READER COMMENTS ON
"A Challenge to Opponents of a Ban on Electronic Ballots"
(16 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 6:48 am PT...
Excellent and well done description of the issue ... in appropriate detail.
Much of the fog of debate is to use the classic fallacies known to those who understand debate.
"Why do you hate blind people" is not a good response to one who opposes DRE's because they have security failures.
There is a way to do it right. And right is making sure that each and every vote cast is applied according to the will of the person who cast the vote.
It is as important as doing the will of the deceased.
Unless and until each individual ballot is preserved on a paper storage medium somewhere, we can never be sure.
And after 6 years of a fascist regime produced by a failed election system, one thing we know is that any now-in-place portion of the current failed system is suspect.
The burden of proof is upon those who want to maintain the failed system, not on those who want to remove any and all failed sections, parts, or policies of that failed system.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 9:11 am PT...
"Banning DREs" is not anything until someone proposes actual legislative language that would accomplish such a ban. It's silly to even talk about it until this point. (I certainly might have missed such a proposal... please school me if I have.)
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 9:56 am PT...
First, let me say I'm against dre's in any form.
BUT, in the case of San Diego County ,CA, it would have to 'update it's equipment' if such a ban was passed (probably why Bowen is playing the game of recertifying all the different systems) because it has committed to the dre's and received $33M from the State under HAVA to pay Diebold for the 'voting systems'. This was done -approved- by the 'Voting Systems Modernization Board' DESPITE the 'Voting Systems Modernization Board' stating prior to approving the disbursement that they would not approve such a disbursement "as long as conditions were attached to the usage of the Diebold Voting system that included DRE's'".
Despite McPherson's attaching conditions to the usage of such a voting system, the 'Voting Systems Modernization Board' went ahead and approved the reimbursement to San Diego County. And the opsan machines that were used prior to the November 2006 election have been returned to Diebold.
So while there isn't a reason
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 10:02 am PT...
The problem is powerful lobbies that have been influencing our lawmakers longer than we have.
Their positions are damaging to efforts to get rid of the un-reliable DRE/touch-screens.
LOBBYING GROUPS IN FAVOR OF DRE/TOUCH-SCREENS
*Disabled advocacy groups - who portend to speak for all "disabled",like Jim Dickson, (frequently seen crying at congressional hearings) or the NFB, who proudly boasts at its website -that they are partners with Diebold.
We see that there are "other abled" advocates speaking out against touch-screen voting, but these are - not - big monied groups like Jim Dickson's group or NFB.
*National Voter advocacy groups -
PFAW has issued an "analysis" of HR 811 that is very damaging to optical scan as heaps high praise on DRE/touch-screens. The emphasis of PFAW's advocacy bottom line is that DREs protect "non-English" voters rights better than optical scan. http://www.ncvoter.net/pfaw.html
PFAW has not changed this stance AFAIK.
State Voter advocacy groups
The Miami Dade Election Reform Coalition(MDERC) -a group in the large Miami Dade County (which has over 1 Million voters) who opposes current optical scan, (although the vendor has publicly stated they would provide the multi language feedback on optical scan LED screen) with this as their last public statement on the voting machine issue:
Excerpts from MDERC's "Position Paper" -
"The coalition also opposes merely replacing DRE touchscreens with optical scan systems.
According to Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, the coalition's former chair, 'optical scan systems pose serious barriers for language minorities and voters with disabilities.
Those who blindly push for optical scans without addressing these barriers run the risk of neglecting large numbers of voters in Florida.'"
Their list serve is at this link:
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 10:44 am PT...
Since we seem to be married to a two party system, a disadvantage of getting rid of DRE machines is that it would threaten the control of the two patrties. Or maybe we'd have to go back to other manipulation of election tactics.
Sorry for the sarcasm but the two parties don't really seem interested in this issue. I wonder why.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 1:40 pm PT...
I was asked: Why do you say "'the bill won't pass with the amendment' doesn't count"?
My response is this: "It won't pass with the amendment" is not a disadvantage, but a presupposition.
Treating it as an actual disadvantage could to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
On the other hand, treating it as merely a presupposition, rather than a foregone conclusion, gives us an opportunity to make it wrong by educating Congress about the actual advantages of amending the Holt bill to ban electronic ballots.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 2:41 pm PT...
Every single defect of the Holt HR 811 version, other than its failure to ban DREs/touch screens, would be a reason not to. YOu are crafting a slice of progress onto a highly defective vehicle and hoping for a ride all the way into law.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 2:44 pm PT...
what is the precise legislative language that would be used to ban the DRE and where would it be put in HAVA?? This is very important legislative detail that affects the collateral affects of the bill.... Is this info available?
ANd I presume that DREs are banned for all uses including the disabled? Or just for the nondisabled?
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 4:36 pm PT...
There are really only two types of intelligence ... calculational intelligence and mystery intelligence ...
Dredd's Law: Power corrupts followers of politicians in power at least as much as it corrupts the politician, and will if unchecked, result in absolute corruption of both.
Duverger's law (link here) and the power structure of the US Congress (link here) is understood by at most 30% of Americans.
Some astute legal professors in law school do not understand, and therefore confuse, Duverger's law as it would apply in the US (link here).
If you want to be an astute blogger, therefore, learn this:
Since circa 1859 the US Congress has been a winner take all rather than a proportional representation body.
That is because the Congress about that time, a very disturbed time in American history, decided it that way. And it was never fixed.
Nowadays the majority party (any party having the most members in the Senate and/or House of Representatives) takes all committee chairs and the majority voting membership in each and every committee. The minority party gets ZERO chairs and ZERO majority voting memberships on any committee.
And committees have the power in the US Congress. They decide the fate of bills, oversight, subpoenas, and witnessess in the plethora of things they have jurisdiction over.
Thus, as has been presented on this blog ad nauseum, in the US one either takes into consideration the effect on majority status a political tactic or strategy has, or on the contrary, one is a political buffoon in place of being a political scientist.
Hey ... guess that puts a lot of pressure on voting rights activists who advocate that the proper machine is required to have the proper system ... cause machines are observed thru eyes controlled by mystery intelligence sometimes.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 9:44 pm PT...
Re: Lehto, #8 ("precise legislative language that would be used to ban the Dre...")
"Those fucking machines that don't count the votes right cannot be used in elections of any kind."
On second thought, maybe the language does need a little work...
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2007 @ 7:02 am PT...
Paul and Joe,
Look here for language for a proposed amendment. It really doesn't take much. The only real difference between the bill as written and the bill with an amendment is that the paper printouts, which are already required in the bill, would be counted instead of not. See this pictorial explanation as well.
Paul, your disadvantage is not a disadvantage of amending the bill to ban electronic ballots, but a disadvantage of passing into law other portions of the bill that need to be fixed as well, such as making the EAC permanent.
The challenge is still open.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2007 @ 9:33 am PT...
While you're trying to pass yourself as an intellectual you never made a point, unless you're saying that because we have a winner take all system from the 19th century, we have to put up with the politics as usual?
Since the mid 19th century most of the innovative ideas of our political system: social security, women's sufferage, child labor, 8 hour work day all came from smaller parties that were eventuially absorbed into one of the major parties when the big guys woke up to the fact that the the voters wanted a change.
Since the early part of the 20th century when laws were passed that made the election process more difficult for other political parties we have not had more than a spoiler's chance.
My point is that both major parties have manipulated the system (election and political) for their own benefit at the exclusion of any other points of view. They marginalize other ideas until a critical mass of the populace says there needs to be a change. This delays innovation until the major parties wake up or are voted out of office and have to recreate themselves.
The most publicized (in this wonderful blog) election illegalities have occurred by the Republicans (they were in charge and had more places where they could have committed illegalities). But there have been problems in Dem circles too.
I want to see all the changes that this blog advocates, but I don't see it coming anytime soon, because of the two parties. I look at our election system like the poker game in the movie "The Sting". The Dems don't make a big stink about election irregularities because then all they could claim was that the Repblicans were "better cheaters".
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/20/2007 @ 10:09 pm PT...
Re Comment #6: To refuse to consider whether the desirable is attainable is to leave the political realm for a prettier but less real one. You can be sure that, if HR811 ever looks like it might fly, its opponents will (among other things) try to amend it with poison pills (quite possibly an anti-DRE amendment!) --- mere "presuppositions"?
It is legitimate for someone to take the position that HR811 should die without an anti-DRE amendment. If you believe that the use of DREs without any paper output, or with paper trails with no legitimacy --- that is, the current situation --- is preferable to HR811's restrictions on DREs, then it is reasonable to ignore the possibility that an anti-DRE amendment might be a poison pill.
But if that's your position, you should say so, explicitly, and you should argue for it.
If, on the other hand, you recognize that HR811 really does significantly restrict the use of DREs relative to present law, that it requires DREs to produce paper ballots, in short that HR811 is a positive small step, then you really must take political reality into consideration.
I don't know if an anti-DRE amendment would kill HR811, but if it would is an important question --- and, if it would, then we have there the "actual disadvantage" you said you were looking for.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 3/21/2007 @ 12:51 pm PT...
Kim, you admit that you don't know if an amendment to ban electronic ballots would kill the bill. [Nobody does, really.] But if it would, you say, then that's an "actual disadvantage."
My Webster's defines "actual" as "existing in fact and not merely potentially."
So what you have identified is not an actual disadvantage, since it exists only potentially.
Furthermore, I have identified my position explicitly, and I am arguing for it. What about you? Do you favor continuing the use of electronic ballots, or would you like to see them banned?
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2007 @ 11:41 am PT...
Ellen, let me try to get us on the same page, so we can argue with each other, not with imaginary beings.
1. I am absolutely opposed to DREs; I first spoke out against them before a live audience in 2003. I haven't changed my mind since.
2. I can imagine no non-political "actual disadvantage" to banning DREs, through Holt or otherwise.
3. The position I refer to is one of opposition to HR811 as written; it is a statement equivalent to "If HR811 is not amended to ban DREs, I will ask my representative to vote against it, I will campaign for its defeat." Is that your position? I can't find anything definite on VotersUnite --- the "Essential Revisions" waffles on this, sometimes saying "must" be revised, sometimes "should", never saying "don't pass without revision."
4. An argument for that position is not "DREs are bad" --- HR811 does not create DREs --- but rather it must show that the provisions of HR811 make things worse overall. I haven't seen any such argument anywhere. (Mark Crispin Miller comes closest --- he claims that unamended HR811 would create a "false sense of security." I'm not impressed, but at least it's an argument.)
Therefore, either (A) explicitly reject HR811, and tell us what it changes for the worse, or (B) acknowledge that HR811 is a change for the better, and take into consideration the possibility that the good might be lost in reaching for the best.
I would be very interested in hearing ideas about how HR811 makes the situation worse than it is now (which is, of course, quite different from discussion what's inadequate about HR811), so if that's your position I hope you will follow up on it.
On the other hand, if (B) represents your position, then perhaps you can see that it is not benighted to take politics into consideration, that the difference of opinion regarding the effect of anti-DRE amendment is legitimate and should be studied further.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 3/22/2007 @ 5:12 pm PT...
Just because I am focused on what needs to be done, rather than on the politics, doesn't mean that everyone has to be.
I cannot debate on the speculation that an amendment to ban electronic ballots would kill HR 811, because I have no evidence one way or the other --- and nobody has presented me with any. All I know is that the "poison pill" speculation gets repeated over and over with no source being named nor evidence to support it.