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Thread: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad


    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=452972

    Leaving out the bias of the article, and realising that a lot happens through cock-up(quaint British for fouled up)rather than conspiracy and looking at site referenced in the article:

    http://www.wheresthepaper.org

    Also having just downloaded a critical security patch for Windows, don`t feel that somethng run on windows adn written of proprietary code itself, is secure or stable way of handling an election.

    UK tends to follow US and would not like to see them importing this idea.

    Adam




  2. #2

    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    Good...IMO

    IF...they produce a printed receipt that can be visually inspected by the user, automatically read for audit/recount purposes (either bar coded, OMR, Optical Character Recognition font, etc) and the encoding can be randomly audited.

    I'm NOT for purely electronic voting with no receipt. WAY too much opportunity for messing with the results.

    The voter votes...tabulated electronically and the receipt is placed in a receptable at the polling place.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* pedalinbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    Two respected institutions, The California Institute of Technology and MIT, conducted a study of error rates with various voting machines. Would any of you care to guess the results? Well, you don't have to ... because I have them right here. Here are the error rates .. the percentages of votes cast with errors, using different types of machines:

    Optical scanners have an error rate of 3.3%
    Touch screen systems have an error rate of 3.0%
    Data Vote systems have an error rate of 3.2%
    Punch Cards? They have an error rate of 2.5% ... the best of the bunch.


    interesting, huh?

    Bob

  4. #4

    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    Hmmm... hard to imagine that a punch card could have an error rate lower than an electronic system.

    What...? The right button is pressed but the wrong vote is registered electronically?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* pedalinbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    i think they tested touch screens, and people touched the wrong area.

    it seemed strange to me too.
    but i figure if you cant handle a punch ballot, you probably should not be voting (i am talking about a healthy person here).

    Bob

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    Thats interesting stuff, I hadn't actually had a chance to follow the development of this too closely.

    The idea of a completely electronic, with no paper trail election is very frightening to me. What would be the point of a recount? It would not be possible to go back through the questionable ones and look for hanging chads cause there aren't any. You'd have to either take it as a given or throw it all away.

    I also like the printed receipt of your vote, something that could be physicall recounted and compared to the computer results later if necessary.

    The security of the thing also bothers me. Security through obscurity is never security. Just by having a closed system guarentees that people will just hammer on it till they found something to screw it up. And anybody that thinks this system wouldn't be the single biggest draw for crackers and nasty people of all ilks is really living in a dream...

    That being said, it could actually be done very well. I have seen a lot of large IT projects completely fail (none that i've worked directly on you understand [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] ) but it is possible to do a good job on a large scale, it's just harder [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    Hanging chads and all, I'd rather keep the old style punch cards. I just don't trust a system that produces no permanent evidence that can be recounted after the election. Once the electronic voting machines are in use, what is the point in voting? I went to school with far too many talented hackers to believe that elections would continue to be fair and "unfixxed". Cynical, perhaps I am, but I fear that this viewpoint could be called realistic in the future.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Electronic Voting Machines......good or bad

    If (or probably when) we go electronic touchscreen, I will probably vote absentee (paper scan in this county south of San Francisco).

    I do not trust a pure electronic system--there is too much room for fraud and error.

    Those systems planned for our area can print a simple receipt summary for the voter--and, after the election they can print paper ballots for "inspection". However, as far as I know, I will not be able to see a final hardcopy and place that in the box/machine to be scanned.

    Remember all of the ATM errors when they first came out? Pumping out cash without debiting the accounts, lost ATM cards, and the problem with people being robbed while using ATMs (or with stolen cards/passwords)?

    The big problem with voting absentee is that if the elections aren't close (like the last presidential), there were something like a 1,000,000+ ballots just in California that went uncounted.

    And remember the types of errors that are usually being addressed as a reason to go to an "active" or computer based ballot which ask/force only the correct choices (if correctly programmed--there where some reports of bad programming in the recall election):

    No Vote for a ballot (undervote)
    More votes than allowed for a ballot (overvote)
    Marking Errors / Scanning Errors (recount can catch these)
    Physical Ballot Problems (Hanging Chad, etc.)

    They cannot look at the results of any ballot and say that someone intended to vote for Gore but voted for Bush (they where trying to do this in Florida, if all democrat slate, then probably ment to vote for Gore).

    I can't verify--but I remember that this book was the subject of much discussion a few years ago VoteScam. Pretty depressing--if true.

    What I would like to see is the equivalent of how I bank. Either a place or Internet, voting begins weeks in advance, I enter and review my vote--change-able until the polls close. And positive ID (same as required to get a Job in the US--Birth Certificate, SSN, Passport (if not BC), picture ID). All cross referenced against current databases (private and/or government).

    I do have a concern about how to assure vote privacy (paid for voting, mass voting, other fraud). Probably would like a voting place with thumb print (like in Department of Motor Vehicles) and only one person allowed (plus on helper--if required).

    -Bill

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