Hacking and the 2016 Presidential Election

Was the 2016 presidential election hacked? It's hard to tell. There were no obvious hacks on Election Day, but new reports have raised the question of whether voting machines were tampered with in three states that Donald Trump won this month: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The researchers behind these reports include voting rights lawyer John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, both respected in the community. They have been talking with Hillary Clinton's campaign, but their analysis is not yet public.

According to a report in New York magazine, the share of votes received by Clinton was significantly lower in precincts that used a particular type of voting machine: The magazine story suggested that Clinton had received 7 percent fewer votes in Wisconsin counties that used electronic machines, which could be hacked, than in counties that used paper ballots. That is exactly the sort of result we would expect to see if there had been some sort of voting machine hack. There are many different types of voting machines, and attacks against one type would not work against the others. So a voting anomaly correlated to machine type could be a red flag, although Trump did better across the entire Midwest than pre-election polls expected, and there are also some correlations between voting machine type and the demographics of the various precincts. Even Halderman wrote early Wednesday morning that "the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked."

What the allegations, and the ripples they're causing on social media, really show is how fundamentally untrustworthy our hodgepodge election system is.

Accountability is a major problem for US elections. The candidates are the ones required to petition for recounts, and we throw the matter into the courts when we can't figure it out. This all happens after an election, and because the battle lines have already been drawn, the process is intensely political. Unlike many other countries, we don't have an independent body empowered to investigate these matters. There is no government agency empowered to verify these researchers' claims, even if it would be merely to reassure voters that the election count was accurate.

Instead, we have a patchwork of voting systems: different rules, different machines, different standards. I've seen arguments that there is security in this setup ­ an attacker can't broadly attack the entire country ­ but the downsides of this system are much more critical. National standards would significantly improve our voting process.

Further investigation of the claims raised by the researchers would help settle this particular question. Unfortunately, time is of the essence ­ underscoring another problem with how we conduct elections. For anything to happen, Clinton has to call for a recount and investigation. She has until Friday to do it in Wisconsin, until Monday in Pennsylvania and until next Wednesday in Michigan. I don't expect the research team to have any better data before then. Without changes to the system, we're telling future hackers that they can be successful as long as they're able to hide their attacks for a few weeks until after the recount deadlines pass.

Computer forensics investigations are not easy, and they're not quick. They require access to the machines. They involve analysis of Internet traffic. If we suspect a foreign country like Russia, the National Security Agency will analyze what they've intercepted from that country. This could easily take weeks, perhaps even months. And in the end, we might not even get a definitive answer. And even if we do end up with evidence that the voting machines were hacked, we don't have rules about what to do next.

Although winning those three states would flip the election, I predict Clinton will do nothing (her campaign, after all, has reportedly been aware of the researchers' work for nearly a week). Not because she does not believe the researchers ­- although she might not -­ but because she doesn't want to throw the post-election process into turmoil by starting a highly politicized process whose eventual outcome will have little to do with computer forensics and a lot to do with which party has more power in the three states.

But we only have two years until the next national elections, and it's time to start fixing things if we don't want to be wondering the same things about hackers in 2018. The risks are real: Electronic voting machines that don't use a paper ballot are vulnerable to hacking.

Clinton supporters are seizing on this story as their last lifeline of hope. I sympathize with them. When I wrote about vote-hacking the day after the election, I said: "Elections serve two purposes. First, and most obvious, they are how we choose a winner. But second, and equally important, they convince the loser ­- and all the supporters ­- that he or she lost." If the election system fails to do the second, we risk undermining the legitimacy of our democratic process. Clinton's supporters deserve to know whether this apparent statistical anomaly is the result of a hack against our election system or a spurious correlation. They deserve an election that is demonstrably fair and accurate. Our patchwork, ad hoc system means they may never feel confident in the outcome. And that will further erode the trust we have in our election systems.

This essay previously appeared in the Washington Post.

EDITED TO ADD: Green Party candidate Jill Stein is calling for a recount in the three states. I have no idea if a recount includes forensic analysis to ensure that the machines were not hacked, but I doubt it. It would be funny if it wasn't all so horrible.

Also, here's an article from 538.com arguing that demographics explains all the discrepancies.

Posted on November 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM • 133 Comments

Comments

Fred RogersNovember 25, 2016 10:37 AM

I wonder as well if Clinton hesitates to bring up an issue of information security while her own email security issues are so fresh in the mind, or election hacking issues when her campaign is shown to have messed with the rules to torpedo Bernie Sanders.

Deriuqer EmanNovember 25, 2016 10:54 AM

"Anybody not willing to accept the results of an election is a danger to democracy" -Hillary Clinton

"when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people's minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy." -Barack Obama

G.Scott H.November 25, 2016 11:00 AM

@keiner: Excellent point, my precint uses a direct recording electronic (DRE) machine without paper trail. I know my vote was more secure because I voted absentee on paper due to being out of town for work.

I brought up the insecurities with my local election office when the machines were being considered. I also informed friends, family, and neighbors asking them to voice their concerns. We still ended up with the DRE machines.

I hope a recount is initiated by any eligible candidate. I prefer to see no change in outcome, but serious questions raised as to the validity of an election with DRE machine results. I want to see the response with the DRE machine precints. I will then reiterate my concerns and again encourage others to do so. I may have to look into a referendum to get rid of the DRE machines, if that is a possible route.

It angers me to think that tax dollars were spent/wasted on these DRE machines.

MrQNovember 25, 2016 11:20 AM

Michigan elections are carried out entirely with paper ballots and optical scans (http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/23/michigan-elections-director-casts-doubt-hacking-claim/94327842/). None of their machines are even connected to the internet. The fact that these "researchers" claim to have found "voting machine irregularities" in Michigan, a claim that is blatantly false because it is impossible, causes me to doubt everything else they say.

MeNovember 25, 2016 11:27 AM

@Deriuqer Eman : baseless allegations by a candidate before the election has even taken place and troubling statistics after a result no one saw coming are two very different things.

Precinct AuditorNovember 25, 2016 11:53 AM

@Fred Rogers, bingo.

@Host, et al:

"National standards would significantly improve our voting process."

Such as a national voter ID card? I'd be fine with that, such that one could vote without having to re-re-re-register, one would have to prove they are a citizen, it would not use our SSN, and it would be a natural reminder to vote.

"Clinton's supporters deserve to know whether this apparent statistical anomaly is the result of a hack against our election system or a spurious correlation."

Just Clinton's supporters? I remember when "the polls" showed Mitt Romney was a slam dunk. And then the actual votes started rolling in.

I think we should starve pollsters out of the business of polling. It only gets everyone all riled up and clearly incites many of us to lie to them.

AnuraNovember 25, 2016 12:05 PM

@MrQ

Internet connection has nothing to do with it. It's a question of whether the machines have been tampered with; a hand recount will confirm. Honestly, random hand recounts should be standard procedure just to give better detection for these things.

That said, the evidence is weak for this because it relies on statistical analysis, discrepancies with exit polls, etc. when we don't have the data or the procedures for collecting the data accurately to make those kind of determinations. This is just more media sensationalism, really. I'm just glad it didn't go the other way - this would have been all the proof the right would have needed, and it would have been all we would have heard about for the next four years; of course, as it is, they will probably manufacture another distraction to keep the public from seeing the complete idiocy that is laissez-faire capitalism (of course, that might not be necessary anymore, since Republicans have been convinced that all data that supports the position of the left is lies - as long as it fits with the confirmation bias, of course - so they can pretty much tell people the economy is great and they will even believe it while they and most Americans are forced to resort to grazing on their lawns for food).

Dr. I. Needtob AtheNovember 25, 2016 12:06 PM

"... the share of votes received by Clinton was significantly lower in precincts that used a particular type of voting machine..."

According to a statistics textbook I once read, a significant difference is a difference sufficient to reject the null hypothesis that the result can be attributed to chance, as opposed to an important difference, which addresses the consequences of an outcome. If you really meant significantly in this sense then this would constitute solid evidence of tampering.

If so, the point is not "that is exactly the sort of result we would expect to see if there had been some sort of voting machine hack", rather, it's "that result is highly improbable if there had not been some sort of voting machine hack."

David Dyer-BennetNovember 25, 2016 1:01 PM

The paper trail doesn't exactly make the machines harder to hack -- it makes the hack easier to discover (and prove) later. So, at the higher level, those machines can reasonably be described as "harder to hack", if you mean "harder to hack and get away with it clean". But putting it the way you do here ends up sounding like the paper magically makes the initial hack harder, which is not true.

One positive thing our "hodge-podge" system does is make it harder to break all the vote counting at once. However, it's often a relatively small number of counties that really need to be messed with. On the third hand (or the gripping arm), knowing which those are *before the election* is fairly hard.

MarshallNovember 25, 2016 1:02 PM

So we'll probably learn more if we let the trackers do their thing, rather than trampling the ground in a political frenzy. The thing right now would be to capture as much documentation as possible. Wouldn't it be swell if we could rely on the resources, professionalism, and integrity of the national intelligence agencies?

Miguel FarahNovember 25, 2016 1:05 PM

[The elections] convince the loser ­- and all the supporters ­- that he or she lost.

I cannot stress enough how important this is.

I live in Chile, and we don't have this kind of problem in our elections. We still use paper ballots and pencils to select a candidate, with good reason; we have "tribunales electorales" (formed by judges and lawyers appointed by the courts) that review cases where the result is contested. Recounts in those cases are done in a public audience. There are many things that are intentionally done with low-tech things and many safeguards and checks that allow us to ensure that, in the end, the result is known with certainty and thus avoid any problems whenever there is a close call. For example...

We had municipal elections last month, and in the commune (think "county") of Zapallar there was a tie (yes, the exact same number of votes) between two candidates for Mayor. After the recount done by the "tribunal electoral regional" on a contested precinct ("mesa de votación"), it was determined that one of them had won by ONE vote. The winner feasted and the loser... accepted the defeat (she was very obviously unhappy, but that's another issue).

Another example: in the 2012 municipal elections, a certain candidate was declared as winner in the Ñuñoa commune (with the losing candidate conceding defeat that night and all)... but as the detailed results came in, people with the losing candidate noticed that there was a discrepancy in the results of one precinct - the election had been very close, and this difference was enough to turn the election. A recount of that precinct was requested and, indeed, the difference flipped the result. The "winning" candidate conceded that she had indeed lost.

Now imagine how very close calls like those two would end up being taken in 'murica.


But all's not well! Some local politicians have started lobbying in favour of establishing a electronic voting system. Security experts and most software engineers oppose it, and point to the serious problems in America to show why it would be a disaster to implement it in our country.

Proof: Hillary Luvs Ed SnowdenNovember 25, 2016 1:19 PM

If it hadn't been for the monumental revelations of Edward Snowden these useful idiots would have never thought up dark conspiracies like this.
Why not use Facebook statistics? Heck just this morning they posted 18 people died at an amusement park. Click!

Maybe too they will FINALLY learn email is open for public inspection.

Ed stated repeatedly that the USA is poor at defense.
Kick me of my smart-phone addiction Biff!
Until citizen privacy is restored we are doomed to a life of lies and deceit.Click!
For advertising & elections whoever distorts facts most convincingly wins. Click!

Peter AndrewsNovember 25, 2016 2:00 PM

Dear Dr. Schneier,

I like much of your work but feel that your assertion in the NYTimes on November 9th that "the results are not in doubt." was premature and a disservice to readers.

As you know, a relatively small shift of votes in the swing states could have changed the outcome. I don't understand how you could be so confident that it had not occurred at the time you wrote your article.

I found your comment about Jill Stein's recount campaign oblique. I would like you to plainly state whether you as a security professional would like an audit to reassure the public that the election was fully legitimate.

Trump supporters should have no objection if they believe no hacking or fraud occurred.

DanielNovember 25, 2016 2:03 PM

The underlying problem in this case is that we have a computer science professor who is an ignorant baboon. There is no such thing as a "deviation from a poll" because a poll is not meant to predict anything. A poll offers a snapshot at a particular point in time, a snapshot heavily influenced by the pollsters assumptions--especially their assumption about who is likely to vote. Moreover, an election is just is a poll--a massive poll that tries to sample as much as the universe of registered voters as possible rather than relying on statistical techniques.

So the fact that two polls taken at different points in time differ is not surprising, it is exactly what we would expect to happen....especially in a fluid political environment. I did some number crunch several days ago an calculated that treating the election as a poll the margin of error in Michigan was .03 which coincidently was the exact difference in a Trump's margin of victory. So there is no statistical way for Clinton to win MI unless there was massive fraud on the scale of hundreds of thousand of votes.

Honestly, the article Bruce linked to doesn't undermine my faith in the electoral system--it undermines my faith in the education system if this is what the so-called experts are saying.

AnuraNovember 25, 2016 2:26 PM

@Daniel

I mostly agree with your first paragraph, but I have a problem with your second paragraph:

So the fact that two polls taken at different points in time differ is not surprising, it is exactly what we would expect to happen....especially in a fluid political environment. I did some number crunch several days ago an calculated that treating the election as a poll the margin of error in Michigan was .03 which coincidently was the exact difference in a Trump's margin of victory. So there is no statistical way for Clinton to win MI unless there was massive fraud on the scale of hundreds of thousand of votes.

The paper isn't looking at the state level, it's looking at the precinct level, and those are the details you need to figure out whether or not there is fraud - the state level is too large to find those kinds of discrepancies. In order to disprove the paper, you need to prove that there is no statistically significant deviation at the precinct level, and then you need to show that it's not just demographics or social dynamics affecting the polls (the latter is the problem with the polls today, as online interactions shape our beliefs more than in-person interactions, and pollsters don't have the data about our online interactions - although the NSA probably has enough data, and at that point the ways to exploit it becomes very interesting, as horrifying things often are).

Minnesota MentalityNovember 25, 2016 2:56 PM

Hey wait! All those people that didn't vote actually wanted to vote for Clinton (it's proven - just read the white paper stupid) but they suffered from a lapse in judgement which was not their fault so let's just assume they all voted for Clinton.

HammermanNovember 25, 2016 3:17 PM

I used to think that the problem with voting machines is that they can be hacked. But now a bigger problem is that a politician can claim hacking occurred, and it is impossible to prove him or her wrong. If no evidence of hacking is found, well, the hackers were just very clever.

rNovember 25, 2016 3:22 PM

@hammerman,

Yep, were going to be feeling reverberations from the circus elephants for years to come.

FBI, dems, pubs, hackers, voting, electronics.

AnuraNovember 25, 2016 3:27 PM

@Hammerman

Ah, the ol' "If we don't have something on you, you must be *really* sinister" - the other side of the "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" coin.

Uncountable BeastsNovember 25, 2016 3:52 PM

@PA - "it would not use our SSN"

Use a sha512sum of the SSN. That would get around all the concerns right?

Divine CartoonsNovember 25, 2016 3:56 PM

@Proof


Maybe too they will FINALLY learn email is open for public inspection.

Ed stated repeatedly that the USA is poor at defense.

Seriously, Podesta getting burned by non-GPG encrypted email *years after* Snowden's revelations. God does have one hell of a sense of humor. Or perhaps the Podesta leaks were calculated, drafted, and intentional.

rNovember 25, 2016 4:02 PM

ssn is not unique, moreover it is an encoding scheme related to the issuing entity.

SEE: state prefixes.

Ergo SumNovember 25, 2016 4:11 PM

Well, we do know from the emails made public that the DNC influenced the outcome of their primary. If there had been hacking during the presidential election, it's a big if, then it serves them right... :)

From the CNN link, quote:

Additionally, at least three electors have pledged to not vote for Trump and to seek a "reasonable Republican alternative for president through Electoral College," according to a statement Wednesday from a group called the Hamilton Electors, which represents them. "The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as the last line of defense," one elector, Michael Baca, said in a statement, "and I think we must do all that we can to ensure that we have a reasonable Republican candidate who shares our American values."

The founding fathers had only allowed white land owners to vote in 1976. The lowest turnout for presidential election in the US was in 1789, only 6% of the population voted, G.W won...

https://kqed.org/assets/pdf/education/digitalmedia/us-voting-rights-timeline.pdf

I hate when they cite the slave owner "Founding Fathers"...

EntropyNovember 25, 2016 4:26 PM

The information content of an election in a two-party system is exactly 1 bit.
The information content of an election in a multiparty system is in the 1 to 2 bit range.

Perhaps democracy consists of more than just elections? Can a country even function if the public isn't allowed more than 2 bits of input into policy?
After all, most dictatorships in modern history hold elections too.
I can think of a lot of things that are essential to democracy, which have nothing to do with elections:
Freedom of speech, due process before the law, transparency in government, access to information, privacy of the individual, freedom from violence and the threat of violence, freedom from torture and arbitrary punishment, access to education, freedom from hunger, access to housing, freedom from exteme forms of racism and sexism.

DrDemNovember 25, 2016 4:37 PM

This thing with Hillary has gone beyond control. Her voters can't accept the fact that she lost and have been through all kinds of charades without any dignity.

It's like what happened with Brexit, people voted yet some democrats said that we don't have to follow the majority because the majority was stupid. OK, then let's ban all elections and just name Hillary the new president and even better have Michele become the next president after Hillary dies. Because her voters want Hillary to be their president till she dies at 150 thanks to blood drinking.

Seeing how determined those Hillary fans were, I would suspect the whole process got rigged to favor Hillary, yet despite that she still lost.

morkNovember 25, 2016 4:47 PM

@bruce

An election settled by less than the statistical margin of error by definition says nothing about voter preference.

Look at how many black voters are disenfranchised by federal minimum sentencing guidelines due to discrepancies in the penalties for similar crimes

plus "the innocent defendant's dilemma" caused by the prevalence of prosecutions settled behind closed doors through plea bargaining

plus the disenfranchising effect of voter ID laws passed in many local statehouses but drafted by national think tanks like ALEC

plus minor voting machine irregularities due to a lack of paper trail or the inability to audit source code

plus rampant gerrymandering

plus a strategy that games the electoral college and works around the popular vote

plus Citizen's United destroying public campaign financing

plus sporadic cases of ELECTION FRAUD as opposed to voter fraud...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/04/13/something-smells-in-waukesha-county-wisconsin-and-its-not-the-cheese/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/23/wisconsins-gerrymander-being-struck-down-should-scare-republicans-nationwide/

http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/2_Innocent_Defendants_Dilemma.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/05/wisconsin-primary-voter-id-law-leaves-state-braced-for-chaos

LibertyNovember 25, 2016 5:47 PM

It really doesn't matter which one of them won.
Bush did his best for 8 years to sabotage the entire Internet and burn the bill of rights.
So did Obama.
If you want liberty and justice for all, if you care about your country, and you're an American who can vote, then vote to impeach whichever one won, and elect a libertarian instead.

Kevin caseyNovember 25, 2016 6:40 PM

Not sure why Clinton doing worse in counties using machines than in counties using paper ballots leads to conclusion that machines were hacked. Possibility of paper ballot fraud is in my opinion more likely. No specialized knowledge or skill required - just the will and low morals.

Joe cloudNovember 25, 2016 7:17 PM

it should be done as there is evidence and doubt. There is no harm to democracy in that. In fact, we are reinforcing democracy by doing what is right.

A Nonny BunnyNovember 26, 2016 2:06 AM

@mork

An election settled by less than the statistical margin of error by definition says nothing about voter preference.
Could you elaborate on that? Because we're not talking about estimating how the population voted from looking at some random subsample. We're measuring how the population voted by considering each and every vote of the whole (voting) population. There's no room for statistical error if you do that. Do we not do that? Where do you suggest the error comes from? Miscounts? Lost ballots? People ticking the wrong box? ??

George H.H. MitchellNovember 26, 2016 9:02 AM

The decentralization of the United States election system is actually a good thing from a security perspective. For me, at least, it reassures me that the election wasn't hacked.

morkNovember 26, 2016 9:16 AM

@bruce
@A Nonny Bunny
@Dr. I. Needtob Athe

There's something like 22,525 votes separating Trump from Clinton in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million people, with 3.6 million registered voters.

22,525 / 3600000 * 100 = .625% of votes separated Trump from Clinton. A victory that narrow triggered the recount in the 2000 Florida election. It's a victory so narrow that

If I said "I'm .625% certain Wisconsin voters prefer Trump" would you be convinced?

If you want to run some numbers and calculate P values to be more precise, you can play with some of the formulae here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_of_error


The main question is: is that narrow victory a clear indication of voter preference, ordinary operator / machine error, or evidence of systematic fraud meant to look like the possibility of error?


As Dr. I. Needtob Athe noted above:

If so, the point is not "that is exactly the sort of result we would expect to see if there had been some sort of voting machine hack", rather, it's "that result is highly improbable if there had not been some sort of voting machine hack."


When you look at the range of factors that could reasonably be considered as having a bearing on a victory so narrow, it begins to have some very troubling consequences for "consent of the governed."


So...

An election settled by less than the statistical margin of error by definition says nothing about voter preference.

Look at how many black voters are disenfranchised by federal minimum sentencing guidelines due to discrepancies in the penalties for similar crimes

plus "the innocent defendant's dilemma" caused by the prevalence of prosecutions settled behind closed doors through plea bargaining

plus the disenfranchising effect of voter ID laws passed in many local statehouses but drafted by national think tanks like ALEC

plus minor voting machine irregularities due to a lack of paper trail or the inability to audit source code

plus rampant gerrymandering

plus a strategy that games the electoral college and works around the popular vote

plus Citizen's United destroying public campaign financing

plus sporadic cases of ELECTION FRAUD as opposed to voter fraud...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/04/13/something-smells-in-waukesha-county-wisconsin-and-its-not-the-cheese/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/23/wisconsins-gerrymander-being-struck-down-should-scare-republicans-nationwide/

http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/2_Innocent_Defendants_Dilemma.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/05/wisconsin-primary-voter-id-law-leaves-state-braced-for-chaos

ab praeceptisNovember 26, 2016 10:00 AM

mork

If I said "I'm .625% certain Wisconsin voters prefer Trump" would you be convinced?

Yes - convinced that you either didn't understand the math or that you have an agenda; possibly both.

Moreover that number game is meaningless. 0,6% or 16% do *not* indicate fraud or the likelyhood of it. In fact, following your line one might as well take the 0.6% as strongly indicating that everything wennt correct and fine because fraudsters would go for a larger margin.
Simple reasoning: *Before* the end of election potential fraudsters have only vague numbers; an error margin above 5% wouldn't be uncommon. So they need to prepare for that.

Whatever. Looking at what *know* as opposed to noise to wild speculations, it's the clinton/democratic camp that played games. Furthermore we know by now that the clinton camp plays "we are interested in correct election" statements game but lets others such as that green nobody woman do the action.

In politics that can be translated as "We do *not* want recounts. But, of course, we have to make some nice sounds about elections needing to be properly done".

I'm increasingly unnerved and pissed off.

We can hardly discuss technical matters here without getting disturbed by an endless stream of purely political and strongly biased noise. From my point of view you are *abusing* both legal aspects and the people for your true purpose, namely to try to somehow make the loser clinton into the winner.

You talk so much about minorities and at the same time grossly disrespect a majority of your peer citizens because you don't like the outcome of the elections. It is in part this gross ignorance that made so many vote against your candidate in the first place.

Learn your lesson. One of the major pillars of democracy is to respect losing and to constructively engage.

If you think your elections are rotten, which might well be possible, then engage in repairing it.

rNovember 26, 2016 11:46 AM

@buy the bookies,

Not to be rude, but how (pray tell) does any of this affect you?

Does any of our election affect your students? Your pay grade? Your pay check? Your family?

Do you have any other sites that you post to day in day out about the daily ins and outs of ab praeceptis? Anything in your language?

You accuse us of pushing an agenda?

What I don't get ab, is that you claim you are unnerved and perturbed by everyone pushing an anti-trump. The only stuff I've seen are direct concerns about a racist and sexist apprehension and your constant dismissal of reasonably legitimate fear (see 1939 etc) and a complete disregard for the fact that our voting system has been gamed by our own incumbents before.

There is a real fear, and a real concern. We are not the NSA or whoever said there was outside interference and you blame us for asking if the voting process is secure?

This is why I think it's "glass houses" with the republicans democrats and trump. I am very suspect of the whole thing, so as for your little spinnerette that is sputtering your noxious gasses please - recognize genuine concern before you start trying to tree us for your masters.

albertNovember 26, 2016 12:02 PM

Here we go again...

I propose a moratorium election results and voting machine hacking discussions. Didn't we go through all of this in 2000? With source code?

The system is broken. Live with it.

. .. . .. --- ....

ab praeceptisNovember 26, 2016 12:04 PM

r

Just in case you meant me:

Part 1, your first comment.

- the wp has shown itself as extremely biased, hence I couldn't care less what they say.
- from what I know (which isn't much) that gerryandering issue often comes up around election time, usually afterwards when one party doesn't like the outcome. I do not take that to indicate any actual and relevant election fraud.
- So what? That whole thing is irrelevant for this election. Evene the question whether anyone appeals will almost certainly only decided after your president-elect is in the white house.

Part 2, your 2nd comment.

Glad you asked. Indeed your election - unfortunately - is important for us over here, because we are basically but colonies or vassal states. To give you a concrete example: We have been forced by your government to basically declare war on Russia; not militarily but in quite some other regards.
That ugly game has cost us very dearly - we are talking hundreds of billions of $ and hundreds of thousands jobs all over eu-rope.

So, yes, your elections *do* influence lifes, jobs, paygrades here.

You might also want to notice that I stayed relatively calm and fair. Although we (and most of the world) pay a, sometimes heavy, price for your politics, I was largely guided by respect ("It's *their* system and elections").

"...unnerved and perturbed by everyone pushing an anti-trump."

Bullshit. I'm unnerved by a) so many and b) strongly biased comments about your election.

I *do* see that your elections aren't fair. I *do* see that that's understandably important to you. I *do* see that you feel a justified need to repair your election system.

But that's not what all the noise is about. Most of it boils down to "The evil racist, sexist ... Trump must not become president, no matter what!!!".

rNovember 26, 2016 12:17 PM

ab,

Until the rest of the world man's up and overthrows the banking system and whatever other boots they are downtrodden by this will continue no matter which country we are talking about.

American interests are broad yes, but world interests are broad it's a global economy if you don't like it I suggest you do like I do and start cultivating your own crops and your own energy.

We can be friendly all you want, but we're not being unfriendly you are being derisive.

We all get our news from somewhere, why don't you be more constructive and show us how wp is biased. Show us you're genuine not slanted and keeled like the rest of us please that's the only thing I see anyone here asking for - authenticity and confirmation.

I am all for sovereignity. 100%. That's all that is going on here, what's going on in your head your labs your neck of the woods?

