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Evoting in India, Maryland 182

Posted by michael
from the vote-as-often-as-you-want-we'll-make-more dept.
Anonymous Coward writes "EVMs are back in the news again. The BBC is reporting on the use of over a million Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in India for Parliamentary elections in April. With a billion people and an electorate of 668 million, it is by far the largest democratic election exercise in the world. A picture of an EVM is provided." And Kierthos writes "An article on Yahoo! News mentions that Maryland's voting terminals will be wrapped in tamper proof tape, which 'just protects that malicious code physically', according to computer scientist Avi Rubin. Also mentioned are California's ongoing system of e-voting, as well as a point on whether Diebold should be banned in California after using uncertified software in last October's election."
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Evoting in India, Maryland

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  • hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ghettoboy22 (723339) * <scott.a.johnson@gmail.com> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:01PM (#8424317) Homepage
    If the "tamper proof" tape is what I think it is, that would only show if someone broke the seal. If this happens, does that mean all votes on that machine are thrown out as unreliable? That sure creates the possibility of someone, not liking how pre-election polls are showing their favored candidate, intentionally breaking the seal to throw a wrench as it were into the election. I must be missing something there.....

    As far as the overall debate on e-voting, I like how they do it here in Alaska. It's the old "fill in the bubble" tests like you used to take in school. You fill in the bubble on the ballot, which the ballot itself is very well laid out, then when you're done you feed the ballot into an electronic counter which keeps a tally there on the spot. When the polls close, an election worker connects the machine to a phone line, the machine then dials out and reports the results for that precinct. Results are all in w/in ~2-3 hours of the polls closing, and there is defiantly a paper trail that can be followed, if need be.
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by BuckaBooBob (635108) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:07PM (#8424354)
      Maryland's voting terminals will be wrapped in tamper proof tape.

      Cool does it come with that Magic Server Pixie Dust and a Universal Business Adapter (That actually does require an adapter to connect to a unix machine) and some of those other cool Gizmo's on IBM's commericals?
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the_skywise (189793) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:14PM (#8424398)
      This whole argument (aside from the Diebold fiasco(s) ) stems from the Florida Election of 2000 fiasco.

      Florida used punch cards. Punch out the perforated block, bingo you've voted.
      The fiaso occurred because, what constiuted a "vote" was being subjectviely defined... by whatever party happened to be reading the ballot. Some puches were partially knocked out. Did that constitute a vote? If so, if there was one punch out for one candidate and a partial punch for another, did that invalidate the vote or did it count for the whole punch or the partial one?

      On top of that, while they were handling the ballots during the recount, some of the punch outs were coming off!

      And don't think you're safe with your pencil and paper! Oh no! It's politics. Any side will find anyway to hem and haw about interpretations of rules and ballots.

      That's what partially kicked off this whole EVoting craze in the US. To try to prevent such a thing from occurring again.
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Funny)

        by Ian Wolf (171633) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:31PM (#8424491) Homepage
        "I don't know that pencil mark is outside the line." *stops peering through magnifying glass* "I think its safe to assume that we cannot determine the voter's intent."
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:03PM (#8424664)
        And the real problem with the 2000 election is one that is not often addressed directly, but is ceratainly relavant to the current topic.

        All voting is a statistical process. No system is perfect, there will always be errors. Thus the system has a margin of error.

        The 2000 vote was the problem it was because the vote was inside the margin of error, thus no amount of fiddling, recounting, whatever, could possibly resolve the issue. Statistically speaking, the vote was a dead heat and the only reason it had to be decided by the dead heat in Florida was because it was a dead heat pretty much everywhere else as well.

        In terms of the "problem" this is indicative of the choices of candidates being a coin toss to most of the populace, which is, essentially, how we resolved it. By using technology to reduce the margin of error we can avoid the political brouhaha of coin toss elections by allowing one candidate to "win" by 20 votes or some such, but it does nothing to cure the political problems that lead to such dead heat elections in the first place.

        Do you want Frog ala Peche, or Peche ala Frog?

        Not to mention the problem inherent in such elections where a goodly portion of the voting populace look at the opposing candidates, flip their coin, look at it, then just say "Fuck it, it doesn't even matter," and stay home on election day.

        Give us statistically descernable candidates and we just might have election results statistically significant.

        Of course, to the candidates themselves such an idea is anathema.

        KFG
        • Re:hmm (Score:4, Informative)

          by Imperator (17614) <slashdot2@NOspaM.omershenker.net> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @06:05PM (#8424992)
          While I agree with you that some election results are really too close to be considered statistically significant, the solution for presidential elections is actually quite simple. Get rid of the winner-takes-all system that all states (but Maine) use for choosing their electors. If Gore and Bush had just split Florida's electors 50-50, the whole debacle could have been avoided. Or better yet, get rid of the whole Electoral College system entirely and use a nationwide popular vote. The more voters you have, the less likely the election will be decided by a few thousand confused elderly voters in Florida. It would also mean that those of us who don't live in "swing states" stop getting ignored by presidential campaigns.
          • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kfg (145172)
            Unfortunately a popular vote system would mean that almost all states but California and New York become largely ignorable. I'm afraid that, despite being a New Yorker myself, I see exactly same problems with a popular vote system that the founding fathers did. New York and California dictating law to Montana and Rhode Island will only lead to injustice and more states being "ignored" than are now.

            I like states. I like states rights and equality under law of states. Hence I'm inclined to keep the electoral
            • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Rocinante (121371)
              Unfortunately a popular vote system would mean that almost all states but California and New York become largely ignorable.

              As opposed to the current system, where all but a half-dozen "swing states" are largely ignorable? In 2000 I was registerd to vote in New Jersey; I could just as well have not voted, because Gore won in a walk like everybody knew he was going to (not that I'm complaining about that result, mind you; I would have taken, and would still take, anybody over the ape-in-a-suit we have no
              • Re:hmm (Score:2, Funny)

                by kfg (145172)
                What on earth have apes ever done to you to deserve such disrespect?

                KFG
          • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

            Yeah... proportional representation is the way to go. That will be closer to true democracy. Anything else is an attempt to euqalize the smaller districts, which often leads to side-effects.

            Having said that, it isn't happening in USA any time soon. It is in the interest of the two dominant parties to keep it as it is.

            Sivaram Velauthapillai
          • > Get rid of the winner-takes-all system that all states

            Doesn't solve the problem. It means that we wouldn't've had the problem in 2000, but that's just because it shifts the problem to other situations, where you're doing recounts to scrape together the deciding votes in several states...

            > Or better yet, get rid of the whole Electoral College system entirely and
            > use a nationwide popular vote.

            That makes the problem less likely, but makes it much worse when it happens. Imagine a national dead-
        • by bcboy (4794)
          The 2000 vote was the problem it was because the vote was inside the margin of error, thus no amount of fiddling, recounting, whatever, could possibly resolve the issue.

          This isn't true. The notion of a recount is a misnomer. The machines have a fairly high ballot rejection rate. In particular, if the voter punches part of the ballot incorrectly, the whole thing is skipped by the machines. By (state) law the ballot is supposed to be counted if the intent of the voter is clear. So parts of the ballot that a
          • > The election in Florida wasn't really that close.

            Yep, Bush won it pretty easily, as independent recounts after the fact showed.

            Chris Mattern
      • Re:hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

        by betelgeuse-4 (745816)

        With pencil and paper it's easier to give explicit details of what constitutes a vote and make it clear to the voters what they need to do. Example: Each candidate has a box directly to the right of their name (for the really stupid the correct way up is indicated on the slip). A cross (other marks aren't acceptable) must be placed within the box for the candidate you wish to vote for. Marks made outside the box or in multiple boxes invalidate the voting slip.

        This may seem a little strict, but provided the

      • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

        by term8or (576787)
        IMHO in the UK the questions are:

        1. How do we make sure that EV is secure?
        2. How do we make sure that EV is reliable?
        3. How do we make sure that EV is accurate?


        EV needs to be seen to work as well as paper based alternatives. This is hard to do when the BBC has reported security violations by hackers, the florida fiasco, various interesting comments by Diebold employees etc.

        Personally, in the UK I can't see EV catching on unless there is a paper trail, faultless physical security, and no chance o
      • Not Exactly. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Irvu (248207)
        The 2000 Election was also the first presidential election in which Diebold machines were used. Florida's Velousa (sp?) County. When the initial results came in they were devastating -16,022 (yes that's a negative number) votes were cast for Al Gore. This massive deficit caused Gore to appear diasterously behind Bush in the polls. It was at this point in the night that Gore gave his first resignation speech.

        Later on the "official" counts were reset and a (more belivable) set of (nonnegative) numbers ca
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoonBuggy (611105)
      If you're going down that line of election rigging, you don't even need to break the tape. Just walk past the machines with a fair size magnet and you should do a good job of frying/invalidating the screens and/or memory.

