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Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported 742

Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots." From the article: "Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency. Both parties hustled to get their supporters out in high-stakes contests across the country, Democrats appealing one more time for change, and appearing confident the mood was on their side. Republicans conceded nothing as their vaunted get-out-the-vote machine swung into motion." If you're in the U.S., and you haven't voted already, go do it!
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Voting Machine Glitches Already Being Reported

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  • Paper ballots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:39PM (#16754617) Homepage Journal
    What is wrong with paper ballots?!!!??!? Canada seems to be able to handle paper balloting followed up with results within 24 hours, so what is the deal with all of the money and risk associated with trusting our politics to hackable solutions?

    I was out this morning at 7:00am voting and predictably, two of the ten voting machines (20% folks!) at our location would not take their programs...... Take their programs! And how many times do we have to be shown how easy it is to hack the system? When I left after voting, we were still looking at machines that were not working.

    Again, paper ballots folks. It's a simple, cost effective solution that is easier to secure than electronic voting. I have yet to see a valid statistical study that demonstrates that electronic voting is inherently more reliable/statistically valid than paper ballot voting. How much is this move towards electronic voting costing the US taxpayer? Was this a favor for political contributors? I think that the evidence is pretty strong for it which might give even more credibility to the FBI in their new focus on corruption in Washington DC politics.

    • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Insightful)

      by skiflyer ( 716312 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:42PM (#16754645)
      Remember FL in 2000? Paper ballots... are those punched ALL the way through or not?

      They can get confusing, especially in major cities where you have dozens of things to vote on. With millions of potential voters. Electronic voting is a good thing, unfortunately it's been horribly implemented. There's no need to be a Luddite on this topic, just the opposite in fact. However, given the current state of things.... paper all the way for 2006!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Illinois voting ballots utilize a BLACK MARKER ARROW system instead of Hole Punching.

        The Black arrow is much easier to work with than hole punching.
        • Re:Paper ballots (Score:5, Informative)

          by iocat ( 572367 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:52PM (#16754799) Homepage Journal
          The black arrow rules. No room for debate about "voter intent" and you can read the ballots electronically for quick tabulation, while still having an easy to interpret yet difficult to alter paper record. Alameda County in CA has ditched (at least for now) its Diebold machines in favor of the black arrow ballots and it made me feel much more comfortable that my ballot would be counted. Also, the machine into which you insert your ballot will reject it if you do something stupid like try to vote "yes" and "no" on the same ballot issue.
        • I always drew the lines sorta like a plate of spagetti. Sure they connectted the arrows but between then they were all everywhere. I liked the old mechanical voting machines (lots of little levers for all your votes, then one big lever to register and reset them (and open and close the curtain).
      • Re:Paper ballots (Score:5, Informative)

        by avronius ( 689343 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:45PM (#16754695) Homepage Journal
        They give us pencils up here in Canada. We don't punch holes, we place an "X" in the box for the candidate that we choose.

        If you "X" covers more than one box, your vote is considered spoiled, and therefor not counted. The boxes are large enough (about 1/2" square) that an X will fit comfortably inside.

        And it works for us.
        • by bryanthompson ( 627923 ) * < minus city> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:57PM (#16754903) Homepage Journal
          If idiots here can't punch all the way through a fucking card, do you really expect them to be able to stay within the lines with an "X"? We have a lot of R-Tards here, I don't know if you've noticed that or not. Let's take the braindeadest of fucks, who have proven that they can't figure out a physical paper ballot and put them in front of a poorly designed computer that probably wasn't calibrated properly by the idiot poll workers.
          • by Gogo0 ( 877020 )
            That was said a little causticly, but I agree completely.
            There is no "perfect" voting method, and paper ballots proved it. There will always be people too stupid to use it, they will be the loudest about how the ballots are "flawed", and then we have dozens of complicated methods spring up that dont even work for competent people.
        • What do you do with a ballot where the X has been erased and an X placed on the other candidate's box? Partially erased? Smudged?
        • Re:Paper ballots (Score:5, Informative)

          by kryptkpr ( 180196 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:41PM (#16755695) Homepage
          Having worked as a Poll Clerk in several Canadian elections, I can confirm that this works very well and the results are delivered very quickly.

          There are two people per polling station (a Poll Clerk and a Depute Returning Officer), and each polling station has 200-400 people alloted to it.

          Then when the election is over, each team of two begins to count their 200-400 ballots. The Depute Returning Officer takes the votes out of the sealed box they were put in, and reads off the votes out loud to the Poll Clerk who fills in what is basically a giant spreadsheet.

          There can be representatives at each station of each of the candidates, and they are allowed to place a vote into dispute if for some reason they don't like it. It then isn't counted immediately but gets placed into a different pile (to be counted later by Elections Canada).

          It takes only about 3-5 seconds to take the ballot out of the box, read it, and record it. No team needs to count over 400 ballots or so.. and this happens simultaneously across the entire country, so we get our results very quickly!

          Oh, and as a bonus the position is nicely paid (DRO gets a little more then Poll Clerk because it's his responsibility to return the ballots to Elections Canada after the count). It's a great way for students to earn some extra money as well as learn about how democracy works.
        • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Interesting)

          by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @04:23PM (#16756533) Homepage Journal
          We use paper ballots, with markers and Scantronic machines. It's a bit like a large-print SAT. You mark your ballot, then feed it into the machine, which scans it, spits it back out if it's not sufficiently clear and valid, and otherwise counts it and also keeps it in the box. It would be pretty difficult to end up with a ballot which was incorrect but valid (since there are large keep-out areas between where you make marks), and it's not hard to make the correct mark (you need to fill in a broken line with a marker), and the machine is going to reject anything that a human wouldn't read unambiguously the way the machine reads it.

          What makes it a good system is the digital discipline: there's a lot of separation between valid states, and the transmitting end has a much narrower valid range than the receiving end does. In order from the ballot to make it out of the voter's hands, it must be very clear; if it gets into the box, it's considered valid and counts for whatever it's close to.
      • I agree, electronic voting should be better, and faster, but it has been poorly conceived, poorly implemented, and rushed out the door. For God's sake people all you need to to is attach a printer so that I know the machine knows who I voted for - it isn't that complicated.
        • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Informative)

          by Control Group ( 105494 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:03PM (#16755013) Homepage
          No, then you know that the machine printed out votes for all the people you voted for.

          The only way for you to know that the votes going to the counting device are the ones you selected is for you to get a human-readable copy which you then insert into the counting device. Then, of course, you still don't know that the counting machine is on the up-and-up...

          Basically, the vote of record needs to be something human readable and unambiguous, thereby opening the door for verifiable, auditable recounts.

          What I'd like to see is an electronic voting machine that prints out two copies of my completed ballot, one for the counting device and one for me. These should each be marked with a hash comprising the timestamp of the vote, the contents of the vote, and the specific machine on which I voted. This hash should be recorded by the counting device and associated with the votes cast, such that I have the option to verify my vote against the vote tallied (which would compromise my voter anonymity, of course, but only at my discretion).

          A system like that would be an advantage to electronic voting, since it would be essentially impossible to implement in a pure-paper scheme, and it would provide a level of verifiability that doesn't currently exist.
          • Re:Paper ballots (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Saige ( 53303 ) <> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:21PM (#16755311) Journal

            Then you can take your printout to your boss at work and show him you voted the way he told you to so he won't fire you. Threw your printout away? Fired. Voted wrong? Fired.

            There's a reason that there's no record of who you personally voted for. A long as it's possible, there exists the potential for voter coercion.
            • Absentee ballots (Score:4, Insightful)

              by benhocking ( 724439 ) <> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @04:07PM (#16756231) Homepage Journal
              As someone who basically agrees with you, something has been bothering me. How is this different from absentee ballots? Sure, you have to sign the back of the envelope, but can't he be with you watching to make sure you vote the "right" way?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by zenyu ( 248067 )
                As someone who basically agrees with you, something has been bothering me. How is this different from absentee ballots? Sure, you have to sign the back of the envelope, but can't he be with you watching to make sure you vote the "right" way?

                Absentee ballots are problematic for this reason, but you can always go to your polling place on election day and vote a completely different ballot. This breaks down if a poll worker or election official is crooked or incompetent and lets anyone other than the people wh
      • Electronic voting is a good thing, unfortunately it's been horribly implemented.

        Which is why a verifiable paper trail is so critically important. The fact that numerous states have resorted to using a paper ballot in place of the electronic voting machines which are having issues or as a backup, shows that a paper ballot is what should be used.

        It's not that hard to use a fill-in-the-bubble ballot because even if the scanner does not correctly record all votes, you still have the original vote to g

      • Re:Paper ballots (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:58PM (#16754917) Homepage Journal
        Remember FL in 2000? Paper ballots... are those punched ALL the way through or not?

        Again, that's a problem with voting machines, not paper ballots. Why do machines have to tally the votes? Don't give the bull about them being more efficient, cause they aren't. This has been proven by manual recounts taking less time than the machine ones, and the undeniable fact that other countries that do it the old fashioned way manage to have their results out quicker than the US.

        It's really simple: You take a ballot. You mark it with an X inside the box for who you're going to vote for, either at home or in the voting booth. If you don't trust their pens, bring your own. It's up to you to make the [X] readable to the poll worker who tallies the votes. Not a machine. You put the ballot in an envelope inside a curtained-off area (so no-one can see who you vote for), and walk up with the envelope to the supervised poll urn, and drop it there. When the box is emptied, the ballots are taken out of the envelopes, and two people look at each ballot. If they agree, they both note down a valid vote for your [X] (or for blank, if you exercised your democratic right to vote blank). If one of them thinks the vote is invalid, or there's any disagreement, the vote is put aside for review by overseers. It's very easy. Millions do it every year. No machinery involved, except for an incoming-only telephone to report the tally upstreams.
      • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Insightful)

        by radtea ( 464814 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:06PM (#16755051)
        Remember FL in 2000? Paper ballots... are those punched ALL the way through or not?

