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"Touch Screen Voting Isn't the Right Answer" Balt.Sun-This is really good!

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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:26 AM
Original message
"Touch Screen Voting Isn't the Right Answer" Balt.Sun-This is really good!
Edited on Sat Apr-01-06 12:27 AM by Amaryllis
Touch-screen voting isn't the right answer
By John Schneider

Originally published March 31, 2006

A debate over the use of electronic voting machines in Maryland generally has focused on words such as "security," "interpretive code" and "hacking."

The arguments tend to pit the reliability and safety of one machine against the other and compare the veracity and experience of expert vs. expert. They are earnestly written, articulately defended and, in many cases, factually accurate.

Unfortunately, they are also largely beside the point.

This isn't surprising: There are powerful commercial and political interests vying for the upper hand, with much prestige and profit at stake. Still, the debate has been incorrectly framed, and voters are the poorer for it.

The problem is this: When discussing the integrity of any data storage, processing and retrieval system, the term "secure" is a misnomer. In the realm of computer science, there is no such standard, no such definition. One can only describe the precautions taken and the recovery plan if the system is breached.

More: http://tinyurl.com/kfygw
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. Elevated article,
as far as getting to the real problem with these vote stealing machines.



I like this Fact.

"The last point has been lost in the debate and needs to be reintroduced. As much as we would like to believe assurances that our machines are infallible (because most of us don't have the experience to determine this ourselves), we will have given up the right to know whether our vote was true if our recovery plan consists solely of trusting the technology masters".

K&R......nt
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Great to know that the inappropriateness of trust is a principle that
doesn't just come from the Constitutional perspective, but from the computer perspective as well.

Its the checks and balances, stupid. Not trust.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Amen........nt
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:00 AM
Response to Original message
2. Excellent article, from computer security perspective, one good quote is
More simply, all computer systems can be rigged or manipulated. It is never a question of "if," only of time or money and the potential payoff. <...>

The last point has been lost in the debate and needs to be reintroduced. As much as we would like to believe assurances that our machines are infallible (because most of us don't have the experience to determine this ourselves), we will have given up the right to know whether our vote was true if our recovery plan consists solely of trusting the technology masters.

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
5. Well, it's a start, but the thing's that really missing from the debate is
"TRADE SECRET," PROPRIETARY programming code in the voting machines and central tabulators.

Electronic machines can switch thousands of votes at the speed of light leaving no trace. A paper trail--even a legal paper ballot--is not worth much unless you have a good, high percentage audit/recount. Most jurisdictions don't have anything nearly adequate. And post-election recounts are extremely difficult to obtain and expensive. If even a few election officials were colluding in fraud and covering it up, the fraud can be undetectable. It is nearly impossible to commit fraud on the scale that it can be done with electronics, with a paper ballot system (no electronics). You simply cannot fiddle that many votes if they are hand-counted at the precinct level with public observers. Electronic tabulation takes place out of sight--and further, by means of tabulation formulas that are so secret not even our secretaries of state are permitted to review it.

This is just unacceptable and outrageous.

Add to it that the two chief corporations tabulating our votes behind a veil of secrecy are Bushite corporations--Diebold and ES&S--with strong direct ties to Bush and extreme rightwing causes.

This is not just unacceptable and outrageous--it is mind-boggling.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. But he is making another very valid point, which is that there is no
such thing as "secure" in this case.

"When discussing the integrity of any data storage, processing and retrieval system, the term "secure" is a misnomer. In the realm of computer science, there is no such standard, no such definition. One can only describe the precautions taken and the recovery plan if the system is breached."

I just wonder if the very first person who came up with these machines went about deliberatly creating an easily hackable system.
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
6. .
:thumbsup:

R'ed
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yowzayowzayowza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
7. Would you trust a single random citizen to...
...hand count all the ballots in your precinct? ... even if they had background checks and certification testing? Of course not! The strength of paper-ballots-hand-counted-by-the-people as a process is not itz manual nature but rather rock solid quality control in the form of 100% redundancy - EVERY ballot is counted TWICE.

Similarly, no amount of documentation, certification, checking or testing will make an automated counting device trustworthy. The reliability of the process is rooted in the strength of itz quality control. Choosing optiscan simply because it could sport a "recovery plan" is insufficient. EVERY counting device MUST be verified by the people in EVERY election. A paper ballot counted by ANY unverified process is yet another form of faith based voting.

Imho, tho I agree with the rest of the article, ultimately itz off the mark.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Op scans STILL use proprietary software. We don't talk nearly
enough about the vote counting in our focus on DREs. The scanners and tabulators that count the votes are even more problematic than DREs in terms of the number of votes that can be affected.
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yowzayowzayowza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I really do not care.
Honestly, I don't give two flying flipz about op-scan source code. The reason "the number of votes that can be affected" is so high is that the Op-scans are trusted without verification, without any QC audit what-so-ever. Thatz gotta stop. Itz like trusting a single individual to hand count the votes: INSANE.

Status of the source code will NEVER guarantee trustworthy elections; effective QC audits will. Placing the electorate back in control of verification of the vote count is paramount.

DREs? Haven't met one I'd trust under any circumstance. No evidence of each voters will + No possibility of effective QC audits = Vote stealing machine.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I agree, AND I think there needs to be far more discussion of the actual
COUntING of the votes. Those of us in paper ballot states find a huge hurdle is that people think they are home free if they have paper ballots. And that's why we are working so hard for audits, because paper is just step one.
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