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"Why should we trust the results of elections?" David Dill

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 05:35 PM
Original message
"Why should we trust the results of elections?" David Dill
Making Democracy Transparent
David Dill
March 07, 2006


David Dill is a professor of computer science at Stanford University and founder and board director of the Verified Voting Foundation. In 2004 he recieved the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Pioneer Award" for "spearheading and nurturing the popular movement for integrity and transparency in modern elections."

Public trust in our elections is eroding. While the general public still seems to accept election results, there is an undercurrent of bitterness that has grown tremendously over the last few years. There is a rapidly expanding body of literature on the Internet about the "stolen election of 2004," and several books on election fraud have recently been written. More are in the works.

Theories of widespread election fraud are highly debatable, to say the least. Some people enjoy that debate. I do not. It encourages a sense of hopelessness and consumes energy that could instead be focused on long-term changes that could give us elections we can trust.

The election fraud debate frames the problem incorrectly. The question should not be whether there is widespread election fraud. It should be: "Why should we trust the results of elections?" It's not good enough that election results be accurate. We have to know they are accurateand we don't.

In a word, elections must be transparent. People must be able to assure themselves that the results are accurate through direct observation during the election and examination of evidence afterwards.

..................
article at:
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/03/07/making_demo...
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ItsTheMediaStupid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Great Article about framing the discussion
Why should we trust the results of elections? As a computer pro, I don't.

Diebold and the other voting machine companies don't provide audit trails or allow inspection of their source code. If they aren't hiding anything, then why are they preventing us from looking?

This ties in with the Crisis Paper articles about looking guilty.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Counting is hard work (to paraphrase our esteemed leader.)
The voting machine companies have a "secret" way of counting votes they don't want to share.

:sarcasm:
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. Well they count in India
maybe they know more about numbers than the rest of the planet.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:59 AM
Response to Reply #3
12. Dupe
Edited on Wed Mar-08-06 05:59 AM by malaise
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is the ONLY way I have ever been able to get anyone to even consider
the problem of election fraud -- ask them how they would know whether an electronic election was counted correctly or not.

"Why should we trust the results of elections?" is THE question.

Thanks for posting this and thanks to David Dill for expressing it so forcefully.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. There is no basis for confidence in the results reported
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. K & R....... n/t
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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. www.january6th.org
The project continues.

The short version: "No confidence/trust in your elections/electors? No soup for you."

We can't expect to get what we don't demand (loudly).

--
www.january6th.org
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:06 AM
Response to Original message
7. My trust in elections isn't eroding, it's GONE! nm
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:42 AM
Response to Original message
8. How Can We Not Feel a Sense of Hopelessness?
Edited on Wed Mar-08-06 05:55 AM by AndyTiedye
People got together in Ohio and put a bunch of initiatives on the ballot
that would have cleaned up elections and restored democracy to Ohio.
They were up about 2-1 in the polls and things were looking for a landslide going into the election

It was a landslide. 2-1 THE OTHER WAY!
Blackwell can make those numbers say anything he wants, and the media will explain it away.

Now McPherson has done a Blackwell in California, approving Diebold machinez without any of
the mandated public hearings, and without the machinez fulfilling many of the legal requirements.
If they can steal the vote here, all is lost.

How can we stop them?
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Mr_Jefferson_24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. No well entrenched fascist regime...
...has ever been internally displaced by an opposition party working WITHIN the system, and the Neocon criminal fascists that have hijacked this nation will be no exception. A nonviolent revolution of massive noncooperation with this regime is the ONLY answer, and I'm afraid that our over-medicated, couch potato, citizenry just doesn't appear ready---at least not yet. Dark days ahead.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
9. Not until everyone votes with pen and paper
with verifiable totals, that means you can count the same batch of votes twice and get the same total, before I will trust our elections again.

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DrGonzoLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #9
20. How is that "guarenteed"?
Have you ever counted a large number of things by hand? You can still make mistakes.
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Kare Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #20
28. Canada has no problem doing it
Thats how theirs work I have heard, they do it by paper
anyone who wants to watch the counting can. Seems to
work for them. If we had a paper ballad there would
be enough volunteers who would be willing to do the
counting that it could be done effectively. If you do
it in the open then there is not much of a margin for error.
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DrGonzoLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. "Enough volunteers"
Sure about that? Not everywhere. There are barely enough to run elections around here, let alone sit around for hours on a work night counting ballots.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #42
55. Then pay them
If we go back to pen and paper and hand counts, think of all the money we'll save from not buying extremely expensive computers that don't work, we'll easily be able to afford paying people instead.

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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #28
46. That's how the UK and India do it, and almost all democracies.
It's really not that freakin' hard to count pieces of paper. The countries I named all get their results faster than we do, and they are trusted results because the counting process is publicly monitored. It's just not that hard. If you think so, you are buying into the RW talking points.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 04:14 AM
Response to Reply #20
54. Yes, I frequently count large quanities of cash
and then I take that cash to the bank and they count it and we both get the same total, everytime. Sometimes there even different denomination bills involved and we still get the same total. Wow.



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DrGonzoLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #54
57. Well, clearly
Since you never make a mistake counting, no one ever does. How silly of me. :eyes:
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #57
58. Well if you count the batch twice
Edited on Thu Mar-09-06 09:02 AM by DoYouEverWonder
and then someone else counts it as well, you can catch your mistakes and correct them.

Voting is the only system of accounting in this country where you are not allowed to count the numbers twice.

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gilpo Donating Member (601 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
22. Electronic Voting Machines with paper receipts would satisfy me
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. What do you mean by 'paper receipts'?
A slip of paper like from an ATM machine, with no verifiable input by the voter?

UNLESS THE BALLOT IS HAND MARKED BY THE VOTER, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IT IS HIS.

If someone doesn't like the way an election is running, all they'd have to do is print up a few thousand 'receipts', which would take bare minutes, and substitute them for the legitimate receipts.

Computers do what they are told, only what they are told, and exactly what they are told. If there is a line of code that says "if A receives more votes than B, transfer all B votes to A and A votes to B -- print receipts to match the final total" they will do it.

HAVA is the Help steal American Votes Act. We need completely transparent code for all voting machines and central tabulators. Now.
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MGKrebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #26
35. Wow. Where does this end?
One could say the same for your hand marked ballots. Crooked officials could pay homeless people to fill out thousands of paper ballots in advance and substitute them at the appropriate moment.

If there are paper ballots to count, and the voter has confirmed the printout, and if the chain of custody is clear, and the paper takes precedence, surely that is good enough.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #35
40. Don't be absurd.
Hiring dozens of homeless - somebody just might catch on.

A computer that can spit out thousands of bogus receipts in just a few minutes, that can be switched for the genuine receipts, with no way of determining which is the original -- all they'd need is a few minutes after the polls closed.

Let's see, dozens of homeless over several hours; one crooked official with 15 minutes.

Which is possible?

How about some literal transparency -- like the ballot boxes they use in Iraq? Hand marked ballots, dropped into a locked plexiglass box so the voter can see the ballot is properly received.

How is a computer with proprietary code an improvement over that? Particularly when the computer is what is used as the primary ballot, so the paper won't even be counted unless someone challenges? The computer can say any damn thing it wants, and if it shows a landslide for Candidate A, then it won't be close enough for Candidate B to ask for a recount.

A computer will provide exactly the results it is told to provide. If the code is hones, fine. But if it is programmed to cheat, there is no way to defeat it.
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Peter Frank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. Good luck... n/t
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farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
13. The burdon of proof has to shift...Elections officials must prove accuracy
...of their elections--under oath if requested-- instead of requiring outside critics to provide "proof" election fraud.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. BINGO!
Why isn't the burden of proof already on the election officials? That's what I want to know. How did we get into the habit of assuming that everything was fine and dandy unless it was proven otherwise?
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ItsTheMediaStupid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #13
30. Very good point.
If I disagree with my bank statement, they will prove to me where their numbers came from.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
14. e-voting = violation of election laws
because it does not include publicly verified counting of the votes.
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
17. Three stolen elections are enough for me
You know one of the definitions of the word stupid is of doing the same thing and expecting a different result :crazy:
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
18. Time for another civil war. Here. The People against the Gummint.
If we could only get the guys with the guns on our side.
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abester Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
19. Hahaha!! Please... when is it enough?
"Theories of widespread election fraud are highly debatable"
Please...

Highly partisan election officials. Proof of election fraud in 2000 in Florida that put the wrong man in office. Intentional ballot spoilage. The HAVA. Voting machines demonstrated to be easily hackable. Voting machines without any form of audit, with demonstrated numerous back doors, with no expert willing to security-verify them, made by dubious companies with highly partisan ties, all closed and locked up behind doors. Exit polls, used world wide as the indicator of fraud, shown to exhibit statistically IMPOSSIBLE results with no explanation forthcomming, very numerous amounts of glitches all favouring one party (statistically impossible, again), on and on...

But no... The election is 'debatable'.

I agree wholeheartedly with the author, whom I greatly respect, that we should focus primarily on future transparancy. But don't twist the truth by pretending there is still room for debate about the election's integrity.
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
21. I wonder why this fellow hates America
If Lord Bush* says all is well then by gawd all is well. Polls don't mean anything anymore Cheney proved that.
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Kansas Wyatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
23. The Government has lost all credibility with me years ago.
We are all owned by the Corporate Government Store, and the New Deal contract has been slowly rewritten to defraud the majority of Americans to benefit a few.

I no longer give a damn about what the Government claims to be the "official" record, because the "official" record has been corrupted.
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
24. Looks like an excellent article. n/t
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
25. I was involved in a seminar with Dr. Dill in Monterey a few years back.
I had written an article after the 2002 election when I wrote for a Green paper about election fraud and a local reporter assembled a panel.

If the powers that be don't believe Dr. Dills' presentation, we are truly in deep shit as a nation.
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Higans Donating Member (819 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #25
41. "The powers that be" Not only believe Dr. Dill's Presentation, they
Facilitated the cheating. how do you think they got to be "the powers that be"?
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. allow me to rephrase
the "powers that be" that give a crap and will do something about it.
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Higans Donating Member (819 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #45
50. so who do you think among "the powers that be" would be the ones who do
something about it?

I'm sorry to be so pessimistic. I've been harping on this issue since the 04 election and I'm tired.
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #50
61. and I since 2002
And I share your weariness, pessimism, and frustration.

The irony - no, the tragedy - of this is that it might take regaining a house of Congress to put legislation in place that will remedy this, however, the Catch-22 is that with rampant election fraud, retaking Congress is an impossibility.

The only other viable possibility I see is reporting in the media. Loud and often. And I don't see that happening either.

Thanks for the downer. :)
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VP505 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
27. Something I have
noticed, in spite of all the smoking guns, proof positive of misdeeds, the repukes continue on with their agenda, patriot (fascist) act, budget cutting, tax breaks for the top 1%,etc,etc, as if there will be no consequences. Seems to me that with 1/3 of the Senate and literally all of the House seats facing reelection they would be more willing to compromise. That arrogance seems unnatural to me, almost as if they have confidence that something will happen to ensure their continued majority status. It really makes me think that fraudulent vote tally is a certainty. Hope I am wrong.
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Higans Donating Member (819 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #27
43. Your not wrong at all. They will bring out another tape from OBL
and blame it for the sudden shift to the repugs. the Dem's could be up by 100% points and the Die Bold total will still come out 51% repug 49% dem. and then they will call We the People Sore losers.
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Puzzler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
29. Good article, but...
... why not just bite the bullet and do what we do in Canada: that means each voter gets given one paper (yes, paper!) ballot that they mark with a pencil (yes, pencil!) that then goes into a ballot box (yes, box!!!). And then... yes... the ballots get counted by hand. It's simple, it's not that time-consuming (since the individual polls usually have less than a few hundred ballots to count, and there are multiple polls in one voting place)... and it works!


In other words, no computers, no machines... just paper, pencils and boxes.


-P
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FredStembottom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #29
60. I 've said it a billion times!
Paper ballots marked by pens, put in wooden boxes, counted by little old ladies that live right around the corner from me.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THIS?

:mad:
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DirtyDawg Donating Member (594 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
31. For some time....
...I've believed that the concept of fair, honest...and accurate...elections is an issue that no true American - repig or demo - could argue with...at least not openly. As such, we need to prepare, on a bi-partisan basis, new legislation that adopts strict, universal minimum standards that would, at least on the surface, put to rest questions of legitimacy...and if repigs challenge it you demand for them to answer why. It could be a wedge issue if we couch it properly. I have yet to find a person that would openly oppose it.

I also believe that the new standards should include severe penalties for violations. I'm talking penalties resembling the most heinous felonies...say, 25-life at a minimum. Introduce this at both the federal and state levels as soon as possible...force everybody take a position...let geedubya veto it, or even sign it with his fingers crossed. Then beat 'em over the head with it when the frists or the delays or the hasterts try to stop it.
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
32. Kerry, Hillary, are you listening??!!
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paineinthearse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. say what?
:rofl:
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neuvocat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
33. He's from Stanford, this guy?
It seems that he's completely forgotten about the special elections last year in California-every single one of our Guh-veh-nah's proposals got shot down. Every one. The ballots were cast on Diebold machines.

Yes, the guy who sold them to the government is more crooked than a barrel of snakes and the code for these machines have holes that you could drive trucks through.

However voter fraud has been going on around the world long before Diebold existed. Paper ballots can be tossed a-la Florida and voter roles can be purged also a-la Florida. Do any of these situations warrant the fears that are brought up here? No they do not. It is the sort of dialog that suggests more than anything that americans shouldn't vote at all-and low voter turnout is just the sort of thing that has played to the GOP's advantage.

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FredStembottom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Wha...?
>>>>It is the sort of dialog that suggests more than anything that americans shouldn't vote at all<<<<

:shrug:
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neuvocat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #36
48. Right.
What good would it do if the votes aren't counted properly.
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Higans Donating Member (819 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #33
44. What the hell are you talking about?
It is the sort of dialog that suggests more than anything that americans shouldn't vote at all (snip)

If any thing this would indicate that every one should vote. it's harder to rig bigger spreads. if 100% comes out and votes Dem, and the Repug's still take the cake, then every one will figure it out. rather then just me. (I swear, I feel like I am the only one who figured it out right after the election)
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neuvocat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. Go back and re-read the post.
Edited on Wed Mar-08-06 05:05 PM by neuvocat
Then go back and read the article. Don't waste your time and mine by not thinking about what's printed.
At the very least try not to be so judgemental about what people say and write or be more considerate about how you ask.
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Higans Donating Member (819 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #47
51. fair enough, Sorry if I was rude. I still don't see how the original post
encourages low voter turn out. I do apologize for being rude.
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FredStembottom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
34. I thought this tidbit was new and important
>>>>>>>> The hardware and software of modern computer systems are designed and built by thousands of specialists: Decades have passed since a single person could comprehend an entire computer system. As a result, there is no way to ensure that such voting systems are accurate or honest.<<<<<<<<<<<

Can any of you genuine computer folks verify this?

Made me think of 2 things:

the old computer geezers that were hauled out of retirement to look at Y2K "legacy" programs

and:

pictures I've seen of people crawling over huge, room-sized blowups of new CPU chip just to be able to trace the circuits.


Neither of these images gives me confidence. But stop me if I am being really ignorant, here.


I'm a truck driver, Jim....not a computer scientist.


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paineinthearse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
37. Glad to see election reform is gaining traction in the GEN forum
...but a reminder that DU has a dedicate ELECTION REFORM forum, staffed by a dedicated few.

Please visit / read / learn / nominate similar articles there.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Mrspeeker Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
39. I vote no confidence
maybe the emperor should dissolve the senate completely.

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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
49. Yes! That's what I asked the poll worker yesterday -
"How do I know when I push that button that my vote gets counted correctly?" He looked at me for a moment, then said "trust". I said "that's not good enough".

Got him thinking then I heard him out in the hall discussing what I said with his cohorts.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #49
53. A HA. I would have had a better answer for you.
I would have told you to pick up the phone and call the elections guy and see if you could be a pollwatcher at the tabulation or be on the ballot board when the results were canvassed. I would have encouraged you to get more involved with the process and find out what you can inspect and what you cannot.

Actually you can still do this, why not? How about you being the pollworker at the next election? Get in there, see what all the pieces are, see what fits, ask questions, etc.
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 02:26 AM
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52. elections must be transparent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 07:02 AM
Response to Original message
56. I can't think of a single reason...
knowing what we know about the last three national elections.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-09-06 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
59. any non progressive fear diebold?
Where are the rat worms (what DU often calls DINO's) on this one?
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