READER COMMENTS ON
"BREAKING: E-VOTE FAILURE! Texas Primary Recount Halted By Secretary of State!"
(26 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 3:10 pm PT...
Wow, John, great catch.
When will they ever learn?!
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 3:19 pm PT...
Here we go again!
If my car was as reliable as these machines, I'd trade it in for a BICYCLE!
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 3:33 pm PT...
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 3:52 pm PT...
""We’re having some trouble with the electronic equipment," McKerley said. "
"A Hart InterCivic representative is expected to arrive Wednesday morning"
With the new memory cards and software!
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 5:11 pm PT...
you want to end the machines? Switch to an Absentee ballot. It's easy and can be set up for a life time. All it costs is 39 cents for a stamp when you vote. Just think of the money and time you'll save from having to drive and vote on a machine. The best part it's a paper ballot.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 5:42 pm PT...
This was posted by Bev a while back and I saved it to respond to the "absentee ballot" suggestion that many think will solve the problem of our votes not being counted as cast.
Guys, absentee is especially dangerous w. Diebold –
Diebold stripped out the key protection that would detect GEMS [tabulator] tampering. Your 12 year old sister can own the absentee votes without leaving a trace, short of counting the absentee ballots.
When a candidate in Marin County noticed that he won on polling place votes but lost hugely on absentees, he asked to do a recount. They told him it would be $13,000 just to sort the ballots, which they'd jumbled together.
You vote absentee-- anyone with access to the central tabulator for 60 seconds, even years before the election, can own your vote.
And by the way, even aside from GEMS and the stripped-out Diebold absentee security, guess who wrote the mail-sorting software AND the signature authentication software for Diebold ?
That's right, Jeffrey Dean, whose testimony on this matter in a 2004 trial is posted on our Web site. Read and weep, he was convicted on 23 counts of computer fraud and his software counts your absentee votes.
Read The Companies and the Technology Chapters at Who’s Counting. (Chapters are listed down left margin)
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 9:06 pm PT...
We use the e-slate here, and it is not a touchscreen. I therefore have a problem with the report. Can I get more sources?
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2006 @ 9:13 pm PT...
To check out various voting systems I would suggest going to VotersUnite and BlackBoxVoting (both .org). Do a search on the term you want more information on.
This system that this story was about was "certified" by SoS McPherson on March 10, 2006. Soon we can read similar stories from here in California.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
Pat A. Vesely
said on 3/21/2006 @ 11:42 pm PT...
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 3:03 am PT...
What we have to be careful of is that these latest "glitches/teething problems" are not a mask for earlier/other "anomolous" vote counts.
BlackBox et al need to do what they can that these "data points" don't become credible bricks in the edifice built by the defense in real vote fraud cases.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 4:20 am PT...
Those other reports sound more like people being stupid rather than the machines. We had no trouble like that in out 2 tries here. The only big problem is the probability that rumors are being circulated on purpose that the machines are too hard and you aren't smart enough to use them. I did hear one electioneer say something of the sort at early voting.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 5:18 am PT...
Carolyn, they will always blame the victim first. Just to see if that will work.
The lame-ass election officials who pay lame-ass election machine companies to build lame-ass hardware then hire lame-ass programmers to build a software brain that can't count 1 + 1 reliably is where the blame goes.
Its a pile of shit thang.
There is no way to screw things up without screwing things up.
Ignorance has been elevated to new heights because these lame-asses think ignorance sprinkled with a little cover-up and lies makes a beautiful to behold little scene.
It is a pile of shit scene and no matter if you sprinkle it with powdered sugar, brown sugar, or any other propaganda, IT IS A STINKING PILE OF SHIT!!!
The "doesn't that smell good" talking points of the incompetents does not unwrinkle my nose.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 6:06 am PT...
May I hear from those in the know?
I have monitored the accounts here on the failure of electronic voting machines around the country.
Is it a fair statement to say:
Not a single election board using electronic balloting in the 2004 elections cycle has conducted a vote without failures in their equipment? And then elaborate on the kinds of failures---
What I am getting at is this: all machines fail and all balloting regardless of kind (machine or not) has problems. To get attention to the issue, is there some analysis that consolidates the totality of failures and kind of failures as against pre-machine voting? It is probably asking too much. On the other hand, I think this is precisely the kind of thing that it takes to convince "average" disengaged voters and election boards that something is seriously wrong. Hacking a computer and hacking a vote are viewed as "oh well, nothing is perfect--there will always be criminal activity...even ATM's can be hacked...if Microsoft can't protect my Outlook Express, what chance does a voting machine have in this techno world?"---you see my point?
We are inured to the technology of crime and are not connecting it to VOTING.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 6:45 am PT...
Not sure I get your point ... the title of the thread is "E-VOTE FAILURE" ... and that should alert folk to the notion we are talking about vote failure.
But perhaps we should focus on exit polls? That is just one concept, instead of 3000 counties with various and sundry election machine failures.
Spread the info in this link far and wide.
Explain, also, why exit polls are the function of a legitimate science after reading this PDF (linked here).
This one concept may be easier for many to wrap their minds around, instead of the dizzying array of a million failing machines.
Remember, exit polls record what people say about who they voted for, not what machines say they voted for.
And quoting from the PDF article linked above, what people say is paramount:
"Importance of Exit Polls
Under such circumstances we must rely on indirect evidence - such as exit polls, or analysis of election result data - as a check of the overall integrity of the official election results. Without auditability or transparency in our election systems, the role of exit polls as a trigger for further scrutiny is of paramount importance" (at page 4, bold added).
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 8:56 am PT...
Are the people in Texas in an uproar over this?
Did Tom DeLay really win the primary?
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 8:58 am PT...
