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Our Votes Are Counted Accurately -- Aren't They?

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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-01-10 08:40 AM
Original message
Our Votes Are Counted Accurately -- Aren't They?

A good article from CNN. At least the reporter went to the trouble of getting all sides. He even mentions Brad Friedman. This one is well worth reading!

Here are some snippets:

There's a wide variety of opinion on how accurate electronic voting machines really are
One observer says touch-screen machines can never be trusted to be accurate
Researchers have hacked "tamper-proof" machines to prove it can be done
Experts propose new election procedures, from online voting to compulsory voting

Elections and Voting
Voting Methods
(CNN) -- I grew up in a Chicago suburb in Cook County, Illinois, where one assumed ballot box shenanigans. After all, this is where the phrase "vote early and vote often" was coined, where votes allegedly were cast from beyond the grave. So I come to researching voting issues with a perspective jaundiced since childhood.

Since the 2000 presidential election, which introduced the term "hanging chad" to public discourse, scrutiny and skepticism about how our elections are conducted also has increased.

Almost all of us go to polling places that use some type of electronic voting machine. Mine uses touch screens. If you're not sure what your state uses, check out this review from VerifiedVoting.Org.

We assume that our votes are recorded accurately and added to the final count. They are, aren't they?

This space is too limited to list all of the complaints about all of the various kinds of machines, the most serious ranging from votes not counted to votes switched to other candidates.

One of the squeakiest wheels on the subject of voting is Brad Friedman, of "The Brad Blog," who is not impressed with the security of high-tech voting machines. "Use of any touch-screen voting machine is the equivalent of a 100% faith-based election. No votes cast during an election -- none -- can be verified as having been accurately recorded on such systems. Ever."

. . . . snip

But what does Pac-Man have to do with voting machines? Professors J. Alex Halderman from the University of Michigan and Ari Feldman from Princeton University got hold of a supposedly tamper-proof machine, with its tamper-proof seals still intact. And this is what they did.

Did watching that make you nervous? A year ago, incidentally, Halderman was part of another multi-university team that -- again, to make a point about security -- "forced" a voting machine to "turn against itself and steal votes."

There are increasing calls for Congress to authorize creation of a federal database so that machines that have problems in one election don't have the same issue in the next.

Here's the link to the whole article:
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-01-10 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. paper ballots hand counted in public at the precinct level thanks nt
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-01-10 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. How electronic counting could help
To give an early speedy scanned count while the only OFFICIAL count would be done by hand under party scrutiny. This would match one method against the other to make them both honest. Slow, held back counts, Chicago style or otherwise, would be the exception under the headlights instead of the unaccountable hodge-podge digital cheat machines we have with multiple transitions to unverifiable final counts, still slow, glitchy and more suspicious than ever.

The ES&S model partly developed by two ex-felons(bookkeeping fraud) seems to keep churning out a forest of things that "go wrong" that easily hide theft behind private proprietary software and multiple ways to internally hack the system, especially man in the middle count diversions. The errors and breakdowns themselves also serve to inspire distrust, discouragement and interference with the functioning of critical precincts- with no proof or conviction of actual fraud ever forthcoming.

The older generation seems to get educated better by hi-tech glamor lobbyists than the easy to spot computer tech red flags. Judges, reps, prosecutors never cut to the chase, never get to blindingly simply inherent insecurity of reducing all ballots to malleable electrons in a fairly junky chaos glossed with the usual chrome and fins, and taxpayer dollar guzzling maintenance.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-01-10 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. You said it! Although I'm not so sure our IPod-toting yougsters are better informed.
Also, you have to make sure the ballots are kept secure until the hand counts are complete. Some folks don't think this is possible. It really does require extraordinary measures.
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