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California Grills Diebold Over E-Voting Foul-Ups
United States
Technology/IT
News
Posted by michael on Thursday April 22, @12:45PM
from the because-who-cares-if-it's-right dept.
orthogonal writes "Electronic voting machine producer Diebold admitted today that 'thousands' of voters were turned away from the polls during the Super Tuesday Presidential Primary because of flaws in Diebold's machines. Diebold Election Services Inc. president Bob Urosevich said 'We were caught', and answered 'yes' when asked 'Weren't [California voters] actually disenfranchised?' Today, California officials may recommend decertifying some or all of Dielbold's machines for the November General Election." Reader TargetBoy adds: "Diebold knowingly used uncertified software in California elections. Especially interesting is the comment that, 'The law firm's memos reflect a corporate defense firm on a $500,000-a-month campaign to protect Diebold.' Wonder how much it would cost to just fix the problems?" Apparently India is having evoting problems of its own: purple writes "The world's largest democracy is in the midst of a 4-month election marathon. Except this time around the whole thing is run electronically. And, surprise surprise, things seem to not be working perfectly. Some polling booths have been ordered to re-poll due to malfunctions in the electronic voting machines. In another article, 191 voting booths were ordered to re-poll. Other polling locations seem to be operating on voter lists from 2001. I suppose the good news is that these errors were caught before they could have really screwed things up."

 

 
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· Diebold admitted today that 'thousands' of voters were turned away from the polls
· knowingly used uncertified software in California elections
· purple
· Some polling booths have been ordered to re-poll
· 191 voting booths were ordered to re-poll
· Other polling locations seem to be operating on voter lists from 2001
· More United States stories
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California Grills Diebold Over E-Voting Foul-Ups | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 348 comments (Spill at 50!) | Index Only | Search Discussion
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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Thursday April 22, @12:47PM (#8940220)
(http://www.snowplow.org/tom/)
OK, all conspiracy theories off to the side. Forget the whole "Getting votes for the Republicn Party" bit. Ignore whatever political motivations may be surrounding Diebold at the moment. Assume that Diebold has no desire to commit or facilitate election fraud.

The simple fact is that, while Diebold does indeed care about producing accurate voting results, they are more concerned with making money. If Diebold is forced to choose between increasing their profit and making the system better, they'll choose profit.

If you put voting machines in the hands of the private sector, the private sector will try to maximize profit. Corners will be cut. There simply isn't any way to avoid this, so long as the people making the machines are doing so to make money off the venture.

So long as the design and development of voting systems is left to the private sector, voters will be disenfranchised for the sake of profit. That's all there is to it.

[ Reply to This ]
    Tehnology is not the root problem here. (Score:5, Insightful)
    by Muda69 (718162) on Thursday April 22, @12:52PM (#8940278)
    Machine voting isn't the problem, Diebold is. They've created a horrible, insecure system. It's simple enough to create a more secure system that it's hard not to believe Diebold is deliberately enabling fraud.

    A system where votes were printed to a machine-readable piece of paper, verified by the voter, then deposited in a secure box, would be simple and secure. By printing votes you create a self-verifying system -- voters can check their vote is correct, and an audit can easily verify that votes were recorded as voters intended. Management of the printed records would be just like the ballots we already are using, but without the reliability problems of punch-card systems. Tallying could be done mechanically, as a barcode could accompany the printed text.

    The whole system is very simple. Even if they just used an ATM style of security (printing to an internal paper log) they would be far superior to Diebold. But using logic is difficult in this case, because Diebold is clearly making absurd claims, and it's difficult to refute absurdity.

    EVM 2003 is trying to create a complete open source voting system (not just machine). I wish them the best of luck. This is more than just philosophy about copyright and IP, it's the defense of democracy from those that want very much to take away even the slight accountability that currently exists. They've already made it into office with one fraudulent election (2000), and very possibly kept control of congress with another (2002, with many states being won with unverifiable votes that didn't match up with predicted results).
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Hold Them All Accountable (Score:5, Insightful)
      by NickFusion (456530) on Thursday April 22, @01:55PM (#8941065)
      (http://www.chromecow.com/)
      So, Diebold gets off with a half-assed apology, sorry about yer democracy, Mate! My bad!

      And nobody on the federal level is making a fuss because...hmm, now I wonder why?

      And it'll probably just tool along all status quo-y until...what? Massive, undeniable fraud? Some kind of grassroots "Hack the Vote" movement?

      I think it was Heinlien that said, "It may be rigged, but it's the only game in town."

      So keep the pressure on, and hope it makes a difference before November.

      (Where's my EFF renewal form...)
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Tehnology is not the root problem here. (Score:5, Informative)
      by nadamsieee (708934) on Thursday April 22, @02:27PM (#8941438)
      One note: EVM2003 [sourceforge.net] is our demo software only. The Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org] is the name of the group working on a solution to the black-box voting problem.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      • Security? So what! The softwar is shit ANYWAY! by Saeed al-Sahaf (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @02:45PM
        • Indeed. by OmniGeek (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:01PM
          • Re:Indeed. by dberger (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @05:57PM
          • Re:Tehnology is not the root problem here. by theLOUDroom (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @03:21PM
            • nitpick: abort by d34thm0nk3y (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @11:44PM
              • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
              respectfully and strongly disagree (Score:4, Interesting)
              by zogger (617870) on Thursday April 22, @03:53PM (#8942635)
              I am of the opinion that machine voting IS the problem. Voting is too critical to not have on the spot, verifiable with your eyeballs 1- an empty ballot box on poll opening (easily checked by anyone there), and 2-a count that anyone who can add can perform and check at the end of the period. And we have an archaic short voting time period, it needs to be 24 to 48 hours. I have seen and heard of too many examples of people who simply can't make the polls, typically blue collars who are required to be at work from much earlier than "business hours" until let go in the evening. I once had to QUIT a job and walk off to go vote, they would not "allow" me to come in late, nor leave early, and that day we had overtime I wasn't expecting. And lastly, instant runoffs, no more "voting for the lesser of evil" styled voting, people will have a lot more incentive to vote their REAL first choice in elections.

              I love computers, but with voting, nope, I want to be able to verify it with a paper ballot, not even punch cards,a mark in the bubble ballot is quite sufficient. And I don't mean a receipt from some black box voting machine, either, this is just thousands of dollars a precinct busy work with electronic voting. More government waste (and kickbacks),easier fraud potential and inefficiency. Selling the smell and the sizzle, not the steak, typical advertising crap.

              If it is not readable by any human who chooses to poll watch or if there's a dispute immediately and a human can't read it, then it is not secure, and I don't care what "guarantees" they give. "They" ALREADY swore up and down that "it was secure and worked properly", and they have been proven to FAIL IT in not a very long time.

