.
Second, the one thing that electronic voting equipment does really well is informing the voter of "stupid" errors. If you have voted for more than one candidate in one race it can complain at the voter and force him/her to fix the error immediately. If you fill out a paper ballot and vote for two candidates in the same race the error won't get discovered until the vote is in the process of being counted. At that point there is no way of telling what the true vote is and the voter's vote doesn't get counted. There is not supposed to be a minimum IQ for participating in a democracy - though maybe there should be.

no doritos for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853092)

the world is shit because people are sober,
follow bill hicks' instructions in rant in e minor on how to free your mind

10 years ago called they want their tech back (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | about 7 years ago | (#21853106)

Well before the fiasco of 2000, I voted in a precinct that had a local optical-ballot counter.

You filled in an optical-scan ballot and put it in the machine.

If the machine detected an over-vote or a spoiled ballot it spit it out. This was a clue to check your ballot for errors.

If you insisted on voting that way anyways there was a manual override.

It didn't care about undervotes, it rightly counted those as abstentions.

At the end of the day, the election judge turned a key and it spit out an unofficial total for that precinct.

All the ballots and machines went to a local or county counting location where the ballots were officially removed from the machines and officially counted.

It was easy to compare the official and unofficial counts to spot for irregularities.

Very simple very easy very quick very accurate. The only thing missing was machine-assisted voting for those who couldn't read or mark an optical ballot.

Re:10 years ago called they want their tech back (1)

Bartab (233395) | about 7 years ago | (#21853636)

The only thing missing was machine-assisted voting for those who couldn't read

At some point we, as a society, just need to step up to the reality that illiterates don't matter. It's irrelevant if you can't read because you're retarded, or just because you don't care to learn. You don't know enough to intelligently vote, and most everybody doesn't really care if you get to or not. Just some loud and shrill people like to scream about things at the top of their voice. The what doesn't matter nearly as much as the screaming.

Note: Blind people -can- read, it's called braille. Of course their illiteracy rate is massive. See above.

To help explain why the issue is complicated: (1)

zestyping (928433) | about 7 years ago | (#21853114)

Elections are not simple, much as we might like them to be so.

Keep these points in mind:

  • Ballots in the U. S. typically have dozens of contests -- sometimes 60, 70, or more contests. Hand counting is significantly less practical in the U. S. than in say Canada, where your ballot is just a vote for a single candidate in a single contest.
  • Electronic voting has real security risks. Most folks here know that already. The risks can be big.
  • Electronic voting has real potential advantages. The number of undervotes, overvotes, and otherwise spoiled ballots is considerable and significant. We are talking about millions of votes here. Voters really do make more errors when they vote on punchcards or on centrally scanned paper ballots -- and these errors disproportionately affect poorer and less educated voters. Precinct-based scanning prevents overvoting (voters find out immediately if their ballot is improperly marked, and can try again). DREs prevent overvoting and also have the potential to significantly reduce error rates by warning the voter of skipped contests, giving better instructions, and supporting more languages. DREs also have unique advantages for disabled voters.
It is not inconceivable that switching to central-count optical scanning could actually leave Ohio worse off than DREs, depending on your assumptions about the frequency of voter errors and the magnitude of security risks. There are many factors involved.

At the moment, my favourite is precinct-based optical scanning (paper-based, simple, with immediate feedback to voters) or paper ballots printed by a computerized voting interface (all the advantages of computerized vote entry -- IF the UI is well designed, without losing the verifiability and auditability of paper).

Okay, I know this is America, but ... (1)

gordguide (307383) | about 7 years ago | (#21853164)

" ... The ACLU believes the intent of election law is to ensure voters can be notified immediately of a voting error and be able to make a second-chance vote. ..."

Okay, either this is a rather new thing the lawmakers came up with for No-I-Give-Up-Tell-Me reasons, or it's a poorly crafted law with unintended consequences, or the ACLU is reading a lot into the legislation that simply doesn't exist. One thing I know, however, is a vote is a vote, in any nation on Earth. Second chances are strictly disallowed. Period. So, what does the ACLU want, really?

Does "voting error" mean something besides what I think it means? How, exactly, can there be a voting error in the first place? The voter votes. Done. The voter "made a mistake?" Same answer: "Done. Try better next time, sir."

Is someone saying a voting error refers to something the elector does not do? That it is somehow built into the system? Or even possible? I mean, I know what Election Fraud is. I know why Elections always have audit trails. I know that no elector can change his or her vote, even while the election is still ongoing. That's the way all elections work, everywhere they take them seriously.

What possible error can there be? Why am I not also reading stories in the news with the phrases "tar and feathers" and "run out of town on a rail" in them?

Re:Okay, I know this is America, but ... (2, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 7 years ago | (#21853258)

How, exactly, can there be a voting error in the first place? The voter votes. Done. The voter "made a mistake?" Same answer: "Done. Try better next time, sir."

Voting error usually means that there was some problem, technical or otherwise, that prevented the voter from communicating the vote to the tabulator. This can be as sinister as intentionally losing ballots that vote for an opposing party. It can also be as benign as the voter accidentally checking one box, erasing it, and checking another box, and the OCR machine has trouble reading it. Basically, the ACLU wants the ballots scanned in such a way as a mechanical problem that causes the ballot not to be read to lead to the ballot being destroyed, and the voter given a new one. Or, in other words, scanned on the way out of th polling place.

Lastly, there are many forms of voting that allow people to change their votes as the voting is ongoing. However, these are iterative contests, such as run-offs. The only reason not to allow someone to change their vote at any time over election day is the possibility (110%) of fraud and abuse of the system.

Re:Okay, I know this is America, but ... (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 7 years ago | (#21853772)

  1. Create a voting machine that reads any press to the touchscreen 60 times per second.
  2. For the first choice, put a low ranking candidate of one party on the right side.
  3. For every other choice, put the second party's candidate on the right side.
  4. Win most of the elections.

One can do it this blatently. Or, one can make the process confusing enough that the voting process is not apparent (switching the side a party's candidate resides on, using different sized portraits/fonts, physical wear causing one side to become more pressure insensitive over time causing non-votes), allowing for intentional or unintentionally manipulation of an election. All the ACLU wants is for people to be able to vote in a way that (1) they're confident that they voted for who they chose and (2) they actually voted for who they chose.

Re:Okay, I know this is America, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21853844)

I vote in Wisconsin using optical scanners. Once, the ballot I used had a small rip in the corner. This prevented the scanner from correctly processing the ballot. The scanner rejected it, the poll workers gave me a new ballot and marked the first as invalid, I re-voted and this time my vote counted.

Send the ballots to a centralized location and such immediate feedback isn't available and I never know my ballot doesn't count. Send a batch of such ruined ballots to a precinct that votes predominantly one way and you can disenfranchise your opposition.

Ultimately, here's the problem ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#21853202)

the powers-that-be (corporate or governmental, take your pick) don't trust us, We the People, to count our votes inaccurately enough for them.

My letter to the ACLU (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 years ago | (#21853334)

I've been an ACLU member for years, and I was just about to renew my membership when this came up. Here's what I sent them:


The Associated Press reports today that the ACLU is pressing Cuyahoga County, Ohio, not to go through with a planned switch from electronic voting machines to optical-scan paper ballots. This is a terrible position to take, and it is honestly enough to make me question whether or not I should renew my membership for the year.

While I appreciate the ACLU's hard work for voting rights in many areas, the simple fact is that electronic voting machines may be the single most pressing problem our electoral system faces. They are by their very nature unaccountable and amenable to large-scale election fraud. Any move to abandon these machines (which are manufactured and operated almost exclusively by private companies with right-wing ties) should be applauded, not suppressed. This is an issue of particular note in Ohio, given that electronic voting machine fraud in that state in 2004 may well have been responsible for the outcome of that year's Presidential race, with its terrible consequences for our nation.

I sincerely hope that the ACLU will reverse its position on this case and take a strong stand in favor of paper ballots. Silence on this issue is a barely acceptable position for America's leading civil rights organization; supporting the wrong side in this battle is not acceptable at all, to me and I suspect to many other people who have supported the ACLU for years. If the ACLU persists in opposing the planned Cuyahoga County move, I will regretfully conclude that I can no longer support this great organization.

Why the obligation to force people to vote? (1)

eagl (86459) | about 7 years ago | (#21853336)

If you are too stupid to fill out the ballot correctly, or more likely so damn lazy that you didn't bother to figure out how to fill it out correctly, why is the state under an obligation to FORCE you to change your vote? It's not an IQ test, and even the infamous florida butterfly ballots were figured out correctly by the vast majority of voters. So when a good faith effort is made to ensure that the ballots are reasonably easy to fill out correctly, why is the state under any obligation to change what the "voter" has done with their ballot?

Freedom to vote also (in my opinion) means freedom to NOT vote, and filling out a ballot incorrectly is the same thing as not voting. There are plenty of measures out there to help voters fill out ballots correctly, including small armies of volunteer election officials at the voting stations who's sole reason for existence is to help people vote. If people insist on filling out the ballots incorrectly in spite of all the efforts being made to help them vote, why do we still have a further obligation to force these people to CHANGE THEIR VOTE? After all, a no-vote is just as legitimate a position as a vote.

Ballot machines should be limited to printing (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#21853404)

Ballot machines should be limited to printing out a card with the votes clearly displayed and a big barcode at the bottom.

No networking, no outside connections, no storage of information, just a printer and a stack of cards.

This gets you electronic counting, full paper trail, accountability, etc.

Of course the politicians may actually be eyeing up the possibilities for cheating when there's no audit trail....

Egad. Voting machines are peanuts. (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | about 7 years ago | (#21853460)

Let's see now. . .

If you are a high ranking manager for the Dark Side then here are several realities which color every last one of your actions and decisions. . .

1. You are a psychopathic creature who looks human but who doesn't grasp the concept of compassion.

2. Destruction and misery are your bread and butter on a very fundamental level. It's an addiction.

3. The Earth is in for a big change. It may include sudden glacial rebounding, (if the Gulf Stream cuts out, most of Europe will be under ice), cometary impacts and war.

4. Underground tunnels and bases are your ace in the hole.

5. Hm. Except when you come up for air, who's going to polish your shoes and grow your crops? You need to keep some of those cattle-people alive.

6. Cattle-people are the enemy. If the masses find out that you're a psychological deviant, they're going to take away all your privileges and probably put you in prison for ever and ever. So they cannot be allowed to accumulate knowledge or power. You must keep them at each other's throats, keep them scrabbling in a fear-filled environment. --But you still need them to polish your shoes and grow your crops, so it's really all very annoying. You hate them but you need them. The big kill-off will require careful management.

7. You hate Jews and Blacks and Asians. You don't know why exactly, but you do. It's programmed in. --Anyway, if 97% of the population has to be culled, then it would be prudent to make sure you include all of the 'undesirables' among that percentage.

8. Republican or Democrat? Democratic elections? Voting machines? Oh please. The preparations for this phase of human history have been under way for thousands of years. The social management has been highly successful and the people of the world live in almost total ignorance. The changes will come whether we want them or not. The only two questions are, "How uncomfortable is it all going to be, and will the Light Side or the Dark Side rule the planet after the dust settles?"

The way to avoid disaster is not actually that hard. It involves living in the opposite way the system wants you to live in every respect. Fearlessly following your inner guidance system, (the one which isn't linked to basic animal instincts, and which isn't driven by fear of want.)


If somebody can't fill the ballot out correctly... (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 years ago | (#21853882)

... I am not sure, we benefit from their opinion anyway.

Now, even the smartest people can make an accidental mistake, but there will not be a pattern — a disproportional number of accidental mistakes among supporters of a particular candidate or party.

If, on the other hand, the disqualifying mistakes are due to wider-spread illiteracy, then, maybe, it is a good thing, that those votes aren't counted?..

Yes, I am for discounting the stupid people's votes...

The only problem is, without the system telling a voter upfront: this is incorrect and your vote will be ignored, unless you fix it, the potential for some perfectly valid votes being fraudulently discarded later on increases...

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