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Diebold Chases Links To Leaked Memos 595

bllfrnch writes "Mary Hodder, over at The Berkeley School of Journalism's bIPlog, reports that electronic voting bigwig Diebold has begun sending cease-and-desist letters to universities whose students are linking to hijacked internal company memos that elucidate the company's level of respect for citizens' right to vote. Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.""
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Diebold Chases Links To Leaked Memos

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  • Stupid Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pingular ( 670773 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:50AM (#7336514)
    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal
    Of course voting can change things, for example I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power, but couldn't. People have died for the right to vote. I think that things like the above quote are very dangerous things to say.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:53AM (#7336520) Journal
    The DMCA is quite clear in its provisions for allowing questionable material to stay up. BlackBoxVoting had no need to roll over in the first place. The simply needed to submit a DMCA counter notice.

    Simply send a counter notice stating that the documents do not breach copyright, and put the website back up. This moves the obligation to Diebold to bring suit!
  • irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goodbye_kitty ( 692309 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:54AM (#7336523)
    paradoxically it seems to be the case that in places where voting COULD change things it IS illegal, and vice versa.
  • by file-exists-p ( 681756 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:56AM (#7336526)
    > Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things,
    > it would be illegal."

    This is ridiculous. The guy was using this quote as a signature. Come on!
  • Illegal voteing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basking2 ( 233941 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:56AM (#7336527) Homepage
    Be careful to not overanalyze that "illegal-votine" quote. It appears where a sig normally does (sans the '--'). It could just be cynacism... after all, if I took the quotes at the bottom of the /. main page this seriously I would probably stop reading the page! Good journalism is in part good history and anthropology.
  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:58AM (#7336535) Homepage Journal
    It would be quite easy to mirror these documents offshore. Of course, thats not the point; the need of the hour is to mirror these document inside the US to press home the point of "civil [] disobedience []".

  • !shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:59AM (#7336537) Journal
    Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal."

    This line belongs to a .sig, why is this shocking ?
    This is taken out of context.
  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:00AM (#7336539) Journal
    Well its a good thing diebold does not have a potential agenda or anything [].

  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by padukes ( 599707 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:07AM (#7336560)
    Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal."

    It's so annoying how people blow these things out of proportion - dude works for a voting machine company and has a sarcastic signature about voting - it's a joke - lighten up - it's like people are looking for things to whine about and then jumping on anything remotely sensational - [grumbles and moves back under bridge]
  • Diebold (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Majix ( 139279 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:09AM (#7336568) Homepage
    What sort of qualifications does Diebold have to be making voting systems? If I as a customer saw these messages, bug rapports and horror stories, I wouldn't trust them to design a cup holder for my car, let alone for something as critical as a voting system.

    Here's how you build a real voting system.
    - You get the best brains to really think about the problem. Forget the Diebold cubicle workers, you get someone like Rivest and pals to design the system. They solve the problems of audit trails, accountability, how to trust the machine etc.

    - You get a collaboration of the top research institutes and universities to implement the system. Implementation must be done completely in the open. Every party and faction will have a great interest in eyeballing the system, so that no other faction can exploit it. With enough eyes, every bug is shallow.

    - You don't design 52 systems, you design one or two. A well designed system will be used and paid for by virtually all the states. Done right it might cost as much as 30 bad systems, but it'll be worth it.

    - You maintain the system troughout the year, not just 2 months before each election. You reuse improved versions of the system with each election.
  • by Craig Ringer ( 302899 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:11AM (#7336573) Homepage Journal
    By DMCAing people who host or link to these documents, they're implicity confirming their validity. I almost wonder if a "deny everything" policy might've worked better for them:

    "Nope, never seen those before. Guess somebody thinks it's funny to try to discredit a reliable, trustworthy company like us."

    Insead, they've chosen "arrgggh, give those back! You can't show people those - they're secret!". Hmm...
  • Absolutely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mongbot ( 671347 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:12AM (#7336577)
    Imagine if somebody based their opinions about Slashdot based upon somebody's signature. It's stupid and hypocritical.

    I think the guy just had a sense of humour. It's a shame to think that he must be getting hell for trying to lighten up his job.
  • by perly-king-69 ( 580000 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:13AM (#7336580)

    Oh wait, that's called communism, socialism...that's what we want right?

    You should go back to school. Communism is concerned with collective ownership of land and property, Socialism looks towards equality via state control of the economy. Neither precludes the use of democracy within a society.

