Ohio E-Voting Machines Declared A Crime Scene?

from the good-luck-trying-to-pull-out-the-evidence dept

While it’s difficult to believe some of the more conspiracy-minded theories that have gone around concerning voting results from Ohio in 2004, the simple fact that there’s absolutely no way to go back and review the results highlights exactly the problem with e-voting machines. Ohio’s current secretary of state has now declared some of the machines used in the ’04 election as a crime scene to be investigated, but everyone admits that there’s little to no chance of being able to recreate what actually happened on election night, and no way to tell if the machines acted properly or if they malfunctioned. And, if they did malfunction, there’s no way to tell if it was due to an accident or something underhanded. In other words, whether or not everything worked great or everything worked terribly, there’s simply no way to tell. That is why so many of us have trouble with the concept of e-voting machines. Even if they work perfectly, there’s no way to confirm that — and it just leads to more speculation and conspiracy theories about “stolen” elections.

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Comments on “Ohio E-Voting Machines Declared A Crime Scene?”

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Jackson Coleman says:

E-voting machines

Your published remarks on the Ohio voting machines gave me a smile. It’s perfect example of “see no evil” creampuff reporting these days. Do you really think with the most powerful office in the world at stake, we are going to go soundly back to sleep convinced that “Golly, we’ll just never know…”
Are you kidding us, or yourselves? We can read the situation perfectly well to deduce the truth all by ourselves, thank you very much.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: E-voting machines

Your published remarks on the Ohio voting machines gave me a smile. It’s perfect example of “see no evil” creampuff reporting these days. Do you really think with the most powerful office in the world at stake, we are going to go soundly back to sleep convinced that “Golly, we’ll just never know…”

I have been among the most vocal in pointing out the problems with e-voting systems since well before most people had even known about the issue. Don’t tell me that I’m “creampuff” reporting.

I am NOT saying “golly, we’ll just never know.” Please read the post again. I am saying the very fact that you cannot definitively know one way or the other is a HUGE problem that should be a concern to everyone.

But, I’m not going to accuse anyone of malicious tactics without actual evidence that there was a conspiracy going on. We don’t know for sure that anything actually went wrong. We don’t know for sure that, if something went wrong, it wasn’t due to a bug in the software.

To accuse someone without proof is unfair. You can do it if you want, but I won’t be a part of it.

I will stand up for what is right. I will stand up and point out the absurdities of those who make these machines or those who insist that they are accurate.

But I will not make accusations without proof.

Will says:

Mandatory sentences

I think we need to enact mandatory sentences for election fraud and each and every voting machine should display notice of such. Start with a mandatory 5 years and $50,000 fine for local elections and progress upward to $50,000,000 and life for presidential elections.

We all know the bigwigs are behind it all, whether big is the official running or higher-ups in the party, but such mandatory sentences will make those who end up doing the dirty deeds for them think twice about it.

John Sokol (profile) says:

Unless you've hacked.

Unless you have been a hacker and seen the scope of the stuff that can go down, you’d never know how high the odds are that these machines are either rigged or hacked.

Just stop and think for a moment that in 5 minutes any freshly installed windows box put on the internet without a firewall will be infected with a worm.

Now we are going to trust our elections with similar technology. A technology that is secret and is not open to peer review, verification, or questioning? Doesn’t matter if the conspiracy theory’s are real or not, the lack of concern for such scenarios is.

Just read http://techdirt.com/articles/20080317/185348564.shtml
if you need any red flags raised.

Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Paper Trail

How is the tally kept on these machines? It would be nice to have a machine that kept count and also printed out a copy to be used as a backup tally. (e.g. vote on the machine and put the printout into a ballot box) At least then you have a failsafe to know when a problem actually occures

What you’re referring to is called a “paper trail”. Most e-voting machines don’t produce paper trails because the elections officials don’t want them to. It makes it too hard to rig elections.

Josh says:

e-voting machines

I worked with diebold on the georgia elections… the machines have built in printers, but they were not designed to keep a paper trail… only a tally. On the revision of the machine that I worked on, a 12yr old with a pen knife, pocket PC with a PCMCIA slot on it could have rigged the election… except he’d be too young to vote. All tally’s were stored on a simple memory card in an un-encrypted flat file. During our preelection testing and just for grins we popped one into a laptop… notepad worked as an editor.

That paper sure is hard to fake– Just ask Florida!

KD says:

Don't use them ...

I insist on a paper ballot. In my state, you can request an absentee ballot even if you are not going to be gone, and that’s what I do. I encourage everyone to do the same. Insist on using a paper ballot. If enough of us do so, their electronic election rigging devices won’t control enough votes to matter.

There is no reason that we can’t count all elections manually. We don’t have to have instant results. Waiting a few hours or a day for the count to be done is plenty fast enough to learn the results of any election.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't use them ...

Well, even with paper ballots you can have the same issue(paper ballot being tampered with). If you have both a electronic count and a paper count you just made it twice as hard to tamper with because you would know there was a problem (the counts don’t match). To mess with this you would need to change both the paper and the electronic count

Ferin says:

Republicans around here couldn't care less

I actually heard this brought up a couple days ago, when I went to get a haricut. Who should end up sittting next to me but the former director of the Franklin County Board of Elections Damschroeder? (I didn’t even realize he lived near me, guess I’ll have to go egg his house at some point.) In his eyes, the idea of switching to paper was moronic, because “it’s will cost way too much money” and “there’s no secruity concerns, never have been”.

Somebody mentioned this, and he said it was all a figment of Bruner’s imagination, and that the machines were perfectly fine. This kind of attitude is what really bothers me about this whole thing. It’s the damned elections, people damn well should be concerned about even the appearance of a problem!

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