Voting Machine Errors In Ohio

from the whoops dept

Marren writes “An error with an electronic voting system gave President George W. Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said. Franklin County’s unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry’s 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.” Whoops. No matter what side you’re on in the election, this just looks bad. Yet, the electronic voting folks are still claiming this election shows that their stuff works. The one thing you can say is that, at least this issue was discovered.

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Comments on “Voting Machine Errors In Ohio”

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Griffon says:

plling vs. electronic in the swing states

Ohio, florida and Nex Mexico all used electronic mahcines that don’t have paper trails. All 3 states exit pulls did not align with with precent reports putting bush ahead. The majority (I want to say all, but I havn’t checked personaly) of states that used machines with paper trails or no machines all aligned with the exit polls… I’m not a tinfoil hat kind of guy but it has got to make you wonder…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Some interesting 'facts'?

Yeah, we shold go back to non-machine voting or ballot boxes where there is never any errors.

The funny thing about Mike is that in other areas he talks about how technology isn’t perfect, but better than the alternative. While computer voting certainly isn’t perfect, I think an argument can be made that – at least – it isn’t any worse than the alternatives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Some interesting 'facts'?

Can you back up these claims of ‘far easier’ and ‘more precise’?

Germany has enjoyed exit polls matching civil servant counted and party monitored hand-counted ‘x marks the spot’ results for many decades. very little overtime is involved and exit polls are reliable enough to call elections ahead of final counts.

hand-counted ‘x-marks the spot’ ballots leave no room for ambiguity, are cheap, quickly processed and have not produced results that differ from exit polls by more than 0.2% in many decades.

so if you would please elaborate on your claims, i’d appreciate. if further you have any breakthrough information on how adding complexity to a simple system makes it in any way more reliable, faster, better, cheaper, i’m sure you could receive prizes in the field of systemantics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Some interesting 'facts'?

I can back up these claims based on experience.
‘more precise’ = with an electronic system the error rate should be no more then 0.00% there is no excuse for error plain and simple.

The problem is exactly as you put it ‘adding complexity’ there is absolutely no reason why an e-voting system needs to be more complex, the reason we would think of an electronic voting system would be to remove the complexities; handling boxes (why do i keep hearing bags?) of paper, hand counting millions of ballots, etc. etc. etc.

Let?s face it; a voting system is incredibly simple compared to the vast majority of IT projects I?ve dealt with. You primarily have 2 main issues (that don?t take much to sort out) 1 being the interface (it doesn’t haft to be a touch screen or something complicated, how about modeling it after an ATM machine for example?), and 2 being redundancy. And of course security goes without saying.

I recently did some calculations on a e-voting system. And the price per voting booth (including an auditable paper-trail verifiable by the voter him/herself), using hardy proven equipment. and there is no reason it should cost more than 1-2k a booth (including all software and completely based on open systems that can be independently audited and verified) and that?s using prices I can get stuff for (multiply that by however many units you require and you can axe that price down)

And then I ask WHY we use voting machines from companies run by persons with strong ties to a particular party, that run a custom operating system from another politically connected company, with voting software from yet another politically connected company. That are so complex that they have endless line of ?Glitches??

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