GAO Notes That Election Officials Not Informed About E-Voting Problems

from the don't-you-feel-safer? dept

By now, it's pretty difficult to deny that most of the e-voting equipment out there has problems. We've covered so many stories of e-voting problems, covering all of the major e-voting machine suppliers, that there's a pretty major problem out there. So what are election officials doing about it? Not much, apparently. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes that the Election Assistance Commission hasn't bothered informing election officials around the country about all of the problems associated with e-voting machines. And, to make matters worse, a separate report from Common Cause claims that 10 states that had problems in the last election haven't done anything to fix those problems. Given all of the stories we've had recently about e-voting problems, this is hardly a surprise, but one more reason to wonder who's actually in charge on these sorts of things?


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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:07pm

    2000/2004 Repeated. 100% Guaranteed.

    Election Assistance Commission?
    Why that would be the Donetta Davidson!

    A little history first:
    As Secretary of State for Colorado, she spearheaded the horrible, virtually non-existent, Colorado e-voting certification process. Based on her experience, Donetta Davidson who was named by George W. Bush as a commissioner of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission. Davidson's duties at the EAC include overseeing federal certification for e-voting systems across the entire nation.

    When reading today's article from Common Cause, do note Colorado is listed as one of the ten states that had problems in the last election. Donetta's certification process were tossed out upon her taking the new job in Washington by the new Secretary of State... Donetta's replacement nonetheless.

    This resulted in de-certification of virtually all voting machines. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/us/politics/19voting.html )

    All this leads to a potential repeat of of "President by Judiciary Committee", similar as seen in 2004, but on a larger scale. Considering Donetta's reputation in previous jobs, and knowing, first hand that Republicans are gearing up for battle, I can't wait until mid-2009 when I know who the President is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKgPY1adc0A

     

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    Chris, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:24pm

    Failure of federal standard

    There needs to be an open Federal standard for voting machines. Congress had a chance to do this after the 2000 Election fiasco and apparently it did not go far enough. The standard should open, and thoroughly vetted by industry and academia, and allow for some paper record of the votes.

    In my voting precinct, they still use an "old" mark sense form system. You get a paper ballot, fill in a box next to your choice using a pen, then you feed the ballot into a optical reader machine which reads the form, and stacks the read ballots in a secure hopper. An alternative would be to use a touch screen computer to select your choices, then the machine would print out a completed paper ballot, which would then be signed by the voter and read by the optical reader. If the election needs to be recounted, all they have to do is feed the completed paper ballots back through the reader. A lot better than the punch card system with hanging chads.

    There is little incentive to hack the system since the paper ballots exist as a backup. Of course you have to protect the paper ballots against tampering, but nothing's perfect.

     

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    Not an Ostrich, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:26pm

    the I'm too busy Dept

    "A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes that the Election Assistance Commission hasn't bothered informing election officials around the country about all of the problems associated with e-voting machines."

    So how could one not know there were problems, got your head in the sand ? Do they not read the news paper or surf the web ? Who are these people and why are they so ignorant ? What other duties do they have that would be more important than providing for a problem free election ?

    There really is no excuse for this. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that they want the machines in place so that there will be the same problems as last time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:27pm

    Easy and Secure

    Go to polling location.
    Tell attendant your name and address.
    They look you up on a list, and you sign.
    They give you a paper card, you mark your votes, you place it in a locked box.
    It is later hand counted.

    Hand counting doesn't take long (hey herds: think distributed computing), and should always, always, always be an option - never trust the machines. If someone wants to vote electronically (old people who can't figure out chads), just give them a touch screen that prints out a physical ballot that they turn in.

     

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    Brian, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:38pm

    Huh?

    Wow, is the resolve to make sure our election process is functioning correctly so low that we can't even roll out the old, apparently more secure system? We invaded and "accomplished" our mission in Iraq in 8 days!

    Seriously, our priorities are so out of line.

     

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    Tyler, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:40pm

    BULLSHIT

    This whole process is complete bullshit. Its time to take this representative democracy to the next level... DIRECT DEMOCRACY... DIRECT ONLINE VOTING via internet. One SSN, one vote, on any issue.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:47pm

      Re: BULLSHIT

      "This whole process is complete bullshit. Its time to take this representative democracy to the next level... DIRECT DEMOCRACY... DIRECT ONLINE VOTING via internet. One SSN, one vote, on any issue."

      What could possibly go wrong ?

       

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      Peter Pottamus, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:18pm

      Re: BULLSHIT

      Too many links in that chain, plus not enough security. Besides, what's wrong with paper ballots?

      eVoting has come and gone, and there's still *A LOT* of problems that it seems no one can identify root cause, much less fix it by November. Virus Scanners changing votes? Come on. Any reasonable CS major could tell you a Virus Scanner only targets known treats.

      It's laughable that it's gone on this long.

       

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        hegemon13, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 6:28am

        Re: Re: BULLSHIT

        Actually, current antivirus software also targets "virus-like activity." Still no excuse for the vote miscounts, though.

         

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    Conspiracy theorist or truth, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 9:53pm

    RE

    e-voting is just the tip of the iceberg. Do people still believe we live in a democracy in the United States? Maybe there is still some at local levels just to keep the facade going but at the national level it is a lot more like corporate dictatorship. Of course "they" don't want the machines removed or fixed, problems are exactly what it is needed to hijack another election. Just look at the last two elections. In 2000 major problems in a state where one of the candidates had a brother who was governor, yeah coincidence, let it go, right? Who really won? The inside government... CIA, FBI, Corporations, Oil companies, weapons manufacturers, etc. There is a lot of money to be made. Cheney and Haliburton... just another coincidence that that corporation has such major contracts in Iraq.

    Is it an accident that the majority of the machines manufactured (by Diebold) are made by a corporation that has republican ownership. Let's see, oh that is so distrusting, people just would not do such things, I must be some misguided liberal. Uh huh.

    And now... tax payer money being allocated to bail out the Wall Street gambling society, PLEASE!! Hey, I spent money in foolish ways too, where's my bail out? Oh, I got 600 bucks... HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    It does not get any clearer than that. If McCain doesn't get elected it will be a miracle... because those folks who are behind the scenes and really in charge need puppets like Bush and McCain spouting christian beliefs and security... it is truly amazing to me that people buy that malarkey.

    It seems to me we are too far down the path of greed to get back and the constant distractions and deal making and back stabbing at all levels of government can hardly be unwound. It would take a lot of people with ethics and morals like no others to make that a reality. That is why there could not be a focused effort to make sure voting at least looks legit. I would love to be wrong! I believe in the principles this country was founded upon... it may be time for a REVO... oh, I could be arrested and detained indefinitely as a terrorist for suggesting such ideas.

     

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    artson, Oct 25th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Comic Relief

    Again? This is just beyond belief. The US is fast becoming a laughingstock when it comes to democratic elections. How can you hold yourselves out as a shining example to places like Iraq when you can't stop cheating each other out of honest elections?

    I just voted in the Federal election in Canada to choose a new parliament and prime minister. The waiting line was about five people. I stepped up to my polling station, identified myself and a nice lady found my name on the list of electors, crossed it off and handed me a ballot. I voted with a pencil. Done. They called the winners about six hours later.

     

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