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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 09:46 AM
Original message
New Threat? For DU Investigation: "Americans Elect"
Edited on Mon Jul-25-11 09:46 AM by snot
We who appreciate the need for election reform might be interested in this -- pls check it out!: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

While looking into the #f@ckyouwashington phenomenon, I came across a tweet touting a new organization called "Americans Elect" (http://www.americanselect.org / ). The org's website offers,

Americans Elect is harnessing the power of the Internet to ask every single voter one simple question: who would you nominate in 2012?

You choose the issues.
You choose the candidates.
You nominate the ticket.
And the winner will be on the 2012 ballot in every state.

(More at the link above.) Today I came across this:

The money behind Americans Elect understands disruptive business models. The groups founder, entrepreneur Peter Ackerman (father of Elliot), started FreshDirect.com, which has upended the New York grocery business by letting customers order food and basics online, delivered straight from a warehouse. He and some 50 other initial donors have loaned the organization $20 million, out of an eventual $30 million budgeted, to be repaid if small donors join on. . . .

More at http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... -- pls rec the OP there -- thanks!
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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's worth a closer look
This actually sounds like a good idea if it is done right however a quick look at the organizational set up raises some doubts. They're too controlling and they don't offer much information about what they're doing. Instead they seem more concerned with gathering information, possibly for their own unstated purposes. If they turn out to be in favor of electing candidates at a grass roots level that are directly accountable to the public that would be great. this would work much better if we had Instant Run-off elections; however even without it would be better than either electing corporate candidate A or B. Unfortunately for now I'm skeptical that this is what they intend.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Instant runoff? By computers?
Sorry, that gets no respect here. ZIP.
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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Computers could be helpful
Edited on Mon Jul-25-11 12:24 PM by zacherystaylor
Computers could be helpful if it is done right. Ideally, perhaps, a computer could be used to pick out the candidates and then a paper ballot could be printed out that includes a bar code. Then another computer could be used for a quick count. In this hypothetical there would be a paper back up and the voter could check this before finalization then it would be saved for possible hand recount if necessary. This enables election workers to check the process based on things they understand. They wouldn't need to understand the computer process and hackers couldn't change the paper ballots. This is just one of many possibilities worth considering. Instant Run-off has the benefit of giving sincere third parties a good chance without collecting a lot of bribes, thinly disguised as campaign contributions.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Welcome to the ER
Undertaking a careful study of the archives and becoming better educated would, I think, be a wise idea.

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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Seconded; see above.
Edited on Mon Jul-25-11 09:43 PM by snot


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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Just want to share some info . . .
Basically, computer experts have established -- and continue to establish -- that it is virtually impossible to make electronic voting secure from hacking. (If Anonymous can hack the gov't's security contractor HB Gary, can we really assume that any internet-based voting system is secure?)

And that's assuming you trust the manufacturers, owners, and operators of the hardware/software -- in this case, the apparently conservative founders of "America Elects" -- not to be rigging the voting mechanisms to begin with.

And we've certainly been given plenty of grounds NOT to trust other such manufacturers/owners/operators, e.g. Diebold and ES&S.

And yes, paper ballots can be forged as well, but not on anywhere near the same scale, or with the same ease and refinement.

The links below have some info. I haven't been active in this area lately, so sorry I haven't got anything more up-to-date.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/03/24/64711/most-electr...

http://electiondefensealliance.org/open_letter_media

http://www.verifiedvotingfoundation.org/article.php?lis...

You can also look for work by Bob Fitrakis, Greg Palast, or Robert F. Kennedy. I'm sure I'm missing some great people, but others in this forum can advise you.
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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-27-11 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. I indicated that there should be paper backup
I agree with some of your points; however I still think that if the system is checked properly that it could be helpful. My comments included a paper back up which should have the candidates names written as well as a bar code so that the voter and the election workers could rely on the written portion, which couldnt be hacked once it is printed out, if there is any problem. The bar code would be used only for quicker counting; it isnt necessary if theyre going to be mandatory hand counting but it would allow for quicker reporting of the results assuming there isnt a problem. The system should be checked to make sure it works first of course. If there are problems they should be fixed before the election. Once the written portion is printed and deposited it can't be hacked assuming it isn't done by hand. That could also be done with non-computer assisted ballots. The way to avoid this would involve closer watching at the polls by sincere and active citizens. The computer would just be a potential good tool and anyone should be able to verify the written portion without computer knowledge including the typical voter.

This doesn't mean I think this should be the only idea considered but it would be better than what theyre doing now. I dont think false concerns should be used to avoid instant run-off elections which would clearly be better than allowing a two party system where both parties are controlled by the corporations. There are plenty of political operatives that will use any distraction tactic they can get away with to avoid a truly sincere system.

Thanks for the links; Ill take a closer look when I get the chance but it is clear that none of them could change the fact that as long as there is a written paper backup that can be recounted it wouldnt be worse than the corrupt system (or different systems which seem to change from county to county) we now have.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-11 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Experience has shown the "paper backup" is almost never used to check results.
Even the courts can't be counted on to order such checks (hand counts), and I'm NOT just talking about Bush v. Gore.

Our legal system is too far behind the technology to be of much use in election cases. Voters apparently have no legal right to know that their votes are counted as cast. Lawyers won't represent voters in the courts because voters don't have the money to pay them. Candidates have standing in the courts, but are only concerned with winning their own particular elections. And their so-called "election lawyers" are mostly clueless when it comes to computers.

There may be ways to win at the state level, but lawyers get paid more for winning federal cases, so they won't go to the state courts and fight for voters.

Until all this is sorted out, which apparently will take decades (if ever), we should not be relying on or expanding computerized vote counting, especially via the Internet.
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libguy_6731 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. I agree
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libguy_6731 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. delete
Edited on Sat Aug-06-11 09:52 PM by libguy_6731
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libguy_6731 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. delete
Edited on Sat Aug-06-11 09:52 PM by libguy_6731
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-25-11 09:54 PM
Response to Original message
7. Another DU'er added some helpful info re- "Americans Elect" over here:
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mahina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-23-11 12:29 AM
Response to Original message
12. Saw these guys on McNei Lehrer and they were suuuuper creepy!
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec11/thir...

They were asked how they could show that they were not backed by special interests and how they could show that their process was clean. They danced around both questions, talking the whole time, with no response.

These guys give me the heeeebie jeebies.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-28-11 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
14. Deleted message
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