Do you not have students or something? I could learn alot from you, but you don't want American students do you? Do you resent our stances on immigration? Do you resent our stances on foreign investment?

What's going on with you?

These are problems every human being on this planet faces, believe me I am not trying to discredit the fact that this effects everyone on the planet - but does it affect us all so much to take soooo much of our time?

My elections should be open and verified, your elections should be open and verified.

ALL elections should be open and verifiable.

rNovember 26, 2016 12:21 PM

@ab,

Why does it matter so much that 'evil, racist, sexist' would be in charge?

Because every president since at least buzh (very likely prior) and congress and everyone else has been selling our classical rights short.

These questions are a culmination of the last 25 years, just like how the actual vote is also a reflection and response both to and of the last 25 years.

This affects you DEARLY, recognize it for what it is.

But, I get the feeling you like the whole 'business as usual' aspect of a 24/7/365 laundrymat.

ab praeceptisNovember 26, 2016 12:31 PM

r

Make up your mind, Do you want to accuse and to attack me based on various negative assumptions - or - do you want to know my position on some issues and talk with me?

If the former, no problem, just go ahead. But don't expect me to engage in a discussion with you. If the latter, let me know, also in tone.

One thing I can tell you front-up: Your are gravely mistaken in your view of me.

You are welcome either way.

AnuraNovember 26, 2016 12:36 PM

@ab praeceptis

If are denying the GOPs use of gerrymandering because you don't trust The Washington Post, then I'm curious, where do you usually get your news from?

ab praeceptisNovember 26, 2016 1:02 PM

Anura

Funny, how absurd this gets.

I did not deny gerrymandering by whichever group. What I did say was that anything told by the wp (or nyt for that matter) is definitely not something that I just believe.

My main reason to answer your other point isn't obvious but maybe helpful: Where I get my news? Diverse, including wp and nyt. Just that I read them differently and that I compare diverse sources and extract the news in a filtering process.

AnuraNovember 26, 2016 1:41 PM

@ab praeceptis

Well, considering instead of responding to the article, you flat out refused to read it when it has easily verifiable information, yeah I agree you're being a bit absurd (if not trolling, as refusing to read an article because it's from the WP and then saying you read the WP does come off as extremely trollish).

rNovember 26, 2016 2:22 PM

The curious thing about the gerrymandering link, and I didn't mean to repost or detract (@@mork) is that now that the case has been weighed it's being punted...

Look at who is going to be getting that ball, anyone taking bets?

A Nonny BunnyNovember 26, 2016 3:04 PM

@mork

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_of_error
Thanks for providing the link. Now let's look at what it says:
The margin of error is a statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in a survey's results
Since an election is not a random sample survey, I must conclude that "margin of error" does not apply. Thanks for helping to clear that up.

If I said "I'm .625% certain Wisconsin voters prefer Trump" would you be convinced?
Suppose I was dividing 200 $1 bills between the two of us, and I gave you $99 and kept $101. After you've counted the bills both of us have, would you only be 1% certain I have kept more money for myself? The percentage difference doesn't translate directly into a percentage of certainty. It depends on how well the difference is measured (in this case counted).

Now, granted, 200 $1 bills are a lot easier to count than 3.6 million votes. But I don't think the error in counting is likely to be that high. And errors on one side would tend to be cancelled by errors on the other side (unless there's bias/cheating); which means human error in counting would need to be significantly larger than that 0.625%.
In fact, if people just flipped a coin 3.6 million times, the chance of getting a difference of 22500 or more is just 9.65 * 10^-33. So even if the vote-counters throw the ballot away and simple guess what the vote was, you still wouldn't get that difference. That difference has to come from information on the ballot (or active cheating or bias).

A Nonny BunnyNovember 26, 2016 3:19 PM

@mork

And, fine just for the sake of argument, if we pretend the election was a sample, then using the formulae on that wikipedia page: the maximum margin of error for a 99% confidence interval would be 0.068%, which is quite a bit smaller than 0.625%.

MeowNovember 26, 2016 4:54 PM

In this day and age the only electronic kiosk-like system I can see myself being comfortable with—as much as I am with a physical ballot—is one which produces a physical ballot using my kiosk choices, after which the ballot will never again be ingested into the kiosk, where I can then perform a visual inspection and verify the kiosk-produced physical ballot before approving that the kiosk accept my final electronic ballot.

When leaving, I would place the physical ballot in a ballot box as usual... again, it would never again go into the kiosk which produced it.

I feel enough voters would validate the kiosk-produced physical ballots so as to increase the integrity of those physical ballots such that they’d be useful for relatively reassuring recounts and ongoing random spot integrity checks throughout the election day/night.

There could also be an electronic mechanism which enforces that the voter go through the rudimentary steps of validating the physical ballot before the kiosk will accept the electronic ballot, all without the kiosk needing to touch or ingest the physical ballot after it is produced. Some voters may go through such motions without good visual inspections, but many would likely double-check choices which would add to the integrity of the physical ballots.

The use of a physical ballot would not remove the technological advantages... it's just that the ballot is being captured in two forms, both produced by the machine, but one physically double-checked by the voter, never to enter the machine again.

I feel any system should be open and have all sorts of people scrutinizing its design/internals, from the egghead to the informal garage hacker. A quick search reveals much discussion and some proposals relating to systems that also have paper/ballot-based backup. This seems to confirm others see a good transition to electronic voting systems involving enough of the old “paper” way to offer assurance and good sanity checks.

ReputableComputerScientistNovember 26, 2016 7:42 PM

I think I've found evidence of voter fraud. Precincts that used manual ballots went 7% higher for Clinton than those that used electronic balloting.

This indicates that the manual ballot boxes may have been systematically stuffed with fraudulent ballots. I suggest we have a recount and look for evidence of similar pen strokes on the ballots to ensure that the manual ballots are legitimate.

I know this because correlation equals causation, and I only looked at a single set of variables.

NonymousNovember 26, 2016 9:12 PM

Having read through all these comments, I still don't understand what the main argument is of those who are against a recount. What negative consequences would follow? After a recount, either Trump wins or Clinton wins; and either way, much voter doubt is allayed, the country becomes more unified, and the threat of a future election hack is to some extent reduced.

If the concern is about waste of money, well, definitely an argument can be made that it's a waste, depending on what one believes is the likelihood of election hacking. On the other hand, it's a free country, and money was freely given to Stein to recount, so how can anyone really object if it's spent for the purpose for which it was given?

By the way, if anyone is curious about reading more about how to hack an election, check out:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/2016-elections-russia-hack-how-to-hack-an-election-in-seven-minutes-214144

https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/meet-fancy-bear-the-russian-group-hacking-the-us-election?utm_term=.nmxPzp4PBW#.udJyBA3yeJ

Bob FNovember 26, 2016 10:17 PM

Greg Palast was talking about electronic voting machines and their insecurity back during the Bush v Gore election.

Republicans never seemed to give a crap.

Democrats didn't seem to care as long as Obama was winning.

I can only think an insecure voting system gives an edge to the oligarchy that rules this country.

The oligarchy didn't care if Trump or Clinton won, you could see that in the stock market after the election.

Get someone like Jesse Ventura running, they would pull out all stops to make him lose.

CallMeLateForSupperNovember 27, 2016 9:48 AM

@mork

Your math is flawed. The ratio
22,525 / 3600000
does not mean what you seem to think it means. Just look at the units:
VotesMargin / REGISTERED voters

You want to use VOTING voters (which might be ~60% of REGISTERED). Note that if this number is, say, 60% of REGISTERED, your evaluated ratio suddenly becomes 1.04%.

morkNovember 27, 2016 11:33 AM

@CallMeLateForSupper

Ok, my math is flawed on that point.

What do you think about the rest of my point?

ab praeceptisNovember 27, 2016 11:58 AM

mork

Help me. What point?

The "hacked by the russian KGB" optical scanners without any network connection point?

Or the "some promille or percent or table spoons of votes out of 2 or 3 or whatever million votes clearly prove an election scam/auntie Gertruds apple pie is the best/KGB is eviler than comey![pick favourite]" point?

Or the "an election system used since before I was even born is leading to results I don't like" point?

Or the "*We* are the smart ones. Them Trump accomplices certainly have left proof all over the place and the recount will show that!!!" point?

The *only* point I see in that whole mess is that we (the IT guys) are the ones who could actually make the election( machine)s more safe against fraud. But, of course, that would require more than complaining, bitching, and being angry.

morkNovember 27, 2016 12:40 PM

@ab praeceptis
@CallMeLateForSupper


You two the same?


I meant this non-math part of my point:

Look at how many black voters are disenfranchised by federal minimum sentencing guidelines due to discrepancies in the penalties for similar crimes

plus "the innocent defendant's dilemma" caused by the prevalence of prosecutions settled behind closed doors through plea bargaining

plus the disenfranchising effect of voter ID laws passed in many local statehouses but drafted by national think tanks like ALEC

plus minor voting machine irregularities due to a lack of paper trail or the inability to audit source code

plus rampant gerrymandering

plus a strategy that games the electoral college and works around the popular vote

plus Citizen's United destroying public campaign financing

plus sporadic cases of ELECTION FRAUD as opposed to voter fraud...


what are the chances all that adds up to 1% of the vote?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/04/13/something-smells-in-waukesha-county-wisconsin-and-its-not-the-cheese/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/23/wisconsins-gerrymander-being-struck-down-should-scare-republicans-nationwide/

http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/2_Innocent_Defendants_Dilemma.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/05/wisconsin-primary-voter-id-law-leaves-state-braced-for-chaos

MBNovember 27, 2016 1:22 PM

@mork:
Here is an article that disproves at least part of your non-math argument:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/us/politics/clinton-trump-gop-money.html
This shows that Democrats (and Clinton in particular) took full advantage of Citizens United and that, if anything, Citizens United worked in Clinton's favor, not in Trump's favor. By your logic, Trump's margin of victory "should" have been at least 2% (whatever "should" means).
I won't spend more time researching the other parts, but this one was obviously false and easily disproven.
You likely believe Clinton "ought" to have won the election. This is an unfalsifiable statement and it cannot be settled by evidence. You'll just pick whatever evidence confirms your beliefs.
I am fine with accepting that Clinton "ought" to have won the election (e.g. if that dastardly Trump hadn't unfairly used the Electoral College to his advantage), as long as you accept that Trump actually won the election.

rNovember 27, 2016 2:12 PM

@ab,

We'd need security clearances to work on these voting machines, I believe anybody here arguing with you would be denied such clearances lol (2 hops)

You take ALOT of stuff out of context:

Or the "*We* are the smart ones. Them Trump accomplices certainly have left proof all over the place and the recount will show that!!!" point?

The point of a numbers check is to determine if an audit should be done due to the pre-election rumblings. It doesn't matter what cantidate will be selected at the tail end what matters is whether the system is shown to have remained tamper free.

Unfortunately, the likelyhood imo of a forensics audit being foolproof in this instance with the 30-some-odd vendors involved (see nist.blah.blah) would likely be impossible to prove given malware techniques - the specifically mentioned ROP attack may (in whichever paper) may indicate that an in-memory-only alteration may have been possible with some models.

Now, constructive? stfu and let's see where this goes.

ab praeceptisNovember 27, 2016 3:40 PM

r

If it weren't that sad and earnest I would thank you for amusing me greatly.

It seems you just aren't capable to sort your own countries mess out intellectually and prefer to go emotional.

So, a recount can be demanded if one can pay for it. Don't you get it? Do I need to put some neon-blinkenlights on it? Doesn't that translate to "democracy to buy"?.

For a start, one should separate two issues, a) the election system und b) the question whether this election was done properly.

Assuming, as you seem to do, there was major fraud involved, one needs to look at *how* the elections were done (technically) and whether it's reasonable to assume that any fraud committed could be a) detected and b) proven.

Independent of the details there are basically two basic settings. a) with people involved in a not minor manner and b) "computerized". Another very important question might be whether all de facto voters were actually entitled to vote.

Except for the last issue, chances are there can't be found, let alone proven anything but small and equally distributed "honest" human glitches.

For scenario a) one would be to discover a considerable conspiracy of, for instance, election officials. Not likely. For b) I need not even say anything because we know our own field well enough, unless you assume that "evil election hackers" were smart enough to play with the election but stupid enough to leave a well visible trail leading to them.
About the biggest outcome would be a couple of counties with bad apples who really played tricks, quite probably insignificant in relation to the big picture.

The last issue, however, might be interesting and promising - except for the clinton fans because certainly Trump fans wouldn't have allowed illegal to vote.

Be that as it may be, from my pov there is only 1 reasonable thing to do and that ist to make sure that elections work better, more reliable and more just at the next one.


One thing that piqued my interest, though is this: That green female politician with next to no votes has collected some 4 or 5 mio $. And she seems to have a lot of us-anmericans behind herself. Wouldn't - and shouldn't - that be a good basis to demand and to afford buying actually used election machines of the different manufacturers and to have them disassemlbed by *neutral and objective* ITsec experts?

It seems to me that that would be a solid basis from which one could make quite some progress, once one had neutral and objective and factual expert opinion and proof of weaknesses.

Finally, thank you for your many creative ways to call me an asshole. I value variety.

ab praeceptisNovember 27, 2016 4:25 PM

r

You current still-president, a democrat like clinton, has publicly stated something to the effect that there was no need for a recount and no election hacking in the 3 states.

Even the clinton camp has publicly explained that the recount is futile (but that they, while distancing themselves from stein, will act as observers).

Oopsie.

morkNovember 27, 2016 5:32 PM

@ab praeceptis
@MB
@bruce


By the assertion: "Another very important question might be whether all de facto voters were actually entitled to vote" do you allude to the possibility of rampant VOTER FRAUD ?


Because these days, I'm more worried about ELECTION FRAUD.


Here's an HBO documentary made some years ago that details how tedious it is to document what electronic voting machines are actually doing. It was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism.


http://www.hackingdemocracy.com/


I only vote in local elections so I'm not a partisan here.


So please:


What do you think is the probability that the cumulative effect of these unknown variables adds up to more than 1% of the vote in Wisconsin:



Look at how many black voters are disenfranchised by federal minimum sentencing guidelines due to discrepancies in the penalties for similar crimes

plus "the innocent defendant's dilemma" caused by the prevalence of prosecutions settled behind closed doors through plea bargaining

plus the disenfranchising effect of voter ID laws passed in many local statehouses but drafted by national think tanks like ALEC

plus minor voting machine irregularities due to a lack of paper trail or the inability to audit source code

plus a known ability to hack a variety of voting machines

plus rampant gerrymandering

plus a strategy that games the electoral college and works around the popular vote

plus Citizen's United destroying public campaign financing (no matter who benefits)

plus sporadic cases of ELECTION FRAUD as opposed to completely unproven voter fraud...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/04/13/something-smells-in-waukesha-county-wisconsin-and-its-not-the-cheese/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/23/wisconsins-gerrymander-being-struck-down-should-scare-republicans-nationwide/

http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/2_Innocent_Defendants_Dilemma.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/05/wisconsin-primary-voter-id-law-leaves-state-braced-for-chaos

ab praeceptisNovember 27, 2016 6:45 PM

mork

And what have YOU done since then, in those years, to enhance the situation?

That's why I said that that green female politician is not doing a service but a disservice to the citizens.

NOW she would have the clout and the attention to demand a formal investigation and later, based on the outcome, e.g. way better legal standards for election machines.

But instead she prefers to make lots of partisan noise and gain political weight for herself.

If you want more reliable and secure election machines and elections, you must some day start to actually DO something toward that goal.

Clive RobinsonNovember 27, 2016 7:12 PM

@ all,

Here's an HBO documentary...

Speaking of documentaries, BBC Radio 4 has had one on the US election.

They made the point that the headline polls were nowhere as interesting as those less publicized and other statistics.

One statistic was that the many "blacks" who voted for Obama, appear to have switched to Trump and also favoured Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Likewise other Trump voters gave their second choice as Bernie Sanders, not Clinton. And one or two other bits of information that suggest that Hillary was just not as popular as the headliners made her out to be with the actual voters, such as the sums of money raised by their individual efforts directly from donors (at one point Bernie had raised over three times as much as Hillary).

Further from other places there is an argument doing the rounds that the DNC assumed that the chance of gaining the presidency was very low to impossible as a party getting a third term with a fresh candidate after two terms with a predecessor is in modern times virtualy unknown. Thus they say it was a chance for the DNC to "dump the Clintons" who are seen by some as divisive... Thus keep other candidates for a better oportunity. Which would appear distinctly odd but for the shenanigans reported by the Emails etc on Clinton/Saunders funding and the Bill Clinton Fund and the Hillary Victory Fund,

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/dnc-leak-shows-mechanics-of-a-slanted-campaign-w430814

Such is the way people are trying to avoid the implications of the current recorded result.

But it gets weirder, as we know a Green candidate is contesting some of the results, and the Clinton supporters are "getting onboard".

Well we have CNN reporting that Trump is back talking about "vote rigging" this time by millions voting illegal for Clinton...

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-millions-voted-illegally-for-hillary-clinton/

As a European I'm marginally more interested in the vote results in France today.

But the Trump-v-Clinton show is certainly worth a bowl of popcorn or two in entertainment value, though I'm not sure if it should be "sweet" like success or "savoury" like the taste of tears 0:)

What I do know is that there is a lot of money tied up in the process... But even if it's found that there has been some kind of irregularity, is it actually going to make any difference?

And after all which party has the majority in the two houses going into the 115th US Congress?...

rNovember 27, 2016 7:22 PM

...

And here I worry about me getting lead poisoning, you grow up in one of those soviet asylums when you were a kid?

I really don't get how you think running a spot check on a system that was cast in a light of doubt to be a bad idea to shine a light and double check the results.

It's really hardly enough worth responding to you at this point.

Furthermore, if you were a named witness or incidentally affected party I would hope that when a plantiff brought a case against somebody you had transactions with he would also name potential witnesses - and when and if that did happen you would send yourself or a representative to secure your interests in such a case (which, with respect to 'justice' just means that things are done securely and appropriately.

I wont be wasting my time with you trolling me at this point, send someone else - your tour is up.

It's a waste of money that a third party raised money that will effectively be put back into a system that obviously needs to be put through some additional instrumentation and checks. lol

You didn't even address the fact that you singled out specifically the one type of machine (the one used in michigan) that is specifically named as the harder setup to game. If you'd actually read those articles you would know that specifically wisconsin and much less so PA it's the TS(?) ones that were in play and where the "not 7% as advertised" have been recommended to have their audit trails checked.

Let me repeat, I really do believe you've obviously suffered directly under prior regimes. Was your son victim of one of Obama's drones? I'm very curious, because you seem to have considerably more skin in the game than your average american. Definately more in it than Ms. Clinton.

ab praeceptisNovember 27, 2016 7:43 PM

r

You are getting more and more personal. But OK, I accept your capitulation, although you chose to word it in a strange way.

How about finally talking about making sure the next election is clouded is less doubts?

In case you still didn't get: I'm not per se against recounts or verification. I'm against giving the us-americans a single election fish. I'm favouring to teach them catching fish.

You see there has been noise like the current since decades. It didn't change a thing. I'm hitting on stein because there *have been* election machine examinations (with ridiculously lousy result) but by some weird magic there wasn't much done about it. Maybe because for whatever reason the congressmen *wanted* flawed machines.

From what I see you need two things: a) well designed and built and verifiable machines (within a well designed and verifiable elections mechanism) and b) enough pressure on politicians to actually make that happen.

stein would have had the clout now but she chose other preferences, which go against obamas (d) statements, clinton statements (d) and Trump statements (r). It's ridiculous and the idiots left in the rain will, as usual, be the population.

rNovember 27, 2016 9:49 PM

Well,

I'm not the one putting 1970's decor on all of my cabinettes.

Free double check of the numbers to see if an audit's in order for equipment that we knew had holes in it when we retired it's OS? Shit yeah! (Let's hope they were better at building their malware than our union mill wright counter partites right?)

I'm just happy to see the gears grinding, the only thing I'm upset about is losing a tad bit of the resistivity we might enjoy with a full house (QQQKK).

The era we're entering is going to be the era of lawyers, who else will we have to challenge the courts if not appointees?

That's the only thing that concerns me really at this point.

rNovember 27, 2016 10:23 PM

Here, a little bit of number theory that I do understand. (I could be wrong)

I think that the Country is better (more accurately) represented (think disagreements(not substitutes)) when split. When you have a large majority of the government unified along party lines I believe that individual states' interests are lost because there is less negotiation; there will be less concession making and bartering. There will be less wins (one-sided majority), when the things are split I think of it as a little ball of soft metal both sides get to hammer and shape for the good of the country.

The easy road scares me..

Did you feel that kick?

It's coming from the womb of America.

A big white wall of Trump voters just reshaped all intense appearances.

But, again: free audit? Hell yeah.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 3:18 AM

@ r,

I think that the Country is better (more accurately) represented (think disagreements(not substitutes)) when split.

The US has the wrong voting system if you want that. The "First Past the Post" system encorages a "two party system" and a "winner takes all mentality" which is what you are seeing the fall out from. This is what history shows (and is a major problem with any Presedential system).

The way to make the system "more representative is via "proportional representation" in effect it gives each party a number of representatives based on it's percentage of the vote.

However it still alows for various types of rigging and infighting, corruption, bribary and discrimination, as that is the result of any hierarchical system. Sadly nearly all representative systems encorage this hostility, dishonesty not consensus or equanimity. It's just one of the reasons I call "representational democracy" NOT democratic.

RatioNovember 28, 2016 4:10 AM

@ab praeceptis,

We have been forced by your [US] government to basically declare war on Russia; not militarily but in quite some other regards. That ugly game has cost us very dearly - we are talking hundreds of billions of $ and hundreds of thousands jobs all over eu-rope.

[citations needed]

@Clive Robinson,

[...] as we know a Green candidate is contesting some of the results, and the Clinton supporters are "getting onboard".

Well we have CNN reporting that Trump is back talking about "vote rigging" this time by millions voting illegal for Clinton...

Demonstrating that there is an objective need for some recounting, checking or whatever. Even (or especially, depending on where you stand or how you want to frame it) if it turns out that the current results are 100% accurate.

However [proportional representation] still alows for various types of rigging and infighting, corruption, bribary and discrimination, as that is the result of any hierarchical system.

Hierarchy isn't the cause, although it can certainly amplify these effects.

Sadly nearly all representative systems encorage this hostility, dishonesty not consensus or equanimity. It's just one of the reasons I call "representational democracy" NOT democratic.

Hmm? So what is democratic in your book?

HughNovember 28, 2016 4:23 AM

"Remember, we are competing in a rigged election" -- so stated Donald Trump.

He should therefore be the front and center witness at any investigation into the nature of any form of rigging.

His sworn testimony to back up the evidence he has behind his original statement should go a long way to blowing the clear, cool light of truth through this dusty issue.

Dan HNovember 28, 2016 6:57 AM

Why can't the Clinton's just go away?

There is no proof of hacked voting machines, which couldn't have happened in Michigan anyway.

There was a recount in Ohio and it gave Bush an extra 240+ votes, so it is improbable that Hillary is going to gain tens of thousands of votes.

It is also ridiculous for those saying Hillary won the popular vote. She did not. None of the four "contestants" won the popular vote, which would require greater than 50%. Hillary has a lead in the most votes, due only to California. Some states have a runoff election where they take the two candidates with the most votes and have another election to get the 50% vote.

More people voted for someone other than Hillary than voted for her. Millions more.

The Electoral College was established in 1804 as an agreement with the South who had a much smaller population than the North. Eliminating it would mean the middle of the country would be dictated by California, Illinois, and New York.

morkNovember 28, 2016 6:57 AM

@Clive Robinson

Indeed, the DNC screwed Sanders, and Sanders may have had a much better chance at winning than Trump, all things being equal.

Neither candidate was popular, which has its own set of implications for "consent of the governed."

Of course, were America to install a Jew in the White House who didn't support the policies of the state of Israel and who wasn't in bed with the Bushes and their Saudi princes....

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 8:36 AM

@Clive Robinsinson, Ratio:

The way to make the system "more representative is via "proportional representation" in effect it gives each party a number of representatives based on it's percentage of the vote.

However it still alows for various types of rigging and infighting, corruption, bribary and discrimination, as that is the result of any hierarchical system. Sadly nearly all representative systems encorage this hostility, dishonesty not consensus or equanimity. It's just one of the reasons I call "representational democracy" NOT democratic.

It's not just hierarchy, although that's part of it, it's veto points as well, and because the winner takes all nature combined with the electoral college means there is a lot of manipulation you can do to make the election come out in your favor. You need committee members to agree to pass the bill? Well, they are going to need to make sure it's beneficial. Speaker of the House is going to bring it up only if they find it beneficial. Then the President gets it and they can veto it if there's something they don't like.

This system inherently forces people to play games while making it really easy to figure out where to direct influence, bribes/campaign contributions, lobbying, etc. The winner takes all also makes campaign money more important for anyone who wants to win (if you had multiwinner elections, coming in seventh can mean you still win).

So yes, hierarchy does make things worse, but the veto points are the main problem, as that is what gives representatives undemocratic control. Inequality, of course, is a problem too, as that gives disproportionate power to individuals as well, giving wealthy individuals disproportionate control over the media and politicians.

For a truly Democratic society, every individual needs equal power to affect legislation and policy. This means not just campaign contributions, but influence over the media and political process. Proportional Representation is an obvious requirement for a Democratic Society under my definition. The other is to eliminate veto points in the legislature - it should run like a direct democracy, with every representative having power only through petitioning other representatives to bring a bill up for a vote. Hypothetically, you could run the entire government this way, although you will want department heads at some point. While those individuals have power, it takes still requires inequality to really exploit it. The more equal your society, the more representatives mirror your population (limiting error), and the more politically opposed parties you have with power and access, the harder it is to keep secrets from the public.

As much shit as the government has done over the years, Democr

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 8:41 AM

Damn touchscreen phones.

acy, as poorly implemented as it is, still requires that politicians at the very least appease the population, and this has prevented the more egregious abuse of power seen in many dictatorships. Enough propaganda, however, and people can be manipulated - this is why low economic inequality and proportional representation is so important: to limit the power of any group to influence the media.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 9:23 AM

@ Mork,

Neither candidate was popular, which has its own set of implications for "consent of the governed."

Yes as some one has observed "The least acceptable of the least acceptable"...

Whilst "The doh-gnarled" may be the rank(est) outsider from many urbanites perspective, the real scare is just how independent he is going to be. That is, is he going to be a real wild card / joker or will various elements of the GOP reel him in to do their bidding.

But what scares many who are not US citizens is if Pillary got in office, the view we have of her is she is bought, payed for and trussted up like a thanksgiving turkey by certain Davros interests. Even she has admitted that there was a two tier policy, one for the voters and one for the money people. The latter smaking of a Faustian Bargin.

It's been said of certain UK politicians, that "The only time an honest intention has passed their lips, is when at dinner somebody leans past them to ask for another to pass the salt.". You get the impression that now few rational people would chose to sit at the same table as her or her family, even if the restaurant only had one table...

As I've said it has a certain entertainment value for non US citizens, and for some of us more fun than a court deciding what a "Pregnant chad" was or was not. But there is a much more serious side, the US is by population one of the smaller major states, but feels it has an entitlement to dictate to the rest of the world. This is something that is without doubt resented by considerably more people than live in the US. Which means that people are starting to ask why such a "pony and trap show" should be alowed to effect the majority who have no vote in the issue but do certainly have a lot of skin in the game. The stitch up that was the US Corporates dictating to US Government over trade negotiations well over and above the elected representatives has not gone down at all well, and there is a chance that it will end quite badly for by far the majority of people.

That is some see this as the first ring of the US "death knell" and the start of it's descent into obscurity, and their only question is how quietly the US will go... Thus that "Trump Wall" may get viewed from the outside as "keeping the undesirables in" what would become "Prison USA"...

From a more rational viewpoint the US like Europe has used up much of it's natural resources cheaply, and it can nolonger keep it's standard of living ten times that of the average world citizen by those or trade alone. The rapid development of drone and other remote military systems asks the question of what use they are going to be put to. Many believe rightly or wrongly that the second gulf war was about grabbing resources that belong to others, and preventing the colapse of the US Dollar. It's clear that China want's to ditch the US Dollar as a trading currency and over the next couple of Presedential terms they may just achieve this. Which gives rise to a lot of questions about world economic security, when as is clear to many the world economy can nolonger grow at previous rates, if at all...

Thus the very real situation of the ancient Chinese curse of "May you live in Interesting Times" has slipped up on us.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 9:34 AM

@ Ratio,

Hmm? So what is democratic in your book?

Perhaps you should ask why we turned from democracy, to representational politics, which most ways you cut it does not a democracy make.

Thay is why did we the people abdicate our responsabilities to ourselves and our fellow man --woman/child/etc-- to a variation of the "King Game" with a "popularity contest". After all is "Miss Universe" any more qualified than say Sarah Palin to run the US as a "Queen of all she surveys"?

Dan HNovember 28, 2016 9:39 AM

Electoral votes are only won by winning the popular vote of a state. Trump won 30 states and Hillary won 20 states. Clearly, more states didn't want Hillary.

Bill "the predator" Clinton won his first presidential election with only 43% of the popular vote; a figure that is not mentioned by the MSM.

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 9:43 AM

@Clive Robinson

"Even she has admitted that there was a two tier policy, one for the voters and one for the money people."

Come on, you know that's a misrepresentation of what she said. This was in response to "proof" pushed by right-wing propaganda outlets that Hillary would open the borders "like flood gates". She said this:

My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.

First off, she was talking about markets, but she was also talking to bankers (a headline saying "Hillary Clinton said she '[Dreams of] Open Borders'", while not technically a lie, generates more furious agreement with everything said in the right-wing echo chamber). Her statement may be her views or she may just be pandering (likely a bit of both), but dreams aren't policy. I dream of a world with absolutely no military or borders, but the only place that comes in when I support policy is in supporting things that would make military less necessary, and border controls less necessary. That doesn't mean I support different policies "in private" - it's just the politicians have to be very careful what they say if they want to get elected, so they don't say that stuff in public because it will be misrepresented and used against her (I mean, unless they have a massive propaganda campaign backing them, *cough*). If you paid attention during the election, and you understand confirmation bias, you would understand why politicians do this ("Everything you say or do can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion").

Fred PNovember 28, 2016 9:43 AM

Random audits should be part of any large-scale election system. If there's enough failure of the audits, an investigation should be triggered.

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 9:46 AM

@Dan H

Wow, that's a lot of mental gymnastics to justify that one for you, huh?

If you have to work that hard, maybe you should try being a bit more open minded and questioning your beliefs, because you are obviously having trouble supporting them.

Dan HNovember 28, 2016 10:29 AM

@Anura
Not sure what you mean by mental gymnastics. A state only gives electoral votes to a candidate that actually won greater than 50% of the popular vote. Trump won greater than 50% in 30 states.

None of the four candidates won greater than 50% of the vote, so nobody won a popular vote. Bill "the predator" Clinton also won his election against George HW Bush by winning only 43% of the vote.

If California, which is extremely liberal, is removed from vote counting, then Hillary would have lost to Trump for most votes.

Fact is, Hillary lost Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida. With the exception of Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, Hillary lost everything except New England and the west coast, plus Hawaii.

She was supposed to win in 2008 and got trounced by an avowed Marxist. I would guess Bernie would have beat Trump, but the DNC was squarely behind Hillary who is corrupt beyond imagination.

The odds of her overturning the election with the recounts is essentially zero. In 2004, Ohio had a recount of ballots and Bush picked up an extra 449 votes. To suggest Hillary would pick up tens of thousands could only be possible with fraud.

Corruption in government was number one in the polls for what concerned voters, and Hillary is the most corrupt politician ever, so it is without a doubt why she lost.

AJWMNovember 28, 2016 10:57 AM

ssn is not unique, moreover it is an encoding scheme related to the issuing entity.

It also has no check-digit, unlike credit card numbers or, for example, Canadian Social Insurance Numbers. This makes both accidental and deliberate transpositions undetectable (at least, not trivially detectable), which is either a bad or a good thing depending on your motives.

(I'm not saying that I deliberately transpose digits in cases where I'm not legally required to give a correct SSN, but it could happen accidentally. Remembering numbers is hard. ;) )

rNovember 28, 2016 11:01 AM

I'm not in charge, it's up to voters and representatives I'm just not the type to put all of my eggs into one fumbly industrialist or green or liberal basket. I don't have everything figured out.

God help us if the liberals take over and the country goes blue, but it cuts both ways.

In a couple years, I will be able to marry my dog. With religious rights I could move to Africa and marry ... marry "well".

What I am looking forward to, personally is polygamy being legalized.

I simply cannot wait.

ab praeceptisNovember 28, 2016 11:09 AM

Congratulations. In a blog with "[IT] Security" in its title, run by a renowned ITsec expert, all day long, what was written? politics, polictics, politics.

And, Pardon me, not even in the smartest way. Let me help you: You either a) accept the system or b) fight the system (presumably to replace it by some (better version of) democracy).

If b) then you act like army officers discussing their plans loud and open in the public. If b) then all of those "democracy should work like *" and "Trump|clinton is evil|has frauded the election" are nonsensical.

Reasonably assuming that most of you accept your system and that most of you are strongly interested in making it better in one particular, namely the election mechanism and devices ... where the fuck are your constructive steps?

You can talk all day long about politics and you can repeat democracy mantras all day long - and it will change nothing, nada, zilch.

Given that there are quite some principles and mechanisms in our field (ITsec) that are applicable and almost certainly useful for the problem field at hand, I would have expected some reasonable suggestions and practical thoughts.

It seems, however, that most preferred to deliver evidence of the very reason the system is fucked up, rotten and bent by politicians. The crooks can do it because their victims prefer to pray democracy mantras and to accuse each other of diverse malice.

Feel free to call me an asshole. If I succeeded to pull some of you out of nonsense caroussel and to make you remember that we are the very craftsmen holding the tools and means to construct something better or to repair some of the existing blunder, I'm gladly paying the price of serving as a relief valve.

Could we now finally, please, pretty please, start to do our job and leave the mantra preaching and accusing to the priests and attorneys? Thank you.

WaelNovember 28, 2016 11:21 AM

@ab praeceptis,

Congratulations. In a blog with "[IT] Security" in its title

The "[IT]" part is "your" insertion. That's why you put it in square brackets.

ab praeceptisNovember 28, 2016 11:34 AM

Wael

So, I should apologize because Bruce Schneier, who gave us good crypto, is an expert in gardening security or in border security?

You see, even if I were wrong nad this blog was meant for security of any and all kind, that woudn't change much. Mantra praying and accusing whomsoever won't get us any further.

There is some clear cut work on the table. The title is "election machines and fraud/hacking"; an extention is "elections, problems and ways to enhance the mechanisms".

Whatever is it you/we want, unless someone knows a tree from which it just drops down, we will have to do some actual work.

rNovember 28, 2016 11:56 AM

Actual work ab, is realizing that a superficial numbers check is always warranted rather than merely pigeon holing those supporting it as pro Clinton anti trump.

This sort of stuff has been going on for a long time and you very well know it.

You, politicized it I tried to express why my view is different from the hard line you're toeing.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 12:00 PM

@ ab praeceptis, Wael,

Children you shoud both know that the missing "C" is the most important part of this blogs original function...

@ ab praeceptis,

All gentle digs aside, the problem is we realy don't know about non balot based voting systems. We have a number of assumptions but honestly do not have sufficient knowledge to come up with a meaningful english language specification, let alone a mathmatical model.

Every time I look into voting systems I find not so obvious wrinkles. An obvious one being the secrecy not of your ability to cast a vote but the entity you vote for. Thus ruling out many methods of "vote buying", but also loosing a large part of the potential audit trail.

The simple fact is that paper and pen balots dropped in a locked box to be later counted have stood the test of time. The reason as to why we would want to go to an electronic system is far from clear. The only real advantage being perhaps the speed of the count, which to be frank is fairly unimportant all other things considered.

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 12:01 PM

@Dan H

Now, go through your comment, and filter out all the stuff that isn't just stuff you are telling yourself so that you don't have to question your fantasy world:

See, without the mental gymnastics, you have no point whatsoever. Your entire comment is justifying that Hillary shouldn't win by changing what "won the popular vote" means. Funny how that comes a day after Trump started claiming he won the popular vote. When you say someone won the popular vote, it means that more voters preferred that candidate than others - you can't draw any more conclusions than that. Yes, you are right, however, that liberals tend to have a lot less democratic power all around because they live in more densely populated areas and we have a downright idiotic electoral system; what I find strange is that you are trying to use this to justify why Hillary shouldn't win, rather than arguing against the electoral system we have - I mean, the implication of what you are saying is that if you can afford to buy up all of the land in a state, then you should have a significantly larger vote, which tells me that you are either being completely dishonest with us, or you are being completely dishonest with us and with yourself. That this is so common among people who get their talking points from right-wing media is a pretty sad state of affairs.

I mean, there is literally no advantage whatsoever to the electoral college - hypothetically, you can win the election 250,000,000 votes to 9, losing a majority of states, land, and people because of the electoral college. It can give control of the Presidency to voters that are in a small minority.

Your bullshit about Marxism is just proof that you are just parroting talking points from propaganda outlets - FYI, Obama is a fairly conservative capitalist compared to any pre-Obama era Republican, it's just that thanks to the ignorance brought on from reading propaganda over news means that your perspective is severely warped (and you probably don't know what Marxism - hint: they are more libertarian than most Libertarians, differing primarily in how property rights are handled) - ignorance of terms for use as insults is so ubiquitous among followers of right-wing propaganda, that it's such a dead giveaway.

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 12:11 PM

@Clive Robinson

The only real advantage being perhaps the speed of the count, which to be frank is fairly unimportant all other things considered.

Accessibility for the disabled and accuracy of the count are the reasons to move to computers (especially once you start to combine with ranked voting), as well as to protect against physical destruction of ballots (arson, natural disasters) - electronic machines can record to multiple locations, which can help audit (and as long as the paper ballot is the official ballot, it has all the advantages of a paper ballot system). When used in conjunction with paper ballots and other procedures I've previously outlined (Fred P mentioned random audits, which I have also mentioned in the past as well, and is one of the most difficult to defeat, especially if you have multiple data sources to cross-check), I truly believe they will bring us greater security, as paper ballots have audit issues as well (if you can switch the ballot box, you can steal the election and there is no way to detect it if done right).

WaelNovember 28, 2016 12:15 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Children you shoud both know that the missing "C" is the

Hildren? :)

@ab praeceptis,

So, I should apologize because Bruce Schneier...

No.

You see, even if I were wrong nad this blog was meant for security of any and all kind...

You are wrong! All security is in scope!

Mantra praying and accusing whomsoever won't get us any further.

It may add to "awareness" -- isn't it interesting to see how your fellow Security professionals view the world?

we will have to do some actual work.

That work can take many forms! Could be theoretical, technical, or political.

Dan HNovember 28, 2016 1:23 PM

@Anura

The voters were not a small minority. Hillary only has more votes because of liberal California, which is why the Electoral College was implemented in 1804 to give more representation to the southern states. A candidate has to win the popular vote (i.e., greater than 50%) to win a state's electoral votes. So winning a minority of the states won't give an Electoral victory.

I'm well aware what a Marxist is. Obama for one, who while in college said he gravitated to them. Obama also was a follower of the communist Saul Alinsky and friend of the communist domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Obama also recently took a photo in Cuba with a mural of Che Guevara in the background. Obama was also pro-Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Back to the popular vote. More people voted against Clinton than voted for her. Trump + Stein + Johnson = millions more votes than Hillary's votes.

Hillary is a two-time loser.

StuxnetNovember 28, 2016 1:39 PM

It seems to me that Halderman's only "evidence" is that some counties in Michigan voted for Trump more than some other counties (he cites a 7% discrepancy between counties). Instead of using Occam's Razor and suggesting that Hillary was simply less popular in some counties than others, he goes off and suggests it must have been those pesky Russians hacking the machines. As the director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections said, none of the Michigan machines are connected to the Internet. If you wanted to hack them, you'd have to do it physically and you'd have to do it by county. Moreover, every machine in Michigan is either optical scan or paper. There are NO electronic voting machines in Michigan (something Halderman got wrong).

The truth is that when you have urban areas like Detroit (80% black population) and then rural counties (mostly white working class), you have two separate worlds within the same state. The fact that Hillary was 7% more popular in some counties is not surprising. Do you really think NYC voted the same way as upstate NY? Of course not.

Besides, Halderman has since backed down. I will quote one of his blog entries:

"Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked."

Much ado about nothing here.

AnuraNovember 28, 2016 2:03 PM

@Dan H

Not only do you continue to do the mental gymnastics, but you also do not know history (or you are just lying and hoping no one will notice); it wasn't "To give power to the Southern States", it was to give power to the smaller states like Delaware, Rhode Island, Georgia, etc. States like North Carolina and Virginia lost a lot of power, and South Carolina gained relatively little compared to the less populous Northern States, even states like New Hampshire and New Jersey made out better than South Carolina at ratification. This was also in the original text of the constitution, so which propaganda site told you that was added by the Twelfth amendment? I'm betting it was a "Strict Constitutionalist" website!

The rest of your comment speaks for itself. You can find evidence to prove to yourself whatever you want to believe, but that can't change reality. I can cherry pick proof that Trump has communist sympathies, and use that as the foundation for proof that him and his father have been sleeper agents from the Russian government since the Soviet era, but the only people who believe it are people who want to believe it. I can also use valid physics equations to paint dimensionally correct but logically idiotic pictures of the universe, but you will only believe them if you can't observe the reality for yourself.

rNovember 28, 2016 3:18 PM

Here they are, still ignoring that somebody got that 7% wrong in the first publication and ignoring it.

The slant coming out of these mules is hilarious, the guy who was "quoted" @ 7% came right out the next day saying he didn't know where the 7% came from but that he was advocating checking because there was a supposed variance in wi and pa where different lines of machines were illustrating minor aberations.

Somebody surmised that it could be related to the actual voting populace but that it would be a reasonable idea to double check that it wasn't machined bias related.

I'm leaving links out because I want to see which agenda you spiders are using your eighteen eyes to follow.

More or less @Stux,

SteveNovember 28, 2016 5:53 PM

@Dan H:
"Hillary only has more votes because of liberal California, which is why the Electoral College was implemented in 1804 to give more representation to the southern states."

California came into the Union September 9, 1850, and the Electoral College is enumerated in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, signed in September 1787 abd ratified in 1788.

Sorta messes up the chronology, doesn't it?

But let's assume that your "facts" are correct (hint: they're not), why should not the majority rule? Why is it that in every other election and race, from dog catcher to Senator, the person who gets the most votes wins? Unless you're willing to posit that a minority should hold sway over the majority, your "logic" gets chunked into a cocked hat.

Oh, let's turn "More people voted against Clinton than voted for her. Trump + Stein + Johnson = millions more votes than Hillary's votes" around, shall we?

More people voted against Trump than voted for him: Clinton + Stein + Johnson > Trump.

Whether this "election" gets overturned or not, it's pretty clear that we need wholesale reform of the way we elect the President and probably the Senate and the House.

I'd support direct popular vote for all of them and, in addition, representation directly proportional to the number of votes cast at least in the House, if not also the Senate.

Because of that democracy thingie, you know.

In conclusion, please take a hike.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 7:44 PM

@ Wael,

Hildren? :)

Hmm,

  • H:-hapless,
  • I:-inexperienced,
  • L:-loafers
  • D:-disseminate
  • R:-rubish
  • E:-election
  • N:-news

Rather than "ICT" for Individuals Communicate Tersely ;-)

P.S. As @ab praeceptis has pointed out this hand coding of HTML formating is a Pterry style "embuggerance".


WaelNovember 28, 2016 8:10 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Rather than "ICT" for Individuals Communicate Tersely ;-) [...] Pterry style "embuggerance".

Well, bugger me sideways! That's what the missing 'C' stands for!

AlexTNovember 28, 2016 8:25 PM

For those asking "what wrong could a recount do": it is most likely that those recounts will not be finished by Dec 19. If so the delegates from those states would not be able to vote and the electoral college process would fail to select a President (no aboslute majority), The election would be left in the hands of Congress to decide.

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 9:30 PM

@ AlexT,

The election would be left in the hands of Congress to decide.

Which brings up the "what would change" question I posed above,

    But even if it's found that there has been some kind of irregularity, is it actually going to make any difference?

With the point that,

    And after all which party has the majority in the two houses going into the 115th US Congress?...

Clive RobinsonNovember 28, 2016 9:42 PM

@ Wael,

How many times do I have to say "be carefull what you wish for, even in jest"... It's reputed that some deities are possesed of a sense of humour, and such things "might be right up their street" as they say, whilst mear mortals will "have to take it in their stride" ;-)

WaelNovember 28, 2016 9:53 PM

@Clive Robinson,

How many times do I have to say "be carefull what you wish for, even in jest"...

Probably once a month. I keep forgetting :(

whilst mear mortals will "have to take it in their stride" ;-)

Stride, hide... it's all the same. Up their street, eh? How clever!

rNovember 28, 2016 10:13 PM

Trump got schooled, nbc reports he asked mi to use computers for the recount. lol

His understanding of the internet is why I refused to vote for him.

manuactreNovember 28, 2016 10:27 PM

Interesting question... Why would anybody want to go for a fully electronic system?

Accessibility for the disabled is a good point, but is an already solved problem in a large number of jurisdictions. Accuracy of the count issues can be solved with a combination of simple technology (cameras) and more engaged citizens.

Immediacy of results? Then you might have to deal with physical destruction of ballots (arson, natural disasters). Sure, electronic machines could record to multiple backup locations, but how is that any more voter-verifiable than having people come back to the polls for another round?

owwie contraireNovember 28, 2016 11:22 PM

That is exactly the sort of result we would expect to see if there had been some sort of voting machine hack.

It is also exactly the sort of result we would expect to see if there had been paper ballot fraud by Hillary supporters.

Like this (from this year):

Election Volunteer Files Affidavit In Florida Describing Chilling Account Of Alleged Voter Fraud

Or this (from 2000):

D.A. Investigates Reports That University Students Voted Multiple Times

With the low tech method of voter fraud, no special skills are required.

AnuraNovember 29, 2016 4:25 AM

@owwie contraire

First Link: Investigation completed, no fraud (as per your link)

Second Source: there are "reports" and an "investigation" - it was 16 years ago, I'm assuming the investigation completed by now, so why not link to the results of that investigation instead of a story that says "Someone says there might have been fraud, but we don't know." Probably because there was nothing there.

Such damning evidence.

Dan HNovember 29, 2016 6:41 AM

@Steve

The 12th Amendment replaced this system with separate ballots for President and Vice President, with electors casting a single vote for each office. The 12th Amendment was ratified in 1804.

We're not a true democracy dunce, hence the representative thing, you know?

There is no denying that 30 states voted for Trump with greater than 50% of the vote, hence the electoral votes went to Trump. That is the way the system works, and it works fine.

Now the liberals want to remove the electoral college. Good luck with that getting through Congress then having the states ratify it.

Funny that liberals were coming unglued when Trump gave the impression he might not accept the results of the election, which now is exactly what Hillary is doing, and what the Left did with their rioting. Priceless.

In conclusion, please take a hike.

Kevin PNovember 29, 2016 9:09 AM

@ Dan H,

"Hillary is a two-time loser."

Wikileaks and Project Veritas done her in.

@ Clive Robinson,

"The US has the wrong voting system if you want that. The "First Past the Post" system encorages a "two party system" and a "winner takes all mentality" which is what you are seeing the fall out from. This is what history shows (and is a major problem with any Presedential system)."

That is just a matter of technicality. What fails our democratic process is a deeply entrenched lobbying system, as the President Elect correctly pointed out and the Clintons cleverly avoided to talk about. Whether he'll fix it is another story.

Rick MNovember 29, 2016 9:34 AM

@ Ergo Sum,

"I hate when they cite the slave owner "Founding Fathers"... "

They'll cite whatever that fit their narative. That's what "Citizen's arrest" mentality is all about. It exposes hypocrisy of politicians and media talking heads, and consequently herd mentality of popular voters.

It's a hell lot easier to see thru it all when you're looking from above or far away, but thrown into the middle of California or in the heardlands it's easy to be gripped by propaganda.

oh, and of course, we're the good guys and the Russians are bad guys...

RatioNovember 29, 2016 1:45 PM

@Dan H,

The Electoral College was established in 1804 as an agreement with the South who had a much smaller population than the North.

(Emphasis mine.)

Which is why the United States Constitution (signed in 1787) in Article Two describes how each State shall appoint Electors, whose number shall be equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress, who will vote for President and Vice President of the United States.

@Anura,

Proportional Representation is an obvious requirement for a Democratic Society under my definition. The other is to eliminate veto points in the legislature - it should run like a direct democracy, with every representative having power only through petitioning other representatives to bring a bill up for a vote.

That's something like a semi-presidential system or a parliamentary system, depending on the specifics.

@Clive Robinson,

[...] the US is by population one of the smaller major states [...]

That's like saying that the UK is one of the smaller major EU states. (The US has the third largest population in the world, the UK has the third largest population in the EU.)

Perhaps you should ask why we turned from democracy, to representational politics, which most ways you cut it does not a democracy make.

Oh, come on. How far do you want to take that idea? If the people vote on every issue, should that include where to build a bridge? The design of the bridge? The supplier for all the materials? The engineering firms that will build the bridge? And on and on and on...

It's only a matter of how much decision making you want to delegate and how.

The only real advantage [of an electronic system over using pen and paper] being perhaps the speed of the count, which to be frank is fairly unimportant all other things considered.

Also, counting by hand is trivially parallelized.

@AlexT,

For those asking "what wrong could a recount do": it is most likely that those recounts will not be finished by Dec 19.

Yeah, 'cause clearly it took them over two weeks last time.

@Dan H,

The 12th Amendment replaced this system with separate ballots for President and Vice President, with electors casting a single vote for each office. The 12th Amendment was ratified in 1804.

True enough, but what does that have to do with your claims?

CallMeLateForSupperNovember 29, 2016 2:25 PM

@mork

"What do you think about the rest of my point?"

I don't know what point you intended, so I cannot comment about it specifically.

I suspect your point might have penetrated my wee brain had it been clearly worded and supporting evidence - i.e. your "plus" list - had been not been ... weak.

"plus rampant gerrymandering"

Gerrymandering has been a reality for longer than I have been contributing to CO2 in the atmosphere, and I assure you I could not be mistaken for a "spring chicken" by any sane and sober person. Gerrymandering, per se, is a good idea but has gone off the rails, not unlike Electoral College. I think you and I agree that the deplorable thing is not gerrymandering but, rather, the ...um... gymnastics that too often define its implementation.

"plus a strategy that games the electoral college and works around the popular vote"

Again, the fly in the ointment is not what you seem to say it is. The Electoral College is what it is. What it is and how it works is are knowns. The problem is not a strategy of gaming the Electoral College, the problem lies in the natural functioning of the Electoral College: its decision sometimes do not reflect the will of voters. In its current form it is not fit for purpose.
it is supposed to ensure that It is a poorly designed machine

"plus Citizen's United destroying public campaign financing"

Careful with your wording. The Citizens United decision bolsters campaign financing, pumps dollars into campaigns. But! "A lot of people are saying" that that decision creates an unfair playing field, and I am one.

Clive RobinsonNovember 29, 2016 7:22 PM

@ Ratio,

It's only a matter of how much decision making you want to delegate and how.

There is a marked difference between "delegation" and "abdication" especialy when the system is rigged in such a way as that there is no choice in the amount of "delegation" available.

Whilst it is rare you can find "democracy" that is not the abdication that most current "representational" systems demand. Have a look at how some of the Swiss Cantons achived it.

The real difference is in a democracy you get to vote on actual substantive issues, not the "monkey in a suit over which you have no control" of the representational systems, which are realy not democracy when you think about it.

It's why we see in the UK the abomination to all things decent that the snoopers charter is becoming law. It's also why we are in all probability going to start Brexit. The former is happening because it's the representatives who decide, the latter because it was the first piece of "real democracy" in something like fourty years, and it would appear that many used it to "send a message to the representatives" rather than actually think carefully on the issue and vote accordingly.

But to correct your other point. The US is a federation of what were once independent states. The European Union is also a federation of once independent states. Hence in the UK we have a formal legal process to go through for Brexit to even start. To other nations outside of these federations they do not negotiate with the individual states but the federated government. Thus you need to consider the fact that the EU has a population of something like twice that of the US if you are going to "compare apples with apples".

Also you should consider that other loose federations such as South America and Africa are forming, likewise nations in the South China Seas. Thus even though the US population is rising the US position in the world gives all the signs of declining. As has been noted "Empires rise, and then they fall". Some even linger in a loose Federation as can be seen with the "Commonwealth" states that were once part of the Empire of Queen Victoria that once included around a quater of the earths non sea surface. Surprisingly some stay members of the Commonwealth even though they are in effect at war with each other in all but name. Thus it may well occure in the near future that the states within a loose federation decide for their own protection to reduce or settle their differences and have a closer federation for the "strength in numbers" aspect, which would further diminish the US position within the world. It's something that the unelected elite and US Corporations have realised, hence the push for the Trade Deals with nasty stings in their tails, whilst the US still had sufficient power to force them through. It's something that the current President Elect has had negative things to say about, apparently prefering the more historic "exceptionalism" view point, which due to resource issues may be an unfortunate direction to take.

RatioNovember 29, 2016 10:36 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Whilst it is rare you can find "democracy" that is not the abdication that most current "representational" systems demand.

So you qualify some current representational systems as "democracy". Yet you won't directly answer the simple question I posed: what is democratic in your book?

Have a look at how some of the Swiss Cantons achived it.

This is democracy for you? Voting by majority rule? I thought you were no fan of winner take all.

Sorry, I think that voting in secret is a requisite for democracy. (Also, women have only been able to vote for the last 25 years in one of those cantons.)

The real difference is in a democracy you get to vote on actual substantive issues, not the "monkey in a suit over which you have no control" of the representational systems, which are realy not democracy when you think about it.

Then I guess it would be fair to say that the difference is how much decision making you delegate and how. (Which was what I was driving at with the bridge example.)

It's why we see in the UK the abomination to all things decent that the snoopers charter is becoming law. It's also why we are in all probability going to start Brexit.

(You seem to have missed that Snooper's Charter is already here.)

I think you are wrong on the causes for both of those, but that's a whole other discussion.

But to correct your other point. [...]

The only thing from a previous comment of yours I was responding to was the part I quoted and, you know, actually responded to:

[...] the US is by population one of the smaller major states [...]

That's like saying that the UK is one of the smaller major EU states. (The US has the third largest population in the world, the UK has the third largest population in the EU.)

It's still like that.

(I deliberately didn't comment on your geo-political analysis/theory. Keeping a simple discussion on track is hard enough, as can be seen above.)

Clive RobinsonNovember 30, 2016 7:00 AM

@ Ratio,

Yet you won't directly answer the simple question I posed: what is democratic in your book?

I already have in several ways, so perhaps you need to go back and not ignor things.

As you say,

Keeping a simple discussion on track is hard enough, as can be seen above.

Especially when you say,

The only thing from a previous comment of yours I was responding to was the part I quoted and, you know, actually responded to:

And quote things you have said as though I said them...

I therefor think that before you carry on you review your knowledge, style and execution of argument. And I suspect others might agree.

Perhaps, considering others, it would be better still if the argument ceased entirely, as I suspect from the current direction you are taking it, it is not going to be constructive or an effective use of others resources.

hoodathunkitNovember 30, 2016 10:11 AM

Was the 2016 presidential election hacked? It's hard to tell. . . because there's not a shred of evidence for it. More to the point, a recount (that is what's being pursued) by its definition will not look for hacking; it is a Re-Count. If there is evidence of electoral or voting fraud, tampering, or hacking, there are other ways to investigate and prosecute.

There is no evidence (see Schneier) any of this has happened, so political decisions pursue the recount.

Respected in the community? Halderman had a decent reputation, but Bonifaz is a leftist political hack who's been linked with Jill Stein since 2000, representing her in a lawsuit to get state election money, and then when she helped finance his own campaign. He sued Bush to stop the Iraq war (on grounds even Biden objected to), and then made more money on a book about 'the legal case' to impeach Bush. You haven't forgotten 'BushHitler' already, have you? In 2004 he suckered the Libertarian and Greens into the Ohio recount.

Bonifaz co-counseled the Ecuadorian-Chevron case where they bribed judges, forged reports, coerced witnesses, and fabricated evidence; he was fined only $45,000 for falsely representing that his clients had cancer. Bonifaz has a long, long history of using others' beliefs (cognitive dissonance) to make a healthy living for himself. Ironic that Schneier, who wrote a book on trust, presents this perjurer and parasite as "respected".

As expected, there is no substance to the core allegations. Hacking would apply to electronic voting machines, not to the paper ballot and optical scanner combinations used in WI and MI as Halderman himself documents.

At its core, the allegation is based on accepting figures from 'sciency' commercial operators calling themselves pollsters. Besides these three contested states those polls were wrong across the country; wrong by the same amount, wrong in the same direction, and wrong for the same reasons. Garbage in, garbage out. Almost all* the polls were wrong. This isn't about computer security, it's social engineering on a massive scale. It's a shame Schneier fell for it; or worse, is part of it.

Stop blaming Russians or accept that the US is so totally incompetent with computers that the Ruskies stole Clinton's emails from the NSA, put them on Huma's laptop, and planted it on Weiner. The FBI dropped the investigation when no agent would touch the laptop with a ten-foot pole.

As to Schneier's suggestions, there never was and never will be an "independent body"; even the concept is malarkey. The system works, has worked, and will continue to work based on co-corroboration of the opposing parties involved. Contrary to his assertions, there are government agencies "empowered to verify these researchers' claims" . . . or reject them as ludicrous.

I claimed the system works, but how does the system work? It's obvious neither Halderman nor Schneier has a clue how the election and voting takes place. PA has mostly electronic or computer machines (EVM) with paper ballot optical scan counting (PBOC) in the remaining townships. Clinton's wins were all in townships with EVMs, some of the EVM townships went Trump, and all the PBOC went Trump. WI is almost all PBOC. MI is exclusively PBOC so there is no statistical difference to contest. So what hacking could have happened? In these three states, very little to none.

All have routine, statistical audits. All have routine, factual count audits. All are watched by electoral boards that are made of (at least) both parties, and the poll workers are also balanced by party affiliations. Volunteer poll watchers with clearance (same background checks as electoral folks) are usually allowed to the physical limit of the building. The parties also try —it works better outside the metro— to get their poll workers and outside campaigners to be clerks, teachers and people who know large numbers of folk; spotting disqualified felons, voters they know live elsewhere, or who are repeat voters.

Both parties routinely check the polls, get available tallies and report to the local party who's in contact with district, state, etc. There is an immense network of checks, balances, and counterbalances. The complainers about openness and accountability are worse than Linux 'installers' complaining they don't understand; the election process is simple, transparent, open, and accountable if anyone takes the time to look.

If election results and the "legitimacy of our democratic process" is important —and I fully agree they are— then one of Schneier's objectives should not be undermining faith in the system. Charges should be brought only when there is evidence, not when partisan trolls cry 'I can't believe this'. Like becoming a poll-watcher to understand and participate in the process, I would have more sympathy for those who consistently ask for paper trails, reasonable identification, higher audit percentages, better recount triggers, and better 'if-then' laws. There is room for improvements, but this article addresses almost none of them.

Candidates without reasonable expectation of winning (Stein) should not be allowed challenges to the results; they have no standing and no amount of jiggering will give her or her party a win. That she and Bonifaz are making a killing off the hopes and wishes of Clinton's supporters, at the cost of our electoral legitimacy, is terrible. This recount is a giant nationwide Nigerian-scam letter, and Schneier's association with it is very disappointing.

_
*Clinton started cancelling victory celebrations the weekend prior to (or even earlier) the election. Somewhere there's a more accurate poll.

ab praeceptisNovember 30, 2016 11:45 AM

hoodathunkit

halderman has lost any credibility he might ever have had in academia. But he seems to enjoy amusing people; I, for instance, had a good laugh reading his lies, frauds and insinuations topped of with phrases like "I and other leading election security experts" - that guy seriously seems to consider himself an expert, even a leading one! Hilarious.

Well, let's look.

One major element of his "logic" is a variety of alledged attacks on more or less election related entities such as the dnc. What is his basis? Articles in wired, nyt, nbc news, and other *known to be extremely biased* "news" oulets.
I don't know about his "university" but in a real university using as basis worthless, unfounded, and strongly biased blabla like that wouldn't get one much than ridicule and possibly expulsion.

Next, he tries to make his hit piece look somewhat more credible by noting "... Federal agencies publicly asserted ...".
Shouldn't a professor know the difference between an assertion and proofs or at least evidence?

After that "groundwork" he comes to the core of his attack:

"Russia has sophisticated cyber-offensive capabilities" - proof? None.

"and has shown a willingness to use them to hack elections." - proof? Completely unproven allegations of a nazi regime in kiew that is plenty known to accuse Russia of no matter what.

To add insult to injury, halderman even mentions that other countries have "such capabilities", too. What he actually proves is, Pardon me, that he is plain stupid. Reason: Stating it could have been done by a vaguely mentioned group of countries but it was Russia who did it without even attempting to explain why he picked Russia is plain stupid and gives away his real game.

He then peddles to sell himself as at least vaguely technically based by talking about diverse election equipment and by preaching about the advantage of paper trails, most of which is irrelevant because the vast majority of the voting in the 2 states *has* been paper based.

I'll end exactly the same his hit piece ends by quoting his self-appraisal which indeed desribes his academic weight and position cynically but correctly. I'd suggest, though, to add "voted scientist of the decade by analphabets united" to his credentials.

He was recently named by Popular Science as one of the “ten brightest minds reshaping science, engineering, and the world.”

RatioNovember 30, 2016 2:26 PM

@Clive Robinson,

I already have [answered] in several ways, so perhaps you need to go back and not ignor things.

Riiiiggght...

Way back when, you said:

[...] It's just one of the reasons I call "representational democracy" NOT democratic.

And I asked:

So what is democratic in your book?

Now watch what happens.

Your response:

Perhaps you should ask why we turned from democracy, to representational politics, which most ways you cut it does not a democracy make.

To summarize:

  • A is not B.
  • So what is B?
  • Ask yourself why we changed from B to A, which is not B.

That's clearly going nowhere.

In words the difference between "democracy" and "representational democracy" is the "representational". Since you apparently consider the use of representation to be "not democratic", maybe there's another way to get to the answer of my question. Using the building of a bridge as an example, I say:

It's only a matter of how much decision making you want to delegate and how.

You respond, saying:

There is a marked difference between "delegation" and "abdication" especialy when the system is rigged in such a way as that there is no choice in the amount of "delegation" available.

Whilst it is rare you can find "democracy" that is not the abdication that most current "representational" systems demand. Have a look at how some of the Swiss Cantons achived it.

The real difference is in a democracy you get to vote on actual substantive issues, not the "monkey in a suit over which you have no control" of the representational systems, which are realy not democracy when you think about it.

You're saying that most current representational systems "demand" what you call "abdication" instead of "delegation". That's a demonstration of the point I just made: you don't like some representational arrangements because you disagree with how much decision making is delegated and how. That's something, I guess.

Next, you give some of the Swiss cantons as examples of democracy. That's answering my initial question in a rather indirect way, namely by example, leaving me to infer what your criteria are. Well, okay, then. So what are those criteria? They seem to include, or at least allow for, non-secret voting by majority rule (but you don't like winner take all?) that in one canton denied half the population the right to vote until 1991.

I'm sorry, but now I'm confused. This is your example of democracy? More involvement in decision making by the people (as you also indicate in your last sentence)? I get that, great. But you contradict what you said before about winner take all, you apparently don't think voting in public stifles dissent (the same way Snooper's Charter in all likelihood will), and you don't think democracy requires universal suffrage.

But since I'm inferring all this for your example, my response also says:

Yet you won't directly answer the simple question I posed: what is democratic in your book?

And you haven't directly answered that question. You have given an example of something you consider to be democracy (or maybe not, see my confusion above) and said what you think isn't democratic, but that's not the same, now is it?

Back to your last comment:

As you say,

Keeping a simple discussion on track is hard enough, as can be seen above.

Especially when you say,

The only thing from a previous comment of yours I was responding to was the part I quoted and, you know, actually responded to:

And quote things you have said as though I said them...

My first comment directed to you contains three quotes: vote rigging, proportional representation, and NOT democratic.

My second comment directed to you contains another three quotes: smaller major states, from democracy to representational politics, and advantage of electronic voting.

My third comment directed to you contains six quoted fragments: you can find "democracy" that is not abdication, the Swiss Cantons, vote on actual substantive issues, Snooper's Charter and Brexit, correct your other point, and a nested quote I'll come back to in a second.

Quoting things I said as though you said them? That could at most be one thing; all the others indeed have you doing the all of the talking.

So what about that nested quote? It shows how I responded to something you said and I had quoted, by quoting the whole thing from my second comment. It's bloody obvious who says what from: 1. the immediately preceding sentence, 2. the link to your previous comment I included for context, 3. the general conversation, and 4. the fact that I reiterate a point made by one of the people quoted. Unless, of course, you want it to be confusing, in which case anything can be.

Back to your latest comment (it's you talking, for those easily confused):

I therefor think that before you carry on you review your knowledge, style and execution of argument. And I suspect others might agree.

Ah, the imaginary others are summoned to agree with the speaker. Always an impressive move.

Perhaps, considering others, it would be better still if the argument ceased entirely, as I suspect from the current direction you are taking it, it is not going to be constructive or an effective use of others resources.

I'm taking it in the direction it's always been going: asking you what is democratic in your book.

I think it's fairly obvious that you haven't been very constructive from the moment I asked a really simple direct question that as yet has not received a direct answer. Forget I even asked.

ab praeceptisNovember 30, 2016 3:08 PM

Ratio

Probably I'll fail but I'll try ...

Your are pedantic (that's my impression) and "clear cut, complete, and concrete facts, please!". Your nick underlines it.

As you also happen to be ready to hurt (often the other side of "cold logical" people) and sometimes tricky, quite some people avoid discussions with you (I guess; no proof) or try to cut them off.

I don't mean that in any way evil; your attitude is valid and easily defendable.

But humans are humans. We (well, most of us) are not cold robot-like logic beingsand what you might call unreasonable or even irrational is valued by others as e.g. creative, human, or witty.

