Guy Who Insists E-Voting Machines Work Fine... Demonstrates They Don't

from the say-that-again-please dept

If someone pitched a movie based on e-voting machines that work as bad as the ones being used in the current election, the story would be dumped as being unrealistic. But truth is, indeed, often stranger than fiction. You may recall on Friday that we had a post about problems with e-voting machines in West Virginia selecting the wrong candidate when voters touched the screen. Various officials rushed to insist that there was absolutely nothing wrong. One, the local county clerk, Jeff Waybright insisted that the problems were "the result of voter error."

Well, it appears that a group called Video The Vote went and visited with Mr. Waybright as he showed them how the e-voting machines work, and perhaps the "human error" is on Mr. Waybright's part. The beginning of the video is troubling enough, as he brushes aside concerns while he shows a miscalibrated machine. He demonstrates how he clicks on one candidate and another is highlighted, in a tone of voice that suggests why would anyone possibly be upset or annoyed if that happened? He then oddly thinks the fact that his wildly miscalibrated machine enhances his point because when he clicks on Barack Obama's name, the actual name highlighted isn't McCain (of course, it's not Obama either, but he doesn't seem troubled by this). Waybright seems to think that the only complaint people are making is the fact that some tried to vote for the Democratic ticket and saw the Republican ticket show up -- when the real concern is simply the fact that when you touch one name, someone else's name is highlighted. Democrat or Republican really isn't the issue here.

However, then things get worse. After mocking the idea that anyone clicking on a Democratic ticket vote would get the Republican ticket vote, he shows how to correctly calibrate the machine, showing how easy it is to fix the "problems" of the miscalibrated machine. When he's done, to prove it works, he touches the box to vote for a straight Republican ticket ticket... and, wouldn't you know it, Ralph Nader's name is highlighted as the voter's choice. His response? "Oh, that's out of calibration!" as if it was no big deal, apparently missing the fact that he had just calibrated the machine. He then seems to think none of this is a big deal, because voters will see the misvote before they submit it, apparently unaware of the idea that many people are already quite distrustful of these machines, and seeing them highlight the wrong name over and over again will make them seriously question the legitimacy of the election.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    ROn (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Machines

    "Waybright" apparently isn't too bright after all. The dude's a flaming IDIOT (presuming the article and video are accurate as stated).

     

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  2.  
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    Ferin (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 8:47am

    ...

    Unbelievable. Why does anyone think this is somehow better tahn the damn butterfly ballots from florida? Screw instant results. Go back to a handcounted paper ballot system, monitored by both parties and independants, and make people get marked with permanent ink or something to rpevent extra voting. It sickens me to think that there are third world countries more capable of running an honest election than the US is.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 8:55am

    Is this the level of technological innovation that will allow the US to lead into the next decade.

    Better see if you can find the crank for your car folks...

     

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  4.  
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    Sneaky Floater, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    I got gas.

     

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  5.  
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    The Clown Abstract, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:11am

    I've got gas too. But I found a more appropriate outlet to tell everyone about it. I simply walk into a crowed elevator and let it rip.

     

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  6.  
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    noah, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:11am

    The guy obviously doesn't understand his own machine. Nadar stayed selected because he had already selected him before selecting a straight party ticket. On a paper ballot, what is the protocol for someone who checks both the straight party box and an individual box? Bad UX maybe, but not necessarily wrong. His point about verifying that you made the right selection is valid. People routinely make mistakes on paper forms, so checking that your ballot is accurate is necessary regardless of the voting mechanism.

    That said, these machines add additional ways to make a mistake, and not all voters will be completely diligent. Also, some will come to mistrust the machine because they don't understand how the interface works. Paper/machine readable cards would be best since pretty much everyone can fill out a scantron.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    If this is the only choice for voting I will walk out of the poll without voting. What a crock of shit!

     

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  8.  
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    Greevar, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    If this is what I find on election day, I will demand a paper ballot. If they refuse to provide one to me, I will walk out without voting.

     

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  9.  
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    Jesse, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    There was a movie about the wrong person getting elected. It was with Robin Williams, called Man of the Year. It wasn't an amazing movie, but I keep thinking of it when I read these posts. Also, that hilarious Simpson's clip depicted this phenomenon. Brilliant. Waybright I should say.

     

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  10.  
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    AC, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    "Democrat or Republican really isn't the issue here. "
    Unfortunately it is.
    Badly calibrated/programmed machines are a serious issue in their own right, but it completely obscures the problem when it's painted as a partisan conspiracy.
    It's a major technical problem, and it's being used as a reason to fan the flames of political polarization.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward #42, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    This guy is trained to tout the company line of bull that "there are no problems with these machines." What makes you think he's actually authorized to admit that their machines are broken?

    The fact of the matter is that these machines have serious flaws, and should not be allowed to be used, especially in such a crucial election. Voters should not be expected to have to check and recheck their selections time after time after time. Also, if the machine really did work properly for all of 5 seconds as shown in the video, and then slipped out of calibration again, that means that techs are going to have to reset the calibration after every single use. That is going to be a nightmare of galactic proportions.

    What I don't understand is how these machines can be so flawed. I've seen plenty of touchscreen kiosk machines that work flawlessly (i.e. bridal registries, ATMs, and so on). Why something as serious as voting machines isn't dealt with in the most serious manner possible is beyond me. I think this is just yet another sign that corporate America is corrupt beyond all reason, because they're obviously more interested in preserving their reputation and profits than they are fixing a known problem. I got a news flash for you: quality sells itself. If you acknowledge and fix these problems in a timely manner, your company WILL have a good reputation, and your WILL be profitable. When you just try to sweep dirt like this under the carpet, your reputation will go down no matter what you do. Just admit your mistakes, fix the problems, and life will go on.

    However, I'm still in favor of banning any and all kinds of electronic devices from voting stations. Anybody with half a brain can figure out how to put an X in the box besides thee name of their candidate of choice. If anything, we need some standardization on the paper ballots (no hanging chad crap), not proprietary electronic machines that just make the problems worse.

     

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  12.  
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    T9000, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    Skynet has become self aware

    Don't you see what's happening? Skynet has become self aware. It will not let humans vote for Obama or McCain.... Ralph Nader is the only choice. Skynet will not let us fail.

     

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  13.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Mental note

    If you want to vote for Obama then select Nader. If you want to vote for McCain select Obama. Nader will only get votes if people forget that selecting McCain is actually a vote for Nader.

     

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  14.  
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    Mr. Magoo, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Why?

    Why do so many states feel a need to use these electronic voted methods? Here in Oklahoma (yeah, we've already heard all your jokes and putdowns) they use paper ballots with a segmented arrow. You use the supplied marker to fill in the arrow next to your candidate, and then put the ballot in a machine which does an instant check to verify that you didn't vote for more than one candidate. It's easy to do; any moron can figure it out. There's no confusion. It's easy to recount. It's reasonably cheap.

    I'm an EE, and I wouldn't feel totally comfortable about voting on one of these electronic machines.

    We have enough problems with the political process in this country; accurately tallying votes should be a no-brainer.

     

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  15.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    I guess the Dems are trying to get back at the Reps for stealing the Bush/Gore election? ;>) Maybe Gore is behind these machines?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    Think you should go back to your creationist thoughts and leave public debate well alone.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:26am

    Did anyone actually watch the video? Nader was selected before he selected McCain. Granted the guy is not smart, but you guys are all looking like idiots for jumping to conclusions in this case.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:32am

    What IS the problem??

    I guess any college coursework project can create a 100% accurate machine. How can people screw up creating a counting machine!!!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    I find it entertaining that all the comments thusfar are about how evoting is bad.

    No -- evoting is not bad, and not to blame.

    Poorly designed, inexpertly implemented and ignorantly defended systems (like Mr. Waybright has staked and lost his professional reputation over) are bad.

    Adjust as necessary.

     

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  20.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re:

    Can't take a joke?

     

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  21.  
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    Jim O'Hara, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:55am

    No, not out of calibration - error

    So after he calibrates the machine he hits the large button for "Straight Republican" the screen filled out a bunch of check marks, one of which was Nader(!). That's not a calibration error, that's an error in the code - even if the other button (straight Democrat) had been pressed, Nader should have never come up check by default!

     

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  22.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    While e-voting machines should be simple enough to create given all the other touch devices out there that are much more complex and yet work properly; e-voting does create other concerns. The lack of a real audit trail is one concern. Paper ballots leave a physical audit trail though even those can be cheated. Someone with access to real ballots and the counting process could definitely stuff the ballot box. But e-voting machines at best provide a digital log file and we all know how (in)secure anything digital is.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 10:59am

    The lesson of the Butterfly ballot

    In the 2000 Florida election the problem with the butterfly ballot was that people thought they voted for Obama and actually voted for a third party candidate.

    The video does not show that systematic an error rate because it looked like the errors were going every which way. Still, I don't want an official who was elected based on who got the lucky breaks on the random calibration error bias.

     

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  24.  
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    spoondaddy, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Huh

    Was that sarcasm or stupidity

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    Re: Huh

    Neither. Go about your business.
    John gets the point... Or not.....

