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I have seen NOTHING on this, but here I am sitting in the room.  The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration is about to convene a hearing on "the issue of voter verification in the federal elections process."  It will only be on Senate Television, and I don't see anything about a Webcast.
Update [2005-6-21 11:29:49 by DC Pol Sci]: You want to know the *real* kicker? *Dodd* is against a voter-verified paper audit trail. Why? Well, he wrote what became HAVA, and he says that it's not necessary; that HAVA itself requires enough accountability. Guess ol' Chris is committed to our being in the minority for the foreseeable future...

Here is the witness list:
Panel 1:
Senator John Ensign (R-NV)

Panel 2:
Mr. James C. Dickson
Vice President for Government Affairs
American Association of People with Disabilities
Washington, DC

Professor David L. Dill
Department of Computer Science
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Ms. Conny McCormack
Registrar Recorder, County Clerk
Los Angeles County
Norwalk, CA

Professor Ted Selker
MIT Media Lab
Caltech/MIT Voter Technology Project
Cambridge, MA

Here is the link to the hearing notice:

Here is a summary of what I've been able to learn:  

Ensign will testify FOR a paper trail.
Selker will testify that paper trails are just as subject to hacking as "audio" trails, which just tell the voter how s/he voted.
Dill will testify FOR a paper trail.
McCormack will testify AGAINST a paper trail.

Here's the kicker.  The room is full of the visually and hearing impaired.  Dickson, from the American Association of People with Disabilities, will testify AGAINST verified voting.  Why?  He claims that any attempt to "tamper" with the provisions of the Help America Vote Act will hurt the disabled.  From his testimony: "The disability and civil rights communities oppose opening up HAVA for any amendments."  

WHICH civil rights community?!?  Certainly not the ones who advocate every vote counting....

Showtime.  I've got to get to work.  Trent Lott is about to bang the gavel.  Dayton and Dodd are here from our side. Update [2005-6-21 13:49:11 by DC Pol Sci]: Pictures, as promised...

Dodd and Lott on the dais

Dayton weighs in...the one Senator in the hearing who was unambiguously on our side:

The first panel was John Ensign all by himself. The Treo has a horrible camera, and the picture wasn't good enough to post. This is the second panel:

From left to right: Conny McCormack, James Dickson, David Dill, Ted Selker.

Originally posted to DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 07:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for reporting this. (4.00)
    Keep us posted and keep the sunshine streaming in.  Were those the MIT folks that originally tried to refute Baiman and Freeman but then recognized they had the "adjusted data"?  Just curious.
    •  Thanks! (4.00)
      wow!  thanks indeed!  i still think that paper trails is the #1 or 2 most important issue on the progressive agenda (or should be)...

      even if you don't believe there's fraud, just the possibility of it will convince people not to vote.

      we need to be able to trust our elections.

      thanks again.

    •  Tip Jar (4.00)
      I suppose that since this diary has made the recommended list, and since I haven't been able to post much lately because of other responsibilities and may be in jeopardy of losing TU status, I should post one.

      We're in voting now and waiting for Trent "Pillar of Salt" Lott to return.

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:30:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry...Treo blogging... (4.00)
        should be "we're in a recess for voting and waiting for" Lott to return.

        That's what happens when you're typing all of this on a thumbboard.

        Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

        by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:38:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Audio link (4.00)
        Was diaried earlier, audio link here: rtsp://
        Just said by an anti-papertrail person was that "paper is the most vulnerable, with newspaper stories telling us of problems once a week going back all the way to 1858!"

        and "Pro-papertrail advocates have theories which are not true, we have facts. Most of them have never worked an actual election, and have no idea of how secure the data cards really are. When they find out, they go "oh, it's not so easy to hack these cards".

        Dodd's talking now....

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 09:05:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for reposting here bewert (none)
          and removing your diary; though I didn't notice the recommended diary before I saw yours (some sort of tuning out to anything that says "breaking" - I see blinking).

          Anyway, I'm not hearing anything on the feed - did for a bit then the sound got bad - now nothing. Is this still on?

          •  I hate "breaking," too... (4.00)
            ...and only use it if something really IS breaking, like this, which nearly nobody had heard anything about.  As you'll notice if you look at my user page, I diary seldom and usually only to share something I run across in the course of my job.

            Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

            by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:50:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Why not broadcast? (none)
      Any reason that the hearing is only on Senate closed circuit?
    •  Here's Who to Write to. (4.00)
      i just pestered DC Pol Sci with a request to update with the members for those of us a little less aware, but thought i'd jump the gun and do here.  here's who to contact on this committee to make your thoughts known.  

      United States Senate
      Committee on Rules and Administration Members

      Chairman, Trent Lott, MS
      Ted Stevens
      Mitch McConnell
      Thad Cochran
      Rick Santorum
      Kay Bailey Hutchison
      Bill Frist
      C. Saxby Chambliss
      Robert Bennett
      Chuck Hagel

      Ranking Member, Chris Dodd, CT
      Robert C. Byrd
      Daniel K. Inouye
      Dianne Feinstein
      Charles E. Schumer
      Mark Dayton
      Richard J. Durbin
      E. Benjamin Nelson

      Susan Wells, Staff Director
      Kennie L. Gill, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel

    •  MIT folks that originally tried to refute Freeman (none)
      YES! The Voter Technology Project! HEADED by "Fellows" of the Hoover Institution! (Google THAT!) Check out the discussion here toward the bottom of the page. We're being set up for another computerized mess. ANOTHER one! Votes should be counted by people... and ONLY people. Hand counting votes guarantees valid elections. The number of people required to be in on the secret is several orders of magnitude higher than than the maximum number which can keep a secret. All Paper All Handcounts!
  •  Thanks for getting the word out. (4.00)
    I'd love to know who's responsible for the high turnout of disabled folk who are against a VVPAT.

    Uthman's Razor: Of two equally plausible explanations, the more cynical one is correct. (Ed Uthman; PATHO-L)

    by Susan1138 on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 07:07:16 AM PDT

  •  I don't know why (4.00)
    Conny McCormack (Registrar Recorder, County Clerk
    Los Angeles County) would be testifying on behalf of a verified voter paper trail?  According to this article, she is against it.

    She has pushed hard to bring Diebold Machines to L.A. in the last election. She's also a personal friend of Diebold's lead sales representative in California.  

    I don't trust her.  

    •  Sorry. (4.00)
      I was in a hurry and only was able to look at the first page of her testimony before the hearing started.  She is testifying that it's unnecessary; that people don't look at the paper trail; that Clark County, Nevada, was a bad experiment.  You are correct.  She's against it.  I'll modify the story when I have a chance.  Right now, I'm blogging from the middle of the hearing on my Treo.

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:07:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, and where is Bev Harris? (none)
      They stuff the panel with McCormack and Dickson but don't balance it out with Bev Harris of ? Just another "let's pretend we really do care about this" panel.

      "If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

      by vlogger on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:41:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who the heck is: (none)
    American Association of People with Disabilities? Is this just some front group pretending to be a citizen's group, when they're not? I suggest the Ken Blackwell wing of the Republican Party is exploiting elderly and disabled people in an effort to defeat this bill.
    •  AAPD (none)
      appears to be legit, and not a GOP-backed group. Their website is here. They are pro-Social Security, for instance.

      Nevertheless, odd position they are taking on this bill.

      •  why do liberals hate the disabled? (4.00)
        Is this going to be the new frame for defending HAVA?

        Notice the presence of all the disabled folks in the gallery.  That's grass roots of a certain variety.  Lot's of mobilization there.

        Looks like another "narrative" coup.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:45:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This really calls for an initiative targeting the (4.00)
          Disabled public -  if the GOP wants to frame why do we hate the disabled - we just have to ask why do they hate the American process of voting.  i'd start with the AARP - they've been bitted by the snake and are licking their wounds over medicare.  Betrayal is a powerful thing and the GOP betrayed them.
        •  This has been an argument from the beginning (4.00)
          Over a year ago, I went to DC to lobby on black-box voting.  

          The disability argument is basically that the machines have facilities that allow the blind and other disabled people to vote without assistance for the first time. They are desperately worried that opening up HAVA would remove that hard-won ability.

          The anti-democracy wing of the Republican party is leveraging that fear. And, honestly, I believe that if HAVA is opened up, the anti-democracy crew will do everything in their power to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy - just to be able to paint the left as being against the disabled. The disability lobby has real cause for fear - not from us, but from those who would prefer to control the results of voting.

          If we succeed in opening of HAVA, we MUST be certain that these fears are addressed in a way that preserves the ability of the disabled to vote unaided.

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
          What is the White House Hiding?

          by mataliandy on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 12:26:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  new hybrid for accessibility AND paper ballot ! (4.00)
                   The feds recently certified a touchscreen-opscan hybrid (yes, I kid you not) made by AUTOMARK Technical Systems.

            It's a touchscreen boosted with paper-ballot output for counting that was developed and is now certified at the federal level. It is HAVA compliant — accessible to handicapped, limited mobility, blind, vision-impaired, and foreign-language speaking.

            South Dakota chose the AUTOMARK TS or ATS( last month for upcoming elections.

            Now here's the RUB.  ES&S last year signed a marketing arrangement with ATS, where ES&S has exclusive control of pricing and contracts of sale. However, John Gideon of wrote last month that ES&S is frustrating the demos, commission structure and sales of the Automark machines.

            (Note that even though ES&S is the marketing partner, the op-scan add-on to a touchscreen gets layered over any brand's touchscreen: Sequoia, Diebold, ES&S, for example – according to the company's FAQ section.)

            Anybody wonder why ES&S is smothering the sales of this?  A must read on this, by John Gideon, the information manager of VoteTrustUSA and .

            •  Joan, (none)
              this is some highly important information.  

              As you probably know, in my home state the legislature just signed a deal to have each county make their own choice for HAVA improvements.

              Do you know if Automark is certified in NY?  Also, if Automark is now going to be locked up by this stupid marketing agreement, is there another company waiting in the wings that has manufactured and designed a similar machine.  It seems to me that this solves many if not all of the problems with verification, tabulation and transparency while giving the disabled access.

              P.S. I appreciated your comments below re sampling and statistics.  Tks for the info.

              •  I haven't heard that it is (4.00)
                certified in NY yet, but I did not follow the developments closely in that state.

                However, this article has a couple of very useful contacts, I would imagine, who advocate for OS technology. Including a League of Women Voters official who sounds like she's on your side !

                Fascinating article if you read it through. (It says also that machine makers prefer to sell the more expensive DRE technology instead of op-scan.)

                From what I'm reading also, it seems like these players are trying to elbow the Automark aside:  ES&S, Diebold, state of Utah.  They seem to prefer the old standards.

      •  AAPD, ties to Diebold (4.00)
        Can read this [ excerpt here below].

                  Last year, the American Association of People With Disabilities gave its Justice for All award to Senator Christopher Dodd, an author of [HAVA]. Mr. Dodd, who has actively opposed paper trails, then appointed Jim Dickson, an association official, to the Board of Advisors of the Election Assistance Commission, where he will be in a good position to oppose paper trails at the federal level. In California, a group of disabled voters recently sued to undo the secretary of state's order decertifying the electronic voting machines that his office had found to be unreliable.

        Some supporters of voter-verifiable paper trails question whether disability-rights groups have gotten too close to voting machine manufacturers. Besides the donation by Diebold to the National Federation of the Blind ($1 million for a training center), there have been other gifts. According to Mr. Dickson, the American Association of People with Disabilities has received $26,000 from voting machine companies this year.

        The real issue, though, is that disability-rights groups have been clouding the voting machine debate by suggesting that the nation must choose between accessible voting and verifiable voting.  . . .

        It is well within the realm of technology to produce machines that meet both needs.

        •  Exactly. (none)
          It's disgusting that Dodd can't see this.

          What a fucking idiot.

          •  Dodd (none)
            What do you want him to do - break a chair over the head of the guy from the AAPD? That's why you have hearings and testimony and public submissions.

            Contact Dodd with the info - don't just call him an idiot. There are many kossacks who have never heard of the Automark machine or AAPD and are trying to learn - same as Dodd.

            •  Disagree (4.00)
              Dodd and Joe Biden are two of the most overrated members of our party.  Each has a distinguished past but has now graduated to basically being a hack.  Dodd is, pardon the pun, a Doddering idiot.

              Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

              by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:06:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  disagree-disagree (4.00)
                Dodd has been on the right side of lots of issues that matter. Funding for homeland security (real(!) security) matters, for one.

                That's why I'm surprised he can't see the light on HAVA.

                He should HAVA 'nother look. (Not original by me, I saw that phrase or something similar once in an editorial headline).

    •  Who they are (4.00)
      Just some snippets from their web site.  They've been around for about 10 years:

      AAPD was founded by these five key disability rights activists and leaders: Justin Dart, former Chair of the President's Committee; Dr. Sylvia Walker of Howard University;; Paul Hearne, President of The Dole Foundation; John D. Kemp, President & CEO, Very Special Arts; and I. King Jordan, President of Gallaudet University.

      "The largest national nonprofit cross-disability member organization in the United States, dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities. AAPD works in coalition with other disability organizations for the full implementation and enforcement of disability nondiscrimination laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973."

      "What is the purpose of AAPD?

      1. To further the productivity, independence, full citizenship, and total integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of society and the natural environment;
      2. To foster leadership among people with disabilities;
      3. To support the full implementation and enforcement of disability nondiscrimination laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;
      4. To conduct programs to enhance the lives of people with disabilities, including programs to reduce poverty and unemployment, to assure that every disabled person has the right to his or her own living arrangement, and to assure that every child or adult with a disability has access to and funding for assistive technology.
      5. To educate the public and government policy makers regarding issues affecting people with disabilities; and
      6. To engage in such other activities as may be desirable or required to accomplish the foregoing objects and purposes, not without the scope of Article third and Article Sixth hereof."

      $15/year to join.

      Someone just needs to come up with the equivalent of a voting station that accomodates handicapped individuals.  Could be even one site per city or something.  There has to be a compromise in this area somewhere so they can vote, but we can still have an audit trail.

      ePluribusMedia Support citizen journalism!

      by kfred on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:03:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  These already exist. (4.00)
        There are machines which are just like electronic voting machines, except that they are hooked up to a printer, which then prints out a paper ballot which is deposited with the other paper ballots.  These machines typically cost about 1/3 as much as the Diebold style all-electronic machines.

        Most handicapped people support verifyable voting, but Dickson is a paid hack--the equivalent of the handful of "scientists" who deny global warming and thus get offered more money and media appearances than they could imagine.

        •  Heh! (4.00)
          Yes, "This curious new technology called a 'printer' allows people to vote on electronic screens while at the same time printing a physical ballot! Amazing!"

          Which would be funny except that we're not even at that level of comprehension, nationally, yet.

          The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

          by Shapeshifter on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:08:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't laugh... (4.00)
            This is from neighboring Flagler County, Florida - they just bought Diebold touch screens to comply with HAVA disabled rules (and early FL deadline):

            (Supervisor of Elections) Border argued that the machines have an "electronic paper trail." Although they don't print out a vote immediately, they store the results in their electronic memory, allowing the voter information to be printed after all the ballots have been cast, she said.

            An "electronic paper trail"? Riiii-iiight.

        •  Yup. The new machine to end the nightmares (4.00)
          just got its federal certification, South Dakota selected it in May; Volusia County (Fla) wants it.

          See about it upthread.

          The Automark satisfies HAVA disability requirements and creates ballots for counting.

          Don't know about the cost you cite. [How much is democracy worth in America (vs in Iraq)?]

      •  Paul Hearne, President of The Dole Foundation (4.00)
        If that is Bob Dole's group, no wonder they are siding with the wingnuts over this. Bob Dole supported the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and has recently denegrated from a bipartisan dealmaker into a partisan hack. He also sent a letter to a writer critical of something he said saying, "Go f--k yourself!"

        Also: Is John Kemp any relation to well-known Conservative Jack Kemp, Dole's former VP?

      •  GOP majority's been around 10 years also (4.00)
        These people "grew up" together.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  disability lobby was bought by diebold (4.00)
        see, for instance, this Wired article

        The AAPD isn't as ethically bankrupt as the National Federation of the Blind, however, which took $1 million in a Faustian bargain with Diebold.

        Disabled individuals may have valid concerns about new verified voting machines, but these can be alleviated by well-written voting legislation.  

        Disabled advocacy groups, however -- they're selling out our country.  Screw 'em.

      •  "56 million Americans with disabilities" (4.00)
        The number of people disabled isn't the same as membership. They can't claim to speak for all disabled groups. What is their membership?

        AAPD tried to force our county to buy Diebold touchscreen machines to comply with HAVA provisions with the disabled. The State of Florida has been foot dragging on certification of the Automark machine (basically a touchscreen attached to an autopen that marks a physical ballot). Volusia County Commissioners went against Florida state law and our own mini-Katherine Harris and are delaying purchase of any machine until the Automark is approved. AAPD is threatening a lawsuit.

        AAPD does not speak for all disabled people - educate your local disabled groups on the dangers of electronic balloting and they will come around - disabled people are like everybody else - they want their ballot counted and fair elections.

  •  No, This Has Been a Consistent Position... (4.00)
    ...for this group.  And to be fair to them, touch-screen voting with voice enabled choices is a good thing for blind people.  

    Touch screen voting with pictures of the candidates is also a good thing for those who are unable to read english (or read well enough to understand the ballots) meaning many immigrants who have become naturalized citizens.  

    Touch-screen voting systems can be a good thing.  I have read a case study from Brazil where electonc systems has brought voting to the rural/jungle areas for the first time, and helped break the lock of rigged voting for the first time.

    The real problem is our approach to electronic systems, using proprietary software, contractor funded testing and partisan overseers who put their party's candidates before the good of the country.

    •  Three words: (4.00)
      Open Source Code

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:17:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (4.00)
        The issue is a verifiable audit trail, whether on paper or in another form.  
        •  Slot Machines (4.00)
          If voting machines were regulated as closely as the Nevada Gaming Commission regulates slot machines, there would be no question of accuracy or fairness.

          Surely fair voting is at least as important as fair gambling -- No?

        •  paper is NOT the way to go (none)
          Who says the machine can't print out one thing, and register another in the tabulator?

          Paper will just give people a false sense of security that has absolutely no guarantee of actually existing.

          You think a "paper audit" would hold up in court?  When probably half the voters would probably have lost their paper receipts?  

          How would a paper receipt itself stand a test?  I can produce damn near any kind of paper document you could ever want on my home computer.

          Leaving everything as it is and giving us paper receipts means THEY THINK WE'RE STUPID.

          It's a terrible idea and it is utterly unacceptable.

          •  aye, aye aye (none)
            how many times must it be explained. the paper record is verified by the voter and placed in a ballot box, to be the official record in case of recount.
            you think people meant everyone takes their recipts home, to pull them out of their junk drawers on request?
            sorry, but i'm tired of having to explain this over and over. read the whole thread. this is explained several times in this thread alone.
            that said, the VVPT isn't the only solution here, it is just a fix for the hackable machines that are already in place in 1/3 of the country. open source code is another must have, or even better, pen and paper balloting. throw out all the machines, but things as they are, a voter verified paper trail is the first best step toward clean elections, imo.
    •  Yeah, let the blind vote into a "blind" (none)
      If their advocates are so interested in that aspect of HAVA.

      One of these machines in every precinct.

      But for the rest of us, real votes, please, hand written, and hand counted.

      Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

      by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:40:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Three other words: ATMs have paper (4.00)
      This notion that voting machines can't possibly have auditable paper is insulting beyond belief.

      I wouldn't leave the world's most hideous bridesmaid dress (I WANTED destroyed) in the hands of a drycleaner without getting a receipt. No one looks at me twice for asking for a paper receipt for the most trivial transaction.

      But my most precious franchise? Paper trail? Audit? Whoaaaaa -- that's crazy talk!!!

