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Computers as voting machines

  1. Mar 15, 2016 #1
    Why don't they mandate that all voting machines use open source software. They seem to use PC's presumedly with the windows OS. To me this is a perfect cheating machine. You give your vote to the programmer and then it is all up to him or her. There are no tests that can be used to be sure the machine accurately records every vote.
     
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  3. Mar 15, 2016 #2

    mfb

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    Of course there are, and those tests are done.
     
  4. Mar 15, 2016 #3

    phinds

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    I agree. In addition to that, from wikipedia:
     
  5. Mar 15, 2016 #4

    phinds

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    But given the security holes in Windows, do you think the machines are really secure? I guess if they are not hooked to the internet they would be but I don't know if they are isolated like that.
     
  6. Mar 15, 2016 #5
    What are they? How do you test a machine that is 100% accurate until one unique event trips a change that can change everything? Like the wrong person winning.... or even a certain ballot marked in a preset way? or change due to the time of day.
     
  7. Mar 15, 2016 #6

    anorlunda

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    Applications other than voting provide lots of motivation to cheat. ATMs for example. But the voting problem has two enormous obstacles that other apps don't share.

    1. The secret ballot. No audit trail is possible. Printed receipts make voters vulnerable to vote buying and or intimidation.
    2. Distributed voting precincts, make it necessary for the front line control and operation be in the hands of amateur volunteers with little training. Every cyber security strategy begins with the premise, "the bad guys must not have physical access to the machines."
     
  8. Mar 15, 2016 #7

    mfb

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    I don't think voting machines are good. But it's not like you just put those machines there and then blindly trust them. They are tested in many ways.
     
  9. Mar 15, 2016 #8
    You should watch Tom Scott's video about electronic voting. He completely nailed the problems.
     
  10. Mar 28, 2016 #9

    harborsparrow

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  11. Mar 29, 2016 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    1) Every place in the US I have seen uses electronic counting of paper ballots.
    2) Every electronic voting machine in the US I have seen produces paper ballots in addition to electronic counting.

    Why is (1) OK but (2) dangerous?
     
  12. Mar 29, 2016 #11
    voting_machines.png
    https://xkcd.com/463/

    Ahh yes there is an XKCD comic for everything!

    I do think that the objections that people raise about computer voting machines is a bit of a fallacy. There are issues with them for sure, but then again there are significant issues with how votes are counted now. (In Canada its all paper slips counted by hand) The current system is just as vulnerable to outside nefarious influence as a computer system would be.
    Just because a system has flaws doesn't mean it isn't good. (think seatbelts, they aren't perfect but we still use them cause they are better than the alternative)

    But if you used open source custom software and hardware, and kept everything audited and monitored I would think that we would be better off :)
     
  13. Mar 30, 2016 #12

    ChrisVer

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    If you want to cheat you can always do that, even with physical counting...
    I had participated once in a votes counting, and together with the rest counters, we "cancelled" a lot of votes (even those we shouldn't have).
    So yes, I would trust more the job to a PC... and I don't understand why uploading the data online is something dangerous, especially if nobody has physical access to the computers involved.
     
  14. Mar 31, 2016 #13
    I was in a Connecticut poling place helping a blind friend vote and they did not use paper ballots.
     
  15. Mar 31, 2016 #14
    block chain voting is the future!
     
  16. Mar 31, 2016 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    Interesting, since Ballotpedia says they use paper ballots, and I have found many sample paper ballots online. Do you mean just for the blind?
     
  17. Mar 31, 2016 #16
    I think the main problem with online voting is that there will always be a market for votes.
    People who really don't care about who gets elected will be happy to get $5 when they were not going to bother with voting anyway.
    As far as I know Australia has a system where making a vote is compulsory, but I don't think anyone has yet been prosecuted because they didn't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  18. Apr 1, 2016 #17

    No.
     
  19. Apr 2, 2016 #18

    anorlunda

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    My favorite is the mechanical lever voting machine. Totals are read out on mechanical counters. They aren't perfect, but if someone rigs a machine to give false answers, the evidence remains for post-election investigations to discover. Also, to modify all the machines old one at a time, would take massive labor and time.

    The reason that lever machines are unpopular is that they are a maintenance nightmare. I wonder why nobody ever made an electric (not electronic, not digital) equivalent of the lever machine. It would be easier to maintain. Alteration would have to be done with a soldering gun leaving visible evidence of the alteration behind that non experts could fifind

    LeverVotingMachineBooth.jpg

    hqdefault.jpg

    voting_machine_warehouse.jpg
     
  20. Apr 2, 2016 #19
  21. Apr 3, 2016 #20
    In Belgium voting itself isn't compulsory, you are obliged to show up at the polling station though and enter a cubicle.
    Sometimes people get fined but not to often if I'm not mistaken.
    We usually meet up in the afternoon and go for a pint afterwards, that way some good comes out of it :)
     
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