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 »
July 4, 2009
Aspects of the Iran election remind me of a TV commercial for men’s pants. There are several variations but the basic storyline concerns some guy who is shown going through a variety of spills and disasters only to return home to the question: “Where have those pants been?”
While the pants are unscathed the guy appears disheveled and somewhat worse for the wear, the pants are free of stains and wrinkles. The sales pitch is that one should prefer pants that stay crisp and clean no matter what.
But what does the Dockers commercial have to do with the Iran election, you might wonder. The answer is simple — photos of paper ballots being recounted have been shown on Iranian TV. But the pictures just raise new questions about the integrity of Iran’s electoral process. The question that must be asked: “Where have these ballots been?” Read the rest of this entry »
June 21, 2009
After months of behind-the-scenes discussions Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced the latest incarnation of his Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility bill.
Beginning in 2003 in the aftermath of HAVA Holt has introduced various versions of this bill in every Congress, the latest being HR 2894. The main provisions of the “new and improved” VCIAA bill would move the nation toward universal voter marked paper ballots and post-election audits for Federal elections. The bill was introduced with 75 co-sponsors, demonstrating widespread support in the House. Read the rest of this entry »
June 7, 2009
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
According to a recent report in the Irish Times, the Irish Republic has decided to dump its 7,500 paperless electronic voting machines and retain paper ballots. There had been a proposal to add a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT) to the paperless NEDAP machines but Irish Minister of the Environment John Gormley decided against that path, citing costs. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0423/breaking37.htm
“It is clear from consideration of the Report of the Commission on Electronic Voting that significant additional costs would arise to advance electronic voting in Ireland. This decision has been taken to avoid such costs, especially at a time of more challenging economic conditions.”
But Gormley stated that he felt that the decision was also justified by other considerations:
“The public appeared to be broadly satisfied with the present paper-based system and that this had to be recognised.
“The assurance of public confidence in the democratic system is of paramount importance and it is vital to bring clarity to the present situation.” Read the rest of this entry »
July 28, 2008
Here is the latest from my friends at Verified Voting:
We need your help today to make sure that Congress does not reverse the nation’s progress toward voter-verified paper ballots. It is not an exaggeration to say this could be one of the most important actions you ever take on the issue of verified voting. After you take action, please forward this message to your friends.
Here is what’s happening. This Wednesday, the U.S. Senate will hold hearings on S.3212, a bill aimed at providing independent verification of ballots cast on electronic voting machines. That’s a laudable goal, but S.3212 gets it wrong – very wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2008
Once again, an e-mail from Bev Harris of Black Box Voting landed in my mailbox filled with smears, insinuendos and half-truths (the most dangerous kind). Guess her coffers are empty and she needs to do a little fundraising.This time Bev takes aim at the recent primary in Oregon, singling out three counties for attack.
IMPOSSIBLE AND IMPROPER NUMBERS FROM OREGON’S MULTNOMAH, POLK, AND YAMHILL COUNTIES Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2008
The internet has been abuzz since Tuesday night with wild claims that Hillary Clinton “hacked” the NH Primary — or that someone else perpetrated the dirty deed to help Clinton and McCain triumph in the Granite State. Some point to differences between the margins in hand-counted precincts vs. optical scan precincts. Others claim that the pre-election polling could not be so far off from reported results.
Both of these cries of “fraud”, and “hacking” are based on flawed logic — and stunning ignorance or basic misunderstanding of statistics. They also fail to look at the demographic make-up of precincts that produced different margins for the candidates. On the other hand, there has been an almost universal failure to consider whether well-documented problems with the type of optical scan machine used in New Hampshire offers at least a partial explanation of how this happened. 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 »