Diebold's Solution To E-Voting Problems: Beg Poll Workers Not To Touch Touchscreens

from the total-fix,-huh? dept

Remember last week, when Diebold insisted that it would have a total fix in place for the problems they faced in the recent Maryland election? Yeah, well... it appears that isn't going so well. The state ran a daylong test, and found plenty of problems still to overcome -- including the same problems with the e-poll books that caused all sorts of delays during the election. It gets better, too. While Diebold is still working on fixes for the system, they're pushing a workaround for the problem with the e-poll books: attaching mice to the machines and demanding that poll workers ignore the touchscreen and use the mouse instead. Of course, should anyone dare to touch the touchscreen, the devices may malfunction again. Not to worry, says Diebold: "poll workers would be instructed repeatedly not to touch the screens." Of course, during the test itself, those "repeated" instructions didn't stop at least one person from touching the screens and fouling the system up. Beyond the issue of introducing last-minute fixes to a system such as electronic voting machines, without any real chance to understand what other problems those fixes bring up, the idea that the "solution" is to hope that no poll worker actually touches a touchscreen seems pretty ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Marshall Brown, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:03am

    Don't touch touchscreens: let's think outside that

    Incorporate fingerprint recognition into voting polls to eliminate or greatly redcue the chance of the same person voting twice.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    ?, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:06am

    Poll workers don't vote except once.

    What about all the thousands of people who are going to be voting on the machines? How do you keep all of them from touching the screen?

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Marshall Brown, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:14am

    Prevent touching the touchscreen (an oxymoron?)

    Attach a glare screen over the touch screen to prevent anyone touching it.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    C, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:16am

    Don't squeeze the charmane!

    nuff said!

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Marshall Brown, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:20am

    In Nevada, the poll touchscreens are accurate and nonproblematic. I wonder what problems Maryland is having with pollplace touchscreens?

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    HAVING A THOUGHT, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:28am

    Re: Don't touch touchscreens: let's think outside

    actually a person could vote 10 times since we usually have 10 fingers with 10 different finger prints, unless you count the toes, then a person could vote.....

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Marshall Brown, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:33am

    Your right, fingerprint recognition can't work in

    We use fingerprint recognition at work, but our left index print has to be on file to gain access. This wouldn't work at the polls for the reasons you list.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    bA, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 3:33am

    Biometrics for identity verification?

    Do you think Americans will be comfortable being fingerprinted by the government just to vote? In order, for fingerprint (or any biometric) verification to work the gov would have to record it first. Magneprint would be a better method ... it identifies the magnetic stripe on cards as the original and every drivers license has one (magStripe that is), as well as, a photo of the holder. Biometrics and a fool-proof identification scheme ... can't loose. (http://www.magneprint.com/)

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 5:07am

    Re: Poll workers don't vote except once.

    The problem is with the e-poll books the poll workers use. No problems were reported with the actual voting machines or their touchscreens.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Geeb, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 5:08am

    Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    > Biometrics and a fool-proof identification scheme ... can't loose.

    Hmmm. Let me know when reality alters itself sufficiently for us to find one of those.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    OxyMORON, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 5:21am

    Instant fix

    Here's a guaranteed fix!! I have the solution!! Tell Diebold that their service are not required until they fix the d@mn thing, then stick with old school paper ballots. See, the thing about paper is, YOU CAN'T MAKE IT CRASH and lose your data, and (nearly any) change that is made will leave a (semi) visible mark...

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    Re: Instant fix

    Paper cant crash? Can you say pregnant chads?

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Jat, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 6:11am

    Well heck then...

    Unplug the damn touch cable~! There's a thought!

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Danno, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 6:30am

    After all the bullshit surrounding Diebold Voting Systems, what government municipality in their RIGHT MINDS would consent to using these god damned machines?

    Oh, that's right, ones that don't care about the disenfranchisement of their voters.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    lar3ry, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 6:51am

    Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    A "fool proof" identification scheme is plain scary: Where in the constitution does is state that in order to vote, one must have a driver's license? What about those that are blind or otherwise disabled and/or do not want to drive? How about those that, for one reason or another, can not pass the written, driving, or vision tests? What about those that do not want their photograph on file at the state or federal government, especially in light of the clear abuses of privacy in this brave new post-9/11 world?

    What is needed is reasonable people using common sense. You cannot legislate or even define such vague terms as these, but it has worked in this country for over 200 years. Attempts to legislate such things just add more definitions and open more loopholes for people to take advantage of.

    The obvious answer in Maryland and other states utilizing voting machines is to have on hand a decent supply of PROVISIONAL BALLOTS--preferably one for every person that is likely to show up at the polls. If the machines stop working, turn them off and immediately switch to the provisional ballots without missing a cue, and the long lines and delays will not happen.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 6:55am

    Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    Actually in Illinois our drivers licenses do not have mag-stripes there are a couple of barcodes but that’s it. How exactly do you plan to deal with the mag-stripes that no longer work due to bent licenses or any number of other things that can foul them up.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    who are you, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 7:04am

    I've not used one of these e vote machines but in theory I could figrue out who you voted for. If I go vote and wipe the screen down, then you vote then my crime partner goes in couldn't he or she see which buttons you pushed by looking for smudges? This of course is useless if you got a new screen after each cote (ie one for president one for mayor).

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Ed, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 7:11am

    Re: Instant fix

    Tell that to the untold number of people in Georgia who had their paper votes destroyed before they were even counted. Boxes of absentee and provisional ballots were found sealed in a closet weeks after the election, and some high-up ordered them destroyed before they could be counted. Oddly, it appeared that the boxes were from predominately democrat-voting precincts.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 7:25am

    Lost

    Does anyone else see this as a way to make us loose faith in the polls so that the candidate with the most power and influence can just declare themselves the winner? I mean, that couldn't really happen could it?

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Less Than Happy, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 7:33am

    What a Joke

    What is the state thinking? The state needs to sue to get the units fixed or dump them. What a joke when they know there is an issue and still fail to fix the problem, Who do they think they are Microsoft?

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Gary, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Diebold Idiocy

    Diebold also manufactures ATM (banking) machines. They must be darned accurate with your money, as Banks continue to use them...yet they can't build a workable voting machine? Can you say "Rigging elections?"

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Corruption!!, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    Wanna win an Election?

    It's easy to win an election these days, simply use these machines and pay one of the operators to insert a virus infected memory card. Do a search for Diebold on Techdirt and read about the problems associated with these machines!! There are several videos on Google and YouTube about how easy these machines are to infect.



    Maybe I should run for governor!! I may actually win!!!

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    BillGod, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    AHHH

    Stimpy!! dont push the shiny red button!!!

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Lay Person, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 8:26am

    Shit!

    Are they still seriously considering this?

    O.K. Diebold I'll give you some advice, I don't know much about your machines but if not touching the screen fixes them, I suggest simply putting a plexiglass shield over the screen to ensure no one touches them.

    I already have a well paying job but I am willing to reconsider.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    just ®idiculous, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Good idea.

    There's nothing wrong with that plan, as far as I can tell.

    Sincerely,
    The waitress who just warned you that "this plate is extremely hot"

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Don't touch touchscreens: let's think outs

    I seem to recall that when you have your fingerprints recorded they record all ten so that shouldn't be a problem - of course I'm sure Dibold would have fun screwing that one up too.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    doubleshot, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    One completely missed topic that nobody seems to realize....

    VOTING IS ANONOMOUS!!!!!!!

    Therefore, fingerprints, drivers licenses, etc are not valid, and technically could be linked to the vote to see how you voted and start doing trend.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Demoscary, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:51am

    E-Voting

    How about we use..... PUNCHCARDS!

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Demoscary, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:53am

    Oh yes voting is anonymous, and HAS TO BE RETARDS! You tech fools just don't get it. Democracy is so important that the convenience of technology is UNIMPORTANT!!! Let them count holes.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:54am

    I don't get it

    My dad runs a company that makes Kiosks that people use to pay there water bill. How much harder could it be to make one for voting? Now I can see that making sure no one votes twice is really hard but making a kiosk that works and is secure is really easy. We have several all over the US already. So, why is this a problem?

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    random comment, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:59am

    Re: I dont get it

    So are the others trying to initiate Jack, Kate and Sawyer into their "cult" or whats going on?

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 10:07am

    Re: Don't touch touchscreens: let's think outside

    This doesn't solve the relevant problems with diebold machines....indeed with a lot of e-voting

    ie:

    1 - How do you KNOW for 100% sure that your vote is actually recorded properly?
    2 - How do you KNOW the code that runs the machine isn't rigged?

    With the old system, you have physical ballots to verify, with these, you do not. Even if there IS a paper trail...these would only be checked in a contested election or if someone proved there was a machine problem...which wouldn't happen if the election was rigged properly.

    Identification is a relatively minor issue compared to that.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    ebrke, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 11:06am

    Sad

    Things like this just reinforce my feeling that this is no longer the country of which I used to be proud to be a citizen. Voting has been one of our most precious freedoms, and it has now degenerated into a farce of gargantuan proportions. The small percentage of us who are even willing to vote can be disenfranchised because they haven't the ability/money to obtain a particular "approved" ID, others can be disenfranchised at random (or not) by quirks of software. And the worst of it is that very few of us seem even to care.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Lay Person, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 11:21am

    Re: Sad

    #32...

    Yeah that's just where they want us...disinterested, complascent, and full of the belief that our government, through consensus, knows what it is doing.

    It's best not to question whats going on and just accept it blindly. It's all legitimate and there is nothing wrong. We are just non-conformist, conspiracy types who are possibly losing our minds.

    Keep it moving... there's nothing to see here... just keep it moving...

