When Even The Simpsons Make Fun Of E-Voting Machines…

from the and-yet-we-still-rely-on-them dept

Remember back when people first started questioning the reliability of e-voting machines? It was initially focused on Diebold, though later reports have all shown that Sequoia and ES&S are equally as bad. Yet, initially those critics were all brushed off by the e-voting firms as wild-eyed, conspiracy theory. lunatic activists. The only problem is that they keep being proven correct time and time again, and the story has certainly crossed over into the mainstream. If you need proof, look no further than The Simpsons recent clip about e-voting that a ton of you have sent in:

Clearly, the issue has gone beyond the “fringe” and into the mainstream. So, it’s really too bad that judges seem to think that the public can’t handle a research report on these machines.

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Comments on “When Even The Simpsons Make Fun Of E-Voting Machines…”

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MAtt says:


Beware truths that begin with, “everyone knows that…” And The Simpsons (one of my all-time favorite shows, mind you), has pretty much become an ad for the democratic party. Sad, really. Witty, intelligent humor has turned into obvious partisan jabs. And the uneducated (@illegalprelude) use it as a truth basis.
While I wouldn’t be shocked if e-voting machines were faulty, I’m confident in neither the public or the media to handle the facts in moderation.

@illegalprelude – don’t mistake a really close election with voter fraud.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: beware

“The Simpsons (one of my all-time favorite shows, mind you), has pretty much become an ad for the democratic party. Sad, really. Witty, intelligent humor has turned into obvious partisan jabs.”

Oh no…that darn liberal media! Where is Hannity to protect us and tell us the truth!

It’s still witty and intelligent humor. There isn’t anything wrong with a show making fun of the GOP. They probably think they’re a bunch of aholes like most of the country does at the moment.

comboman says:

Re: beware

And The Simpsons (one of my all-time favorite shows, mind you), has pretty much become an ad for the democratic party. Sad, really. Witty, intelligent humor has turned into obvious partisan jabs.

So back in the 90’s when the Simpson’s made fun of Clinton’s womanizing, did you think that was intelligent humor or obvious partisan jabs?

MAtt says:

Re: Re: beware

Clinton telling Marge that it was a law that he had to dance with her was completely ridiculous and funny (“I’d change it if I could. Really, I would. What? Aw, shoot, looks like Canada’s got the bomb…”). Homer saying he wanted to punch George Bush in his “stupid monkey face” was neither witty or funny.
In general, characterizations of Clinton were (and still are) really absurd and funny, as were those of George H. W. Bush. Jabs at George W. Bush were/are taken straight from left-wing talking points.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: beware

It seems Matt needs our help. A while back, he said he has to capitalize his name at work, which is why he said his entire name was usually in all caps. MaTt was a habit he’s trying to break, and we’re almost there. So let’s help him break it and make MAtt patches or maTT patches or something, because MAtt wants to be Matt, or maybe Matthew. Nut today, someone may mistaken him as MatT. Matty Mat Mat. Who wants to make MAtt into a doorstep MAtt? No One! Let’s root Matt on as he becomes just plain ol “Matt”.

illegalprelude (user link) says:

I dont want this to be a political thread as there is a time and place for all that but do a little digging, the 2000 election was not won by majority vote because majority vote went to Al Gore and im pretty sure he isnt president but funny the person who decided happens to be from the Bush camp….

but thats crazy talk because Simpsons rules.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos says:

Re: Majority vote?

…the 2000 election was not won by majority vote because majority vote went to Al Gore…

US presidential election is not decided by direct majority of the popular vote, so what is your point?

If you have to blame anybody on the fubar that was the 2000 election, blame Nader and Buchanan for their lack of faith in America’s 2-party system 😉

Justin says:

Re: Man of the Year

And that was a great movie. For those who missed it Robin Williams plays a talk show host who, as a lark, runs for president and gets on the ballot in about 12 states needed to win (CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, PA, OH, MI, GA, NJ, NC, & MA which equals ~271 electoral votes). Because of a bug in the software in the machines, he gets elected. When it is pointed out to him that the reason he won was because of faulty software, he decides not to accept the election results and refuses the presidency. To believe any regular politician would follow this same course of action, however, is as funny as this movie was.

Bhaktha Keshavachar says:

India uses voting machines

At the outset I confess I don’t comprehend all the intricacies (political or technical) with e-voting in USA, but what really surprises me is that India has been using e-voting for a while now. With all the problems that we have e-voting has silently and efficiently streamlined the massive electoral process. My 80 year old parents and the barely literates (like the auto/taxi driver) here are quite comfortable and seem to have taken it as normal !

The only “big” problem was that when tallying the votes from each machine, the voting patterns come to be known with not so good consequences … The manufacturer has come up with a simple solution wherein many voting machines are ganged together and then counted as a whole in one operation.

The machines are fairly low-tech (no Windoze !), reliable and cheap to produce.

So … the obvious question. Is there something to be learnt from this ? (please refrain from comments like Americans are rich (we know that), stupid (not entirely true) …)

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: India uses voting machines

Every voting system (paper, punch cards, electronic, etc.) is subject to some form of fraud, so the question becomes, which voting system is subject to the least fraud?

One, question overlooked in this debate occurs before we even get into the voting booth. Is that person even eligible to vote?

To me the problem with the e-voting machines is that e-voting machine manufactures want to overcharge the public and use proprietary software.

On the issue of cost. I don’t know if we have a real competitive bidding process or not.

On the issue of proprietary software. The public is paying for and using these machines, the code should be in the public domain. Period, Period, Period.

There is nothing magical about e-voting. As you point out “The machines are fairly low-tech (no Windoze !), reliable and cheap to produce.” Too bad the concept of e-voting been blown out of proportion.

Overcast says:

I refuse to use these machines – if they are all that’s available when I go to vote, I will claim they are not giving me an acceptable method of voting and I am ‘disenfranchised’.

I’ll make a pretty big scene about it too.


“(a) Failure or refusal to permit casting or tabulation of vote
No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is entitled to vote under any provision of subchapters I–A to I–C of this chapter or is otherwise qualified to vote, or willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count, and report such person’s vote. “

There are clear questions about the ability of these machines to tabulate and count the votes, correct? Even Diebold has admitted to it.

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

Till skimming

Now with electronic tills, it’s easier to skim money. They just use software on the till to change the count to whatever they want it to say:


Voting machines are no different. This is why they need a voter verified paper audit trail and a random check on the voting machines to catch any fraud.

Wang says:

Forever in infamy

There is bad news about George Herbert Walker Bush:

What if basically all racial-minority people would subscribe to the interpretations that George Herbert Walker Bush committed monstrous, racist, hate crimes while he was the President of the United States?

It will eventually come out: it is only a matter of time.

Respectfully Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang, J.D. Candidate
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

(I can type 90 words per minute, and there are thousands of copies on the Internet indicating the content of this post. And there are at least hundreds of copies in very many countries around the world.)
“If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Off the top of my head—it came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

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