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More Voting Shenanigans in Florida 680

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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  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
  • by fortinbras47 ( 457756 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:25PM (#16677369)
    Here [] 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.
  • Original News Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @03:32PM (#16677563) Journal
    original story [] via this journal entry []
  • by fortinbras47 ( 457756 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:00PM (#16678207)
    Upon further review, The Register article appears to be directly based on this article [] 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 "sheannigans."

    From the article:

    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. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot -- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual.
  • by dan828 ( 753380 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:12PM (#16678491)
    And from TFA: 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. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot -- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual.

    SO what we have here is a few incidents with misaligned screens, and a some of the cases, the screen registered the republican instead of the democrat, and of course the press picked up on those in order to feed the conspiracy theories. Actually, the story picked a single incident that that happened in.

    So to recap TFA:

    There are reports of errors with the voting machines. These appear to be relatively minor and the poll workers are trained to fix them. Some districts keep records of maintenance, some don't, and at least one seals the machines for later review. And in one case, the voter was selecting a Democrat, but it came up Republican, but after three tries they were able to vote for the candidate they wanted. Then they called the press.

    Excuse me, but making a big deal about this is just FUD.
  • by NickDngr ( 561211 ) * on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @04:23PM (#16678735) Journal
    While I agree that people have a hard time knowing what to push I wouldn't blame the screens. If someone can't cobble together a reliable touch interface that doesn't need to be calibrated in the field, for a system will run only one application, they are either incompetent or purposely screwing up. The latter would be my guess.
    I work in the casino industry. We have thousands of touch screens and I couldn't disagree with you more. Touch screens suck. Period. There is not a single less reliable piece of equipment in this building. And they don't even have any moving parts.
  • Re:Excellent! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:18PM (#16679781)
    And yet, no word from Slashdot on the dead people casting absentee votes for Democrats as reported recently.

    I think it's just honest accounting/mechanical errors on both sides, and political devotees want to make conspiracy theories out of it. Unfortunately, most of the media leans left (according to a UCLA/Stanford study), so only the Republican conspiracies get reported while all the Democratic corruption (if a Republican did what Reid did with his real estate, it'd be all over the news) gets buried. Anyone who followed the election closely in 2004 remembers the shenanigans from both sides (people were even slashing the tires of GOP voting vans!), yet people selectively remember only the Republican shenanigans two years later. Odd how that works.

    In other words, STFU with your goddamn conspiracies, you loony wingnuts/moonbats. You fuck up politics and turn it into a big playground with two lines of children throwing spitwads back and forth and tattling to the teachers about various things.
  • by doom ( 14564 ) <> on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:52PM (#16680447) Homepage Journal
    (arg!)Styopa wrote:
    So if I understand correctly,

    Problem number one.

    you're first presupposing a brilliant conspiracy to defraud tens if not hundreds of millions of voters
    I think there's evidence of a functional conspiracy, the main smoking gun being the patterns in exit-poll discrepancies in the 2004 election, though the widespread reports of more conventional irregularities in Ohio are good too.

    Like I said, functional. I don't know if this would count as "brilliant". And I wouldn't "presuppose" this if I didn't think there was evidence for it.

    in order to steal an election. A conspiracy that would require the complaisance of at LEAST hundreds or thousands of people,
    The difficulty with the electronic voting machines in use is that the size of the conspiracy you need to do the job is much smaller. They allow wholesale fraud.

    none of whom have slipped up even ONCE. Then you're presupposing that the masterminds behind this giant conspiracy are so flabbergastingly stupid that they'd implement their master plan so catastrophically badly that a 3 year old could see it?

    Hm, well which do you think, am I claiming that they've never slipped up, or am I claiming that they have slipped up?

    The transparency of this particular exploit is indeed pretty peculiar: that's what I'm commenting on. If the bad guys have to work like this, then they're definitely not invincible.

    If you want a wild-ass guess: maybe the programmer's were being incompetent on purpose, because they wanted to sabotage the effort?

    Alternately, it could be just stupidity, or crappy machines, or any number of BENIGN explanations and not an evil plan at all.

    Well, it could be an IslamoMartian conspiracy to make the Republicans look bad.

    But then I guess that tinfoil hat would look pretty damn stupid, wouldn't it?

    Note: your "tinfoil" is past it's expiration date. Please upgrade your rhetoric dispenser.

  • Re:Nice summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by SEAL ( 88488 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:11PM (#16681669)
    Before I start, let me just say:

    - I'm not a registered Democrat, but rather I vote for the people I best identify with. Right now, the Republican party has strayed pretty far from my own views.

    - I served in the U.S. military and I have nothing against the troops, or the proper use of them as needed for the defense and security of this nation.

    Now, on to your points:

    The only definite thing I am hearing from their camp is the desire to repeal the tax breaks, but it was those tax breaks that got the economy back on its feet.

    Please cite your sources.

    Republicans love to tout this methodology but the simple fact is that uncontrolled deficit spending is BAD for the economy except in the very short term. I don't have a problem with tax cuts IF Congress matches those tax cuts with spending cuts. Neither major party does that, however. They fear losing votes when they have to make a cut in someone's pet project or program for their state.

    Yes the Clinton administration had faults but it proved you can maintain a strong economy while avoiding a deficit. Granted, part of this was due to availability of the line-item veto, but the administration was fiscally responsible.

    I don't really care if the Democrats want to repeal tax breaks or if they actually man up and cut spending. Either way, balancing the budget is better than continuing to live in fantasy-land.

    When it comes to the war, they say to pull out the troops, but I have not really heard a coherent plan for how to achieve a solid ending for the war in Iraq.

    The Iraq War Part 2 is a war we shouldn't have been involved with in the first place. I don't see the need for a "coherent plan". There is no solid ending. We've seen it before in Vietnam, and the Soviet Union saw it in Afghanistan. You can't impose your will on religious zealots in a land where they live there and you have no desire to. Get the troops home and let Iraqis sort out how they want to run their country. It's what they want. It's what most of the world wants. And it's what oh... 60+ percent [] of the U.S. citizens want. Not to mention, getting out of Iraq would save around 170 million [] dollars a day, keeping that economy on its feet like you mentioned.

    What is their plan for dealing with terrorism going forward? What is their plan for solving the border problems with Mexico?

    Post 9/11 resources should have been and should still be spent going after the source(s) of the attack, which were not Iraqi. Not to mention, U.S. troops being committed in Iraq has emboldened Iran and North Korea, and generally weakened U.S. leverage in matters of foreign policy. I would like to see enhanced focus on Afghanistan and homeland security, rather than Iraq.

    I'm not a Democratic candidate, but it's really not difficult to offer alternatives to the rhetoric the Republicans are feeding this nation right now.
  • by whoop ( 194 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @09:15PM (#16683115) Homepage f []

    From the Center for Media and Public Affairs. Right there on the first page, 77% of Democrat coverage (ABC, NBC, CBS) is favorable, and 12% of Republican coverage is favorable to them. Heck, some news I've seen still mentions Tom Delay (Republicans = corrupt), but I never heard what happened to Rep William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) and his $90k in the freezer. Here in Illinois, two big fund raisers for the governor (a democrat) are in trouble for illegalities with their raising. Yet, I don't consider every democrat in the country corrupt because a few are.

    What I don't recall from the 1994 takeover of Congress, was this HUGE push for weeks/months beforehand like they have now, saying how it's a done-deal, Democrats have won, Nancy Pilosi is Speaker, Bush will be impeached immediately, etc.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"