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IEEE Standards For Voting Machines 221

kgeiger writes "Voting machine designs and data formats are a free-for-all. The result is poor validation and hence opportunity for fraud. An IEEE standards group wants all election computer systems to speak the same language. From the article: 'IEEE Standards Project 1622 is working on electronic data interchange for voting systems. The plan is to create a common format, based on the Election Markup Language (EML) already recommended for use in Europe. This is a subset of the popular XML (eXtensible Markup Language) that specifies particular fields and data structures for use in voting.'"
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IEEE Standards For Voting Machines

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  • Yeah... no. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @10:17PM (#41849499)

    None of that will ever happen.
    If it did... How can these voting machine companies deliver the vote to the guy who paid them lots of money?

    Shit they don't even try to hide it anymore. lol

    If such a standard ever did get put in place... it would go thru politics and end up with so many holes the standard would be just as useless as what we have now.

  • by hutsell ( 1228828 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @10:56PM (#41849727) Homepage

    Even at the likely risk of being considered a tin foil luddite, this is the one technology I wish would never be made, even if there is a "100% assuredness" in both accountability and transparency people can feel comfortable about, even when it is something done in autonomous isolation.

    The political system of representative government is about people interacting with one another; voting should reflect that process. Regrettably, since the time and energy to write a compelling argument here is way beyond my present capabilities, I've resigned myself to being on the losing end on a personal viewpoint about the philosophy of politics.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @11:27PM (#41849903) Homepage
    Everyone says this. It gets old. The PRI in Mexico rigged elections for 80 years using nothing but paper ballots.
  • Re:Yeah... no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @11:49PM (#41850013) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't matter whether or not it happens. They're creating a fucking file format. That hardly protects against (a) fraudulent data input or (b) fraudulent reporting of results. Time to upgrade to dead trees, guys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @12:14AM (#41850139)

    Do you remember Diebold's 'Default to Bush' setting on its voting machines. Where voting machines would treat all none votes for president and misvotes (where you fail to press the screen properly or where the screen fails to work), as a vote for George Bush.

    Nice huh? Someone in Diebold thought a default vote for the Bush was the right setting and QA in Diebold seem to agree!

    Romney family, bought Hart Intervic a voting machine company. And after the RNC stunts: They (party elite) had the results of a vote on the teleprompter because the vote count. They changed the rules to remove 10 Ron Paul votes. They refused to even read out Ron Paul voters from the podium, so Ron Paul gets 48, Romney gets 8, they only read "Romney 8 votes". Incredible. Disgusting.

    Looking through that data, particularly the odd result that Romney gains far more in districts that show signs of ballot stuffing (abnormally high turnout in a low number of districts that vote a particular way). Those would be perfect targets for investigation. You could cross correlate those odd results with the voting technology used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @01:29AM (#41850421)

    The political system of representative government is about people interacting with one another; voting should reflect that process.

    So how would you change the system? Note that the non-electronic version of voting does not include people interacting with one another. I've toyed with the idea of suggesting that representatives be drafted (like juries) rather than elected. That would replace politicians with ordinary people. We'd need a bunch of people to get a representative sampling. My thought was to draft five thousand people a year for three year terms. In the first year, they'd just meet with others. They could discuss the issues but wouldn't get a vote. In the second year, they'd be able to vote. In the third year, they'd be able to vote and to run for leadership positions (speaker of the house, majority leader, minority whip, committee chair, etc.).

    The advantages of that method are: that it takes politics out of the representative selection process; unlike direct voting, it retains the idea that it is helpful for people to take the time to understand the issues (most direct voters don't have time to do things like read the actual budget); and that it makes our representatives more like us (the majority of current Representatives are lawyers, who make up a small minority of the population). The disadvantages are: that it takes away the idea of personal representation (I currently have a very specific person who is my Representative and can go to him with government problems); that it reduces representative experience (three years maximum; one year maximum for leaders); and that it could be expensive (it replaces 435 people with 15,000).

  • by kenorland ( 2691677 ) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:38AM (#41850591)

    The secret ballot where a ballot cannot be attached to a specific person after it has been cast is a fundamental part of our electoral system

    Only since around the late 19th century, a little after the UK, and even today, many people vote by mail.

    Secret ballots are a good idea, but I think people attach way too much importance to them. Once you get fraud down to within a few percentage points, it makes little difference, and the US is way below that.

  • by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Friday November 02, 2012 @04:34AM (#41850895)

    It is fine to have machines counting the hand-marked slips of paper, so you can announce a preliminary result on election night -- although many places manage that perfectly well by hand.

    The vote counters bring accountability to the table. You can never be truly sure that a machine is not compromised. If humans are compromised, we catch them and prosecute them, and a conspiracy needs to involve at least hundreds of people. With machines, a few people can compromise an entire election.

    If you allow the machines into the voting booth, anonymous voting is in danger and voter mistakes become impossible to detect. If you allow them to actually record votes, the whole process becomes a joke.

  • Re:Oblig XKCD (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:38AM (#41851051)

    Not really. There are currently zero competing standards, and now there'll be one. That's kind of the ideal situation.

    Unless you count the Diebold standard of "republicans win", which I don't really.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming