- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thursday, October 30, 2008

US electronic ballot calibration farce

Watch this You Tube video and be afraid. Cousin Ray at the local county office is going to tutu with the machine and fuck the votes up and we may never know.

The Americans are fascinated by machines and systems - look at their grid cities and grid constitution and grid attitudes. I believe the Indian elections are now conducted using electronic machines, but I trust the Indians not to fuck it up. Cousin Ray, or whoever will be doing the calibrating at county level, may not be the technical whizz that he made out on he was on his CV. The different forms of ballots and systems seems plainly idiotic to us. A General Election it seems has been lumped on the end of all the local, municipal, county and state ballots. We would have it the other way around, I guess so would the Indians and everyone else. The grid logic seems to have succumbed to the autonomy provisions of the constitution.

Video: Recalibrated Machine in W. Virginia Appears to Record Vote Inaccurately: it sure looks that way:

In the video, after Waybright demonstrates the phenomenon on the uncalibrated machine, he calibrates the machine and votes again. But even though the machine is supposed to be fixed at that point, it appears to record a vote incorrectly.

A standardised paper ballot is the best system invented isn't it? It's real, it's physical, everyone can see it, a layman can easily interpret it, special technicians are not necessary. Having said that I hold no objection to electronic voting only if it issues a paper recording of the ballot as well. In the video we can see a scrolling paper to one side:

The machines in West Virginia and Tennessee differ in one regard. West Virginia's iVotronic machines produce a paper print-out that scrolls behind a window, allowing voters to check that the machine has registered their selection as they make their choices. If voters make a change, the machine will print out their new selection as well. Tennessee's machines do not produce a paper trail. But all of the machines, in West Virginia and Tennessee, provide a review screen at the end of the electronic ballot so that voters can check their final choices before casting the ballot.

But what if you are in Tennessee? No evidence - nothing to check. There are prompts on the screen to confirm, but this is far from desirable if the voter doesn't check properly - especially since there will be many, possibly dozens of different things they will be voting on. Without a paper trail it is flawed.

Anyone watching the 'Recount' movie last night on Prime will appreciate the peculiarities of the American voting system and their reliance on machines.


At 30/10/08 3:23 pm, Anonymous bring back buck said...

Fuckin SCARY.
When i think of my old aunt and uncle, in their late 80's , using a machine like that, a chill runs up my spine.

I'm a total gadget freak but I wouldn't trust this load of shit to properly count MY vote.

We need to resist any attempt to bring this kind of vote stealer/loser into NZ

At 30/10/08 8:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that there's a supermarket printout at the side of the screen doesn't mean that the vote was actually COUNTED as it was cast, even if the printout reflects how it was cast.

At 1/11/08 3:38 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Yes - the voter would have to view the printed record and sign off on it somehow - perhaps by attaching their barcode sticker, or marking a thing at the end of the ballot - there are several options. The more you look at some of these You Tube clips on hacking the machines the more credible the straight paper ballot system looks.


Post a Comment

<< Home