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News Government Accountability Report on voting machines

  1. Oct 26, 2005 #1
    Released last friday:
    http://www.bradblog.com/Docs/GAOReport_ElectionSecurity_102105.pdf (don't be fooled by the link name, it's the real report.)

    This is being discussed all over the progressive websites. The GAO is non partisan, lending bipartisan support to concerns that (from the report):
    and from Bradblog:

    Of course, Black Box Voting has been glad to see that the GAO refereences the Hursti Report, which I go on and on about, the one that shows how a memory card swap can throw an election without leaving a trail. They have more than that to say, however:

    ...more: http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/10576.html
    Another source is truthout which has this to say:
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=76&ItemID=8977 [Broken]

    Also, more topically, next week's election in California, is being heralded in some areas as "faith based voting." that's right, we should be proud to have faith in our vote and not ask that it be counted properly.


    Why do I keep bringing this topic up? Because it is an important issue. The Government Accountability Office's report, hot off the presses, should carry weight with everyone who believes in the ideals of America. Their report indicates serious problems with elections. Their report acknowledges lost votes and miscounts. It also nods to the Hursti report (How to win elections with one small memory card), and it's bipartisan.

    If you are new to the Physics Forum, you can read some past discussions about election problems here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=84302 in our thread directory at the top of the page.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2005 #2
    One interesting thing that I have found out about the voting machines is that two companies, Diebold and ES&S, provide 80% of the machines used. The CEO's of both companies are ardent Bush supporters and both contributed heavily to the republican party. The two are also brothers, Bob Urosevich and Todd Urosevich. Bob is CEO of Diebold and Todd is CEO of ES&S.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2005
  4. Oct 26, 2005 #3
    Chuck Hagel had been CEO of the company that manufactured the machines that counted the votes that... put him in office as a US senator.
  5. Oct 26, 2005 #4
    It gets worse:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Oct 27, 2005 #5
    yeah, and after Bush's re-election, Diebold got a big government contract to install a bunch of atms and stuff in Iraq... standard mafia procedure, gotta pay your fellow wise guys, or they might stab you in the back.

    "...the way in which general business is managed may give a clear enough indication of the actual state of morals and the health of the body politic. The more concert reigns in the assemblies, that is, the nearer opinion approaches unanimity, the greater is the dominance of the general will. On the other hand, long debates, dissensions and tumult proclaim the ascendancy of particular interestes and the decline of the state." - Rousseau, On The Social Contract: Book 4, Chap. 2: Voting
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2005
  7. Oct 27, 2005 #6


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    From the piece about the California special election:

    If we were going to use paper for the original count, what would be the point of installing machines in the first place? Isn't the point of a paper record in case there needs to be a recount?
  8. Oct 27, 2005 #7


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    loseyourname, the point of the paper receipt is, precisly, what was speculated on there: it exists to give the votor a false sense of security and confidence because that's what proponents of paper balloting want. I'm in favor of letting people have their illusions if it means they'll accept a better product. It doesn't trouble me at all that they'd be accepting it for the wrong reasons. Sometimes an irrational fear of a hypochondriac must be placated with a placebo.

    To your question:
    Generally, no - it's essentially just a receipt, that a person has the option of keeping or throwing away. That way, when someone asks them if they have confidence that their vote was counted, they say "yes!"

    It may take a while (a generation), but eventually, we'll do away with that too. I'll see if I can dig up some stats on people banking and paying bills online. Not everyone does, and the reason is, typically, the same fear that has people afraid of electronic voting.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2005
  9. Oct 27, 2005 #8
    That is not why people have a fear of electronic voting.

    This is;
  10. Oct 27, 2005 #9
    The reason it provides a sense of security is precisely because it is a hard copy.

    If there needs to be a recount, it should be done with paper, by hand, if paper is available. A recount by machine will give you the same result that you originally got, if the machine has een told "how" to count the votes.

    Of course machines *could* be better than paper and humans. But I at least see two very humongous differences (that should require paper trails for voting) between online banking and electronic voting, in terms of accountability.

    Do you?

    One is that I am not particularly concerned if your finances are messed with. I also have recourse to follow my own finances and take legal action if they are messed with.

    But I care very strongly about how your vote is counted, and as things stand there is little that I can do to ensure that your vote is properly counted.

    Two is that were I the head of these companies, I'd be raking in the dough legally. Why on earth would I fiddle with the banking machines? I'm rich already. But elections ---- this is huge. If I can throw an election this can allow me to make sure the candidates that best represent my personal ideology on .... religion, business, privacy, education, etc .....get into office.

    Do you see that there might be a different level of motivation to screw with one technology and not the other?
  11. Oct 27, 2005 #10


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    I've brought it up before how other countries (including poorer third-world countries) have better voting systems than the U.S. If you do some research on this, you will see that receipts are used for hard copy verification and primarily for purposes of recount. Any American arguing against more reliable voting and verification methods in the U.S. is unpatriotic (and off their rock).
  12. Oct 27, 2005 #11
    Sure Russ all people who want an honest vote count that can be substantiated must be hypochondrics. That comment was disingenuous and rude.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2005
  13. Oct 27, 2005 #12


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    That quote that you posted does not disagree with what I said. In fact, I think it reinforces it.
  14. Oct 27, 2005 #13
    Hey Russ:

    I am referring to "banking" as in ATM machines (and other electronic banking services) manufactured by Diebold.

    So, same CEO in both scenarios.

    I think that lack of clarification in my previous post may be the source of your "hunh? What does this have to do with anything?"
  15. Oct 27, 2005 #14


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    In particular (SOS):
    http://www.tcf.org/list.asp?type=RR&pubid=683 [Broken]

    That's somewhere on the order of 175,000 more votes counted in the 2004 election than in the 2000 election in Florida due to the reduction in undervotes.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  16. Oct 27, 2005 #15

    I wonder why the CEO's of Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S don't hold this position?
  17. Oct 27, 2005 #16


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    I hadn't realized that you were talking about him in both cases, but the "huh?" still stands: if the CEO of Deibold is the thieving bastard you think he is, why would he not be stealing our money as well as our votes?
  18. Oct 27, 2005 #17


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    Probably because they know it is pointless. Being an engineer, I typically despise doing pointless things, but every now and then, you realize you need to...

    Did you know that a significant fraction of thermostats in office buildings don't allow temperature control even though they have adjustment sliders/dials? The reason: if you let people think they can control the temperature in their office, they will complain less (and, in fact, the system will work better because they aren't screwing with it).
  19. Oct 27, 2005 #18


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    Very quickly:



  20. Oct 27, 2005 #19
    For the reasons I gave.

    Assume a person wants money and power.

    He has money legally. Why risk jail time by stealing what you already have?
    Power..... Hmmmm. How oh how could I as the CEO of Diebold get power? Let's see, I have all these machines --- [strike]controlling[/strike] counting 80 percent of the votes in the country.....



    p.s. why doesn't the strike tag work?
  21. Oct 27, 2005 #20
    And again, as infuriating as it is, I am not saying that this is what happened.

    You have expressed opinions on this and your tone by and large has been: This is a non-issue. I am curious if you find the idea that fraud happened, more legitimate - given the GAO's report.

    If you do think the idea carries more weight since this bipartisan governmental panel says that miscounts and loss of votes in electronic voting occured, then do you think that we should address the problems, with electronic voting machines, that they identified?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2005
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