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Voting Isn't Easy, Even if Cheating Is 260

Posted by timothy
from the sobering-thought dept.
The Open Voting Foundation's disclsosure that only one switch need be flipped to allow the machine to boot from an unverified external flash drive instead of the built-in, verified EEPROM drew more than 600 comments; some of the most interesting ones are below, in today's Backslash story summary.
Expressing a common sentiment, reader cmd finds nothing innocent about the inclusion of such a switch:

Diebold also builds automated teller machines (ATM), the definitive model for reliability and accountability.

The AccuVote machines are what they are, not due to poor design or unintentional mistake. They are the result of a deliberate intent to enable fraud on a massive scale. Viewed from this perspective, the AccuVote design is very good. The real problem comes when Diebold realizes that it needs to become better at obfuscation and makes it harder to detect the fraud.

"Electronic voting machines with no paper trail are an insult to democracy," writes pieterh. "That they come with switches to bypass even the dubious 'safeguards' provided is hardly a surprise."

Paper trails, of course, are only as good as the people guarding the paper; readers familar with more recent allegations of vote manipulation may be interested in the 1946 confrontation in Athens, Tennessee (pointed out by reader William J. Poser) between WWII veterans and the election officials.

Reader Soong, though, provides a conspiracy-free explanation for the presence of such a switch:

The ability to boot from different sources is a normal debugging feature, not in itself sinister. Should they have cleaned that up on the production model? Yeah, sure. But verifiability is ultimately a human concern anyway, not a tech one.

It all comes down to who you trust.

If you don't trust the polling place, make the voting machine tamper proof. But then you have to trust the guy who built the voting machine. You have to trust the guy who loaded the software on it at the factory or the elections office. You have to trust the guy who wrote the code. Even if you inspected the code, you have to trust him to give you a binary based on that and not pull a fast one. You have to trust his compiler to give him a binary without compiled in back doors. I feel like I probably haven't listed all the points where this voting machine chain of trust can break down.

Several readers pointed out that voters might better trust the machines as well as the process of electronic voting if regulation were more rigorous; as reader Animats puts it, "slot machine standards are much tighter":
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has technical standards for slot machines. They've had enough fraud over the years that they know what has to be done. Some highlights:
  • ... must resist forced illegal entry and must retain evidence of any entry until properly cleared or until a new play is initiated. A gaming device must have a protective cover over the circuit boards that contain programs and circuitry used in the random selection process and control of the gaming device, including any electrically alterable program storage media. The cover must be designed to permit installation of a security locking mechanism by the manufacturer or end user of the gaming device.
  • ... must exhibit total immunity to human body electrostatic discharges on all player-exposed areas. ...
  • A gaming device may exhibit temporary disruption when subjected to electrostatic discharges of 20,000 to 27,000 volts DC ... but must exhibit a capacity to recover and complete an interrupted play without loss or corruption of any stored or displayed information and without component failure. ...
  • Gaming device power supply filtering must be sufficient to prevent disruption of the device by repeated switching on and off of the AC power. ... must be impervious to influences from outside the device, including, but not limited to, electro-magnetic interference, electro-static interference, and radio frequency interference.
  • All gaming devices which have control programs residing in one or more Conventional ROM Devices must employ a mechanism approved by the chairman to verify control programs and data. The mechanism used must detect at least 99.99 percent of all possible media failures. If these programs and data are to operate out of volatile RAM, the program that loads the RAM must reside on and operate from a Conventional ROM Device.
  • All gaming devices having control programs or data stored on memory devices other than Conventional ROM Devices must:
    1. Employ a mechanism approved by the chairman which verifies that all control program components, including data and graphic information, are authentic copies of the approved components. The chairman may require tests to verify that components used by Nevada licensees are approved components. The verification mechanism must have an error rate of less than 1 in 10 to the 38th power and must prevent the execution of any control program component if any component is determined to be invalid. Any program component of the verification or initialization mechanism must be stored on a Conventional ROM Device that must be capable of being authenticated using a method approved by the chairman.
    2. Employ a mechanism approved by the chairman which tests unused or unallocated areas of any alterable media for unintended programs or data and tests the structure of the storage media for integrity. The mechanism must prevent further play of the gaming device if unexpected data or structural inconsistencies are found.
    3. Provide a mechanism for keeping a record, in a form approved by the chairman, anytime a control program component is added, removed, or altered on any alterable media. The record must contain a minimum of the last 10 modifications to the media and each record must contain the date and time of the action, identification of the component affected, the reason for the modification and any pertinent validation information.
    4. Provide, as a minimum, a two-stage mechanism for validating all program components on demand via a communication port and protocol approved by the chairman. The first stage of this mechanism must verify all control components. The second stage must be capable of completely authenticating all program components, including graphics and data components in a maximum of 20 minutes. The mechanism for extracting the authentication information must be stored on a Conventional ROM Device that must be capable of being authenticated by a method approved by the chairman.

Those standards cover the possibility of an "alternate program" in a slot machine, and provide a way to check for it, with logs and an external program check capability.

The Gaming Control Board of Nevada was asked to take a look at Diebold, and Nevada rejected Diebold equipment as a result.

Voting machines need tough standards like that. They don't have them.

Even if e-voting machines had a spec list that would pass at the Gaming Commission, Midnight Thunder is puzzled that tamper-proofing techniques aren't more evident on the Diebold machines:

Given taxi meters and electricity meters both have tamper seals, you would have thought that these would have visible tamper seals as well. If in doubt you could even have two tamper seals: one from Diebold and another from the voting commission, in order to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the state of the machine.

Several readers are for canning electronic voting for U.S. elections completely. Reader Iamthefallen wants to know

Has anyone answered the question regarding need for automated vote counting in a satisfactory way?

Seems to me that manual counting of votes would be vastly more secure as it would take a huge conspiracy to affect the result either way.

Counting a hundred million votes is hard, counting a thousand votes in a hundred thousand locations is easy.

Similarly, slofstra writes

Sorry, I have never seen the point of these machines. Paper ballots are auditable, user friendly, and if electronics is put into the reporting system, can be counted in a few minutes and submitted. Voting machine are a perfect example of a technology fetish at work. It would make an interesting case study to examine the economic and sociological reasons why we sometimes buy technology that we don't need, don't want and further, serves no useful purpose.

(Augmenting electronic voting machines with a paper record is a frequently raised idea; reader megaditto, for one, asks "Is it that hard to put a thermal printer behind a glass shield?" A similar system is required in Nevada voting machines already.)

Paper ballots and electronic ones aren't the only options, though; lever-based voting machines have dominated recent American national elections. Mark Walling writes

My district switched to electronic- from lever-based. in 2004, at 7:15 when I voted on lever machines, there was no line, and just about as many signatures in the book. In 2005, the line was out the door and around the corner at the same time. The person in front of me took 5 minutes to use the electronic machine. People knew how to use the old machines, and they were reliable. These new things take the old people forever to use, and then they complain that they were hard to read ...

Reader WillAffleckUW suggests skipping in-person voting completely; absentee voting is a good idea, he argues, not only in light of the flaws (demonstrated or alleged) in electronic voting methods, but because

absentee voters get a paper ballot that is not only delivered by a trusted source (the U.S. Post Office) who have a verified date/time stamp — and that the ballots can be audited, traced, and verified — now that is a reason to register permanent absentee.

Not so fast, says reader JDAustin:

I suggest you take a look at the research into the recent Washington state elections done by SoundPolitics.com. They verified close to a 20% error rate in absentee balloting. The signature verification on absentee balloting is no verification at all due to non-verification being done by those who count the ballots. Additionally, the USPS is not a trusted source, they are just another government bureaucracy. The ballots themselves cannot necessarily be traced nor verified — and even when the signatures are completely different, they are still counted. Due to the nature of voter rolls, duplicate ballots are sent out all the time due to slight variation in a person's name, and the duplicate ballots counts are not caught until after the final tally has been done and the election finished. Finally, mischievous government officials can always delay sending the military their ballots so those serving overseas do not have time to get their vote in on time. This actually happened in 2004 in Washington state.

Permanent absentee is not the solution. Neither is electronic voting.

The true solution takes elements of the recent Mexican election to prevent fraud (voter ID cards, thumb inking, precinct-based monitoring and tallying) and combine them with the best paper-based voting machine.


Many thanks to the readers (especially those quoted above) whose comments informed this discussion.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Voting Isn't Easy, Even if Cheating Is

Comments Filter:
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @04:18PM (#15827366)
    I have heard that it is geting hard to find parts for them.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @04:25PM (#15827417) Homepage Journal
    Make some kind of open-source, secure voting system with an auditable paper trail? AFAICT, such a system would need:
    • A private, confidential paper receipt, for each vote, that has:
      • a voter-legible ballot that the voter verifies before leaving the vote,
      • a bar-code computer scannable version of the vote, and
      • some kind of code or a non-serial 'serial' number that will indicate any missing paper receipt, or blocks of paper reciepts. We don't want a true serial number so that the vote remains secret and no one can tell who voted for whom by the serial number. Perhaps hashes of hashes?
    • A secure, electronic, computer version of this receipt that has some kind of data integrity -- not just a tally of bits, but some binary sequence that has some kind of verifiable, tamper-evident integrity. Perhaps this digital ballot would have a hash stored in a seperate log.
    This is just a preliminary brainstorm. Perhaps encoded into each vote's serial number would be a running tally? That would be one method of tamper-evidence -- by going through the votes, we should be able to tell where and when exactly the fraud happened. The tally should be consistent all the way through, and by the time the polls are closed, we have tallies for each booth.
  • by andrewman327 (635952) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @04:35PM (#15827467) Homepage Journal
    Then build more! I bet that if a senior engineering class at Purdue (not even MIT) put their minds to the task they could build a mechanical voting machine that would not create the same level of controversy as Diebold's machines. There are not enough parts because people are not building them. Compared to the cost of computerization, building spare levers and new machines is dirt cheap.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @04:35PM (#15827468)
    The problem wasn't the paper ballots.... it was that voting was done by "machine" rather than letting people do their Xs by hand. There is also wayyyyyyyyy too many votes being cast together. Presedential vote should be separate from vote for the legislature, which should be separate from vote for the state legislature, which should be separate from vote for municipal functions. Putting an X in a box should be a valid option, and leaves no hanging chads. You DO need the verifiable paper trail (a printout will leave no paper chads by the way, but let the user verify the veracity of his/her vote), and a requirement for automatic recounts in ridings with narrow margins. And again you need to separate elections. Issues are different and do get lost in an all-you-can-vote orgy.
  • Bullshit! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @04:49PM (#15827569)
    we need to learn that electronic is not always better.

    I want RFID tags implaned in all of us so that, all we have to do is walk by our candidate, ballot, law, proposition, etc... to vote for it! They'll KNOW how all of us feel - real time, damnit!!

    As a matter of fact, I want a chip in my brain that let's the politicians know what I'm thinking. Then, they'll really know what a bunch of jackasses that I think of ALL of them!!

    HA! My CAPTCHA was 'indolent'. How appropriate!!!

  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:23PM (#15827777)
    Diebold should take a lesson from the casino industry. All the modern-day slot machines, video poker machines, etc. that you see in casinos undergo rigorous certifcation testing by the state gaming commissions. First of all, these games would never have the ability to boot from flash, secondary eprom, etc. like the voting machines can. Beyond that, they will lock themselves out if they detect any sort of tampering, from bad checksums when booting up to the device being physically opened. The only way to make the games operational again is to have somebody from the gaming commission come in and physically reset it using a private key of some sort. Sad that the money you throw away at casinos is considered more important than your vote....
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:35PM (#15827840) Journal
    Well, just look at what is happening in our area (south denver, where you and I live).
    • We have the republicans gerrymandering (of course, the democrats invented this back east).
    • The republicans pushed through that Colorado will be electronic, but then limited it to just 4 companies (all who push paperless, but support a paper; amazing since a company would make more profit off the paper than the machine).
    • Of course, Owens is good friends with O'Dell and a number of the districts elected to go with Diebold.
    And now the democrats are in control of 2 of 3 parts of Colorado congress and likely to get the gov as well. So, will they take advantage of all the openings that the republicans have created (i.e. re=district to kill tancredo's joke of a district (my old one) and create their version of it)? Or will they do the right thing and create laws to avoid these set-ups. Perhaps re-do the constitition to say that a neutral group will suggest the map and congres will do an up-down vote; turn over to judge after 3 plans.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.
  • clint curtis (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:39PM (#15827868)
    You guys are missing the main meet of the story here..

    Clint Curtis, (the man who testified to having rigged the software for the diebold machines at the behest of tom feeny, officially the most corrupt politian in office at the moment)

    http://www.clintcurtis.com/ [clintcurtis.com]

    http://www.house.gov/feeney/ [house.gov]

    the "suicide" of the investigator that followed up his allegations (warning some graphic images)

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=1244 [bradblog.com]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_Curtis [wikipedia.org]

    It all fits together quite nicely, a little switch, a preprepared flash software inserted whilst the machines were 'sleeping over' at the republican officials houses. Noone can possibly see the difference

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8112825559 202389150&q=hacking+the+vote [google.com]

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=2449 [bradblog.com]

    Yang Enterprises - curtises former employer, linked to feeney, and a chinese spying ring to boot.

    http://www.yangenterprises.com/ [yangenterprises.com]

  • by rainman_bc (735332) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:49PM (#15827944)
    ...I'd rather scratch me 'X' on a piece of pay-pur!! Yaaaaarrrrrhhhhh!!!!

    We don't talk like pirates in Canada eh...

    That's all we do. X on a piece of paper. Simple. Even the old people can understand it. Call me a bit conservative, but unless there's a paper backup of my electronic vote, I want no part of it.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:53PM (#15827962) Homepage
    I don't care if they are a felon, or a muderer, or a kiddnapper or anything else. They can be in jail on death row for all I care. They still get to vote, as long as they are an adult. Otherwise we have created a way to create classes, 'true citizens' and 'partial citizens.' Which is an enabler of discrimination.

    This has the possibility of making certain districts in the US top heavy with incarcerated voters. A lot of prisons (federal, state and local) are grouped together in close proximity such as near Beaumont, Texas [google.com]. We are already have enough "crooks" in Government. Let's not give their incarcerated peers the ability to make this situation even worse. Can you imagine the campaigning for these voters?

  • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suwain_2 (260792) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:53PM (#15827963) Journal
    I know you're kidding, but you bring up another good point.

    I used to grapple with how you could 'prove' that a machine was running the 'right' code, and displaying some sort of signature was the obvious solution.

    But really, how would I know whether the machine was running...
    echo(sha1($system_rom));
    or
    echo("d46b82a7f4dad427760124c777c0b56fe642afbc");

    I can't think of a way to allow a potentially compromised machine to prove that it's running the 'right' software, unless I'm allowed to analyze the ROM/disk in my own computer. (Which wouldn't scale well if everyone tried this.)

    The only real solution that I can think of is to have independent contractors verify the software the machines are running. (But then: can you trust the contractors?)
  • Why not dual-count? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LinuxDon (925232) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:01PM (#15828011)
    Isn't the most safe option to have 3 separate company's develop -one- machine?

    - One company develops the casing and only uses old fashioned electronic push buttons.
    - The other two other company's each develop a counter module which are both connected to the same buttons.

    This way, the final results should match.
    If they do not match, the device is broken, or one of the two company's are attempting fraud.
    By keeping the push button system simple, the connections to the counter modules can easily be veryfied by looking at them.

    If the whole thing would be sealed and shielded by a glass plate and the wires would be clearly marked, everyone could in theory check the correctness of the machine.

    This way, for fraud to be commited, the three company's would have to work together which is more unlikely.
    Also, it is possible to prevent the company's from getting in touch with eachother.

    A very important point here is: Keep it stupid simple.
  • Paper Ballots (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:19PM (#15828118) Homepage Journal
    So all you really need is for an electronic voting machine to generate a very clear unambiguous paper ballot which gets posted just like a traditional ballot - but without any hanging chads and with everything spelled out (ie: no mention of people you didn't vote for). If the voter doesn't agree with it, they throw it away and redo it... or feed it back into the machine to get another vote, to avoid potential overvotes. When they're happy with it, they walk it over to a sealed box and deposit it.

    On the paper, they have a nice 2D barcode that has all of the votes encoded within it. However, it has a plain English description of those votes as well. Boxes can be opened after the election and very easily (and foolproofly) scanned, incredibly quickly. Some small percentage of them are also hand-counted (there shouldn't be much disagreement in reading the English printout) and the totals compared to the scan-counted totals. Any discrepency forces a full recount.

    So its the best of both worlds. Fast scoring, full paper trail, and no significant chance of fraud. Where's the catch?
  • No simple solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:20PM (#15828121) Homepage Journal
    Paper votes can easily be altered. Simply make sure the ballot boxes "go missing", or in the case of the Mexican election, simply don't provide ballot papers in the areas you don't want voting.


    The best solution I can think of with electronic votes is to use some form of public key encryption with an authenticating block encryption mode. One half of the keys would be provided on a TOTALLY random basis along with the voter card. The decrypting keys would be kept in a tamper-proof computer that is designed to be write-only with the sole exception of the count at the end.


    The voter comes along and enters their vote. The vote is encrypted with their key. As nobody (at this point) has the decryption key, or another copy of the encryption key, it is impossible for the vote to be altered. A copy could then be printed out for backup purposes and placed in a regular ballot box.


    So far, doesn't sound much different from anyone else's electronic system, right? Except that we're not tallying yet. Well, read on. The votes are collected in their encrypted form and kept in some secure system OTHER than the one doing the counting. They are then fed into the counting machine. The counting machine knows what keys are allocated to a given precinct, so tests each potential key against each vote from that precinct. Once a key is used, it is deleted.


    If a vote has no valid decryption key, the vote is invalid and is rejected. This will include duplicate votes (the key has been deleted) as well as votes for which no key has ever existed. The (still encrypted) vote would then be output as a reject.


    The votes are kept seperate and tallied. The output will be the tallies, the votes that comprise that tally, and the grand totals involved. The grand totals should be the same, provided the counters are working correctly.


    Now, what basic checks can we perform, using this sort of system? First, let us say there is a recount. The recount would be of the votes placed into the ballot box. There should be exactly one such ballot box vote that is not spoiled or a duplicate for each and every valid vote printed by the tallying machine and the totals should match exactly. There should ALSO be exactly one spoiled or bogus ballot paper for every rejected vote, although further comparison would be impossible as the rejects are encrypted and the spoiled ballots aren't.


    Ok, how do we know the software is valid? Well, we know that the vote that the user put in the ballot box matched the one they entered in the computer, and we know that there's a 1:1 between the results in the box and the results in the computer, so we know that the computer has to be producing valid data.


    Then what happens when there is a discrepency? With two sources, how do we know which is the one that has the valid data and which does not? The votes are encrypted in a way that is essentially tamper-proof, the ballot boxes are not. The only way to resolve this is to make the ballot boxes reasonably tamper-proof. I'd suggest a wooden or metallic ballot box that has a lid that can be attached with spring-loaded bolts, where the only way to open the box is to cut it open. You want unique non-sequential numbers on RFID tags, to ensure that boxes don't go missing anyway.


    After all that, you will have a more honest system than you do at the moment. You might even discourage those who would cheat the system from even being a part of it. However, ultimately, politicians are professional liars and the extremely rich will always be power brokers. The best system in the world can't clean up the human race, it can only clean up one very small part of the feedback loop. Which is better than nothing, but should not be assumed to be everything.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:23PM (#15828144) Journal
    Again I say to the teeming masses of Slashdot: lever machines are the answer! They have been proven for almost 90 years!

    And have been hacked for much of that time.

    One hack consists of the election officials that set up the machine presetting the wheels for the guy you want to win to some additional number, and (if you think there will be a lot of votes) the guy you want to lose to the nines compliment of the number, then weakly gluing stickers with zeros on them over the counter wheels and locking the inner door.

    The poll watchers see the zeros and lock the outer door. First vote for each candidate knocks the stickers off, and they fall to the bottom of the machine. (If no votes for the candidate, the sticker remains visible saying "0000".) You send one of your own guys in to make sure your guy gets at least one vote if necessary.

    The outer door is unlocked and the numbers read. The inner door remains locked until opportunity for recount is over. The inner door is only unsealed and opened (probably by your guy WITHOUT poll watchers) when it's time to do maintainence and set it up for the next election, at which point he can sweep out the stickers.

    Downside: If your guy dies, is fired, or moves on, or misses a sticker that gets caught in the guts of the machine, the fact that the scam had been used might be discovered by some opposition functionary (or honest worker) at a later time. Such stickers HAVE been discovered in lever-type voting machines.
  • How about a trade? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @08:04PM (#15828605) Journal
    Democrats especially are worried about Republicans hacking the digital voting systems.

    Republicans especially are worried about votes by ineligible voters (such as illegal immigrants and felons), multiple voting, and fake voters.

    Of course if there IS such corruption, neither side wants to unilaterally disarm. But perhaps a simultaneous disarmament would work.

    Would you support a compromise bill like this?