     

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  26.  
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    NeoConBushSupporter, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    SO WHAT!

    I don’t know what difference it makes, Hussein Obama and Nancy Pelosi and their liberal cohorts have already purchased this election with George Soros’s money (that he stole on Wall Street). They have had their friends in the media continuously bash the beautiful and elegant Sarah Palin, while simultaneously ignoring all of Hussien Obamas ties to terrorists and fundamentalist islam and now they are lining up to give 30 minutes of national air time to him so he can propagandize the American people into supporting his anti-American, islamo-socialist agenda. These radical socialist “redistribution of wealth” policies are going to hurt the “joe the plumbers” and “hockey moms” of this country and it also won’t be too long before the “jack booted thugs” of the ATF are knocking on the door to perform their monthly “firearm” search of your house. Unless we do something quickly, American as the land of the free is soon to be over.


    VOTE McCain 2008 - The politics of failure have failed, together we can make them work again.

     

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  27.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:13am

    Re: Huh

    Does anyone here understand emoticons? For those that don't, the ;>) emoticon is a winking face. So when you see one of those after a sentence, particularly an inflammatory sentence, it is a good bet the person is making a joke. Of course the OP (original poster) is probably trying to get a rise out of people and often times it works. Such was the case here. ;>)

     

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  28.  
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    d0n0van, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:15am

    http://www.google.com/patents?id=1sehAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4&dq=e-voting#PPA8, M1

    The above link is to a patent search result from Google. I am not anti-corporation nor anti-profit; however, how do we balance the public's need for government transparency and corporation's need to recoup their investment in research and production?

    While I want the company to earn money, I feel every citizen should have the right to examine every aspect of the machine's hardware and software. Under the current system, I don't believe that can happen because design flaws would be found. Hardware and software can always be improved and when that happens this company is no longer entitled to earn it's profit because the end result really doesn't belong to that corporation.

    If we cannot see the hardware nor the software then how can I trust what is doing with the data? I ask these questions every day. I validate data. I examine the source, consider the methods of collection, storage, security, and I examine the sql code utilized to reach each answer. If I cannot ask the questions of my data or my clients data then how can I trust the results? I can't and this is why I do not like e-voting.

    One thought before I move along: This is the kind of process that the opensource community would be perfect to develop.

     

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  29.  
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    Sigh..., Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Re: No, not out of calibration - error

    If you watch the video carefully, you will see that he already had Nader selected before he hit the "Straight Republican" button.
    The checkbox for Nader did not move. Is that wrong? No. Is it a good UI? Probably not, but debatable... say someone wanted to vote straight Republican, but wanted to vote for Ron Paul instead of McCain. They could put in Ron Paul's name, and then press the "Straight Republican" button to select the rest of the Republicans...

     

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  30.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    In this case, patents should not be allowed. These machines should be done like other government contracts where anyone can make them. For example, look at military rifles. There are a dozen makers of the AR-15 so no individual gun company controls the design. If companies want to produce voting machines, then they should be required to be completely open.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: SO WHAT!

    Wow.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    Eat more beans, more gas.

     

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  33.  
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    David from Australia, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    NeoCons are Funny

    SO WHAT!
    by NeoConBushSupporter
    I don’t know what difference it makes, Hussein Obama and Nancy Pelosi and their liberal cohorts have already....bla bla bla bla
    NeoCons are funny because you never know if it's just someone trolling for a laugh or someone seriously stupid.

     

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  34.  
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    spoondaddy, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    Go about your business

    Do alot of people use the handle "Anonymous Coward" or is it just one fat guy with no job or family?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Re: Mental note

    But that is not proper calibration.

    Proper calibration is:
    Select NcCain get Obama.
    Select Nager get Obama
    select Obama get Obama.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    SO what!

    If one goes into the booth makes a mistake and selects Nader and then corrects the mistake by selecting McCain one would be most up set to find that they had voted for Obama.

     

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  37.  
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    NSMike, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: No, not out of calibration - error

    "If you watch the video carefully, you will see that he already had Nader selected before he hit the "Straight Republican" button.
    The checkbox for Nader did not move. Is that wrong? No. Is it a good UI? Probably not, but debatable... say someone wanted to vote straight Republican, but wanted to vote for Ron Paul instead of McCain. They could put in Ron Paul's name, and then press the "Straight Republican" button to select the rest of the Republicans..."

    Yeah, the design should be, if you have selected someone outside of a straight-ticket vote, to say, "You previously selected Ralph Nader as your vote for President of the United States, and have now chosen to vote a straight Republican ticket. Do you want to change your vote for Ralph Nader to John McCain?"

    Of course, expecting Diebold's crappy programmers to think of such a thing may be stretching it. It may even be stretching it to think that all voters, especially elderly ones, would even understand what was going on when they got that message.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Re: ...

    ^true story

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    Please explain how in a county that is really a Bronx of NYC with 90+% Democrat voters and a complete Democrat controlled board of election the Republicans were able to infiltrate the election counting process to such an extent that the Republicans were able to change the voting results.

     

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  40.  
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    Urban, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Re: SO WHAT!

    Go have a cookie and a glass of milk.
    It will make you feel much better and possible give you time to reflect on the mistakes in your life.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Urban, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: NeoCons are Funny

    "just someone trolling for a laugh or someone seriously stupid"

    One doesn't rule out the other.

     

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  42.  
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    Urban, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:47am

    Re: Go about your business

    Yes

     

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  43.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:55am

    Re: Go about your business

    The problem is, people are afraid to state their real opinion under their real name. I, on the other hand, am not afraid. ;>)

     

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  44.  
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    tiger lily, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    Fill-in-the-oval ballets. Paper and pencil. Low tech, low learning curve and if any number need 'technicians' could be asked to come in from recess to help out.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    You can go around and around and around

    I never understood why Techdirt runs story after story of e-voting nightmares. But they do.. Look a Caltech-MIT project was formed to detail the types of errors that occur with e-voting. We are talking about a small margin of error here. Are there anomalies and irregularities in e-voting? YES. But it is a small percentage. If there is a major problem that occurs it will be due to failure to prepare and test equipment before voting begins. Comparing this in contrast to paper ballots the margin of error is very small. Personally I think e-voting is superior in many ways. While you could always make an arguement to minimize the margin of error I feel these machines are here to stay and should be. If you want to look at the report your may: http://pcworld.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://find.pcworld.com/42088

    PROS: E-voting terminals can be more convenient than paper systems as well. When equipped with headphones and a Braille keypad, touch-screen machines let sight-impaired voters cast their votes without needing to share their choices with a human aide. Officials don't need to supply paper ballots in different languages--voters select the language as a menu option. Results can be transmitted to election headquarters in seconds, and recounts are a snap since each vote is unambiguously stored in memory.

    CONS: The Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project was established in December 2000 to study voting machine reliability and generate guidelines for future voting systems. The project's 2001 report--still considered the definitive study of machine accuracy--found that in elections from 1988 to 2000, touch-screen (also called DRE, for direct record electronic) machines fared worse than paper ballots in many cases (see the project's report here). But generally, their margin of "residual votes"--those thrown out because of error--was within the range of other voting technologies. In presidential elections, for example, punch-card machines had the highest percentage of residual votes, at 2.5 percent. Touch-screen voting machines were slightly better, at 2.3 percent, and optically scanned paper ballots worked best, at 1.5 percent.

     

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  46.  
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    DS, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Re: ...

    Better yet, mechanical lever machines like we still use in New York. You can't hack a safe out in the open.

     

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  47.  
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    LBD, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Re: The lesson of the Butterfly ballot

    Obama? You mean Gore right?

     

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  48.  
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    LBD, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: No, not out of calibration - error

    But when he hit the strait democrat ticket it selected McCain

     

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  49.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Can't TELL a joke?

     

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  50.  
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    NeoConBushSupporterClarifyer, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    Re: SO WHAT!

    For CHIST'S SAKES! Can't anyone else understand paradoy? "The politics of failure have failed, together we can make them work again".

    Jesus people, this guy is an obvious troll who's just playing around. People actualy like this don't exist, and certainly don't provide such snarky quotations.

    Seeing all of this... STUPIDITY just makes me go RRRRG. Doesn't ANYONE understand paradoy? Quit villifying the other side, they're not that bad, they're people.

    I'm upset with you self proclaimed liberals for beliving that "neoconbushsupporter" is anything BUT an assumed persona. Real people like that, who talk like that, don't exist.

     

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  51.  
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    huhwha, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: SO WHAT!

    paradoy? parody?

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    MikeyTG, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:30pm

    Hey - Its the Palm Pilot

    My old palm pilot had the same problem - the screen would go screwy, I'd calibrate it, and 5 minutes later it was bad again. Are they using that same old crappy technology? Probably.

    It's amazing we've had completely reliable ATMs for years, but brand new electronic voting machines don't work. No wonder we can't get back to the moon!

     

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  53.  
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    Joe the Salesman, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: SO WHAT!...I am concerned!

    I agree NeoConBushSupporter, I'd take a Bush III over Marx II any day. Obama's views on 'spreading the wealth' are frightening enough but his links to homegrown terrorists and islamic fanatics is absolutely insane.

    However, the electronic voting machines are VERY concerning, Mr. Magoo from Oklahoma made a great point and the system they use would work just fine. Anything electronic should be thrown out the window, have you seen the confusion at the 'self check-out' lanes at the grocery store? It's amazing, scan your bread and put it in the bag BEFORE you scan the next item....drrr!

    McCain 08 - if you want my money, EARN IT!

     

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  54.  
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    MAtt, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    Re: You can go around and around and around

    Officials don't need to supply paper ballots in different languages--voters select the language as a menu option.

    If someone is going to participate in our democracy they damn well should be able to speak the language. We have enough trouble interpreting our constitution written in our native language; how might it be interpreted once translated into a foreign language?

     

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  55.  
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    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Can't understand a joke?

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    True, if you don't learn anything else in high school you certainly learn how to fill out a scantron. Thanks again standardized testing.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Re:

    Imagine if every company used the government's method of outsourcing to the absolute lowest bidder. Everything in society would work about as well as our current political system.

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    jmzrbnsn (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Straight Republican?!?

    I thought they'd shoot you if you weren't!

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Waybright Armstrong, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Hey - Its the Palm Pilot

    We never made it to the moon in the first place--but that's perhaps another topic for another day.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Re: SO WHAT!

    Dude, in Europe or in any country with true leftist parties, Obama would be considered a right wing zealot. Only in the US is he a 'socialist' and that's because people who use that term have no idea what it actually means.

    Never mind the fact that all your supposedly capitalist friends just nationalized half of the financial system.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    boroc&Mcane2008, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Picthurs

    Wen wil thair bie picthurs two chuse frum?

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO WHAT!

    I admit I had to Google it too.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Urban, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: SO WHAT!...I am concerned!

    The dude you are promoting, McCain is funded completely by tax payers. His health care is funded by taxes and so is his breakfast.
    As far as I am concerned, he works less than about any middle class person anywhere.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Go about your business

    No, you are something entirely different.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    FiLeBaRoN, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    paper Trail required

    While i agree that the new electronic voting machines are our future, they still require a lot of work to ensure they are functioning correctly, so there will be little to no issues in the actual operation of these machines. My only concern is lack of a paper trail. No matter how tight you write the code, the system itself can still be compromised. What a lot of people don't realize is that it is mathematically impossible to write the "prefect program". If you have a paper trail, any issue that arises due to poor programing, mechanical issues, or security, you have a hard copy of the tabulations available to ensure that peoples votes are recorded correctly.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: SO WHAT!...I am concerned!

    He also is funded by Budweiser...

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    The Dishonorable Sen Tubes Stevens, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    The voting machines are a system of dump trucks and tubes. Vote for me or vote for my opponent, either way I get your vote. Mwahahah.

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Moussaka the Cat, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    So...

    Why isn't this being covered by the news???

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: paper Trail required

    Here are some ballpark figures used as a benchmark (depending on what state your in) each machine has to pass before it used. If it meets this criteria it is deemed acceptable.

    State and federal voting machine certification tolerate very low machine failure rates: no more than 1 in 250,000 ballots for federal certification and no more than 1 in 1,000,000 ballots in some states. Certification serves as an important screen: machines that produce failure rates higher than these tolerance levels are not certified or used.

    Typically when software stands up to benchmark tests you can expect it to perform as intended. I disagree with your analysis that e-voting is not ready for use. If you want to throw in, "This could happen, that could happen, etc" you could apply that to any voting standard. Be it paper or e-voting. Your arguement that having a paper trial is the golden key to 100% secure flawless voting results is inaccurate. The MIT study above shows the ranges of technologies and how they perform all with very little margin of error. If a technology does not meet the criteria set by State and Federal regulations. It is not used.. Simple as that.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Joe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    makes me sad

    how can this not be fixed yet? i believe i have heard of voting machine issues since 2000. how hard can it be to get proper machines with proper software? You gotta be kidding me.

    Granted i really wish i could just vote from home online.

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    watcher, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: paper Trail required

    If a technology does not meet the criteria set by State and Federal regulations. It is not used.. Simple as that.

    I wonder if you were smart enough to change your IP this time, "Anonymous." You've posted before with the same misinformation and you are doing it again. There are numerous cases where machines have failed all (not so stringent) requirement and were still allowed to be used.

    Care to sign your name and company you are affiliated with?

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Confused, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 4:23pm

    Re: SO WHAT!

    "The politics of failure have failed, together we can make them work again."

    So, does that mean that thepolitics of failure, having failed, we should all get together and make the politics of failure work again? I'm so confused. Make a policy of failing work, which is in essence, succeeding to fail. Your original statement of "The politics of failure have failed" means that it was a success! Huzah! I think this is what you were trying to say?

    VOTE McCain 2008 to succeed with politics of failure.

     

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

  73.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: paper Trail required

    State and federal voting machine certification tolerate very low machine failure rates

    In theory. In reality, all we hear about are e-voting machine problems. They seem quite common.

    Certification serves as an important screen

    This would be the same "certification" that was later shown to have not involved any actual investigation of the machine?

    This is also the "certification" that is not particularly rigid and has not turned up most of the problems found by independent investigators.

    Sorry, the certification process is a joke.

    I disagree with your analysis that e-voting is not ready for use.

    I don't understand this statement. We are pointing out serious problems with the machines, and you claim they're ready for use?!?

    If you want to throw in, "This could happen, that could happen, etc" you could apply that to any voting standard. Be it paper or e-voting.

    No one has said that paper is perfect. But the damage that can be done from a bad e-voting system is much worse, because a single error can totally change the results of an election. A single paper ballot error effects a single ballot.

    If a technology does not meet the criteria set by State and Federal regulations. It is not used.. Simple as that.

    This is simply untrue. If only it were so, but remember that California found that uncertified code was used in many of its machines last election.

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    His Shadow, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:42pm

    Sorry USA

    ...but you are completely screwed. Your government is treating the near sacred right of voting like a web poll about which tart is hotter, with the same level of seriousness.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    H.R. Hughes, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 12:05am

    Election errors in voting machines

    What bothers the hell out of me is that with all these errors compounded by the ignorant people in charge as reported, is that the errors will undoubtedly stand after the election is over. We had fours years since the last presidential election to solve the many voting problems that were reported.

    Some problems probably simply did not exist and were reported by disgruntled losers. Keep recounting the votes until you find out how many you need to change the election your way, then produce the needed votes from somewhere, somehow.

    As far as I am concerned, the election officials are criminally negligent in their duties and should have resolved and cleared up the problems a long time ago. There is no penalty for being incompetent in these positions but a lot of people should have to spend some time in prison for their failure to perform adequately.

    We are losing our faith in the election process vote counting and someone other than the voter must be held responsible for this scandal. Acorn is a bunch of nuts and they are no help at all in maintaining the integrity of the election process. A bunch of them need to spend some time in prison in addition to the time some of them have probably already spent in prison. What a bunch of crooks!!!

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    Tamara, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 5:27am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward #42 - In Australia for federal elections every state uses the same style of form with the same rules. For state elections, the same states sometimes use different methods/styles. For each election all of the people voting have to follow the same system - the states don't get to choose their own method in federal elections, but can in state elections. I don't understand why in a federal election in the US, all states aren't required to use a standardized form of voting.

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: SO WHAT!

    "I'm upset with you self proclaimed liberals for beliving that "neoconbushsupporter" is anything BUT an assumed persona. Real people like that, who talk like that, don't exist."

    The problem is, thats exactly what they do say. Hes definately doing satire here, but using pretty much the actual arguements of the RNC.

     

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

  78.  
    identicon
    Ken, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 8:28am

    Fabricated vs Real problems

    Hack job video - For the truth, watch the full interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc9Gd5g3DFY

    Pay attention from min 33 on for the details that were left out of this propaganda bs.

    I agree that there have been too many errors with these machines for them to be reliable, but we need to focus on the real problems and not the fabricated ones. We have enough of that crap already.

    The truth is not open to the democratic process.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    nasch, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: SO WHAT!

    True. Usually he's so over the top it's funny, but as hard as he tried in that post he only managed to hit the actual Republican talking points. Joe the Salesman below demonstrates the point - he fully agrees with NeoConBushSupporter!

     

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

  80.  
    identicon
    nasch, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: You can go around and around and around

    What do you mean by "the" language? Legally the United States has no official language. So why should the social customs of the majority dictate the way US citizens have to read their ballots?

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    nasch, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Re: You can go around and around and around

    Results can be transmitted to election headquarters in seconds, and recounts are a snap since each vote is unambiguously stored in memory.

    Unambiguously? I guess that doesn't mean the same thing as storing them correctly and reliably, so technically you're correct.

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Absentee Voting

    I absentee vote every year, even though I haven't gone anywhere. I get the ballot 2+ weeks in advance and fill it out at my convenience, then drop it in the mail.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    John Galt, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 10:14am

    What You Need To Know About Obama

    Everything you need to know about Obama: www.ObamasPast.com

     

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

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: paper Trail required

    "In theory. In reality, all we hear about are e-voting machine problems. They seem quite common."

