Super Tuesday's Electronic Voting Stories
from the minor-glitches,-bad-precedent dept
A bunch of stories out there today about the fact that polling places in today’s California and Maryland primaries are testing out some of the highly controversial electronic voting machines. Already, the Associated Press is reporting that there have been a number of technical glitches with the machines, though none sound particularly troublesome. The Baltimore Sun has an article about how voting machine critic Aviel Rubin, who has been studying the machines, is also acting as a voting judge to get a better first hand view of the process. So far, he’s not feeling very happy about it – pointing out that the machines seem to be confusing for most of the other “grandparent category” judges. Of course, minor glitches and the view from a single election judge is focused on the wrong thing. The supporters of electronic voting are likely to tout the results of the election (probably in a press release tomorrow) as showing that electronic voting works. They’ll ignore any glitches, of course, because they already have been shown to spin reports saying their machines have problems as if it were good news. Still, it’s not minor glitches or the actual voting process that anyone is concerned about. It’s the process by which the votes are counted – and that’s completely hidden within the boxes. Since the voting machine companies refuse to create a paper trail, there’s no way to make sure that the votes are accurate, no matter how “successful” the primary elections go. However, in simplifying the story, most will write about how few glitches there were. Already, in the AP story, you can see that they focus on the glitches and completely gloss over the story of how at least one batch of the voting machines was left out completely alone and unlocked for a period of time during which they could have been tampered with. I doubt that there will be any real problems turned up with electronic voting today, but that doesn’t mean the machines are secure.
Comments on “Super Tuesday's Electronic Voting Stories”
Who Cares About Glitches, What About Fraud?
If there was any fraud we’ll never know, especially without audits of voter-verified paper receipts.
The only way to get it fixed is if a White Hat Hacker changes vote totals in a very obvious way. Set all the votes to one candidate, and more votes than people who voted, or something along those lines, with no way to determine the correct numbers.
Re: Who Cares About Glitches, What About Fraud?
The only way to get it fixed is if a White Hat Hacker changes vote totals in a very obvious way.
Beck, I fear for the White Hat that attempts this. We all know that instead of fixing the problem, the companies behind the machines, and the registar of voters who pushed through the contracts to buy the machines despite the risks (and then made a big deal about butterfly ballots and chads to back up their purchases, when they knew that the problems with the electronic voting machines had as much or more to do with the failures in the 2000 election than any hanging chad or butterfly ballot did, if you don’t believe me, read Chapter 13 of Black Box Voting, by Bev Harris) will claim that the White Hat Hacker is a cyberterrorist for attacking the voting process and public confidence in the machines.
I’d love to see it, but I hope the White Hat who does it has a really good lawyer and lots of luck.
Turned Away Voters
In San Diego County, several polls turned away voters because of technical problems with the voting machines. I voted absentee, just because I could reasonably assure that my vote would be received correctly, though it was scanned in using an optical scanner so I am not sure if there was the possibility that the machine was rigged. However several others I know voted with the machines, and for the most part they didn’t have any opinion, positive or negative about the machines.
However, I’d like to see jail time for those poll workers who turned away voters (thereby refusing their right to vote, they could have sent them elsewhere,) jail time for the Registrar of Voters (for fraud in lying to the public, see below,) and jail time for Diabold’s engineers too because their machines failure resulted in people not being able to exercise their votes.
The fact that there was no test period before voting time to make sure that all the machines were set up correctly and working properly is a failure on the part of the registrar of voters here in San Diego, who was more worried about convincing the public that the machines she bought using our tax money were safe and secure, when in fact a large and growing number of researchers have found otherwise. Its not that I think electronic voting is a bad thing, I look forward to the day when I can sit down and vote on one of these machines, but I am not going to do so until they have a real audit trail (not one that exists in the same database as the votes, with a simple and easy to guess password.)