              Government and government connected contractors have a long history of being liars and crooks, and with something like voting, using computers??? WAY too much temptation there to ignore, after all, what is it woreth in potential dollars and power over other humans to "adjust" who wins?

              This is just another way for that to happen,a much easier way, and as you can see it has happened, exactly like it was predicted by folks like me several years ago when it was being discussed, and I remember the arguments then that it "would just work and be better". Phooie. I was right, they were wrong.

              "Computerised Voting" came pre-broken and crooked right out of the box. And with a real voting period and not this half a day deal we got now,and some sort of instant runoff deal,and third parties being covered in the news, we might see more people voting. the way it is now is 50% voting roughly, that is not any sort of success figure. It would reduce lines and the wait,the longer period, and not discrimnate against workers who can't make it to the polls, or people who have emergencies come up they have to go deal with, etc. and "counting" is a normal human thing, I doubt there's any precinct out there that lacks people who can count. Yes, there's trouble with that too, but stricter enforcement of the laws on the books with severe penalties could knock that down considerable.

              And then MAYBE if the paid off FCC can see fit to REQUIRE the networks to cover third parties and candidates in their day to day so-called "news" reports and in the so-called "official national debates" we might not only get more votes, we might get more voting enthusiasm and some constructive change in this nation, instead of this "new and improved and it's so shiny!" scheme which will only go to elect the same tired old parties and candidates who have caused all the mess in the first place. And FUNNY it was *their idea* to switch to "computerised" voting. I certainly don't recall seeing any private citizens approaching me with some petition to beg the government to please switch us to computers, because it didn't happen. It was shoved down our throats and sold to us just like beer or cornflakes on the TV. The "controllers" wanted computerised voting because it's more hackable than the old original system.

              Hard tech

              Read the rest of this comment...

              [ Reply to This | Parent ]
            • human readable printouts by chihowa (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @05:52PM
              • 3 replies beneath your current threshold.
            • Re:Here's the rub by Oxy the moron (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @12:53PM
                Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                by Catbeller (118204) on Thursday April 22, @01:21PM (#8940621)
                (http://slashdot.org/)
                but to make a buck on a cheaper system

                That doesn't track logically. The system already costs $5000 per voting machine. If the printer was added, they'd simply add another few thousand for the work and hardware. Memos have surfaced taht confirm this: they were instructed to charge HIGH to add that capability, if it came to it.

                No, from the minutes of a meeting inadvertently attended by a publisher, and from justing oogling Diebold's 500K/month legal fund, itcan only be said Diebold's ONLY aim is to prevent the addition of printed ballots for verification purposes.

                So they don't want an audit trail. Now, why?

                They know that if the system is audited, ie a recount made and results from counting paper matched to election tallies, the numbers won't match up. OR, they are making sure the machines can secretly alter election vote totals, and don't want it known.

                Since there is no profit motive, it must be incompetence, or cheating, or both.

                [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                • Re:Here's the rub by nacturation (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:14PM
                  • Another possible explanation. by Ungrounded Lightning (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @03:22PM
                    Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                    by Catbeller (118204) on Thursday April 22, @04:06PM (#8942824)
                    (http://slashdot.org/)
                    Not a huge conspiracy at all. It's right out in the open. They don't want the printers. They're spending fortunes and dragging in their favorite legislators to block the audit trail.

                    They're not claiming it's expensive, or complicated, or anything logical. They claim it's not necessary.

                    Now, we've plenty of data at this point, from negative tallies in Indiana to system tests by computer scientists. The tallies are not working even by Dielbold's standards. The scientists cracked the system in 5 minutes in one case, and found multiple hacks in all others that permitted them to own the voting machines, the aggregation machines, the modem communications, the voter smart cards... their conclusion: minumum effort to change vote totals at will!

                    Doesn't take a "conspiracy theory" to stare the truth in the face. The machines don't work as they are supposed to. The basic idea is unsound and an invitation to cheat. The system is already hacked, and the vote counts can be changed. Strange results have occured in Georgia and otherplaces: wild swings for candidates that don't match the polls. The company has fought like a rabid hyena to prevent an audit trail, even though doing so means extra profit.

                    I don't think the entire company is out to cheat the voters. But I find it easy to believe that either the machines don't work as advertised, or the company bigwigs may be terrified that an paper audit was run and cheating occured. I also find it humanly certain that someone in the Bush-fanatical company has it in their head to use the easy methods already known to tip a race in the Republican's favor. Why not? It's untraceable.

                    In any case, extremely robust printers are available for use,so fallibilty of hardware isn't an issue. Do ATM's fail to print very often? It's Diebold, they specialize in tough hardware.

                    Cost isn't an issue. They can charge whatever they like.

                    Time wasn't an issue, until they ran out the clock.

                    The audit trail IS the issue for them. They fundamentally deny they need one. Their reasoning is nonexistent. They simply assert it isn't necessary.

                    It boils down to this: they are blocking the ability to hold recounts. They don't want recounts. There must be a reason. They are capable, can charge what they like. So... they have something they don't want known. It can onlybe that tthe possiblity exists that the recount tallies won't match the original totals. Think what kind of hell would explode if the new, bulletproof system was shown conclusively to be completely untrustworthy. It would be a scandal unlike any other, especially seeing how hard they tried to hide the problem.

                    Fear of esposure as incompetents or fear of exposure as the enablers of a falsely elected government, take your pick. And ALL previous elections would be invalid on the evidence!

                    I don't think most Americans would even care, but some would. Enough to send people to prison.
                    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                  • Re:Here's the rub by Lux (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @08:30PM
                • Re:Here's the rub by Jhon (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @12:59PM
                  Re:Here's the rub (Score:4, Interesting)
                  by Ion Berkley (35404) on Thursday April 22, @01:01PM (#8940385)
                  You know the one thing I feel I lack when I read (with great interest) peoples concerns about electronic polling is just how bad were previous low tech systems. We all remember the Florida presidential debicle, but I wonder if there is somewhere much more info collected across many elections and systems that gives us something to compare with.
                  [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                  • Re:Here's the rub by cyways (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @02:35PM
                      Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                      by Aidtopia (667351) on Thursday April 22, @05:45PM (#8944108)
                      (http://www.aidtopia.com/ | Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~Aidtopia/journal/)

                      Remember that there were three debacles in Florida:

                      1. Diebold machines used in one county registered -16,000 votes (yes negative) for Gore. When that was corrected, and the media eventually picked up the new numbers, Gore called Bush back to rescind his earlier concilliation. I suspect that recognizing there could be an error this large inspired the idea of asking for recounts, on the hope that similar errors may have changed the outcome. Of course, there's no way to recount the electronic districts, so we'll never know if there were more Diebold problems or even if the -16,000 votes were undone correctly.

                      2. The butterfly ballot created confusion. How much we'll never know, but some people probably voted for someone other than who they intended to. If this was the cause of the surprising number of votes for Buchannen, then it's likely this issue alone cost Gore the election, regardless of the next point.

                      3. Hanging chads and the whole problem of reading intent from a punch card was the center of media attention, even though the first two issues probably had a much bigger affect on the election than this one. Yes, there was lots of debate and unstable numbers, but the official recounts and the after-the-fact audits by the media indicate that the problems with punch cards didn't skew the vote enough to make a difference.

                      I suspect that if the first problem didn't happen or wasn't detected, then we'd never have heard about the other two, and we wouldn't be spending millions on contemptuous, incompetent e-voting vendors like Diebold.

                      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                      Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                      by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot.alias@gamebox@net> on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940397)
                      (Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~Liselle/journal/)
                      You bring up an excellent point!

                      Makes me wonder though, if corporate greed can be used to our advantage. Knowing that profit is the motivator, and not altruism/patriotism/whatever, means that hitting them in the wallet is the best assurance that they will play nice. It's a known target.

                      Maybe it's naive to assume it will work, and there will be a horde of ACs to inform me as such, but while we're in fantasy land: strict government guidelines for how electronic voting functions. Even paper ballots have a margin of error, your electronic system has to do at least as well, with a certain amount of guaranteed uptime. Certified this, authorized that. Otherwise, you'll never get that check to cash, or maybe get hit with some stiff investor-frightening fines.

                      Hmm, maybe strict rules like that will scare away the private sector from making voting machines, though... Hell, that works for me, too.
                      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                      Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                      by telbij (465356) on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940400)
                      (http://www.websaviour.com/nexus/)
                      So long as the design and development of voting systems is left to the private sector, voters will be disenfranchised for the sake of profit. That's all there is to it.

                      Well, only in the case where the government is too trusting to draft a suitable contract to protect voters' rights.

                      All that's really needed is for government to stipulate that a single foul-up will result in zero payment. You can bet that would get Diebold's act together pretty quick. If they don't like that we can go back to paper ballots which have a pretty good track record; statistically reliable error is much better than the possibility of wholesale errors or even fraud.

                      Unfortunately, this whole electronic voting movement is just companies capitalizing on the mishaps of the 2000 election. If legislators knew anything about how computer systems actually worked, they wouldn't be so easily convinced that it's better than hanging chads.
                      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                        Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                        by corbettw (214229) on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940407)
                        Not to excuse the incompetent greedy fucks at Diebold, but they're only a symptom of the larger problem. The real problem is that the government types who are making decisions about going to evoting know fuck-all about how computers work, and are not interested/capable of any real oversight (the "magic box" can't be wrong, can it?). Couple that with the natural human tendency to get as much return on as little investment as possible, and it's almost as bad as setting up a dingo farm next to a day care center.

                        Afterall, consider that Diebold is one of the largest makers of ATMs in the world. Ever wonder why they can make ATMs that don't screw up your checking account balance every time you withdraw funds? Simple: banks are accountable to their customers, share holders, and various government agencies to not screw up people's finances. If someone went to the ATM and it reported they only had $18,181 (a reference to a previously reported bug on the upper limits of counted votes), when in fact they had ten times that much, there'd be a huge outcry (if the reverse happened, the bank would eventually catch it, and again there'd be a huge outcry, at least internally to the vendor). So, again, the problem isn't that Diebold is greedy (which they are) or stupid (which they are), but that the people to whom they are directly accountable (the various county registrars) have no clue what the hell they're doing.
                        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                        Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                        by Wateshay (122749) <bill.stagelogic@com> on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940410)
                        (Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~Wateshay/journal/)
                        The problem isn't the private sector. If it were true that quality in the private sector was always hurt by profit motive, then private sector businesses would always produce substandard quality vs. public works. However, in the private sector, quality does get produced, because there is a segment of the market that demands it, and therefore there are companies that are motivated by profit to produce that quality (e.g. Apple Computer, BMW, Rolex, etc.). The problem is not that the private sector can't produce a quality product, but rather that the government doesn't demand it. If the government were to take into consideration more than just going with the cheapest bidder in all instances, we would get better quality. Of course, that has to be balanced against the unfortunate side-effect that if more subjective issues than price are taken into account, you are more likely to get croneyism, but I really think there's a better balance than the way the government operates now.
                        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                          Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                          by nomadic (141991) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <dlrowcidamon>> on Thursday April 22, @01:20PM (#8940610)
                          (http://go.away/ | Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~nomadic/journal/)
                          The problem isn't the private sector. If it were true that quality in the private sector was always hurt by profit motive, then private sector businesses would always produce substandard quality vs. public works.

                          Yes, the problem IS the private sector. Efficiency, quality, and reliability DOES NOT automatically follow when profit is the motivation.

                          The problem is not that the private sector can't produce a quality product, but rather that the government doesn't demand it

                          The government did demand it, they were promised it, and Diebold lied about it.

                          but I really think there's a better balance than the way the government operates now.

                          No, there isn't. Diebold does a hell of a lot worse than the government does.

                          What's happening here is all the people with the anti-government, pro-privatization bias are scrambling to make it look like somehow it wasn't the private sector's fault.
                          [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                        • Re:Here's the rub by KevinDumpsCore (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @05:14PM
                        • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                      • Re:Here's the rub by Frymaster (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:02PM
                          Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                          by trentblase (717954) on Thursday April 22, @01:11PM (#8940506)
                          This isn't a downside of the voting machine itself. It's up to the person inputing the candidate info to leave a "abstain" or "no confidence" option. Surely the software could support such an option (even if you had to hack it by putting First Name: No, Last Name: Confidence)
                          [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                          • Re:Here's the rub by comedian23 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:14PM
                          • Re:Here's the rub by secolactico (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:17PM
                            • Re:Here's the rub by micromoog (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @02:17PM
                              • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                            Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                            by GreyPoopon (411036) <greypoopon1968@hotmail.com> on Thursday April 22, @01:03PM (#8940420)
                            The simple fact is that, while Diebold does indeed care about producing accurate voting results, they are more concerned with making money. If Diebold is forced to choose between increasing their profit and making the system better, they'll choose profit.

                            If you put voting machines in the hands of the private sector, the private sector will try to maximize profit. Corners will be cut. There simply isn't any way to avoid this, so long as the people making the machines are doing so to make money off the venture.

                            The problem isn't really with having the machines in the hands of the private sector. Moving them to the public sector just opens up other motivation to cut corners or alter results (think political). The real issue is that the driving force behind the private sector no longer has the strong balancing factor that was historically attributed to investors. A few decades ago, businesses had to carefully plan for long-term viability. Investors held them to that, and a company that made short-term gains was not necessarily considered a good investment. Enter the day trader, and everything changes. Now companies are motivated to make decisions that yield short-term gains in profits because investors unwisely jump on the short-term gains. Look at how quickly a CEO comes and goes and it becomes obvious. The incentive provided to a CEO is short-term. They come in, make a quick gain, get their compensation, and then head off to destroy another company. It doesn't matter that three years later the company they left will be in the toilet when the irregular accounting and outright lies to the public are noticed.

                            I'm not sure what the solution to the problem is, but somehow investors need to start holding corporations responsible for long-term success, and long-term sacrifices to yield short-term gains need to be severely punished. Believe me, if the management at Diebold knew that regardless of how much money they make now, it could all be taken away from them for unethical business practices, they would focus on quality and customer satisfaction.

                            [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                            • Re:Here's the rub by LordMyren (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:34PM
                                Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Insightful)
                                by flossie (135232) on Thursday April 22, @01:52PM (#8941023)
                                (http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm)

                                I'm not sure what the solution to the problem is, but somehow investors need to start holding corporations responsible for long-term success, and long-term sacrifices to yield short-term gains need to be severely punished.

                                You have hit the nail squarely upon the head. The complete lack of regard for the long-term that is now endemic in the US and, increasingly, the UK is a recipe for disaster.

                                Assuming that there is absolutely no chance of investors (whether individual or institutional) getting a sudden attack of morality, the best way that I can conceive of to fix the problem is to use the tax system. Increase the capital gains tax on stocks and shares which are sold without being held for long and decrease the tax on long-held stocks and shares.

                                If taxes decayed to near zero for investments held for 25 years or more, you can bet that pension companies would start taking the long-term view. This would exert a significant beneficial pressure on the behaviour of company directors.

                                [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Interesting)
                                by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda AT etoyoc DOT com> on Thursday April 22, @02:30PM (#8941474)
                                (http://www.etoyoc.com/yoda | Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~EvilTwinSkippy/journal/)
                                While I agree, there is no eye on the long-term, I am hard pressed to find the "good old days" you are refering to.

                                The 1910's were tied up with WWI. If you were in the war material business, you did well. Investment capital was tied up in the war effort.

                                The 1920's made the dotcom era look sane in comaparison. Everyone was kiting "Aeroplane" related stocks, until the market tanked.

                                So through the 1930's and 40's you had the twin devils of the Great Depression and WWII.

                                The 1950's saw the birth of the Cold war.

                                The 1960's ... we have all seen the moves.

                                The 1970's was the birth of Voodoo economics and hyper-inflation as we know it, continuing on to the 90's.

                                The 90's we a recession tailed by a... well we all were there.

                                [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                              • Re:Here's the rub by IceAgeComing (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:35PM
                              • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                            • Re:Here's the rub by bobej1977 (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:04PM
                              • Re:Here's the rub by Civil_Disobedient (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:42PM
                                • Re:Here's the rub by bobej1977 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:04PM
                                    Re:Here's the rub (Score:4, Insightful)
                                    by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Thursday April 22, @02:26PM (#8941427)
                                    But one we always have by the balls (boycott) and one which although it may exert power (economic) it can never hold authority.

                                    Boycott? That's how we're supposed to keep private corporations in check?! And how, pray tell, am I supposed to boycott a company like Diebolical? Don't vote?

                                    We don't expect the FDA to slaughter the cattle and bring it to the neighborhood store. The FDA ensures that the people who do, do so responsibly.

                                    But we're not talking about a product that is subject to the laws of supply and demand or other market forces. The IRS is a government agency, and gets paid through taxes. But how is a private company supposed to get paid to offer voting services? Through (you guessed it) the government, the "number one cause of loss of liberty" in your words.

                                    Or I suppose we could just institute a poll tax. The IRS and FDA get paid through taxes, right? I'm sure people won't mind their hard-earned money going into private hands for the luxury of voting.
                                    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                • Re:Here's the rub by Short Circuit (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:37PM
                                • Re:Here's the rub by EvilTwinSkippy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:35PM
                              • Re:Here's the rub by jlechem (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:11PM
                              • Re:Here's the rub by szquirrel (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:14PM
                                • Agreed 100% by mfh (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:15PM
                                  • This is why by jd (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:20PM
                                    • Re:This is why by EvilTwinSkippy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:37PM
                                    • Re:Here's the rub by snarfer (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:36PM
                                      • No, the problem is the public sector by spreer (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:42PM
                                        • Re:Here's the rub by SQLz (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:54PM
                                          • They turned to ITAA to whitewash the issue by gminks (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:54PM
                                            • I disagree... by Nevo (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:41PM
                                              • You're not correct. by Moryath (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:49PM
                                                • Nope, you're misreading them. by Moryath (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:53PM
                                                  • Re:Here's the rub by The AtomicPunk (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:53PM
                                                    • Two negligent parties by theLOUDroom (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:41PM
                                                      • Re:Here's the rub by SphericalCrusher (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @04:11PM
                                                        • Re:Here's the rub by raidient (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @07:40PM
                                                          • From the mouth of the CEO himself by gad_zuki! (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @07:43PM
                                                            • Re:Here's the rub by Guppy06 (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @09:48PM
                                                                Re:Here's the rub (Score:5, Funny)
                                                                by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Thursday April 22, @01:10PM (#8940492)
                                                                (http://www.snowplow.org/tom/)
                                                                thank you Captain Obvious! You statements were just what we needed to save the day! ...oh wait... your statements didn't do shit.

                                                                Well, hell. Here I was hoping that my opinion would have at least cleaned the kitchen while I was gone.

                                                                Lazy, good-for-nothing words...

                                                                [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                              • Re:Buy 3rd World tech! by Guppy06 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @11:05PM
                                                                • 3 replies beneath your current threshold.
                                                                Thank Goodness Somebody's Noticing (Score:5, Informative)
                                                                by filesiteguy (695431) on Thursday April 22, @12:48PM (#8940234)
                                                                (http://www.filesite.org/)
                                                                I have some very good friends over at the Los Angeles Voters' office. Oddly enough, they've been somewhat in the dark about all this. I've been sending them updates as I get them. I cannot believe that a voting system would be considered acceptable without extensive testing. (This in addition to the woeful concept of usng MS Acess as the back end database.)
                                                                [ Reply to This ]
                                                                • Re:Thank Goodness Somebody's Noticing by Analogy Man (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:03PM
                                                                    Maybe I can avoid posting a dozen times. (Score:5, Interesting)
                                                                    by hummassa (157160) on Thursday April 22, @03:12PM (#8942031)
                                                                    I live in Brasil. We have had voting machines in the last 12-14 years (yes, twelve to fourteen -- it depends the size of the city you are in). For the Brazilians here: the first election here in Belo Horizonte to use the machines were the mayoral (and city council, state representation, governor, house and senate) before FHC was elected (as I count it, 2 years + 8 years + 1 1/2 = 11,5 years). I know it, because I was "mesário" (election "table" official? election "clerk"? what is a good English translation?) in the previous election, and in the two subsequent elections). IIRC, there were electronic ballot boxes in Rio and Sao Paulo in the election before that (the only two cities larger than Belo Horizonte).
                                                                    Our voting machines are mainly of three different (internally) models: (a) the old ones, that use VirtuOS (*) as the OS, (b) the new ones, that use WinCE as the OS, and (c) the newest and deprecated ones that have the second printer to print your vote, show it to you inside a clear acrilic case, and mix it with others inside the machine.
                                                                    Externally, all of them look roughly the same: a box similar to the old "portables" of the eighties, with a 5-6" diagonal LCD and a big numerical keypad in the right side of the screen, that has, besides 0-9 keys, "confirma" (ok), "erro" (cancel), and "branco" (white).
                                                                    The electoral process (from the point of view of the voter) begins ... when you get your first job. If you are a mandatory voter (literate person from 18 to 65) you have to go to Electoral Court and register to vote. In the process of registering, you receive the "Título de Eleitor" (voter id), in which you have the number of you voting section. To change jobs, and specially to get a government job, you have to prove you are a registered *and* *regularized* voter (you voted in the last election, or regularized your voting situation after it).
                                                                    In the election day, you scan the newspapers (or the Superior Electoral Court website), search for the address of your section, and go there. No, there is no transit vote, you can only vote at that address. If you can't get there, you'll have to "justify" your absence.
                                                                    At the section, you will present your voter id to one the "mesários", and if you don't have it on you, you can still vote (you can show other valid id), but will be delayed. The mesário will search for your name in the vote-ticket sheet, and annex it to your id while you vote. You will sign a receipt in a sheet, and proceed to the voting "booth". Another "mesário" will type your voter id # in a remotely connected keypad, setting the machine in the "ready to vote" mode.
                                                                    The voting "booth" is really a desk with the voting machine over it, facing nobody else in the room, and sometimes with a cardboard "cover" around it. You will "dial" the numbers of the candidates, in order. when you dial all the digits of one candidate, a star-trek-like chime rings, his/her face will show up in the screen, and if you digited it right, you hit "ok". otherwise, you hit "cancel" and start over. After typing all the candidates, you hit "ok" one last time, the machine chimes again, and goes to "stand by" mode. You have voted. If you don't want to vote for nobody, you can hit "white" instead of the candidate ## (accounted as a "white vote", or "none of the above" -- this is the equivalent of putting your paper ballot in the box without marking anything), or if you really want to protest you can type 9999 or other non-existent-candidate-#, and your vote will be accounted as a "null vote", or "I'm really pissed of" (the equivalent of drawing pictures or writing "improper expletives" in a paper ballot)
                                                                    Then, you get your id back, your ticket (keep it together with your voter id!!), and you go home. Ah, bars do not open (theoretically) in the election day, so hope you have bought your beer in the day before).
                                                                    From the point of view of election officials, things are more complicated. The machines arrive to the Electoral Judge (yes, a Judge of Law) pre-prepared one to two months

                                                                    Read the rest of this comment...

                                                                    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                                  • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                  I wonder. (Score:4, Insightful)
                                                                  by Neil Blender (555885) on Thursday April 22, @12:48PM (#8940236)
                                                                  Did India outsource its voting machines? Seems like maybe it's not just a matter of incompetent programmers. Maybe e-voting is actually hard to accomplish.
                                                                  [ Reply to This ]
                                                                  • Re:I wonder. by ddelrio (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @12:51PM
                                                                    • Re:I wonder. by micromoog (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:20PM
                                                                    • Re:I wonder. by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:08PM
                                                                      • Re:I wonder. by arkanes (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:10PM
                                                                      • Re:I wonder. by asimulator (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:11PM
                                                                          If Brazil can do it... (Score:4, Informative)
                                                                          by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Thursday April 22, @01:12PM (#8940517)
                                                                          Maybe e-voting is actually hard to accomplish.

                                                                          I don't know about that. Seems to me, if you put the right people in charge, and keep the system as open as possible, you're far less likely to have the sorts of problems that a private firm will run into. Just like any other kind of software. More proof needed? Well, electronic voting seems to be working just fine in Brazil [cic.unb.br].
                                                                          [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                                          • Re:I wonder. by neelm (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:15PM
                                                                            • Re:I wonder. by American AC in Paris (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:19PM
                                                                              • Re:I wonder. by rsidd (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:26PM
                                                                                • Hard? by YrWrstNtmr (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:21PM
                                                                                  • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                                  Improper Apology (Score:5, Interesting)
                                                                                  by archipunk (649241) on Thursday April 22, @12:49PM (#8940247)
                                                                                  "We were caught. We apologize for that," Urosevich said of the mass failures of devices needed to call up digital ballots. ...

                                                                                  "We're sorry for the inconvenience of the voters," Urosevich said.

                                                                                  Nothing about apologizing for the problems with the product, or the fact that they didn't work. He appologizes for getting caught.

                                                                                  [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                    Re:Improper Apology (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                    by Maestro4k (707634) on Thursday April 22, @01:05PM (#8940437)
                                                                                      Nothing about apologizing for the problems with the product, or the fact that they didn't work. He appologizes for getting caught.
                                                                                    Which speaks volumes about Diebold as a company. Using the phrase "We were caught" implies they willfully put the bad machines out, etc. Having the head of the company say this makes it very hard for even the most forgiving of souls to trust them.
                                                                                    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                                                    • Re:Improper Apology by Bowling Moses (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:02PM
                                                                                      • Re:Improper Apology by donutello (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @08:14PM
                                                                                        • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                                      two words, (Score:5, Interesting)
                                                                                      by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Thursday April 22, @12:49PM (#8940248)
                                                                                      (http://www.systemrecycler.com/)
                                                                                      Papaer Ballots..
                                                                                      [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                      #2 pencil (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, @12:50PM (#8940258)
                                                                                      Complication does not equal sophistication. Sometimes, a number 2 lead pencil really does work best.
                                                                                      [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                      • Re:#2 pencil by BK425 (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:00PM
                                                                                        • Re:#2 pencil by EvilTwinSkippy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:43PM
                                                                                        • It's a disgrace! by dawg ball (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @12:50PM
                                                                                          • E-Voting? Pah by llamaguy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @12:50PM
                                                                                            Who's not surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)
                                                                                            by ctishman (545856) <(ctishman) (at) (mac.com)> on Thursday April 22, @12:51PM (#8940266)
                                                                                            See, the sick part about all of this is that nothing will actually happen. Diebold will stall and complain and fling their influence around, The Governator will promise to look into it and do nothing.

                                                                                            "The general election is too close to fix anything now! If ONLY we'd learned about it sooner!"
                                                                                            [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                          • Bah! by B3ryllium (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @12:51PM
                                                                                            • Why don't we have a Federal Standard? by WarlockD (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @12:51PM
                                                                                              We need more than Decertification (Score:5, Interesting)
                                                                                              by JivanMukti (589480) <.c.knox. .at. .comcast.net.> on Thursday April 22, @12:54PM (#8940304)
                                                                                              Decertifying some (or all) of the machines is an ok start. What about fines? Criminal charges for violating state election laws?

                                                                                              Maybe if the company and the persons who run it were actually held responsible for their actions it might make others more likely to comply with the law.

                                                                                              All in all though, I'm glad California is aware of the problems and hasn't just ignored them.
                                                                                              [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                              Fraud (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                              by lspd (566786) on Thursday April 22, @12:54PM (#8940309)
                                                                                              (http://www.nixnuts.net/)
                                                                                              Personally I don't really care about glitches, crashes and other problems with the machines. What I do care about is the use of uncertified software and the fact that these companies are more or less getting away with it. It sets a bad precedent for the future. Who cares if a few voting machines get decertified if you get to rig an election as a result? Any use of uncertified software should bar that company from ever producing voting machines in the US again. Do we really have to wait until someone is caught rigging a major election before real efforts are undertaken to stop it?
                                                                                              [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                              • Re:Fraud by maximilln (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:08PM
                                                                                                  Re:Fraud (Score:5, Informative)
                                                                                                  by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Thursday April 22, @01:35PM (#8940806)
                                                                                                  (http://www.fufme.com/)
                                                                                                  "Do we really have to wait until someone is caught rigging a major election before real efforts are undertaken to stop it?"

                                                                                                  Because these machines don't produce a paper trail, it will be almost impossible to catch someone rigging an election. Whatever numbers the computer spits out are the final numbers, that's it. Even when the number of votes is 10 times the number of voters (as in Evansville, IN) there is no way to recount.

                                                                                                  There is circumstantial evidence showing election fraud here in Georgia in 2002. Our incumbent Democratic Governor and a Dem incumbent Senator both had 10% leads in the polls the week of the election. Both lost. Warehouse employees have reported that Diebold patched thier systems after the elections board had certified the software on them. Diebold certainly isn't doing the rigging themselves, but their incompetence may be letting someone else do it.

                                                                                                  I recently read a great quote from that champion of Democracy, Joseph Stalin - "The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do."

                                                                                                  News of the GA 2002 election:
                                                                                                  wired.com [wired.com]
                                                                                                  scoop.co.nz [scoop.co.nz]

                                                                                                  -B

                                                                                                  [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                                                                  • Re:Fraud by Inebrius (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:16PM
                                                                                                    • Re:Fraud by mOdQuArK! (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:57PM
                                                                                                  • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                                                • Nonmember? by sangreal66 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @12:54PM
                                                                                                  • d'oh by Vlion (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @12:55PM
                                                                                                      California officials will vote (Score:5, Funny)
                                                                                                      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, @12:57PM (#8940344)
                                                                                                      On whether to punish Diebold. This will be accomplished with an electronic vote using Diebold equipment. Diebold is confident they will be found not guilty, unanimously.
                                                                                                      [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                      • Let the /. programmers do it by AviLazar (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @12:58PM
                                                                                                      • Absentee Ballots by yohohogreengiant (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @12:58PM
                                                                                                          I have to ask (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                                          by Le Marteau (206396) on Thursday April 22, @12:59PM (#8940363)
                                                                                                          Once again, I have to ask - what is the big goddamned rush to get election results that requires electronic voting machine? Why are people so frickin' hard to get the results of an election, like, on election day.

                                                                                                          People should just chill, let a team of little old ladies count PAPER BALLOTS marked in PENCIL or PEN, and get the VERIFIABLE RESULTS a week or so later.
                                                                                                          [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                        • Grilling Diebold? by Kenja (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:00PM
                                                                                                          • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                                                        • What about the county's responsibility? by djaj (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:00PM
                                                                                                        • This proves one thing... by techstar25 (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:01PM
                                                                                                          • WHY doesn't it work? by koi88 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:02PM
                                                                                                            Alameda County has been pursuing these issues ... (Score:4, Informative)
                                                                                                            by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940409)
                                                                                                            ..for some time. There have been several articles [google.com] in the Oakland Tribune [oaklandtribune.com] and other local papers. Alameda County has complained to Diebold [oaklandtribune.com] and is clearly pusuing the issue.

                                                                                                            Alameda County is basically the "East Bay", ie. across the Bay from San Francisco, including Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, etc.

                                                                                                            [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                            Alright, I have a question. (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                                            by unformed (225214) on Thursday April 22, @01:02PM (#8940411)
                                                                                                            Allin all, how difficult would this --really-- be? At least getting the part right about who's allowed and who's not allowed to vote? I'm a programmer, I've studied cryptography, I understand the problems associated with voting, but what if they made an open system, hired good programmers, and hired other good programmers to check the first programmers work, without having a private company do the work. (or at least force the private company be open).

                                                                                                            Lave the code open, let people look at it themselves, fin problems or what not .... test in in some *local* elections for a few years, and when those work, start moving it up to larger (ie: statewide) elections ....

                                                                                                            Jesus, people have created some insane stuff back in the day, what's the problem now?
                                                                                                            [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                          • Why are these so hard to build? by BagOBones (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:03PM
                                                                                                            • I mean, Come On by dynamo (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:05PM
                                                                                                              .... for more info and history on Diebold (Score:4, Informative)
                                                                                                              by curtisk (191737) on Thursday April 22, @01:05PM (#8940448)
                                                                                                              (http://slashdot.org/~curtisk/journal/ | Last Journal: http://slashdot.org/~curtisk/journal/)
                                                                                                              Black Box Voting [blackboxvoting.com] and Bev Harris have led the fight against Diebold [blackboxvoting.com] and ES&S [blackboxvoting.com] hijinks for a while now, lots of good reading at that site to get you up to speed on the issues
                                                                                                              [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                              • Second Thoughts? by kravlor (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:11PM
                                                                                                                • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
                                                                                                              • Three Cheers for Bev Harris by alfredo (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:12PM
                                                                                                                • awesome. by xgamer04 (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:13PM
                                                                                                                  • Ask how to do it right where it worked... by jorlando (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:15PM
                                                                                                                      What the problem was (Score:5, Informative)
                                                                                                                      by John Jorsett (171560) on Thursday April 22, @01:15PM (#8940560)
                                                                                                                      When I first heard, early on election day, the nature ofthe problems they were having, I guessed what was going on. They were using machines running Windows CE as the OS. The application code itself was in a flash memory, but they were relying on some kind of shortcut in the volatile system RAM to execute that code when the machine was turned on. The trouble was, when the poll workers were trained, they were given the machines to take home with them. SOme of them sat for long periods without power, so their batteries ran down and the RAM got erased, wiping out whatever it was that was supposed to execute the code automatically. The poll workers weren't trained for that contingency and had no clue what to do. Many of the polling places had voters, off the street, trying to help them diagnoe the problem and boot the software.

                                                                                                                      This whole thing was a fiasco from the beginning. Not only did they use known-uncertified code, they let poll workers take the machines home, protected only by a peel-off sticker for "security". They then had a bunch of unqualified and unvetted civilans being given access to try to fix the problems. Unbelievable.
                                                                                                                      [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                                    • Aren't Americans frustrated? by xutopia (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:17PM
                                                                                                                    • California Girls Die?!?!?! by Capital_Z (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:19PM
                                                                                                                        Tossing the Baby With the Bath (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                                                        by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday April 22, @01:20PM (#8940606)

                                                                                                                        >Today, California officials may recommend decertifying some or all of Dielbold's machines for the November General Election.

                                                                                                                        Sadly, this will include the Diebold optical scanners used in my county. Like much associated with this issue, this would be JPFN. The optically scanned ballots are much like the machine scored tests used in university classes everywhere. You fill in a bubble with a black felt pen to vote for a candidate. Simple, quick, readable with either the optical scanner or the Mark I eyeball in the event of a power failure.

                                                                                                                        I am totally at a loss to understand this rush to electronic voting. As a citizen, I demand that my vote be:
                                                                                                                        • Secret
                                                                                                                        • Subject to verifiable recount
                                                                                                                        • Free from fraud
                                                                                                                        I realize that these are the ideal and that abuses have occurred under all forms of balloting yet used. However, the paper ballot and voting lists have stood the test of time. Reducing costs is not be a valid reason for mucking about with the very foundation of the democratic process.
                                                                                                                        [ Reply to This ]
                                                                                                                          Re:Tossing the Baby With the Bath (Score:5, Insightful)
                                                                                                                          by demachina (71715) on Thursday April 22, @02:40PM (#8941587)
                                                                                                                          "I am totally at a loss to understand this rush to electronic voting."

                                                                                                                          Its pretty simple really. The party in power wants electronic voting without an audit trail. They approved billions of tax payer dollars to be thrown out to local election officials to insure it was instituted and at the same time insured all the electronic voting machine manufacturers bidding on said systems were controlled by Republican partisans who no doubt went out of their way to propose systems with no paper trail. WHO COULD POSSIBLY WANT A NASTY OLD PAPER TRAIL WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THESE NIFTY ALL ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS. Votes go in here, get turned in to electrons and you magically get a vote count out the other end. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

                                                                                                                          The Diebold incident in California really sounds like they were practicing for how to steal the election in November, in particular the part about installing uncertified software and getting caught. This is the #1 thing you need to accomplish to steal an election with electronic voting, installing uncertified software. I imagine they chose California to practice because California isn't likely to be a swing state and the primary didn't really count for much. The place they want to smoothly and successfully install their rigged software is in all the close swing states in November when it counts. They also want it in all the states with crucial senate contests.

                                                                                                                          Bottomline is electronic voting is a way to insure the people who control the machines, which happens to be the Republicans, can hold power if, god forbid, the majority of the electorate realize they are either incompetent or serving the interests of a minority at the expense of the majority and try to, god forbid, vote them out of power. We just can't have that. The Republicans are the only ones we can trust to save America and make the world safe for American hegemony. Those Democrats are dangerous, can't be trusted(well they can't but thats another story).

                                                                                                                          I don't imagine there are reliable statistics but its a near certainty that the default state for elections is for them to be rigged every time the opportunity exists to do so. The right wingers will no doubt lob out the standard accusation now that the Democrats are the one with the history of stealing elections. Well yes they've stolen them, the Republican's have stolen them, every party and politician, in a close race and with the opportunity to rig an election with a reasonably good chance of not getting caught will do so. Power is the ultimate drug, once people have it they will generally do anything to keep it and get more of it. Its only by nonstop tireless efforts by a large number of volunteers, concerned voters, that elections are made fair and secure. Relying on incompetent bureaucrats and politicians with mixed motives just doesn't cut it.

                                                                                                                          The gold rush caused by the billions of dollars the congress threw in to the market as a knee jerk reaction to the 2000 fiasco was certain to not create an environment where a reliable voting system would be produced and the rate of change is so high its pretty hard for concerned citizens to do much about it, though a few people are making a noble effort.

                                                                                                                          A couple nights ago one of the network news shows ran a piece on how unreliable the military mail system is and how its disenfranchising the brave warriors who are defending democracy around the world. They raised the possibility once again that the all votes of the military should be done electronically, so they could be cast in seconds. The end result being millions of votes being run through the Pentagon, with no paper audit trail, under the control of the Secretary of Defense whose job is at stake in the presidential election so he can adjust the outcome as necessary.

                                                                                                                          To be honest the U.S. in particular is reaching the point it doesn't really deserve a democracy. Maybe the Republicans should just declare a state of emergency and put democracy in the U.S. out of its misery. What's left of it at this point i

                                                                                                                          Read the rest of this comment...

                                                                                                                          [ Reply to This | Parent ]
                                                                                                                      • India by rsidd (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:23PM
                                                                                                                      • Optical Scanning Ballots = Segregation? by Maestro4k (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:23PM
                                                                                                                      • The voters should demand a recount! by dpbsmith (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:24PM
                                                                                                                        • Cock-Sucking Whores gave Michael a good BLOW JOB by Saeed al-Sahaf (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:28PM
                                                                                                                          • w-t-f? by LordMyren (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:29PM
                                                                                                                            • Re:w-t-f? by EvilTwinSkippy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:56PM
                                                                                                                            • Miami are another bunch of morons... by MindSlap (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:33PM
                                                                                                                                Our chief elections officer says "Hell, no" (Score:4, Insightful)
                                                                                                                                by Animats (122034) on Thursday April 22, @01:34PM (#8940804)
                                                                                                                                (http://www.animats.com/)
                                                                                                                                Warren Slocum [warrenslocum.com], the Chief Elections Officer for San Mateo County, CA, is so mad about lousy voting systems he's become an activist to put a stop to this. Slocum is influential, because he's a top election official for a big county.

                                                                                                                                San Mateo County went to mark-sense machines years ago, and has had very little trouble. The ballot boxes consist of a lid with a scanner locked to a big plastic bin, so every ballot scanned is locked inside the ballot box should a recount be necessary. At the end of the election, the scanners are plugged into a phone line and transmit results to election HQ. They can be re-read later, and the ballots counted and matched against the scans if necessary, one ballot box at a time.

                                                                                                                                Other than generating huge amounts of paper, there seem to be few problems with this.

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                                                                                                                                The fault is with CA (Score:4, Insightful)
                                                                                                                                by shreak (248275) on Thursday April 22, @01:44PM (#8940917)
                                                                                                                                The problem isn't directly with Debold (although they definitely are culpable).

