Update: Electronic Voting

One of the early posts on this blog was regarding Electronic Voting. In fact, it was one of the very first posts and I can recall writing it from my family’s living room back in California:

…rantings and ravings and very long run-on sentences aside I ask you this: If Visa and MasterCard and Discover and Am-Ex and even Diners Club can do it, why can’t we? Think this through with me: every day, all over the world, there’s a nearly real-time network that securely and with a minimum of fuss and complete transparency and verifiability transfer large sums of money between owners. Now all we’re asking for is a system that presents options, records choices, tallies outcomes, one or two days a year, in a technologically advanced country.

In California this issue is back in the news, and lo and behold, but my hometown paper gets a link from Google News. Now my hometown paper is no paragon of journalistic ability. It’s a rag, a true rag. And people are more likely to subscribe to it because they need a good source of paper to line their pets trays than to actually read what passes for news between those pages. But, the Daily Democrat has arrived. Heaven only can help us now. But asides aside…the issue here is Electronic Voting machines and the continuing saga of too much money, too little planning and no sense whatsoever.

Apparently California counties, at the behest of Secretary of State Deborah Bowen, used most of the federal funds tagged for updating aging voting systems to buy new Electronic Voting systems which were immediately attacked and with which there have been found several issues. I’m not familiar with the actual issues of the systems, but reading my previous post on the issue, linked above, the opinion is still relevant.

Bowen thinks the voting machine companies can should will assist in covering the cost of transition back to the old ways:

“Sequoia, for example, will want to maintain their clients and help them replace their system by moving them to opti-scan,” said Nicole Winger, director of communications for Bowen. “It has a choice of helping counties or losing them as clients.”

And Sequoia responded:

“Oh, now the Secretary of State is telling us how to run our business?”

Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee Columnist, appears to be on one side of sense here. He thinks the voting machines are OK and it’s only a bunch of irrational malcontents and Luddites complaining and fearing everything except fear itself:

Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a lawyer by trade, should reread… the Penal Code. She cast aside the principle of reasonable doubt when she tried and convicted electronic voting system manufacturers of making unsecure (sp) devices — delivering her verdict in an odd, post-midnight news conference Saturday.

If Credit Card companies can do it every day, why can’t we? Oh, yea, because it’s government. Hey, anybody else for privatizing the election system? Anybody? They wouldn’t be capable of doing worse than Government, unless said Government insisted on controlling them and forbidding actual autonomy.

Well, so the voting systems were certified, and Luddites screamed. And then they were de-certified, and the counties screamed. They’d already spent all their election money and now they had to get totally new systems. And these aren’t just low population counties where the sheriff can go door to door and record all the votes on two hands and a foot. Santa Clara county, which contains nearly all of the South Bay of California, millions of people that need to vote. San Bernardino county, in the heart of Southern California and the Los Angeles basin.

The problem is that insufficient testing occurred, the roll out was too fast and there was insufficient attention given to recovering from, learning from, and preventing issues. There was not enough thought.

Hey, Electronic Voting sure sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it! Oh, wait, someone is claiming disenfranchisement.

What happens now? We spent all the money getting the new machines!

So what do we do now?

Elections are in February and we have to find and buy totally new systems, train volunteers and elections workers how to use them, print new ballots, etc?

And if you think that 6 months is plenty of time to accomplish this… This is California we’re talking about, and it’s Democrat-controlled legislature and government.  Heh, this should be fun to watch.

8 thoughts on “Update: Electronic Voting”

  1. I think the problem that most people have with electronic voting machines is that there is no paper records. When you go to an atm you get a receipt, when you go to the mall you get a receipt, when you use it online you get a receipt, when you use a gift card, you get a receipt. Everything that I’ve ever used that is “transactionally” based gives a paper receipt. Most states do not give paper receipts, there is no way to do a recount other than to recount numbers that are in question. According to news agencies following the 2004 elections, exit polls have become unreliable and voter news services (owned by a few corporations) now decides who gets to be grand emperor of grand imperial america. If even 1 voter is disenfranchised it’s a travesty. If the entire validity of the election is in doubt and there is no way to recount paper receipts, how do you expect anyone to “comply” with anything that is said or done?

    This is completely ignoring the fact that most of the owners of these voting machine companies are politically affiliated. Employees have come out in the past and have told of ‘cheats’ that were to be programmed into these machines so that fraud could be committed. An easy example is on the old scamtron optical machines. The diebold machines have a switch on them that will allow it to accept or deny a ballot with an error. Greg Pallast (BBC Reporter) discovered that the machines in florida were set to accept ballots with errors on them. So if someone were to circle instead of filling in a dot.. Easy to do if someone hasnt voted before, of which there were a lot of new black voters in florida.

    Do a little research, its not hard. There is a lady in ohio who got the election commissioner in ohio ARRESTED for the fraud committed in ohio during the 2004 election. I cant remember what their organization is called, it slips the mind at the moment. I sent her some money after she was arrested on trumped up charges for what she did. She eventually got out and sued the pants off the police.

    anyway..

  2. I appreciate your comments and agree with many of your sentiments Random but I think you give entirely too much credit to corporations in assuming they are evil and that those who are politically affiliated are necessarily likely to commit fraud for the sake of their favorites. Also, your in the ability of government to hide things that may be embarrassing or criminal is entirely overwrought. Government is by nature incapable of hiding what it is doing, someone always talks or wants to know badly enough. And business is concerned with making money usually, not making fraud. Despite the public accounts of companies doing terrible things in recent times 1) these incidents together do not represent even a significant portion of the entire business population and 2) someone who disagrees with the owner will see what is going on and blow whistles.

    I don’t know how much you read Prison Planet or how much truth you find in it’s pages, but it would appear to me as though it’s stretches are getting to your head.

    As always though, I appreciate your comments.

  3. My great grandmother worked on the Manhattan Project. Don’t give me that “they cant keep it secret” ********.

    She also died from radiation induced cancer.

  4. Sorry, I don’t allow swearing on this site, edited your comment to sanitize the word. You can verify I did not alter the message otherwise.

    And, in your libertarian mind Random, what purpose is served by the media, such as HBO? Their goal is money, their currency is fear. The media feeds us as news those things which will cause concern and frighten us, regardless of their likelihood. HBO isn’t even concerned with news so much as entertainment: if it’s sensational, we’ll run it. We couldn’t even keep the Manhattan Project secret. I do not doubt that your grandmother worked there, but we were constantly having to remove spies, a few of the top scientists in those programs ended up being spies.

    I stand by my statements.

    I do believe election fraud occurs, I do not discount that. Read the Sound Politics blog and their articles regarding ACORN and their repeated and provable vote manipulation, ballot stuffing, false registrations, etc…

  5. HBO shows all sorts of content, including soft core porn. You are correct, they play whatever generates revenue streams. Unfortunately for the powers that be, with the number of fed up people in this country, the current most profitable area of investment is in the truth. It’s one of the only growing sectors in america. Check technorati’s #1 search term, or ron paul’s myspace friends in comparison to other presidential candidates, or the digg top 10 stories.

    People are ACTIVELY seeking the truth.

    Or, what they perceive to be the truth. (Touching back on my first post on your blog)

    Maybe soon we wont need that silly fish symbol anymore.

  6. What about the fish? Please explain yourself.

    That sounded as though you subscribe to philosophies similar to those espoused in “The DaVinci Code” regarding religions Con of Man.

    And I would disagree that Ron Paul represents truth.

    What people are attracted to is not truth but the appearance of truth. It is inspiring with someone “faces off with the giants” or “socks it to The Man” as Ron Paul has. He appears to be a tiny David fighting against the Goliaths of this world. But David only won because God was on his side, or, in our analogy, because real Truth was on his side.

    Ron Paul es passionate about what he believes. But unfortunately he will have no more success than Ross Perot or perennial bloomer Ralph Nader, who also attracts a large following online because his words appeal to younger people who want to “Do Something” about all these perceived terrors and injustices. A few years and a little wisdom usually cures the majority of these currently senseless but idealistic young people. Unfortunately they do tend to then become apathetic, which is nearly as bad. But apathy can be cured, while sense can only grow.

  7. And to clarify, I dont believe what you do as I’ve stated before. It is what you find to be the truth, I was hinting at exactly what you said. What Ron Paul says makes sense, he has the facts to back it up. It doesn’t necessarily mean its true, or that everything he says is true, or that he would even do any of it. He is saying what the people want to hear. (If you were to research what he says, you will find all the evidence in the world to back up his claims.)

    What I was saying about the fish symbol, is that the truth is currently hidden. WHEN Ron Paul gets elected, the truth will prevail and there will be no need to hide the “truth”. I was attempting to draw an analogy that you might be able to understand.

    http://www.gambling911.com/Ron-Paul-071207.html

    The same los vegas odds company also said ron paul is the only candidate who could beat hillary.

    People keep forgetting about the 60 sum percent of the US population that does not vote. People accept this and tend to cast them off as whatever you would like to call them. They don’t ever think about the reason of WHY 60 percent of the people in the US don’t vote. Some would say laziness, which for a good portion I would agree with. Most feel a sense of helplessness “what can one person do against the government” sort of mentality. Ron Paul is saying exactly what those people want to hear. I’ve seen a lot of blog posts “I havent voted in 30 years, ill be voting for ron paul”, “I’m a WWII veteran, ive been waiting for a candidate like ron paul and I’ll do whatever I can to support him”.

    Comparing ron paul to ralph nader is like comparing an apple to a hummer limousine.

    On a different topic.

    China announced yesterday that THEY not the federal reserve control the value of the USD through their ownership of US bonds. Paul Craig Roberts, chief economist under 2 or 3 different presidents and the CREATOR of reaganomics is saying it’s cheaper for china to dumper their bonds than it is for them to keep them. And that, if they dump those bonds it will cause a depression worse than anything we’ve ever seen in our 200+ year history.

    Do you realize that there are 4000 missing children from florida? These children werent taken from their home, they were LOST in the CPS system. That’s right, over 4000 children who were stripped from their parents DISAPPEARED from CPS facilities in florida. Where is that on the news?

    Did you ever research the dozen or so items i mentioned? Tuskegee experiments, trinity blasts, plutonium files, uss liberty, etc, etc.

    What I’ve been trying to instill in you during my stay here is that GOVERNMENT IS EVIL. Government always has been and always will be EVIL.

    Tommy Franks, ex-general (while still on pentagon payroll) was making his news network rounds a year or so ago saying “I know its bad, but if we have another terrorist attack we’re going to have to declare martial law. It’s not good, but its what we have to do”

    What do I have to tell you or show you to get you to research the fact that there is a concerted effort by both parties to destroy america?

    I don’t want you to believe me, I want you to research it yourself!

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