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Bender for President!

Hacked DC School Board Voting Elects Bender President

Time to go back to voting on paper ballots. "Hanging chads" are nothing compared to living under a Bender dictatorship! Seriously, though, this casts a bit of doubt on our election security, doesn't it? And what of all the new state laws for preventing electoral fraud? I suspect we'll see more actions like this one, designed to prove there is no such thing as computer security.

Chris

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
carmy_w
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
There NEED to be more actions like this! When so much of the US uses computerized machines that are known to have been tampered with, why the hell should we trust them?
This sort of thing is what makes me glad I live in a tiny town that still uses paper ballots!
mckitterick
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
Hear frakkin' hear.
tully01
Mar. 16th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
Tell me again, why did we quit using paper ballots? Nice traceable assessable paper ballots?
mckitterick
Mar. 16th, 2012 08:40 am (UTC)
Well, then we'd have to allow those who got the most votes to win....
steve98052
Mar. 17th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)

I see several reasons. One reason is that some other balloting systems are broken too. Old-fashioned mechanical voting machines can be hacked. Punch cards have hanging chad issues. Paper ballots (before modern mark-scan ballots) were slow. Those shortcomings opened up a marketing opportunity for companies selling an expensive technological solution.

A lot of jurisdictions bought that pitch simply because they weren't aware of the fact that it's possible to have mark-scan paper ballots that are scanned at polling stations (with counts instantly uploaded when polls close, with paper ballots retained in case of recounts).

Another reason is technological ignorance. A lot of legislators simply don't realize that the computer voting machines are that easy to cheat.

A third reason is the possibility that some people may want to be able to tamper. We hope that's the least significant reason, but Ohio 2004 shows that it can be exploited.

One must hope that the demonstration will convince legislatures to consider all-mail polling (as a few states have done), or maybe buying used instant mark-scan machines from states who have switched from that system to all-mail.

Unfortunately, there are probably a fair number of legislators who will take away the message of, "Send it back to the manufacturer so they can change the default password", rather than, "These systems can't be fixed to the point that they're trustworthy."

mckitterick
Mar. 17th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
It seems that, really, there is no perfect solution. Paper ballots electronically tallied seems the best option, so there's a way to verify e-results.
steve98052
Mar. 18th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)

Before Washington state switched to all-mail voting, it used mark-sense paper ballots. When the voter put them into the ballot box, it scanned them immediately, and rejected them immediately if there was something wrong with them (such as an unreadable mark or votes for more than one candidate). When polls closed, they reported their counts immediately, so results would be known within minutes, unless the mail-in ballots were thought likely to change the results (which happened occasionally). As you say, that was a very good system.

Now we have all-mail voting, which is also good. Sending the instant-count ballot boxes to other states that still have in-person voting would improve many states' voting systems, and put our old machines to practical use.

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )