Apparently, Vote Tampering Is Only Acceptable If It's Done By Americans

from the Hugo-Chavez-To-Win-2008-election dept

Typically, when we write about voting machines, the stories have a predictable, though depressing, plot. A machine will be shown to have some sort of vulnerability that allows it to be hacked, while the company that produced it (usually Diebold, though not always) will try to prevent them from being made safer. Yet while politicians ignore these very real threats, they won't pass on an opportunity to scaremonger about a foreign conspiracy to subvert American democracy. So politicians are up in arms about voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems, whose major shareholders are Venezuelan. They fear that there may be built-in vulnerabilities that would allow Hugo Chavez to throw an American election should he please. One alderman from Chicago claims it's more than just a theoretical possibility, claiming that, "We've stumbled on what we think could be an international conspiracy to subvert the electoral process in the United States." This all sounds like an incredible stretch, and very similar to the fears about Lenovo products being used by the federal government. What's strange is that the uproar is an implicit admission that voting machines possibly could be tampered with in some way, so as to give inaccurate results. If they're willing to believe in a far-fetched conspiracy such as this one, why aren't they concerned about the actual cases demonstrating problems with voting machines?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TriZz, May 30th, 2006 @ 8:49am

    How about...

    The old school voting cards. This was never an issue then.

    Or - how about a receipt that's printed. When you submit your vote, there's a window (protected) that confirms your vote. Then you hit "yes" or "confirm" or something like that - then you have a paper trail.

    Sometimes the solution is so simple that it's hard to see it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Phillip Vector, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:18am

    Umm...

    Doesn't it seem strange that the last story about War and Video games talking about invading Venezuela and now this one talking about Venezuelan people against america...

    Anyone else find this strange?

     

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  3.  
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    Jimmy Bear Pearson, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Perhaps physical card retention...

    I agree. I think physical paper material is probably the most important aspect of this issue. I don't mind saving paper when I send my family emails, but when it comes to the election of governmental figures, I think the use, handling, and storage of paper artifacts is quite reasonable (given the importance of accountability.)

    What we must keep in mind is that voters in the U.S. must be kept secret - it is important that "how someone voted" not be tied to an identifiable individual.

     

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  4.  
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    WirelessGuy, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:25am

    Venezuela is getting more press as the President there is drawing more and more anti-American rhetoric. The more he bashes on Bush and this country, the more people will write about his stupidity.

     

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  5.  
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    DerOoestericher, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:26am

    Re: Umm...

    No. They've got a leftist government which is aiming to become a regional power.

    Oh, and oil.

    Your 2011 battlefield.

     

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  6.  
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    The Truth Beacon, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:38am

    Having been frauded against

    I can tell you that no system will ever be perfect no matter how much you bitch and complain about some company you think is evil actually - Heaven Forbid - making a profit off a product they produce. Having seen my vote last election cast for Kerry (and similarly entirely along the Democratic party lines) while I was at work (documented) even on the 'old' card system (which my county still used) you can be frauded against. Just because your propaganda isn't the one being pushed the hardest doesn't mean the other party is the devil.

    For shame - wasting so much of our time with your propaganda blatently biased. Why don't you just report the news like we all want, without your bias.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Dan, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:39am

    Voting

    The only kind of voting that makes sense to me is Internet-based. For those who don't have PCs or Mac's, the voting booth's would have them. Every citizen would have a public key (ssn?) to prevent duplicates, and communication would be encrypted with completed ballots stored in redundant databases (at least) three for post-election error/fraud correcting. Gee, if that happened, we could even vote from home, work, or at the airport--but then more people would vote--could be bad for congress. On important things like "should we go to war?" they would know how we feel immediatly. I doubt the lobbyists would like the idea since it would have the potential of reducing their influence.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Dan, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:39am

    Voting

    The only kind of voting that makes sense to me is Internet-based. For those who don't have PCs or Mac's, the voting booth's would have them. Every citizen would have a public key (ssn?) to prevent duplicates, and communication would be encrypted with completed ballots stored in redundant databases (at least) three for post-election error/fraud correcting. Gee, if that happened, we could even vote from home, work, or at the airport--but then more people would vote--could be bad for congress. On important things like "should we go to war?" they would know how we feel immediatly. I doubt the lobbyists would like the idea since it would have the potential of reducing their influence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The Truth Beacon, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    Re: Having been frauded against

    For futher clarification - I know how my votes were cast because I sued and won to get the votes fraudulently cast under my name stricken.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    SPR, May 30th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    Re: How about...

