READER COMMENTS ON
"'Daily Voting News' For June 29, 2007"
(8 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 4:27 am PT...
Good eye John.
I think the Diebold brochure thingy is just one more attempt at cover up of the inroads private corporations have made into what should be public governance.
That story ties in to the article you linked to about "Don’t worry about Paper Ballots --- The Problem is Secret Procedures and Lack of Observers!"
I have commented to that effect here recently. I have been saying Stalin used paper ballots back then, however he focused on those doing the counting and is reported to have said:
The people who vote decide nothing, it is those who count the votes who are the deciders.
(paraphrased). Everyone should read the article in your link, as I did.
It just so happens that our faith based voting systems are composed of various parts that are not physical material. One such component is a strong faith in americanism, which is just fine when applied correctly.
In recent years, however, we have seen a deep and wide perversion of our strong faith in americanism.
The main pillar of that perversion has been to distort strong faith in americanism into a blind faith and a blind patriotism.
Brad posted, a year or so ago, the words of an election official who urged us to "trust election officials". Some short time after that he was convicted of many counts of felony fraudulent mishandling of funds.
Our forefathers instructed us wisely to avoid trust in government because the nature of power is not benign and in fact power of the governmental sort is contaminated with toxins that will addict anyone to a perverse craving for that power, unless one develops anti-bodies to that toxin.
Our constitution has evolved into one of the good antibodies to that toxin, however, our involvement in watching and diagnosing those who have become power sick is just as important.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 4:39 am PT...
RE post #1
Even tho I think the article is good, I think she is wrong about HR 811 and S 559 as to fighting fraud.
Those two bills, in their original form in the 110th congress, would require all application software on all computerized voting machines to be publicly visible. In other words open to public inspection.
I know that if that happens each and every move the machine makes can be detected. Hundreds or thousands of programmers would pour over that code incessantly and would have conversations back and forh and all that can be known would come out.
Those parts of the bills are the most important to me, because it removes blind faith from the equation.
So far that removal of blind faith has been attacked.
The version of HR 811 that came out of committee, in the form of a replacement amendment, seriously damages that provision to the detriment of democracy.
The cacaphony of HR 811 haters has not improved the bill, but on the contrary, so far has harmed the bill.
That is regrettable.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 6:19 am PT...
I am reading thru the house report on HR 811. It comments on the amended version, not the original.
In the amended version the requirement for open source code to be afforded to any citizen was weakened to now say it can be reviewed only by "qualified" people.
I noticed that the minority (republican) view is:
H.R. 811 is the majority’s hasty attempt at election restructuring that received insufficient deliberation from their members and zero support from Republican members of the Committee.
(Report 110-154, emphasis added). One thing the republicans did not like was, in their words, that HR 811 would weaken intellectual property rights:
these alterations are aimed at limiting the use and value of electronic voting systems, weakening intellectual property rights, infringing on state’s rights, federalizing and micro-managing the administration of elections, expanding enforcement by private parties
(id. at page 77 of the pdf, emphasis added). The voting machine companies like Diebold, whom the republicans own and support, do not want the source code to be publicly scrutinized.
So they argue that property rights of the Diebolds of the world are more important than open election machine source code is to the american people.
Black box voting is ok by them, because they don't even want the watered down and weakened HR 811 provisions to become law. They go on to say:
Allowing access to the source code for voting machines will give the blueprint for manipulation of elections and the ability to irrationally criticize the software to the point that it negatively affects voter confidence.
(id at page 80, emphasis added). So as long as only the republican owned and controled Diebolds of the world have "the blueprint for manipulation" it is ok by the republicans on the committee.
The "ability to irrationally criticize" is the only avenue they can see, but what about rational criticism by the best universities in america? How could that negatively affect voter confidence?
The republicans on the committee want a faith based system where the fearless leader is trusted blindly.
The republican position is so Stalinist, because as Stalin pointed out "who counts the votes decides everything". Especially when done in secret.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 7:30 am PT...
I had a criticism of HR 811, the original, having to do with the circumstances in which audits are done. My original criticism seems not to be the case any longer, because the text evidently does not say what I thought. Perhaps it changed in the amendment.
Am I reading it correctly that audits will be done except in a very few circumstances? The report says:
Section 4.—Requirement for Mandatory Manual Audits by Hand Count—adds to HAVA a requirement for routine, random audits to be administered by a State audit board.
Section 4(a)—Requiring audits (Section 321(a))—adds a new subtitle C to HAVA Title III, ‘‘Mandatory Manual Audits,’’ which requires each State to administer, ‘‘without advance notice to the precincts selected,’’ ‘‘random hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots.’’ At the option of the States, elections for State and local office may be included in the audits. Exceptions—Audits do not have to be conducted in (i) Unopposed races and (ii) Races determined by 80% or more of the vote
Section 321(b)—Requirement of ‘‘independence’’—The entity conducting the audits (the ‘‘Election Auditor’’) must satisfy the requirement of ‘‘independence,’’ including ‘‘organizational independence,’’ as defined in GAO Government Accounting Standards.
Section 322(a)—Number of Ballots Counted Under Audit—sets forth the number of ballots that shall be subject to a hand count: (1) at least 3% of the precincts in the case of elections decided by more than a 2% margin; (2) at least 5% of the precincts in the case of races decided by a margin of between 1% and 2%; and (3) at least 10% of the precincts in the case of races decided by a margin of less than 1%.
(House Report 110-154). Seems to be a good thing to me now, so I withdraw my previous objection of a week or so ago.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 10:22 am PT...
Dredd, just because the RNC dislikes the bill doesn't make the bill "right"...
"I know that if that happens each and every move the machine makes can be detected.."
1.) While it has a vastly superior record to Windows with regards to security, open source code is hacked, cracked, and exploited every day.
That is the nature of computers.
And voting software labors under an additional paradoxical mandate to preserve both internal security and to protect voter privacy... a necessary paradox that renders many standard software checks and safeties impossible to implement in e-voting.
2.) ... and #1 is assuming that the code that's been scrutinized is even the code that's actually running on the machine at election time... and you cannot be sure of that. You physically can not be sure of that.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 2:25 pm PT...
The opinions of those who have not programmed nor developed software for twenty years as to what hundreds or thousands of programmers can or cannot tell if they can review the source code and build environment are delusional at worst and pathetic at best.
What the RNC does not like indicates what their handlers in the republican owned electronic voting machine industry do not like. It is the lackey thingy.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 6/30/2007 @ 7:10 pm PT...
"The opinions of those who have not programmed nor developed software for twenty years..."
I'm sorry if you haven't touched code in 20 years, Dredd... really, it's not that hard to get back in the game
Okay, snarkishness aside, this evasion was actually an eruption of meaningless crap on your part in a vain attempt at an 'appeal to authority'.
You imply that the facts I stated...
... facts readily acknowledged by all computer professionals I am aware of...
... facts even acknowledged by computer professionals who otherwise support the bill...
... that these facts are somehow invalidated by your single vague invocation of your (presumably yours) "twenty years" of experience?
"What the RNC does not like indicates what their handlers in the republican owned electronic voting machine industry do not like. It is the lackey thingy."
Irrelevant. The RNC doesn't like any bill that might impede their agenda in the slightest... even if the actual bill is ineffective or worse than ineffective for its stated purpose.
If massive injections of antibiotics were needed to save a limb from amputation the RNC would scream bloody murder over someone trying to give the patient even so much as an aspirin... if the aspirin didn't follow from a corporate mandate.
And "Holt II" is nothing so benign as an aspirin... it's an opiate-laced placebo designed to mask the symptoms of the infection even while the opiates both engender addiction and make amputation inevitable.
That sickly-sweet stench you're smelling isn't from the flowers of the many well-wishers at the bedside of American democracy.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 7/1/2007 @ 3:42 am PT...
I appeal to the authority of the excellent computer software institutions at Princeton and Carnagie Mellon University and MIT, just to name three of many.
Any fruitcake who thinks that thousands of programmers and developers who have gone thru these institutions could not figure out what a black box electronic voting machine is doing is a quack.
If these institutions had the source code only blithering neanderthal neoCon mentality would not grasp that everything the black box does or can do will be exposed. Guaranteed.
The neoCon lackeys of the Diebolds of the world who are now in congress fighting the public's right to know, have been exposed.
They are doing the bidding of Diebold et. al., to keep the truth about public election machine software hidden.
And some in the movement who are moles by design or accident are helping and assisting them.