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Ohio Sues Over Missing Electronic Votes 341

Posted by timothy
from the oh-it-was-only-a-few-votes dept.
dstates writes "The Columbus Post Dispatch reports that the State of Ohio is suing Premier Election Systems (previously known as Diebold) over malfunctions in electronic voting machines. Election workers found that votes were 'dropped' in at least 11 counties when memory cards were uploaded to computer servers. The same voting machines are used nationwide. The company blames a conflict between their software and antivirus software for the problem and says that an advisory was issued on the subject. The Ohio lawsuit contends that the company made false representations and failed to live up to contractual obligations and seeks punitive damages."
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Ohio Sues Over Missing Electronic Votes

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  • End to End (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linzeal (197905) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:50PM (#24518103) Homepage Journal
    For fuck's sake, can we just use an open source solution [punchscan.org] or build a better one already? This should be OSS's moment to shine because amongst us there are the ideas, talent and skills to make a system that for all purposes is more secure, transparent and robust than what is currently on offer from Diebold or any other proprietary vendor.
  • Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:51PM (#24518107)
    Maybe a couple charges of treason should be thrown in as well. Electoral fraud. Coup coup d'état. Indecent exposure.
  • Re:End to End (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:53PM (#24518139) Homepage Journal
    But then how do we steal elections easily and without a trail?
  • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:55PM (#24518175)

    perhaps is is the American people (and the people of Iraq) who should be seeking punitive damages from Diebold.

    I'm hoping that this issue does not become partisan. Many people are unhappy about the outcome of some recent elections, but I think anyone, no matter what their political leanings, should be patently against black box electronic voting. These machines can be abused by either party.

  • Antivirus software (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:56PM (#24518199) Homepage Journal

    Who was fuckwitted enough to think using Windows on voting machines was a good idea? Nothing wrong with using an embedded appliance.

  • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:58PM (#24518219) Homepage Journal

    Oh, this will be partisanized. In modern American politics, it's not about being right so much as it is about winning, about defeating the other team.

    If it turns out that this benefited one party, the other will attack and the benefiting party will stonewall.

  • Re:Treason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @06:59PM (#24518233) Homepage Journal

    Hangings. This country needs some hanged politicians.

  • Re:End to End (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethanol (176321) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:00PM (#24518245)

    I have an open source solution. How about marking pieces of paper with a pen, and then having teams of human beings count them?

    It's okay with me for election results to take an extra day or two if they wide open and monitored at every level by volunteers.

    I love high tech as much as the next geek, but high tech solutions aren't always the best ones. (Especially when they're applied to problems that aren't technical but political)

  • by thermian (1267986) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:02PM (#24518281)

    Oh please, Windows is the reason it went wrong?

    No, the reason it failed is because it is a bad product.

    I've used Windows and Linux software, as have many people here, and believe me, I've seen great and crap software on both platforms. Writing for non windows platforms doesn't infer some magical 'excellence' to code.

  • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:11PM (#24518403) Homepage Journal

    You missed the subject "antivirus software", dipshit. A decent embedded appliance doesn't need to worry about viruses or shitty antivirus programs.

    This looks more and more like Diebold were deliberately incompetent in order to have plausible deniability.

  • Re:End to End (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:17PM (#24518455) Homepage

    You might be OK with the extra day or so, but will the TV news folks allow it?

    You see, if they don't announce a winner before midnight Eastern time then nobody will watch that station the next election. This means losses of millions in ad revenue. So, they are going to announce a winner before midnight Eastern time. Period. It is going to happen.

    Now in 2000 they announced before midnight Eastern time that Gore won. Millions of people went to bed believing "their man" had won the election. Come morning they found out that somehow, through some mysterious process after actually counting votes that Gore was no longer the winner. Even though he was announced as the winner the night before - based on exit polls and trends. So "obviously" the election was stolen by the evil Bush.

    You want to see the result should this happen again? It is almost a dead certainty of it happening unless all the votes are really counted before midnight Eastern time. You understand that this gives California less than three hours to submit their vote totals, right?

    Two choices: electronic voting or revolution. Pick one. See if you can guess which the current crop of politicians will pick. Or the next crop of politicians. They understand what is at stake.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:20PM (#24518483)

    Election workers found that votes were 'dropped' in at least 11 counties when memory cards were uploaded to computer servers. The same voting machines are used nationwide. The company blames a conflict between their software and antivirus software for the problem and says that an advisory was issued on the subject.

    Ok, if you are buying computers to be used as election machines why would you even run an antivirus? There should be no way a virus could even touch the install. Don't connect it to the internet, and think twice before even networking it. Don't have a single USB port on it, no CD ROM drive, card reader, whatever. And no HDs. What they should really have is an open source BIOS (such as Linux BIOS) booting Linux or another OSS OS, which logs into a user that only has rights to use one program, and that is the only program installed. Preferably, the data should be stored on a Compact Flash card for fast booting which would have double or triple redundancy over multiple cards.

  • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:22PM (#24518501) Homepage Journal

    It's like they're allergic to using actual professional-grade tools. I'd suppose deliberate incompetence, but tell me this first: do they use those tools on their ATMs, when there's actual money at stake?

  • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:23PM (#24518509) Journal
    Doesn't sound unreasonable to me, considering this kid could face prison [cnn.com] for selling a single vote. That seems pretty hypocritical considering the debacle that is our election system, but hey at least it makes them look like they give a damn.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:25PM (#24518549) Journal

    I'm thinking that regardless of partisan issues, I think long prison sentences and company-destroying fines for Diebold are in order

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:28PM (#24518583) Journal

    Indeed, something doesn't sit well with me about that explanation....

    One might reasonably ask why one would need to run anti-virus software on what should be a completely isolated network of computers that should never be in any way connected to anything resembling a public network. One might reasonably ask why an antivirus program would interfere with a network connection. One might reasonably ask how the authors of a piece of software could be so inept that they would fail to report such a failure to the operators in an understandable fashion, particularly on something so fundamentally critical to the operation of a democracy.

    As much as I believe the adage that one shouldn't attribute malice where incompetence would suffice, the more reports of fundamental flaws in their software I hear, the harder it is for me to conceive of a team of actual software engineers who could be that inept.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:30PM (#24518609)
    Wow - holding things together with the most expensive brown paper and string they could find. No wonder they are doing an Andersons and changing their name to hide from past shame.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:33PM (#24518645) Homepage

    perhaps it is the American people (and the people of Iraq) who should be seeking punitive damages from Diebold.

    Having the executives stood up against a wall and shot would seem to be the appropriate punitive award. Free elections are...were...the foundation of this country. Deliberately undermining the basis of our democracy would be...should be...the very definition of treason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:36PM (#24518679)

    I'm hoping that this issue does not become partisan.

    The CEO of the Diebold was a die-hard partisan, and a top fundraiser for a partisan candiate. We all remember the quote where he "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to the partisan candidate. And if by magic, election fraud allegedly helped the partisan candidate win the tightly contested election in Ohio.

    These machines can be abused by either party.

    Sure. Both parties may do it. The point is, the machines WERE abused by one of the parties. The machines are one problem. The abuse is a second problem. Since there is no audit trail, not even fair-minded, non-partisan individuals can audit the election result. How ironic. And partisan.

    This situation was partisan from the start.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:40PM (#24518725)
    The point has been missed here that Windows XP, Vista or whatever is entirely the wrong choice - just as a full Fedora installation would be. Windows CE or similar would be a different story as would an embedded linux. What we have here is vast amounts of needless expense and complexity which may make a demo quick to produce but in the long run gives you an unreliable and expensive machine. The things really are nothing but a demo, and ridiculously easy to turn into a rigged demo. I think it is very likely that bribery was involved in winning the contracts.
  • by civilizedINTENSITY (45686) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:41PM (#24518735)
    It is not partisan to go after the crooks, even if the crime leads to the GOP leadership.
  • Re:End to End (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OctaviusIII (969957) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:49PM (#24518819) Homepage

    Two choices: electronic voting or revolution. Pick one.

    What? Does that actually make sense to you, or are you just saying things that sound iconoclastic? Plenty of politicians want a voting system that is accountable and quick, and those are not mutually exclusive. Witness the California Secretary of State - an elected official - slamming electronic voting machines earlier this year. Or the states that haven't had much trouble as far as electronic voting goes. Or Nebraska's nonpartisan legislature.

    Our system is not nearly as stultified or ossified as people enjoy thinking it is. Calling for accountability actually does work. Just because the Governor isn't calling up someone you know for advice doesn't mean the government isn't considering your issue, nor does it mean advocacy is powerless against the Establishment. Deal with it.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @07:53PM (#24518845)

    the voting appliances themselves wouldn't actually run windows.

    In a situation where only competant people were involved that would be so. Unfortunately that was not the case and these things run a fullblown desktop version of MS Windows. We could buy a pile of voting machines that work properly from India for the price of one of these things. For their national election they went for a lot of simple, cheap machines that have a fairly low maximum count per machine to reduce the consequences of fraud. There is no network link to compromise on those machines. They get returned like ballot boxes and counted independantly. For fraud to be effective it would mean stealing a lot of those machines. With the Diebold system fraud could be very effective from one machine or even complete control from the server - a truly stupid design choice.

  • Just starting out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stephen Ma (163056) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:11PM (#24519057)
    This is clearly just the start. Ohio seems to have a slam dunk case against Diebold/Premier with regard to the newer machines. If Ohio wins this one, anti-Diebold suspicions become much more credible, and you can expect a deeper investigation into the company's role in the probably stolen 2004 election.
  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:12PM (#24519065)

    "Every election I keep expecting a virus that changes the values randomly in Access databases.

    If that didn't expose how fragile our voting system is, I don't know what would."

    Ok... are you guys thinking what I'm thinking? Cowboy Neal '08!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:19PM (#24519135)

    Why make it non profit? You can't get people to give you money if you can't give them no bid awards for services not rendered...

  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:19PM (#24519139) Homepage
    If these PCs are running anti-virus software, how do they get certified? Do they certify a certain set of definitions and hope they don't get hit by a newer virus, or do they update the virus software after certification and hope there's nothing dodgy in the update? And even more importantly, what are these machines being used for that makes them susceptible to viruses?
  • by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:22PM (#24519149)
    Why make it for profit? We're talking about some of the very the tools we use for our democracy to function. It shouldn't be built by a corporate entity. It should be built by those beholden to no one other than the people of the United States.
  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:25PM (#24519165) Homepage Journal

    I'm against the death penalty, but if I were for it I can think of few crimes worse than tampering with our system of government. Enough men and women have died to create it and uphold it that I feel it's at least as bad a crime as murder. Prison sentences and fines seem pretty petty compared to the integrity of our nation.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:27PM (#24519179)

    The machines in question were delivered in the last year, and the only elections we're so far aware they've affected were purely local ones.

    There, fixed that for you.

  • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:35PM (#24519241)
    Even if you took away all of Bush's votes in Ohio (almost 3 million, or 4.6% of his total), he still would have defeated Kerry in the national popular vote. So ultimately, this controversy over Ohio doesn't really change who should have won the 2004 Presidency - if there were irregularities which gave Ohio to Bush, it merely had the effect of making the Electoral vote match the popular vote. Quite different from the situation in 2000 where Bush lost the popular vote but won the Electoral vote based on a controversial count in Florida. So any partisanship in the controversy over Ohio really doesn't matter - the will of the people won out. Let's just drop it and instead focus on the braindead design of the machines and possible criminal behavior by the CEO of Diebold.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:36PM (#24519247) Journal

    If these machines affected the outcome of the election, perhaps it is the American people (and the people of Iraq) who should be seeking punitive damages from Diebold.

    The American People MAY have been harmed and MAY have standing to sue. But that's a hard sell in court.

    The State of Ohio HAS been harmed and DOES have standing to sue. (And they decided to do it. Oh, Goodie!)

  • by Genom (3868) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:46PM (#24519365)

    If it happened in Ohio, how can we be sure it didn't happen elsewhere? Since there are no records, we can't.

    How do the numbers change if we apply this same logic to each state where these machines were used?

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday August 07, 2008 @08:51PM (#24519415) Homepage Journal

    I have often wondered who's genius idea it was to award the voting machines to a private company.

    They are awarded by the local Secretary of State, on a state-by-state basis. Trouble is, once the contract is awarded by a Republican Sec'y of State, and big money is spent, it makes it harder for the Democratic Sec'y of State that takes office (after the Republican Sec'y of State gets indicted) to throw the filthy machines out and start over. What happens is, Diebold (or whomever) swears on a stack of bibles that they'll fix the hardware/software/wetware this time and for sure it'll be accurate next time, but no, you don't need a paper trail because the machines are just that good, and you don't want to mess around with printers because those things break down all the time (now just sign the contract, take your money and shut the hell up).

    Go to BartBlog and read all the dirt on this scummy boondoggle. It'll give you something to think about next Bastille Day.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:02PM (#24519541)

    When you say things like "if you ever bothered to read the constitution" you are unlikely to sway anyone, especially the target, of your opinion. In fact, you make it less likely that your opinion will be heard at all over the insult. You also make yourself look rather stupid since you have no idea what the parent has read and open yourself up for many scathing retorts. Don't be surprised if you see a troll mod, because you're doing that too.

    In regards to your argument, note that the GP did not specifically reference constitutional treason. Note also that he said "should be". This has the implication that he was unclear on the definition of treason and feels that the definition should include such an act as part of its definition if it is not already present.

    The U.S. Constitution is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to definitions of treason. I would take exception to any argument suggesting an attempted overthrow of the government should be considered treasonous, but it is not at all clear that this is what the GP means.

    Let's say he did mean that a rigged election could be considered treason. I am not a lawyer, but certainly Bush locking up "enemy combatants" who were not, in fact, working for any enemy nation sets the stage for considering other "enemy combatants", specifically those working to undermine our democracy. In this case, they are "at war" with the United States and anyone working with them could be considered a traitor.

    I am not saying I necessarily agree with this argument, in fact, I don't agree with this at all and would find it a travesty. However, the argument could be made that the constitutional definition of treason does apply in this case.

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettwNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:10PM (#24519627) Journal

    Which is irrelevant at this point. No one's going to go back and run the election again. We can punish the people behind it, and if that chain leads up to Rove or Bush or Cheney, then punish them for their part in it.

    The important thing now is to make sure it doesn't happen again. Either go strictly with paper ballots, or go with a completely Open Source system with no Internet access (and only limited networking among the machines), and only allow election workers to insert and remove the data cards that tally the votes.

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettwNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:13PM (#24519661) Journal

    The scantronic machines used to tabulate paper voting are made by a private company, and that's worked well, for the most part. No, the problem isn't farming out production of the machines to a private company, the problem is farming out the maintenance of the machines to a private company, and especially doing so to a company so deeply connected with a given political party.

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettwNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:21PM (#24519729) Journal

    Who cares about the popular vote?? That has never, not once, mattered in this country when electing the president. The ONLY thing that matters is the electoral college; and if Kerry had carried Ohio, he would've won the election.

    That said, it's impossible to know how many, if any, of Bush's votes were due to voting machine errors. So it's kind of pointless to dwell on it. Better to learn from the experience, and use a system with better checks and balances in it.