    You're thinking of a dictatorship which could be of a left (think USSR) or right (eg Chile under Pinochet) persuasion.

  • by leerpm ( 570963 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:15AM (#7336586)
    It is one thing to poke fun at yourselves. But when your company itself produces machines that need to be considered trustworthy, having such a signature does not help to promote any sort of trust. Remember that trust is not always based on fact, but on the perception others hold of you.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gantzm ( 212617 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:20AM (#7336604)
    What an auspicious beginning for American-style democracy.

    Yeah, it's a good thing everybody agreed on American independence. Imagine how things would have went if some people would have been sympathetic to the king.

  • Re:Illegal voteing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gatzke ( 2977 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:20AM (#7336605) Homepage Journal
    Let this be another lesson to everyone that anything not encrypted online could be in public view.

    Email, web pages, newsgroup posts, whatever.

    You may think it is funny now, but others might not get your humor one day when your name pops up in a google cache or email archive.
  • Re:!shocking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mikey_boy ( 125590 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:21AM (#7336609)
    Because it is an employee of the company, and it appears to reflect a position that someone working for such a company should hopefully not have.

    But it's just a sig!!! If I was working for a company that was building a voting system, I'd probably be inclined to have something sarcastic along those lines in my sig. Frankly I think there are far more worrying things in the diebold case than someone having a (slightly warped?) sense of humour in the company.
  • Shocking?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cally ( 10873 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:23AM (#7336615) Homepage
    Eh? Surely bllfrnch has not mistaken an old cliche ironically used in a sig (presumably by a Diebold employee, though that's not clear) for some sort of official policy statement?

    Whilst I'm posting, my take on this whole thing: I still cannot understand why on earth the US moved away from the pencil-and-paper, put-an-X-in-the-box system used (AFAIK) by the rest of the world (certainly that's how it works here in the UK.) Simple, cheap, robust, reliable, transparent... why complicate a system that's already a model of simplicity and correctness? Can someone explain to me what the problem is that 'voting machines' (of any sort, including the mechanical punched-card type) are trying to solve, exactly?

    I actually worked as a volunteer in a General Election back in 1987 - this included sitting outside the polling station politely asking voters how they voted as they were leaving, aka 'exit polls' done to give the parties an idea of how things are going. Of course people don't have to answer and many didn't. At the count, all the candidates and their agents, pluys local party workers, official observers etc can all stand around watching the ballot boxes coming in, being emptied out, counted & sorted. If there's a close result, the losing candidate has the right (which is often exercised) to call for a recount. Because the bits of paper are all still there it's easy to do this. Organised, mass tampering with ballots is for all practical purposes impossible in this system - there's too much oversight, checks & balances & transparency. Of course, the first-past-the-post electoral system itself sucks, and we should have proportional representation :), but the simple question of how many votes each candidate got is pretty much a solved problem. It's just, y'know, counting, really...

  • by actor_au ( 562694 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:31AM (#7336648) Homepage
    Quote the Parent: "Oh wait, that's called communism, socialism...that's what we want right?"

    No, thats called a totalitarian dictatorship Einstein.
    Socialism, Fascism and Communism are merely political ideologies, intolerable ideologies yes, but thats all they are.
    Socialism doesn't tell people to stop thinking and to starve your population, people that supported it did(Monsters) but the original texts encourages the people to think of freedom and how to make society work better for the majority.
    Fascism didn't tell people to kill millions of Jew, Homosexuals, Gypsies and Disabled People, just to think of how to work together, the people that supported Fascism did commit some of the most horrific crimes humanity has ever encountered but what they preeched originally was togetherness what they did was disgusting.

    I hate the Nazis as a rule and the Soviets only slightly less, but I also hate ignorant wankers from any nation that seem to think that sticking a label like "Fascist" or "Socialist" on anything they don't like and claiming a moral high ground by beating to death a strawman sent from the un-edited nightmares of Anne Coulter is pathetic.

