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United States Security

No Secret Ballot for Military Personnel? 402

belmolis writes "According to this editorial in today's New York Times, US military personnel for whom regular absentee ballot procedures are inconvenient are being provided with a questionable alternative, the Electronic Transmission Service, run by a private contractor, Omega Technologies. According to the NYT, the secrecy of ballots could be breached when they are faxed or emailed from the field, when they are in the hands of Omega Technologies, or when they are in the hands of local officials. The NYT was unable to obtain any information on security procedures from the company or from the Pentagon. A manual describing the system can be downloaded here [pdf document]. Like Diebold, Omega is far from non-partisan. Omega President and CEO Patricia Williams has donated $6,600 in this election cycle to the National Republican Congressional Committee and is a member of its Business Advisory Council."
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No Secret Ballot for Military Personnel?

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  • K5 article on this (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:07AM (#10156444)
    here [kuro5hin.org]
  • Compromised ballots? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davejenkins ( 99111 ) <slashdot@davejen ... m minus language> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:07AM (#10156447) Homepage
    Ballots *could* be compromised at all sorts of places along the chain. The NYT article seems to be making political hay out of the fact that there happen to be some additional points along that chain for overseas military ballots.

    Ballots could be compromised by the electioneers at your local library/fire station/place of baloting-- that was never the real check. The check on ballot tampering has always been:
    - statistical anomalies to spot possible tampering
    - ballot counting to verify/disprove tampering.

    This may seem simpleton, but it's how things have been done for the length of the republic. I don't see how adding some more stages (with the same checks at each stage) would fundamentally alter that-- unless you're a newspaper trying to raise the spectre of a rigged election 2 months before voting starts...
    • by kinrowan ( 784107 ) <kinrowan@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:21AM (#10156477) Homepage Journal
      Sure there are checks on the compromising of ballots, but isn't the real risk the chilling effect of other people knowing which way you voted?

      Especially in the military it seems to me that anonymity is critical to the practice of democracy.

      • If it's such a big hairy deal about people knowing how you vote, how the heck do exit polls work?? Do the networks make large assumptions about the vote split based on a small sample of people that really don't care who knows how they voted??
        • by zerblat ( 785 ) <[es.cibuks] [ta] [sanoj]> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:58AM (#10156755) Homepage
          If it's such a big hairy deal about people knowing how you vote, how the heck do exit polls work??
          Because to most people it isn't such a big deal. However, to some people it is, and that's the reason for keeping ballots secret.
          Do the networks make large assumptions about the vote split based on a small sample of people that really don't care who knows how they voted??
          Yes, that's exactly how it works.
      • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:55AM (#10156750) Homepage Journal
        anonymity is critical to the practice of democracy.

        Then don't vote using Absentee Balot. After all, they have to see how you voted and you have to sign the sheet in order to vote. In fact, why not just outlaw absentee voting altogether? Why not just make it impossible for anyone that is outside their district on election day to vote? Like a good large chunk of college students that go to school out of state or more than 30 min from where they live and people that are overseas (military, ambassadors etc).

        No matter how you do absentee voting, you give up a lttle anonymity. And if you didn't have to sign the sheets, you'd have a lot of voter fraud. "Lets see, 300 absentee voters, 300,000 absentee votes. I wonder which are the fake ones."
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:46AM (#10156518) Homepage Journal
      *Ballots could be compromised by the electioneers at your local library/fire station/place of baloting* that's why you should have multiple eyes(from different parties and independent) on the box before counting, most vote systems have. also, in normal voting there's no risk that the vote getting compromised would leave it so that your identity can be tied to what you voted.

      why don't they just arrange beforehand voting soon enough that the votes can be transferred normally, or is this just "hey lets cut the costs and BUY this service instead of doing what were supposed to"?

    • Ballots could be compromised by the electioneers at your local library/fire station/place of baloting-- that was never the real check. The check on ballot tampering has always been:
      - statistical anomalies to spot possible tampering


      Do you think they really bother checking anything at all?

      For example, what should be made of Philadelphia's (mostly democrat)voter registration rate of over 98% [seventy.org] in the 2000 election?

      There's nothing fishy about 98%+ of eligible voters being registered?

      They must have an incre
    • "Ballots could be compromised by the electioneers at your local library/fire station/place of baloting-- that was never the real check."

      But it's still been an important one. I, for one, am volunteering to be a precinct observor in my city, ensuring that neither side gets any unfair advantage.

      When you've got the whole process happening behind closed doors, this type of observing is not an option.
    • by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea ( 3441 ) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @10:58AM (#10157643) Homepage
      davejenkins is as wrong as wrong can be. The "Australian Ballot" system has remarkably strong checks on ballot integrity and trail. davejenkins has never taken a close look at a polling place, apparently.

      At the beginning of the day, an elections worker opens a ballot box to make sure it is empty, under the watchful eyes of observers from contesting political parties (e.g. a Democrat and a Republican). Given their contrary desires about election outcome, no observer would consent to pre-stuffing the ballot (i.e. they might like fake ballot of their own party, but not of the other party).

      Then the ballot box is sealed, and a lock is placed on it. The box is also watched by those mentioned observers during the course of the day, so stuffing becomes difficult.

      At the end of the day, everyone watches the box being unlocked; watches the ballots being pulled out and shuffled (to increase anonymity for early- or late-voters by eliminating sequence).

      Then under the watchful eye of all the observers (and of several elections workers), the ballots are counted and sorted. Totals recorded. Vote tallies posted at the polling place. Procedures signed off on by judges and observers. And the records sealed back up into envelopes or lock boxes.

      NONE of these safeguards exist in Omega's secret system that lacks any observers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:10AM (#10156453)
    the problem is not only that secrecy can be breached, but that it will be breached. After all you have to waive your right to a secret ballot.

    As if this wasn't bad enough already (though you might make an argument that it is justifiable in some extreme situations), the company that handles the ballots is far from non-partisan and there is no way to independently verify that the ballots are handled the way they should be handled.

    Finally, as an outside observer, I just don't get it that after the distater of the last presidential election in Florida, that also involved problems with absentee ballots from military personal, btw., things like these are still possible in the US. I get the feeling, that either the US can't get its act together (though I think that is very unlikely), or those in charge don't want to get their act together.
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:11AM (#10156456)
    US government so far didn't give any sign it would prosecute people based on their vote. The real problems, in the order importance are lack of choice (Republican vs Democratic, what if I disagree with both on different issues?), people not voting and only then mistakes in vote count.

    Human rights violations with 9/11 as an excuse raise a vague concern that someday a "pro-terrorist" vote will become an issue. But as of today, anyone who is affraid of being punished for voting Democratic or Republican probably should be isolated from society because of mental instability.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Interesting indeed.

      The right to a secret vote is one of the fundamental principles a democratic society is build on. To simply call anyone who is concerned about the weakening of that fundamental principal a loony is, ehm, interesting.

      Besides, nobody said they were prosecuting people for the way they vote, but not voting secretly at least opens the possibility that you might face some form of negative consequences for your vote. Even if this fear is totally unfounded, this may well influence the vote of s
      • by chewy_2000 ( 618148 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @05:12AM (#10156563)
        Incidentally, the secret ballot wasn't developed by the US or the UK as you may expect, but Australia back when it was a colony.
        Wikipedia has details. [wikipedia.org]
        Not sure what relevence this has to the thread, so mod me down if you want, but I find it kind of interesting that a mere convict colony developed this 'fundamental principle a democratic society is built on'.
        • by wfberg ( 24378 )
          Ancient Athens had secret ballots. They placed either a white or black marble into a vase. The color of the ball could not be observed as they put their hand (holding the marble) into the vase.

          The marbles being oftentimes spherical, this is where the name ball-ot derives from.

          The things you learn in high-school..

          Though IIRC there were earlier examples of secret ballots, going back to either ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, I forget which.
        • Excellent post. I'm not 100% sure about this - maybe one of the Aussies on the list could correct me - but I believe that South Australia was never a "convict colony" in the sense of receiving transported prisoners - I believe it was founded as a colony of free settlers, unlike the older New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land (a.k.a., Tasmania). True, convicts with tickets of leave, emancipated convicts, and the children of convicts (as the free settlers insulting callled them, "currency") probably did make
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:18AM (#10156470)
    This begs the question why is voting anonymous anyway? Am i somehow under threat if i vote for kerry or bush or even the communist party candidate and gasp someone finds out :o ....it seems to me that if it was simply published then we could actaully see if the sytem is fucked....ie hanging chads and all that. I think our democracy is more threatened by the possibity of faulty even intentional voteing fraud created having an anonymous voting proceedure then some proceeved unknown risk of having each vote stamped with a name.

    stendec@gmail.com
    • by Superjhemp ( 810389 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:35AM (#10156499)
      Am i somehow under threat if i vote for kerry or bush or even the communist party candidate and gasp someone finds out :o

      Maybe not you, but lots of other people might feel uncomfortable to vote Democrat if their boss votes Republican. A threat doesn't need to be a threat to your health and lifelyhood; a threat to your career is more than enough.

      And then, there's the specter of "vote buying". If ballots are secret, it's much more difficult to buy votes, because you cannot be sure that they guy whose vote you bought really voted the way he promised ;-)

      And then, the special case of the armed forces. Even if Joe the Soldier is brave enough to vote Democrat (knowing full well that his hierarchy would prefer Republican), and does not care that his might lead to his removal from the armed forces, we still have a problem: Now suddenly the Republicans have an army at their disposal which they know that they can trust. No risk of the army siding with the people, if ordered to commit unconstitutional acts, because the Republicans will have "weeded out" the untrustworthy elements before.

      • No risk of the army siding with the people, if ordered to commit unconstitutional acts, because the Republicans will have "weeded out" the untrustworthy elements before.

        On the other hand, if you weed out the "untrustworthy" elements, and then try shenigans, you run the risk of having a bunch of pissed off, highly trained, recently-ex soldiers taking independant action. And as spies and freedom fighters all over the world have demonstrated, it's far, far easier for loosely grouped individuals to fade int

      • This is out there even for Slashdot conspiracy theories. Are you seriously trying to claim that the Republicans are preparing the military for a coup d'etat? And you genuinely think that, purely by virtue of party affiliation, the military will actually go along with this?!

        Well, I guess they need to do it to combat the systematic infiltration of our nation's educational systems by Democratic pot-smoking radicals, who as we all know are trying to corrupt our youths into sharing their absurd moral relativ

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:20AM (#10156695) Journal
      McCarty witch hunts. Where the United States goverment hunted people for their political believes. So yes there is a very good reason in americas own recent history for having your vote be secret.

      Now go and read a book.

      • ...but that's nothing to be embarrassed about, ignorance is curable.

        The "McCarthy witch hunts" [thefreedictionary.com] were NOT witch hunts (read the end). McCarthy's basic argument was "should we have people who are communists (many self admitted) in sensitive positions within our government?"

        He was not only right, but underestimated the extent of soviet infiltration, as the release of the Venona Project [nsa.gov] transcripts now reveal (summary here [thefreedictionary.com]).

        Now go and read a book [amazon.com].
        • by Unordained ( 262962 ) <unordained_slash ... @pseudotheos.com> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:48PM (#10158146) Homepage
          ... no, he was not right.

          There's a significant difference between allowing communists (self-admitted, reported, suspected, or just disliked by others) in sensitive positions and allowing known spies in sensitive positions. The best option is to have no clue about someone's political views, to avoid fallacious thinking. That's why employers are required to disregard religion, ethnic background, political view, etc. when hiring -- none of it matters. What does matter is the integrity of the individual, which can only be judged on a per-case basis.

          The secret ballot helps preserve this distinction, but we must be ever vigilant against this sort of profiling. A communist is not a traitor, and neither is a republican. A more effective spy would pose as a moderate, and might even be a moderate -- who said money can't buy allegiance, regardless of political conviction?
  • Those of us who take an interest in the state of the US watch in sorrow and some concern at the rate at which your cherished rights and freedoms are being stamped on by this administration. Bush only got in after some very suspicious vote counting. The Republicans aren't too bothered what it takes to keep him there.
    • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:48AM (#10156522)
      Bush only got in after some very suspicious vote counting. The Republicans aren't too bothered what it takes to keep him there.


      Thousands Registered to Vote in 2 States-Report [yahoo.com]

      "But the newspaper found that between 400 and 1,000 registered voters voted twice in at least one election, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

      Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent didn't align themselves with a party, the newspaper reported on Sunday."

      Feel any better?

      • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) * on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:18AM (#10156693) Journal

        Those percentages are an artifact of the sample - people from New York City who summer in Florida. Do you know what the votes were like in New York City in the 2000 presidential election? 1,633,525 for the Democrats, 375,792 for the Republicans (I'm counting the party votes, not the individual votes - see the official report here [nyc.ny.us], specifically here [nyc.ny.us] - because we don't know how the New York Daily News would have categorized votes for "conservative" and "liberal" in their study - it's interesting that those numbers show a much closer split, 25,130 Conservative [Bush] versus 29,386 Liberal [Gore]) out of a total of 2,283,261, for total percentages of 71.5 percent Democrat, 16.5 percent Republican (if you include the Liberal numbers with the Democrat, you get 72.8%, and if you include the Conservative numbers with the Republican, 17.6%). For a sample size of 46,000 out of 2.3 million, those numbers are pretty similar.

        Note, too, that it gives the percentages of people that are registered in both states - 46,000

        Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent didn't align themselves with a party, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

        - but not of people it thinks VOTED in both states - 1,000 at worst:

        But the newspaper found that between 400 and 1,000 registered voters voted twice in at least one election, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

        That 1,000 is not a good sample of the 48,000, because their motivations are different. The difference between those two numbers is the difference beween neglect and deliberate fraud. The 48,000 are simply registered in two states - since registrations usually aren't "closed" - you usually don't call the town you're moving out of and ask them to take you off the voter rolls - they could very well be people who registered to vote in Florida, and voted in Florida, when they got down there, and registered to vote in New York, and voted in New York - in a different election - when they got up there. You can't apply the "neglect" numbers to make an argument about which party is more likely to commit intentional voter fraud.

        Since the percentages almost exactly reflect their sample, the study tells us nothing about Democratic versus Republican voter fraud. Indeed, the newspaper study (from an historically conservative newspaper), at least as it is characterized by the Reuters article, looks as though it deliberately limited its sample to New York City in order to come out with a result that would embarrass the Democratic Party. Now you'll probably say "well, they chose New York City because it's a New York paper and that's what their readership would care about." Ahh, but you see, the Reuters article cited the percentages, but didn't contextualize them by citing the overall voter percentages of their sample - a classic tactic of those who want to lie with statistics. So either the Reuters article is representing what the New York Daily News reported, or they left out the context, and thereby distorted what the New York Daily News reported.

        Note that this took me 6 minutes to work out, using Google and your posting. I'm sure that the New York Daily News author, or the author of the Reuters article, could have done the same thing. I wish I knew whether they did or not.

      • Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent didn't align themselves with a party, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

        That's bad, but aren't those individual acts?

        What we know for sure (see link below) is that the Republican Party rigged the 2000 election to allow the person who got fewer votes to take the White House.

        Whether it was Florida's counting illegal military ballots, whether it was Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris' use of databases to
    • Those of us who take an interest in the state of the US watch in sorrow and some concern at the rate at which your cherished rights and freedoms are being stamped on by this administration. Bush only got in after some very suspicious vote counting. The Republicans aren't too bothered what it takes to keep him there

      Trust me it hurts much more to watch it happening to my own country. Now that Bush apparently has a double digit lead, It is begginning to become obvious that not only will BU__SH__ probably

      • FWIW, the Time poll that showed a double digit lead had some serious issues. First it was taken during the convention. The one poll taken during the DNC gave Kerry a thirteen point lead, and was ignored as it should have been - polls taken during a convention are inherently misleading. Second Time changed their methodology. For this one poll - they pushed on undecideds during the convention [pollingreport.com]. The poll was conducted entirely unprofessionally - pushing undecideds while a convention is heppening is ludicro
    • All I have to say is, if Bush gets re-elected, I better not read one fucking word about repealing the 22nd amendment [usconstitution.net].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:25AM (#10156484)
    The NYT editorial board sez: Omega Technologies is not an acceptable choice to run the program. Its chief executive, Patricia Williams, has donated $6,600 in this election cycle to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and serves on the committee's Business Advisory Council.

    Is it really so terrible to give money to a political campaign? At least one member of the family which owns the New York Times (Dr. Judith P. Sulzberger) donated $2000 to the John Kerry campaign, $5000 to 'Victory Campaign 2004', and $20000 to the Democrat National Committee.

    Does this mean I can no longer trust the New York Times to treat facts with a modicum of fairness? Is it inappropriate for me to get factual information about political campaigns from them?

    The NYT editors should quit their whining. Almost every person in the US has some political preferences, whether he or she has given money to a campaign or not. Having a strong political preference does not automatically make a person untrustworthy.

    They should stick to criticizing the process here .. not the people.
    • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:54AM (#10156531) Homepage
      I think so when it is company money.
      If the company I work for would support a political party there's a (good) chance it would not be the party of my choice.
      I would be very upset if money that was partially made through my efforts would go to these people.
      Commercial entities have no business spending their money on influencing what should be a democratic process.

      The people (voters) should be the only allowed to finance parties, maybe with some very tightly controlled subsidies from the government to give start-ups a chance.

      On a side line, what is democratic about some people being able to spend thousants or even millions of $$ on a party while others could hardly afford a 10 bucks contribution every four years?
      Limiting donations to $10.- per year would as well end the ridiculous circus elections have become and force politicians to stay on topic.

      • I think so when it is company money.
        If the company I work for would support a political party there's a (good) chance it would not be the party of my choice.
        I would be very upset if money that was partially made through my efforts would go to these people.
        Commercial entities have no business spending their money on influencing what should be a democratic process.


        Are you sure companies give this money?

        As far as I can tell, the money always comes from individuals.

        Sure, they've got to report who it is they
        • In this case, it is not (at least, not officially, but let's give her the benefit of the doubt on this one) company money, it is personal money. However, yes, companies do give money, lots of it.
    • All media is biased to a lesser or greater extent, it is impossible to edit without showing bias. We buy papers that carry a viewpoint that is compatible with ours whether we agree with the viewpoint or not. However, we have a choice in what media we watch. This isn't the Soviet Union.

      When you don't have choice, for example, in the way that vote is taken and passed, then that is something to worry about. Nobody forces you to buy the NYT or to watch Fox.

    • by J. J. Ramsey ( 658 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @07:26AM (#10156817) Homepage
      "Is it really so terrible to give money to a political campaign? At least one member of the family which owns the New York Times (Dr. Judith P. Sulzberger) donated $2000 to the John Kerry campaign, $5000 to 'Victory Campaign 2004', and $20000 to the Democrat National Committee."

      Ms. Sulzberger doesn't count the votes, or get to see them. A business entrusted with the kind of power that Omega Technologies has ought to be above reproach, preferably non-partisan or bipartisan, but definitely transparent and accountable. Omega Technologies, however, seems to be none of those.
    • Let me rephrase that... newspapers are a fundamental part of the political process, so of course they have an editorial line. But with regard to facts, they are also subject to a public fact-checking process, so any newspaper or other news source which constantly distorts the facts will quickly become known as such and lose credibility.

      Omega Technologies are not subject to public fact-checking, so they should not be used.
  • A couple of points (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @04:52AM (#10156529) Homepage
    First of all, it's kind of lame that the company would not give any information about its security procedures, while another source (it would seem) was readily available that details the whole thing.

    Second, the Business Advisory Council is (in my opinion) a total crock of shit. I used to work for a company whose CEO won the Business Advisory Council's "Businessman of the Year" award. Let me tell you, the award is (in my opinion) pretty much given to people who donate large sums to the party. Oh did I mention that the company mentioned above is now under the control of a receiver, and is also under investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigvation Division? Oh, did I mention the grand jury preceedings? But I digress......

    Remember, you cannot trust anyone, the whole damned system is corrupt, and all parts biased, one way or the other. (The "in my opinion" statements above are merely a CYA thing)
  • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @05:09AM (#10156559)
    I know several people in the military, who were absolutely enraged with the last election because their absentee ballots were'nt counted. See this [fraudfactor.com] for example. They were far more angry that their vote was usurped, then they were concerned about someone seeing their vote.
    • "I know several people in the military, who were absolutely enraged with the last election"

      Eeek, that's waaay too scary. People in the military getting enraged over votes!
      • The interesting thing is that the military have all the tools required to keep their votes secure. They could place armed guards around the ballot boxes out in the field, and provide an armed escort on their own transports to deliver the boxes to a polling station at the Pentagon... There are personnel moving around all the time, so the movement of the boxes wouldn't require much in the way of special treatment. The only irregularity necessary would be having the troops vote a day or two in advance so th
        • It's not just military, there is quite a large popluation of americans living overseas that have little with the military and vote absontee
          • Yes, agreed. But the whole article specifically refers to the military, and tells about how their votes may be collected by a third party. It just seems wrong to me that it would even be thought necessary to engage a third party, especially if that third party is somehow able to review and possibly discard a portion of the vote.

            The grandparent poster gave a link to fraudfactor.com, which asserts that military absentee votes were discarded due to not having postmarks. Having an armed escort deliver the ba

    • Ah, but the point is, if they vote for the "wrong" candidate, Omega will see that, and discretely discard their votes before they are transmitted to the polling place. So you see, this is quite possibly as bad as an absentee ballot not being counted. The fact that the motive force behind it is the party you support, while the previous incident was due to the party you don't support, is irrelevant.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @05:24AM (#10156597)
    Everytime a story like this is posted I'm scared by the way people react.
    Obviously without even bothering to read the article people tell us that everyone who is concerned about these kinds of things should take of their tin foil heads.
    They tell us that 6 000$ isn't much, as if this was the point.
    And they immediately start the old Democrats vs. Republicans game. For every instance of republican foul play I will post at least one instance of the democrats doing something wrong. As if it did matter who deprived voter of their basic rights.

    Now take into account that this story is not the only reason to be concerned (Diebold anyone?) and what has hapend in Florida during the last Presidential election and it should be clear to anyone that there is reason to be concerned.

    The moment the outcome of an election is decided not by the people voting but by judges who decide if counting the votes one side wants to count or counting the votes the other side wants to count something is wrong and needs fixing. Seeing what is happening lately in the US this situation seems far from solved, on the contrary seems to get worse.

    What will happen to a country whose citizens don't seem to be concerned if their most basic right is undermined?
  • Paranoia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jkonrad ( 318894 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @05:47AM (#10156633)

    Let's try not to make too much of the fact that organizations outside the gov't having to do with voting (Diebold, Omega, et al) support conservatives moreso than liberals, politically.

    This is largely because the right is much more pro-business and -capitalism than the left, who are typically seen to increasingly resent the wealth builders and creators with the more wealth they build and create.

    If some organization seemed intent on taxing and regulating me out of business, I probably wouldn't support them much, either.

    What party a business supports in a moot point, regardless. If someone is paranoid enough to have visions of conspiracy by right-supporting businesses, then the same untrustworthiness must therefore be assumed about all left-supporing organizations as well. While I don't understand paranoia all that well, maybe in the minds of those so afflicted, these two opposing conspiracies would cancel each other out...?

    There's no substitute for thinking.
    • Re:Paranoia (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0x0d0a ( 568518 )
      As regards voting -- yes, I think it is quite reasonable to be suspicious about a combination of (a) an exploitable voting system and (b) clearly partisian links from an operator. And that goes for the right *or* the left -- if the Demms could get away with ballot box fraud, you bet your ass that they'd do it in a second as well. But at the moment, the concern happens to be companies with ties to the Republicans.
  • I live overseas (Score:5, Informative)

    by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @05:57AM (#10156653) Homepage
    I live overseas and inside the envelope there is a letter that says you have the option to fax in your ballot, but you must sign the waver about the secret ballot. BUT you can mail the thing in and you have the secret option.

    It's quite obvious that it's not some crazy conspiracy, if you fax in you must also incude your voter card (or else someone will do a DoS attack) The mail in letter is unique and could be easly identified as a fourge.
  • It's simply a case of contractors who can't fulfil the key requirements of the contract.

    If these incompetants don't get replaced, then those who hired them may have to have their sources of lobbying money examined - and criminal charges of bribery applied where appropriate.

  • by intnsred ( 199771 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:44AM (#10156729)
    BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast is one person who originally turned up the bogus use of military absentee ballots in Florida in the 2000 election.

    You'd think they would have straightened it out, but as this story reports [commondreams.org] the absentee process in Florida if anything has gotten worse!

    Now, four years later and the process is not fixed, and is arguably worse than ever. Accidental or planned?
    • You should really get your information from more credible sources than an irate liberal conspiracy-theory rag whose articles are nothing more than speculation published as fact.

      If I were you, I wouldn't hold out for much objectivity or unbiased analysis from a group that still believes the 2000 election was 'stolen'.
  • Conspiracy Theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Morbid_Angel666 ( 700127 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @07:09AM (#10156773) Homepage Journal
    So .. um .. people can't support a political party and still do their job without prejudice? I'd like to believe that at least some of us have a shred of decency. I'm curious that if intead this company's CEO had donated money to the Green Party would it have made front page news? Probably if perhaps the tinfoil hat has a hole in it ....
    • by kryptkpr ( 180196 )
      So .. um .. people can't support a political party and still do their job without prejudice?

      prejudice.. I don't think that word means what you think it means..

      I don't know how it works in the USA, but I've worked several elections up here in Canada. Not only are people wearing any party symbols not allowed in the voting room, any past or present member of a political party is not allowed to work in the room, period.

      It has nothing to do with prejudice (as there's no pre-judging going on. when you donat
  • From the ETS instructions:

    The Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP's) Electronic Transmission Service (ETS) enables local election officials to transmit and receive

    election materials via fax or email to/from Uniformed Services members and overseas citizens.

    That's great! As an American who resides abroad I should have applied for an absentee ballot at least 60 days before the election, which was yesterday. With the Electronic Transmission Service (ETS) I still may vote!
    So a service that was made to

  • From Omega careers page: Web Developer Job Description: Web developer will be responsible for the design, development and testing of cutting edge Internet based solutions. The employee will assist in needs analysis, and planning and development of implementation strategies. The development will also require evaluation of third party products/component technologies, on-site testing and installations, and testing and debugging of applications. Knowledge of C++ and Cold Fusion
  • Anyone can explain that quote, and who that guy was?
    I found info about Jury Nullification on this [mauricereeves.com] page, but that's about it.

    There are four boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order. -Ed Howdershelt

    thanks!
  • Okay. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    First, the technical aspects of this.. the voter secrecy parts, should be taken seriously.

    Secondly.. it's kind of funny to hear complaints about them not being "non partisan".

    Just about every American I know feels strongly about one party or the other, and given how US politics work, that makes sense.
    Are we trying to say that those who are making voting systems and services should not be entitled to political opinion?

    Of course not...

    What they SHOULD have to do is keep their services as transparent and w
  • This story sucks - all it does is make us go against each other - The story had barely enough content to make it a Slashdot story at all. Please refrain from posting this crap in the future or I will trade in my Karma and leave.....
  • Why not... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bull999999 ( 652264 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @10:48AM (#10157608) Journal
    Why didn't a Kerry supporter donate $7000 to get the job?

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