Thursday November 2, 2006

He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.“ This is totally fucked; those electronic voting machines are a lot worse then a waste of money: they’re a complete disaster. And people told the elections officials they were a bad idea. They went ahead and bought them anyway. Bad, bad stuff. Here and here we discussed voting online, which I still think is the obvious way to the future — and with no hardware cost. (via BoingBoing) Update: At The Register. Update: Fuck me: the Herald’s doing online polls now.

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  1. Jonathan    Thu Nov 2, 12:37 PM #  

    OK idea, bad implementation. Electronic voting machines running open-source software and producing some kind of paper backup would have been better. Paper ballots using fill-in-the-box paper forms and electronic readers might have been better too.

  2. alesh    Thu Nov 2, 12:55 PM #  

    I have no idea where the obsession with paper backup comes from.

    Open-source software machines would be better, but better still is to use the machines people already have at home. I do online banking from my house, which is 100% accurate. I have yet to hear a compelling reason for why voting from home should be any less accurate.

    It would have to be set up right to prevent tampering, but why do people think that’s impossible?

  3. mkh    Thu Nov 2, 01:59 PM #  

    If I get a chance I’ll dig up the MIT study on e-voting. It addressed the Internet voting proposition, as well as a number of other electronic voting options and considerations.

  4. Jonathan    Thu Nov 2, 04:27 PM #  

    “I have no idea where the obsession with paper backup comes from.”

    Audit trail? The current system wouldn’t be so bad if the machines made backup copies of votes on, say, paper tape. It’s not high-tech but people generally understand how it works. The current, poorly designed, electronic systems might be hackable, and it’s difficult to detect fraud when there’s no audit trail that you can compare to the electronic record. For example, the error discussed in the newspaper article only turned up because it happened to affect the voting machine’s visual display.

    “I have yet to hear a compelling reason for why voting from home should be any less accurate.”

    No positive ID. This is the same problem that vote-by-mail systems have. I saw a news report last night that said the incidence of fraud is much higher with absentee ballots than it is with on-site voting, and I think I have read similar claims in the past. You can use phony ID to vote at your local polling place, but it’s harder to do that than it is to fill in another voter’s absentee ballot. I assume this would also be true for online voting. Is there any reason to think it wouldn’t?

  5. Alex    Fri Nov 3, 05:36 PM #  

    Of course you can have positive ID. All you have to do is get a PIN when you register to vote. If banks, credit cards and the IRS can manage to identify their customers, so can the electoral commissions.

  6. mkh    Fri Nov 3, 07:39 PM #  

    A PIN is good in theory, but what about this:

    Husband: “Woman, give me your got-damned PIN. I don’t want you to waste it voting for some pansy.”

    Wife: “Okay, just don’t beat the children again!”

    Husband: “Haw haw.”

    With a signature and an ID at the polling place (or on an absentee ballot) you have a lower incidence of vote buying/extortion.

    If there’s a mistake with your bank account (or tax return), you usually have a number of days to contest it. Most state laws require certification of election results within a matter of 48-72 hours of the polls closing. That isn’t much time to go in front of a judge and tell your tale of woe.