June 19, 2010
This post is not about the rock group of that was famous for innovative virtuoso guitar work and political activism, although they might well join the the chorus of outraged denunciation of the unreliable paperless voting machines used in South Carolina.
Just how bad could the voting machines in SC be?
Answer: really, really, really bad. Flaky. Unreliable. Not ready for prime time. In fact, it’s laughable that a country with our technological knowhow would be relying on these machines to count our votes. Read the rest of this entry »
June 15, 2010
No, this isn’t about your choice at the supermarket checkstand. Nor is this post about the controversial ID law in AZ – that would be a whole different post. Instead this is about the recent Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina, where all the ingredients for an election disaster were present.
First, take two obscure candidates in a statewide race. Yes, one the of the candidates (Rawls) had previously run for office but he was not widely known across the Palmetto state – he at least ran something of a campaign – website, rallies, e-mails, mailings. But the other candidate, come-from-nowhere victor (Greene), mounted no discernible campaign and still cruised to victory with 60 per cent of the vote. How likely is a scenario where an unemployed vet who lives with his Dad and faces felony obscenity charges emerge as the election winner. No wonder lots of folks are scratching their heads and looking for answers.
Next ingredient in this election controversy: paperless touchscreen voting machines. South Carolina uses the ES&S iVotronic DREs without a paper trail. Read the rest of this entry »
September 7, 2009
In honor of the planned union of the number one and number two voting machine companies (ES&S and Diebold), I give you the Voting Machine Song … a lyrical message from the Diebold-Halliburton Fund for the Promotion of Democracy, sung by Marilyn Bennett, Doug Smith, Nkemjika Ofodile and James Garland.
June 7, 2009
Those who have been watching the long (seven months and counting!) slog toward a final resolution the Coleman-Franken election contest will not be amazed to discover that the same slow methodical approach will be applied to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in Minneapolis. There won’t be any cutting corners for Minnesotans, unlike what was done elsewhere (Cary, NC and Aspen, CO spring to mind here!). http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/21/irv_voting/ Read the rest of this entry »
An unexplained ‘glitch’ nearly doubled the reported vote count in a recent local election in Rapid City, SD. Election officials were quick to note that the error was caught and did not change election results.
Comment: election officials always assure the voting public that every thing is OK after a glitch like this is found, metaphorically pat us on the head and tell us to ‘move along … nothing to see here.’ They expect us to ignore the signs that something went wrong that they can’t explain — or how they plan to prevent similar glitchy events in future elections. Read the rest of this entry »
April 27, 2009
Oregon has been leading the way in providing access to disabled voters and has just announced a new enhancement that will address the needs of visually impaired voters — large format ballots (LFB). Many voters with vision problems simply need larger type sizes on the printed page rather than electronic voting devices called DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) machines.
One of the chief arguments for the continued use of DRE’s in elections across the US is the perception that DRE’s are needed to provide access for disabled voters. Oregon is proving that this is not the only way to assist those who have vision impairments. Read the rest of this entry »
Making ‘one person one vote’ a reality in this country
In the rush-rush hurry-hurry to announce election results there have already been some miscounts and uncounted ballots this primary season. This should not happen. If we are going to truly be a democracy of “one person one vote” we need to be sure that all ballots cast by eligible voters are counted.
For example, there’s the recent example in the Washington state Republican caucuses where the winner was declared in a close race before all the votes were counted. Entire counties did not have their results included in the tally: Read the rest of this entry »
January 7, 2008
“Can You Count on Voting Machines?” is the question posed by Clive Thompson in his cover article in this week’s New York Times Magazine. The answer, of course, is a resounding “No” due to flawed design, buggy software and poor quality control in the manufacture of these machines, as Thompson ably demonstrates. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/06Vote-t.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin
Thompson’s solid article is a timely reminder on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary that the nation’s election system is still broken. The curtain was pulled back in Florida 2000 to reveal the sorry state of U.S. elections and, despite the efforts of activists and politicians, there is not as much progress as one would hope. Some states like Florida are making great strides toward transparent paper-based systems, while others like Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia are still struggling to ditch paperless voting machines.
However, there are a few areas of omission that need to be filled in and a few bits of mis-information that need to be corrected. Read the rest of this entry »
December 29, 2007
Colorado SOS Michael Coffman completed court mandated testing and recertification of voting systems used in the state and issued some dramatic rulings which were immediately subject to a firestorm of controversy.
Premier (formally known as Diebold) All voting equipment submitted for recertification passed.
Sequoia The optical scan devices, Insight and 400-C, used to count paper ballots both passed, but the electronic voting machines, the Edge II and the Edge II Plus, both failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.
Hart The optical scan devices, eScan and BallotNow, both failed because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots. The electronic voting machine, eSlate, passed.
ES&S The optical scan devices (M 100 and the M650) both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors. The electronic voting machine (iVotronic) failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations.