New Jersey Elections Board Says This Election Is Too Important To Allow Outside Observers

from the think-of-what-they-might-see dept

Transparency is key to a functioning democracy. No, we don't always have it, but we absolutely should be striving for it, or you can almost guarantee corruption will take over. That's why we've been so focused on the problems with e-voting machines for so many years, and pushing for increased transparency. Now, some of the researchers who wrote a recent suppressed report, about potential security problems with the Sequoia e-voting machines used in New Jersey, followed the procedures in place to be allowed to view the process by which votes are counted. This is a perfectly legal request. The Elections Board is allowed to offer "Challenger Badges" to those who would like to observe the election process. You would think that some Princeton-associated folks, with knowledge of e-voting, would be exactly the type of people that an Elections Board would want to observe the election, in order to make sure that it was done properly, and to make citizens more comfortable that their votes would be counted.

But, of course, that's not what happened.

Andrew Appel and Grayson Barber had their request rejected as the Elections Board claimed it was "too important" an election to allow in any outside observers. You would think that if the election is so important, having some experts on hand to make sure the process is done in an acceptable manner would be more important. You can understand why they don't want too many people in the room, or don't want anyone who is clearly a partisan activist -- but these are e-voting experts. There's simply no reason not to have them in the room, and rejecting them raises many more questions about New Jersey's process for counting votes.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Dan, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Have the NJ officials forgotten that they are subject to the tenets of the US constitution or have they succeeded and I missed it?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    eleete, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 6:44pm

    Government

    Watch your government taken away, as you form a socialist view on the world. Lobbyists control government not 'The People'. Your elections stolen, constitutional rights denied. Regardless of the dollar, you have fewer rights. Government approval and president's... all time low. Capitalism and Finance has not failed you. Government has failed you. Vote out those who are in congress today, if you want true change. Ignore Advertisements or channels, or $1,000,000 spots on primetime. Reject the treatment you are given as slaves, the middle class. Correct the situation, follow the money. $$, Money and Finance are the key to 'One World'. Google.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Lost in NJ, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 7:41pm

    to all those who shake there head and wonder why NJ would do such a thing, One little tip. NJ has had the worst record for corruption in goverment for the past 20 years and possibly longer, it's been so bad that most reports on it don't make the front page any more unless it deals with the a top official or some sort of sex scandal. and so you know i have lived in NJ my entier life.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 1:57am

    Quantum Theory

    Quantum Theory tells us that the phenomenon being observed doesn't actually come into existence until the observation is made. Thus, the observer can influence the outcome of the observation. That's probably why these e-voting machines keep reporting different results--because they're being examined in inconsistent ways.

    So, hats off to the Elections Board for trying to get rid of these spurious variables, to ensure that the outcome of the election will be the right one, free of any outside objectivizing influences.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Nogard, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 5:22am

    Re: Quantum Theory

    LOL

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    RD, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 8:01am

    Not surprising

    After all, this is New Jersey, which has one of the most corrupt legislatures and governing bodies in the world. Last year, when they were called to the carpet due to corruption and graft problems, the state legislature formed their own committee to investigate, made up of their own people. Surprise surprise, they found no wrong doing! Case closed. Now NJ has not only a massive projected budget, but are something like 2.5 billion short of meeting that budget. Of course they voted themselves a hefty raise as well...

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Brad Eleven, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    States' Rights

    The problem is that elections in the US belong to the states, not the Feds. New Jersey is perfectly within its rights to run its elections in any way whatsoever. If they decide to move to tossing twigs into a pot for a ballot-casting, there's nothing that anyone except the state's residents can do about it.

    Further, local elections--at the precinct level--are largely staffed by volunteers. This means that the implementation is not as likely to match the design.

    I personally think that the US should adopt the Australian model, where registered voters are fined if they don't vote. Throw in a Borda vote-counting method, and I think most people would be more satisfied.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Government

    You make many good points, but let me extend your thought one step further. Who hires these lobbyists? Corporations do. The government of the United States of America is no longer "of the people, for the people and by the people". It is now "of the lobbyists, for the corporations and by only those who aren't smart enough to get out of politics".

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Werner Heisenberg, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Quantum Theory

    "the phenomenon being observed doesn't actually come into existence until the observation is made."
    Is this an accurate summary ?


    "the observer can influence the outcome of the observation"
    can ?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Steve, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    E-Voting

    The new Election Assistance Commission's (EAC) Voluntary Voting System Guidelines has been undergoing a review for more than a year including a request for public comments. Visit http://www.eac.gov/vvsg if you want to review the 598 page document. These guidelines have numerous and significant changes that will change the voting process in years to come. Many of the current E-Voting devices would not survive the new usability tests required for certification. Paper and Pen would meet these new requirements.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Howard_NYC, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    regime change

    after we finish doing it in Iraq, we ought to complete regime change here...

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Howard_NYC, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    New Jersey: the mockery in democracy

    New Jersey: showing the mockery in democracy

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Oct 11th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    Voter Eligiblity

    Since this is an election year, voting is a hot topic. Also the issue of electronic voting has been a hot topic for a while as the manufactures don't want to allow their voting machines to be inspected and the e-voting machines are evidently less than reliable. The debate on voting, however, seems to missing a very critical security issue. Are the people showing up to vote actually qualified to vote?

    Recently, Fox News and other media have been running a story on ACORN. According to these stories ACORN is registering people who would not be qualified to vote. Clearly this security issue needs to be solved otherwise it would be essentially pointless to argue over the best method of counting votes.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Common Sense, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Voter Eligiblity

    Election fraud is a serious concern in many ways, not just ACORN.

    1) ACORN needs to ensure that every form is legitimate.
    2) Caging should be stopped, there is no excuse for this.
    3) Foreclosure notice should not invalidate voter registration.
    4) "E voting" machines should not be used if they are unreliable.
    5) A verifiable audit (paper) is required.
    6) Every eligible voter should be able to cast their vote for whomever they see fit and be assured that it will be counted.
    7) many more, need I list them ?

    This election is getting ugly. I hope those angry mobs are not present at the polling places. Long lines, waiting for hours, and then having to put up with BS would be too much.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 2:43pm

    See, stupidity, ignorance, arrogance IS still alive and well!

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 4:48pm

    Re:

    "See, stupidity, ignorance, arrogance IS still alive and well!"

    Not sure to whom you are referring.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 5:08pm

    Re: E-Voting

    The current Chairwoman at EAC implemented similar standards as SoS in her previous state before taking the EAC role. Understand that after the 2004 election, GW Bush appointed her as Chairwoman of EAC. After her appointment to the EAC, the state she served performing a comprehensive audit of e-Voting-- the very thing as Chairwoman of EAC she was hired to champion on a Federal Level.

    The results the new SoS found were staggering; in fact, it led to e-voting machines from virtually every manufacturer to be de-certified for the entire state.

    So it seems the policies of her failure were continued and pushed forward at a federal level. This in itself is nothing short of incredible. If the 598 page document you bring forward is similar to the guidelines she used as SoS of the previous state she worked for, I imagine it would create outrage. I would *love* to see the work she created as SoS, however, I can't find any of her previous documentation.

    As such, this leads us to today. Recently, the State of California said the EAC's Federal Voluntary (Key word: "Voluntary") Voting System Guidelines were inadequate, possibly similar to the findings of the state she previously served, which they essentially shredded.

    I'm not pointing fingers, but success breeds success, and if something was successful for one reason or another, they may want to duplicate that success. Remember, she was appointed, personally, by GW Bush. (Side note: I voted for GW Bush two times, but this time, I am leaning a different direction this time around.)

    So what can you do?
    Well, quite honestly, the best thing you can do is request a mail-in ballot. This will allow you to do a little research at home on each local initiative before you stick the stamp and put it in the mail.

    My state has 15 initiatives this year that, quite honestly, need equal attention as the Presidential Campaign. Using a mail-in ballot, you have the ability to "get smart" and truly vote valiantly.

    I don't know about you, but when I'm in the voting booth, and thrown with 15 or 30 issues, I tend to skim thru the legalism of the ballot, but don't understand the net value of what's being addressed.

    So as a registered republican, I recommend you head over to The Obama Website and procure a ballot form and sent it out. (Unfortunately McCain doesn't offer it on his website.)

    While there, maybe take a look at the things at Obama's site and see if they fit with your own beliefs. You may be surprised. I'm kinda sad to say that Obama best fits my beliefs, versus McCain but I'm still on the fence.

    Yikes! What should I do, Techdirt?

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    josh einstein, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 8:06pm

    easy decision anonymous...

    vote for the guy who fights terrorists instead of the guy that uses them for building his career.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    alboenmon1, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Quantum Theory

    This guy is obviously a plant

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 9:22pm

    Re: easy decision anonymous...

    Who is the terrorist?

    I get neighbors telling me to take the sign down for Obama or they are going to burn my house down.

    WHO IS THE TERRORIST?

    Think about it, Josh. I voted for Bush twice. Who is the Terrorist? Please fill me in because if I come home and find my house smoldering ashes, I want to know who the hell we're fighting against.

    YOUR BLIND. GET A BRAIN WITH AN EQUIVALENT IQ OF GEORGE W BUSH.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 4:43am

    GET A BRAIN WITH AN EQUIVALENT IQ OF GEORGE W BUSH.
    /me hits the dog on the head with a hammer a few times. Ok, done.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Dont drink the coolaid, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: easy decision anonymous...

    josh einstein -> "vote for the guy who fights terrorists instead of the guy that uses them for building his career."

    You must be one of the "angry mob" I've been reading about. I'm curious, do you really believe all that BS or are you using it (BS) in an attempt to influence the vote of others ?
    Or maybe you're just a troll.

    Please, do not accept the campaign BS as fact. Do some independent research. There are plenty of less biased sources of information, such as: http://www.factcheck.org/

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Mike, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Re: easy decision anonymous...

    yeah, well nice inuendo but the conservatives were elected on the "terror" platform, most of which is a complete fabrication, which has done more to create terrorism than to stop it, which of course was the entire point of the wars... war = profit.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Nixter, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Dangerous if allowed,..

    Not a good thing to allow, this should be challenged immediately, freedoms tend to erode over time, new laws restrict and eliminate rights, rarely do new laws provide new rights or lessen penalties.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    dammit jim, im a scientist, not a politician, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Quantum Theory

    This is something that has been upsetting scientists the world over for years.
    you simply cannot apply principles of physics and science as a whole to the will of humans and society. you can't apply newtons second law saying "every action has an equal and opposite reaction" to a persons reasoning behind the choice they make to the situation they are in, just as you can't apply the uncertainty principle to politics, I wish people, smart and ignorant alike, would stop taking principles out of their respective fields.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    AckAck, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Quantum Theory

    don't be silly alboenmon1... Plants can't type!

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    penguinv, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Government

    Excuse me. Did we read the same article? Perhaps you played a tape and typed it in. This is not responsive.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    penguinv, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Voter Eligiblity

    I am to understand that you believe Fox News, what they report?

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Chris in Utah, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: E-Voting

    Vote your conscious. Vote third party.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:15am

    Oh you silly billies

    Fancy thinking anyone cares about your vote?

    Of course the machines don't have to be able to count accurately and of course independent monitors are to be discouraged, that's only where a small portion of the fraud is planned to take place anyway so it would be a waste of effort

    Try this - Registered Republican and Security Expert Stephen Spoonamore discusses electronic voting vulnerabilities and how his party plan to steal the election

    Its a Network people

    Exactly how many ways are there to hack these machines? I lost count after minibar keys that could open them, access databases with no security, programmable data cards and network man in the middle attacks

    Anyone who still thinks an independent observer would make a difference needs their head read - the whole system was DESIGNED. TO. BE. VULNERABLE.

    And it works as per design - now will you please stop arguing over voting machines, you have been judged and found undeserving of a vote; would you kindly stop making lots of pointless noise, it's unbecoming

    VOTE McCain 2008 - for shits and giggles, no really - you ARE going to vote for him, you just may not know it yet

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    Re: Oh you silly billies

    You got the tag wrong, it should be:

    Vote McSame / Failin 2008

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:59am

    Sounds like they are taking a page out of Stalin's playbook: "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.".

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    NeoConBushSupporter, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:09am

    UGLY TRUTH!

    Looks like Nancy Pelosi and her organized crime friends in New Jersey are gonna try their best to put Obama and his terrorist cronies in charge of our great nation. Haven’t we let Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons do enough damage to our economy, do we really need to allow them to destroy our freedoms as well? Come on people think about it! This election is no joke and if the “joe six packs” and “hockey moms” out there don’t start getting it together, we may soon all be speaking farci and working for the chi-coms! You guys won’t think it’s so funny when comrade Xien Nguyen takes away your bong and tells you to get back to work . . . “diddy mow” . . . “diddy mow”!


    VOTE McCain 2008 - He'll buy your damn house people, what more do you want!

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Voter Eligiblity

    You mean you actually believe what any news program says? Sounds like you are the sucker.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 6:34am

    Re: States' Rights

    I wouldn't call this a "problem." At least now this is confined to New Jersey, and other states can address the voting machine problem. Imagine if it were the federal government banning oversight!

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Balthazar, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:33am

    Re: easy decision anonymous...

    Instead of the obviously bogus "he's a terrorist" BS, why don't you just come out and admit that you're a racist? An educated black man probably scares you way more than any terrorist ever could.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    known coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:50am

    This is jersey dammit

    get out of my state voting. I trust my state board of elections to fix this election and fix it right. I believe the entire roster from the dallas cowboys and philadelphia eagles are voting in both hudson and essex counties. that is how much folks love voting here

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    wilhelmine alvarez, Oct 20th, 2008 @ 5:18am

    is too late

    i haven't received my registration card to vote i live in
    roselle nj . what should i do or is it too late. please tell me what i should do asap. who to contact.

    tx.

     

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


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