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Sorry, your vote has been lost, hacked, miscast or recordered twice. Nov 2004 Popular Science [View All]

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Ellipsis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-16-11 02:27 AM
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Sorry, your vote has been lost, hacked, miscast or recordered twice. Nov 2004 Popular Science
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Edited on Sun Oct-16-11 02:53 AM by Ellipsis
New electronic voting machines are supposed to prevent another Election Day disaster, but these paperless PCs could make hanging chads seem like a minor nuisance.

By Annalee Newitz

Its 2 a.m. on November 3. The polls have been closed for hours, but the election has yet to be called. Around the country, reports of snafus with new electronic voting machines have been pouring in; no one is sure how these problems have affected the results. In Maryland, machines failed to boot up, and voters were turned away for hours. In South Carolina, officials bought machines too late for adequate testing, and on many of the onscreen ballots, the presidential contest included names of candidates from local elections. Several Texas counties are thousands of votes short because a bug in the software failed to record Spanish-language ballots. Pundits are already clamoring for a recount potentially larger than that of 2000.

But this time, there will be no hanging chads to contend with. In fact, for hundreds of thousands of votes, there will be no paper record at all. Ballots cast on many of the new touch-screen machines disappeared into computer memory or onto smartcards, leaving behind no paper trail to audit. Officials can print the results that have been saved in the machines, but theres no way to know if thats an accurate reflection of the votes that people actually cast. Adding to the chaos, one network news reporter has received a tip that mercenary hackers were hired to alter the code of a particular brand of machine so that every 10th vote for Candidate A was recorded as a vote for Candidate B. Meanwhile, in Colorado, another group of hackers is boasting that they stole a box of electronic smartcards used to activate e-voting machines and reprogrammed them to allow multiple votes, just for funthe way someone might hack a videogame. Or, in 2004, a presidential election.

This is a worst-case scenario, but its not a fairy tale. When one third of the countrys voters walk into booths containing electronic voting machines this November, many of them will have no idea if their vote is being recorded accurately or if it is being lost to malfunction or fraud. I dont think the technology exists to make entirely trustworthy voting systems, says Stanford University computer scientist and e-voting expert David Dill.

Why? Put simply, e-voting machines are computers, and as we well know, computers sometimes fail. When those failures occur, there is often only the highly fallible digital record to rely on, because adding a paper trail was deemed too expensive or unnecessary. Several grassroots groups are working to prevent an election-swinging symphony of disasters like the scenario above, but theres just no way to fix, test, and secure all of the tens of thousands of e-voting machines in time. This presidential election may well be a crapshoot.
Welcome to the age of high-tech voting.

Extremely well written piece. /

... I'm in love

Hey...Let's design a new voting machine. Anybody got the schematics for the standard voting machine Designed by Alfred J. Gillespie and manufactured by the Standard Voting Machine Company of Rochester, New York, in the late 1890s? Just Askin'.

The point of the post:

Seriously- would a "new and improved high tech" Gear and Lever machine make for good discussion?


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