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California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold 526

sdw3u writes "Wired reports that a voting panel urged California officials to stop using a voting machine made by Diebold Election Systems, and recommends that the state consider filing civil and criminal charges against the company." There's also an AP story. We covered the hearing yesterday, with Diebold admitting that their machines had numerous problems.
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California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold

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  • Online Banking Model (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#8950652) Homepage Journal
    This is the problem: you've got a system that is rotting away, where people have to drive/walk/take the bus to a designated voting station, register, and use a computer to vote. If you're going to have electronic voting, just throw a secure link online and let people vote through a web interface. Banks are pretty damn secure; why aren't these systems set up the same way as online banking? Sure you'll have criminals trying to break into systems to steal money, and you'll have the same criminals trying to break into voting systems to rig elections, but the bottom line is that if you are going to develop a system that's electronic, follow a system that is alread working: the online banking model.
  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:52AM (#8950680) Journal
    Although I believe the lititgation will fall flat on its face

    Does it matter? As RIAA has proven (and SCO might yet prove) you don't need a case to win a lawsuit. You only need more money and better lawyers. However good Diebold's lawyers are I doubt they have the budget that the State of California has.

  • by Ho-Lee-Cow! ( 173978 ) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:57AM (#8950753)
    Would you trust Diebold with anything after their CEO promised to deliver his state(Ohio) to Bush in 2004?

    Diebold election machines are a menace. Demand paper ballots. Even punch cards are more accurate __ AND SECURE __ than electronic voting.
  • About time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bored Huge Krill ( 687363 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @11:58AM (#8950757)
    It's just unfortunate that so much (of our) money had to be spent before it became obvious to the point that something had to be done about it. What I found truly shocking was the way that Diebold admitted yesterday that thousands of voters had been disenfranchised as a result of their practices, and didn't seem to treat it as a big deal. Now we have an employee complaining that the state is being "too confrontational" and they should be "working together to fix the problems" Fundamental disconnect here, methinks. If you pay a commercial organization good money to deliver a system, which they get to keep proprietary, it's up to them to fix it. If the system design and software is to be open to inspection, then we can talk about "working together"
  • by mhifoe ( 681645 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:01PM (#8950790)
    I actually voted online a few years ago in a UK trial. It wasn't very effective though, the software was so poor (IE only etc.) that it would have been quicker for me to to walk to the polling station.

    The problem I see with electronic voting is the lack of evidence. The good thing about online banking is the audit trail.

    For example, a while ago I was charged six times for the same item due to a webserver problem. Obviously I noticed the discrepancy on my credit card bill and it was quickly rectified.

    I'm not sure I would trust a company such as Diebold to correctly accumulate votes. How do I know whether my vote was counted?
  • https (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dijjnn ( 227302 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#8950816)
    Banks, ecommerce, website authentication... it's used every day; it's certainly secure enough for democracy.

    The only other arguments against voting over the net is that, (1) it's defacto gerrymandering because poor people don't have computers and tend to vote for democratic candidates over Republicans; and (2) There's no independently audit-able paper trail. I'm sure (2) could be solved with some thought.

    This is why you set up stations at public libraries and other government funded institutions open to the public. You can vote in public, or you can vote for home
  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#8950817) Homepage
    How would you identify the servers used by people of a particular political persuasion. That doesn't make any sense. It's not like all Democrats are going to be routed to a particular box or everyone from St. Louis is going to hit a particular machine.
  • Why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:06PM (#8950878) Homepage Journal
    > What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable?

    Micro-auditing is possible if you check your account after voting to make sure the vote you placed was the vote you wanted. Each user can remember who they voted for, and they could easily call out if their account was violated in any way. Any database can tally up votes if they are micro-audited internally, and cross-referenced. Very standard secure database design will always be able to print a receipt. They could mail you a receipt too.

    >Or mechanical voting systems that don't rely on software that we can't see or understand?

    Mechanical voting systems are a thing of the past. I really believe that society is ready for online voting.

    > Why the heck do we need touchscreen voting?

    I'm with you on this one. To me, it's wasteful and really difficult for people to use. What if the person has Parkinson's and touches the wrong button? Better let people use their own systems, and provide systems for those who need them.

    > Why are the companies so afraid of putting an auditable paper trail in it?

    I agree. Paper is just as important as anything, and the Diebold systems should have printed receipts, and master files that could be audited. Any online system could be printed at a micro-level. Bottom line: you'll know if your vote was compromised. Plus, with online voting, you'll have more control over your vote after it's created, and that truly counts for something. Imagine a nice record of your voting history? That would seriously rock.

    The fear is that some people think that allowing users access to their vote history would compromise the secrecy involved in voting, and cause problems, but I truly think that with all the right people involved in such a project, one system could be created that was truly for the people and by the people.
  • by LithiumX ( 717017 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#8950893)
    Every time the subject of electronic voting comes up, you hear people saying that polling stations themselves are part of the problem, or that we should be able to vote from the convenience of home or office.

    I disagree. Vehemently.

    Voting is somewhat of a ritual in many countries, especially the US. People will gladly talk about their politics, but ask them who they voted for and you usually get the cold shoulder. It's a private matter. You'd have better luck asking them how their bowels are doing. The polls themselves are nice and curtained or secluded, so no one can see. People bring their kids and let them watch, even let them do the final act of pressing the lever or button. There aren't many companies that aren't willing to let their people take a long lunch in order to go vote, and those that don't are not looked upon highly.

    When it is your civic duty to periodically go to your official polling station, when you have to go to a specific place that you probably never go for any other reason, where you're around a large spectrum of people of all types that you might not otherwise be exposed to, and go specifically to cast your vote... it means a little more than simply hitting a website and picking the guy who you'd like to have lead.

    The percentage of people who vote is truly sad, but it's not a good idea to fix it by making it TOO easy to vote. There must be at least a minimum of effort involved - a place to go, as long as it's reasonably easy to get to. The same place as all your neighbors. When you have to make an event of it, it tends to focus you more on what you're doing, and I've found that people become far less extreme in their politics when faced with this fact.

    If you could vote from home, you'd put less thought into it. It would be one step closer to a news site poll, except THIS poll would make our final official selections. People wouldn't take it seriously enough. More people would vote, but the quality of those votes would not carry the same weight.

    If the Primaries had been run over the web, I'm willing to bet Dean would have outdone his competition. But people were at an event, a political ritual, and that sobered them into making a more mature choice (though I think there were better people they could have chosen).

    Voting should be readily available to the masses. It should be quick, efficient, and as infallible as we can safely make it. But it should also be an official civic act not taken lightly, and deffinitely never done from home.

    All technical questions of security and validation aside, the concept of a quick and easy home solution for choosing our national leaders is not a good idea.
  • It is our fault. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 142825 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#8950896) Homepage
    A local Los Angeles radio host [] was saying that part of the problem is that DieBold posted their code on the internet which allowed people to study the code to find the security holes. I suspect Diebold is saying the same thing.

    What they don't get is that, is that if the code was not posted publically, the public wouldn't know about the security holes, but it would have been known to the people at the Bush campaign who arranged for Bush to be elected this time.

  • by Tired_Blood ( 582679 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#8950898)
    because Diebold is a leading producer of banking ATMs.

    From here []:
    Diebold controls roughly two-thirds of the North American ATM market, and trails only rival NCR (NYSE: NCR) in global sales.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:08PM (#8950907)
    Irish Times [] reports that the commission investigating e-voting for Ireland sought indemnity from been sued in-case the source code is leaked after the provide it to 'experts' for examination.

    Make's you wonder what's in the code.
    Last-minute indemnity for e-voting commission agreed - Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

    The Government has been forced to agree to a last-minute indemnity for the Electronic Voting Commission against legal action after hearing that the commission was set to refuse to approve the new e- voting system without such a guarantee.

    The move follows the refusal of the provider of the new system to allow the commission examine the confidential "source code" without an assurance of substantial compensation should details of the computer programme fall into the hands of competitors.

    The Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, yesterday introduced an amendment to the Electronic Voting Bill allowing for compensation to be paid in the event of a leak. While this has cleared one major obstacle to approval of the new system for introduction on June 11th, the commission is considering other aspects of the system before pronouncing on its accuracy and secrecy in a report due in a week's time.

    Without access to the source code for the programme, the commission believed it would be unable to assess fully the system's accuracy, and would therefore be unable to declare that the system should be introduced, as planned, for the June 11th local government and European Parliament elections.

    Such an outcome would be deeply embarrassing for the Government and the Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, who have insisted on introducing the system on June 11th despite sustained Opposition demands for a delay to allow concerns over accuracy and security to be allayed.

    This late change, which will probably be voted upon next week, would indemnify the commission and each of its members against legal actions arising from the performance of their duties.

    The amendment would also allow the commission, which is chaired by Mr Justice Matthew P. Smith, itself to indemnify others "against any loss or damage in respect of intellectual property rights or other loss or damage that may arise".

    The move is understood to have resolved the stand-off between Nedap Powervote, the supplier of the e-voting system, and the Department of the Environment over access to the source code.

    The source code is only leased to the Government, and therefore the company has control over who has access to it.

    It will now be given to the commission for examination by experts retained by it.

    The commission now has just a week in which to complete its report. It was set up by the Government on March 1st to report on the secrecy and accuracy of the system after sustained Opposition claims that there were enough concerns about these aspects to postpone its introduction.

    While the Taoiseach and Mr Cullen insisted then that the system would be introduced as planned on June 11th, Mr Cullen said: "If the commission came back and said we don't believe this system does what it is supposed to do, then we would not be in a position to proceed with it."
  • Re:Figures... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) * on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:08PM (#8950910)

    "Never ascribe to malice, what can adequately be explained by incompetence."

  • by earlytime ( 15364 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:09PM (#8950920) Homepage
    I've done security audits for online banking systems, and I can tell you fisrthand, they have weak security. Session hijacking and replay attacks are trivial.

    The main reason the public thinks that online banking is secure is because banks don't reveal the security incidents. What bank wants to tell it's customers that fees are going up because a couple million was stolen over the internet?
  • by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:10PM (#8950934) Homepage
    What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable?

    Combine the two systems.

    Use a touchscreen to vote. A paper receipt is printed with a barcode. Take the paper to the counting machine. Insert. Put the paper into a ballot box for possible auditing.

    Add encryption to the process for the barcode, and that should be enough.
  • by KarmaOverDogma ( 681451 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:14PM (#8950983) Homepage Journal
    /. has covered numerous examples of how Diebold has a less than stellar record when it comes to their honesty, impartiality, and a willingness to pursue auditability and quality control in their machines. Here in Ohio, a protsest march was held regarding Diebold's practices at a shareholder meeting.

    I heard an interview on NPR today where the chief of marketing participated in the on air talk-show (InfOhio after 9) review of this protest and Diebold's activities with regard to electronic voting. He basically said California's Voting Laws were so complex and constantly changing that they were not upset at having to leave the CA e-voting machine market.

    Sounds like the pot calling the Kettle Black to me.

    Diebold's CEO and President Walden O'Dell promised to deliver Ohio (which makes me angry to have them here in my state) to Bush in November, donated to the Bush campaign and worked to organize re-election effrts to do the same. Since this time he has publicy apoligized for his public support of the Bush campaign (one would guess because of the obvious suspicions of impartiality and conflict-of-interest, wether founded or not) and vowed to keep out in the future. IMO, the damadge of his public display of support has already been done. He hasn't asked for the money back. I don't think its unreasonable to hope that the CEO and President of a company hawking a product that manages/administers/records voting would treat voting what it is, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FOUNDATION OF DEMOCRACY. He and his company are not trustworthy to me.

  • Ohio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KillerHamster ( 645942 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:17PM (#8951025) Homepage
    I hope the election people in Ohio take notice of this. One of yesterday's articles said Ohio was considering the same machine that was causing trouble in California. I sure don't want to see the same mess here, especially after that comment the Diebold CEO made a while back about delivering Ohio's votes to Bush.
  • by delphi125 ( 544730 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:20PM (#8951063)
    Of course you need electronic voting systems, but admittedly not for two horse elections every four or five years. No, you need them for regular referenda, and by regular I mean weekly. I don't have a problem with having elected representatives, but calling it democracy is not accurate. For sake of argument, if both major parties vote the same way on 70% of all issues, and I agree with the other decisions in a 16-14 ratio, that doesn't really give me much of a vote every four years now, does it? Never mind that what they will do in the future isn't really related to what they did in the past.

    Now of course government 'by the people' isn't trivial to set up. In modern countries with millions of inhabitants, automation will be necessary. That includes having 'voting' computers accessible to all, including those without computers, however remote, and a ton of other security measures. As another poster mentioned, online banks have such measures, so it should be doable with current technology. Of course, those in power don't have any reason to want to do this; they have a vested interest in the current system.

    The system I am suggesting would still rely strongly on representation: if you don't want to vote every week, you can give your proxy to someone else with similar views. This person will have made themselves available, will have had training, and be responsible to their 'constituency'.

    Such a system could be extended to allow people to vote for issues more important to them; for example people with children could have more say on education, or those living in a certain area have say on local issues.

    Not that it will happen in my lifetime, but I can imagine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:21PM (#8951082)
    The real fraud is in the registration of voters, not in the counting of votes. That's the way it's always been.
  • by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:25PM (#8951120)
    Yeah...explain this pollworker:,1283,60563, 00 .html
  • by calle42 ( 90619 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:29PM (#8951179)
    Serious question, I'd honestly like to know why everyone is so hell-bent on using voting machines, electronic or paper-punching or whatever. What for? Here in Germany you get a big piece of paper with a list of the candidates/parties and you just draw an "X" beside your choice, then fold the paper and drop it in a box. Yes, the results are most likely (I've never been there) entered into a computer when they are counted, but this way there's a really good paper trail for everything. And we need neither video-streaming voting XP media centers, nor funny mechanical card punch machines that confuse voters.

    Please note, this is not meant as a flame to you Americans - I would *really* like to know why you need these machines.
  • by Ignorant Aardvark ( 632408 ) <cydeweys@gma i l . c om> on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:32PM (#8951221) Homepage Journal
    You know what, we made fun of California because we thought they didn't take their Democracy seriously by electing an action movie star, but apparently they take it a lot more seriously than we realize. I have to admit, Arnold is doing a lot better than I thought he would; hell, if I lived in California, I'd vote for him for re-election (even though I'm a Democrat). And the way they're treating this Diebold issue is very much to be applauded. I live in Maryland and we recently had big problems with electronic polling machines, but our politicians didn't really do anything about it. Bravo to California for standing up for its citizens rights to vote.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:32PM (#8951224) Homepage
    (and SCO might yet prove) you don't need a case to win a lawsuit. You only need more money and better lawyers.

    Urk? How could SCO possibly prove that?

    SCO's money : $$$
    SCO's lawyers: ``

    IBM's money : $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    IBM's lawyers: @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    IBM's lawyers: @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

  • Re:Figures... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StormyMonday ( 163372 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:48PM (#8951416) Homepage
    Fudging elections is not a new concept. This is just a new twist on it. /tinfoil hat on

    This is a very important point. While election fraud of various types has been around sa long as there have been elections, the computerized voting machines automate it.

    You no longer have to steal votes one by one (or precinct by precinct), you just control the code in the voting machines and you can slant the election results however you want. And, unless you're really clumsy, there's no way the tampering can be detected.

    Remember, the voting process has to be able to convince the sorest loser that the tally is correct. There's no way to do this unless the whole process is out in the open.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @12:56PM (#8951499)
    Remember standardized tests in school. Why not have a touch screen to vote, then when all done, have the computer print out a bubble form pre-filled with the voters choices (and even a copy clearly marked reciept for the voter to take home). Voter can have the ease of use from the computer interface, and peace of mind of the bubble paper ballot. The the bubble paper ballot goes in the box. The computer can have a unoffical vote tally, the paper bubble ballot count will be the official vote tally. Hey, if it passes muster for our education system.....

    If possible, give a unique code on each recipt copy of the ballot. have all ballots posted on the intranet (those without internet can use the library), indexed/sorted by that unique code, so each voter knows their vote was counted.

    For the truly paraniod, there can be a reader add each voting location to test the paper bubble ballot pringted before casting it into the box.

    Another thing, there should be an oval to be filled in a column next to each voters signature. That oval gets filled in with each signature. At the end of that day, a scanner runs down that column on each page and counts the number of voters, this needs to be compared to the number of ballots present.

  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __aanebg9627 ( 695892 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:05PM (#8951607)

    A while ago, some internal Diebold memos were leaked showing that their practices were (to put it mildly) very shoddy. At least one generation of machines were horribly insecure, making it trivial to untracably stuff the ballot box.

    They should never have been allowed to sell their machines after this [] came out.

    Winning a court case should be pretty easy, given the problematic design of Diebold systems. They look as though they were designed to help vote fraud (though the reality is probably that they were designed to allow Diebold to cover up software problems).
  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:06PM (#8951627) Homepage
    Here in Oregon, we have vote by mail - all of the convenience of any internet system, but no DoS worries, etc. The voting is done on a Scantron sheet (think #2 pencil), the ballot is concealed in a secrecy envelope, the outer envelope is signed and sent to the elections office. At the elections office, the signature on the cover envelope is checked, and the secret vote is placed into a container. When the counting is to be done, the secrecy envelopes are opened and fed into a Scantron counting machhine. The process is auditable, as non-forgeable as any voting methodology, and secured (mainly) by the USPS. If it gets close to voting time or you don't have 43 cents for a stamp, you can drop your ballot into boxes that can be found at public libraries or the county election officials' offices. Plus, all of this is pretty inexpensive.

    Of course, none of this has the gee whiz, gosh golly technology crap that this crowd loves so much, but it works well, is inexpensive, and the process can be easily adapted for in situ voting as well. So why the hell do you need touch screens when Scantron works just as well AND you can get lazy voters to vote by mail, too?

  • And then... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:15PM (#8951746) Homepage Journal
    > Then you just knock out the stations in areas where your opposition has a substantial majority of the popular vote.

    And then you get arrested, because the NSA can track any DDOS attacks without much trouble. Oh, now if you could get your rivals to do it, they would hang themselves and you could point at them saying how evil they are (and mop up all the votes). That happened in Ontario recently when the Liberals used a Buffy quote against themselves, suggesting a Tory (PC) said it; somebody called Dalton McGuinty a kitten eater. Then, in a Wag the Dog scene from hell, Dalton posed with a cute little kitten, and won the election. But the Liberals planned the whole thing.
  • by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:18PM (#8951784)
    "If you could vote from home, you'd put less thought into it. It would be one step closer to a news site poll, except THIS poll would make our final official selections. People wouldn't take it seriously enough. More people would vote, but the quality of those votes would not carry the same weight."

    You must be joking. With the people in office today, I don't see how you could make the above statement with a straight face. For the sake of argument though, lets say you're right. Even with our supposed "serious consideration" of the candidates, it hasn't helped us to get better candidates or better elected officials. It's just more PAC money-hungry assholes replacing the previous PAC money-hungry assholes.
  • You are way off base (Score:3, Interesting)

    by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:22PM (#8951832)
    First of all, the governor of our state is Jeb Bush, not George W Bush. Not the same person, although they are brothers--both sons of the former President Bush.

    Secondly, when I was referring to "democrats" and "republicans" I was referring to the currently elected members of those parties in the state of Florida. If you know of any elected member of either party in Florida that isn't polarized on the issue in the way I stated, it's news to me. Also, I wasn't attempting to insinuate anything--the implications are there, but it's not my fault that the whole thing appears so shady.

    Maybe you can explain to us why having a paper trail would be such a bad idea.

    As someone else mentioned, I should be upset that this isn't being covered at all by the local news (as far as I know.) He/she most likely lives in FL as well because he's correct about that. I only heard about it because I was listening to NPR in the car when they happened to be talking to someone from Diebold, one of the state reps, and a couple other people about the issue.

    The guy from Diebold actually came off pretty well. When asked about installing printers for a paper trail his reponse was basically that printers weren't part of the spec that they were provided when they designed the system. He added that they would gladly install printers if asked to do so.
  • by tsg ( 262138 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:22PM (#8951838)
    The bottom line is that we don't need electronic voting systems.

    This argument is getting old. Paper ballot systems are full of problems themselves. Any system that requires humans to read and count the ballots is error prone. Humans are error prone, and tend to be more error prone when performing boring tasks like counting votes. Anybody who's done an inventory in a warehouse can attest to this. Humans are also inconsistent. Paper ballot systems require humans to interpret the intent of the voter and the interpretations can vary. Think hanging chads.

    At best they are a political ploy to score cheap points for looking like we are "doing something" about the mess in Florida.

    They are an attempt to remove the human error from the process. This is not a bad thing.

    What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable?

    Any voting system should have human readable paper receipts for auditing. The people who are genuinely interested in getting electronic voting to work understand this.

    Or mechanical voting systems that don't rely on software that we can't see or understand?

    Paper ballots and mechanical voting systems are no less a black box system than an electronic system with no receipt. When you put your ballot into the box or press the lever, you have no idea whether or not your vote will actually be counted. It's a problem inherent in anonymous voting, not just electronic systems.

    Why the heck do we need touchscreen voting?

    Because, oddly enough, this is something computers are really good at, counting things. They do it consistently without getting bored and are not subject to interpretation. Two identical machines will count the same input the same way everytime. They can also do it much faster.

    Electronic systems can be as secure as, or even more secure, than paper ballots or mechanical systems with the right procedures. Keep in mind, it's the procedures that make paper ballots secure, not the ballots themselves. There are numerous checks which help prevent tampering and make it very difficult to coerce or bribe the people responsible for counting the votes. And many of the problems that electronic voting can suffer from are also applicable to paper.
  • by expro ( 597113 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:23PM (#8951849)

    It is not a new idea, but it seems like the best-suited ones for the jobs are clearly not the corrupt, power hungry politicians able to run for the position.

    Any citizen, chosen at random, might well make a better candidate than those who can head up the political machines required to get elected.

    "Congratulations, you have been chosen to be the next President of the United States. The secret service will arive sometime today."

    Also give out random cash prizes to make sure that those who would not normally aspire to hold office will show up at the polls.

    Give "Government of the People" a new credibility.

    It would save us all a lot of grief, and I do not see how it could be fundamentally much worse, unless the beaurocracy had the ability to keep thus-selected leaders under their thumbs.

  • by markwusinich ( 126760 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:43PM (#8952064) Homepage Journal
    Prior to putting one of these in service I would expect a voting board, to set up two polling places a real one, using current technology and a test one. The test one would have to be inaccessible to the public, until after you vote at the real one. Then as people leave, ask them if they would help test new technology in voting. Explain that the ballot will not count, and that the names they see on the inside are factious. Then when they go in, ask them to mark down what names they vote for on a piece of paper and audit the results.

    You would be even advised to video their interaction with the machine, for full auditing purposes.
  • by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:47PM (#8952108)
    Thats idiotic, even here in Mexico (still a third world country, no matter what the president says) the goverment issues national voting cards which are free, and highly secure... In fact, ever since their introduction, they have already displaced drivers licenses and military issue cards as the preferred id for liquor stores, banks, etc
  • by crimethinker ( 721591 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:50PM (#8952151)
    I worked the polls in CA for the recall election last October. Per the training, it is flat-out ILLEGAL to ask any voter for identification if they state a name and address that is on the rolls and has not already voted. If they are not on the rolls, or get the address wrong, we have procedures that involve ID (some picture, some not), but as long as they get the name and address right, they get a ballot.

    The excuse is that asking for ID "intimidates" minorities, and thereby violates their civil rights, but the real reason is that it makes it easier for non-citizens and dead people to vote. We rank slightly behind Chicago in our voter turnout from cemetaries.

    Of course, I would be much more upset about illegals and dead people voting if I thought that voting could change anything. I still vote; I just feel like Sisyphus when I do it.


  • by crimethinker ( 721591 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @01:57PM (#8952229)
    It sickens me the turnout of registered voters in the US of A is as low as it is. But at the same time, it is really such a crime against humanity that once in a while we might have to get out of our cars and step away from the keyboard and be a member of the community for a few moments?

    If you're so lazy that voting from home is the only way you'll vote, I don't want you voting; you don't deserve it.

    For an enlightening view on civic responsibility, read Starship Troopers sometime. Every citizen has all rights and privleges except the right to vote (and hold office). Voting is reserved for those who have served in the military. The teacher in History of Moral Philosophy explains it thusly: (paraphrased) this system ensures that every voter has demonstrated, through difficult and dangerous service, that he is willing to place the good of society above his desire for personal gain.

    I don't buy into "noble sacrifice of self" for some "greater good," (I tend more towards Ayn Rand), but I think that with the federal government having so much power to intrude into our lives (and pocketbooks), it would be preferrable to have only "self-sacrificing" people voting how much money is stolen from me.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @02:08PM (#8952348)
    Maybe they dont. Maybe our money is at stake, waiting for some one to hack in for the taking.
  • by crimethinker ( 721591 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @02:11PM (#8952374)
    Voting by mail is subject to coercion. Think about it; you get your ballot by mail how long before the election? Plenty of time for people to lean on you and sway your vote.

    Word goes around the factory: anyone who "knows what's good for him" needs to take their ballot to their union foreman, vote the union's slate, and seal and sign it right there. Oh, it's never that obvious, and nobody comes right out and says it, but the whispers go around, nudge nudge, wink wink, and a lot of people get the message.

    Absentee voting is still necessary, but it must not be the default or, even worse, only choice.


  • Re:Good! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:00PM (#8952877)
    Aaahnold became governator because Ken Lay was worried about Bustamonte's $9B lawsuit against Enron: 59 -1&oe=ISO-8859-1&q=Schwarzenegger+Enron

    Bet you didn't know Aaahnold was meeting with Ken Lay before the recall election got started up, did ya?
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:46PM (#8953329)
    "If California, or whatever state you happen to live in, concludes that Diebold electionic voting systems are crap, and yet they are implemented anyway, what are you going to do about it?"

    I've already decided to use the early voting procedure. Not only does that offer an alternative, it also makes it more convenient in terms of time.

    At this point, I still believe a secret ballot is utterly important, but not as important as flushing the current administration.

    It scares me to think that the 2004 presidential election will again be too close to call. As we've seen and could have predicted, a too-close-to-call race will fall on the side of the conservative party.

    I have no apologies to the approximately half of my countrymen who continue to support President Bush and the members of his administration.
  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @05:59PM (#8954826) Homepage Journal
    It appears that Diebold is doing a fine job of letting everyone know exactly who they are and what their *real* intentions are.

    They are nothing but a bunch of criminals and liars that are doing a piss poor job of working to take control of our national elections systems and trying to keep it secret and/or unbiased.

    These idiots spend more on lawyers and Public Relations experts than they do on programmers. I hope they rot in hell... ...and I'm a conservative! :)
  • Voting in Mexico (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Friday April 23, 2004 @06:32PM (#8955135)
    And does the card tie your vote to your identity? Seems like that'd be a super way to make sure the party in power remains in power - simply track down and intimidate/beat/threaten/kill a bunch of those who opposed you in the last "election".

    No, the process was designed specifically to protect identity of the voter... Thats how we finally got the PRI party out of power in 2000, after they had been the ruling party for 70-something years.

    The process goes like this:

    1.- After your 18th birthday, you can go to a voter registration place (usually at city hall in small towns, or several places in big cities), with your birth certificate. They register your info, take a pic and take a fingerprint.

    2.- Your info makes it into the voters register, and your card is mailed back to the registration place. A notification is mailed to your home stating that you can pick up the card at said place... You get the card after your face is verified.

    3.- You can start using this card to get beer, go into nightclubs, cash checks, and other adult activities.

    4.- Election day comes. You (a responsible citycen) go into the voting place (usually the same place where you picked up your card).

    5.- An electoral volunteer worker checks your face against your card, checks your thumb (see point 8 later) and checks this data against the national voters registry. If everything checks out, you are given paper ballots for each election taking place (usually president, deputys, federal and local congresses take place at the same time).

    6.- You take said paper ballots to a privacy booth, use a special crayon thats there to cross the party logos that youre voting for. Afterwards, before leaving the booth, you fold each ballot twice (it wont fit the slot in the box if you dont fold it twice).

    7.- You leave the booth and place each ballot into the sealed box with the corresponding color.

    8.- Before you can leave, a special chemical is smeared in your thumb, which instantly turns a dark brown... This is not paint, but a chemical that reacts to oxygen and to human skin, the color fades in a few days, but ensures that you cannot vote twice in the same election day.

    9.- You check the election preliminar results that night, feeling confident that your vote counts and that this is now a modern democracy (despite our decidedly old-fashioned politicians).

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.