Venezuelan Election Using Paper Trail To Verify E-Voting Is Accurate

from the a-step-forward dept

While some say that it's impossible to have a secure and accurate election using e-voting machines, having some sort of paper trail backup certainly goes a long way towards relieving the biggest fears associated with e-voting machines. While we don't yet have them in the US, Venezuela's national election this coming weekend will have a verifiable paper trail associated with each voting machine. After a person votes, the machine will spit out a receipt for the voter to review. They will then put the receipt into a box so that it can be counted (and also to avoid "vote buying" where the voter can prove he or she voted for a specific candidate). Not only that, but election officials are going to count millions of the votes and compare them with the e-vote totals to make sure they're accurate. They're not only going to take a small, self-selected sample, or only in specific cases where misuse is suspected. Apparently, they're going to audit over half of the machines by checking the paper ballots. That's pretty impressive and makes it that much harder to question the results of the election. Update: Some great comments left by people in Venezuela who point out why many are still uncomfortable with the e-voting machines and still expect fraud.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 6:30pm

    finally, a country got it right. or, atleast as close as one can in this day and age.

    First!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 6:46pm

    I'm sorry, but as a Venezuelan I would like to express a completely opposite point of view.

    These are the most feared elections my country has ever had. I personally don't trust these E-Voting machines. Just in case you were wondering why we have such an "advanced" technology in E-Voting machines with printers included, it has a very simple answer:

    These are not original voting machines, they are Italian lottery machines... Thats why they have printers!!! They were bought dirt cheap and 'modified' to work as voting machines.

    In our last elections, our Referendum, where we voted 'Yes' or 'No' if we wanted the candidate to leave, we also had a paper trail. BUT, some of the boxes 'magically' disappeared when they were brought back to our capital city. And the rest, even though we asked that they would be fully counted, to verify the results, not a single box was opened.

    Another thing I would like to mention, and I would like you to keep in mind the right to a secret vote. Here, in Venezuela, you can buy a Data-DVD called 'Maisanta'. This is a database containing most of the voter's Name, I.D. and who they voted for in this election. Something similar also ocurred in the previous election, although the database wasn't 'leaked' as far as this one.

     

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  3.  
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    Charlie ..., Nov 28th, 2006 @ 7:06pm

    Yeah Right...

    As the Anonymous person has correctly stated these elections are a fraud. It is very delightful to see that our country is placed amongst some news reports as being positive. I do not blame "Mike" for reporting on the e-voting as a totally positive things, it is very hard to understand all the turmoil we are going through to make these elections as clear as possible. The government only allowed 55% of the manual votes to be counted to back up. However, the machines and all software is provided and set up and reviewed by the government giving opportunity to commit any fraud by making for example every vote for the oppositions candidate equivalent to three votes for the current president, Chavez. These results are "spit out" as you so bluntly remark at the end., making these result valid. Why is this possible you may say? Dead people, even if solicited to be taken off the record are used to vote for candidates that they probably never even heard of when they were alive. What good do the manual votes serve if the system already is corrupt? Not only that, but the government insists on using fear methods such as those used by other totalitarians like Stalin and Mussolini to make the official and public worker to vote for Chavez. The people are brainwashed, threatened and in some cases like the military even reprimanded. It is easy to be unaffected about the whole situation in Venezuela when you look at it as an outsider. People in the United States complain about their system being fraudulent, but you have a choice, you effective choose your candidate and are 95% sure that your vote will be respected and kept secret. In case you are wondering where I am coming from, if I am also an outside spectator but no. I have double citizenship. I am both Venezuelan and American. I am young and many do not respect our opinion, or even care about our future, but as young people we know what is right and what is wrong and the lies these people have fed us through the years. People here supposedly have a fair choice, but if we keep on with these fears, these lies there is not technology that could ever help us. I just don't understand how a country like India where there are over 1 billion people, they can count the votes one-by-one and reach some conclusion, and a country where there are less than 30 million we can never obtain straight results, there is always some controversies and people from outside and international organizations insist on believe that elections here are clear and that everything is out to the eyes of the public. Please pay attention and realize that not everything you read is true.

     

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  4.  
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    Usuairo Desconocido, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 7:25pm

    The problem is "how" are those audits applied. With some electronic votes not being audited (remember that they will count about 40%, NOT more than a half), they are pretty changeable; so it must be MANDATORY to count every paper vote, and they will not do that. To check the boxes days later is not an option because boxes can be changed; same thing when being counted in another place.

