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Flaw in Florida E-Voting Machines 438

An anonymous reader writes "Looks like there are more problems with the new e-voting machines. How will they ever be ready in time for the November elections?"
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Flaw in Florida E-Voting Machines

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  • Re:More shenanigans (Score:2, Informative)

    by AlgUSF ( 238240 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @08:20AM (#9412400) Homepage
    Get over it, Al Gore lost. :-)

    And thank god! I remember the signs people had after the election that said "Sore Loserman" with a tear instead of the star (in the same motif as the Gore/Lieberman signs). I was never able to get one of those signs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 13, 2004 @08:22AM (#9412411)
    The voters did decide.... GWB by 300 votes, unless you think the Liberal Miami Hearald is biased towards GWB?
  • Voter Purge (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 13, 2004 @08:33AM (#9412443)
    What scares me about all of this is that four years after the last election, it is still not common knowledge that Florida purged thousands of people from the electoral role illegally. This was admitted by Choicepoint in a special congressional hearing. Why Jeb Bush is still Governor in Florida I'll never know. (Notice that I'm saying nothing about the hanging chads business, that's a different kettle fish altogether).

    What really amazes me though is that it's happening again [independent.co.uk] and no-one is doing a thing! Why in god's name doesnt the media in your country do it's job? I'm absolutely amazed that you're allowing this to happen again.
  • In related news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mko ( 117690 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @08:38AM (#9412457) Homepage
    Voting machines are "cheap and untrustworthy" compared to slot machines.

    Gambling on Voting (NY Times Op-Ed today) [nytimes.com]

    I don't understand this run on machines anyway, don't paper ballots scale perfectly? Counting votes can be arbitrarily parallelized after all.

  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @09:27AM (#9412575) Homepage
    " The voters did decide.... GWB by 300 votes, unless you think the Liberal Miami Hearald is biased towards GWB?"

    I remember those recount stories back when they happened in mid-2001. On both CNN and listening the next day on NPR I heard and read that the recount showed Gore won Florida. Oh sure, when they only recounted those counties Gore was asking to be recounted, Bush still was ahead by 300 votes -- and that's what made all the headlines. But when they recounted ALL the counties in Florida, Gore was ahead. For some reason, that didn't make headlines but was buried about 2/3 the way down the CNN story. Yet it was the most significant fact of all: The voters of Florida picked Gore, thereby making him win both the popular vote and the electoral vote.

    By then, of course, it was too late to do much, and would be a real mess to try to fix, so that's probably why the news got buried. But many of us noted those facts at the time and we haven't forgotten, no matter how many misinformed people still think Bush won by 300 votes.

  • Re:Voter Purge (Score:3, Informative)

    by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @09:41AM (#9412657)

    Actually, what's really surprising is that the media is doing its job! CNN's sued for access to the rolls of purged voters, which Jeb claimed that no one had the right to look at. A number of other parties have also filed suit for the right to double-check the rolls of felons and ensure that there are no eligible voters on them.

    Even worse is that they outsourced the compilation of the list to a private company...

  • Re:Such arrogance (Score:2, Informative)

    by jazzer ( 732722 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @10:34AM (#9412921)
    Assumptions are also quite arrogant. Please don't assume my opinion, on anything.

    Statistics based off of the original 1991 Persian Gulf War. To quote "Shortly after the war, the US Defense Intelligence Agency made a very rough estimate of 100,000 Iraqi deaths, and this order of magnitude is widely accepted -- even improved upon: * B&J: 50,000 to 100,000 * Compton's: 150,000 Iraqi soldiers killed * World Political Almanac 3rd: 150,000 incl. civilians. * Our Times: 200,000."

    To quote "According to the 21 March 1998 Times Union (Albany), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 1,000,000 Iraqis, incl. 560,000 children, died as a result of malnutrition and disease caused by the international embargo imposed following the invasion of Kuwait. The article mentions the use of these numbers by an official of the United Church of Christ, and also labels the figures "commonly used -- but also disputed".."

    And the count for civilians dead so far from this current war is between 9,000 - 11,000 civilians not including soldiers.

    While I do believe that Iraqi's celebrated Hussein's topple (note how many religious factions are in Iraq, I would guarantee somebody is going to celebrate). Yes I could find statistics for how many people Hussein killed and I know they are similar to the numbers quoted up there. Nor am I questioning whether or not Hussein is/was deplorable, however what were Mr. Bush's intentions? Oil or the welfare of people in Iraq? There is many countries in Africa that citizens are suffering just as in Iraq but we don't hear anything about those conflicts. The only good thing about this is that the internation embargo will not be imposed anymore.

    Now that's not even speaking of my stance on Bush's drop of the Kyoto accord after taking millions of campaign funding from Exxon-Mobil.

  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @10:39AM (#9412943) Journal
    Hi! Maybe you didn't read :)

    - multiple languages
    See : Human interface design issues

    - offer assisted voting
    See : Human interface design issues

    - Be physically and logically secure from local and remote tampering with the votes
    See : hardware issues
    One note : An e-voting machine should never be capable of remote access, period. As for local security, it's a machine. If somebody starts prying at the thing with a screwdriver or somesuch, somebody had better notice. Please do take note that this has nothing to do with the e-voting part.

    - Include auditable trails for all actions taken by the application
    See : well-known-paper trail issue

    - not allow vote counters to determine, etc.
    See : hardware issues.
    One note : This is basic 'booth design' issues and obviously making sure that the counters keep no record of who came in when / in what order (or else the paper trail could be correlated to that, especially if the papertrail has a timestamp. It shouldn't have one, duh.)

    And yes, the code remains trivial.
    Points 3 and 5 have nothing to do with the code.
    Point 4 is a printing issue. Print out plaintext to a printing device. Woo, difficult.
    Point 1 is a simple language selection option. If thousands of websites can do it, and thousands of games, and thousands of ... then please tell me how it is not a trivial issue.
    Point 2 has the same basics to it. Bigger font ? no problem - set it so, update the screen.
    The *only* thing that may not be included with any basic toolset is text-to-speech. Yes, writing a text-to-speech program is not trivial. Thankfully, there are companies and individuals alike who have much expertise in this, and you can license from them.

    Note that all of this has nothing to do with code integrity or whatever.. if somebody wants each voting machine to be built on open-source stuff (nobody seems to demand open-source and verifyable hardware. odd.) then that's cool.

    The basic issue I was addressing is that the actual voting process, in code, is simple. It's a counter.
    500 people vote for person A, 600 people for person B. I cannot imagine what coding issues one would have to go through in order to get a result such as "497 people voted for person A, 912 people for person B."

    Yet that appears to have been the issue with many of these e-voting machines : a wrong count!

    Anyway, end rant.
  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @02:22PM (#9414272)
    I'm not going to get in the middle of you two but I think the Carlysle meeting between Bush and Bin Laden's brother referred to was with George H.W. Bush, his father, and not George W. Bush. Before you start ranting maybe you should figure out what you are talking about.

    I'm not sure there was a meeting on the day of 9/11 but George H.W. Bush does work for the Carlyle group so its plausible. He gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for making short speeches for them, or more likely to use his influence to steer business their way. The Carlyle group is one of Saudi Arabia's largest defense contractors. The Bin Laden family is one of the Saudi Arabia's wealthier and more powerful families. Osama is the black sheep of the family, and they publicly disowned him, but Saudi Arabians deny a lot of ties to terrorism though they are the world's biggest supporters and funders of most of it. The Bin Laden family had to disown Osama or it would hammer their multibillion dollar business in the U.S. and the rest of the world. They run a big construction conglomerate if I recall. Whether they really disowned him is anybody's guess.

    George W. Bush did allow a special flight right after 9/11, when no American's were flying, in which all the Bin Laden relatives and numerous other Saudi's were spirited out of the country.

    Halliburton for Cheney and Carlysle for the Bush family are two of the many incestuous relationships in the current government which make it look very corrupt, whether it really is or not.
  • Re:Democracy? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @04:00PM (#9414833) Homepage
    The SCOTUS said that Florida had to follow its own laws for elections (instead of ignoring their own laws and having recounts until Al Gore was satisfied.) What's so unreasonable about that?

    {I am related to an appellate lawyer, so I have some clue as to what I'm talking about in the following.} That is simply an incorrect reading of the Supreme Court's ruling (available here [cornell.edu]). The way the relationship goes between state and federal courts is that the state's highest court (in this case, the Florida Supreme Court) is the final authority on the interpretation of state law, for which federal courts have no jurisdiction. SCOTUS can intervene only when, by the Supremacy Clause, federal law or the US Constitution contradicts the state court's decision.

    The justification for the SCOTUS decision of Bush vs Gore in Bush's favor was on the theory that since there was no universal standard of counting votes, voters in Florida were not recieving equal protection under the law, violating the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court never contradicted the Florida Supreme Court's interpretation of Florida law, because they have no power to do so.
  • Re:Such arrogance (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dick Faze ( 711885 ) on Sunday June 13, 2004 @08:20PM (#9416265) Journal
    Now that's not even speaking of my stance on Bush's drop of the Kyoto accord after taking millions of campaign funding from Exxon-Mobil.

    The Kyoto accord would have been financially devastating for US corporations, who, operating on a profit motive, would pass their expenses on to their customers - gas going to $5 or $6+ a gallon overnight and home heating oil at $10 would not hurt a single millionaire....but lots of low-income and even middle class Americans would be killed by it (quite literally). As it is there are stories on the news every night of someone who has to decide whether or gas up the work truck or buy food, and this is at $2/gallon levels.

    We need an international environmental protocol that doesn't punish wealthy countries for the inability of poorer nations to comply. Kyoto ain't it.

  • by cheezedawg ( 413482 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @02:13AM (#9417666) Journal
    The idea that Bush used unfair and malicious means to win the election?

    Yes- I object to that.

    Nobody seems to disagree that the Republicans unfairly prevented thousands of people from voting by mistakenly labeling them as felons.

    I will say this in the kindest terms possible: bull freaking crap.

    There weren't thousands of people that were incorrectly prevented from voting because they were on the felon list. The USCCR was able to identify 4 innocent people that were actually removed from voter registration, and 3 of those people were allowed to vote anyway.

    If somebody was incorrectly prevented from voting, the blame lies on the Election Supervisor of the county that he/she lives in. According to Florida law, the County Election Supervisor is the ONLY person with the authority to remove somebody from the voter registration- NOT Katherine Harris or Jeb Bush or "the Republicans".

    Florida law also stipulates that the Election Supervisor must verify the names on the felon list before taking any action. The law was designed to create a list with as many possible matches as they could get, and they would let the individual County Election Supervisors sort it out. In retrospect, that isn't the best solution, but the 2000 election was the first test of this statute, and they have changed it since then.

    The 1998 Florida statute that required the state to compile a felon scrub list was passed in a bi-partisan vote of the Florida state legislature, and not just by the Republicans.

    The company (DBT, who later merged with ChoicePoint) that provided the felon list to Florida was contracted by a Democrat named Ethel Baxtor.

    Nobody is disagreeing with Greg Palast because his claims are so incorrect and blatently partisan that nobody takes him seriously.

    In the case of Florida the close results triggered an automatic recount, as was mandated by the Florida constitution. Although that certainly gave me hope that the recount would favor Gore, i wanted the recount to happen fairly and if the new results still favored Bush i would have accepted that.

    The mandated recounts did happen, twice. It was the hand recounts in a few heavily Democrat counties that the Republicans (and the Supreme Court by a 7-2 vote) objected to.

  • Re:Democracy? (Score:2, Informative)

    by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:36AM (#9419769) Homepage
    Correcting your faux passe's

    The Organizations responsible for 9/11 still exist.

    We look for Terrorists responsible everywhere.Some of my friends are troops in Afghanistan,rebuilding the place.dont be a moron about whats happening over there.

    My point is Gore is an inept moron who would probably put nukes in husseins lap.

    Korea is another matter.Iraq is next if you havent read between the lines.

    Gore wouldnt have gone to war.Gore wouldnt do anything to upset his mediocrity.Gore doesnt take chances,therefore Gore will never succeed at anything(scraggly beard may be enough proof of that LOL)
    Clintons terrorist program was a publicity stunt like most of the rest of his career.
    Now you can go on your way happy to be corrected.

VMS must die!