  • Can we get (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:32PM (#24519803)
    our democracy back? I know the last 8 years are gone forever, but I long for the days before I lived under a fascist regime intent on destroying all my personal freedoms for the good of the state.

    Of course said fascist regime will no doubt immunize Diebold against any and all liability.

  • Re:End to End (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pinckney (1098477) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:32PM (#24519805)

    Try that with 10x more people. Electronic voting with a paper receipt is the best solution I have heard so far.

    Easy... 10x as many poling places and ballot counters!

  • by zsau (266209) <slashdot@theca[ ... t ['rto' in gap]> on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:35PM (#24519831) Homepage Journal

    You've been modded insightful, but you're plain wrong. The game has very high stakes and so it has strict rules. It must be played by the rules — even if today we think the rules are not right any more. If that's the case, we can change the rules until they reflect our current standards, but you can't say: "Well, the rules weren't followed properly, but we got the result I think is more proper, so we ignore the rules".

    In 2000 Bush won because someone said "well, let's stop playing the game now and whoever's in front, wins". That's not right. In 2004, Bush might've won because someone said "let's make sure Bush wins Ohio, even if he's not supposed to". Neither of those are the right way to play the game — there's thousands of reasons for that, and one of the most important is that it's divisive. If everyone agrees that the winners won fair and square — then, well the losers might reckon every else is dumb, or that the winners didn't play fair in the campaign, but at least the system works. They go home and lick their wounds and say "aren't they such meanies?" until they decide they want to begin fighting the next election. If there's any reason to believe your team was cheated, you won't forget this easily. And you must not. (In the end, the right thing to do in 2000 was probably for Bush to win, even though Gore won the popular vote; that or invalidate the election results and hold a new election in Florida with ballots designed according to a national standard that is demonstrably easy to read and follow, and with such novel voting tools as pens — things that are not black boxes and not likely to fail without the voter understanding that.)

    You cannot drop this. Giving the election to the team you thought has a moral justification for winning, in spite of not winning based on the rules, is a step on the road to totalitarianism. The rules must be followed and the must reflect moral justifications that the general public upholds.

    I also think I should point out that whether or not winning the national popular vote is the entitling criteria to winning the election is a matter of opinion. Many people honestly believe that votes should be weighted according to some standard (like states or land area, to give isolated people a bigger vote). Some people honestly believe that the best government can only occur when someone was born and brought up to be ruler from their youth. I myself think any system that doesn't result in me being the indisputable overlord of the whole world is flawed. So this is another reason why the question of national popular vote is completely irrelevant

    You are allowed to say: "The rules are bad. We must fix the rules." But you cannot say: "The rules are bad. We must ignore them." The first election after the system switches from an electoral collage to a single popular electorate, then a team can claim victory solely on the basis of the popular vote. Until that day, there are no excuses.

    (And to fairly disclose my bias: I'm not American, and I think Bush was a horrible mistake and I wish he'd never been elected. But more than that I want rules to be followed.)

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:44PM (#24519903) Journal
    Karl Rove is about to be indicted for playing with the ohio election. [themoderatevoice.com] Of course, in the end, my guess is that if this proceeds too fast, or if McCain gets in, it will not matter. Either W or McCain will pardon Rove. After all, the pub party ALWAYS comes before the nation or morality.
  • by Original Replica (908688) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:55PM (#24519983) Journal
    In modern American politics, it's not about being right so much as it is about winning, about defeating the other team.

