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.

Filed Under: e-voting, glitches, west virginia
Companies: es&s


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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 29 Oct 2008 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: paper Trail required

    State and federal voting machine certification tolerate very low machine failure rates

    In theory. In reality, all we hear about are e-voting machine problems. They seem quite common.

    Certification serves as an important screen

    This would be the same "certification" that was later shown to have not involved any actual investigation of the machine?

    This is also the "certification" that is not particularly rigid and has not turned up most of the problems found by independent investigators.

    Sorry, the certification process is a joke.

    I disagree with your analysis that e-voting is not ready for use.

    I don't understand this statement. We are pointing out serious problems with the machines, and you claim they're ready for use?!?

    If you want to throw in, "This could happen, that could happen, etc" you could apply that to any voting standard. Be it paper or e-voting.

    No one has said that paper is perfect. But the damage that can be done from a bad e-voting system is much worse, because a single error can totally change the results of an election. A single paper ballot error effects a single ballot.

    If a technology does not meet the criteria set by State and Federal regulations. It is not used.. Simple as that.

    This is simply untrue. If only it were so, but remember that California found that uncertified code was used in many of its machines last election.

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