This election should be thrown out.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 9:47 am PT...
That's a good point. Like you said, we have gotten accustomed to accepting a certain degree of failure, and we have gotten lazy when it comes to protecting our vote and our democracy.
The new technology presents a huge potential threat to democracy. This is different from the risk from losing emails, or the risk when a company's network being hacked.
Hacking democracy is a far greater risk to society. We must become more skillful about communicating this.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 9:59 am PT...
Carolyn - You say you have a problem with the report. I suggest you call the county elections people and talk to them. This issue was not a 'people' issue; it is the machines that failed. You may not have had problems like that in your county. That does not mean they don't happen all too often.
Look here for many, many more Hart problems:
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 10:47 am PT...
who could have anticipated this? i'm shocked i tell you. thanx brad blog for shinning a light under the rocks these teasonous bstrds crawl out from.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 11:07 am PT...
Carolyn, maybe there were problems, and they didn't tell you.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 12:36 pm PT...
Still trying to convey my notion on hacking a vote = just another day at the computer (popular) acceptance of machine failures. I am well aware that lots of electronic voting machines are failing as illustrated by reports here. I am also aware of the brush-off you get when you point it out. If you say, electronic machines can't be trusted, you get a shrug as if to say "garbage in -garbage out", or "no machine is perfect--whaddya gonna do?" If you talk about exit polls, you get a clash between "Lies-Damn Lies and Statistics" (credibility of pollsters and polling methods---arcane talk) and those who regard them as historically strong indicators until Yr 2000 elections. Rep Conyers report went into detail about more "traditional" methods of voter disenfranchisement--and he was either ignored, or simply told "rigging votes is as old as time---it's time honored to steal an election fair-and-square by ordinary methods!".
So, it seems to me a more persuasive argument would be to KNOW how many elections boards in a single election cycle had problems with their machines, their tallies, and the kinds of failures out of the total who ran elections. (Know the answer to the oft heard assertion , "By far the majority of election results were accurate reports". Really? How'd you know that?)
You say most election boards held their noses and allowed shitty information to get certified? How do we know that? Who has bothered to ask?
BradBloggers are aware the apparent problems are increasing as time passes. The proportion to the whole is still not clear. That is something Joe-Sixpack might grasp, just like he might understand at some point that the ratio of Killed in Action is out of whack with the number of boots on the ground.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 12:44 pm PT...
Think of the Harpers Statistics they publish each month. Somebody somewhere is or will be tabulating the big picture on electronic voting machine failures. It is going to be an eye-grabber.
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 1:45 pm PT...
In many counties they probably cover up the fact that some or many machines had problems. A smooth election is almost always claimed, until enough shit hits the fan and then it's just a "glitch".
How to find out whether there were problems or not, and if so, what the scale of the problems was? (as in actual numbers and descriptions)
County election office insiders? Any other methods?
I am just answering my own question--one could do a Public Records Request for any and all documents from xxx date to xxx date pertaining to reports of problems with voting machines from any of the county's polling places or pre- or post-election, correspondence (or emails or phone logs or other notes) between election office staff or poll workers and vendors or other technicians in relation to any problems, etc.
This could probably be expressed more elegantly.
If such a request were sent to all county and municipal election offices in just one state--or even in a region of a state--the results could be interesting and useful. One could then modify the strategy for other states or regions as appropriate.
BBV has a lot of advice on how to do an effective PRRs. See
(If someone wants to do this for their county or region, and wants specific advice, the BBV one-on-one help area will provide assistance.)
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 1:53 pm PT...
Ya know... I read this stuff... and then I think "Ahhh finally... this will now be the thing that makes mandatory paper balot trails". Unfortunately I read it again the next day, and the next, untill the list is too much to read if you tried too all at once.
And we STILL don't have mandatory paper trails. =/
I'm really starting to get pissed.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 4:41 pm PT...
It's not like the machines are doing some complicated computing. It seems like they are nothing more than simple calculators...one vote goes to one candidate. How can there be any mistakes? My little pocket calculator has zero errors and it didn't cost but a few dollars.
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 3/23/2006 @ 12:33 pm PT...
Most of us think that problems of e-voting are only technical (and thus they can be overcome), but e-voting also has a theoretical limitation (that obviously is insuperable).
Paper elections held under proper public monitoring can guarantee fair and square elections. This is possible because humans can verify operations dealing with ballot papers which are visible and tangible objects.
Computer procedures are not verifiable by humans since we are not equipped for verifying operations which occur in the microscopic scale within nanosecond timeframes. Thus, for people who didn't program them, computers act just like black boxes and their operations can truly be verified only by knowing the input and comparing the expected output with the actual output. Unfortunatly, because of vote secrecy, elections have no known input nor any expected output with which to compare electoral results, thus electronic electoral results can't be verified by humans!
Hence electronic voting is not a simple technical evolution of classic paper voting! Electronic electoral result cannot be verified by humans and the people need to have an absolute faith in the accuracy, honesty and security of the whole electoral apparatus (people, software, hardware and networks).
Requiring reliance on such faith is clearly not compatible with Democracy.
E-voting's limitations are theoretical and thus cannot be overcome: electronic results are unverifiable whichever technical solution may be used to implement elections.
Thus for voting we can't use computers and electronic devices. It sounds strange, isn't it? We use them everyday for our financial transactions and, after all, isn't voting a mere transaction by which we simply add 1 to the electoral "balance" of our candidate, just the way we add money to someone's bank balance when we use our credit card? We can't use computer for voting because, even if financial and electoral transactions are similar, their data largely differ in the level of the required secrecy: financial transactions must be secret only to whom is not involved while votes must be secret to everybody.
if you are interested in the topic, please have a look at http://www-electronic-vote.org