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A blast from the past, from someone who saw where electronic voting was headed in 1988

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-08 08:11 PM
Original message
A blast from the past, from someone who saw where electronic voting was headed in 1988
Ronnie Dugger had this electronic voting thing figured out in 1988.

It appears that since 1980 errors and accidents have proliferated in computer-counted elections. Since 1984, the State of Illinois has tested local computerized systems by running many thousands of machine-punched mock ballots through them, rather than the few tens of test ballots that local election officials customarily use. As of the most recent tests this year, errors in the basic counting instructions in the computer programs had been found in almost a fifth of the examinations. These "tabulation-program errors" probably would not have been caught in the local jurisdictions. "I don't understand why nobody cares," Michael L. Harty, who was until recently the director of voting systems and standards for Illinois, told me last December in Springfield. "At one point, we had tabulation errors in twenty-eight per cent of the systems tested, and nobody cared."


Judge Hungate found that in four local elections since 1981 voting positions had not been counted by the computerized system on anywhere from four to eight of every hundred ballots in black wards, compared with about two of every hundred in white wards (and also found that in the March, 1987, election the computerized returns from six per cent of the precincts had "irreconcilable discrepancies").


The election-equipment companies, which thus both sell and program the computers that tabulate public elections, have long contended, in and out of court, that they own the source codes and must keep them secret from everyone, including the local officials who conduct elections.


After systems that use computer punch cards as ballots have counted the votes, manual recounts of the holes in the punch cards can be demanded, provided the cards have not yet been destroyed by local officials-as is permitted by most local laws after a specified period of time. But in a new computerized system, "direct-recording electronic" (D.R.E.), which is becoming more widespread, there are no individual ballots, and, the way these new machines are now being used in many jurisdictions, recounts are impossible, for the program destroys the electronic record of each voter's choices the instant after it counts them.


More:
http://www.newsgarden.org/columns/dugger.shtml

Thanks to Scoop for pointing me to the Dugger article - I was doing a search on 'ol R. Doug Lewis for old times' sake, and found this:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0810/S00113.htm
which is sure worth reading as well.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-08 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Gee, ya mean it's NOT just the Help America Vote Act of 2002?
Edited on Fri Oct-31-08 09:47 PM by Bill Bored
Why I've heard that 99.9999% of America voted on hand counted paper ballots and lever machines before 2000! Who knew there was electronic vote counting before that? :sarcasm:

But thanks for posting this! :hi:
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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-08 10:45 PM
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2. I remember seeing a guy on a TV morning show in the 80s
explaining what a wonderful thing it would be when the computers were able to be used for counting votes.

I remember thinking at the time exactly what Dugger writes about: these things cannot be trusted.

I also thought something like this: this is the perfect way to steal an election and to cheat to your heart's content.

We have been so dumbed down by Repub governance that it's just impossible to find people with the common sense to recognize the obvious.

Maybe Obama will give a needed injection of REASON and COMMON SENSE and we can throw these damned machines in a ditch and cover them under. Let some civilization a thousand years in the future find them and try to figure out what they're used for.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-08 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yep, to bad Ronnie didn't have the INTERNETS
because these paperless ballot machines beit electronic touchcreens and or mechanical levers would have been busted a long time ago.

K&R
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