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The Courts Government News Technology

Re-Vote Likely After E-Vote Data Mishandling 172

davecb writes "A California judge is likely to order a Berkeley city initiative back on the ballot because of local officials' mishandling of electronic voting machine data. A recount was not possible because the city failed to share necessary voting records, a violation of election laws. In a preliminary ruling Thursday, Judge Winifred Smith of the Alameda County Superior Court indicated she would nullify the defeat of a medical marijuana proposal in Berkeley in 2004 and order the measure put back on the ballot in a later election."
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Re-Vote Likely After E-Vote Data Mishandling

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  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @08:02PM (#19908665) Homepage
    Yeah, the most hippy-infested liberal suburb of the most liberal city in the U.S. voted down a medical marijuana bill, only it turns out they didn't keep enough data to verify the election results (like you could ever trust the data saved on a Diebold machine anyway). Nothing suspicious there at all...
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @08:32PM (#19908917) Homepage Journal
    Say it with me: count twice, count by hand.

    The democratic process relies on people who have more interest in how the candidate is chosen than who the candidate is; in other words, little old ladies. These are not the people who are asking for this technology.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @08:47PM (#19909027) Homepage Journal
    The US electoral system is thoroughly gamed. It has been fucked for decades now and the people of the US do nothing about it. They don't believe in democracy anymore.

  • Re:Possibly. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <slashdot AT metasquared DOT com> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @09:00PM (#19909131) Homepage

    Parties are the problem, not the solution. We need no parties; we need politicians to think on their own about some issues for a change. Things like cohesive party-wide election strategies, "whips", thoughtless polarization on the issues by candidates, and thoughtless voting along party lines by voters have no place in a system originally designed to represent the interests of the people.

    Not to mention the existence of political parties violates the doctrine of separation of powers, as one can observe from the increasing difficulty of the Bush administration to have favorable legislation passed after control of congress passed to the Democrats.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @09:02PM (#19909141) Journal
    Having seen how paper ballots are conducted it's harder to imagine how that system is manipulated, however the drawback is that fewer people can participate. AFAIR the voting rates in western countires are lower than 20%, which is not a good thing. It's not good because the fewer people who participate in an election, the easier it is to affect te outcome by the influence of "swinging" voters.

    The good thing about electronic voting is it allows more voters, and over the internet voting would be a great step forward however, as electronic voting is in it's infancy, it is still easy to manipulate the outcome of an election (as we have seen recently). It's essential that electronic voting systems are hardened.

    More citizens involved in the running of 1st world countries is essential, because it's not left vs right anymore, it's the masses vs the power elite (or plutocracy or ogliarch what ever you want to call it), vested interests and other smiley gladhands.

    Maybe the vote held was manipulated, but with a higher rate of participation it may not have mattered. What it clearly illustrates is the higher the level of apathy towards a vote the easier it is for a determined set of individuals to affect the outcome. The bottom line is a country is only as free as the amount of 'citizens' participating in it's democracy.

  • Re:Possibly. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @09:13PM (#19909241) Journal
    There is only one ruling party right now.

    We theoretically have a Republican party and a Democratic party, but they both take their cues and pull their members from Amercia ruling elite. For all of /.'s love of market forces let's look at who controls that:

    In 2003, just 1% of all households -- those with after-tax incomes averaging $701,500 -- received 57.5% of all capital income, up from 40% in the early 1990s. On the other hand, the bottom 80% received only 12.6% of capital income, down by nearly half since 1983. alth.html []

    Who is controlling corperations? The top 10% own 85% of the stock. So it should be obvious to everyone that this same small amount of the population would have the same level of control over the government. But everyone gets one vote you say. But who places our choices in front of us? If the choice is between aristocrat "A" and aristocrat "B", you still have and aristocrat in power when the "vote" is done. This non-choice shows itself in negitivity of the campaigns and the apathy of the voters. People have more interest in "American Idol" than the American government because they have more actual influence in the former.
  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @05:36AM (#19912001)
    Moreover if you think electronic and mechanical counters are unreliable a human is a disaster.

    So ? If you have a paper trail, you can at least prove that there was something wrong with the election, or the counting process (if you recount and arrive at a substantially different number of votes). Then you can initiate corrective action (for example, a really, really meticulous recount), followed by making sure that it doesn't happen again (like sticking whoever tried to rig the election in jail).

    Electronic voting without a paper trail ? Sure, here are your results. Doubt them ? Sucks to be you. The machine is infalliable and you have no way to prove anything else.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments