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Krugman: Democracy at Risk (Black Box Voting)

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 11:38 PM
Original message
Krugman: Democracy at Risk (Black Box Voting)
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/23/opinion/23KRUG.html

The disputed election of 2000 left a lasting scar on the nation's psyche. A recent Zogby poll found that even in red states, which voted for George W. Bush, 32 percent of the public believes that the election was stolen. In blue states, the fraction is 44 percent.

Now imagine this: in November the candidate trailing in the polls wins an upset victory but all of the districts where he does much better than expected use touch-screen voting machines. Meanwhile, leaked internal e-mail from the companies that make these machines suggests widespread error, and possibly fraud. What would this do to the nation?

Unfortunately, this story is completely plausible. (In fact, you can tell a similar story about some of the results in the 2002 midterm elections, especially in Georgia.) Fortune magazine rightly declared paperless voting the worst technology of 2003, but it's not just a bad technology it's a threat to the republic.

First of all, the technology has simply failed in several recent elections. In a special election in Broward County, Fla., 134 voters were disenfranchised because the electronic voting machines showed no votes, and there was no way to determine those voters' intent. (The election was decided by only 12 votes.) In Fairfax County, Va., electronic machines crashed repeatedly and balked at registering votes. In the 2002 primary, machines in several Florida districts reported no votes for governor.

And how many failures weren't caught? Internal e-mail from Diebold, the most prominent maker of electronic voting machines (though not those in the Florida and Virginia debacles), reveals that programmers were frantic over the system's unreliability. One reads, "I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 when it was uploaded." Another reads, "For a demonstration I suggest you fake it."

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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Congratulations Bev!
Your efforts are really starting to pay off. Now we just need some action.

Computer experts say that software at Diebold and other manufacturers is full of security flaws, which would easily allow an insider to rig an election. But the people at voting machine companies wouldn't do that, would they? Let's ask Jeffrey Dean, a programmer who was senior vice president of a voting machine company, Global Election Systems, before Diebold acquired it in 2002. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting" (www.blackboxvoting.com ), told The A.P. that Mr. Dean, before taking that job, spent time in a Washington correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files.
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Cassandra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. They're now starting to talk...
of having paper trails by this year instead of 2006.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Wow! Just, Wow!
Bev Harris, one of the true American hero's of the new millenium.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
4. A small disappointment

A recent Zogby poll found that even in red states, which voted for George W. Bush, 32 percent of the public believes that the election was stolen. In blue states, the fraction is 44 percent.

That amounts to only about 40% nationwide who believe that the 2000 election was stolen.

That is tantamount to believing the Earth is flat and motionless.
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Martin Eden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Paul Krugman on the "Flat Earth":
In the introduction of his book The Great Unraveling, Paul Krugman commented on how hard it is for journalists to "conceive that a major political figure is simply lying about the content of his proposals. I hear that several journalists were very angry after I joked in my column that if Bush said the world was flat, the headline on the news analysis would read "Shape of Earth: Views Differ" -- each of the angry journalists thought I was making fun of him."
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Interesting anecdote
Why were all those journalists so sensitive? Do they all feel they have something for which to answer?
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cybildisobedience Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
5. Let's be sure to thank Krugman
I always write a columnist after he or she does something brave like actually write the truth. God knows they'll be assaulted with freep hate mail.
And Bev - as always, thank YOU for all that you've done and continue to do.
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lyonn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. My gawd, we all have computers
that mess up from time to time. Now we are suppose to rely on their reliability for a presidential election? We definitely need a PAPER TRAIL.
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lyonn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
7. My gawd, we all have computers
that mess up from time to time. Now we are suppose to rely on their reliability for a presidential election? We definitely need a PAPER TRAIL.
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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Your double post just made your point for you
Imagine if your post had been your vote in an election (good for you, but unfair to the rest of us).
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
11. It is impossible to effectively audit, challenge, or
Edited on Sat Jan-24-04 08:08 AM by teryang
...protest an encrypted electronic vote. This challenge was well known while electronic voting was promoted and ignored. Under some states' laws this would make their use without paper trails illegal.

This is a completely separate issue from the security issue. Electronic voting is the ratification of the end of the Republic. The Republic ended in 2000.

I commend Krugman, Bev and the others who have worked so hard to bring this legislation forward. What do you think the prospects are?
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