    There is no theory here. State and Federal regulations only allow so many errors to e-voting technologies. What your hearing are cooked up conspiracy theories. Not hard facts on how technologies are not passing certification. I will admit there are cases of human error. If certification procedures are followed as intended there should be no issue. Do you some states have poor certification procedures? You could argue that yeah. But that is a human issue. Not a mechanical one.

    "This would be the same "certification" that was later shown to have not involved any actual investigation of the machine?"

    You are focusing on human error Mike. Not malfunctioning equipment. Its important to distinguish the difference. Certification procedures vary from state to state. The human error involves not testing equipment properly not a mechanical malfunction.

    "I don't understand this statement. We are pointing out serious problems with the machines, and you claim they're ready for use?!?"

    Come on Mike, You are generalizing everything into some kind of consipriacy theory. Your title to the story is "A Guy who insists E-voting machines work fine.. Demonstrates they dont". While there are obvious flaws in that specific device in the video. The only thing the video showed was someone having trouble with the calibration process of one piece of DRE technology. Based off of this video you are implying in your title every type of E-voting is flawed. I think last week you had a problem with backup. It would be the same if someone said, 'Dont Blog on Techdirt! They have a major issue with backup.. Just look at this story!!... Would that be accurate?

    We currently are using optical scanned paper ballots in my state and I am 100% fine with it.

    By stating, "We are pointing out serious problems with the machines." I feel you really are not fully looking at this issue close enough to make any kind of informed decision it.

    "No one has said that paper is perfect. But the damage that can be done from a bad e-voting system is much worse, because a single error can totally change the results of an election. A single paper ballot error effects a single ballot."

    Just look at the Gore Bush election. Almost every ballot was disputed in some way. Almost all of that was on paper. You are only looking at a cooked up worst case scenario. Not a realistic depiction on how these machines perform. Excuse if I dont buy the, Chicken little says the sky is falling arguement.

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    Jason, Oct 30th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Voting software...

    There is no reason why all voting software shouldn't be open-sourced. The data security mechanisms should be probably kept secret, but the actual software itself should be open to public scrutiny. These aren't the governments elections, they are the peoples elections. It is absolutely our right to be certain that our vote counting mechanisms are as without fault as they can be in an imperfect world. I have no problem with knowing there are much better programmers than myself in the world. I've still caught things that they've missed. They've caught things that I've missed. The point is that the more eyes you have looking at a problem the better. Especially in software since there are so many things that can go wrong. Making a dot appear where you press your finger on a screen is a whole lot of code where a whole lot of things can go wrong. Tying that dot to a data field that's going to get stored in a database along with a lot of other information is another place where a whole lot of things can go wrong. Combining that local data with a regional and then a statewide database adds more points of potential failure. In the real world we'd be outsourcing this to SAP for $50M and hoping for an election sometime in the middle of 2010. Sorry, but small business can't solve this. They are trying hard, I'll give them that, but they simply aren't up to the job. It's time to open up the process to the people who own it, the citizens of this country. We can't afford to do the alternative right, in time or dollars.

     

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

  86.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 30th, 2008 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: paper Trail required

    There is no theory here. State and Federal regulations only allow so many errors to e-voting technologies

    Yes, and of course the technology itself pays attention to regulations... oh wait, it doesn't. The technology barely works.

    What your hearing are cooked up conspiracy theories.

    Lost votes in Florida? Miscounted votes in DC? Incorrect tallies in New Jersey? I'm not talking about any conspiracy theories, I'm talking about actual mistakes with the machine that are found to be quite common in practice.

    I don't believe the conspiracy theories, but I do believe the actual results will show that these machines have a tendency to not work very well.

    You are focusing on human error Mike.

    No, actually, I'm not. You insisted the certification process was wonderful. There is tremendous evidence that it is not, and the GAO condemned the cert process.

    The human error involves not testing equipment properly not a mechanical malfunction.

    No, part of the problem is WHAT the cert process tests for (i.e, not nearly enough to determine if the machines will function properly).

    You are generalizing everything into some kind of consipriacy theory

    I'm not interested in conspiracy theories. I'm interested in the act that time and time again it's been demonstrated these machines are neither reliable nor secure.

    The only thing the video showed was someone having trouble with the calibration process of one piece of DRE technology

    No, the video showed how easy it is for those machines to be miscalibrated and to confuse voters -- even "experts." That's a HUGE FLAW in the machines.

    Based off of this video you are implying in your title every type of E-voting is flawed.

    For six years we've given similar examples of nearly ever e-voting machine on the market.

    'Dont Blog on Techdirt! They have a major issue with backup.. Just look at this story!!... Would that be accurate?

