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More Voting Shenanigans in Florida 680

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-don't-feed-them-after-midnight dept.
stewwy writes "It looks like the the shenanigans have started already, the Register is running a story about the difficulty early voters are having with casting votes for Democrats." From the article: "The touch-screen gizmos seem strangely attracted to Republican candidates. One voter needed assistance from an election official, and even then, needed three tries to convince the machine that he wanted to vote for Democrat Jim Davis in the gubernatorial race, not his Republican opponent Charlie Crist."
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More Voting Shenanigans in Florida

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  • Excellent! (Score:2, Funny)

    by moseman (190361)
    Our evil plan is working perfectly.
    • by creimer (824291)
      I thought the evil place was to have the machines blue screen to death instead of voting for the other twit. Only in Florida can something so brilliant like this get so screwed up so fast. :P
      • by Progoth (98669) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:36PM (#16681213) Homepage
        I have total control of the voting machines, and I'm going to fix the election. I need some help though...I have a hard decision to make...

        Should I a) let the voter choose whatever he or she wants, and then assign all the votes to my candidate? or b) randomly have the machine reassign input to choose my candidate, giving them a chance to verify and correct their vote?

        I just don't know...this is such a tough decision...I must not be cut out for this election stealing business.
    • by El Torico (732160)
      The first rule of the evil plan is you do not talk about the evil plan.
    • Original News Story (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alien54 (180860)
      original story [miami.com] via this journal entry [slashdot.org]
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @02:56PM (#16676735) Journal
    Serious question for those familiar with the technology:

    Is this similar to the electronic credit card signature systems that display my signature half an inch below where I put the stylus?
    • That's my initial thought as well. It's just a fact of touchscreen LCD's. Only way to compensate is to adjust the location of the input boxes, but that's on a per-machine basis and that's a crappy solution.

      A "better box" would be a LCD screen with a seperate button panel along the bottom of the display. That way the input is discrete.
      • by teslar (706653)
        Only way to compensate is to adjust the location of the input boxes, but that's on a per-machine basis and that's a crappy solution.

        I'd have thought the obvious solution would be recalibrating the screen, not rewriting the software...
      • by Moeses (19324)
        How about taking that idea one further and modeling the voting machines after well tested technology, both for usability and security...ATMs. They have an interface that works, plus most people are already familiar with it. They have a paper trail in addition to digitally stored state (redundancy should be a no-brainer for this machine). Plus they are secured against tampering.
      • I know this is just a silly mod-parent-up post, but parent is dead right. It would be cheaper, more reliable and more intuitive than touchscreens because touchscreens lack tactile feedback. It also means that you don't have your display screen getting smudged.

        The tactile feedback thing is important. I operate ATMs much more quickly and confidently when the buttons have a nice keyboard-like "click" feeling to them. The ones with those cheap non-reliefed buttons that barely push in suck, and often make lo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by burnin1965 (535071)

      Screens slipping out of synch

      Serious question for those familiar with the technology:

      I work in a factory that utilizes several touchscreens of various types, makes, and models for the user interface on the equipment, these screens are subjected to 24x7x365 operation and sustain heavy abuse from pens, excessive physical pressure, and exposure to acid and solvent residues, they do not continuously slip out of sync. Once they are calibrated recalibration is very rare, perhaps once or twice every couple of year

  • Why would they be hacking these ballot machines? If they are smart enough to hack ballot machines, they would be smart enough to get a well paying job that allows them post in slashdot all day in a working day using his employer's machine ;-)
  • Another voter who went Democrat across the board kept finding Republicans listed in the summary screen.

    I haven't used the new touch screen voting machines, but if you went Democrat "across the board", isn't that a single check box? I seem to remember paper ballots just having one box to strike if you wanted to vote a single party for the entire ballot. How would so called screen calibration errors randomly select republicans then?
    • Voting systems vary quite a bit in the US; some places have used single-box voting for "party-line" voting, others haven't.
    • At least in California, it is impossible to vote for a single party all at once - there simply isn't an option to do so. You have to place a vote for each individual race.
  • .....Third Party Verification
  • Or does the difference matter?

    If one "follows the money" it's pretty obvious that Deibold has an incentive to make republicans win, but aren't most of these problems just awful engineering? Crappy programming, bad design, lazy execution.

    Still inexcusable, but I just wonder if Deibold et al just suck, and aren't malicious.

    Matt
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      What you are forgetting is that it might just be an error in the setup.
      Just like any PDA these screens probably need to be calibrated. One or more of the poll workers probably didn't do it correctly.
      Why is it just the Democrats having issues then?
      Every think that maybe it isn't?
      If a Democrat is having issues they probably will go running to the press declaring it is all a plot.
      A Republican might figure that it was just the machine messing up. Also there is a good chance that any news service would play up
    • The scary thing is, Diebold does not suck. They've made ATM machines for years and years, and whenever one of those has an electronic hiccup a pile of affected institutions and regulatory agencies are on it like flies on crap. They've been successful in one of the most stringently controlled hardware/software solutions in the modern world. Unintentional incompetence really can't suddenly enter into things now without one hell of a good explanation.
      • by blazerw11 (68928)
        whenever one of those has an electronic hiccup a pile of affected institutions and regulatory agencies are on it like flies on crap.

        Flies are typically on crap in less than the 2 days the Diebold ATM at the corner Walgreens is down each week.

  • Can anyone point me to an article that has the reverse happening? That is to say, someone tries to vote Republican and the machines flip them all to Democrat... I'm looking, but I can't seem to locate one. Can someone help?
  • Well duh (Score:4, Funny)

    by nosredna (672587) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @02:59PM (#16676817)
    Maybe the machines know that nobody would vote against Christ.

    Oh, it's Crist? Hmm... well, it's still 84% of our savior.
  • Nice summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mayhem178 (920970) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:00PM (#16676821)
    The article summary is misleading in ways that would give CNN a hardon.

    It says nothing about why the terminals were malfunctioning, which had everything to do with touch screen calibration (and the need to recalibrate from time to time) and nothing to do with some right-wing conspiracy. In fact, the article implies that it was one machine in particular, not all of them.

    Way to spin it to work the /. hordes into a raging frenzy.
    • It says nothing about why the terminals were malfunctioning, which had everything to do with touch screen calibration (and the need to recalibrate from time to time) and nothing to do with some right-wing conspiracy. In fact, the article implies that it was one machine in particular, not all of them.

      I'm not so sure. While I have not seen the interface in question, every example I've seen of electronic voting machines always employs HUGE buttons on the screen, to minimize this issue. Even if the registrati

    • by unity100 (970058)
      which had everything to do with touch screen calibration (and the need to recalibrate from time to time) and nothing to do with some right-wing conspiracy.

      It is not rocket science to deduct the machines were intentionally miscalibrated - especially when the producer of voting machines happens to be a republican backing company.
      • Re:Nice summary (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Khomar (529552) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:38PM (#16677727) Journal
        It is not rocket science to deduct the machines were intentionally miscalibrated - especially when the producer of voting machines happens to be a republican backing company.

        Give me a break! I can just as easily say that all democrats are communists and are helping the Chinese plot an invasion to get some American territory (and women!). Have we become so cynical that we believe the absolute worst of everyone? (Answer: yes) I think everyone needs to take a chill pill for second. Just because a company can does not mean that they will. It is just as likely that it was a genuine mistake that just happened to appear slanted toward Democrats. Remember, we all have a tendency to find patterns [slashdot.org] that conform to our personal bias. Until there is actual proof of intentional tampering, we need to give the benefit of the doubt. Remember, it is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty (regardless what the IRS does).

        This inane bashing of the other party has got to stop. For every attack on Republican ethics, I can guarantee that I can name one for the Democrats. They both seem to be crooked and immoral. The fact is that I don't like either side right now. The Republicans seem to causing more harm than good and have lost their foundation. The Democrats offer no real solutions than to say they would do "better" than the Republicans. Both sides seem to be borderline incompetent (okay... no, the Democrats are incompetent -- this election should probably be won by a landslide, but they insist on shooting themselves in the foot). Until we actually start debating what is actually best for the country instead of what will best push forward our agenda or political party, we will only continue to tear ourselves apart.

        Why can't we just focus on the problems with electronic voting rather than turning it into a political debate? Why can't we just say that the design is flawed and should not be used? A company can have a bad or flawed design without malicious intent. Anyone who doesn't think so hasn't programmed in the business world very long.

        • ... it's best to be alert for it.

          Have we become so cynical that we believe the absolute worst of everyone?

          In politics? It's not hard. This has nothing to do with political philosophy, and everything to do with actions that look shady, both circumstantially and concretely. Perhaps you've heard about the recent campaign letter in Orange County discouraging immigrants? Perhaps you've heard about the groups threatening individuals with arrest if they show up at the pools, or telling that 'Democrats vote on Wedn
    • by rbochan (827946)

      The article summary is misleading in ways that would give CNN a hardon....

      Except that CNN isn't reporting on it. [cnn.com] In fact, about the only references about this issue I've seen about this have been on foreign news sources. The Register is in the UK and another linked video was on a .nl server... [google.com]

      Why is it that we in the USA can't get news about what the fuck is happening on our own country except from foreign/tiny news services?

    • Re:Nice summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:24PM (#16677343) Journal
      Not too much of a conspiracy theorist, but how do you get "the article implies that it was one machine in particular"? Here is a direct quote:

      Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly.
      also
      In Miami-Dade, two machines have been taken out of service during early voting. No votes were lost, Sola said.

      Now here are the cases the article specifically talks about:

      1) Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.
      2) Joan Marek, 60, a Democrat from Hollywood, was also stunned to see Charlie Crist on her ballot review page after voting on Thursday. ''Am I on the voting screen again?'' she wondered. ``Well, this is too weird.''
      3) Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker.

      So besides the "its common", etc they also specifically talk about three specific cases in three seperate cities. Unless, that one machine is really making the rounds I don't see how it could be just one.
    • Too bad these miscalibrations never seem to help Democrats get elected.
    • What the hell do you expect a conspiracy to look like? Voting machines with "DEMOCRATIC VOTES DISABLED" flashing brightly on the screen?

      Idiot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SpeedBump0619 (324581)
      You know, If I were going to try to be subtle about hacking these machines I would do it pretty much exactly this way. Randomly bias towards the candidates I want selected, in the knowledge that most people don't really check their ballots thoroughly.

      What I'd need though is an easy out in case it gets detected...some way to allow the blame to be placed on something that can be 'fixed'. Maybe the touch-screen alignment? That's a great idea...I'll just make it so that my random bias hack is temporarilly di
    • And, The Register mentions an article in the Miami Herald that it doesn't reference at all. The Register has stories that are about as bad quality as the articles on Slashd... oh wait.

      Great article.
  • With the Justice Department deploying up to 800 monitors in 20 states on election day [go.com], will they be able to investigate claims such as this?

    Unfortunately, from the sound of things, their role will only be involved in voter intimidation or access to polling places.

    But wait, good news everybody! Wan Kim, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, has said that people shouldn't be concerned about electronic voting machines. Why? Because many groups have reviewed the machines, including the Na

  • So? (Score:5, Funny)

    by slapout (93640) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:02PM (#16676893)
    "Florida voters using electronic ballot machines are having persistent problems choosing Democrats in early elections, the Miami Herald reports."

    I have trouble voting for Democrats too. :-)
  • "The touch-screen gizmos seem strangely attracted to Republican candidates. One voter needed assistance from an election official, and even then, needed three tries to convince the machine that he wanted to vote for Democrat Jim Davis in the gubernatorial race, not his Republican opponent Charlie Crist.

    Well, if that's true, then why aren't Republicans having trouble voting for Republican... oh... never mind.

    --
    I think I misunderstood the assignment.
  • I see this is gonna be another election that'll be decided by the courts (even moreso than the 2000 one)...
  • Once they bar the door to Dan Rather, who is trying to get in to show everyone the touch-screen result archives from the 1972 election for comparison, the anchors will watch as the big map of the US goes all blue. They'll quickly get Howard Dean, all screaming with joy, on the video feed for his comments. Then someone looks up at the blue screen and asks "Guys, didn't we just convert this system to Windows?".
  • by xzvf (924443) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:04PM (#16676937)
    The Register read an article at the Miami Herald saying people were having trouble voting. The Miami Herald reported the experience of some (one or two users) and some hearsay about poll workers saying it happens all the time. How about the journalist at the Miami Herald trying to get more information. Both Democrat and Republican reps are at every polling station. Election officials are known people. Other people are voting early. Put some meat on the story.
  • Why would anyone steal the elections by miscalibrating the touchscreen? It shows, it produces news reports, it's messy. The elections can be stolen, it's been demonstrated pretty convincingly, without anyone registering anything. Oh, and this [mac.com].
  • For some reason this reminds me of the movie Office Space. You know the part where he intended to hack the system to put all the little tiny sub-cent transactions into a savings account, but he fucked up and put the decimal point in the wrong place and suddenly they were transferrings hundreds of dollars instead of cents..?

    This "changing the votes" thing is just too obvious to have been done on purpose. I bet there was a hack in place to change some of the votes, but someone fucked up and it starting changi
  • That I live in Florida, you insensitive clods.

    Seriously though, these reports have been around locally for a couple of days. What I find interesting though, is that they invariably are from Democrats saying their votes were changed when they checked the summary prior to submitting. There's not one report of a Republican having the same problem that I've heard of yet. So should I take my tin foil hat with me to the polls this year, or not? I'm really, really hoping we're not going to be the laughing sto
  • Shenanigans?

    I'll be grabbin' my shillelagh, sure and begorrah!

    *Dances a jig*


  • Maybe the Diebold's keep bringing up Republicans but I'll bet that the Sequoia [nytimes.com]
    electronic voting machines keep showing 'H. Chavez' for every
    choice.

  • Here is an article in a local Texas newspaper discussing the same thing happening in a small town in Texas. Texas, being mostly republican, might have been a 'test' case. Texan article [kfdm.com]
  • I still don't understand why there's a push to go to an electronic voting system. Why not use touch screen voting machines to print paper voting records. You can then verify your vote and you have a physical document for recounts. No fucking chads, no conspiracy theories, handicap friendly, and it encourages the voter to double-check their entries. It's an effort to go from the horse drawn carraige to teleportation. Let's not try to make the quantum leap and stick with a god damn car.
  • Assume that these, and other machines, are being deliberately hacked to give one party or another the victory.

    Presumably someone will eventually spill the beans and say what has been done, by whom and for how much money. What will American voters, judiciary and legislature do then?
  • it's all lies I tell ya, all lies put about by left-wing liberal, pro al-Qa'ida communists ..
  • by fortinbras47 (457756) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:25PM (#16677369)
    Here [miami.com] is the actual Miami Herald article that The Register article is based on.

    The headline on the Miami Herald piece? Only minor glitches reported in early voting

    Read the full article. You have one woman in Florida who had a problem (or made a mistake), realized the problem, and had it corrected. This is HARDLY voting "shenannigans."

    Excerpting from the article:

    ''It has been fantastic,'' Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Lester Sola said. ``Our ability to process voters accurately and at a faster rate really has improved.'' To help keep things running smoothly, everything is done electronically, he said. Registered voters can swipe their Florida driver's license or have their voter registration cards scanned to verify they can vote, then sign their names on an electronic monitor similar to those used in stores, he said. While most voters find the electronic machines easy to use, they are not foolproof, as Joan Marek discovered on Thursday at the Hollywood satellite courthouse. After casting her votes, Marek, a Democrat, was surprised to see name of Charlie Crist -- the Republican candidate for governor -- on the review screen. She was able to go back and correct the vote, and alerted poll workers to the problem.
    • Upon further review, The Register article appears to be directly based on this article [miami.com] that came out the day after the article I just qouted. Headline on the later one is "Glitches Cited in Early Voting."

      From what I read in this article, several users encountered a miscalibrated touchscreen so that a press on the screen registered in the wrong place. Several voters only caught the error when reviewing their votes on the final page.

      It sounds like a small, correctable problem, and pretty damn far from "sh

  • You want to ensure that your hack shows the voter that he/she voted wrong to "validate" the results...

    Sure this has its problems but on the BRIGHT SIDE... How many people voted wrong with the punched cards, didn't check their work and NEVER REALIZED they voted for Pat Buchanan?
  • Touch screens are used routinely in computer assisted surgery [stealthstation.com], control of fluoroscopy systems [doh.gov.uk] and any number of other mission-critical applications.

    Only an application developed with an absolutely staggering degree of incompetence and ignorance of basic touchscreen design constraints would be subject to anything like the issues described here. This is particularly true given that, unlike the medical applications of touchscreens, virtually 100% of the screen real estate in e-voting applications is available
  • http://www.kfdm.com/engine.pl?station=kfdm&id=173 4 3&template=breakout_dayportvideo.shtml&dateformat= %25M+%25e,%25Y [kfdm.com] This story is from Texas and reports the same thing. Seriously, let them steal it. Here's a metaphor. If you steal enough from a store the store shuts down and there's nothing left to steal. If they keep stealing elections the democracy will shut down. Then we can put the filthy bastards up against the wall. Keep stealing and manipulating shit assholes. Eventually the level
  • The 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' has worked so well that maybe we need the French and the Canadians to invade the United States for an 'Operation American Freedom' to bring democracy to the United States and depose the evil dictator. Then there would be pictures of cheering Americans dancing in the streets and showing off their purple fingers dipped in the purple inkwells when they voted in an actual honest election.
  • Because, Mr. Colbert, sometimes voting machines have a conservative bias. :)
  • http://www.kfdm.com/engine.pl?station=kfdm&id=173 4 3&template=breakout_dayportvideo.shtml&dateformat= %25M+%25e,%25Y [kfdm.com]
    This story is from Texas and reports the same thing.

    Seriously, let them steal it. Here's a metaphor. If you steal enough from a store the store shuts down and there's nothing left to steal. If they keep stealing elections the democracy will shut down. Then we can put the filthy bastards up against the wall.

    Keep stealing and manipulating shit assholes. Eventually the levels of

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