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Man vs. machine at R.I. ballot box - Courts revisit hand-count ban

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-12-08 10:22 AM
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Man vs. machine at R.I. ballot box - Courts revisit hand-count ban

Man vs. machine at R.I. ballot box

Courts revisit hand-count ban

By Ray Henry
Associated Press / October 12, 2008

PROVIDENCE - Which are more flawed: humans or the machines they create?

After watching Florida's agonizing recount during the 2000 presidential election, Rhode Island lawmakers sided with the machines. They passed laws eliminating hand counts of ballots and tightened laws to reduce the partisan wrangling that erupts when officials must interpret the scribbles on incorrectly marked ballots.


But state courts have chipped away at the law, most recently when the Rhode Island Supreme Court ordered the state Board of Elections to manually inspect ballots this month in two close primary races and count the ballots if the voter's intent could be deciphered.

The ruling is the latest chapter in Rhode Island's ongoing man-vs.-machine debate. In a state known for political corruption, election authorities put their trust squarely with the machines, arguing that humans are biased and make mistakes.


But judges seem reluctant to entrust democracy to the circuitry of the Optech IIIP Eagle, the state's official ballot scanner.

"I don't see what the fear is of having a human element involved," said retired Superior Court judge Stephen Fortunato Jr., who forced a manual examination of ballots in 2006, a case that has become a precedent in the state. "When last I checked, democracy is all about human beings and self-government, not government by machines and computers."

~snip~ /

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-12-08 11:45 AM
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1. "democracy is all about human beings and self-government, not government by machines and computers."
"Democracy is all about human beings and self-government, not government by machines and computers."

Shout it out! Shout it loud! Shout it long!

Without being able to watch human beings count our votes, we wouldn't know that the 2000 was stolen. And, hey, guess, what, they fixed it now so we can't know.

How do you think we ended up with a preznit with a 20% approval rating, and a kongress with a 10% approval rating, worse than the preznit?

We don't know. We can't know. All the votes are now 'counted' by private Bushwhack corporations, using 'TRADE SECRET,' PROPRIETARY programming code, with virtually no audit/recount controls.

That was the "remedy" to people seeing the miscount, the unfairness, the Republican riot in FLA '00 and the Supreme Court coup d'etat. Keep it from the people. Do the magic inside the black box, and then get outa Dodge fast with a bottomless cup of 'Fool's Gold' starting with $700 billion non-existent tax dollars that the poor will be paying for unto the 7th generation.

Glad to hear there is a judge somewhere in this country who knows what's what. There aren't many left. I was such a Pollyanna I thought that as soon as 'TRADE SECRET' vote counting landed in front of an American judge even a Puke judge would balk at it. Wrong! The first judge in landed in front of buckled immediately. FLA-13 in '06. ES&S (brethren to Diebold) machines 'disappeared' 18,000 Democratic votes for Congress, in an election 'won' by the Puke by only some 350 votes. When the lawyers for the Democrat, Christine Jennings, took the matter to court, and requested to see ES&S's 'TRADE SECRET' code--to try to figure out what happened to those 18,000 votes--ES&S refused, and argued that their right to profit from our elections, with their 'TRADE SECRET' code, trumps the right of the voters to know how their votes were counted--and the judge agreed!

And what is worse--far worse--is that, when Jennings took this to the Democratic Congress--which has the final power to do something about it--the Democratic leadership buried it six feet under, and it was never heard from again. Now you tell me who these 'Democrats' are working for--us, or Diebold/ES&S?

It is going to take a long time, and a difficult struggle, to right this sinking ship--the U.S.A.--and get rid of all of these unelected people and their Corpo/fascist puppetmasters and their Bushwhack judges. I do think we'll get our country back, but it is not going to be easy. With 'TRADE SECRET' vote counting, the Corpo/fascists can let Obama win, let all the Bushwhack shit come down on his head, then easily--EASILY--steal 2012 and bring on Hitler II (and we may already know her name).

We have, at most, four years to get rid of 'TRADE SECRET' vote counting. Forget Congress. The Diebold III Congress is not going to fix this, and may make it much, much worse. (The Anthrax Congress did it--along with the Iraq War Resolution, in Oct '02, and two successive Congresses, including a supposedly Democratic Congress, have failed to fix it.) Right now, the state/local jurisdictions--where ordinary people have some potential influence--still control election systems. If Congress federalizes elections, it's all over. We, the people, must fix this with a mass citizen movement at the state/local level.

There are only two remedies: 1) A paper ballot backup to the machines, with a 100% handcount in the first few election cycles (Venezuela does a whopping 55% handcount in a OPEN SOURCE code system; some experts say 10% is the minimum needed to detect fraud; currently half our systems do ZERO percent handcount--because there IS no ballot--and the rest do 1%, miserably inadequate in a 'TRADE SECRET' code system); or 2) throw these machines into 'Boston Harbor' and revert to paper ballots hand counted in the public venue.

There are other problems with electronic elections--easy, wrongful voter purges; private corporate personnel having access to the machines; machines programmed to deliberately fuckup voter registrations; cost--billions!; private lobbyists writing our election laws, etc., etc. So I favor complete reversion to paper ballots, until all the Corpo/fascist corruption is purged from our election and government systems. But I think we could get started with reform--start electing real representatives of the people--with a minimum 10% hand count (and of course all systems having a ballot TO count), and, say, guaranteed FREE recounts if ANY voter demands it. (If ANY consumer can sue a Corpo for harm, then, goddammit, ANY voter should be able to get a recount. WE are the harmed parties, and harm to our vote is as serious as any other harm that Corpos can inflict.)

"Democracy is all about human beings and self-government, not government by machines and computers." --Superior Court judge Stephen Fortunato Jr.
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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-12-08 07:42 PM
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2. That's a great quote from Fortunato.
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-13-08 02:25 AM
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3. I trust the machines
A machine can only do what it's programmed to. It's the people making the machines that I don't trust.
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-13-08 05:13 AM
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4. This is the second time tonight I've heard about banning hand counts.
Edited on Mon Oct-13-08 05:13 AM by cui bono
How did I never hear of that before? How many states have done that? That's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard!

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