    For all federal elections:

    1: Electronic voting machines must produce a paper trail, printing a voted ballot that is both human and machine readable, delivered to the voter for confirmation then to be placed in a ballot box. They MAY count votes too, for a quick unofficial result. But the paper ballot is the official ballot, available for recounts, etc.

    2: A national voter identification system is instituted, to insure that each voter is actually alive, legally eligible to vote, and votes no more than once.
      - Voter elegibility is confirmed upon initial registration and periodically thereafter (which can be done by showing up to vote and presenting ID).
      - The identity and elegibility of absentee voters are also confirmed in person periodically thereafter (and their registration suspended if they are not confirmed).
      - Identity and elegibility of all currently registered voters will be confirmed within a prescribed time period (no more than four years) after passage, and those not confirmed will be purged. Voters subject to this will be notified of this reregistration requirement in the mailed election paperwork and at polling places when voting in person. Procedures to reregister under the new rules will be no more difficult than initially registering a new voter under the new rules. Timely assistance will be provided for the handicapped.
      - Any voter at a polling may be challenged (by an election worker, poll watcher, or anyone present) to provide his voter identification information, and will be denied a ballot if unable to produce it. Such challenge may not be construed as intimidation or racial discrimination.
      - After the passage of the bill, any non-citizen who commits fraud while attempting to register to vote, actually registering to vote, attempting to vote, or actually voting, in a state where such non-citizen voting is not legal, is permanently barred from naturalization. States are presumed to bar voting by non-citizens unless they have explicitly authorized it.
      - (Suitable language to bar use of the voter ID for any other purpose, interception and arrest or tracking of persons on their way to or from voting, punishing or tracking inelegible voters who attempt to register but do NOT do so fraudulently, etc.)

    Seems to me such a bill would be a win all around (except perhaps for any REALLY corrupt and successful machine politicians, and those concerned about a "national ID card".): The honest on both sides would support it, of course, since THEY have less to lose than to gain. The dishonest could save face by claiming to be honest, while obtaining some assurance that the unknown amount of corruption they believe their opponents are perpetrating would be suppressed as they give up their own, known, amount.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:02PM (#15828837) Journal
    We've had the Diebold machines in Georgia since 2002 ... and ... Georgia has gone from one of the worst states ranked around 49 regarding voter fraud and miscounted ballots (with 94,000 undervotes in the 2000 election) to one of the best.

    Since there is no way to check that the Diebold machines are counting corretly - or even that they're not making up votes on the fly to be a close match to the number of voters using them - all you've proven is that now that youv'e switched to Diebold machines you no longer can FIND fraud.
  • Solution v1.0 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:25PM (#15828918)
    Solution version 1.0
    • Uniform national PAPER ballot booklets (locals print in the names)
    • 1 candidate per page or issue
    • 1" large circle where any ink or blood mark in the circle is a vote
    • Volunteer counted
    • Counters are cross checked for an error & 1% error rate is a felony
    • Exit polling for pointing out problems
    • Special Paper (like currency) with a serial number and barcode (or simply print digital signatures on normal paper)
    • Account for where series of ballots are shipped (4 tracking problems at polling places)
    • Each area's ballots are shuffled before shipped so they are not handed out serial # order
    • Instant Run Off because its a mathematically better (kill 2 party duopoly)
    • FULL DAY OFF for everyone
    • Require an ID to register. Register on or before election day
    • Absent ballots are the same format; require time-stamp reguardless (remember 2000?) must be snail mailed to USA unopened. Votes must be cast in private (looking over to the Marines...)
    • Any CITIZEN over 18 can vote. no silly rules (like stopping a group by taking their right away)
    • Provisional ballots are like absent ones. Must ALL be counted before election certification. The only dispute: proof of citizenship
    • ID must be FREE and no homestead is required
    • Areas with over voting will be examined
    • Fine people who don't vote (at least do a blank one) to fund the system
    • Lawsuits for not being counted are allowed against the district
  • Re:Solution v1.1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @09:37PM (#15828949)
    Solution version 1.1
    • Districts are determined by census data
    • A Computer Alg determines districting and the alg is national and is open source
    • redistricting result, data, and implementation is publicly verifiable
    • Treason for redrawing lines in-between census (hello texas)
    • Treason for tampering with redistricting
    • No Electoral College
    • Courts decide if elections can be re-run due to corruption in an ALL or nothing decision
    • Courts are not allowed special 1 time only rulings that don't set precedence (2000)

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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