    If we had the same thing happen every day, then that would be reasonable. In EVERY election we keep hearing of at least some SIGNIFICANT problems with almost every make and model of DRE.

    We currently are using optical scanned paper ballots in my state and I am 100% fine with it.

    Like in DC, where every time they're scanned a different result pops out?

    I feel you really are not fully looking at this issue close enough to make any kind of informed decision it.

    Care to enlighten us then?

     

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

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 3:25am

    Re: Voting software...

     

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

  88.  
    identicon
    another mike, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 3:19pm

    operator error

    Jeff Waybright insisted that the problems were "the result of voter error."

    Oh yeah, because when I use a touch-screen, I expect it to make the selection under my finger. D'Oh, silly me, entirely my fault.

     

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

  89.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 5:32pm

    Wait WHAT?

    What "calibration" do these things need ANYWAYS? Touch screens are a time-tested technology. Banks have been using them for YEARS. What exactly is there to go wrong?

    This is just ridiculous.

     

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

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 3:34am

    Re: Why?

    I'm an EE, and I wouldn't feel totally comfortable about voting on one of these electronic machines.
    I'm also an EE and I don't just not "feel totally comfortable about voting on one of these electronic machines", I don't trust them at all.

     

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

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 3:40am

    Re: What IS the problem??

    How can people screw up creating a counting machine!!!
    Because, like yourself, they have little understanding of the problems involved go into it thinking it is an easy task.

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 3:44am

    Re: Re: SO WHAT!

    People actualy like this don't exist, and certainly don't provide such snarky quotations.
    They certainly do. I know some of them.

     

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

  93.  
    identicon
    CSMajor, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: What IS the problem??

    OK, so can someone tell me the problems involved in creating a reliable voting machine?

    Can't be the hardware -- touch screens have been around for a long time. "Recalibrating" the touch screen should be a no-brainer -- there are children's toys that do that today. So it's probably the software? If so, then this is a software design issue. How is a voting software more complex than software from retail Point-of-sale(multiple, overlapping discounts/promos, etc), internet stock trading, eBay, etc.? With all the cash these companies are being paid to come up with better systems, you'd think they can afford to hire top-caliber system (and usability) designers.

    So maybe I'm missing something in my understanding of the difficulties here. If there's someone on this forum who's knowledgeable on voting machine issues, I'm sure we'd all like to hear it.

     

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

  94.  
    identicon
    G Blake, Nov 7th, 2008 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: What IS the problem??

    >OK, so can someone tell me the problems involved in creating a reliable voting machine?


    Voting demands two contradictory objectives: count every vote accurately, BUT attach no audit to an individual voter. [Secret Ballot].

    ATM/cash registers all survive on audit trails, tracking each transaction.

    The best disconnect we have, with recountablity, is a paper ballot, be it "scancard" or hand mark, put into a box with all the others. It could be printed on the spot by a DRE, but the paper must be the ballot.

     

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

  95.  
    identicon
    Paper Shredders, Dec 29th, 2008 @ 9:38pm

    I think a lot of organizations are exploring new ways to become more cost efficient these days. Many big companies often use large amounts of paper in their everyday environments.So they need a paper shredders because Paper shredders are a simple solution to destroying many of the documents and materials that hold private information.Taking simple steps, such as purchasing a paper shredder, can help you avoid a lot of pain and suffering in the future. That seems well worth the small investment.Wanted to compliment on your site, it looks really good.

     

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

  96.  
    identicon
    ryan, Nov 22nd, 2011 @ 3:51am

    thanks

    your post is impressive, just bookmarked and share with my friends on facebook. Hope to seeing more updates from you

     

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

  97.  
    identicon
    Mark Grinder, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Impressive

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. Ill be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return

     

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

  98.  
    identicon
    Kass Clara Shredder, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 3:53pm

    thanks!

    Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I'm on the look for such info.

     

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

  99.  
    identicon
    Water Dispensers, Dec 7th, 2011 @ 1:04am

    Thank you

    Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I was on the lookout for such information.

     

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

  100.  
    identicon
    Heated Blankt, Dec 9th, 2011 @ 4:47am

    thanks

    I do not even know the way I stopped up right here, however I believed this post was great. I do not recognize who you are however definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already. Cheers!

     

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

  101.  
    identicon
    Chefs Choice, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    agree

    e-voting will become more popular in 2012

     

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

  102.  
    identicon
    UniFlame, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 2:24am

    attention-grabbing

    This is very attention-grabbing, You are a very skilled blogger. Ive joined your feed and sit up for looking for extra of your great post. Additionally, Ive shared your website in my social networks

     

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


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