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DId I tell you the electronic voting machines were crap? Did I? - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-11-11 14:22
  Subject:   DId I tell you the electronic voting machines were crap? Did I?

A close analysis of Thursday's results show in two races, more people voted in a mayoral race than live in the town, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's July 2005 estimates. In Gateway, a town of 122 people, 199 votes were cast in an uncontested mayoral race. In the Pea Ridge, 3,997 votes were cast in a contested mayor's race for the city of 3,344 people.


I always like voter turn-outs greater than 100%, don't you? Talk about an engaged populous!

The touch-screen voting machines Katherine Harris championed as secretary of state in Florida after the 2000 presidential recount may have botched this year's election to replace her in the U.S. House, and it is likely going to mean another Florida recount. More than 18,000 Sarasota County voters who marked other races did not have a vote register in the House race.


Yeah, I'm sure none of those 18,000 people had a feeling either way about who their next House Rep should be. After all, both a Republican and a Democrat were running, so it's not like people would feel there was actually some kind of difference in the candidates.

A little closer to home...

Technical problems plagued Denver's voters throughout the day, where some of the city's 55 voting centers reported waits of more than two hours as polls closed at 7 p.m. Denver Election Commission spokesman Alton Dillard said some voters, mostly at the downtown voting centers, stood in line for more than three hours, with the last votes cast at 10:30 p.m. before the voting centers finally closed.

Meanwhile, Denver election officials admitted this afternoon that the city's new computerized electronic balloting system was overwhelmed almost from the start of voting this morning.

Denver Election Commission spokesman Alton Dillard II said the system's "e poll book" laptop computers - which were used to verify each voter - were bogged down early in the day, forcing election judges to manually call other election officials by telephone to certify the voters. The system became so bogged down by 1 p.m. that election officials were forced to shut down the computers and reboot them, Dillard said.


I do so love systems that crash and burn horribly... when you try and get them to do exactly what they were designed to do. Way to beta-test, guys!

At this point, if the 'Pubs want to argue that maybe the 'Crats didn't win the mid-terms... they're not going to have to work very hard! With the kind of glitches we're seeing, it becomes difficult to trust the results of even a single electronic voting machine, much less a whole electronic voting system made of many (and many different kinds of) machines, all potentially making different mistakes. (Edit: I see absolutely no evidence anywhere that the Republicans want a recount done on the mid-terms, BTW. Quite the opposite, in fact. Do you see them bitching about it? No, it's me - the liberal!)

Our current generation of electronic voting machines need to be trashed. Not upgraded. Not reprogrammed. Thrown into a garbage compactor, and crushed into pieces no larger than gravel. Paper ballots have served us well for 200+ years, I think they'll do okay for another two or three years until we can make new voting machines that actually count our votes correctly.
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  User: dpcfmander
  Date: 2006-11-11 21:46 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Hahahaha. That's great! What did they use Windows ME or something?!

I haven't been voting long enough to form an opinion on the new machines, but, I'm going to guess that the electronic machines will prove better in the long run. We consistently have a lot of older people here, so the accessibility possibilities look good.

As far the miscounts, well, we had enough of those here before the new machines that I don't see it as much different.

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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-11-12 00:14 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
What did they use Windows ME or something?!

Some of the less-buggy ones used Windows XP embedded. Some used WinCE (Windows "Consumer Electronics") an OS whose name is accurately pronounced "wince" by those of us unlucky enough to have had to write code for it.

I'm going to guess that the electronic machines will prove better in the long run.

Oh, sure. There's nothing wrong with the concept of touch-screen voting. It's nothing we can't fixed by, say, putting all our current electronic voting machines through this (watch the couch video!), and then listening to Ron Rivest and Bruce Schneier before making the new ones.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-11-12 00:18 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
And above all, having any automated machinery that we employ, leave behind a individual voter verifiable paper trail. (And yes, there are ways to do this without endangering voting anonymity or enabling the buying of votes.)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-11-11 23:44 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
T'was purely hypothetical. I do not see one single shred of evidence anywhere that the Republicans have any interest in contesting the results. I think it was Lincoln Chaffee who replied "Frankly, yes" when someone asked him if the Republicans losing the midterms was good for the country.

Point is, in order for us to even know who actually won, we have to be able to count votes accurately. I don't want a Liberal victory if I'm not absolutey sure the Liberals actually earned it. (Or, perhaps, that the NeoCons earned their defeat. Whatever.) But with our current gen of electronic voting machines, there's really no way for me to know. And as much as I like to encourage cynicism about the system, we could AT LEAST get vote-counting right. If we can't even count votes accurately, nothing that happens in any hall of government, anywhere, has even a chance to be considered legitimate. And rightfully so.
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Not Matt: anger
  User: jameshroberts
  Date: 2006-11-12 04:49 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Here in the State of Governation, they gave us a choice of which method we wanted to use. It need not be said that I used for a paper ballot. I have no idea if it was actually counted or not, but at least there's a paper trail.
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May 2015