Given that I wouldn't answer your question "democracy" neither or, more probably, I would reply with wih a link to wikipedia (another way of saying "kiss my ass. I don't like your games").
More importantly though, it is rather arbitrary from you to try to establish offering a (n acceptable) definition of democracy as entry barrier. Moreover your cold logic and facts approach is meaningless anyway, as sooner or later one will necessarily confront weird issues when looking at democracy; that's in the very nature of something so human-related.

Plus you are quite generous with yourself while driving others with rather tiny details.
Example: You mentioned women not being able to vote until quite recently. Well, looking coldly: That also implies a rather arbitrary definition of democracy. After all, nowhere in the universe is engraved that democracy necessarily needs women to vote, too (That's not *my* position, well noted).

Funnliy (or maybe not) there is a relating to our field of interest here. In fact, I'm one of those who demand precise and complete formal sepcifications. But: I demand those for *machine related* matters. There we really need precise definitions rather than loose everyday human wording. The reason is in the machines; they can't interpret or reasonably guess, nor do they have something like social contexts.

We humans, however, can and do. And properly used that's an *advantage* that shouldn't be cut short and crippled by what you sometimes seem to desire or even demand.

rNovember 30, 2016 5:04 PM

There's a reason he's gets paid, don't forget.

The biggest tell, should be what we remember about behaviour 'before' the war.

RatioNovember 30, 2016 5:58 PM

@ab praeceptis,

Probably I'll fail but I'll try ...

We'll see. :)

Your are pedantic (that's my impression) and "clear cut, complete, and concrete facts, please!". Your nick underlines it.

Well, yeah, I think that facts matter, that reason (ratio) matters. That ideology has to necessarily cede when it clashes with reality. Things like that. I think that's blindingly obvious from my comments.

Pedantic? Yeah, I can be, depending on the topic and especially the circumstances. (I'll leave it to you to figure out what gets me going.) But it's not a lifestyle or anything.

As you also happen to be ready to hurt (often the other side of "cold logical" people) and sometimes tricky, quite some people avoid discussions with you (I guess; no proof) or try to cut them off.

I try to leave people, and even their opinions to a large extent, out of discussions. I don't always succeed, as can been seen at the end of my comment above. I think I can justify it in this example, but ad hominem is always a weakness in my view.

I have no idea what your tricky refers to?

Avoiding discussions? That's possible. I think @Gerard van Vooren has done that. At least now I know he doesn't like my attitude, though it's not clear to me exactly what that means. I'm sure the comment I left for him as bait, to get him to respond to older comments, didn't help. *cough* (Actually, it's funny. He's made comments on technical issues that I largely or completely agree with, but when it comes to things that are more political in nature I can't seem to find out what basic truths you have to start with to get to where he is. And he ain't telling. What can I say?)

But humans are humans. We (well, most of us) are not cold robot-like logic beingsand what you might call unreasonable or even irrational is valued by others as e.g. creative, human, or witty.

But of course!

Given that I wouldn't answer your question "democracy" neither or, more probably, I would reply with wih a link to wikipedia (another way of saying "kiss my ass. I don't like your games").

Hehehe. I don't doubt it. :)

But, you see, it was no game. His comment caught my eye and I honestly wanted to know what made him say what he said. "If you think that's not democratic, what is?" I ask all kinds of things all of the time. I look things up. I find things out. It's just curiosity: I want to know.

More importantly though, it is rather arbitrary from you to try to establish offering a (n acceptable) definition of democracy as entry barrier. Moreover your cold logic and facts approach is meaningless anyway, as sooner or later one will necessarily confront weird issues when looking at democracy; that's in the very nature of something so human-related.

All I wanted to know was what @Clive thought was democratic, given that he thought representational democracy wasn't. He could have given any criteria whatsoever for a system to be democratic: I was only asking for his opinion.

Plus you are quite generous with yourself while driving others with rather tiny details. Example: You mentioned women not being able to vote until quite recently. Well, looking coldly: That also implies a rather arbitrary definition of democracy. After all, nowhere in the universe is engraved that democracy necessarily needs women to vote, too (That's not *my* position, well noted).

And how could it be any other way? We're talking about opinions, not absolute truths. He could have said "I think a system is only democratic when I alone get to decide everything" and I would have been fine with that. I myself wouldn't call that sort of thing democratic, but if he says that's his opinion and it's consistent with other things he's said, why the hell not? :)

The thing was that it surprised me to see him holding the system of those cantons up as an example of democracy after he mentioned our responsabilities to ourselves and our fellow man --woman/child/etc--. I may have misread, but it sounded like those two don't go together.

Again, it's not that I don't agree with his opinion (leaving aside the fact that I don't really know what his opinion is on this topic), it's that he didn't seem to agree with his own opinion.

Funnliy (or maybe not) there is a relating to our field of interest here. In fact, I'm one of those who demand precise and complete formal sepcifications. But: I demand those for *machine related* matters. There we really need precise definitions rather than loose everyday human wording. The reason is in the machines; they can't interpret or reasonably guess, nor do they have something like social contexts.

We humans, however, can and do. And properly used that's an *advantage* that shouldn't be cut short and crippled by what you sometimes seem to desire or even demand.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here?

ab praeceptisNovember 30, 2016 7:11 PM

Ratio

"I'm not sure what you're getting at here?"

I'll tell you. What *is* reality? I ask that because you said "That ideology has to necessarily cede when it clashes with reality.".

There is no "the reality", no matter how much pointy haired wikipedia editors try to make us believe.
There is but your reality, my reality, Clives reality (and as her way of looking at me suggests, my cats reality *g).

Moreover you wont find a scalpel to properly separate reality and ideology. In discussions like those I like to remember and mention my gradma; one look at me and she knew what's up (usually good for me, sometimes less ...). Human. One human looking at another (little and beloved) human was all. And understanding each other.

Finally you seem to have a tendency to make others look stupid. That may feel gratifying or maybe you just don't notice it, but that tends to create emotions which are not exactly helpful for communication.

The way we say someting is important. If Clive doesn't want to answer your question the reason might be to do more with you than with a weakness on his side. For example that you tend to create an atmosphere (with some) making the impression that actually you are just trying to drive the other side to say something on which you can then pick again.

As you see (in this very situation) I've found my usually peaceful way with you. I don't think anymore that you are an asshole seeking to belittle others. But I can perfectly well understand when others don't feel like me.

It's not just the others. We ourselves are responsible, too, for how others perceive us.

RatioNovember 30, 2016 9:09 PM

@ab praeceptis,

What *is* reality? I ask that because you said "That ideology has to necessarily cede when it clashes with reality.".

Wait, what? Now you want to get all philosophical? Would you rather I'd said "I think that one's ideology has to necessarily cede when it clashes with one's perception of reality" or something along those lines?

I was using everyday language with the usual everyday meanings of the words. I could have phrased it like above, but then you'd (rightly) say that I was just being pedantic.

Moreover you wont find a scalpel to properly separate reality and ideology.

Maybe it's somewhat crude for your current philosophical inclinations, but in casual discourse this might be a start: Reality: how things are. Ideology: beliefs about how things should be. How's that?

Finally you seem to have a tendency to make others look stupid. That may feel gratifying or maybe you just don't notice it, but that tends to create emotions which are not exactly helpful for communication.

How do I do that? It's not intentional, if that helps.

The way we say someting is important. If Clive doesn't want to answer your question the reason might be to do more with you than with a weakness on his side. For example that you tend to create an atmosphere (with some) making the impression that actually you are just trying to drive the other side to say something on which you can then pick again.

Hold on. You're saying my question was phrased the wrong way?! 'Cause things went straight into the ditch.

It's not about weaknesses on anyone's side, or about assuming bad faith. (Although that sort of thing does explain a lot of comments here.) How about being charitable and assuming good faith?

As you see (in this very situation) I've found my usually peaceful way with you. I don't think anymore that you are an asshole seeking to belittle others. But I can perfectly well understand when others don't feel like me.

That's very big of you. I'm sure they appreciate that.

It's not just the others. We ourselves are responsible, too, for how others perceive us.

People are responsible for what they say and do, not for how others choose to interpret their words and their actions.

ab praeceptisNovember 30, 2016 10:19 PM

Ratio

"Reality" - no, not or only superfically philosophical. Courtrooms all over the globe are full with men who were certain that "she wanted it" and women whose reality way "I did not want that". Just ask Assange.

"Reality: how things are. Ideology: beliefs about how things should be" - Nope. That's complexly intertwined. Can I say how things should be unless I know how they are? Plkus, I need to know (or think to know) how they could be.

You like it more physical? Where's reality in the chair you sit on? The space where neither the nuclei of atoms are nor electrons is about 99,9999%. Those nuclei, however, consist of other particles which again ... in the end you have what? fluctuating energy patterns. Is that your reality?

Well noted, this is *not* philosophical meandering for the fun of it. It's to make you think what exactly it is you build so much upon and that makes you judge others.

"phrased the wrong way?" - No, you phrased it well. But it's a difference whether Ratio asks something or whether someone else does. When Thoth asks something, maybe he wants a hint on some details, when Nick asks something, maybe he wants a technical discurse and/or some other opinions on some issue, when Ratio asks something, he usually is about to show someone that that person wasn't 100.0% correct...

"People are responsible for what they say and do, not for how others choose to interpret their words and their actions." - Bullshit. Theory.
In real life we have a co-responsability for how we are perceived. People are even killed every day for stubbornly and ignorantly going the path you suggest.

Positive example: Nick P asked about some comment of his. Wael who actually couldn't help, wrote a comment with at least an evidently well meant hint. He showed that he cared and would have liked to help. Reality version a) worthless waste of words by Wael. Reality version b) a nice and friendly try. And a friendly gesture. Might well be more worth than a link.

I'd like to suggest to not continue this. My intention was positive and constructive. If you are interested and willing to consider what I wrote, well I have written enough. If, however, you simply feel annoyed, be sure that that wasn't my intention. Can I please you with an insufficient statement? root of 4 is +2 *g

rDecember 1, 2016 11:44 AM

"Reality" - no, not or only superfically philosophical. Courtrooms all over the globe are full with men who were certain that "she wanted it" and women whose reality way "I did not want that". Just ask Assange.

The shape of our examples leaves a cast behind.

This specifically, is lossy compression: a simplfication.

There's a multitude of ways to arrive at that kind've dilemna.

Next on my list, so you understand my positioning not that you care.


How many of us have met an anti-war republican before?


The point being, if you've ever heard that the trumpette isn't the usual "republican" and I'll point out that they've readily accepted and repurposed this election but you seem to be reading from the same script as their glorious leader.

Which is, in my eyes: Dems are war mongers for wanting to clear Syria up after the fumble that is Iraq/Afghanistan.

The sounds I hear coming out of your mouth sound like you're largely against the Syrian conflict. You say that America has forced you to make 'declarations of war against the soviet union'. So I find it odd, that you would support the hardliners within our own society. For all intents and purposes, the dems are largely less supportive of our various police actions than say the guy's at the 'pub.

You can try to dodge or evade as much as you want, until you address that 'scent' coming off of your hide it's the scab I'm going to pick.

RatioDecember 1, 2016 12:40 PM

Агент оранж,

You're using the wrong alphabet if you want to provoke a reaction.

cia conflationDecember 13, 2016 2:38 AM

@Fred_P

Random audits should be part of any large-scale election system. If there's enough failure of the audits, an investigation should be triggered.

Well, any failure should trigger an investigation. The number of failures should factor into the scale of the investigation. But then again if you have lept into the abyss of talking about what "should" be happening...

On the recent PBSNewshours the weasel-code words of the moment seem to be 'intervention' and 'conflation'. Along with a lot of selective journalism about the role of USG interest and influence/intervention/whatever in the political contests of other countries.

So much conflation over the difference between russian state govt spies infiltrating the country and corrupting voting mechanisms, versus random russian citizens saying "hillary is the devil" or "trump is clearly influenced by satan".

Seriously, when can we evolve to the point where we have journalists that understand that there is a difference between spies overhearing stupid politicians blabbing in loud, or even soft voices at a bar, versus picking a lock and stealing psychiatrist records for gaslighting/ratfucking purposes. Seriously, it makes a difference. I for one can't believe that the DNC crap wasn't effectively a plaintext plant of disinformation in the post-snowden era. Did they really believe their coms with yahoo webmail weren't going to get played with by every serious foreign government? Come on, what a joke.

ErikDecember 21, 2016 2:20 AM

In my opinion, electronic voting is just a 'bridge too far'.
Voting must be an entirely democratic process, whereby every citizen must be able to audit the process.
Every citizen is able to count a number of paper ballots filled out with pencils, bit only a very small number of citizes will be able to audit an election process whereby voting machines are used. Who can audit source code? Who can audit whether the source code audited is actually used in the voting machines. Who can audit the hardware integrity of the voting machines? Who can audit the voting machines while they are stored and transported to the various voting booths all over the country?

I also object against the notion that voting is about a party winning! This contributes to the horrible state of politics, the USA is in at this moment. Even George Washington was against poklitical parties.
Voting in a democraxcy must be about selecting the right people from all over the countries (your representatives) to govern the country and make the best out of it. If you turn poklitics into a loose/win game, you end up with an election like the 2016 election, where in the entire race, not any serious political issue has been properly discussed, it was basically a match of the mud throwers...
The USA system did have a safety net for this situation called the electors, but that safety net apparently does not fucntion anymore.

I hope that the political system in the USA can get a serious overhaul, otherwise, America will never be as great as it was...

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