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Government Open Source Security Politics

Validating Voters For Open Source Governance, In Person 214

Posted by timothy
from the knock-knock-it's-the-neighbors dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As we (very gradually) move away from feudal, leader-based forms of governance to collaborative and open source governance, some interesting new issues arise. The biggest is usually user authentication: how can we avoid sock-puppets and spammers from overtaking the voting process? Enter the concept of the streetwiki, an ingenious system for having humans validate their physical neighbors. Bleeding-edge social organization meets ancient validation protocol."
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Validating Voters For Open Source Governance, In Person

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  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:40PM (#40961029)

    It is nothing more than a digital version of a Tammany Hall machine.

    Jezum H. Crow, paper ballots work fine. You're a solution in search of a problem.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:46PM (#40961049)
    Actually the biggest reason we don't all vote on every last issue is that we can't all live in one city and meet in one place. The Internet fixes that problem. Yes there are other problems, but don't discount the ability to have your say in things that matter! Look at the US presidency, it is a sham bought by corporate money, rarely is either candidate any good, but you have no choice in the matter. Wouldn't it be nicer to have your say in things that matter to you, issue by issue.

    Just to open your mind a bit: If a citizen likes the idea of representative democracy in this system, they can merely shift their voting rights to someone they trust. In this way, people who are trusted become your elected official.

    By no means do I think this would be a perfect government. But it would be a different government and if it played out for a few decades in just a simulated form, lots of the problems could be ironed out, or the idea could be scrapped altogether. One thing I theorize it is even nice for is piggybacking an existing government. The people say what they want, and you can check against what elected officials are doing. If elected officials are going against the direct democracy people and there are enough direct democracy people, the elected official can be voted out.

    There is so much to this and it is so interesting of a topic that it shouldn't just be written off.
  • by medcalf (68293) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:51PM (#40961077) Homepage
    The software problems aren't the problems. Direct democracies fail because they inevitably result in mob rule. That and attacking Syracuse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:59PM (#40961125)

    The problem may be 'pure' democracy. If like minded people gain the reins of power, our current US Constitution, and the tradition of Western Democracy, so far has put constraints and restraints on the winners such that they do not get to act in a 'winner takes all' fashion.

    Between conservatives and liberals, I don't know what scares me most: the possibility of the side I identify with gaining total control of the 3 US Banches of government, or the side I don't identify with.

    Which leads me to basis of my real fear: the masses. Masses often act like mobs, or the lowest common denominator. (Other than being low and common, I have no issue with the LCD).

    A general rule of thumb, is that in order to appeal to large numbers of people, the idea or at least the image needs to be simple and lacking sophistication.

    The proper response to my assertion would be for someone to whack me upside the head as they scoot buy on a skateboard, and one of their buds hollers "Awesome!"

  • by wulfmans (794904) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @09:14PM (#40961177)

    Sorry, everybody should show ID to vote. You need ID to open a bank account, get insurance. buy booze. hell you even need ID to go to an Obama rally. Gimme a break.
    getting an ID should be FREE. So everybody can have one.
    Oh...... unless your an illegal person here who CANNOT legally vote anyway.

  • by gd2shoe (747932) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @09:17PM (#40961197) Journal

    At least in California, there's no requirement for ID (nor should there be)...

    The idea is that a poll watcher (a neighbor, for instance) could, at that time, say, "hey, that isn't John Smith who lives on Cherry Lane", triggering a provisional vote for that person. The provisional ballot has a signature on it and gets comared against the signature on file at the county.

    Please stop drinking to cool aid. It's not healthy.

    How many times is that going to happen? 0.01% of the time? Less? If it does happen, what's to keep the perp from signing a scribble, knowing that it may be thrown out, and move onto the next polling place to vote again? They're not going to be arrested on the spot, and there aren't cameras at polling places. Even if there were, there'd be no way to connect the ballot to the face on the camera. (There'd better not be!) There is simply no risk of getting caught.

    What it's really about is permitting non-citizens to vote, and encouraging them to vote democrat. (and probably rigging the odd close race, though they have much more efficient ways to do that.) (California will give you an ID if you claim to be poor. Well, they discount it to $7 and the welfare office will give you cash. Close enough.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @09:33PM (#40961263)

    God, so much douchebaggery in that summary. And nobody is moving towards any of that hipster bullshit, that's the kind of crap the potheads and criminal-embracers believe in.

    I need to go ride my fixed gear bike while smoking a joint and hanging out with some crusty hikers to get a handle on this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @09:56PM (#40961341)

    And when the IDs are free and don't require any time to get them, then you can require photo IDs. At the moment there's no evidence that voter fraud, as in people pretending to be other people, is common enough to justify disenfranchising other voters. The GOP trots that out whenever they lose a close race, but the fact is that they have yet to show that there's any greater likelihood for one candidate or another to win based upon voter fraud or for it to of substantial volume.

    It's quite simply a way of discouraging the poor, elderly and minorities from voting for political reasons. If there's evidence of significant levels of voter fraud then the GOP has the duty to report it so that the individuals can be prosecuted. They don't because they can't.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Saturday August 11, 2012 @09:58PM (#40961349)

    I strongly agree with that view. There is a lot of emphasis on getting vote counts correct, when there is substantial evidence that various misunderstandings or divergence in information can have a much bigger effect on elections than the quite small amount of voter fraud. It's not at all unusual on a given issue for 20-40% of the population (sometimes more!) to have factually incorrect views of an issue: not just disagreeing on policy, or being wrong on a politically-charged or subjective question, but just having the wrong information to start with. With those kinds of error rates, hand-wringing over "hanging chads" and such is like trying to get your measurement error down to +/-0.001% in a scientific experiment where your methodology is suspect and you're not quite sure what the material involved actually is. Yeah, you'll get a precise measurement, but of what?

  • Re:Reasons? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WarSpiteX (98591) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @10:09PM (#40961403) Homepage

    Unfortunately it's not so much a matter of the ID itself as the onerous conditions that the Republican party wants to put on getting voter ID. Poor people don't always have a residence they've been at for a year along with three bills and other forms of ID.

  • by jpapon (1877296) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @10:27PM (#40961489) Journal

    Right now in the USA there are close to 3 million dead people who are registered to vote and voting

    That's the kind of claim that needs a citation.

    You'll never, ever guess which party they overwhelmingly vote for. That's right... Democrats.

    Good thing I wouldn't have to guess, if you would provide a citation.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @10:38PM (#40961529)

    Interesting. How is it, exactly, that you know that they overwhelmingly vote for Democrats? Given the fact that, as you surely know, US elections use a secret ballot. Come on, tell us! How the fuck could you know who these "dead people" are voting for??"

    Could it be that you're just repeating some lie you heard? And that you're too stupid to even make the mental connection necessary to realize that it is completely impossible for that claim to be factual?

    In all honesty, you disgust me. You talk all big and smart, condescending to those "well-meaning liberals who sincerely and completely wrongly believe" things, when the truth is you have the mental acuity of a dog, and like all good dogs, you're just doing what your master tells you. You were blessed at birth with the ability to reason. Don't let that gift go to waste.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @11:11PM (#40961683)

    What is it with this idea that everyone has an obligation to vote and that making voting as easy as possible is automatically a good thing? I think it is immoral to vote when you don't understand the first thing about the candidates or the issues involved, and if you don't have time to get educated about it, then you should sit it out. At least picking a representative has the advantage that any candidate who gets as far as a major election has by then been at least somewhat vetted by the party organization, media etc and should in theory have more of a clue than the 'average' voter. Having EVERYBODY vote on whether the "2011 US bilateral investment treaty with Uruguay" should be signed or not, what percentage of the mortgage insurance premiums should be deductible from the tax return, and every other one of the million issues that come up to the legislators every year, would make great comedy but horrible governance.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @11:19PM (#40961725) Journal

    Whether it's Slashdot or anywhere else, it is the responsibility of the one making a claim, in particular an extraordinary one, to provide the evidence. Now I realize you probably hold every other poster in contempt, otherwise you wouldn't make such a claim and then evade your responsibilities. But I hope you never imagine that you didn't show yourself for who you truly are.

  • by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @11:43PM (#40961853)

    And when the IDs are free and don't require any time to get them, then you can require photo IDs. At the moment there's no evidence that voter fraud, as in people pretending to be other people, is common enough to justify disenfranchising other voters. The GOP trots that out whenever they lose a close race, but the fact is that they have yet to show that there's any greater likelihood for one candidate or another to win based upon voter fraud or for it to of substantial volume.

    It's quite simply a way of discouraging the poor, elderly and minorities from voting for political reasons. If there's evidence of significant levels of voter fraud then the GOP has the duty to report it so that the individuals can be prosecuted. They don't because they can't.

    Uh, until you stop being ignorant why don't you just let the adults speak on this?

    Right now in the USA there are close to 3 million dead people who are registered to vote and voting.

    Dead, deceased, buried and/or cremated people. Voting. Close to 3 million .. that we know about.

    You'll never, ever guess which party they overwhelmingly vote for. That's right... Democrats.

    Now these are facts. Maybe you really hate them and can't stand they are true. They are true anyway - get over yourself. I would LOVE to have state-issued photo ID required to vote. It would be great. Photo IDs are very low cost. If you simply cannot afford $10 every 5 years or so then you have bigger problems.

    And of COURSE no one who's willing to commit voter fraud would be willing to do something so shocking as obtaining a fake ID. Only teenagers that want to get into bars or buy alcohol would do that.

    And even if an ID were to cost $10 (in my state it's $25) it would also require taking a trip to town/city hall or a DMV/RMV which depending on where you are and how busy it is, may require the better part of a day waiting in line. For someone that's working two jobs or more (say two full time and a part time job) that may be a real hardship.

    The only people who are against this are 1) racists who think just because you're black or Hispanic that you cannot afford $10 every 5 years or so, 2) people who want to commit voter fraud, 3) Democrats who benefit from voter fraud, or 4) well-meaning liberals who sincerely and completely wrongly believe that photo ID requirements would ever disenfranchise anyone. You see, none of these are valid.

    While we're at it, let's try to defray the costs of the election by requiring each voter to chip in a few bucks when they put their ballot in the box. Surely everyone can afford $1 per election, right? There's nothing wrong with that [wikipedia.org], right?

    Like so many good ideas that we should already be doing, the people who oppose this have no factual reason. Just pure emotion. They don't like something so they think none of the facts are worth investigating. Sigh. Maybe a country full of people like this deserves to fail. Maybe those of us with some sense who understand basic things like the importance of honest elections should find another country to relocate to and let the emotional non-thinkers reap what they sow.

    I can think of other alternatives. One such alternative would be to send everyone a ballot through the mail in a nondescript envelope (basically expanding the existing absentee ballot process to everyone) and requiring them to fill in the ballot at the polling place. This would be easier if election day was a federal holiday and/or employers were required by law to allow workers time off to vote. Now true, people who are willing to commit voter fraud may also be willing to commit mail fraud ... but if the envelopes are nondescript, the person committing the voter and mail frauds would need to intercept all the mail, and that's more likely to be noticed.

  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:18AM (#40962011)

    At the moment there's no evidence that voter fraud, as in people pretending to be other people, is common enough to justify disenfranchising other voters. The GOP trots that out whenever they lose a close race, but the fact is that they have yet to show that there's any greater likelihood for one candidate or another to win based upon voter fraud or for it to of substantial volume.

    The flip side of this is that, given the current laws that actively prevent any sort of voting security, it would be virtually impossible to prove voter fraud if it was occurring.

  • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:29AM (#40962079)

    It is a far cry from what the previous poster claimed. The fact that voter rolls are not purged is not the same as fraudulent votes being cast.

    Recall the 2000 election in Florida, with over-zealous purging of the rolls to eliminate potential felons ("similar names"). You can go too far in either direction without an agenda.

  • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @05:12AM (#40963023)
    I would just like to gently remind the thread and slashdot in general that this article is NOT about the US. Yes in any conversation about voting and elections the US is an important example, but these conversations that gradually devolve into talking about the fine details of voter laws in florida and california and then inevitably to flamewars about the relative merits of the dems vs the republicans are offtopic and irrelevant. The article is about using distributed semantic networks to verify the identities of individuals for the purpose of voting.

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