    So you may ask "if anyway you must count every paper vote, why an electronic system?" In my point of view, instant results and nothing else; and no warranties until the real count is done.

    Remember that electronic data is extremely easy to change without a trace, even with checksums and signatures... And if the ones with the encryption keys are the ones not being trusted...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Same as post #2, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Yeah Right...

    Charlie,

    Now that you mention the fear strategy, I would like to add up on that point. With almost personal experience.

    My father owns owns a medium sized company, one that I will not mention. His company has been on the verge of going bankrupt twice. Once, 2 months before the referendum and just last month. He mainly supplies to the state. He distributes health products, so in most cases, he has to distribute first and some time later is that he gets payed. Lets just say the government owes him a BIG amount of money, but his payments come in from time to time and in small doses. But when elections come, he doesn't see a check in months, and he has been DIRECTLY told by employees of our equivalent to the "Social Security", if you can call it that, that its because he voted against the president! And that he should vote for the president if he wants the government to pay his debts to him!

    I personally condone this government's behavior. If you would just read the modifications they want to add to out Education Laws. I know I won't be affected by them, but I certainly don't want my children studying in this new educational system they are proposing.

     

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  6.  
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    Stu, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    Be brave my Venezuelan friends.

    And never give up fighting for what is right.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Known Coward, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 8:49pm

    Yeah right. Vote for the guy who didn't even know his hero Noam Chomsky is still alive. Duh.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Gubatron, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 2:46am

    List of tech reasons why the oposition has no chan

    Even though the people have made it obvious we don't want him:
    http://static.flickr.com/102/309389649_1a6c419f59.jpg?v=0

    Here's a detailed list of technicalities that describe why the oposition candidate stands no chance against the president with the crooked voting system:
    http://www.quearrechera.com/blog/index.php?/archives/24-Profecia-de-un-Fraude-Legalizado-po r-Tecnicismos.html

    The paper trail isn't binding it seems... it wouldn't do any good to reconsider the results. Shit will go down in our country no matter what.

    The international observers are mostly pro LEFT...

    God help Venezuela, and Latin America, we have to all go to vote to make it impossible to cheat on us, even if he has the "dead" people voting for him.

    If you don't believe me go to the vote registration web site, and check for the following ID numbers...

    http://www.cne.gov.ve/ce.php

    13, 14, 17, 37, 51 , 55, 56, 59 , 62, 66 , 67 , 71, 76, 77, 80, 84, 87, 88, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 103, 104, 111, 116, 117, 118, 119, 122, 123, 126, 129, 132, 134, 142, 155, 159, 160, 163, 165, 167, 172, 176, 184 , 185, 193, 196, 199, 200 , 212, 214, 217, 222, 231, 234, 237, 241, 252, 255, 283, 286, 310, 334, 341, 348, 365, 371, 386, 403, 405, 408, 412 , 422 , 440, 443, 467, 476, 488, 1002, 1010, 1018, 1031, 1032, 1034, 1038, 1040, 1043, 1078, 1079, 1082, 1085, 1087, 1088, 1093, 1503, 1514, 1515, 1524, 1525, 1530, 1535, 1544, 1545, 1577, 1586, 2001, 2013, 2024, 2031, 2049, 2080, 2086, 2087, 2090, 5002, 5010, 5021 , 5040, 5041, 5044, 5045, 5048, 5061, 5063, 5076, 5087, 5089, 5095, 10000, 10003, 10004, 10037, 10045, 10047, 10049, 10051, 10053, 10057, 10064, 10069, 10070, 10075, 10076, 10090, 10092

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Cobarde Anonimo, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 5:48am

    Don't believe

    As #3 stated, pay attention on what you read and what you may think is true.

    Do you want to know what's really happening in Venezuela, from a point of view far from government fabricated news? Just visit some excellent English written blogs about the Venezuelan reality:

    http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/
    http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

    Those e-Voting machines to be used in Venezuelan elections phone home continuously, making possible for the National Elections Council (controlled by Chavez, as anything else in the country) "adjust" the results in real time. The paper trail counting is just a three-rings circus the government is setting up for muzzling the opposition and silencing international viewers and news agencies.

    Chavez will legitimately lose this election by the popular vote, but he'll anyway stay in the chair by manipulating the results....

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Amaro Magenta, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 8:35am

    Cowards selfdeceit

    To anonymous, known and unknown cowards:
    You selfdeceit yourselves, and let me tell you why you call yourselves cowards. Because you are all too aware that you are afraid of democracy, you are afraid of "sharing" welfare with poor people, you are afraid days of social apartheid may come to an end, you no longer feel comfortable with the new pride the political process has brought for maidens, underworkers, darker skined secularly despised and discriminated people - who happen to be the vast majority of the population, strongly backing Chavez and the process for their emancipation.
    THEY NEVER ha a choice before, now they do. So what do you want to call that?
    Opportunities for education now are for everyone, no longer twotracked public policies, health is now specially for those who never had access to health and are undernurtered, food access is now SPECIALLY for them but also for everybody else as well, at fair prices.
    As for Stu, I can tell you: Venezuelan people are as BRAVE as have never been, we are no longer afraid of police repression for political dissent, we are no longer afraid of global police coming to us to say we have to demolish the State in order to let richer people get richer, and poor people go to hell.
    Maisanta list? that's only in the papers you read. Castrocomunism? That's only in your minds.
    As for voting machines, they have ben tested all the way thorugh by independent observers, even Sumate, the fraudulent "civic movement" has finally said all their blabla was just made up to push people to the streets and cry (unexisting) fraud.
    Finally let me tell you that democracy has for too long been a game of the few. If you don't like democracy being a game FOR ALL, just try to be sincere: this means you don't like democracy, and thus are ANTIDEMOCRATIC. Put an end to the false discourse, say you want to go back to SOCIAL AND POLITICAL APARTHEID, and please try not to LIE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT INFORMED.
    So conclusion: in Venezuela, the usual saying pitty the poor seems to be getting upsided down. Pitty the rich, my friends, you have been deceived into believing what they want you to believe, in order to play for THEIR game. Just calm down: it's finally democracy time - a real democracy for ALL.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Usuario Desconocido, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 9:31am

    Re: Cowards selfdeceit

    Social and political apartheid? yes, your president (yours, I never voted for him) does it with maisanta (the list of signatures of people who wanted the referendum). I got Maisanta and Santa Inés. Maisanta has the signatures and is perfectly legal because the signatures is a public act, but it is no legal to use that in order to discriminate "because you signed". That's not democracy. And Santa Inés has the names of the people who voted against chavez in the referendum. Can you call it a clean voting act? Moreover, is it democratic to discriminate people for a vote that it is supposed to be secret and that supposedly there was impossible to know who voted for what option?

    Please, don't post the same s**t that you hear and hear. Post arguments (like we, the real venezuelans, say: if you say that the donkey is black, it is because I got its hairs in my hand). If you say that poor people and "dark skinned" now have more power and possibilities than before, tell us why, because as far as I can see, we have the same possibilities than before: NONE.

    And why I say that? Just look at the people form Vargas, who after 6 years of the disaster, they are still in the same situation like then. Try to use the new lines of the Metro and Train to Los valles del Tuy. It was supposed to help, but it made the things worse because there was no planification. Plaza Venezuela station was too crowded and they put another train line coming into it. And please don't tell me that they didn't knew that the Viaducto 1 was collapsing... It could be saved. And even worse, one of the collumns of the new bridge has to be blown up because it is placed exactly on the same unstable place. Don't tell me that it is 4th's republic fault!

    Come on, it's been since 1999 that this guy is president. Don't tell me that he needs more time because he has 7 years as president. Presidential times of real democracies around the world varies from 4 to 5. Not year and a half + 6 + God knows how much more...

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Usuario Desconocido, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 9:33am

    errata

    I wrote:

    If YOU say that the donkey is black, it is because I got its hairs in my hand

    And it is:
    if I say that the donkey is black, it is because I got its hairs in my hand.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Nov 29th, 2006 @ 9:47am

    Vote-buying still possible

    Keeping the receipt inside the booth doesn't block verifiable vote-buying unless you also have a way of making sure the voter doesn't bring any kind of camera in.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    no fear, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:26pm

    noone in the US knows what realy means the concept

    there is two internationals regimes in the world since IIWW, the countries who sell oil and the countries who buy oil. this is the power relationship that president bush´s international policy has been hiding, non the less, before kennedy was assesinated, Hugo Chavez´s administration has been fearless about it, and the venezuelan people knows it

     

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