READER COMMENTS ON
"CHICAGO TRIBUNE: IL Primaries Plagued by E-Voting 'Glitches'"
(22 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 1:04 am PT...
"As of right now, I can tell you we are officially the only precinct in Chicago that is going 100-percent Republican." sounds like Iraq .
WTF "including the complicated computer processing required to close the polls and wirelessly transmit tallies downtown."
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 2:09 am PT...
those DIP switches AGAIN
"Around the county, vital internal switches weren't flipped, power cords were missing or misplaced, audio equipment for blind voters was not installed or did not work properly, and the new touch-screen machines malfunctioned."
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 3:59 am PT...
Um WTF is going on DAMIT.
I am sad to be living at this time, in this country.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 6:12 am PT...
A manual with 131 pages??? Good God! And the judges got one day's training?
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 7:03 am PT...
Here's a financial market analogy. Speaking of Chicago, for the past ten years people have been saying the futures trading pits (remember Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places) were going to be replaced by electronic trading systems. Electronic trading systems have grown, to be sure, but the pits are still with us. In 1998 I wrote an article that the pits could have important staying power. When you think about it, human hands, voices, eyes and ears are an incredible technology. When you see prices on your computer screen, how do you know for sure that the algorithm is doing what is advertised? In the pits, the thieves can see each other. They aren't all saints, to be sure, but the pits are a way to discover integrity, and prices, and I wrote that they could be with us a long time.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 7:05 am PT...
My mother and father, who are in their late '70's, are republican and democratic (respectively) election judges in McHenry Co. IL. At the precinct, my dad had to get the equipment going for everyone. He had additional experience with the early voting and was expected to train the other judges. My mom reported confusion at the courthouse after the election. She said that dropping off the votes normally would go smoothly. Last night there was a long line of judges waiting in the bitter cold to get in. Judges did not have their “cassettes” in the proper envelops. “Cassettes” were left in the equipment and had to be dug out. It sound like the training on the machines and procedures was inadequate. I don't know if there were and counting irregularities, but how would we know?
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 7:07 am PT...
Wow. What amazes me is that, if you go by the meida, these problems and glitches just came out of nowhere! I mean, how could the 2004 Presidential election, where for the first time ever results highly deviated from the exit polls. have been so glitch/problem free? If they worked so perfectly and without a problem in 2004 then why all these problems now?
Hmmm......any chance of the MSM finally connecting the dots.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 7:27 am PT...
this is going unreported about the cook county ballot (at least the one used in my polling station).
1. it is not touch screen voting, you vote on paper
2. there is a paper trail, and your votes can be easily counted by hand if necessary.
you mark a ballot with an X to indicate your candidate. the candidates name appears next to the choice you made (in massively huge type for the bifocal crowd). once you're done voting, the 21 inch long (they said that on the news, i didn't measure) heavy card stock vote is scanned. the vote card is kept and stored. if necessary, the votes could be counted by hand by untrained users, as the name and the vote are clearly visible.
all the glitches and reporting problems - that i see covered in this article are in reference to users having problems getting the card to scan and having the individual polling stations generate automated results back to whereever in the county the results are tabulated.
but the card looks like this
it's on file and can be hand counted if necessary. even if the entire computer network that runs the vote were taken down - every single vote could be counted, by hand, if necessary. there's no hanging chad potential, there's no misalignment potential of a old-fashioned ibm punch card.
in my opinion, the media are reporting so negatively on it, because they lost their ability to influence the results by calling the winners of a few big races before the polls close.
it would be preferable, to me, that final vote counts be announced the next day at earliest anyway.
i can't comment on the quality of the scan or the tabulation accuracy of the process once the votes are handed in - the testing done to the equipment, etc. but unlike many of the reports i see of voting in other areas, there is a paper trail - and it has my vote. if a candidate wants to request a recount, can't they get one?
brad ought to acknowledge this fact.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 7:55 am PT...
Why is the GOP the automatic "default?"
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 8:12 am PT...
I was an election judge last night.
There was touch screen voting in most precincts. Most (80%) used the touch screen in our precinct, and they all were quite happy using it. The touch screen did have a paper trail, stored in a self-contained printer which had a view-screen next to the touch screen which allowed the voter to view both what the touch screen registered their votes as, and what the printed record recorded their votes as. In the case of a hand recount a paper trail does exist of touch screen voters in this election - provided of course, that the paper feed didn't jam, or run out without anyone noticing, well, excuse me, I'm being negative.
Our precinct had a little glitch, but we fixed it and didn't lose any voters or votes.
As for the training, it was only one day. It was three hours long, and they gave you perfectly adequate technical instruction, which was complemented by the "131 page!" manual, which judges kept, READ, and if they were wise, brought to the precinct. I'm not sure why anyone is concerned by an election manual having so many pages. The print was friggin' HUGE (naturally, of course, since most people who will take the time to serve as an election judge - especially in Cook County - are retirees, who have been known to have decreased vision capabilities), so it's not like it was an Unabridged Oxford Dictionary of information. Also, it wasn't all technical information - most of it was paperwork procedures and actual judge-stuff.
Oh, and when the woman refers to "the election counter," I don't know what she's talking about, and I worry that the reporters didn't BOTHER to find out.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 8:30 am PT...
The touch screen machine in my precinct was not running. I was there 1 hour after the polls opened and they hadn't been able to get it running. We used the oversize optical ballot. (I voted over on kedzie south of foster)
I admit i'm distrustful of these machines. But since HAVA was written by the machine manufacturers it seems clear the whole move to electronic voting is costing WAY more than the old method ... and the same companies who wrote the law are getting rich.
Not to mention the fact that the counting process will cost a ton.
We really shouldn't have mandated these things across the country until we were confident they work. I'm really not.
Electronic voting does make sense. But these machines aren't cutting it yet. We need to change the law and stop this mandating of unproven technology.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 8:50 am PT...
I had heard scuttlebut during the day of just what you mention, Brian, "hadn't been able to get it running," situations, and I find them frustrating, since I want what amounts to an incident-by-incident reporting of just what didn't work where and why, because I can then truly judge whether or not it's the machines or the people who just don't know what they're doing. Wow. Run-on sentence. My money is on the people, though.
I wish you'd been able to see one in action, if not actually use it yourself. I saw skeptics converted yesterday (myself included).
You're right about the economics, though. I won't argue with you at all on that point.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 9:05 am PT...
I'm in Chicago and was an observer for the election yesterday. After traveling to numerous polling places throughout the day and then watching the news last night I can tell you the negative reports coming out of Chicago are frightenly ignorant. The vast majority of people had no problems voting and most of them loved both the touch screens and the new paper ballots that you vote on with a black pen instead of punching.
By far the worst problem I saw was election judges who would not or could not follow the simple instructions they had been given. If you are truly interested in improving elections, you would do well to report on the human side of polling places rather than the technology. The people who handle our voting process at the polling places scare me a lot more than the voting methods themselves. Many of these people I wouldn't allow to mow my lawn for fear they'd find a way to burn the house down in the process.
The media coverage was abysmal, giving lots of free air time to loud mouthed pundits and political operatives who simply had no idea what they were talking about but obviously had their own reasons for stiring up fear and doubt. And you, I must say, appear to belong to that crowd, as well. Despite the best efforts of you and numerous others to attract attention to yourselves via hysterical ignorance, the voting in Chicago yesterday went quite well, especially considering the bad weather and the change to a completey new system.
Just what is it you are trying to accomplish besides promoting yourself as some kind of "expert" and selling Google ad clicks?
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 9:44 am PT...
I've long suspected Brad was simply using this site and all of his time and energy to rack up more pennies from google ad clicks. It was just too convoluted to imagine that electronic voting machines, like most other electronics, are susceptible to malfunctions, crashes, power outages, and even user error. Who cares if some people had problems, their vote probably wouldn't make a difference anyway. Hell, if they're too stupid to use the machines, why should they be allowed to vote? Leave it to more competent handlers to decide elections.
Thank you, Bob Crump, for confirming by fears about this blog and its cause.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 10:24 am PT...
damage control trolls are out in force
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 4:51 pm PT...
"That's right folks, MOVE ALONG... NOTHING TO SEE HERE...."
it's funny how even documented evidence of "glitches" and failures isn't enough for some people. it is as if they are saying, "well, it didn't happen to me, i didn't see it, so those other people are just hysterical."
with all due respect to those who generously volunteered their time to assist in the process, observations of the goings-on in one county or precinct does not give a full picture of the success or failure of these machines... machines that cost a lot more than paper and pencil/pen.
millions of dollars have been spent across the nation to deploy these machines --- money that went to a few corporations in a limited market with only one customer: government.
at what point does the failure rate become unacceptable? who in their right mind would accept a 20% failure rate in, say, tires on a Ford Explorer? how about a 10% failure rate in elevator cables?
what is the cutoff point for a vendor to have to refund or replace faulty machinery paid for by American taxpayers??
