MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Friday, December 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Overcast
Collapse Photo Bar

CS Monitor article on voting machines

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

CS Monitor article on voting machines

Postby kurt_w » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:09 pm

This is worth a read:

Exclusive: E-voting puts vote accuracy at risk in four key states

It lays out many of the concerns about the use of paperless voting machines. Deliberate tampering with results is not the only concern; in recent elections, thousands of votes have been lost due to equipment failure with paperless machines.

For example:

* In 2006, some 18,000 votes were electronically "lost" by e-vote systems in a single Florida congressional race with no paper backup or ballots available to review.

* In May 2011, voters in Pennsylvania’s Venango County complained that paperless electronic touch-screen machines were "flipping their choices from one party to another," according to a report by Verified Voting, a nonprofit group in Carlsbad, Calif., that tracks voting machine use nationwide. After an inconclusive audit of election results, the county simply decided to use paper ballots counted by optical scanners in future elections.

* In March, an e-voting system in Florida’s Palm Beach County experienced a "synchronization” problem in a municipal election. The election software attributed votes to the wrong contest and the wrong candidates won. Thankfully, paper ballots existed. After a court-ordered recount, results were changed and two losing candidates were declared winners.

More than 1,800 voting machine problems were reported to election protection hotlines during the 2008 general election, according to Verified Voting. Such election failures mattered far less in 2008 because Barack Obama won by a landslide. But this year, the loser might be likely to demand a recount if the winning margin is small. In states that still use Direct Recording Equipment (DRE) – touch-screen voting equipment that lacks any paper verification – that could be a problem.

"Without a paper trail there's no opportunity to check, so then you just have to rely on faith that the software is functioning properly and capturing votes properly," says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting. "Maybe the machine is working OK right now. But if there is a bug or glitch, there's nothing to go back to."


This is certainly shaping up to be a close election. Most electronic voting machines are found in states where the outcome isn't expected to be close, so failure of a few machines probably wouldn't swing the results much. But in several close states -- including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado -- there's the potential for a nightmare scenario on Election Day.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5408
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: CS Monitor article on voting machines

Postby snoqueen » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:54 pm

Nate Silver can do all the computer modeling he wants, but IMO if the election takes a surprising turn when the votes are counted, it's not going to be testimony to the limitations of polling and statistics. It's going to be testimony to the fragility and lack of verifiability in our voting technology.

I've been creeped out ever since I learned Wisconsin's electronic voting records for particular districts remained the property of the company that provides, programs, and maintains the voting machines and were physically destroyed -- under the terms of their contract with the state -- a few days after the votes were certified. If I've got that wrong -- and I don't think I do -- correct me. Otherwise, how can anybody, regardless of party affiliation, possibly be satisfied with the accuracy of the tabulations?

Those electronic records should remain the property of the state and be preserved as long as paper ballots are preserved -- and that should be a good long time.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11848
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: CS Monitor article on voting machines

Postby Sandi » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:15 am

snoqueen wrote:I've been creeped out ever since I learned Wisconsin's electronic voting records for particular districts remained the property of the company that provides, programs, and maintains the voting machines and were physically destroyed -- under the terms of their contract with the state -- a few days after the votes were certified. If I've got that wrong -- and I don't think I do -- correct me. Otherwise, how can anybody, regardless of party affiliation, possibly be satisfied with the accuracy of the tabulations?

Those electronic records should remain the property of the state and be preserved as long as paper ballots are preserved -- and that should be a good long time.


That voting records remain the property of the company that provides, programs, and maintains them in unconscionable if true. I wasn't aware of that, although I have already believed that electronic voting is the least secure mode of voting available.

Even if voting machine accuracy is 100%, which I don't believe for a moment, the results of individual machines have to be sent to a central tabulation machine via a wired or wireless network ( I have to wonder who owns this tabulation in light of your comment above ). This network is vulnerable to tampering and fraud. Can be hacked into like any other network, and results changed. This is after, and unaffected by all safeguards in the individual voting machines.

Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike should all be very concerned about electronic voting.
Sandi
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: CS Monitor article on voting machines

Postby rabble » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:26 am

Sandi wrote:Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike should all be very concerned about electronic voting.

Well, the Democrats and Independents, anyway.

It is my humble opinion that this is exactly what the Republican leadership wants. In the short run it gives them nothing but benefit.

Their base is endorsing it along with voter ID because they've been told it's what they want.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6552
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm


Return to National Politics & Government

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JoeT and 1 guest

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR
Created with flickr badge.

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar