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View Diary: [Updated] Ohio to outlaw recounts and shield Diebold (196 comments)

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  •  Why? (none)
    Care to point out where I EVER defended touch-screen voting machines without a paper trail and provisions for regular audits?  Care to point out where I EVER minimized the problems with our voting laws and administration?  Don't act like the caricature of a fraudster and fail to differentiate between, on one hand, refusal to believe that Kerry got more votes in Ohio (and possibly elsewhere) than Bush and that Bush supporters changed the results, and on the other hand, a refusal to acknowledge that there are severe problems with voting in the country.

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 08:43:39 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I have read your comments on this issue many times (4.00)
      and I have to say that, while I respect a difference of opinion, it would seem important that the opinion be grounded in actual research.

      I've been involved with this since the 2004 election here in NC, going to protests, rallies and listening to computer experts discuss the problems.   A Republican computer expert in our state, right after the election, came to meetings and explained exactly why the election had to have been stolen. He was upset about it even though his side had won.  His friends thought he was nuts to protest, but he had some ethical issues with his party stealing the election.

      One of the things he told us was that you can program a computer so that it cannot be audited. The glitch can occur for only a few hours on election day and be  untraceable before or after.  You can program the machines to give a paper ballot that matches what the voter thought he voted for but to register a vote for someone or something else.  You can program a machine to simply switch the final totals.  Note that Kerry was predicted in the exit polls to win Ohio by 52% and Bush to get 48% (as I recall). The final totals were exactly opposite.

      Now I know you will not believe me, because I have seen you in action before.  But we happen to be in the middle of these discussions here in Watauga County, NC at this very moment. So, here is a letter from our local computer expert addressed to our local election board members.  I deleted his name because I did not get his permission to use it. However, if you would like to contact me privately, I would be happy to put you in touch with him.

      Here's his letter below:

      I am writing to provide my perspective on electronic voting machines.  My name is ------------.  For numerous months, I served as the de-facto lead geek on a working group formed immediately following the 2004 elections by the Watauga Democrats.  We focused on trying to understand what role electronic voting machines played in the election, were they secure/reliable, and what pragmatic steps might be done to improve electronic voting.   Before I make a brief recommendation I would like to note my background and the effort expended so you may be better judge the relevancy of my comments.  I have an MS in physics from Vanderbilt and I have worked for 13 years primarily for the defense industry in the areas of applied physics with particular emphasis on the development of scientific software, software/hardware systems, simulation, etc.  Much of this work involved systems accessible via the Internet so security was of prime concern.  I spent about three months (of my own time of course) working to educate myself on the issue then draft design criteria for an inexpensive, secure system (hoping NC might adopt the approach of demanding adherence to detailed technical specifications from vendors).  I spent roughly 10-15 hours per week because of my concerns regarding the accuracy, security, and lack of verifiability of the bedrock of our Democracy--our voting system.  

      Since I know you are likely receiving much more input than you would like and your choices are very limited for this purchase, I will be very brief.  Currently optical scanners are significantly more secure than DREs and I suggest our Watauga County purchase only optical scanners for now.

      I could give hundreds of detailed technical reasons why we should stay away from DREs until they meet a list of technical, testing, and procedural criteria I have begun compiling.  However, a very simple, undeniable  point regarding DREs follows.  Just because a DRE prints a particular selection on a final voter verification screen and the identical information on a paper ballot gives absolutely ZERO assurance that the DRE electronically recorded the same selection for that vote.  One has to ask oneself under what situations would the paper trail prevent or even call attention to incorrect electronic recording of a vote.  The answer is very rarely if the screen is incorrect also.  The voter can't see the electronic record, thus does not know.  Since the paper trail is only used to count each vote during a recount, etc. incorrect electronic recording would not be detected easily.

      Regarding manufacturers, I gathered information via a variety of mechanisms (not just blogs)--technical documentation when available online, even some source code that Diebold accidentally released, numerous scholarly studies conducted by academics specializing in voting research, etc.  I would strongly suggest staying away from Diebold.  Their physical security practices at their manufacturing and research facilities is abhorrent.  Their machines are also some of the least secure.

      I thank you for your time and the opportunity to express my views on electronic voting.  

      •  Have you seen this site? (4.00)

        I have given up on having meaningful discussions on this with some people I otherwise respect.  It's like they have their fingers in their ears and are singing lalalala to keep from hearing what you are saying.  I was corresponding with PhDs in math after the election and what they were saying is pretty much in line with what you say.  But I got little to no respect on the issue.

        The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

        by mikepridmore on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 09:52:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  spooky (4.00)
        "You can program the machines to give a paper ballot that matches what the voter thought he voted for but to register a vote for someone or something else."

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ~~ Mohandas Gandhi

        by TimeTogether on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 10:31:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  'why the election had to have been stolen' (none)
        We're probably all fried from a solid year of talking about this, so let me sincerely apologize in advance if anything I write comes across as ironic or worse.

        If your friend can indeed substantiate why the election had to have been stolen, or even probably was stolen, could you please share that? I have spent an appalling proportion of the last year looking for compelling evidence.

        It seems to me that the content of your friend's letter is pretty much in line with what DHinMI wrote above.  One can believe that Bush got more votes in Ohio and that DREs are unacceptably insecure (I dunno if DH went quite that far).

        I am pretty sure that no state was stolen by switching all the Bush votes to Kerry votes and vice versa, even in particular counties.  Might've happened in particular precincts, I suppose.  But if it happened in entire counties, it would stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

        I don't believe Ohio was stolen on DREs, because the DRE results from Ohio aren't anomalous.  I can't rule out that Ohio was stolen on DREs and on other equipment, although I think it's unlikely.

    •  Where's pro-Carter Center diaries from you guys? (4.00)
      You and your allies who are so quick to attack voting irregularities diaries claim you all don't minimize problems with voting irregularities. If that's true, where are the diaries from you and your allies pointing out those obvious problems with voting irregularities that we all agree on? The need for paper trails or paper ballots. Where's the outrage over the ridiculous voting lines in Ohio? Where's the support for reforms well known and well established groups like the Carter Center advocate?

      Claiming you never defended the lack of paper trails, etc. is a cop-out. The only people that advocate any reforms and generate any enthusiasm for change are the people you attack as fraudsters.

      If you don't want the discussion controlled by people you condemn as fraudsters, you need to actively participate in generating enthusiasm for changes in the voting process everyone agrees on.

      •  Where's My Paycheck? (none)
        You apparently think I work for you, and are at your beck and call to do what you want me to do.

        And have you ever heard of Google?  Did you even bother to go over to The Next Hurrah?  Or are you just saying, like too many people do at Daily Kos, "you're not doing all the work to disprove what I think but am too lazy to confirm, so I'll just make an accusation against you"?  

        And your final sentence is a joke.  This diary made claims I said weren't supported by any source but one.  If you can't judge the soundness of that claim without me establishing my bona fides on other separate issues, that's your problem...and in terms of intellectual inquiry, it's a damn big problem.  

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 11:25:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then you minimize voting irregularities problem (none)
          Where's your paycheck for anything you post at DKos.  Ahhhh... you don't get paid for anything you post at DKos.

          You can't have it both ways. You can't continue to have your only appearance in voting irregularities threads as a resident grenade tosser. If you refuse to advocate for positive change, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          Either you get involved in helping implment Carter Center advocated elections reforms, or you are part of the problems in the US election process that requires being reformed.

          •  I Can Do... (2.25)
            ...whatever the hell I want.

            Under what or whose authority are you making these pronouncements?  

            What arrogance!

            And BTW asshole, I HAVE done stuff on election reform, which I how I've learned that lots of people like you ignore plenty of problems of election administration because they're irrelevant to their goal of showing that Bush stole the 2004 election.  And the Carter Center isn't the only way of doing election reform

            I'll say it again, you're arrogance is breathtaking.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 11:49:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a free country. You can do whatever you want. (none)
              Doing "whatever the hell you want" does not make you an advocate for positive change. Only advocating for positive change makes you an advocate for positive change.

              If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

            •  Goodness (none)
              I'll say it again, your arrogance is breathtaking.

              My goodness. A lecture on arrogance from DH.

              It's a little like seeing someone being called 'batshit crazy' by Ann Coulter.


          •  BTW, Why The Hell... (none)
            ...don't you start your own blog?  Nothing's keeping you from it...except the effort of doing it intead of telling other people how you believe they should spend their time.

            Arrogant, and incapable of seeing how what you're flinging at me actually sticks better to you.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 11:53:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why don't you stop posting at DKos? (none)
              It's just as valid for me to ask you that question as it is for you to ask me.
              •  Because I Don't Want Shoddy Thinking... (none)
                ...and specious resoning like you exhibit to gain the upper hand and discredit one of the premier progressive sites on the web.  Because I don't want lazy people like you mucking things up.  Because I care about this site, and dont' want it to become Democratic Underground II.  

                And because, frankly, I also get a somewhat perverse pleasure in calling out hypocrites willing to tell everyone else what they should do but who are unwilling to do the same know, like telling people who start their own blogs and continue to participate at the first blog where they wrote as a guest blogger for 18 months what they should write about,  but without ever doing anything on their own, and then avoiding the question "why don't you start your own blog."  

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 12:17:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Shoddy thinking... like Carter Center reforms (none)
                  I advocated the election reforms promoted by the Carter Center. Please teel me about all the "shoddy thinking" the Carter Center promotes.
                •  One reminder: This diary is about voting reform (none)
                  This diary is not about starting blogs, it's about voting reform. If you wish to write your own diary about starting blogs, feel free.

                  On this thread, your comments about starting blogs is a distraction and way off topic.

                  Time to get back on topic. I believe you were going to tell us about all the "shoddy thinking" you think the Carter Center does?

            •  You really are out of lline. If anyone (none)
              is arrogant on this site it's you.  Your aggressiveness towards others is extreme. I can't understand how you ever got intrusted with writing anything on the main page.

              How old are you?

            •  You really are out of lline. If anyone (none)
              is arrogant on this site it's you.  Your aggressiveness towards others is extreme and uncalled for.  Have you ever heard of projection? I can't understand how you ever got entrusted with writing anything on the main page.

              How old are you? You act like a teenager. This issue is not about you and what you can do or not do and how nobody has the right to tell you anything.  If you don't want to discuss this issue and it pushes your buttons, go read something else.

      •  Another article: (none)

        Time for a New Direction, before we all fall off the cliff.

        by mattes on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 03:10:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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