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2006 @ 6:42 pm PT...
I didn't say it did give a full picture. The evidence in the Chicago Tribune is merely a series of woeful anecdotes. I presented an anecdote less woeful.
I also wanted to give a boots-on-the-ground perspective. Since I, too, was in Evanston, I know my experience wasn't even city-wide. But the Grace Church experience was hardly The Experience of primary voting in Evanston, IL.
If you don't want my perspective, fine. But very few of you were anywhere near Illinois on Tuesday.
I need a drink, your attitudes make me sound like I'm an Iraq war defender.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 3/23/2006 @ 7:37 am PT...
I, too, worked as an election judge in Chicago on Tuesday. It was my impression that most voters seemed surprised to have been handed an actual ballot that they had to write upon; "just like grammar school!", joked one woman. Voters would cast a covetous eye towards the touch-screen machine, and step to the voting booth with thier pen-and-paper ballot in hand. I was shocked, shocked, to see how many voters managed to misuse this very simple technology: canidates names were circled, crossed out, scribbled over. Often, all the canidates in a particular office would be indicated. And yet, in the case of user error, this spoiled ballot could be discarded and a new one issued in its place; the newly educated voter could then proceed as usual just like in grammar school. The touch screen machine, on the other hand, gave us very little trouble at all. It came with directions-easy to follow, illustrated directions. A child could have done it. The problem was technical support when the instructions had not been followed properly-there wasnt any. Not for a humble neighborhood station, anyway.
I think the real problem was after the polls closed. Sure, we had training on how to work the gear, but not five minutes mention of the paperwork involved in preparing the ballots for transport and tabulation. Suddenly, that 131 page manual was too short by half, and it assumed a prior knowlege of the procedure on the part of the reader. I'm not surprised things did not go well. One hopes the Board of Elections will find a solution for this problem in time for the elections coming up in the fall.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 3/23/2006 @ 8:29 am PT...
That paper ballot you voted on ain't worth diddly unless a judge ALLOWS a recount.
This has very rarely been allowed in the past by politically influenced judges, despite what the law says is right.
Remember how the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in 2000--saying the recount could "harm the petitioner"--who was George, the boob, Bush?
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 3/23/2006 @ 8:35 am PT...
Chicago Resident #8
You said "all the glitches and reporting problems - that i see covered in this article are in reference to users having problems getting the card to scan and having the individual polling stations generate automated results back to whereever in the county the results are tabulated".
Your post at least addresses and should answer the propaganda by Bob Crump #13 et al.
Who do not know a glitch from a devistating design flaw.
Who do not know interpreted code from full compiled code.
Who do not even begin to comprehend the issue of hack potential which arises in any system that scans ballots and then transmits results to tabulators.
Who do not know that any insecure system begins with the assumption that the system is secure.
Who are not even aware of where the vulnerabilities are, because those vulnerabilities begin with the attitude of "it can't happen here".
Amateurs posing as professionals who are the blind leading the blind into the ditch.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 3/23/2006 @ 9:03 am PT...
Ref post by:
COMMENT #16 [link]
...des said on 3/22/2006 @ 4:51pm PT...
Where des said:
"at what point does the failure rate become unacceptable? who in their right mind would accept a 20% failure rate in, say, tires on a Ford Explorer? how about a 10% failure rate in elevator cables?
what is the cutoff point for a vendor to have to refund or replace faulty machinery paid for by American taxpayers?? "
Well, des, THERE IS NO CUTOFF POINT!
These same corporations not only caused the problems (for whatever management, project, or technical reasons), they are almost guaranteed the subsequent contracts to fix the problems.
This is a tried-and-true government/industry way of doing business. It's the "cost overruns" method of managing the contracts.
Further, since the voter machine progamming code is classified as "proprietary" (secret) by the companies involved, a different company can't be hired to come in and fix the problems. If another company is brought in, it has to re-invent everything from the very beginning, and the cycle starts all over again.
On the other hand, if the voter machine programming code was "open-source", then ANY computer programmer could submit a bid to fix the problem(s). What a heretical concept.
In addition, open-source programming code would be reviewed by numerous public and private programmers, and any problems (like say...everyone voting for party X) would likely be identified, fixed, and tested early in the development cycle...well before election day.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 3/24/2006 @ 8:42 am PT...
Your voting machines were sold by a Venezuelan owned offshore shell company registered in Curacao. The same folks who have been rigging Venezuela elections since August 14, 2004. Your county commissioners know that the company is owned by obscure Venezuelans and left it at that.