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August 6, 2012
State-by-State Report on Electronic Voting
The Verified Voting Foundation has released a comprehensive state-by-state report on electronic voting machines (report, executive summary, and news coverage). Let's hope it does some good.
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 6:43 AM
• 13 Comments
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Let's hope it does some good
Don't hold you breath unless you think you look good in blue then black...
From an elected politicians view point voting is an evil that potentialy deprives them of wealth and status. Thus the electorate are hoodwinked in every way possible in the run up and actuall election, shortly there after there might be a quick knife fight to the death and then it's business as usuall.
I seriously doubt that any "career politician" is going to be in the slightest bit interested in mending a system they know is currently broken in their favour, afterall brakes squeal when applied. And on the Gravey Train the only thing most career politicos know how to do is keep that squeaky wheel greased lest the train stops.
Most of the actual voter-check-in process and voting-system is managed by people who have volunteered to be employed by the local City/Township clerk for a day. (This is the case in the parts of the U.S. that I have lived in. I've volunteered for this task several times, myself.)
The rest of the process is designed and implemented by employees of the City Clerk, County Clerk, and whatever State authority handles elections. (Usually the Secretary of State for the State Government.)
The rules are written by legislators who are, as you note, not very interested in voting. Thus, absent the anger of a noticably-large portion of the voting public, they will typically not act.
However, it might be possible for concerned citizens to implement changes on the implementation-end of the process, by helping (and/or coming in and asking questions) at the local Clerk's office.
The last time I went to vote I had to first be solicited for a vote by people who don't respect themselves and waste paper. Next I had to identify myself as "republican" or "democrat" or I couldn't vote. Then they give me one of the two ballots that I can place my vote. The ballot wasn't updated and contained candidates who had already dropped out of the race. Most of the candidates did not even have someone running against them on the ballot, you either choose that candidate or don't vote at all.
To top off my lovely experience, again someone who doesn't respect himself gave my a sticker that said "I voted!" with an American flag. I am never going to vote again.
I really, really wish someone out there could get past "paper good, electrons bad" and do a high-profile comprehensive review of the vulnerabilities in all forms of voting. (There have been plenty of low-profile ones.) An evaluation that lets a state where a substantial percentage of voters are subjected to this process receive the highest ranking is a sign that the security debate about voting has some serious gaps.
Here in Oregon we vote exclusively by mail. I see that the report takes issue with some audit procedures in the state, but it seems to me that there is less leeway in the system for shenanigans -- or at least more likelihood of being caught.
Plus it's nice to be able to sit down with the actual ballot and research all the candidates, even for the obscure offices.
@Petréa Mitchell - have you ever heard of any problems with the technology of a paper ballot?
@Blackened - generally postal ballots have a larger rate of fraud, it's easier to intercept, redirect and generally tamper with mail than it is to get a significant number of warm bodies to go out and fake votes in a booth.
it's the media who determines who is elected, not the people.
and it's down to two choices who love each other but play 'pretend' fights like the televised wrestlers standing in the ring and puffing each other's chest out and with terrible acting skills which at the end of the day probably share a spliff or some fine wine.
it doesn't matter which you choose, most are lulled into the mantra, "The lesser of two evils" and "voting for a third party is throwing your vote away". the people are misinformed and stupid.
just remember whenever you're called to serve, write 'jury nullification' on your forehead.
"have you ever heard of any problems with the technology of a paper ballot?"
Do the words "butterfly ballot" ring a bell?
As for voting "by mail"-- that's a misleading term. Come voting day in Oregon, a lot of us drop off our ballots directly at the county elections office or at designated drop-off sites manned by elections staff. Starting a few days before the deadline, there are also ballot drop-off boxes at libraries and other government offices. "All-absentee voting" is a better term.
This system does have one failure mode that is totally unique to it: every election, a small percentage of ballot secrecy envelopes turn out to contain something other than a ballot. The most notable case was a few years ago when a PAC sent out an ad showing how people should fill out their ballot to vote against a particular measure, and several people just put the ad itself in the ballot envelope.
another nice thing in oregon is the voters pamphlet. as I recall the league of women voters attempted a neutral assessment of ballot measures and then anybody with a few bucks (i.e. you needn't be a millionaire to be heard) could chime in. also as I recall one of the elections while I still lived there had 28 ballot initiatives on it, a mighty good reason to have time to reflect. of course if the legislature did their jobs many of those ballot measures would never have seen daylight because the leg, who referred many of them rather than be on the record, would have been too exposed.
in all I found oregon's system the best of those I've sampled, even allowing for bill sizemore.
One (probably minor) problem with mail-in voting is vote coercion.
eg. "Show me your ballot. If you didn't vote for [local despot], the puppy gets it. Good. I'll mail it for you. Thanks."
Among all the other problems that go away with secret balloting.
It happens with polling-place ballots too. The most common method is to demand that the coercee (or payee, more often) provide a photo of their ballot. Countries where it's widespread have responded by banning cellphones from voting locations, though I don't know how well that's been enforced.
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