      Don't mod this funny BTW, I'm deadly serious and AFAICS it's quite possible.
      • by mandie (69148)
        Ok, I was wondering about that when I saw a speciman machine here in Montgomery Co., MD. I asked the county elections guy giving the demonstration what would happen if I brought a really strong magnet with me in my purse and set my purse down on the machine. He wasn't sure. I told him that a magnet I'd used to erase hard drives at an old job would have fit into my medium-sized purse.

        I'm guessing this has not been pursued, or he felt that not revealing what kind of shielding was being used was a security me
    • by Ubi_NL (313657)
      intentionally breaking the seal to throw a wrench

      Yep, just like when someone breaks the seal on the box in which we all throw the voting cards.
  • by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:02PM (#8424327) Journal
    Oh riiighht. All you have to do to prevent tampering with an on-line computer is to "wrap it in tamper-proof tape." Sure. Uh huh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:05PM (#8424339)
    Everybody talks about electronic vote - just look at Brazil. I'm 30 years old, have been voting for 12, and have never voted on paper. They've been doing this for a long long time there, and did so in the last presidential election 2 years ago.

    This is how we vote in Brazil (google translate from portuguese):

    http://www.tre-mg.gov.br/eleicoes/simulacao_de_vot acao_na_urna_ele.htm [tre-mg.gov.br]
    • Electronic voting in Brazil is the perfect example of why its important to have users (in this case citizens) involved in the development of a new technology that is supposedly designed to "make their lives easier/better."

      The same machines that are used and trusted in Brasil were used in Angola in 1992. However, in Angola (then political party and later rebel group) UNITA claimed that the machines spewed out fraudulent results, resulting in a bloody civil war that only recently ended.
  • by bmasel (129946) <bmaselNO@SPAMtds.net> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:05PM (#8424340) Journal
    Somehow, none of the articles ever mention that the Wisconsin State Elections Board decertified unverifiable touchscreen systems after I convinced them a year ago. Too far ahead of the curve, I guess.

    The Executive Director's report [state.wi.us]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:06PM (#8424342)
    ...everything's secure when you use Duct Tape!
  • Voting in India (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andy1307 (656570) * on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:06PM (#8424345)
    Each party has a symbol e.g. Elephant, Lotus, wheel etc. If you want to vote for the ruling BJP, you press the button next to the Lotus. That's how they have electronic voting even with the illiteracy problem.
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @06:16PM (#8425046) Journal
      Face it, if the illerterate masses are not read up on the issues they are voting on. How can they even know what they are voting on?

      If it is a vote for an elected official, at least one can judge on what that person has said to them - via personal, radio, and TV appearences. Not perfect, but something.

      What about other issues? What does an illertarte really know? At least the literate can read the text of a ballot measure [not that many do].

      In the end, what is the value of an uninformed vote?

      If radio/TV ads are as deceptive in high-illeteracey democracies such as India, as they are here in the US - it the perfect argument against illiterate voters.

      I don't have an answer, most alternatives are also wrong. Just a question...

      • by Gyan (6853) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @06:23PM (#8425080)
        In the end, what is the value of an uninformed vote?

        George W. Bush will be happy to tell you.
      • by rsidd (6328) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @06:52PM (#8425236)
        Face it, if the illerterate masses are not read up on the issues they are voting on. How can they even know what they are voting on?

        It's a parliamentary system. Voters don't vote for the George W. Bush equivalent. They vote for their local Member of Parliament, who could be a member of a political party (usually is), or an independent. They usually do that vote based on how that MP's been performing (he/she's supposed to take care of that constituency) and they know that very well. And at the end of the day, the party with a majority support in the lower house of parliament gets to govern. It works.

      • It is because all people are equal. Cliche aside these people cannot read but they CAN SEE AND LISTEN. They go to meetings, candidates come by to see them and tell them what he/she would do if he/she was elected. They know what a party did when it was in government ...

        Cheers
        Junk
        • I metioned that in my post, but this is slashdot - so I assume only do you not need to RTFA, but you don't even need to RTFP :-)

          Anyhow, yes, I agree, if you are voting for your representative anyone bothering to vote has as good a chance as anyone else of "getting it right".

      • Democracies treat everyone as equals. Anything that deviates from it will be an elitist system.

        Whether people are illiterate or not doesn't make THAT much difference. MAny people in USA and Canada don't bother reading anything anyway. A politician's speech or television advertising probably has a greater impact than anything they read.

        Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • Diebold again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wmspringer (569211) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:08PM (#8424357) Homepage Journal
    After everything we've heard about Diebold in the past few months - thier ties to Bush, uncertified software, etc - does anyone really trust them to accurately count and record the results of the votes?

    Maybe the states that are still using Diebold machines know something I don't, but I really don't see why you'd want to take such a risk with something as important as voting.
    • Re:Diebold again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PetWolverine (638111) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:19PM (#8424427) Journal
      The problem is that they don't want to take any risk--in particular, they don't want to risk not getting reelected. They probably figure if they help Diebold get the contract, Diebold will help them keep their jobs--it's the bureaucratic "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" philosophy.
    • Re:Diebold again? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by qtp (461286)
      Maybe the states that are still using Diebold machines know something I don't, but I really don't see why you'd want to take such a risk with something as important as voting.

      There are a lot of people in the United States that do not really believe in the ability of the "common person" to make valid decisions when it comes to selecting a government. There are others who believe that democracy actually has a negative effect on a society because it counteracts what they believe to be natural selection (ei:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:09PM (#8424358)
    1. Discard all electronic voting machines
    2. Use paper ballots
    3. Complain about your life, blame everything on the elected official
    4. Repeat in four years

    This provides identical results at greatly reduced cost and time.

  • the Netherlands (Score:3, Informative)

    by ward.deb (757075) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:09PM (#8424365)
    In the Netherland we already do it for years.. What's so new about this?
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:14PM (#8424396)
    This site has email and other contact information for many US Representatives.

    http://www.congress.com/ [congress.com]

  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:16PM (#8424406)
    First of all, "real" voting systems are prone to "hacks" too - look at the election of 2000. Ballots are lost, they are fudged, they are counted multiple times...I don't think people have an appreciation for the flaws inherent in the current system, which is also outrageously expensive over the long term.

    We need to think carefully about this tech but we also need to embrace it. We already let automation run our reactors, manager all of our money, keep us from running into each other at intersections, etc.

    • by wmspringer (569211) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:23PM (#8424442) Homepage Journal
      True, true.

      I'd say the difference is that electronic voting has the potential to make vote tampering that much easier and/or harder to track. Especially where there's no paper trail, you really have no choice but to accept whatever number the machine gives you.

      Even assuming no fraud (unlikely) the severity of the mistakes varies....a mistake counting paper ballots might result in a small change in the final tally, but a typo in the program could reverse the results of the election.

      Don't get me wrong; I'm all in favor of using computers to make things easier. (Otherwise, would I be posting to Slashdot?) But if we're going to move to e-voting, the systems need to have the strongest possible security and reliability...and so far, they don't.
    • by startled (144833) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:13PM (#8424739)
      What I think is odd is that it takes so long for people to arrive at the obvious solutions: optical scan, or electronic voting with a printed record that the voter can review before leaving.

      California has gradually come around to that way of thinking, over the protests of everyone responsible for buying an expensive, fraud-inviting, paperless e-voting machine. So now, barring anything unexpected, in 2006 they'll be great.

      I guess that's the point of bureacracy-- slow down anything-- but it's still frustrating to see the long, slow process and the numerous small missteps.
      • A printed record of your vote is NOT acceptable, and NEVER will be.

        This comes up on Slashdot every week. Any record of who you voted for allows fraud and buying of votes.

        Imagine a guy standing down the street from the poll location giving people $5 for a record of them voting for candidate A, and you see the problem with the paper verification.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is a motivation issue.

      The problem is that everyone in the system has incentives to distort the vote some way. You should evaluate any proposed technology by how much easier or harder it makes miscounting the vote.

      Electronic voting. Lemme see. No paper trail. Software that nobody audited. Internal data and communication that nobody admits to having access to. Does that sound easier or harder to get away with shenanigans with than paper voting?

      The other things that you mention all have the huge
  • by miu (626917) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:26PM (#8424459) Homepage Journal
    "We are working on a model for European countries and also for the US," Mr Simha told the BBC News Online.

    I wonder how long it will take this to become politicized as "those Indians are stealing our jobs, now they are trying to teach us how to run a democracy".

  • by flossie (135232) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:33PM (#8424501) Homepage
    "Without the least doubt, I say the machine is fully tamper-proof," the judge declared.

    I'm impressed by the fact that they clearly have technically literate judges in India. As a mere engineer, I would be very hesitant to proclaim an electronic system tamper-proof. Clearly Indian judges are experts in electronics, cryptography and the law. Very impressive.

  • by flossie (135232) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:38PM (#8424525) Homepage
    [The technicians] have been told to meet a deadline brought forward by the Election Commission after the poll was called early by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

    And we all know that bringing the deadline forward to meet changing customer requirements is the best possible way of ensuring that software is bug free ...

  • Diebold should just be banned, period. My bank used to have a bunch of Diebold ATMs at the drive-through and in the main lobby, but they just replaced them with some much cooler color LCD-based machines from some other vendor. For some reason ... I felt relieved.
  • by shamir_k (222154) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:42PM (#8424546) Homepage
    The specs for the Indian EVM [bel-india.com]. This is definitely going to be the most widely deployed and used e-voting machine in the history of mankind. Seems pretty secure, except for the lack of a paper trail. But with 600 million eligible voters, I guess the lack of a paper trail means a lot of forests have been saved. Besides most attacks against the election system tend to be pretty unsophisticated , ie, boot-capturing and voter initimidation.

    Looks like this machine will definitely go a long way in ensuring the fairness of Indian elections. Maybe I'll even vote next time.
    • I'm not convinced by those specs. They seem like marketing material designed to fool those the technologically illiterate. How is the fact that the software program in "Assembly Language" is fused on a customised micro processor chip" a guarantee that the system is tamper-proof?
    • by InfiniteWisdom (530090) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:04PM (#8424667) Homepage
      Maybe I'll even vote next time.
      Oh very nice attitude. Exactly what we need to ensure good governance. Educated people sitting at home on election day. After all, you can't be bothered to spend 20 minutes going to the polling booth once every 5 years, can you?

      Don't bother complaining about the government again. You don't have that right.
      • For me, it would be more like 26 hours by flight, since I am currently in Washington DC. Thats not counting the 2-3 hour long queues outside most polling stations in Bangalore.

        But considering the security these Deibold machines seem to have, maybe I can vote in DC in November! :-D

    • Seems pretty secure

      You gleaned that from the "100% tamper proof" specification I guess?

      I'd have to guess, because there is no way to know for sure.
  • by phoenix321 (734987) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:46PM (#8424561)
    Gerrymandering [wikipedia.org]? (More on this via google [google.com])
  • old news (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Ubi_NL (313657)

    Meanwhile, the Netherlands has had electronic voting for over 10 years now
    Details here [cs.kun.nl]
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @04:52PM (#8424592)
    Recently the election board or whoever was in charge of all that had at least one operatiopn recruiting tech people to get these things in shape and deployed. I wouldn't touch it with someone elses ten foot pole. Their whole opration seemed to be on a very last minute frame of mind. They were using timelines that gave only a few days from date of hire (date of job posting actually) to setting up machines in the field. I got no indication that any sort of security checks were being done on these people, and while I'm not a fan of adding more security clearance required jobs, should just any shmoe be able to get one of these jobs without being checked out? Seems fairly untrustworthy to me, and from my perspective, I would not want to be the one who signed off on a machine where something went squirrely.

    And whats so difficult about having a printed voter verifiable receipt anyway?
  • Ban Diebold (Score:2, Insightful)

    by handy_vandal (606174)
    ... whether Diebold should be banned in California after using uncertified software in last October's election.

    Diebold should be banned: everywhere, period.

    -kgj
  • India is a town in Maryland? I never knew that....

    Or maybe the headline was supposed to have been
    Evoting in India and Maryland
  • by jfengel (409917) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:29PM (#8424830) Homepage Journal
    I was in a Maryland high school the other day, and there was a pile of black containers labeled "Diebold" addressed to the voting board, sitting unattended in the cafeteria.

    Each case was held closed by a wire lockout, available only to those elite groups who receive electrical supply catalogs.

    I of course chose not to mess with them. Any come-from-behind victory I make on Tuesday will be purely coincidental.
  • I am interested in setting up a panel in NYC (New York, New York, USA) somewhere between July 9 and July 11.

    Some topics that color my view of e-voting systems briefly follow :

    My concern is that any system be appropriately thought out, formally and precisely defined, using rigidly designed systems (not necessarily off-the-shelf), made to precisely and verifiably conduct voting tansactions, without being able to disclose, leak, or bleed any information that is not supposed to escape the system.

    The Johns Ho
  • by ltsmash (569641) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:52PM (#8424934)
    I don't think online voting is a good idea, not necessary for security reasons but for political reasons. If voting is as easy as "pointing and clicking", we are going to get a lot more votes from people who have done little to nothing to follow the election. If someone is willing to register to vote and then take time from their busy day to actually vote, it's much more likely that they've at least studied a little about the candidates; e.g. they aren't just randomly at their computer clicking on a "Vote Now!" link.
  • by rakerman (409507) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:55PM (#8424949) Homepage Journal
    In Physical security of electronic voting terminals [ncl.ac.uk] Tobin Fricke says "A cart of Diebold electronic voting machines was delivered today to the common room of this Berkeley, CA boarding house, which will be a polling place on Tuesday's primary election. The machines are on a cart which is wrapped in plastic wrap (the same as the stuff we use in the kitchen). A few cable locks (bicycle locks, it seems) provide the appearance of physical security, but they aren't threaded through each machine."

    See my site on the issue in Canada, including international reports: Paper Vote Canada [papervotecanada.ca].

  • verifiedvoting.org (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Karl-Friedrich Lenz (755101) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @05:58PM (#8424963) Homepage
    Everyone interested in this issue should take a look at the VerifiedVoting Website [verifiedvoting.org].

    Electronic voting needs to solve two problems: Guarantee that every vote is counted exactly and guarantee that everyone can trust that result.

    As Schneier [schneier.com] points out, there can be no trust without a paper trail for verification. So it is quite important to support legislation mandating such a paper trail.
  • by annielaurie (257735) <annekmadison.hotmail@com> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @06:13PM (#8425024) Journal
    Although the Baltimore Sun [sunspot.net], our local oracle, is strangely silent on the voting-systems aspect of the primary, the Maryland Board of Elections is not. They've developed a special website [mdvotes.org] to inform the citizenry of how "Easy...Accurate...Secure" the new voting system will be.

    Peruse the training film (wmd only), download a registration form, see a sample screen. Above all, don't miss the FAQ. My nomination for Best FAQ is:
    Q: How do I know the system will work properly on Election Day?
    A: Each piece of equipment is prepared for the election by election staff and a public test is held to verify this process. Before this process and after the public test is completed, all equipment is sealed and secured until being opened by a bi-partisan team of election judges in the polling location on Election Day.

    In addition to the Website, we've been favored by bus posters, billboards, and even a few commercials on local cable.

    I am oh, so pleased to see even more of my tax money being squandered on these systems--this time just to tell me how wonderful they will be. I'm going to vote when the polls open Tuesday (it is a Democratic and Republican primary here), then leave immediately for a trip. I feel sure other Maryland Slashdot readers will have volumes to say about the experience.

    Anne
  • by plsuh (129598) <plsuh&goodeast,com> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:39PM (#8425480) Homepage
    The Campaign for Verified Voting in Maryland has a website at www.truevotemd.org [truevotemd.org]. If you're a Maryland voter or just want to show your support, go there and sign up. If you're going to vote on Tuesday in Maryland's primary, we're organizing a protest to demand paper ballots.

    The problem in Maryland is that the officials at the State Board of Elections are in Diebold's pocket. Realize that San Diego and other California counties are getting voter-verified paper trail equipment from Diebold for free, despite paying only 60% as much for the machines as Maryland. Maryland also bought a much larger order. However, since the SBE officials won't go to bat Diebold is trying to charge big bucks for the VVPT. Diebold is also spending heavily in lobbying and contributing to the Maryland Delegates and State Senators who could pass legislation that would force a VVPT.

    Some other good sites if you're interested in this topic:

    www.verifiedvoting.org [verifiedvoting.org]
    www.blackboxvoting.org [blackboxvoting.org]

    --Paul
  • unit judge say what? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I live in maryland and i'm a unit judge for the election, unless the tape is something they've added in the last week it's not a state wide thing
  • EVM In India (Score:3, Informative)

    by venkats (247460) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @10:22PM (#8426170)
    India has been using the EVMs for about 7 years now. only that this time around, the number of machines deployed is going to be significantly higher than in previous years...
    also, since the elections are held in multiple phases across the country, the machines get re-used.
  • Landmark proposal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MHleads (751029) on Monday March 01, 2004 @05:15AM (#8427713)
    Election Commission of India is proposing Vote for nobody [indiatimes.com] in this election.

    Any idea how many democracies in the world give this option to the voters?
  • In the my area of the UK (manchester), our local & European elections this June are being trialed by postal vote.

    It doesn't matter much if you have electronic or pencil voting if the electorate can't be bothered to actually go to the voting booth.

    Maybe postal will get more voters to vote?
  • Does anyone else have doubts about the operability of computer wrapped in tape? I wonder if these guys know how warm machines can get.

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875

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