GAO Says E-Voting Machines Not The Problem In Florida; E-Voting Experts Not So Sure

from the needs-more-testing dept

In the ongoing saga of the lost votes of Sarasota County Florida in the 2006 election, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has now come out with a report suggesting that the e- voting machines were not to blame. This comes after another report last year also said the machines weren't to blame. However, that report came under some criticism as it only involved security folks looking at the source code, rather than actually getting to test the software on an e-voting machine itself. Similarly, this new GAO report is coming under some criticism as both David Dill and Ed Felten are questioning the methodology of the GAO's tests -- which do sound rather limited. Felten points out that ES&S (makers of the machines used in Sarasota) are likely to proclaim this a vindication. However, there are still plenty of additional questions -- and, most importantly, the very fact that it's been so difficult to verify how the voting turned out shows just how problematic these machines can be in managing a democratic election that the populace can trust to be both fair and accurate.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Feb 11th, 2008 @ 6:25am

    Simple equation

    Old people + e-anything = problems

    The fogeys don't even trust their care providers, you think they trust those newfangled voting robots?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 6:28am

    If you want to talk about voting problems, why don't you write about the fact that the Florida Gov. turned over a list of over a thousand people that voted in both Florida and New York during the last presidential election. The FBI received the names and address's of these people, yet nothing was ever done.

     

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  3.  
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    Gary, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 6:52am

    @anonymous coward. I think the FBI decided that the fact that there is a Joe Blow in Florida, and that there is another one in New York, and that they both voted, is not a crime.

    They decided that they didn't want to be laughed out of court. I can understand their sentiment.

     

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  4.  
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    Lloyd, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 7:02am

    It's tough to tell

    The trouble with studies done in Florida is that it's hard to tell the machine failures from all the human failures. We really need studies in more rational states like Ohio.

    No, I'm not a troll -- why do you ask?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Gary, ummm, no. These were people with residences in both Florida and New York.

    I didn't say they didn't want to go to court, I said they didn't even want to investigate it.

    Nice spin though. That is what people really think about voter fraud. Can you name one person that was ever investigated or charged with voter fraud? One? You will have to look pretty long and hard to find anyone.

     

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  6.  
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    Sneeje, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 8:06am

    Go easy on the GAO

    Mike, I like the way you handled this and the other article handled it well also. I read GAO reports on a regular basis, and in general I think the GAO is one of the more functional and positive aspects of the federal government.

    The criticism of this report does seem justified, however. The GAO has to apply expertise to just about every subject you can think of, and the rest of the government is not always (or really ever) very cooperative. Their challenge is great.

    This particular issue is only more complex with the technology involved--and it makes sense that it would be extremely difficult to untangle the heart of the issue.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    To think voting problems happen only in states like Florida is wrong. Every state in the nation has voting problems.

    From a 2004 article in the New York Times about a rational state like Ohio

    "From seven-hour lines that drove voters away to malfunctioning machines to poorly trained poll workers who directed people to the wrong polling places to uneven policies about the use of provisional ballots, Ohio has become this year's example for every ailment in the United States' electoral process."

    The main issue is that no one wants to invest significant amounts of money for something that happens once every 2 or 4 years.

     

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  8.  
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    Known Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 9:15am

    Re: Name One

    Ex state rep. Gene Albano of Hawaii, facilitated voter fraud in Hawaii, then ran away to hide in the Philippines. He was brought back and prosecuted.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    "Ex state rep. Gene Albano of Hawaii, facilitated voter fraud in Hawaii, then ran away to hide in the Philippines. He was brought back and prosecuted."

    Convicted in 1982. I think that is covered under the "look pretty long" comment.

     

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  10.  
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    Bob, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    This is the most basic of software applications ... make a choice, store choice in database

    I suspect the "problem" with these machines and software is more politically motivated

     

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  11.  
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    Alaric, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 11:29am

    What are you Communists?

    Techdirt has been complaining about problems in E-Voting for some time, classic liberal, pinko commis.

    Sure the republican secretary of state in ohio violated all kinds of laws in 2004, and recounts in cuyahoga county violated all kinds of laws that even led to indictments and jail time.

    Sure exit polls are scientifically proven, even used by the UN to monitor rigged elections, but the proven technology failed because fox says the scanners and diebold e-voting machines worked.

    Clint Curtis? Just another conspiracist programmer. He might have passed a lie detector test regarding his acquisitions that he was employed to rig election software for the GOP but he's a damn commi too.

    Florida state investigator Ray Lemme? Its just a coincidence that the man investigating the curtis claims committed suicide in GA, a state without mandatory autopsies.

    Only real commis whine about honest democratic elections.

     

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  12.  
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    Wolf, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    It's spelled "commie". Poor label slinging, though... older than dirt.

     

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  13.  
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    Gary, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: alleged voter fraud

    answer: Ann Coulter. but she got off through poliical influence

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Ann Coulter was suspected of voting in the wrong place. She wasn't accused of voting more than once or changing votes. That is a pretty weak case.

    Its not like she knowingly voted in 2 different states like the thousand names turned over to the FBI like in Florida and New York. Those were all ignored.

    Hell, Hillary supported NY's effort to give drivers license to illegal immigrants. Once they had a drivers license, it would be illegal to even ask them if they had a right to vote, as the drivers license is the ticket to voter registration in NY. Why does Hillary Clinton want illegal immigrants to vote? Because she is the devil and will do anything to get elected.

     

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