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Local Election Fraud in Arizona?

  1. Nov 1, 2005 #1
    Ballot box stuffing between the primaries and the recount:

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/Issues/2005-10-27/news/dougherty.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2005 #2
    Damn, not OUR state! ;_;
     
  4. Nov 1, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    Forgive me for pointing out the obvoius, but these were optical-scan ballots: supposedly the most accurate type of ballot. The problem: human error and human physical security.

    Obvious conclusion: removing humans from the equation would improve the accuracy and security in this case.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2005
  5. Nov 1, 2005 #4
    We've always agreed that humans introduce error, Russ. Particularly error that is trivially easy to spot. * Thank you for acknowledging that this case represents likely fraud!

    Patty

    (* Unlike electronic machines, which can cause virtually undetectable fraud. I'll take the former, please!)
     
  6. Nov 3, 2005 #5

    SOS2008

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    We’ve had our fair share of scandal in Arizona (e.g., Evan Mecham, R-Governor – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Mecham). More recently, we’ve had an ongoing population explosion, largely from California. Even Republicans have said the state would become more and more “blue.” When Kerry came here, the rally was very large. But the 2004 election did not reflect this. The state legislature has a few conservative nut jobs to be sure.

    I have moved within the “Valley” over the years, so went online to see if I needed to re-register to vote (which I think must be done three months before election day in AZ). The site says that if you have not moved out of Maricopa County it isn’t necessary. But when I got to the poll they had no record, so I don’t think my vote was counted. At least my district is still paper based. Of course I re-registered immediately after the election. What got me was the only verification of citizenship was a cross reference to the DMV.

    There are so many reasons why our election processes should be made uniform and improved—it’s ridiculous.
     
  7. Nov 4, 2005 #6

    BobG

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    The biggest problem our county had with its 2005 election was running out of ballots. No one expected such a large turnout for an off-year election. People definitely didn't expect $712,000 to be spent on campaigns for a non-partisan (no party affiliation) school board election. The positions aren't even paid positions.

    The three (not affiliated with) Republicans estimated they needed about 14,000 votes to win in the state's most solidly Republican county. They each went way beyond that, getting 19,000 to 20,000 votes each - and got slaughtered by the three (not affiliated with) Democrats.

    Being solidly Republican, Colorado Springs largest school district (we have several) was supposed to be the first spark of a wave towards school vouchers in the state. The school board election wound up bringing in money from school voucher advocates and opponents across the entire state.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2005 #7

    Moonbear

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    Potential scandals aside, is there any data in the state that the people moving from CA to AZ are actually Democrats? It could be that Republicans fed up with living in a liberal state are the ones moving to AZ. You can't just assume that because they're moving from a Democrat-dominated state that they are going to be mostly Democrats.

    Wow, was it really necessary to twist Russ' words to mean something completely different from what he stated? Would the appearance of nearly 500 new ballots have been any less noticeable had electronic equipment been used? Would tampering have even been possible? And, just because obvious errors are spotted, do you ever really know when someone is being more clever? Using machines is not inherently bad. I did object to the ones Ohio was going to use for 2004 that had no back-up system and the source code was being kept proprietary. I can understand as an election security measure not making the source code open to just anyone, but perhaps a few programmers selected by each party, with appropriate security clearance, could be given the opportunity to inspect and certify that the code is not written fraudulently.

    The article says this:
    The election officials or the sheriff's office (who was supposed to provide the security) are either grossly incompetent or covering up for a known source of fraud. Clearly they left open an opportunity for fraud to be committed, whether intentionally or not, and either way, should be held responsible.

    I think that any time such an investigation is opened, the elections officials should be asked to step down so all relevant materials can be inspected without their interference.

    It's good to see that it's being investigated.
     
  9. Nov 4, 2005 #8
    I agree that we should go completely electronic.

    The machines and procedures should be uniform. Companies can open bid to provide the machines and software, but they should not be able to keep it secret from oversight and regulatory agencies.
     
  10. Nov 4, 2005 #9

    SOS2008

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    What you are suggesting as a possibility has been my assumption--it is, as I posted, the Republicans who have been claiming this, and I heard this stated again by a Republican family member just the other day.

    Well now that I’ve re-registered I’ll take McCain’s advice to participate in the democratic process, and I’ll make sure to vote against him.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2005 #10

    russ_watters

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    Fair enough - I'm certainly open to suggestions on how to improve electronic voting machines. What I object to is suggestions (from previous arguments, not necessarily from you) that we should remain in the dark ages, with paper ballots, when, despite some current problems, electronic really is inherrently better.
    Once again, you imply that you would prefer to have more error with more visibility (paper) rather than less error with less visibility (electronic). I think eliminating error, in and of itself, should be the goal. And since strictly paper has inherrent error that cannot be eliminated, we need to switch to electronic balloting.

    edit: [response to expected response] Of course you would like to eliminate error while maintaining visibility, but the two goals are fundamentally mutually exclusive because, as you noted, human intervention introduces error.

    And Moonbear's point is valid as well - some errors/fraud/whatever, are obvious whether an election is electronic or not, and whether or not they are obvious has more to do with the size of the error than the type. Case-in-point, that county in Florida that had the disappearing electronic votes, that you used as a basis for your belief in BBV's crackpottery. The error was obvious and there was an electronic backup, therefore it was easily corrected.
    This case may or may not be, but really - was there a need to point that out? Don't you remember that I said in a poll that I know fraud does happen? Such a thing is simply a matter of fact. What I object to is the crackpottery of BBV's 'fraud overturned the election' schtick.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2005
  12. Nov 5, 2005 #11
    I would start with a uniform standard, since that is the reasoning the SC used to interfere with the State of Florida's constitutionally spelled out right to conduct it's own election. It is not a foregone conclusion, in fact it is likely Al Gore would have been President had the SC not gone against the constitution and interfered with Florida's process for selecting its delegates. The fact that Bush's brother was Governor and Kathleen Harris, the head of his campaign in Florida was also in charge of the election. To much coincidence for me to accept the outcome.

    Visibility does not necessarily mean access. Access to the source code and auditability of the process to insure accuracy does not mean that those overseeing the process have the ability to manipulate the data.

    Storing the results in an excel spreadsheet gives not only visibility, but also easy access to manipulate the results on an unprecedented scale!

    To simply call BBV's allegations crack pottery is ignoring a glaringly obvious weakness in the current system. Whether or not the results of the last election, or the 2000 election were correct is a moot point.

    BBV has demonstrated that the system is vulnerable. If someone can demonstrate a vulnerability in a security system, it behooves us to fix the problem.

    Trusting our elections to corporations with using proprietary systems that are not audit-able is insanity. Maybe I am paranoid, but I don't trust Diebold to have my better interests at heart! Call me old-fashioned but, I want verification.
     
  13. Nov 5, 2005 #12

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps "access" is a better word then -with paper balloting, specifically, though, access and visibility are the same thing. If you can see the ballots themselves, you can access and manipulate them. And while I am concerned with fraud (paper ballots disappearing, or fake paper ballots materializing), error is a much, much bigger concern to me. Fraud (by my estimation) claims hundreds or thousands of votes in a Presidential election, whereas error (known fact) claims upwards of a million.
    Excel spreadsheets can - and are, in this case (actually, I think it's Access databases, but same diff) - encrypted with securtity that would take weeks for a supercomputer to crack. They are as secure as secure gets. Far beyond what a paper ballot can be.

    Much of the issue with electronic balloting, as I've said before, is articulated very well by the name of that site: Black-Box Voting. I'm sure the creator of the site knew what that name meant, but if they had seen the secondary implication and the irony, they would have picked another name. A "black box" is a box inside which something happens that people don't understand and because they don't understand it, they fear it. The very name "Black Box Voting" says that the site is all about irrational, baseless fear! They may as well have titled the site: "Ignorance and Rhetoric".

    People talk about the lack of security in a spreadsheet, but don't think about encryption. People talk about the lack of backups, but don't think about backups! Heck - my dad runs a business off an el-cheapo Compaq pc and I can't convince him to stop using floppy disks (which are horribly unreliable) or back up his files on CD every now and then. But my business has a real-time backup and I do a second weekly backup. It is a simple issue to back up a digital file - just write it to two disks at once (it's called RAID 1, or "mirroring" and costs about $5 for the feature on your motherboard and up to about $100 for a second hard drive).
    No. When a site flat-out lies about it's primary issue, there is no other word that can be used to describe it. I had felt it before, but pattylou was nice enough to provide references to fabrications of BBV, to prove it. Now I use the term without worrying about it being considered rhetoric.

    Yes, sure, they do every now and then post a legitimate issue (so does Rense!) But just because a site sometimes gets the issue right, doesn't make it a legitimate site.
    Everyone already knew there are vulnerabilities. BBV added crackpottery to the issue, and that is not helpful.
    When was the last time you used an ATM? Did you notice the nameplate on it?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2005
  14. Nov 5, 2005 #13

    russ_watters

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    The term may not be in the vernacular of non-techies, so here it is: http://www.answers.com/topic/black-box-theater
    http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/B/Black_Box_Testing.html
    They may as well have titled their website "Fear of the Unknown".
     
  15. Nov 7, 2005 #14
    Auditability.

    My bank transactions are auditable, the elections are not.
     
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