    If you have a paper trail then you also have a record of how a particular person voted. Not a good Idea. I work in State Gov in a state that is undergoing some turmoil about political cronyism in job awards. I certainly would not want the Governor to be able to find out how I voted!!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Sean, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:06am

    Paranoid

    We have a government that's becoming increasingly paranoid, is spying on it's citizens more and more, and trying to make illegal to look too closely at their activities. I just don't like where this is going.

     

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  12.  
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    Ivory Bill, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:10am

    Re: How about...

    Why not just drop the printout (which I envision as resembling a cash register receipt) in the ballot can. There's your manual recount.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    dave, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: How about...

    I'm sure the packets from diebold machines traveling over AT&T's networks are never, ever touched by the NSA.

    but I digress...I live in Tallahassee (yes we screwed up a few times) and our election supervisor said screw you Diebold, I'm testing your machines. Thank god for him.

    If we're going to rely on these machines with no records, we C A N N O T ascertain after a vote if the election supervisor or ANYONE on his staff tampered with them. And we can't be sure the machine wasn't faulty in recording votes.

    For some of the same reasons we have issues with others knowing how we vote, we cannot allow only certain people(election workers) to be the only ones able to alter votes. Thats confusing, basically if its possible to alter elections we need a record trail to prove it didn't happen afterwards. And we need continuous testing and improvement in our election machines. Diebold makes healthly profits off their machines and they have unwavering support from many government officials. They need to allow as transparent a testing process as possible so the voting public can have faith in their machines.

    I understand it will cost them money to do that, fine, we can find the money. Whats the point of supporting a process with state and federal money(buying diebold or anyone elses' machines) without verifying they work properly and are impossible to falsify results from.
    Or if results are falsified, at least the machines should show evidence of tampering.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Emceay, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Soul-less for office.

    They turn a blind eye to the real issue because it's how they found themselves in office. I'm amazed that diebold can almost say they're gonna rig it and no one listened. Lately I've just begun to adopt the ideal of not giving a shit. Because, frankly every time I want some law or bill passed these assholes vote it down, so what do I care if they're finally afraid of a taste of their own medicine.
    Our system is broken, we're losing freedoms as time passes. So I just can't bring myself to care about these fools in suits. They care about nothing concerning me unless it involves incarceration or taxes.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    jerwhite, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:13am

    Re: Voting

    Voting on the internet will never happen because we would have to vote for someone who agreed to let us vote on the internet, then he would have to submit this idea, then congress would have to vote on this. This is our moronic government that set this up this way to make sure nothing ever got done except for when you see it on paper. It always looks good on paper.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    King Nice Guy, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:14am

    Just make me king of the world

    Just make me King of the world. I promise to be nice- we won't have to waste public resources on voting- and the world can live in harmony.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Emceay, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:17am

    "I work in State Gov in a state that is undergoing some turmoil about political cronyism in job awards. I certainly would not want the Governor to be able to find out how I voted!!"

    Somehow that sounds like modern day serfdom. Hierarchy disgusts me.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    bksm, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:26am

    spell your headlines correctly.

    acceptable. acceptable. acceptable. Not acceptible. someone do your editing for free or something?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Stu, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Re: Voting

    Hey! I like the idea you've come up with here! Other than the key would have to be something other than SSN as mine was recently stolen with millions of other vets. However we could take it a few steps further and eliminate the need for the House or Senate. After all they are there simply to represent our vote.. If we can vote for ourselves we won't need theirs!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    SPR, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:35am

    Re: spell your headlines correctly.

    Hey BKSM, you sound like someone's ex-wife!! Quit being so nit-picky!!

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Emceay, May 30th, 2006 @ 10:46am

    It's not democracy, it's government that's broken.

    "If we can vote for ourselves we won't need theirs!"

    Switzerland has a direct democracy, they vote on initiatives individually. In 120 years they've voted on 240 initiatives and 10% passed.
    I don't like how we vote in clowns that don't listen to us and pass laws that hurt us without reading them. It's gotten worse over the past 4 years, but I don't see our congress conceding power, ever. It's far too easy for them to not go to jail when their buddies can change the law without asking the people.
    I don't like how we split the power into branches but one branch has a solitary individual at the top. Personally I think vice presidents should never be on the ticket. Rather, the second runner up (in this case kerry) should be vice to truely balance out the people. It makes no sense that about half of the people in this country are currently under-represented, now democrats know what it's like to be black.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Professor HighBrow, May 30th, 2006 @ 11:36am

    Re: Having been frauded against

    I fail To see how you've explain this "bias.." that you've agrgued here:

    How much you bitch and complain about some company you think is evil actually - Heaven Forbid - making a profit off a product they produce

    Electronic voting machines are a little different than "Those guys that made the paper." Or, those old ladies that actually looked you up old school style to make sure you were in the book as a registered voter.

    Yes, heaven Forbid anyone make profit from it, because that's ridiculous to profit from voting. Where's there's profit, there's just another chance to link money into politics again. I voted the same way, but I still don't like the idea of any company being in complete control of machines that decide a narrow election. It's just another chance for corrupton to enter "the system."


    Of Course, we could always Reurrect Jimmy Hoffa and the ballot wouldn't matter...

    I Like the "Documented Receipt of Vote" idea. So simple! if it comes to question, here's a non-forgable (as good as our money) document of the vote. How much would that really cost when it comes to people that didn't unch the right "chads"?

    Wanna Recount? Here's my reciept. It's as good as a $20 bill.


    --Prof HiB

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Mark, May 30th, 2006 @ 11:55am

    Scaremongering

    I once sat across the dinner table from my cousin, who explained at length how Russian Communists were using technology to control the weather in order to destroy the American heartland. Turns out she was repeating word-for-word what her high school history teacher was "teaching" every day in his classroom.

    International plots to overthrow elections via rigged voting machines? That conspiracy theory is somewhat tame by comparison. The sad truth remains that certain segments of the American population are always ready to believe the worst about foreigners -- or, really, anyone who looks or talks differently than they do. The same folks also tend to think that complaints against Dieboldt are just Democratic sour grapes about the most recent presidential election. Stupid is as stupid does.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Getting Warmer, May 30th, 2006 @ 12:07pm

    American Idol

    Make the candidates get up and entertain us for an hour weekly.

    We all call in after each show to support our favorite candidate.

    It is more reasonable than what we have now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Pro Choice?, May 30th, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Re: It's not democracy, it's government that's bro

    "now democrats know what it's like to be black."

    ???

    I don't recall being asked what color pigmentation I would like to have in my skin. You still have choice on which flavor of poison you would like with your election day breakfast... At least you do here in the good old USA.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Luci, May 30th, 2006 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: How about...

    Do you honestly think they can't trace the votes, already? Ballot cards are numberd. You sign in when you come to vote. The two can be put together. Besides, with the electoral college your vote is effectively meaningless if the person representing your vote decides to vote the other way. There are no laws or rules of any kind in place forcing electoral voters to follow the popular vote of their region.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymousie, May 30th, 2006 @ 7:43pm

    Re: How about...

    *Ballot cards are numberd. You sign in when you come to vote. The two can be put together.*

    Luci. Dude. Before you (literally) cast a paper voting ballot into the locked box, the number on the ballot card is torn off. Something tells me you didn't hang around long enough to see that part of the voting process.

    I think we should stick with paper ballots. But, I'm Luddite who doesn't want a cell phone.

     

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  28.  
    icon
    TechNoFear (profile), May 30th, 2006 @ 10:01pm

    Diebold also makes...

    Diebold also makes the automated Teller Machines for banks (look at the logo on the next one you use).

    Do you think the banks would put up with the security system (or lack thereof) in these machines?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2006 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Having been frauded against

    For futher clarification - I know how my votes were cast because I sued and won to get the votes fraudulently cast under my name stricken.

    I'm sorry, but i still fail to see how it is possible that, even if you had proven that someone fraudulently voted for you, anyone could possibly have known who that person voted for. No records are kept of who votes for whom - just of who votes. It's called a "secret ballot."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymousie, Jun 1st, 2006 @ 6:08am

    Re: Diebold also makes...

    *Diebold also makes the automated Teller Machines for banks (look at the logo on the next one you use).

    Do you think the banks would put up with the security system (or lack thereof) in these machines?*

    A company can produce perfectly both a cleansing soap meant for humans, and an acidic lye that would burn through human flesh.

    So your point would be ... ?

    The subject is voting machines, not automated teller machines.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Voting

    bla

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Voting

    bla

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    clergy depositors blessed siphon feet collaboration Ainus

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2006 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Voting

    bla

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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