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News Barack Obama was ROBBED of votes in NY

  1. Feb 17, 2008 #1
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  3. Feb 17, 2008 #2

    Evo

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    Did you read the article?

    This is the type of shameless sensationalism that is rampant in the media.

    Wow, he lost by 125 votes instead of 141, a difference of 16 votes. :rolleyes:

    Of course saying that both candidates were missing votes and that so far it seems to be a wash doesn't dupe people like a bogus headline.

    I'm for Obama, but this kind of media cr@p angers me because some people will only read the headline and not the content.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  4. Feb 17, 2008 #3
    Whoa whoa whoa!

    Hold it there. In the first one, he had 0% of the votes. In the 2nd one, he has 20%.

    That's a HUGE difference.
     
  5. Feb 17, 2008 #4

    Evo

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    A difference of 16 votes overall.

    And did you miss this?

    hmmmm, looks remarkably similar, eh? Why doesn't the headline read "Hillary Clinton ROBBED of votes in NY"?
     
  6. Feb 17, 2008 #5
    But the fact remains that how you present the data makes all the difference. Just because Hilary won a district you can't say she got ALL the votes, yet that's how it made it seem.

    Saying she got 1000 votes vs his 999 is a lot different than saying she got 1 vs his 0, even if the outcome is the same.

    And the reverse is true. Whey they presented Obama as the victim, I don't know. I don't really care.
     
  7. Feb 17, 2008 #6

    Evo

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    Yes, I agree any mis-counting is unacceptable, but an intentionally misleading headline like that is something that people should be wary of. From reading the headline a person would believe that Obama was the only one missing votes. They posted that example but failed to show how many votes he got in districts where she got none. It's slimeball reporting. It's been a pet peeve of mine for as long as I can remember.
     
  8. Feb 17, 2008 #7
    Yeah, I know what you mean. I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann and he has a clear liberal bias. Moreover, he has a clear bias towards Obama vs. Clinton. Just the tone of his voice is enough to be able to tell, but even more than that, he's quick to point out any wrong-doing from her campaign and quickly defends him. Bleah.
     
  9. Feb 17, 2008 #8

    mgb_phys

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    I don't want to lecture but may we offer some advice on how to run an election.
    1, Print the names of candidates on a piece of paper, include the party logo for those who can't read.
    2, Have a box next to each name to allow any sort of cross/tick/squiggle to be made
    3, Put the paper into a locked box
    4, Empty the boxes and count the papers with each tick. Generally using a parallel array of little old lady volunteers.
    5, Announce the results within a couple of hours of the polls closing.

    It does have the disadvantage of not knowing the result before the election, but we feel this adds to the excitement.
     
  10. Feb 17, 2008 #9

    russ_watters

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    #5 is mutually exlusive to the rest (counting paper ballots takes forever), this will require a few hundred thousand more poll workers and a few thousand more polling places, and it doesn't help accuracy any (there will still be under and overvotes to deal with that may require interpretation).

    Manual paper-only ballots are not a good solution.

    [edit] Oh, how could I forget - it also vastly increases the potential for fraud by vastly increasing the amount of human involvement in the process.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  11. Feb 18, 2008 #10

    lisab

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    Yes, I agree. How about this:

    A paper ballot is generated by a touch-screen machine - machine "A". Machine "A" also counts the votes.
    The ballots are counted by another machine - machine "B".

    The manufacturers of machines "A" and "B" MUST be different, and the code MUST be made available for scrutiny.

    Oh yeah, the counts from machines "A" and "B" MUST agree.
     
  12. Feb 18, 2008 #11

    russ_watters

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    And what if they don't?

    I seem to have more trust in machines than others in here (I don't know why - everyone uses an ATM without blinking), but I guess just to keep the conspiracy theories down, I'd be in favor of electronic ballots with a paper trail.

    The open source thing is a little tricky too, because it allows people the opportunity figure out how to hack them.
     
  13. Feb 18, 2008 #12

    lisab

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    But how can you trust a counting machine without confirmation, and without open source?
     
  14. Feb 18, 2008 #13

    turbo

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    A somewhat old-fashioned but effective method used here is to pre-print paper ballots with broken arrows pointing to the name of each candidate. If you want to vote for that person, you draw a shaft (horizontal line) with the provided felt pen so the fletching and arrowhead are connected. When you have completed your ballot, you feed it through an optical scanner that tabulates the totals for each choice. It's very fast and seemingly more secure than sophisticated computerized systems with their many opportunities for tweaks and back-doors.

    The beauty of this system is that every person marks their own ballot manually, and that is faster and cheaper than dealing with voting machines, the scanning is very fast, and if the exit polls disagree with the scanner totalizers, the paper ballots are available for a recount.

    Edit: another advantage of this system is that the scanners are so fast that when the polls close, if there is an apparent discrepancy in the count, you can all the ballots through each scanner and see if the totalizers agree. If not, a manual recount is in order.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2008
  15. Feb 18, 2008 #14

    mgb_phys

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    A typical UK consituency, returning one MP ,is around 50-60,000 voters.
    It takes the quickest contituencies 45 minutes to return all the ballot boxes and count the votes (there is a bit of friendly rivalry to be the first to report) - most take 2-3hours and a few in the remoter bits of Scotland take a day because of the transport of returning boxes.

    India has the largest election in the world ( 350-400M turnout ) it takes them around 24hours to count the papers.
     
  16. Feb 18, 2008 #15

    mgb_phys

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    That's the biggest misconception about security systems - that if people can read them they are less secure. Only systems that have been published and studied have a hope of being secure. That's why even the encryption algorithms that are used for top secret data are published, and studied in university classes.

    It's a bit like your house - which is safer, having a good lock and inviting people to come and try the front door or having no lock on the door but it's safe becuase no-one knows where you live.
     
  17. Feb 18, 2008 #16
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  18. Feb 18, 2008 #17

    Gokul43201

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    Just because there were huge errors in counting both people's votes, doesn't make the counting any better. If the recount came out 141-136, the error in counting would have only been half as bad, even though the margin changed a lot.

    No, if the number of precincts where Obama was found to have ended up with unbelieveably low vote counts exceeded those where Clinton did ,it would not be a wash. The Times article linked above says Clinton got 0 votes in a handfull of districts and Obama had 0 votes from 80 districts (including Harlem!). I haven't been to the NY Election Board site to see what they reported, but "a handfull" could very likely be a much smaller number than 80.

    But that's what the NY Post is now all about, since Murdoch took it over. What was one of the nation's oldest and most respected newspapers is now a joke because of its tabloid style, selective reporting. A tabloid will use sensationalist headlines. The Times, which actually broke the story, uses a much more sedate tone.
     
  19. Feb 19, 2008 #18

    russ_watters

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    I did say I'd be ok with confirmation. How do you trust your ATM machine without it being open source? How do you trust your internet firewall without the software for it being open source? Being open source doesn't necessarily have anything to do with security.
     
  20. Feb 19, 2008 #19

    russ_watters

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    Are these by hand or by machine?
    Aren't there security companies that people hire to hack their systems while keeping the code secret? I agree that only by testing a system can you be sure it is secure, but that isn't the same as saying a secret system cannot be secure.

    Is ATM and bank software open source?
    How about having the lock on the door and having no one know where you live?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2008
  21. Feb 19, 2008 #20
    I'll ask a better question:

    What's harder to program? A machine that simply counts how many times someone pressed a button, or a machine that has to interface with different machines to make sure your money goes into the right place, and in the right amount?

    Because I've never had any problem with an ATM before.
     
  22. Feb 19, 2008 #21

    russ_watters

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    Well, yes, that's another reason it should be possible for the software to be secure and bug-free without needing to be open source. It shouldn't be that complicated.
     
  23. Feb 19, 2008 #22
    IMHO the reason why ATMs are more secure than vote-counting machines is that they're used, and essentially individually tested, millions of times a day, whereas vote-counting machines are used/tested simultaneously en masse once every few years. ATMs do make mistakes periodically and spew money out or overpay or underpay, but when they do that it shows up on a bank CTO's radar almost immediately as a threat to the corporate bottom line. Does anyone even lose budget when there has to be a vote recount? (except candidates who voluntarily request a recount, of course.)

    I'm not saying that someone should lose budget necessarily, I'm just pointing out that there are more effective feedback mechanisms to promote security in ATMs than in voting machines.
     
  24. Feb 19, 2008 #23

    mgb_phys

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    ATMs are not particularly secure - their secruity originaly came from them being inside a bank and on a completely separate secure network.
    Since they have been moved onto the banks internal office LANs there have been a number of cases of them being hacked. Either by wire sniffers or employees/cleaners simply replacing the PC inside them ( most run OS2/NT4 ) with a new PC.

    The reason for the vote counting machines being open source isn't just security, it is to check that there isn't a line in the code that says
    if count_our_candidate < count_other_candidate ........
    The important point is that elections in a democracy should be open, fair and transparent. Having closed source voting machine sis like having all the ballot boxes go to the party headquarters of the current incumbents who announce the totals and then burn all the papers. Generally in a paper ballot the press is allowed to observe the counting.

    The same case has already been made in court to release the code for breathalyser machines - otherwise the defendant doesn't know if he is being convicted by a random number generator.
     
  25. Feb 27, 2008 #24

    russ_watters

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    Missed this before:
    Did they win? That's a rediculous argument. Scientific instruments have certifications. They get tested and calibrated by an independent authority to verify their accuracy. You need not know exactly what is going on inside the black box to know that is is performing the way it is supposed it.

    Voting machines need not be any different.
    How is it any worse than having the ballot box go to a back room to be counted by a group of random people of unclear qualifications and trustworthiness? Do I have personal access to those ballots? I mean, if I want to, can I go examine the ballot box and count the ballots myself?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  26. Feb 27, 2008 #25

    russ_watters

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    There are some practical realities that are why I changed my position to include a paper backup of electronic machines. The biggest issue I see though is the poll workers themselves. Here's a recent article showing just how bad the problem is:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2008-02-24-pollworker-problems_N.htm

    Yeah, that's right. They hid the voting machines! I know it may sound mean to say it, but IMO, most of the problems with electronic voting machines will go away when the current poll workers die (average age, 72). The fear of/lack of understanding of technology is the biggest problem here. And it's what keeps bank tellers employed too. But they are gradually being phased-out as people get more comfortable with technology too.
     
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