    The exception to this is Rick from The Young Ones.
  • However.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:32AM (#7336650)
    If you examine what they're picking on, in many cases, the excepts shown on the site linked by slashdot [] are either partial texts made to appear out of context, or were not intended to be taken seriously by the reciever, such as the tagline which is attacked (the one that says 'if elections could change things, they would be illegal'). In part, there may be some truth to taking some of these seriously, but in the same token, a lot are blown out of proportion. It's also interesting to note that things which occured years ago (such as the resignation of Brian Clubb). That was two years ago, and there is no solid evidence that what he reported then is true now. Further, there is nothing (other than his word) to suggest that what he did was not based on little more than his opinion. This is a really bad site which was so selective with it's quotes it really looks like an attack rather than being informative to any real degree. We have a few scattered documents, and no real idea of the larger picture.
  • by lennart78 ( 515598 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:49AM (#7336713)
    Civil Disobedience is a great example of how democracy should work.

    A law made by "the people" is made to represent the best interest of "the people" in general. It should be fair and in proportion, and that should be the basis for obedience to that law. Making theft illegal is in everone's best interests, because it should protect your posessions.

    When a law is out of proportion, unjust, or in any other case plain wrong, it is no longer in the best interest of the people in general, and thus should be void. "The people" ignore (break) the law, because they in general do not agree with it.

    The ability for the public to act this way should prevent government agents from making laws for their own benefit (corruption). The public has a means of protecting their public interest.

    If the voting system is corrupted, it's in the publics best interest to expose this. I'm not aware of who leaked the memos in the first place, but linking to material available on the web should not be punished IMHO.

    I think it's utterly wrong to place responsibility of the counting of votes in the hands of a commercial enterprise, not if they don't give full and in-depth insight in the process, and allow auditing at every level at any time. Not because I'm an open source zealot or "liberal", but because I trust a commercial enterprise as far as I can throw them, and that's not very far...
  • by lennart78 ( 515598 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:56AM (#7336732)
    There's a proverb in .nl, which translated into English comes down to:
    "Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback"

    Since Diebold will rely heavily on image and trust to sell products, this might set them back a few dollars...
  • by JulianOolian ( 683769 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:57AM (#7336735)

    It's what we use here in the UK.

    You go into a little booth with a ballot paper, where you will find a pencil. Mark an X in the box next to the candidate you want, fold up the paper and post it in the ballot box.

    It's more auditable and even if the paper, pencils and boxes are manufactured by a company who make no secret of their support for one particular political party, it's difficult to see how it could make any difference.

    I'm not trolling - if someone could explain, please do.

  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:57AM (#7336736)

    Aren't there some principals/ground rules about how voting should take place? It seems a pretty fundamental thing, after all. I mean something along the lines of "the process should be observable and observed by ordinary members of the general public".

    When I went to vote in some local elections recently (in Europe), you post your vote into a transparent box. The people cross your name off the public electoral role with a pen. There are observers selected from the public at all stages of the process, both at the actual voting and the counting. It would be extremely difficult to rig such an election.

    I like it this way. I can trust that system. Knowing what we do about computers and electronic systems, can we ever really trust an electronic vote? My main criticism is that it is not observable, i.e. you can't have a neutral observer who can say, "yes, that persons vote has definately been counted" because they can't actually observe the process.

    Let's been voting manual.
  • by williwilli ( 639147 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:58AM (#7336739) Homepage
    The DMCA is quite clear in its provisions for allowing questionable material to stay up. BlackBoxVoting had no need to roll over in the first place. The simply needed to submit a DMCA counter notice.

    Simply send a counter notice stating that the documents do not breach copyright, and put the website back up. This moves the obligation to Diebold to bring suit!

    Of course it's easy to provide advice on how to bring this issue into the courtroom when you have no reason to worry about the implications of the lawsuit. The only way to insure that this information remains available and something is done about it is to have the information available in as many places as possible so that it is impossible to bury it. Are you providing a mirror? [] music, games, forums

  • Don't you see? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:58AM (#7336741) Homepage Journal
    This is actually pretty amazing.

    If Diebold is claiming copyright infringement, they are admitting that the memos are real!

    I hope people don't focus so much on the .sig file, even if it does become kind of creepy in this context. Don't be distracted, Diebold is strangling democracy in a bathtub while we stand by and watch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:21AM (#7336823)
    Quote: "Marx himself called for "the dictatorship of the proletariat"".

    Obviously the meaning of this phrase has escaped you. (You got all distracted by his use of the word "dictatorship" and missed the message.) What is proletariat? It certainly is not the "elites". Hint: you and I are both likely members of the proletariat. It means a society dominated by the working (read: common) classes, and not dominated by the elites (read: heads of industry).

    It would help your knee-jerk opinions if you would actually try to look past your dogma and understand what both sides are actually arguing about. Then you can form an intelligent opinion. (Whether it be pro or anti communism.)

    As it is you spout typical run of the mill ill-informed dogma.
  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by los furtive ( 232491 ) <ChrisLamothe@gME ... com minus author> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:27AM (#7336850) Homepage
    I tend to agree, but what if you had a doctor who's signature block said "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" or a politician who's signature block said "Ask yourself what you can do for ME"...the fact is that sarcasm in certain forms, and certain places is innapropriate and it doesn't take a great deal of thought to tell when it is no longer apropriate.
  • by prisoner ( 133137 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:27AM (#7336853)
    well, here in 'merica, we used to use a similar method where you poke a little hole in a piece of paper and a suprising number of people managed to fuck that up so using anything more complicated than a touch screen with a picture seems to be out of the question. In my district, we use machines that have a little lever. The machines are like 30 years old but they are being replaced because they are too "unreliable". I've asked some of the election workers about them and evidently they work just fine but the electorate appear to be to damn stupid to figure it out.

    I suppose that if the new machines provide faster results it's worth it but I don't know what the hurry is all about. It's not like having to wait a couple of extra hours is going to make any difference.
  • by quigonn ( 80360 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:33AM (#7336878) Homepage
    You are so right. I'm from Austria, and here, voting works basically the same way as in the UK, with paper and pen. What I just can't understand why somebody would want to have some fancy voting machine (be it computer-controlled or not), if such simple technology as a sheet of paper and a pen would do it, too.
  • by thbigr ( 514105 ) <> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:33AM (#7336882) Journal
    I simple can't believe that these machines have no paper print out. What happens if there is a recount? What happines if one of the machines does out?

    My wife works the polls every year and the card punch system is MUCH better in my view. I am a liberal democrate and I hate the way the last election went, but I hated hearing Democrates complaining about the card punch system.

    As a voter you simple have to be responsable for your OWN ballet. How can I be responsible for my ballet when it simply spills into a flash rom some where?
  • Freenet (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:43AM (#7336930)
    Can't somebody post this on freenet? Doing so would complicate the issue of where to send the legal orders.
  • by EriDay ( 679359 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:48AM (#7336952)
    Yes we do. By invoking the DMCA Diebold has indicated that the documents are their property authored by them. Either they have bad legal council, or the documents are genuine.
  • by DragonMagic ( 170846 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:48AM (#7336956) Homepage
    How weird.

    The DMCA *does not* allow the ISP or carrier to destroy the items requested to be removed, just to remove them. They cannot destroy them because if the hosted site counterclaims, then the ISP or carrier must put the items back up.

    Diebold should be more careful in their requests.
  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:49AM (#7336962) Journal
    I swear, the UN General Assembly seems to have less balls than a eunuch convention.

    Any idiot can fight - it takes guts not to be dared into a fight.
  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GraWil ( 571101 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:54AM (#7336995)
    Yes it is likely that the author of the linked e-mail [] intended the .sig as a joke; however, humour (particularly sarcasim) is difficult to convey in written text. More to the point, the author represents a company that is contractually responsible for an electronic voting machine. He should have known that this sort of humour could be misinterpreted. It was an error in judgement that could cost his company money and, no matter what he intended, that is the bottom line.
  • by TheShadow ( 76709 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:21AM (#7337152)
    As a voter you simple have to be responsable for your OWN ballet.

    I'm glad that someone made that point. People often forget that voting is just as much a responsibility as it is a right. It is not something you should do haphazardly.
  • bullsh*t re: Iraq (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:25AM (#7337180) Journal
    Iraq was NEVER a "nice little country" - get your head out your ass.

    From the BBC []

    I won't dispute the U.S.'s involvement, we supplied Iraq with weapons to fight Iran, and turned a blind eye at first when Saddam invaded Kuwait. In fact, I hate my country sometimes, often even, but stop misrepresenting the facts.

    So the U.S. supported Iraq in attacking Iran, not without reason, but that's no excuse. So then Iraq invades Kuwait, but the U.N. intervened, it wasn't just the U.S.. Kuwait was, rightly, liberated, but many Iraqi soldiers were unjustly killed while retreating thanks to Bush senior. (go google for that)

    This latest war, for absolutely no reason

    Perhaps, but at least Saddam's regime is dead and hopefully a more peaceful one will take its place. I seriously doubt Bush Jr.'s sincerity, and no weapons were found. But to be fair, there was evidence of weapons programs, but not nearly enough to justify war. Bush Jr.'s motivation was obviously something else, whether it was money, revenge, freeing Iraq of Saddam, I won't speculate, but I generally hold a very low opinion of politicians.

    What's my point? Is the U.S. innocent? No, obviously not - and there's no excuse. But are you full of shit? Hell yes. The U.S. is not solely responsible for the troubles in Iraq, and neither is the rest of the world blameless.

    Playing these ridiculous "blame America" games is going to get you nowhere.

    Some would say he wasn't that wrong on that either.

    Are you serious? I think you need to rethink that after learning a little more about him.

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:43AM (#7337371) Journal
    Well, if you don't want to take them on, don't put them up in the first place.

    Many of these people have the resources to pay for a lawyer. Many lawyers would object so strogly to such an abuse of the law that they would take the case on pro-bone. If they took it to court, they would have to prove that the memos were genuine, as well as the fact that they were suffering harm by the memos being posted (other than harm done to their reputation), and that it was not in the public interest that this information is released.

    Hell, if it came down to it, you could represent yourself. Or start a legal defence fund.
  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:48AM (#7337434) Journal
    ...I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power, but couldn't. People have died for the right to vote.

    Absolutely. Thousands of Iraqis have died for the right to vote--because Americans thought they needed it, and were willing to kill them for it.

    Yep, it's a good thing that the United States had democracy forcibly thrust upon it a couple of centuries ago, by an outside power that was mostly interested in access to its natural resources.


    Voting by an informed electorate is very important in a democratic society. Also, the regime in Iraq was responsible for some truly appalling actions. But...these two points taken together do not lead to the inevitable conclusion that invading a nation and installing a new government is an excercise in populist democracy.

  • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jslag ( 21657 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:49AM (#7337442)
    Factor in the huge impact of corruption and nepotism in government & commerce and you have a recipie for trouble

    Certainly not factors in the Russian or Saudi oil industries, which have always been completely transparent.
  • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @11:34AM (#7337966) Homepage

    Richard Lugar, and received a long reply letter. It spoke of this support for this and that legislation that lead to, essentially, a push for electronic balloting systems with "easy to read and use interfaces", etc. In the long reply to my original message in support of HR 2239, seeking a companion bill in the senate. HR 2239 calls for an ironclad requirement for a hardcopy printout of one's ballot for two purposes: 1)the voter can check their vote and 2) to supply a hardcopy for secure storage in case of recount: the hardcopies would be used in any recount.

    Lugar's reply made NO mention of hardcopy printouts, ignoring the primary thrust of my letter to him. All he indicated was that he would consider future enhancements to the law as they came along.

    No hardcopy? Then I flat refuse to use the voting machine. I have acquired the necessary absentee ballot request and will be using this for all future elections until a printout is part of the process.

  • by thejuggler ( 610249 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @11:49AM (#7338106) Homepage Journal
    No matter whether it's a republican or democrat as president, they will be looking out for their corporate buddies?

    Yeah, that's why Enron was forced into bankruptcy instead of being bailed out by the Bush administration. Enron was helped out by the Clinton administration back in the 90's, but got no help from the Bushies. It doesn't matter if their R's or D's. What matters is their character and integrity. Clinton had neither. Bush has both in abundance.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:00PM (#7338200)
    How would this stop Diebold from shutting down the servers hosting the document ? And you would have to distribute the server addresses somehow... Fortunately, the thing has already been inserted to the Freenet. Simply retrieve it periodically and post to the Usenet.
  • Re:Absolutely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GSloop ( 165220 ) <networkguru&sloop,net> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:54PM (#7338722) Homepage
    I'm a consultant. If any of my contractors or employees had a sig that said...

    "I love clients - they make my boat payment." ...which is lots less offensive than the Dibold sig, I'd rightly demand that the person remove the sig, and caution them to be careful even in their private life too.

    Frankly, if I saw that behavior, I'd have to wonder about their judgement and would consider if I really wanted to continue to use them. Judgement is crucial - people that don't use it or use it poorly can do immense damage to you.

  • Re:News Flash... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:52PM (#7339280) Homepage Journal
    "No, its not relevant. After a while it becomes a defacto peace - a country can't just use it for ever after as an excuse to invade another country. If it does it will receive the condemnation of the world society for being a rouge nation. "

    So, can you define 'a while'...what period of time is this? Are you saying basically, that if you wait out, and welsh on an agreement long enough...everything just transforms to 'ok nevermind, we didn't really mean it'...and you don't have to do it. By that logic, we shouldn't have given the peaceful inspector method as long as we did.

    Saddam surrendered Gulf War 1. He agreed to terms. He got a chance to abide by them....and basically did everything he could not to. After awhile, as you say, you get fed up with this, and come down on him. Otherwise, there is no deterrent to other rogue nations. Sometimes, all that is understood is swift, blinding violence and force. Grant it, you want it to be a last resort, but, your words of peace have no teeth if you aren't willing to back them up.

    This is not a utopian world, will never be one as long as there are humans. There are by default, some bad seeds out there, and on occasion, you have to show one what the consequences are for bad behavior, otherwise they will run rampant.

  • Re:Shocking?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by invckb ( 551932 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @02:00PM (#7339368)
    If all ballot items were just a choice between two or more candiates, any system would seem like a no-brainer.

    Here is a passage from the beginning of my Sample Ballot for a November 4th election in Santa Clara County, which is primarily San Jose, California and surrounding communities. San Jose is near San Francisco.


    ENGLISH - The first half of this pamplet is printed in English and the last half of the pamphet is printed in Spanish.

    SPANISH - La primera mitad de este folleto esta escrita en ingles y la segunda midtad es su traduccion al espanol.

    Federal law requires Santa Clara County to provide election materials in Spanish as well as in English. Persons who wish to receive voter information in alternate languages may call:

    ENGLISH/VIET NGU (Vietnamese)
    ENGLISH/some characters that look like some flavor of Chinese
    ENGLISH/TAGALOG (Philippino)

    and the phone number.


    In my county, anyway, all ballot materials are printed in five languages. In this election, there would have to be at least a hundred different ballots printed and distributed. There are different water districts, sanitation districts, city councils, hospital districts, and school districts. Many of these districts overlap in different areas. Right now, they only have to print up Sample Ballots, which only list and describe the choices that are for a particular voting area.

    In the punch card days, all candidates and measures had their own number on a punch card, so only one punch card type was used for all election areas. If you punched out a number you were not allowed, or punched too many times, that section of your vote would be invalid. In these brave, new, untrackable touch screen system days, I'll see only the choices for my local area. No chance of a procedural error on my part.

    I readily see the need for more complicated methods of voting.

    The reasons why Diebold and the others don't want paper hasn't been discussed outside of fraud issues. A likely reason is that if you have a paper trail, any competent voting official would insist that they also have a vetted means of counting votes using that paper trail. It would in, in essence, force the official to have two complete sets of vote counting machinery. With a touch screen/paper setup, the obvious way to go about it would be to have a sophicated paper vote counting setup, and a simple, cheap touchscreen just capable enough of producing a paper ballot. The simplest, cheapest paper ballot generating touchscreen setup probably costs the same as the hardware that Diebold uses for its totally electronic approach.

  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @03:37PM (#7340303) Journal
    The entire process is transparent and more importantly, independant of the government through the agency known as Elections Canada.

    If voting machines were introduced in Canada the same transparency and independance would have to be maintained. Automatic recounts are stipulated by law in close vote situations, that requires an auditable process. The Diebold machines are not auditable and would not conform to the law.

    In all, it would be impossible not to mention insane, to move from a transparent, independant, auditable system to an inpenetrable, dependant, unauditiable one. I do not understand how these voting machines pass muster in the U.S.
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @05:40PM (#7341608)
    So tell me, Skippy: out of all the dozens of countries that have attempted to implement Communism, why is it that NOT ONE has ever gotten it "right"?

    I can't actually think of more than a couple of countries that actually tried communism, Russia is the big one and it forced Stalinism on lots of others. The reason that they all failed is that, in your words, "IT DOESN'T FUCKING WORK?"

    I wasn't supporting communism, mearly pointing out that it isn't the same as what it turns into. In the same way that the idea of the Olympics is miles from the acuallity of drugged-up atheletes competing for multi-million dollar marketing contracts.

    Communism simply can't work with real people, unless perhaps its a community of a dozen people or so. But that says no more about the ideals of communism than the "color" laws of 1950's Alabama tell you about the ideals of the US Constitution.

    You'd think that the stench of 150 million corpses would serve as a convincing argument. I guess I just don't have the "intellectual" view on these things.

    Paradoxally, it does and you don't.


Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay