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early problems for e-voting

post #1 of 3
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From Ars

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Electronic voting for the upcoming presidential election has already started in some areas, and the news from some Florida sites doesn't look good. It's not even so much that touch-screen machines are having problems, but that computer glitches of all types abound.

Gisela Salas, of the Broward Elections Office, said workers had problems connecting with a live database that is used to verify that a voter is properly registered in the county... All 14 of the branch offices had problems with the database connection. Many of the sites had numerous voters lined up to cast their ballots. Some reported waiting in lines up to 2-1/2 hours to vote... Salas said it was not yet known what went wrong to cause the glitch...

In Palm Beach County, the center of the madness during the 2000 presidential recount, a state legislator said she wasn't given a complete absentee ballot when she asked not to use the electronic touch-screen machines. In Orange County, the computer system that lists voters briefly crashed, paralyzing voting in Orlando and its immediate suburbs. And in Broward County several sites had problems with laptops connected to elections headquarters...

In Orange County, the computers went down for about 10 minutes shortly after voting began, said Margaret Dunn, the senior deputy elections supervisor. She said she did not know what caused the problem, but speculated a faulty Internet connection may have been to blame...

In addition to these types of glitches, there are also serious allegations of voter registration fraud going around right now. If anyone had any doubts that the legitimacy of this election will be disputed, those can now be definitively put to rest: this election is already being disputed, and it hasn't even taken place. The only question is to what degree it'll be disputed, and that can only be determined by the closeness of the race.

On a related note, I'm absolutely not trying to stir up "conspiracy theories" or anything of the sort, but I do feel obligated to note that the Florida Republican Party, despite public protestations from Jeb Bush that there's nothing wrong with touch-screen voting, sent out a flier to state Republicans urging them to vote using absentee paper ballots in order to make sure their vote is really counted (here and here). My point is that even those in charge of implementing the system don't really seem to trust it. Again, the days following Nov. 2 could make the 2001 election dispute look relatively minor.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20041018-4322.html

For heaven's sake, when 'third world' countries like India can utilize electronic voting machines, the US can do better...

This isn't rocket science and the problems are not due to lack of infrastructure, it is a lack of political will on the part of the administration to ensure a problem free election. Who is reponsible for execution of the election in the United States anyway? There are independent bodies doing it in other nations.
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post #2 of 3
Unfortunetly, at this point the only response to this tinker-toy system is for the voting population to voter early and vote often... Heck I've already given John K 4 votes today... JK. It's truely sad when the US is unable and/or unwilling to devise a simple system. Heck, I remember writing a Java program a while back to act as a voting program in a Java class. If a bunch a college students could come up with something, it makes one wonder why honest-to-god software engineers cannot make a nearly infallible--you know accurate 99.999% of the time--system.

No matter what the outcome is something bad will have happened to draw the medias attention and the ire of the voting public. Thta's what I believe at least. Then maybe we'll see true reform on this subject instead of the throw another dollar at it tactice employed after the 2000 fiasco.
"[Saddam's] a bad guy. He's a terrible guy and he should go. But I don't think it's worth 800 troops dead, 4500 wounded -- some of them terribly -- $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and...
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"[Saddam's] a bad guy. He's a terrible guy and he should go. But I don't think it's worth 800 troops dead, 4500 wounded -- some of them terribly -- $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and...
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post #3 of 3
How has this become an issue at all?

We use the same old system used for centuries here. You present your voting card and is handed a three feet ballot. Behind the curtains, a cross for your candidate and put it in the supervised ballot box. Need help in understanding the process? Ask one of the officials. When day is over the people handing you the ballot, supervising the box etc. place all the ballots on a table and the counting starts. When everything is done the ballots cast is measured up against the number of voting cards. And normally it is inside a margin of one or two ballots.

And here is the kicker: All the people performing this ritual are PARTY MEMBERS. Yes thats right. If I go into the voting booth to help a senior citizent understand how he vote for our half fascist party THE OTHERS TRUST ME enough to know I won´t make him vote social liberal instead. And the other way around. The votes for each party are counted twice by two different persons. The senior (in terms of how many times the person have tried the election process) is the supervisor no matter what party affiliation (s)he has. At the end we go out and have dinner together before we say "see you next time". I have never been in a situation where we couldn´t very easily figure out "the intent of the voter" on the spot.

And no computers are involved. The only electric machinery used is a) a calculator and b) a telephone to relay the total to the secretary of domestic affairs.

The votes are counted again by local public servants. And again I have not once experienced a difference of more than a couple of votes from the first count.
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