    That's because the two "teams" aren't different enough ideologically to make it about anything other than winning. Regardless of who wins this next election: the government will grow larger, the nanny state will increase, the Bill of Rights will be chipped slowly away, wealth will become more concentrated, the US will meddle in the affairs of other sovereign nations, public education will decline in quality, police forces will become more militant, incarceration rates will remain the highest in the industrialized world, and the failed War on Drugs will continue. All of these are problems that have spanned both Republican and Democratic power in both the Whitehouse and Congress. But the powers in those parties have already agreed on that direction for the country and options on those issues will not be offered to the American people.

    sidenote: Because they also agree that "one man-one vote" will never go away, third parties are rendered moot.
  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @09:59PM (#24520017)

    Regardless of *whether* a virus could touch the machine, what could it possibly infect? Custom-written election software on top of a stripped-to-the-bones windows OS wouldn't have many attack vectors at all. The few it does have would surely be custom made, and very unlikely to appear in the antivirus signatures. So an antivirus solution sounds like severe overkill in this case.

    captcha: protects

  • by Mike610544 (578872) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @11:37PM (#24520621)
    That's an excellent summary of things that neither party will fix. The problem is that the alternatives are just as bad. The Green Party or the Libertarians or the Constitution Party would address 80% of those problems effectively but they always have to tack on a few batshit crazy things that (rightfully) scare away their potential supporters. I'd like to see some people elected who can solve the real problems without the impractical ideology.
  • Why so backwards (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lord_sarpedon (917201) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @11:53PM (#24520757)

    Funny I think that people are so cautious to trust computers here, but they're fine for everything else. Just make it open. We can gain some advantages.

    -Immediately before voting, you are handed a number. How we generate these numbers is up for debate. Perhaps they are centrally generated and serial. Perhaps a hash of name + DOB + other stuff. Each choice here opens different doors.

    -Barcode equivalent to said number must be scanned at the machine. Number must also be entered on an onscreen key pad.

    - Number + voting choices + timestamp + voting machine id are stored in a central database. Immediately. Nothing local.

    -You get a receipt with your Number + voting choices + timestamp + machine ID. It also has these other handy value on there. A digital signature, created by said central authority with its private key. The public key is well known long in advance.

    -After the election, the entire result set is made available for download. Yeah, a recount is a big fucking deal. We have these neat machines that are good at math. The bigger deal here is that if you check the database after you voted and the entry for your number doesn't match, you scream bloody murder. If you don't trust the machine, any party can verify the central authority's signature.

    -But in addition to 'any' party, it is critical to have a non-networked verification appliance, which does nothing but verify the central signature for you before you physically leave. If you scream bloody murder at this point, we can consider the plain-text part of the receipt trusted. You obviously couldn't have faked the entire receipt while being watched by everyone. More on this soon.

    Nice huh? Let's recap some advantages here:
    -You can verify that your vote was counted and correctly
    -You can't determine who voted for whom, except yourself.
    -The receipt actually means something

    Let's elaborate on that third point.
    There are several means of lying to you, which can't easily be solved without adding machines into the mix

    -What if the receipt says you voted for X but the machine recorded you as voting for Y? This is as good as pressing the wrong button. The signatures will both be valid. But if the plain-text portion shows the wrong candidate, you'll notice and scream. If the plain-text portion doesn't match the the central signature (the one most directly relevant to proper recording) you will catch this at the non-networked verifier. The receipt can still be trusted having not left the polling place, so you will be allowed to vote on another machine, as meanwhile the machine you previously used is marked for a serious investigation...

    -What if the central authority records whatever it wants but produces a normal signature? The receipt will be considered entirely valid and endorsed. People will notice quickly as they check the database from home. You have a paper trail that can be trusted. What if the signature is bogus? People notice before they leave the polling place.

    Up to this point? Criminal negligence bordering on treason. Open source needs to step up.

  • by zsau (266209) <slashdot@theca[ ... t ['rto' in gap]> on Friday August 08, 2008 @12:01AM (#24520797) Homepage Journal

    My karma's high enough that I'd rather the reply anyway :) I'm not keen on so much power going to one person. If I were to reform the United States, I'd begin by dissolving it. Not down to the level of states, but three or four independent federations. I don't have anything necessarily against the idea of selection by popular vote (well, as long as I'm the only candidate), but selecting a person as powerful as the President of the United States is by popular vote gives them even more power in the form of a Mandate (a dirty word in my view), and this is a very bad thing indeed. No person other than me, no matter the means of selection, should be able to hold so much power. (And even if I held so much power I'd be very careful to divest myself of it before I died; I wouldn't want to cause a problem with succession. Waiting until after I've died just ends you up with wars.)

