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EXCELLENT Synopsis of the Ballot Definition Programming Problem!

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:05 PM
Original message
EXCELLENT Synopsis of the Ballot Definition Programming Problem!
If you're ready to get SERIOUS about e-voting, read this excellent editorial from Iowa:


<http://www.press-citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=... >

The faulty programming affected every race on the ballot, and the county ordered a full hand recount of all races.

-snip-

Was the Pottawattamie error an isolated incident? Hardly...Election Systems and Software, has a track record of ballot programming errors across the United States. In 2006 alone, ES&S has made major programming mistakes in Texas, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.

The last several years also offer a rich history of ES&S mistakes, races in which straight-party votes failed to record at all, or recorded for the wrong party's candidates. Races in which all the votes went to one candidate, or were exactly reversed.

-snip-

So, at least these errors create results so skewed that reasonably attentive election officials catch the problem quickly, right? Sorry, but no.

-snip-

Ballot programming by out-of-state voting machine companies should be banned, and citizens and political party representatives should be allowed to audit the programming before and after the election.


Full article also available at:

<http://www.votetrustusa.org/index.php?option=com_conten... >

This guy has it exactly right! Do you think you can handle this DUers?

These are REAL e-voting problems -- not just theories. They happen all the time. And anyone who's anyone in computers or who has ever studied Freud knows that anything that can happen accidentally can be MADE to happen deliberately. (In fact Freud believed there ARE NO accidents, but I digress.)

Now K&R this and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT before we have another Pottawattamie in a county near you in November!
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think it was Carl Jung.
:D

Thanks for posting, though!

One day, this issue will get the attention it deserves.

One day.



St. Francis County, Arkansas. June 2006. ES&S optical scan.
Flaws in ballot programming reverse Senate District 16 runoff.

Pottawattamie County, Iowa. June 2006. ES&S M100.
Flawed ballot programming changes outcomes in nine contests.

Pottawattamie County, Iowa. June 2006. ES&S M100.
Flawed ballot programming changes outcomes in at least one contest.

Phillips County, Arkansas. May 2006. ES&S
Flawed ballot programming fails to count 432 Democratic votes in primary.

Pulaski County, Arkansas. May 2006. ES&S
Malfunctions and misprogramming cause election problems.


http://www.votersunite.org/info/previousmessups.asp

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. No Jung was the Collective Unconscious
Edited on Wed Jul-05-06 10:27 PM by Bill Bored
(Which is a perfect description of this forum!) :)
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It seems they both did.
"That which remains unconscious, comes to us as fate." ~ Carl G. Jung

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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. you have my k&r!
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. kick
Is there no end?
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Zan_of_Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yup. Thanks for catching that editorial.
Here are two links to understand ballot definition, a huge potential vulnerability that is little discussed.

"51 Ballot Programming Flaws Reported in the News," http://www.votersunite.org/info/mapVoteSwitch.pdf

Discussion: see "Key Component of Voting System Undergoes No Review," by VotersUnite.org, June 18, 2006, http://www.votersunite.org/info/BallotProgramming.pdf

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-05-06 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. snip
snip

The gross errors, like Pottawattamie's, are the ones that are caught. But if an error affected only a race for the U.S. Congress, governor or the state senate -- and that race was closely fought -- no one would know. Last Tuesday's primary could have been affected, and we would not know.

snip

http://www.press-citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=...

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 02:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. argh
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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 04:03 AM
Response to Original message
8. Random events
at best only happen in quantum mechanics, and maybe not even there.

Good find.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. What a bunch of dumbasses
So a search there at newscientist using the word 'election' turns up just one year old story. And it is full of crap. What the hell is wrong with those idiots, can't they pull their intellectual heads out of their sorry butts long enough to see how bad the machines are? Hopefully, you, Febble, will be able to educate them, eh?

22.
US e-voting proponents say no to paper trails
A debate rages in the US Senate over whether electronic ballots, found to be extremely accurate, should be backed by paper copies
22 June 2005 Breaking News

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/dn7562.html
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-06-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Or are they just stupid?
Dumbasses or just stupid?

Look at what they posted in 2004:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6523


Analysis: The great American e-voting experiment

* 09:30 16 October 2004

Democratic elections are supposed to be decided by the will of the people. That principle was called into question by the 2000 election for the president of the United States of America, which was famously determined by just 537 votes in Florida and one Supreme Court decision. In November, it may be under scrutiny again, as another close presidential election could be decided by the accuracy of a raft of new voting technologies.

Across the US on 2 November, while some voters register their intent using traditional paper ballots, punched cards and lever machines, others will be using less tried-and-tested systems such as optical scanners and electronic touch-screen voting machines. These new systems are supposed to count votes more accurately.

But concerns are being voiced that electronic technologies can just as easily mean that more votes will go missing or be miscounted. They might even be used to commit election fraud. And unlike conventional voting systems, many electronic systems leave no paper trail to allow results to be double-checked.

The unprecedented use of these novel technologies will make the coming election a huge experiment in electronic voting. If the presidential election is decided by electronic voting in some swing state, one could imagine a bitter fight with no way to resolve it, says David Dill, a computer scientist at Stanford University in California. We could be entering uncharted waters with this election. People will not take a funny electronic result lying down: there will be challenges.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 01:40 AM
Response to Original message
12. .
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
13. When I was a programmer, we had
another group to test out our programs before they were implemented. Took longer, but additional problems could be caught before the product was implemented. Doesn't sound like ES&S takes any time at all to verify that their programs handled all the various scenarios with voting.
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Alpha testing is required by good programmers
Always.
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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-08-06 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
15. Essential reading I think, especially if ES&S is in your voting future.
Edited on Sat Jul-08-06 09:53 AM by Stevepol
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JimDandy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
16. Add Wyoming to the growing list of states with ES&S ballot
programming errors.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

In this case, though, the Teton County Clerk is blaming herself and not ES&S for the incorrectly programmed ballot definition files. When I spoke to the county clerk on the phone today, she said that the ES&S trainer was there during the ballot programming, but that he was there in a training capacity only and was not responsible for the error. HUUUH?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. You mean this list?
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JimDandy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. That's a good list, too, but
I meant the 2006 list you cited in your OP:

"In 2006 alone, ES&S has made major programming mistakes in Texas, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arkansas."

There are so many things wrong with e-voting machines, that a divide and conquer strategy is necessary to reverse their stronghold on our election process. Thanks for always being on top of the ballot definition file problems!
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