Feds Vote To Keep Faulty E-Voting Machines Because It's Too Much Work To Fix Them

from the democracy-is-hard-work;-too-bad-not-everyone-agrees dept

Remember last week when we were surprised, but happy, to hear that the feds were finally set to recommend the US stop using paperless e-voting machines? Well, apparently we were celebrating a bit too early. It's just come out that, despite the report recommending rejecting such machines, the Technical Guidelines Development Committee rejected the proposal when they couldn't get the 8 out of 15 votes necessary (no word on whether they used e-voting machines to count the vote). While there was support for it from some, others disagreed. However, the reason given for rejecting the proposal are really ridiculous: "You are talking about basically a reinstallation of the entire voting system hardware." Why yes. Yes we are. That's because the entire voting system hardware is totally screwed up. So, to be more specific, we're talking about stopping an e-voting program that has serious problems and has raised plenty of legitimate questions about just how fair and accurate our elections are. That seems like a perfectly valid reason that shouldn't be tossed aside just because it'll be a lot of work. We also thought that democracy itself was supposed to be hard work, but apparently some of those on the Technical Guidelines Committee disagree. On the bright side, Sarasota County may still be able to resell those e-voting machines that lost tens of thousands of votes to some other state now.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    JeroenW (profile), Dec 5th, 2006 @ 2:48am

    Over here the row over evoting went a bit differently:

    http://www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl/English

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:04am

    Maybe bwtween elections people might vote with a hammer and smash the all faulty ones to little f-ing pieces -- just like the copy machine in Office Space. Then they will have to replace them, until they do it right.

     

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  3.  
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    TemporalKnot, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:22am

    Does anybody know if an individual has the right to refuse to use an electronic voting machine, instead demanding a paper ballot?

     

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  4.  
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    Tyshaun, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:23am

    those who voted against it...

    this is a funny story related to one of the main opponents to trashing the current e-voting machines, Brit Williams, making him sound like a pretty inept individual who probably shouldn't have been on the panel:

    http://www.countthevote.org/debacle.htm

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:35am

    Re: TemporalKnot

    I believe some polling places offer an option. As always, you may apply for an absentee (paper) ballot up to 7 days before any election. They send it to you in the mail, you fill it in and mail it back. Don't even have to get out of your fluffy chair ...

     

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  6.  
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    UniBoy, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:12am

    Feds need to stay out of it...

    Federal elections are required to be run at the stay level. The Feds should not be too involved in the process, because that could give them the option of enforcing a corrupt process on to the States.

    If you do not like the way that voting is being done in your State or County, the appropriate place to complain about it and ask for new laws would be at the State level. Each state remains free to do what their constituency demands with regard to voting, and that is as it SHOULD BE.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:41am

    yeah, i believe the constitution says that voting is controlled by the states. however, some federal laws have been enacted to help "better" the system. at lest 3 amendments to the constitiuion give guidelines on who can vote (howevere they never mention the process)

    and i'm sure lawas like the AwDA made sure that states provide equal opportuinty to those voters who may have special needs, but i odn't think it's clearly stated how they must vote.

    the US voting act thingie pass back in 2001 or whenever, i think, was the first national law that regulated exactly HOW to vote, not who can vote. (however i believe there is enough ambuiguity to not violate the constituiton)

    anywayh, this whole scheem is to keep those in power to stay in powoer. right?

     

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  8.  
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    another, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    You are surprised that the govt. won't fix the pro

    Lets see, about 15 years ago, the Army Corp of Engineers told everyone that the levee system in New Orleans could not hold against a Cat 5 storm. They told everyone what it would take to fix that. The State of LA didn't apply for the project, because they would have had to pay for half the cost, and they knew they couldn't afford it. The federal govt. didn't push it, because they knew they didn't want to pay for it.

    Guess what, after Katrina, the levee system was rebuilt exactly the way it was, so if another Cat 5 storm hits New Orleans, we will be back to square one.

    It really isn't surprising that the govt. will accept bad results, because no one wants to pay to fix it.

     

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  9.  
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    566, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:49am

    Re: Feds need to stay out of it...

    >Federal elections are required to be run at the stay level. >The Feds should not be too involved in the process, >because that could give them the option of enforcing a >corrupt process on to the States.

    Indeed. There are dynamics of coercion here that remind me of how the United States achieved a nationwide drinking age (the 21st amendment leaves alcohol regulation to the states).

    In the case of a Presidential election, there is no Constitutional guarantee citizens of states have a right to vote. In fact, in some elections following the ratification of the Constitution, states chose representatives of the electoral college without popular votes. This is an element of our country as a representative republic, rather than a true democracy.

    It may be overly cynical to suggest feds are keeping "faulty e-voting machines because it's too much work to fix them." While Prof. Rivest speaks in terms of good tactical remediation, the Washington Post quotes National Association of Election Directors saying,"They should be longer-range goals.... You are talking about basically a reinstallation of the entire voting system hardware."

    HAVA funds were inappropriately timed. States flushed with federal dollars were eager to restore voter's confidence in the system. They bought systems without adequate information on costs throughout the life cycle of voting systems.

    Voting systems purchases should be more strategically informed. The federal government should avoid tossing great amounts of money to the states that will only make tactical remediations.

    Thanks for reading.

     

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  10.  
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    566, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    Re: anywayh, this whole scheem is to keep those in

    > anyway, this whole scheme is to keep those in power to stay in power. right?

    If the scheme was gerrymandering, I'd agree. If the scheme is the current mess of electronic voting, I'm not sure I agree.

    There are, in my opinion, much better way to maintain power without such obvious affronts to the methods by which representatives are selected.

     

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  11.  
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    gdwntx, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: TemporalKnot

    Here in texas you have early voteing lasting 2-3 weeks before the election . I like that because its paper balots. I just won't use the evote machines

     

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  12.  
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    Michael, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 7:26am

    Voting machine error rates

    Voting machine errors seem prone to earlier discovery than errors in paper or other balloting. It is a simple tabulate/report at the push of a few buttons. Are the error rates more frequent than the past?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    Wow, except for the fact that there was a major power shift you might be right....

    At least have the right side win when making up conspiracy theories...Please?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 8:09am

    disgusting

    ya i mean its just too much trouble
    and the ideas of freedom and democracy are just not worth it are they?

     

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  15.  
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    bob, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 8:50am

    We need to lsend the damn things over to Iraq... maybe they'll have better luck with them.

     

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  16.  
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    Reed, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: anywayh, this whole scheem is to keep thos

    "There are, in my opinion, much better way to maintain power without such obvious affronts to the methods by which representatives are selected."

    I strongly disagree here. America is like a giant propaganda machine that relies on the fact that people actually believe it is doing the right thing.

    If you lead people to believe they are voting then they will feel enfranchised even if their votes are not being counted. Wide spread voter fraud is becoming more and more common. Even politicians will talk about areas like New Mexico where demographics prove votes should be going one way, but in reality they go the other way due to voter fraud.

    The best form of control is when you make people believe that they are masters of their own destiny. That is the myth that keeps America alive. As long as people "think" there is freedom and choice you can control them how you please.

     

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  17.  
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    AMP, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 11:18am

    Re:

    "this whole scheem is to keep those in power to stay in powoer. right?"

    What!? Did you pay attention to the last election results????

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 11:43am

    but aren't the GOP trying to claim that voter fraud happened and that's why they lost?

     

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  19.  
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    AMP, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Possibly, I don't know, haven't heard the claim.
    GOP taking page out of Dems play book?

    However, it's beside the point. If evoting was put in place to maintain GOP power, it didn't work, regardless of who is claiming what.

     

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  20.  
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    fazookus, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re:

    However, it's beside the point. If evoting was put in place to maintain GOP power, it didn't work, regardless of who is claiming what.

    ...this time. I think the point is that same system will be there in a little less than two years, maybe the party that holds the White House gets to decide how the votes are counted.

    I'm cautiously optimistic, but very cautiously.

    Faz

     

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