                                                                                                                                The fault lay with the requirements produced by California (and any other state trying E-Voting). That is to say, none. They just said "Give us E-Voting, whatever that means"

                                                                                                                                The agencies should NOT be allowing the machine producers to define the voting method. They will invariably produce a mechanism that maximizes profit potential. How do you test the machines once you get them. You don't even understand the process since you didn't develop it. As a developer I can tell you NEVER let development produce the requirements. We miss everything and when you think you found a bug we just say "it works as designed".

                                                                                                                                The various election agencies need to come up with a definitive set of requirements for what an E-Voting machine should do. The level of detail should be excruciating.

                                                                                                                                The agencies also need to define and publish policy and procedure around these devices as well. You don't actually need to devices to do this. If they are built to your requirements then the procedures can be followed.

                                                                                                                                The kinds of requirements need to cover things like:

                                                                                                                                A paper receipt must be produced by the voting machine with human and machine readable type. If the machine readable type is not the same as the human readable type, the code produced must not be unique per voter or voter session (i.e. I can't transcribe the code and use it to prove who I voted for or you cant prove who I voted for)

                                                                                                                                The executing code must be certified (Open or not) and must then be cryptographically signed. The certified cryptographic checksum must be published 30 days before the election and each voting machine must display the checksum at all times during operation in a place that is visible to voters (i.e. I can write down the checksum and verify that the machine I'm using is using the correct version of the software)

                                                                                                                                When setting up a voting area each machine must be checked for the proper software checksum. (potentially a matching of software checksum and hardware specification, a use for Trusted Computing perhaps?)

                                                                                                                                Each machine must be able to produce test ballots for every candidate and the test ballots must be accepted by the designated reader machine. The test ballots will be conspicuously marked in a human and machine readable way. The reader will display the candidate indicated on the test ballot when reading (could be a screen, 7-seg display code, whatever).

                                                                                                                                Lots more, in much more detail that I went into...

                                                                                                                                =Shreak
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                                                                                                                              • Damn! by DJStealth (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:47PM
                                                                                                                                  What is so hard about voting? (Score:5, Interesting)
                                                                                                                                  by ndecker (588441) on Thursday April 22, @01:48PM (#8940971)
                                                                                                                                  I don't understand whats so hard about Voting. There is a proven, scalabe, fault tolerant and fast method already available: Use paper ballots!

                                                                                                                                  Here in germany we draw marks into circles next to the names of the candidates. The votes are counted by hand. The results are faxed to a central bureau where they are aggregated.

                                                                                                                                  This system has several advantages:

                                                                                                                                  • Results are availabe fast: The poll closes 6pm. First counts are ready about 8pm, the last ones maybe around 2am. Everything is ready the next morning.
                                                                                                                                  • Linear scalability: For every 1000 voters you need x voting offices and about 10 people per office to do their duty to democracy.
                                                                                                                                  • The people in the voting offices are randomly chosen. To commit fraud, you have to bribe or threaten those 10 people.
                                                                                                                                  • There is no class break for voting offices. You need to bribe twice as many people to fraud another voting office.
                                                                                                                                  • If you are higher up the chain, you cant commit fraud by changing the numbers you receive. The voting offices fax their results to the media too. Any difference would ring the bells in our computers fast.
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                                                                                                                                  Testing? (Score:4, Insightful)
                                                                                                                                  by fdiskne1 (219834) on Thursday April 22, @01:50PM (#8941000)
                                                                                                                                  What ever happened to good, old fashioned testing? I've seen the problem with companies rolling out software into production before it has been fully tested and ended up paying the price. I've had to clean up the mess of other engineers who didn't test something and told them about it every time. I asked if they tested it. They answer "No, it should work. It always has before." When I ask if they are always 100% confident that nothing was missed, they say yes, but obviously this isn't the case. When it comes to something as important as an election, in my opinion, there is no excuse not to test, fix problems, repeat ad infinitum, then roll it out once everyone is satisfied there are no errors. If this takes 20 years, fine. Just make sure it works correctly before rolling it out.
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                                                                                                                                  • eVoting made right by soapdog (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:51PM
                                                                                                                                  • I though that said by sittingbull (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:02PM
                                                                                                                                    • Diebold should be banned by Soong (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @02:25PM
                                                                                                                                      • good news? by Anonymous Custard (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @02:28PM
                                                                                                                                        • electoral process by venkats (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:34PM
                                                                                                                                          • Diebold TSx system Decertified in California by alfredo (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:49PM
                                                                                                                                            • Too much work .. by 0dugo0 (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:51PM
                                                                                                                                              • California Girls by budly (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @02:56PM
                                                                                                                                                • Why get an archaic company to do this by lardbottom (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:03PM
                                                                                                                                                  • The accuracy of the SW and system is irrelevant by RhettLivingston (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @03:15PM
                                                                                                                                                  • Breaking: Panel recommends banning Diebold by polyiguana (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:22PM
                                                                                                                                                    • Vote Phishing by 4of12 (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @03:22PM
                                                                                                                                                      • Ok I have to ask... by KaiLoi (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @04:11PM
                                                                                                                                                      • But why? by tekunokurato (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @05:37PM
                                                                                                                                                        • the fix is in by Doc Ruby (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @05:47PM
                                                                                                                                                          • California Girls Doubled-Over E-Voting Fsck-Ups! by KnarfO (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @06:09PM
                                                                                                                                                            • It's Not New(s) by calix (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @07:19PM
                                                                                                                                                              • Diebold on the way OUT in California! by Catbeller (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @08:06PM
                                                                                                                                                                • No proof by Stephen Samuel (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @11:02PM
                                                                                                                                                                  • The absolute worst part... by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @11:46PM
                                                                                                                                                                    • Evoting code leaked by IncandescentFlame (Score:1) Friday April 23, @02:09AM
                                                                                                                                                                      • The Inside Story Of California's Capitulation by althecat (Score:1) Friday April 23, @02:47AM
                                                                                                                                                                        • Another hardware flaw by bmasel (Score:2) Friday April 23, @04:46AM
                                                                                                                                                                          • Screwing Things Up GWB styleeeeee! by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @12:54PM
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                                                                                                                                                                          • In Soviet Russia, by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @01:00PM
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                                                                                                                                                                          • Re:Uhhhh how hard can it be? by mcwop (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:08PM
                                                                                                                                                                            • Re:The hypocrisy of the Democrat Party by curtisk (Score:3) Thursday April 22, @01:09PM
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                                                                                                                                                                            • Re:The hypocrisy of the Democrat Party by Garg (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @01:20PM
                                                                                                                                                                            • [OT] Re:The hypocrisy of the Democrat Party by cduffy (Score:2) Thursday April 22, @02:22PM
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                                                                                                                                                                            • Re:Diebold uses MS Access? by PDAllen (Score:1) Thursday April 22, @06:15PM
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