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Friday August 08, 2008 @01:10AM (#24521155) Journal

    And you continued to honor the NDA after leaving because..why? I mean, it's one thing not to go to another company or the press, but surely any bits in the agreement forbidding you from discussions with attorneys general would be unenforceable.

  • by barnaby-jones (1322157) on Friday August 08, 2008 @01:27AM (#24521229)

    You are a smart one. "One man-one vote" ensures that to prevent one candidate from winning, a voter will vote for the most popular of the other candidates. There will always be two frontrunners, and the method with which they are chosen will be mob rule. Indeed, no third candidate can win. I don't feel any power when I cast my vote.

    There is a chance that the two candidates will become too moderate and similar. This is because advancing on the middle ground gets the candidate converts. Then, when there is not much difference to the voter, he will be able to choose between the two and one third-party candidate. However, it is late in the election cycle and the third candidate doesn't have much chance.

    Perhaps you already know this. In that case, what do you think is the best alternative voting system? I think approval voting is better than what we have now and is also better than IRV. I would enjoy the debate.

  • by mcvos (645701) on Friday August 08, 2008 @04:40AM (#24522027)

    Why make it for profit? We're talking about some of the very the tools we use for our democracy to function. It shouldn't be built by a corporate entity. It should be built by those beholden to no one other than the people of the United States.

    It doesn't matter who builds them. What matters is that anyone can check if they function correctly, and can verify the voting results. With black-box electronic voting, neither is possible, and it's questionable whether it can be possible at all with electronic voting.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday August 08, 2008 @10:30AM (#24524837) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to see some people elected who can solve the real problems without the impractical ideology.

    I have to agree with what you say. Even I consider my party leaders to be nuts.

    Of course, I consider myself a libertarian mostly on four points:

    Government budgets should be balanced - on the federal level by cutting spending, not increasing taxes
    Guns should be legal(but regulated for safety - IE carrying is legal, brandishing/discharge in an unsafe manner is not; self defense encouraged)
    Drugs & Prostitution should be legal(but regulated for safety, must be 18 to use, drugs are cut with safe substances, of a specified potency, Sex workers need to meet the same rules as the porn industry)
    Beyond that - civil unions, get the .gov out of the marriage business.

    I'm also pro-choice and pro-death penalty when we KNOW he's the sicko who did it. I believe that it's possible to be environmentally friendly without breaking the economy. I want China's wages to go up even faster, bringing the day when 'made in the USA' is the more economic choice for more than national pride sooner. I don't think that bio-fuels are ready for the prime time yet, but I'd encourage hybrids where it makes the most sense - like city taxies.

    If I got in I'd try to simplify the tax system. I like the idea of fairtax, but believe that it needs work - and certainly wouldn't get rid of the entire IRS, as you'd still need to audit businesses.

  • by Skjellifetti (561341) on Friday August 08, 2008 @12:24PM (#24527135) Journal
    Of the counties mentioned where votes were dropped, Cuyahoga (Cleveland area) is overwhelmingly Democratic. Butler (Cincinnati suburbs) and Montgomery (Dayton), OTOH, are much more Republican.

    What we need is an Open Inspections of Electronic Voting Machines Act which would require that any citizen be allowed to inspect the software and security process/procedures used in any electronic voting machine. The manufacturer would still be allowed to copyright the software so that competitors could not copy it. This would go a long way toward convincing me that such machines were trustworthy.

    I'm not sure that most voters really care, though. In the recent OH primary, voters were allowed to ask for a paper ballot if they didn't trust the machines. I was the only voter in my precinct who used a paper ballot.

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