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Celes, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    As a resident of Maryland, I can safely say that most of our state government is NOT in its right mind and therefore decided to go on with it.

    At least it looks like Lamone is starting to back down a little... but it still seems that Gov. Ehrlich can't get his way in our Democratic state, even in the rare case when most of the people seem to agree with him.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Jim Zandi, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 12:13pm

    How hard is it to debug a pointing device?!?

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    MO, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 1:26pm

    Another Government POS outsource job. I wonder someone inside the gov got bribed for selecting such a bad 3rd party outsource tech consulting firm. I mean really, how hard it is to make a voting machine nowadays?

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anders, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    no electronics good enough

    The problem is that all tech can be hacked, and nothing is a bigger target, you may think "well we have online banks that are secure..", well first of all, banks have much more tools at hand like names, adresses, accountings etc, if one million is suddenly transferred to your paycheck account, they have the records, they can make traces etc, even if you do hack them, and even if you do it all undetected and get away with it, its just money, its simply some losses.

    Its a completely different thing to trace a election hack, with an embedded virus, a poll machine can easily change a million votes for candidate A to votes for candidate B and then the virus can delete all traces of itself or that anything suspicious has happened.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Richard Rossiter, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 1:59pm

    Touching the touch screen.

    I absolutely Promise to touch my touch screen hundreds of times!

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Moogle, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Instant fix

    I'm not sure if it's the case for GA (where I live), but I think many places won't count absentee ballots unless the number of them is larger than the difference in the polls (i.e. could actually make a difference in the outcome). So while I can't guarantee that nothing fishy went on, there's certainly a way for you to be entirely correct and still have nothing be wrong.

    *shrug*

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    ThaRizza, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    Uhhhh...I do believe most states require you to carry at the very least a personal ID card if you are not able/willing to get a license. You must have some sort of ID available in order to open bank accounts, cash checks, get a job. The list goes on and on. Stop thinking that it is all BIG BROTHER and start thinking that it is a needed ID.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    bob, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    Why are you trying to further complicate a system that doesn't work? They can't reliably keep a count of votes, you can't touch the "touch" screen. Sure, add on a fingerprint device.....

    One step at a time. Lets make a voting machine that works. Throwing alpha or beta systems out there for something like voting is very scary.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Andrew Tonner, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Don't touch touchscreens: let's think outside

    How would that work exactly?

    I'm assuming that you don't mean going around in advance and fingerprinting every registered voter... (Freedom is on the wane in the USA, but it ain't there yet.)

    Most fingerprint search systems out there are only designed for identification, for verifying that a fingerprint is the same as a previously gathered example, so a false match is to be avoided at all costs but where were not too concerned about ruling out a match in a particular case (and so we don't have to worry about poor image quality, the Birthday Paradox, malfunctioning readers, Mr. Smith deciding to hang out with his wang out in the polling booth, etc.)

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2006 @ 10:17pm

    I can see it now!

    Sign on the voting machine:

    If you are affiliated with the democratic party, please do not touch or attempt to use the touchscreen in any way!

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    YOUR HUMBLE SERVANT, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Get serious

    Clean the punch card machines before each election and they will work correctly. They malfunction when they are full of chads.
    Has anyone ever used a computer that did not crash?
    Of course the scantron machines counting the ballots can also be rigged; just ask any teacher whoever used one and inserted the wrong "correct" answer card first before running a stack of student-marked cards through the machine.
    MACHINES BREAK.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    LadyJaneDoe, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Diebold should be voted out

    Enough is enough with this company supplying voting machines. They can't do it in a strightforward, honest way with a paper receipt - then they do not deserve the business.
    I urge voting jurisdictions to vote out these machines and get an alternative that gives a paper printout so voters can be assured their votes were recorded correctly. Without that - we will all be in doubt again and again and again.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    fed up, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Biometrics for identity verification?

    Hey idiot, state ID cards are valid too, and all you need for those is a heartbeat and a birth certificate. Now go back to beating your illegal immigrant hired help until they vote like you do.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Michael Krigsman, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 7:03pm

    Touchscreens are Evil

    Here in project failure land, this is a normal occurance. We expect it, in fact.

    I've blogged about this tidbit here.

    Michael Krigsman
    http://projectfailures.com

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Dec 28th, 2006 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Poll workers don't vote except once.

    Why yes they do vote more than once thank you very much..

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Just a developer..., May 19th, 2008 @ 3:32pm

    To everyone that doesn't trust technology...

    Yes, the new voting machines are buggy and should not be used (dump this moronic company)... yes, technology has issues... computers crash, etc.

    But is everyone really ignorant enough to believe that the original system is fool-proof? Computers are no more succeptable to hacks than ANYTHING that has human intervention.

    I agree, I could probably write a virus that would mess with the system... and even if a printout (or some kind of receipt system was used), I could fake that too... it's all controlled by the technology, and thus can all be manipulated...

    But how is that any less effort than one of the millions of scandals committed by our government over the years?


    Really now people... really......

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This