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Maryland Fights to Keep E-voting 250

crystalattice writes "Apparently Maryland election officials never have computer problems. That's why they're fighting so hard to keep their Diebold e-voting machines. Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher received nothing but bad attitudes, dodges, and excuses when he attempted to discuss the issue with the state elections administration and Diebold." From the article: "I asked the state's elections administrator, Linda Lamone, whether Maryland wasn't just a bit too quick to adopt electronic voting. Doesn't the computer at your desk ever freeze up on you? 'No,' she replied. Never? 'No.' But surely people in your office have had that experience? 'No.' (Maybe we've found the solution to Maryland's voting problem: Everybody head on down to Linda Lamone's office, where the machines work 100 percent of the time.)"
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Maryland Fights to Keep E-voting

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  • could be... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jdcope ( 932508 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:08PM (#16162641)
    Maybe they dont use Windows software on their computers??
    • Re:could be... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by epee1221 ( 873140 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:13PM (#16162685)
      Or maybe the people making these calls are the kind of people who form conclusions and then look for evidence.
      Oh, e-Voting! It uses computers, so it must be better!

      When beliefs held this way are challenged, the response is hostility, not a rational defence of said beliefs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ElleyKitten ( 715519 )
      I've seen Linux and Mac computers freeze. Not often, but enough to not say completely dismiss the notion of them freezing as crazy.
      • Usually right after I recompile the kernel. :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kimvette ( 919543 )
        Dude! If your Linux box is freezing, I think you overdid it with your CPU cooler. Sheesh! ;)

        I've seen Linux lock up as well, but it's generally been to PCI issues (such as the SB Live & SMP fiasco a few years ago), ATI's proprietary drivers, or attempting to run certain OpenGL apps with ATI cards.
    • ... and they have SECDED memory.

      ... and redundant power supplies.

    • Re:could be... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DataSurge ( 953063 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:06PM (#16163111) Homepage
      To say the obvious: If there is fraud with computer voting, no-one will know, that is the whole point. Therefore there won't be any 'computer problems'.
  • That's pretty scary. Do you think they're getting kickbacks? Follow the money...
    • Do you think they're getting kickbacks? Follow the money...
      It's not money that's being tossed around here. It's power.

      Do you think these officials are outrigh lying and conspiring to subvert the democractic process for a few meager bucks. Most of the subversives in charge of the Maryland voting system recieve no monies, but instead the kudos and respect from their superiors. In time, they may also get a slice of the power for their efforts, and will then be free to stamp on a few faces.

      Did the communist revolutionaries get paid? No, they did what they did because they belived what they were doing was right. Just as absolutist Republician party members believe what they are doing by rigging elections is also right, because it helps the "godly and patriotic" stay in power. These people don't believe in democracy or freedom or rights. They believe whatever they want to and have only contempt for those who disagree.

      So don't follow the money trail. It won't be that simple, because these people are working on different rules. Their kickbacks will only come after it's too late to expose them.
      • by alizard ( 107678 ) < minus city> on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:50PM (#16162972) Homepage
        even if Republicans like Alaska's "Corrupt Bastards Club" and Bush's contract awards to Halliburton and other crony capitalists have escalated this to a new artform.

        Look up your favorite Democrats at OpenSecrets [] and find out about how much of their campaign money comes from the Hollywood content cartel. . . and you won't need to wonder just where bullshit like the DMCA comes from. Hint: In Hillary Clinton's career campaign contribution profile of individual donors, Disney (as in The Path to 9/11) is #15.

        • Dopey Alert! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:38PM (#16163297) Journal
          I hate DMCA as much as the next Slashdotter, and the Democrats who've been supporting the telcos and fighting Net Neutrality deserve to be thrown out too.

          But let's not pretend there's "enough blame to go around". There has never been a congress as corrupt as the Republicans who've been in control since 1994 and there's never been an administration as foul as the Bush Junta. We heard this kind of bullshit after Jack Abramoff was found to have purchased the votes of scores of Republican congressmen and senators. "Well, the Democrats took $500 from Jack Abramoff, so that shows they're just as corrupt as Bob Ney who took over a million dollars and actually SOLD HIS EFFING VOTE to the highest bidder." It's a red herring and complete crap. Even if the Democrats did take money they haven't had anything to sell to the generous donors like Abramoff who have purchased the Republican Party and Bush Presidency.

          Let's not forget that since 2000 the Democratic Party has exactly ZERO power in Washington. They've been completely shut out of the legislative process by rules changes and the "K Street Project." 3 million-plus Americans have gone from "getting by" to outright poverty since Bush and Co. took over. 40 million Americans-plus don't have health insurance of any kind since Bush and Co. took over. And the war, tax cuts only for people who make more than $250k, this shiny new security apparatus and the "rebuilding" of Afghanistan and Iraq are all being put on the USA Credit Card so my kids and grandkids can pay it off while eating macaroni and cheese. How do you think they're paying for those secret prisons, wiretaps, and data mining? You think black hoods and stun guns are free?

          If there is anything in government that you don't like since 2000, you can bet that no Democrat has had anything to do with it. Not that they're such fantastic leaders, but there is nothing about the last 6 years you can pin on them. Nothing. And I know Republicans hate to hear this, but the guy who was supposed to be protecting the American Homeland on September 11, 2001 was George W. Bush. No other. NOT Bill Clinton. Say it again until it sinks in. It was a Republican President who told the National Security Advisor a year before 9/11 after being told Osama bin Laden should be a top priority "OK, you've covered your butt." It was the BUSH ADMINISTRATION that said our soldiers would be greeted with flowers and candy when they marched into Baghdad (this is absolutely true. spend a few minutes with Google to see for yourself) and it was a Republican Vice President (the guy with the evil, baby's-blood-drinking sneer) who said"The war in Iraq will be over in weeks rather than years.

          I could go on (and I probably will, soon), but the next person who tells me "oh, there's plenty of blame to be spread around the two parties) is going to get my size 11 Hush Puppy right up his crack. Now, "alizard" if that is your real name, why don't you go dunk your head? That BS isn't going to play around here any more.
          • Just remember that the majority of things you and I don't like coming out of the Beltway were voted into law with the help of Democrats. You know, people like your friend, Joe Lieberman. Remember the bankruptcy bill?

            I'll just say that if the Democrats are so powerless, why does the entertainment industry think their votes are worth buying? You need to call Disney and tell them they're wasting their money when they give it to Senator Clinton.

            Ever heard of the Democratic Leadership Council? Did you know []
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bigpat ( 158134 )
        It's not money that's being tossed around here. It's power.

        I wouldn't be so quick to put your finger on either money or power. Sometimes people just react to authority without thinking for themselves. Look at the Millgram Experiment []. Otherwise normal people can do things that are beyond reason when they are given prior instructions from some authority figure.

        The problem with bureaucrats (just like everyone else) is often a much more insidious a form of corruption. They actually might believe what they a
    • Of course they are. Probably lame ones like a couple nice dinners and a few grand in cash under the table (over and above what is legally given), but any time you see a politician spouting something so stupid, there is money involved.
      Maybe they were just told to say it, maybe they don't know any better and a lobbyist gave them "all they need to know" or, as in this case, they know they are in the wrong and are trying to cover their ass so the money keeps rolling in.
  • so.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:10PM (#16162664) Homepage Journal
    ...everyone in Linda's office uses either Linux, OSX, or BSD?
  • Bets? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:12PM (#16162672) Journal
    Any bets on how long till the underpaid helpdesk personal that are always having to run around and fix all their computers "which never fail" posts the helpdesk logs on the internet?
    • My favourite joke about computers crashing comes from a Canadian comedian in a routine from the early 1990s. He was explaining what a pain it is to go into a business and they tell you, "Sorry we can't help you at the moment, the computer is down." He said, "Back in my day, we'd use a pen and paper. When the pen ran out of ink, 'Oh the pen is down' (He sets imaginary pen down, then picked up another) 'There's a new pen, back in business'.

      Paper voting is the only way to go, we have to keep a human readable,
  • Remember... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:15PM (#16162692)
    ...that it is the Republican Maryland governor fighting for paper ballots and the Maryland Democrats fighting to keep everything on e-voting [].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      -9999999999, Fact contrary to the Slashdot Hive Mind line.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 ( 215841 )
      Ssssh, don't tell anyone. That might pop their conspiracy theory in which Diebold is trying to steal elections for the Republicans.
  • It's not so simple. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yourestupidjerks ( 948216 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:17PM (#16162713)
    In Maryland, Deocrats outnumber Republicans 2:1. The Republican governor is in an extremely tight race where turnout could be the deciding factor. Current trends indicate Democrats across the country are set to turn out in large numbers, which would hurt the governor's chances for reelection. So he has called into question the election process, and has been actively telling people to stay away from the polls and instead fill out absentee ballots - despite the fact that he recently vetoed a bill that would make it easier for people to do just that. (The Democrat-controlled legislature overruled his veto.) This isn't just a matter of whether it's a good idea to use electronic voting machines; it's a matter of a seasoned politician trying to exploit the political machine a matter of weeks before an election. Please remember to keep all of that in mind.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by operagost ( 62405 )
      The governor vetoed this bill [] for the same reason he opposes the electronic voting-- because it has not been proven to be reasonably secure. There is a reason that there are safeguards involved with absentee ballots. We have had numerous elections where people have voted more than once, usually by both absentee ballot and showing up at the polls on election day.

      I also don't see the relevance in saying, "Current trends indicate Democrats across the country are set to turn out in large numbers, which woul

    • Um (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm not really interested in which party the presence or absence of e-voting would hurt. I am just primarily interested in the voting process being fair. But:

      You claim that what we're seeing here is an unpopular incumbent trying to discourage people from voting at all by waiting until the last minute and then trying to raise questions about the voting process.

      So why not just do what the Washington Post reporter suggested and the allegedly unpopular governor appears to be now advocating, and switch to paper
    • Would you be defending this situation in the exact same manner as you just did if it the Republican and Democratic tables in this situation were turned?

      I will opine that you would indeed not be, and that there are many who would be quick to defend anyone who is non-Republican, and vilify Republicans in any part of this process, even if it conflicts with their other beliefs (e.g., that electronic voting is bad in general).

      If electronic voting is so horrible, and indeed, if there really are active conspiracie
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jfengel ( 409917 )
      Maryland having a Republican governor is actually something of an anomaly. The last Republican governor of Maryland was Spiro Agnew back in the 60s. Ehrlich won a race over a Democrat who was said to have run a singularly terrible campaign, and even at that he won only 51-48.

      Which means Ehrlich is in trouble now, and the polls reflect that: he's losing 51-44 and 49-42 in the most recent polls.

      He's going to need every advantage if he's going to win. In fact, he's almost certain to lose, but his lieutenant go
      • by Erwos ( 553607 )
        What kind of advantage? You know our governor is the one fighting to have paper ballots, right?

  • Where civil servants become uncivil masters.
  • by Anonymous Codger ( 96717 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:18PM (#16162724)
    I live in Merlin. As I understand it, the following issues are affecting this decision:

    1. The election officials don't believe that they can re-gear the process in time for the general election, which is only 6 weeks away. I certainly don't think they can pull it off, given their record so far.

    2. The Democratic leadership is convinced that Republican Gov. Erlich is trying to suppress the vote in this majority Democratic state by raising fears about the process. They have good reason to believe this, as he has consistently fought efforts to make it easier for people to vote. Yesterday he urged everyone to use absentee ballots, yet last year he fought efforts to make it easier for people to use those ballots. He also vetoed a bill to allow early voting, which is popular in working districts (mostly Democratic) because some people have trouble getting to the polls on Election Day. When the legislature overrode his veto, he fought the law in court and won.

    So as much as I hate and distrust the machines (I'm applying for an absentee ballot myself), I'm on the side of the Dem leadership and the election people (a bipartisan group).
    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:21PM (#16162744)
      So in other words, electronic voting and Diebold are always evil, except when Democrats support it?

      I get it now.

      Also, I call total bullshit on this. These machines are either bad, or not. You can't have it both ways. I'm surprised at how many are now coming up with justifications to still vilify only the Republicans in this process, regardless of whether they want - or want to get rid of - e-voting.

      (By the way, I'm not a Republican, didn't vote for Bush, etc.)
    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:35PM (#16162865)
      For the record, as of 2:30P CT, this is the only +5 moderated post in this story.

      Why is it unsurprising that in a group that traditionally lambasts e-voting as essentially a Republican conspiracy to steal elections at every turn would take every opportunity to moderate up the first post justifying *not* getting rid of e-voting when the Republican governor actually wants to go back to all paper ballots?

      If this were a Democratic governor wanting to get rid of e-voting and Republicans fighting it, ask yourself: would a post like the parent really be modded up? Think about that and give yourself an honest answer.
      • by garcia ( 6573 )
        If this were a Democratic governor wanting to get rid of e-voting and Republicans fighting it, ask yourself: would a post like the parent really be modded up? Think about that and give yourself an honest answer.

        If I were able to mod (I haven't had mod points in several *years*) I would have modded it up. I couldn't give a flying rats ass what party affiliation a politician/poster has when it comes to e-Voting. IMHO, *all* e-Voting is unncessary, flawed, and gives too much power to cheat to those that want
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman ( 862676 )
        This whole "slashdot is a Democratic-biased conspiracy against republicans" is about as stupid as posts that contain the word "AmeriKKKa." There are plenty of Republicans and conservatives on slashdot. But instead of engaging in debate, you prefer partisan politics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wfberg ( 24378 )
      1. The election officials don't believe that they can re-gear the process in time for the general election, which is only 6 weeks away. I certainly don't think they can pull it off, given their record so far.

      So.. In the event that it turns out that all the voting machines are controlled by Red China, they have no backup? Even though the backup would be red pencils, some ballots and cardboard boxes with some security tape thrown in for good measure?
    • by bhmit1 ( 2270 )

      So as much as I hate and distrust the machines (I'm applying for an absentee ballot myself)

      On the other side of the river (Fairfax, VA), I tend to do the "absentee in person" where you fill in the absentee application in person, and they let you vote right there, amazingly efficient. But unfortunately, when you do that, you are back to using the electronic machines *doh*. If the machines are able to be trusted, this has to be the best system I've ever seen, whole process takes maybe 10 minutes. Of cour

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by payndz ( 589033 )
      1. The election officials don't believe that they can re-gear the process in time for the general election, which is only 6 weeks away. I certainly don't think they can pull it off, given their record so far.

      To re-gear the process for a paper ballot, they'd require:
      A: A bunch of metal boxes with a slot in the top, and a padlock.
      B: A slip of paper for every voter with the names and parties of the candidates printed on it.
      C: Pencils. Lots of pencils.
      D: A bunch of volunteers willing to count those slip
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ??? ( 35971 )
      "1. The election officials don't believe that they can re-gear the process in time for the general election, which is only 6 weeks away. I certainly don't think they can pull it off, given their record so far."

      I'm sick of this _crap_ argument. This discussion isn't new since the primaries. This discussion has been going on (in one form or another, and in one state or another) since well before the 2004 election. All we've gotten is "we don't have time to fix this before... (the primaries|the general|the
    • I'm with you, Anonymous Codger. I'm also in Merlin--Bawlmer to be exact. I am trying unsuccessfully to locate a Linda Lamone quote where she essentially said (in response to allegations of the hackability of our Diebold equipment) "Oh, that's impossible. Nobody's going to do that; it would be against the law!" (Or words to that effect.)

      I also noted on a news broadcast the other night that maintenance costs for these systems have escalated from something less than a million originally to almost nine million
      • No, we don't have that luxury. The machines have to go (they are broken, and absurdly easy to stuff). And we need to hold their feet to the fire NOW because paper ballots are not destroyed right after an election. Some (for instance the 2004 vote in Ohio will be destroyed in a few months). The evidence goes away.

        And a stuffed ballot ensures that a person and a local organization who LIKES stuffing and protecting stuffers will be in power.

        We need to clean up American elections starting today. (Unless we
  • by TheWoozle ( 984500 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:20PM (#16162738)
    Never mind that Diebold's project manager, Tom Feehan, told me it would take four hours to train a computer moron like me to run the voter sign-in machine.

    This is probably the number-one reason why electronic voting machines aren't ready for the real world, probably never will be. People understand and can work with paper; no fancy training necessary.

    What will happen if people who were trained can't make it on election day (sickness, car accident, etc.)?
    • The real issue isn't how long it would take to train someone to operate the sign-in machine, the real issue is why are they using a machine to log people in? Why isn't a big book where someone can sign into not being used?

      Since I've been voting I have always had to sign my signature under my name in a paper book that is at the table. One book is for people A thru M, the other book is for people N thru Z.

      So far as I know, there has never been an issue using this method.
  • by John.P.Jones ( 601028 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:21PM (#16162740)
    I am worried about the possibility of mallicious actions, I could care less if a few machines lock up and people have to wait a bit to vote. And I don't believe the machines will spontaneously make accidental mistakes that lose people's votes. I worry only about humans, whether they be programmers or elections officials purposefully rigging the system.

    Thus I don't care if her machine locks up or not. Stupid question that shouldn't have been asked as it sidetracks the issue.
  • She's doing a great job taking the heat on this.

    In these situations, the people pushing the project through is intentionally unclear.

    This is the beauty of most structured proposal systems that local/state/federal gov'ts. From a citizens perspective, they look like they control graft and corruption. It only creates a level of obscurity.
  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Knara ( 9377 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:22PM (#16162751)
    At this point, tech-savvy readers will grumble that I'm an unreconstructed Luddite.

    Sadly, I think the tech-savvy readers are the majority of people thinking this whole thing is a really bad idea. Unfortunately, there's not enough of us with deep pockets and loud enough voices to stop this potential train wreck in time.

  • I think a more appropriate question would have been:
    Do all of your computers in your office freeze up at the same time?
    Since there will be more than one machine at any given polling booth. I've never been to a polling place that had all booths open, electric or otherwise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've never been to a polling place that had all booths open, electric or otherwise.

      I know what you mean. Last time I went to an election with punch-out paper ballots, some of the booths were blocked off with "out of order" signs -- the paper wasn't working in those ones. People complain about the unreliability of e-voting, but it's really not any worse than it used to be.


      Okay, I'm making fun. A little. But really, have you never been to a polling location that had all boths open? Ever, using an

  • ...I chanced upon this story about the Marble-based voting machines being used in Gambia [].

    I found the article very interesting, and adequately detailed. The system seems well thought out and adapted to fit into local conditions (high illiteracy rate, resource crunch, simplicity, etc).

    From TFA:
    Voters enter a booth and pop a clear glass marble into one of three drums representing the candidates, instead of a putting a ballot paper into a box...snip...The drums are painted in the colour of the candidate's

    • That works when you have one question.

      Last time I voted there were a total of something like 70 candidates for over a dozen offices, and another dozen referendum questions.
  • by agent dero ( 680753 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:25PM (#16162777) Homepage
    I would like to extend a thanks to Marc Fisher for being an actual reporter.

    Let's start dragging these guys over hot coals, there's absolutely no practical reason unless you're trying to rig an election (in my opinion) to switch to e-voting.
    • Or if you or one of your friends is in the business of selling voting machines.
    • I partially agree with you, but there's an important word in your claim you aren't paying much attention to: "there's no practical reason to switch to e-voting."

      The switch has already (essentially) been done. The debate here is whether to switch back, so close to the election. The primary person agitating for the change to paper ballots (the current governor) also has an extremely questionable history in the area of voting ethics (as pointed out by other posters), so the issue here is a lot more complicat

  • Where I live, the official that oversees elections is, themselves, elected.

    How is the Maryland election commission selected? It may be too late for sanity to prevail in this election, but how much possibility is there that before or during the next major election, some kind of popular challenge could be engineered to replace the Maryland election commission with people who would oppose and remove e-voting systems*?

    * To avoid an unnecessary argument, pretend I'm making some kind of distinction between touchs
  • Had the same thing happen while at the DoD.

    Me: "So these tools can help monitor for any issues you have on your system. Is there anything you'd like to see from the security side of things?"
    Them: "No"
    Me: "Have you ever had a security breach?"
    Them: "No, we have never had a security breach."
    Me: "You mean none that you know of?"
    Them: "No, we have never had a security breach."
    Me: "Yes sir"

    Either they are much better at their job than anyone believes, or it's easier to ignore the truth than to try fixing the pr
    • by Knara ( 9377 )
      Judging from the stories I've heard from former military IT guys... yeah it's the latter.
  • by Malakusen ( 961638 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:43PM (#16162920) Journal .html []

    In the aftermath of a problem-filled primary election caused by defective Diebold voting machines in Maryland, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. insists that the state should return to paper ballots in order to ensure that the upcoming November election is valid and unhindered by technological failures. ... Maryland's Board of Elections administrator Linda H. Lamone characterized the Governor's suggestion as "crazy." Lamone telling the Washington Post she will "work around the clock" to resolve deficiencies and put pressure on Diebold in an effort to make the machines usable.

    If you have to work around the clock to make the voting machines usable, then there was a SEVERE problem with them when they came from the manufacturer. Rushing to get them operable before election, instead of scrapping them entirely, is pretty crazy. There's more.

    Diebold's voting technology has received a steady litany of bad press for the past two years. The state of California banned Diebold's products, and then sued the company for machine-related fraud in 2004. Security researchers have illuminated severe flaws in both the hardware and software, recently revealing that Diebold machines are vulnerable to self-propagating viruses capable of altering the outcome of a vote. Diebold voting technology drew sharp criticism in Alaska last month, where elections were also disrupted by the machines. ... Condemning Lamone and the General Assembly for "[setting] dangerous precedents that .. threaten the integrity of November's elections," Baltimore election director Gene Raynor chose to resign earlier this week rather than condone the use the faulty machines. Given the numerous election difficulties attributed to Diebold's products by members of both major political parties in several states, it is clear that these problems represent a pattern rather than a series of isolated incidents. The company continues to claim that its products function adequately when properly configured. In light of the significant risks associated with using Diebold products, Governor Ehrlich's concerns seem more than valid. With critical elections on the horizon, other states should reevaluate their electronic voting plans and consider using paper until they can acquire machines from a reliable vendor.
    • Incidentally, I am a Democrat, but I don't live in Maryland. I'm opposed to Diebold because it sucks, and I think the election process should be secure. It's not, or shouldn't be, a partisan issue. If the majority in an area is honestly Democrat, honestly Republican, or honestly don't-fucking-care, then either you put up, you move, or you try to change people's minds. The voting process is gorram sacred, and I don't care who is being corrupt, they need to stop. I'm from Chicago, I know all about bipartisan
  • Linda Lamone later stated that the buildings are kept to the proper temperature in order to prevent computers to freeze.
  • I believe my county in Ohio is moving to some form of new machines this year. Here's hoping that it isn't a total disaster.
  • Someone can just go through the box and make a bunch of undesirable ones defective by punching extra holes. Not much difference from tampering with a voting machine. Voting software doesn't have to be "millions of lines of code" to just store a line of CVS for each vote and later add things up. It can authenticate a voter through a cryptographic signature and give him/her another signature that can be verified by the voter or given to a watchdog group without compromising ballot secrecy. Again, cryptography
    • by iamacat ( 583406 )
    • by Knara ( 9377 )
      Someone can just go through the box and make a bunch of undesirable ones defective by punching extra holes.

      That's why there's security procedures in place to make sure that doesn't happen. Not that problems don't happen with paper ballots, too, but there's decades upon decades of experience in terms of paper ballot security (which, sadly, isn't always enough), but which has resulted in many successful elections. So far electronic voting has resulted in a few elections that were questionable, and a few th

  • Linda Lamone (Score:5, Informative)

    by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @03:59PM (#16163051)
    What is happening here is part of a long-running fight in the state of Maryland. The State elections director Linda Lamone. Linda Lamone has been nicknamed Ms. Diebold in some circles because of her tireless efforts on behalf of the company. Two years ago there was a massive push in the state house and senate for voter-verified paper records which Linda killed. Under Maryland's laws she has a great deal of power and independence.

    Lamone was appointed by Democrats in the State House and has been backed by them even as she keeps giving them Hideous advice. Maryland's governor is a Republican and a great deal of this shoving back and forth over the machines has devolved to party wrangling. This is the interesting part about the whole e-voting situation. In some states poor systems are being instated and backed by Republicans (Ohio, California, etc.) In other states the very same systems are being doggedly defended by Democrats (Maryland, Pennsylvania, etc.). In some states such as Maryland it is Republican governors who are taking the lead in cleaning things up and in others it is Democratic governors like Bill Richardson of New Mexico who are taking charge. Ultimately its not about party nationally but local party power. Who ever was in power was sweet talked by the manufacturers who, at the end of the day, just want the billions of tax dollars that Bob Ney made us spend on this.

    There are some great videos of Linda Lamone on Youtube:
    1. Over My Dead Body [] This is my personal favorite. In it she says that the state will have paper records over her dead body.
    2. I'M The boss" [] In this video Linda Lamone says "Im the boss and the buck stops here" essentially claiming credit (then) for all elections in the state. She has now reversed and said that the state is "decentralized"
    3. Shocked [] Linda lamone is shocked shocked that Diebold would use the same master password for all machines in the U.S.
    4. A search list is here [].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BCW2 ( 168187 )
      Due to the bi-partisan support of Diebold (nationwide, very partisan in each area), I would have to say they learned the fundamental lesson of American politics: Find out who you need to bribe and pay the hell out of them. Then advertise that any oposition is only party politics.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:03PM (#16163079)
    "I asked the state's elections administrator, Linda Lamone, whether Maryland wasn't just a bit too quick to adopt electronic voting...

    Ditching e-voting at this stage would require Ms. Lamone to effectively admit either failure or error on her part (or that of her staff [same thing]). It's a shame people like this cannot understand that short-term failure is an integral part of long-term success. Find out what doesn't work, fix it, and move on...

    "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate." - Thomas J. Watson (Founder of IBM)

  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:04PM (#16163088)
    True story.

    I live in Baltimore, and recently we had a flower mart downtown ... they blocked off a few streets, and there were tons of vendors, performers, etc etc. Sandwiched between a flower stand and a sunglasses place was a Diebold booth with 2 reps talking up how great the system was, etc. etc. They actually had a few people there trying out the machine.

    Enter me. I walk up, admittedly predispositioned to not like Diebold, and asked them some questions.

    1. What hard copy proof can I have of my vote?
    2. Where is the paper trail with physical evidence of all votes?
    3. In the case of a recount, what validation process is in place to ensure the machine's records are correct?

    They gave me some BS about how at the end of the polling you can print out a list of all votes entered. I told them what I was asking for was a single, one-person, one-vote physical record, not a grand list at the end of the night. They had absolutely no answer to any of these questions.

    Then I brought up the many instances of Diebold machines being hacked and asked them what security measures were in place to fix this issues. I was told they were not aware of any issues and that the machines were unhackable. I asked them if they knew how absolutely ridiculous this sounded.

    At this point, some other folks had become aware of the conversation and were starting to ask the same questions about accountability and verification processes. They 2 reps balked and stalled while I pressed further, citing specific cases where Diebold machines had been compromised and blasted them for basically lying about the 'unhackability' of their machines.

    Then 1 of the reps walked away. A few minutes later he returned with 2 police officers who asked me to leave. I had not raised my voice, acted theatening, or any other misconduct that would warrant my being ejected. I told the officers I was simply concerned about my right to vote being taking seriously and protected and wanted my questions answered by a company rep while I had the opportunity. The officers told me I was being disruptive. Other people came to my defense. One of the officers had his hand on his gun. They asked if I would rather be removed against my will.

    So I left.

    "Welcome to Maryland - You'll vote electronic and you'll LIKE it! Or else we might arrest you for asking too many questions."
  • Now, I hate Diebold as much as the next person (or at much as the /. groupthink), but I think that the reporter is making an unfair comparision .

    He's comparing general purpose computers to single purpose computer based devices. He's basically saying "because desktop computers crash, we should never have electronic voting". Which is just silly. E-voting machines are specialized computers with known, controlled hardware and limited, controlled software. Comparing them to the average office worker's Dell is ap

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F.M. Hubbard