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

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 30 Oct 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?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.