        Some A are B does not imply all A are B. There are many good books on elementary logic that can help you out if you do not understand this.

        What you are pointing out is that it is possible to have badly-implemented paper-based voting systems.

        What you need to prove is that it is possible to have electronic systems that are not subject to absolutely trivial tampering.

        Personally, I'd like to see a touch-screen voting system that prints a completed ballot after the user has made their selection and that the voter then looks at to verify, and then walks over to a reader which reads the ballot and records the result. Election law should specify the standard form of the ballot, and should mandate that different companies make the touch-screen system and the ballot reading system used at each polling station. Both the touch-screen system and the ballot counting system would maintain independent totals, and of course the paper ballot would be preserved for hand recounts, which would take place automatically if the touch-screen system and the ballot reading system differed by more than one vote.

        The first purpose of electronic voting systems should be the use of technology to introduce more redundancy into the system to create more tamper-proof ballots. Any use of an electronic vote-counter that does not have a paper trail means that simply flipping a few bits can change the outcome of an election, and it is all happening inside a single black box where no one can see or verify what is happening. That's not democracy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! ( 33014 )
        The ballot carriers may have been paper, but it was a machine that produced the hanging chads etc.

        Where I live, we have had electronic vote tabulation from paper ballots: the same technology they use in the college boards. This system can tabulate just as quickly as a pure electronic system, has a voter confirmable paper trail, and is completely glitch proof as far as the process of recording each vote: there's no machine to be "down". If the tabulators ever were down (which they never are), we could just
    • Why does everyone think paper ballots are foolproof? Remember, the election results are determined by the people counting the ballots, not the ballot technology itself.
      • There's nothing remotely foolproof about paper ballots. The thing is though that it's a heck of a lot harder to perpetrate voting fraud with paper ballots than it is through electronic means. It's been demonstrated that one motivated person could change the results of an election using electronic voting machines. To do so with paper ballots would be vastly more tedious/difficult/etc. And if there's doubt about the election results, you can always re-count the paper ballots at least.
        • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:06PM (#16755065)
          What's so difficult about it? You get a bunch of people together after the polling station closes down, burn the old ballots and make up new ones.

          I mean, obviously that can be accomplished quicker via electronic means.

          But the point remains, it's not the machine itself that is responsible for the fraud per se, it's the people who have access to the machines after the polling stations close. Paper ballots have the exact same problem.
    • DailyKos today is really pushing today for a mail-in system like Oregon apparently has available. That would be good, but still a voter doesn't see the ballot going into the box that is counted, and that's where the voting machines and mail-in both fail.

      Marked paper into a box is the only way to go when 99.9% of votes need to be counted to scrutinized.
    • Re:Paper ballots (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @04:06PM (#16756209)

      1) Number of candidates and issues on the ballot. In my local election there were 25 races to be decided. In other local elections I heard of as many as 38 ballot issues. That makes for a lot of paper. We did it before, but electronic voting is a huge improvement over carrying the typically 1-3 11"x17" sheets and trying to mark them and maintain any kind of privacy. (Yes, the ballots really were printed on that size sheet in amazingly large type.)

      2) Multiple voting locations. Here we have early voting for the two weeks prior to the actual election. On election day everyone has a polling location they must be at to cast their ballot. However, during the early voting period, anyone can go to any of the early polling locations in their county. Thus I was able to cast my early ballot at the polling location that sets up in the lobby where I work, even though I work in a completely different City from where I live. It also meant that I could cast my ballot on my lunch hour at my convenience, rather than having to drive all the way across town during voting hours to vote at the Elementary School location near my house. Having this flexibility, with paper only, used to require that every early voting location had to keep enough ballots on hand for every voting district in the county. This was a huge pile of paper, and many, many "excess" ballots that were never used, but had to be tracked and destroyed to make sure they were not abused.

      3) Multiple languages. In many jurisdictions ballots must be provided in the speakers native language, usually Spanish, but just in our local school district there are 21 different languages that they try to integrate. With electronic balloting you can provide all of these, much easier and with much less expense and chance of mis-use of unused ballots.

      In short, there are many reasons that electronic voting can be a huge improvement. It just needs to be implemented properly. And the kicker is that implementing it properly is relatively cheap, easy, and fast. Implementing it improperly, like it generally has been, is harder and can only be defended as a means to rig elections.

  • by carn1fex ( 613593 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:40PM (#16754627)
    Dont forget to pour one out for your 500,000 homies in washington DC who are disenfranchised and not represented in congress and therefore wont be voting for anyone besides our corrupt crack-smoking city officials and thus would gladly change places with any of you. :D
    • by bunions ( 970377 )
      > and thus would gladly change places with any of you. :D

      well, I don't really want to swap places with you, but ... I mean, you know you can just move to a different state, right?
    • Are you saying Fenty smokes crack? ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I've asked three people today so far if they're going to vote, and they all said roughly the same thing, "No, I haven't really read any of the measures and I don't know anything about who's running. So, rather than throw my vote at something I don't know anything about, I'm just not going to vote." That's just depressing to me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jnaujok ( 804613 )
        That's just depressing to me.

        As opposed to what? The alternative is that someone who knows nothing about a candidate, an issue, or whatever is going to make an uneducated guess as to what they should do.

        Is that somehow better? You would rather have an uninformed voter basically fill in dots (pull levers/push buttons/touch a screen) at random? That's not a democracy, that's chaos. That's why candidates fight over who gets listed first on the ballot because it can give up to a 5% boost in the vote becaus
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darth Maul ( 19860 )
      People who want proper representation in this republic should move to a state that is part of the republic. Living in the District is their choice. I live in Northern VA and I get a little sick and tired of seeing all the D.C. "Taxation without representation" license plates. /No pity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Yeah, I agree. I can't for the life of me understand why our founding fathers didn't just go somewhere else when they were faced with circumstances that they didn't like. But noooooo, instead they had to go and actually enact change...
  • I think... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:41PM (#16754635) Homepage Journal would be hilarious if Ohio once again reported a majority for George Bush tonight...
  • -- Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana, Ohio and Florida and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead.

    Well, I guess this eliminates the hacking option. ;)

    By the way, everyone, go out and vote today. Even if you don't agree with either party (which is where I often find myself), you have a chance to create some fun by giving a Republican president a De
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by networkBoy ( 774728 )
      F* them all.
      I hate bush, I hate Kerry.
      I really dislike my representative.
      I think my two options for Gov suck, I have the choice of an anti stem cell gun nut of fscking jerry brown for attorney general?
      I give the fuck up.

      I hereby declaire myself the candidate for every state office under the Violent Libertarian Party, where there are a minimum of laws, and one law per vote. None of this bullshit riders on "must-pass" bills.

      If you haven't guessed im in Kalifornia, and yes I voted, I voted NO on almost everyt
    • Re:From TFA... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Procyon101 ( 61366 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:44PM (#16755769) Journal
      If you don't like your parties, VOTE THIRD PARTY.

      It's not a wasted vote, as people would have you believe. Sure... they might not get into office, but the percentage they pull down this election is the basis for how seriously they are taken in the next election. It only takes getting around 5% of the votes for the media to start picking them up with "wow! an underdog!" stories and for them to start getting federal campaign money. And once they get those, they get invited to debates and such which instantly boosts them to double digit percentages and has them winning many local elections.
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:43PM (#16754661) Journal
    CNN has what they call 'The Ticker []' in which they are listing incidents at polling places and general election-related events. The stories are short and to the point and a great way to see what is happening across the country at polling places including an assault by a poll worker on a voter.

    Each story is timed-stamped so you know how fresh/stale the story is.

  • You've done it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpiritusGladius1517 ( 929800 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:43PM (#16754671) Homepage Journal
    Well, Slashdot, you've done it. After all the stories of insecure voting machines, I opted for a paper ballot. I sat in the corner with the old folks who shun technology, but at least I know where my vote went.
    • by thrashaholic ( 995412 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:50PM (#16754781)
      Straight into the trash bin where Diebold wants it to go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cereal Box ( 4286 )
      You sound awfully sure that your paper ballot can't be tampered with in any way whatsoever.
    • I sat in the corner with the old folks who shun technology, but at least I know where my vote went.

      What, in the rubbish bin? Or in the "we'll-only-count-these-if-it's-a-close-one" pile, like absentee ballots?

      Until the ENTIRE tabulation process is open to the public, I will never assume that my vote is counted. I.E., the votes should be counted in the room where they were cast, once the polls have closed. No one enters, no one leaves until the counting is done, with a glass window so that the public can

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:44PM (#16754683) Homepage Journal
    go vote if you have not voted yet. no excuses

    if you do not vote, you forfeit all right to complain about anything your government does until november 2008 (by which time, you will have learned your lesson and will vote, right?)

    the gore bush fiasco back in 2000 should have finally once and for all taught everyone how much their vote really does matter

    imagine the state of the world today had the vote tally been slightly different back in 2000

    if the government does something you don't like from 2007-2008, and you do not vote today, then go find a mirror, and look at yourself for blame
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by onemorechip ( 816444 )
      if you do not vote, you forfeit all right to complain about anything your government does until november 2008 (by which time, you will have learned your lesson and will vote, right?) Not true; see Amendment #1, Constitution, United States of America.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      if you do not vote, you forfeit all right to complain about anything your government does until november 2008 (by which time, you will have learned your lesson and will vote, right?)

      To paraphrase another post yesterday: this is wrong every time it is said.

      This is a representative government, so the elected officials represent ME, if I voted for them or not. I didn't vote for Bush in '04, so can I not complain about his actions?

      Say I go out and vote Democrat today, and a Republican wins. Do I then lose my ri
    • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:06PM (#16755055)
      If I bothered voting I'd simply turn in a blank ballot, defeating your argument anyway.

      The voice I have is one of disgust and contempt at the system in general, and I feel I can express that quite well without going out to a voting station and performing in a purely symbolic gesture when the significance would be lost at the counting office as it would just get thrown away.

      if you do not vote, you forfeit all right to complain about anything your government does until november 2008 (by which time, you will have learned your lesson and will vote, right?)

      Please explain the logic of this. I hear this argument used every election and no one's bothered justifying it. Please back this statement up with a reason.
      • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:20PM (#16755307) Journal
        If you want to vote a blank ballot, I'd suggest finding which third party most closely matches your beliefs and vote for them instead.

        It is true that the third parties don't win, but this does two things:
        1. If a third party starts getting enough votes, it will convince one of the mainstream parties to co-opt the issue giving them votes. This is a good thing. Third parties may not win but they force the main parties to stay in touch with the electorate. (As it happens we're a bit disconnected from that at the moment, and the third parties provide a Nuclear Option, which is that if one of the two main parties disconnect from voters and refuse to reconnect, a third party can supplant them. I still consider it a high probability that a third party will emerge sometime in the next decade.)
        2. You are doing more than just saying "none of the above", you are saying what kind of "none of the above" you're voting. A Libertarian none-of-the-above is very different than a Green none-of-the-above. Also, since you basically know the candidate won't win, you don't really have to know anything about the candidate; it doesn't matter if the Libertarian candidate is the typical loon they seem to nominate, what matters is the fact that you voted Libertarian. (I use that party in this example because A: I trend that way and B: My goodness do they ever nominate loonies, which I can say since I trend that way.
        By the way, I have practiced what I preached before. I also personally recommend that you only do this for races that you truly don't care about or where the conclusion is forgone, but you are of course free to vote any way you choose.
  • Testing time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syntap ( 242090 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:46PM (#16754697)
    Let's see... if voting machines are required for one day every two years, doesn't that leave 729 days (assuming no leap year span) to schedule things like TESTING and TRAINING?
  • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:46PM (#16754699) Homepage Journal
    While listening to the radio this morning on the way to work, a number of people called in with problems all over south-central PA. Some voters had to be turned away because the machines wouldn't work at all. The majority of them reported pressing to vote for their party, but all of the selections for the other party became highlighted. (For those who are ready to decry evil republicans for rigging the devices, the people who called in wanted to vote party-line republican but all of the democrat candidates highlighted instead - even after multiple attempts.) Some called in to say that they had no problems, but they were few and far between.

    This whole notion of going electronic for the sake of going electronic, which is what it feels like, is bullshit. For almost two decades I've been using the "fill in the oval" voting method and it's worked fine. Sometimes change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vraylle ( 610820 )
      "Sometimes change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea."

      Hear, hear.

      In nominally backwater Oklahoma, we've used the fill-in-the-arrow-with-the-black-marker ScanTron system for 15+ years. It's very clean and neat, and we've never had any problems with it. The optical scanner does the tally quickly. It lets you know immediately if there's a problem. And the paper trail is the heavy card stock ballot itself. Best of all, every polling station in the entire state uses the same system set up

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I voted on a Diebold machine in Atlanta this morning. I figure it's going to be a long day -- long about the third race I pressed the button for my candidate and a candidate about six inches away lit up. I was able to correct it, but it happened about three more times before I got to the end of the ballot.
  • Today? (Score:4, Funny)

    by gorckat ( 960852 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:46PM (#16754703)
    I guess no one else (not even the judges- hah!) got the flier I did saying due to computer issues the election was going to be postponed till Thursday, huh?
  • Before the "It's your right to not vote/It doesn't matter" proponents insert muddly the water too much, I'd like to join in encouraging people to go vote regardless. Really - even if you hate the candidates, there are a lot of voter initiatives and state constitution issues out there that deserve serious consideration. Google 'Sample Ballot [County name] [State Name]' for your state and county and you should be able to find a sample ballot including the initiatives. Regardless of your stance, I encourage
    • I'll second what you said. After voting this morning (on a new touch screen machine which worked just fine) I came to work and encouraged everyone else to vote. It seems like so many people don't understand and realize what a privilege it is to be able to self-govern.
  • by JoshDM ( 741866 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:47PM (#16754719) Homepage Journal
    Today at the polls I tapped the square for "Jim Davis" and the square for "Charlie Crist" was checked off.

    I re-tapped the square for "Jim Davis", this time using my nail instead of the tip of my finger, and the check mark moved from "Charlie Crist" to "Jim Davis".

    Want to know how to fix this? Don't put the most important square as the FIRST box that someone has to click. Make it something UNIMPORTANT or better yet, give us a TEST / CALIBRATION SEQUENCE for each user before any voting can begin.

    Never assume your average user knows how to use your newfangled touch-screen machines.
  • by ben there... ( 946946 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:47PM (#16754721) Journal
    Some links to stay informed and also to report voting irregularities: []
    Election Protection 365 []
    Video The Vote []
    VeektheVote (cellphone video reports) []

    National hotlines:
    1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683) (website here)
    1-888-SAV-VOTE (1-888-728-8683)(voting machine problems)

    Also (liberal) has some good coverage, and I know I'll be watching Jon Stewart tonight for his comedic (and often insightful) coverage.
  • Vote by mail (Score:3, Informative)

    by onemorechip ( 816444 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:48PM (#16754725)
    It's the best solution. Oregon has had this for a while. It's an option in California (you can get permanent absentee voter status and have a ballot mailed to you automatically for every election).

    My understanding is that Oregon has seen an increase in voter participation since adopting the vote-by-mail system.
  • Here in Oregon, I voted at my dining room table last week. It was fun and relaxing, plus I got to show my kids how the whole voting process works. Plus it's cheaper, as you don't have to transport polling equipment around and hire so many people to manage it.

    Fortunately it sounds like the idea might be catching on other places. There's a Vote By Mail Project [] that discusses the idea, plus some politicians are talking about it [] to other folks too. Interesting times.
  • no suprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:48PM (#16754729) Homepage
    The windows based ones here in michigan are all having problems. I talked to 3 other people in different voting places and they all noticed that the electronic machines were not working with some kind of error window popped up on the screen.

    Where I was the official was so pissed at the machines he said loudly to someone on a phone... "The paper ballots dont need a reboot! why should we use this junk?"
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:50PM (#16754767)
    I don't know what they're talking about. I've voted several times today and the machines are working great!
  • Well, not sure what the exact problem was or how widespread it was, but while at the poll this morning a guy was obviously agitated about the voting machine and the people working the poll were scrambling around verifying things and even calling the electorate board. From what I overheard, the ballot was incomplete or the choices on it were not what they should have been or something. It went so far as to them opening a locked metal box in the corner and pulling out what appeared to be very large full-color
    • by hal2814 ( 725639 )
      I noticed a problem in Georgia, too. They left all the good candidates off the ballot. Oh, wait a minute. There weren't any good candidates.

      On a serious note, all of our ballots in my Georgia district were working properly when I was there this morning. I certainly think we'll be more aware of voting issues in this election but I'm not so sure that's because there will be more voting irregularities than usual.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @02:56PM (#16754891) Homepage
    God Bless Diebold and their Open Access voting machines!
  • I went and voted today. I have many, many reservations about electronic voting and those have been discussed many times on Slashdot.

    However, I was THRILLED to see that the Diebold machines I voted on included an auditable paper trail that I was shown and could verify before it was chomped into the machine for keeping. One problem down, 900 to go. :)

    I *might* have noticed a calibration issue with the touch screen, but I'm not sure that it wasn't a programming error. Several local elections had only 1 cand
  • I voted in Franklin County in Ohio, and I was pleasantly surprised at the voting machines at my polling place. I used a iVotronic system by Election Systems & Software that had a real time printout of my vote. The touchscreen was easy to use and it gave me the ability to review my votes at the end.

    Although I think the source code to voting machines should be publicly available, I feel confident that the paper receipt is accurate. The important thing that needs to be done is random paper recounts to ma
  • I'm for voting halls. A bunch of large locales per town where anyone who wants to vote can come meet at a specific time. A person stands on a podium, reads off the candidate/issue, then says, "Yes!" and waits for applause. He then says "No!" and waits for applause. The candidate/issue with the loudest applause meter reading (there'll be someone off to the side holding the big thermometer-looking thing) gets the win.

    Simple yet nostalgic, and you have someone to hang if the crowd is obviously louder than
  • (definitely not a Diebold, another brand, which shall remain unnamed here) less than 30 minutes ago and it worked flawlessly. It gave me the opportunity to review all my votes at the end of the session and correct any mistakes before hitting the final 'VOTE' button.
  • From a quick read-through, I can now see that Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb is an idiot or seeing only what she wants to see, which essentially makes her a liar.
  • A wild guess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:07PM (#16755093) Journal
    polls consistently shows democrat winning from a few weeks but a few days before the elections, a poll showed a republican progression and another one still showed democrats winning by a large margin.

    My guess is that, to the world's (and US ?) surprise, republicans will win by a small margin, explaining it by the last day of campaign.

    And now the scary part : people will buy it.
  • by blcamp ( 211756 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:09PM (#16755125) Homepage

    I already voted Absentee, and probably will do so from now on, every chance I get.

    Absentee Ballots are the way to go:

    * No campaginer gauntlet outside the polling place.
    * No long lines at the polls.
    * No clueless or senile volunteer workers that have to be shown where you are on the Registered Voter Roster, even when you fill out your "application to vote form" legibly. (God Bless the elderly, but please, keep them away from being a polling place volunteer. It's frustrating, every time I have voted in person.)
    * No clueless or senile volunteer workers that have to be shown the VOTING PROCEDURES, because you know what they are and THEY DON'T. (That's also maddening.)
    * No touch screens.
    * No hacker-inviting electronic voting machines.
    * No harassment from "election monitors".
    * No screaming, colicky brat kids that were dragged there by their parents. (God Bless the children, but please... stay out of the damn polling place until of legal voting age!)

    My voting experience was much nicer this time. Ten minutes of marking a paper ballot, stuffing an envelope, and off to turn the thing in.

    Now if only there were technology to filter out political ads for those of us who already cast our ballots...

  • The day off! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twillerror ( 536681 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:13PM (#16755187) Homepage Journal
    Why don't we get the day off. I was at work late last night, and I'm behind on some projects. I barely have time to take a lunch let alone go stand in a line for an hour. We get all kinds of silly days off in the United States. President's day!!! But not election day. I'm very disappointed in our reps on both side of the isle in dealing with the voting situation.

    As for paper ballots I think we should stick with them until we get a system ironed out. At the same time they are not perfect either. Remember the Buccanon debacle in the Florida 00 election.

    I'd like to see each voter get a random "card" with a bar code on it. This would be unique for everyone and handed out randomly at the polling station. Then you would stick that card into a machine which would record your vote and the bar code. Then later you could go online and scan it in...or some office...and "verify" your vote. Furthermore I think we should use two different system from two different vendors. Even better to have the Republicans choose one and the Democrats the other. Then when the country goes to verify the vote they can make sure that both machines match up.

    When you walk away from the machine(s) you should get a paper copy that you can use to double verify. If we can spend 100's of billions on war, I think we can spend some cash on our election systems.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xzvf ( 924443 )
      You can't have something people take away from the polling place that indicates the way they vote. If you can verify you vote after the fact, someone can pay you $20 bucks for your vote of John Doe. At that rate a million will buy 50K votes. Cheaper and more effective than advertising.
  • For the record (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:14PM (#16755195) Journal
    Just for the record, I had no problem voting this morning in MD on a Diebold machine. It did give me pause, but everything seemed to work just fine. The only "glitch" that happened while I was there was a woman who was screaming her head off that once she touched a candidate, she couldn't change her vote. Problem was that she just didn't read the frickin' instructions on the machine.

    So, that was my experience. Judge as you will :)
  • In Indianapolis this morning, it took till about 8:30 to finish getting the electronic machines working in about 175 precincts. But these are the handicapped accessible machines that almost no one uses - they cost $10,000 each. People vote paper ballots that get optically scanned.
    Gilmore fans who object to showing ID without a warrant are offered provisional ballots, which then don't get counted. My lawsuit about that continues: []

    In Delaware County, home of Ball state, polling hours have been extended to 8:30 pm because MicroVote machines weren't working at first. []is one place to follow glitch reports during the day.
    +2 informative insightful
  • Famous last words (Score:5, Informative)

    by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:50PM (#16755895)
    From the CNN story... ing.problems.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    "History has shown that the machines are far more accurate than paper so we're quite confident in it," Cobb said. "There is absolutely no reason to believe that there will be any security issues, any hacking going on."

    Apparently somebody doesn't pay attention to history. I recall more than a handful of reports where machines were recording negative votes, more votes than registered voters, and even in this very same story, machines not working and poll workers not knowing how to use them. Somebody also apparently didn't watch the "Hacking Democracy" documentary or those reports on hacking the Diebold machines.

    Paper ballots don't crash, pens don't need instructions, and any damned fool can put the pen and ballot together, and the same damned fool can read and count them.

    For those who say that there's no point in being a luddite and refusing to accept electronic voting, I say this: in this matter, I'll be a luddite, thankyouverymuch.

    Remember, "To err is human; to really fuck it up takes a computer."
  • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:54PM (#16755987)

    Here's Fox News' roundup [] on the voting shenanigans.

    It leads with coverage of the voter intimidation in the Virgina Allen/Web race (in which registered democrats are receiving calls informing them, incorrectly, that their polling place has changed), but does not list the candidates or parties involved. And the description of the incidents was written to make them sound vague:

    The reports are sporadic at best, but officials said all will be investigated. One law enforcement source said the FBI is in contact with elections officials in Richmond, who forwarded "three" instances of something that looked "irregular" to them. Of those three, the official said, two look to have been provided to Virginia election officials by secondary sources, and the accounts of what happened were not particularly descriptive.One such instance appeared to consist of a phone call -- a voter answered the phone prior to leaving for the local polling place and the caller asked who the voter was planning to support, then gave the address of a supposed polling station. The address was not correct, leading some in Richmond to think the voter was purposely misdirected. Tracking this handful of reports is going to be "difficult," the source said.

    Note the "use" of "quotes" around "single" words when they're really not "necessary."

    Okay, so they're not naming names, right? But the second report in the Fox News article gets right to the point:

    In New Jersey, Republican Tom Kean Jr.'s New Jersey campaign office was reported vandalized. A chain and padlock was placed on the door and keys were broken off in the locks at the side entrances. "It appears the Democrats have already resorted to Election Day dirty tricks," said Kean campaign manager Evan Kozlow, who said the "desperate ploys" will not prevent the campaign "from informing voters that Bob Menendez is under federal criminal investigation and is unfit to serve in the United States Senate."

    <Borat>very nice.</Borat>

    And then Fox News found it necessary to report some graffiti with a Republican's name in it:

    Graffiti that included a Communist-style hammer and sickle along with the name of Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., was spray-painted on an overpass and a department store outside Springfield. Weldon's campaign accused backers of Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.

    ...but no mention whatsoever that Colorado Democrat candidate Jay Fawcett's HQ was also vandalized overnight.

    And more naming names:

    In New Jersey, voters in at least seven jurisdictions attempting to vote for Republican Tom Kean Jr., and found their machines "locked" for Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, according to GOP Committee attorney Mark Sheridan, who called it a "disturbing and developing trend" emerging at the polls.

    Compare this to Fox News' coverage of the incidents reported last week in Florida and Texas, in which people who tried to vote Democrat had their votes changed to Republican. Oh yeah, there wasn't any (please post a link if I'm wrong).

    And then back to giving vague details that don't mention party affiliation:

    In Louisville, Ky., one poll worker was arrested on charges of assault and interfering with an election after he allegedly choked a voter and tossed the voter out the door. Election officials called police, and the voter wanted to file charges, said Paula McCraney, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Clerk.
  • by rdewalt ( 13105 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:57PM (#16756049) Homepage
    I voted. With a touchscreen. And I think a lot of fears for voting problems were solved by the system they had there. There was no "OMG DIEBOLD" label. (Post voting research turned up the machines were 'Edge VeriVote' systems) I got my strangely notched smart card from the attendant, and went to the terminal. They had six at my location (I live in a relatively small town), arranged in a circle, each machine had its own "privacy blinders" so only the voter could see the screen. They were on their own stands, and all six went to power outlets, and nothing else. The circle of machines was in the open, and the seals on the machines had blatant security tape. Each machine faced inwards, so had anyone gone to the 'hackable' portion of the machine, five other people would have instantly seen it. To "hack" these, you would have had to tell two dozen people "EVERYONE! LOOK OVER THERE FOR A FEW MINUTES!".... just to start.

    After casting my votes on all the people, and measures, and propositions, it put up a screen to review. I confirmed, and then it printed the ballot on a roll of paper in a locked box for me to visually confirm. It had a form of "voter id" hash on it, and a "polling location" as well. Then at the bottom, a multi-row barcode and a few other visual/human readable 'checksums'

    Perfect? Maybe or maybe not. Maybe it was a good fake, and I'd have to watch the paper rolls getting moved. At least there is the appearance of a paper-based audit trail as well as solutions to many of the other concerns I've seen raised here, and many other forums.
  • Old Fashioned Way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#16756283) Homepage Journal
    Why spend good money on rigging machines, when you can just stuff the ballot boxes by hand []?
  • My voting experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by robyannetta ( 820243 ) * on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @05:49PM (#16758179) Homepage
    I'll write a more detailed experience on my blog soon, but this election took the cake as the worst. When I voted (in Florida) this morning, the electronic voting machine wouldn't allow me to press three of the (party of my choice) names. To test whether or not the problem was user error or hardware related, I pressed the name of the opposing party and that click was accepted. The big problem was, it wouldn't let me click back to the other. When I asked someone for a paper ballot because the machine was rigg... er, broken, I was told there WAS NO paper voting. Electronic only. I even asked the hired help if I can get a paper receipt of my votes to verify the correct votes were tallied. I was told NO. At the end of my voting session, the screen showed me a review of all the votes in case I needed to change something. The problem was, the [BACK] button was broken and it would not allow me to change any of the three incorrect votes it tallied. It's obvious to me that (IMHO) either the voting system is broken, or horrifically rigged. Scream at me all you want, mod me down, but this really happened. I'm going to write up a long, multi-page thing about it later when I get home and post it on my blog. Then I'm going to call the local NBC, ABC and CBS television affiliates to tell them about it. Then the two local newspapers gets an email from me. I'm not going to keep quiet about it. Everyone need to know about this.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.