READER COMMENTS ON
"Maryland Senate Dem Reverses Course on Voting Machine Issue"
(7 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2006 @ 9:00 pm PT...
I represent a citizen group in Monterey,CA. We are in need of any info which will support having only paper balots counted by hand. We are working to get rid of both the Sequoia DRE'S and O/S equipment. Any contacts you can supply would be appreciated. Thank you,your efforts have been critical in helping to restore our democracy.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2006 @ 10:00 pm PT...
Of course they'll want to fall back on
vapor trails -er- "paper trails" as a last resort.
Not only can the "trails" just repeat the machine's version of whatever happened, but "trails" come already rolled up and ready to be tossed in the garbage on the occasions when they do happen to contradict the holy word of the voting machines.
How many times were they caught doing that in the last two years alone? Any number of election workers saying "We were supposed to keep those things for years?... Oops."
Paper ballots are not nearly so easy to disappear when they inconveniently illustrate that the machines are acting up again. Judges tend to ask questions about missing ballots in an election case.
And if election administrators say they're going to start protecting the "trails", which can be easily falsified while being generated, just as well as they would protect actual ballots... then why not save time and money and just produce ballots in the first place?
Because that would be the same as owning up to just how bad the whole "ballotless e-voting" idea was.
And, given Hatch's knee-jerk response of "voter fraud" to a question about e-voting, it seems that we must take programming into account... if the politicians have had the lie of "voter fraud" hammered into them so deeply over the years that it's the first word out of their mouth whenever they speak of elections... then what about election administrators and the myth of the "invincible e-voting machines"? Do we deprogram the administrators before or after we run them out of office?
The election administrators who so wholeheartedly embraced this fiasco from the beginning seem to figure that they have had enough to answer for when facing their unexpectedly irritated voters... so except for the rare few chronicled here by Brad and company who took responsibility and did the right thing, the sorry remainder will try any handwaving they can think of that might keep them from being removed from
office. Just simply facing up to their responsibility and actually fixing the problem seems to be a step that is beyond most of them.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2006 @ 11:57 pm PT...
... Valerie Lane said...
I represent a citizen group in Monterey,CA. We are in need of any info which will support having only paper balots counted by hand. We are working to get rid of both the Sequoia DRE'S and O/S equipment.
Ack! Poor you... you ask for help and the first thing you see fellowing your entreaty is one of my rants. Let's see if I can make up for it by completely muddying the issue...
Brad and company will no doubt be better informed, but I know two things you'll have to overcome... one will be a steep learning curve for you and the other will be abuse of a kind you will not believe possible until you see it.
The learning curve will be in learning to match hand-counted ballots to American-style politics and working up an actual budget and methodology for hand-counted ballots.
THEY DON'T MATCH UP... at least not in the easy ways that they do in many other countries. In many other countries the style of governing is to pick your leaders and let them handle all of the decision making from there on out.
You may have noticed that that is not the way we do it here
Thus your paper ballots can be much more complex than the ballots used by other nations... more complex, taking longer to fill out, and taking longer to count.
To get a real idea of how large a multi-partisan workforce you will need for the actual counting go through your local election histories for about 5 years back... assuming that your local election officials will let you, or that the records are not considered "high security documents", or that the corporations haven't labeled them "proprietary trade secrets"... and work up how you would have wanted the ballots for each election to look and work.
Then look at any growth trends in ballot size and complexity and give them, say 20% more growth? A comfortable margin anyway... something you'll feel safe with in bequeathing your voting framework to future elections. Then apply Murphy's law to how long it will take folks to actually fill out the ballot.
The final numbers on costs and hours will not be the fast, cheap "it's easy!" numbers you'll hear recounted in stories of other countries, but it should still
be cheaper than e-voting and, given the preciptuous drop in recounts and litigation that will occur when the DRE's are done away with, much faster in giving final results. And unlike e-voting the results will mean something.
The abuse will come with the invocation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
One of the slickest political moves by the e-voting proponents was to tie e-voting to the blind. One of the slickest moves... and a very deliberate one by the corporations. And that's the abuse. The blind are not "enabled to vote privately and independently" by the machines. Nor for that matter are any other disabled people... the other disabled people who have, in their own way, as much or more problems in voting than the blind.
But it's the blind you'll hear about... and Bast help me it's the blind you'll hear from. Specially selected blind spokespeople from "leading organizations for the blind". Specially selected blind spokespeople on a per diem whose "leading organizations for the blind" have sprouted brand new million-dollar buildings paid for by the e-voting corporations.
And yes, it will be just as sickly cynical as it sounds.
Blind people are not "enabled" by DRE's. If we cannot trust the machines to do right by sighted folks, and we can't, then what chance do we have against them? To be blind is to have to trust the people you meet, to have to trust the technology you use, and it's a horrific shame to America that the trust of the blind has been so abused just to guarantee the profits of the e-voting corporations. And that's all we ever were to them... a guarantee of profits.
So... since the same HAVA law as was used to justify DRE's was also used to tie the blind to elections you must now deal with the political aftermath.
However you generate the ballots to hand-count you must have a way to have the blind generate the same ballots that are counted the same way.
It should be feasible and since (presumably) these will be specialized machines actually designed to help disabled people they should actually work for their stated purpose... as opposed to the cobbled-together laptop pc's with touchscreens and earphones that so notably failed so often to help the disabled in the last election.
As I said, all we ever were to them was a profit margin. But you'll have to deal with the results of that. And anyone who mentions paper ballots without mentioning disabled access in the same breath is a fool.
Once again: you've got to fight the programming as well as the issues.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2006 @ 4:00 am PT...
Here we go again. In today's Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, it has been announced that our Broward County Commissioners will be voting on a "re-visit" to the paper trail issue for our ES&S voting boxes.
But the paper really screws it up:
"There have been no widespread malfunctions in Broward since touch-screen machines first were used in the fall 2002 elections, but minor glitches locally and problems in Sarasota County and nationwide have unnerved commissioners. Systems without a paper trail used across the country erode public confidence and raise questions about security, according to a study this month by the nonpartisan National Institute of Standards and Technology."
At least i'm up early enough to call each commissioner and ask them to read Bradblog and try to learn a little before voting and throwing any money toward a damn printer.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2006 @ 12:01 pm PT...
Take a look at Democracy for New Hampshire, www.democracyfornewhampshire.com, and
check out their "We're Counting the Votes Kit". A number of jurisdictions in NH still count by hand.
Also you can find a lot of information and discussions/debates (hand count proponents vs. improve the machines geeks) at blackboxvoting.org, though navigation tools at this site are not optimal.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 12/13/2006 @ 2:40 am PT...
OK... I now feel stupid ... everyone please take note for future blackmail purposes.
In trying to deal with the DRE's that had been forced upon the blind in our state, and being busy trying to understand the whole e-voting mess... I missed the news about this item, which apparently is old news around here.
Of course since computers is what I know... *ahem* a definite blind spot, would you say?
OK... bring on the paper ballots! Full speed ahead!
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 12/13/2006 @ 2:52 am PT...
BTW, re: Vote-PAD or similiar, wouldn't an application of this principle to non-disabled types also cure most of the voter errors in mismarking ballots?
Of course that would be much more involved than just using it for the disabled... just a thought...