      •  I could write code that gave you paper (4.00)
        .. and at the same time gave your vote to the candidate of my choice.

        Much more is needed.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 09:00:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cash? COOL!!! n/t (none)
        •  How Do You Make It Match? (4.00)
          Making the paper receipt match the voter's intended vote is easy. Making the computer count the vote for the candidate the programmer wants to win is easy.

          Making the hand-counted paper receipt total match the software total in the 1 or 2% randomly selected counties where hand-counting is mandated, that's hard.

          The point is, the onus should be on the manufacturers of this equipment to prove that their software records the votes accurately. They can't do that unless there's a printed receipt to compare the totals against.

          •  No random hand-counts (4.00)
            The Repugs will pick which precincts to do random hand counts in, then send in special "technicians" to doctor the machines that will be recounted.  This already happens all the time, 2004 Ohio etc.

            The Diebold vote-cheating software will be sure that the Repug candidates "win" by more than the threshold that would trigger recounts, simple code when you are using proprietary, wingnut software.

            Vote by Absentee Ballot:  This is the best way right now, there is at least a written record of your vote.

          •  the "software total," Rob M? (none)
            Do you refer to the total given at the machine or the total received at the tabulator?

            What if I wrote the machine code and also know the phone number of the tabulator?

            Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

            by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:44:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Doesn't Matter (none)
              The total given by any bit of software should match the total given by hand-counting the paper receipts that the voter has deposited in a ballot box.

              If someone manages to hack the tabulator and originally wrote the machine code, it'll have no effect on the election because the paper receipts will give an accurate count.

              •  these ballot boxes (none)
                .. are they only in the 1-2% of precincts to be checked, or are they universal.

                If only in 1-2% of precincts, the logistics would require so much advance notice that the machines in those places could be scrubbed by remote before the vote.  - leaving 98% of precincts open to fraud.

                And if universal, why do we need the machines to do what we have been doing for centuries - marking ballots for ballot boxes?

                Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

                by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:29:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Raise the %. (none)
                  to 7-8%.

                  Banks do this all the time.  This kind of reconciliation is easy.

                  •  Raise it to 100% (none)
                    then you don't need the machines.


                    •  Well... (none)
                      statistically, you don't need more than this.

                      However, with this number, randomness would have to be insured, i.e. any advance notice to the precincts to be audited would have to be elimintated.

                      If this could not be done, then I agree, paper ballots are the way to go.  Why not HIRE PEOPLE (1 Dem, 1 Repub) in each precinct to help with the disabled community, rather than rely on technology which can break and then need to be fixed (and thus, our county funds are directed to the touchscreen companies and not to our people).

                      •  But you don't want election by survey (none)
                        you want an election.  One person one vote.  Statistics shouldn't have anything to do with it. You want a population of votes to count, not a sample.

                        It is so absurd that in the US you end up "estimating" who won.  I couldn't believe that candidates conceded on the basis of an TV estimate.

                        And the money saved on machines could certainly go on people.

                        Disabled people here (UK) either use postal votes, or get a proxy (an named individual) to cast their vote.

                        The reason for the machines is supposed to be the complicated ballots you have.  But in the UK where we have more than one race, you have more than one ballot paper and the ballots are different colours. Easy to sort and we still have the results next day.

                        •  Err...not what I said. (none)
                          You are confused.

                          The "audit" is not the actual vote.  The audit is a way of checking that the results of the actual vote are accurate.

                          The audit check does not have to be a check of each and every vote to be reliable.  It does, however, need to be free of bias.  Hence, the need for blinded, random audits of a statistically significant percent of actual votes cast.

                          •  Not confused, sarcastic ... (none)
                            and not aimed at you!

                            I just think that to have to have sampled quality control to audit your elections (which I agree is probably necessary, given the US's commitment to machine voting) is itself an indictment of the machines.

                            We don't have quality control sampling in the UK because people assume the hand-count is honest and accurate.  If a result is close there is a full hand-recount if candidates request it.

                            I suppose I am still reeling from DU where people still assume that a small survey sample is a better estimate of the vote than the count.  And they may be right, although I no longer hold that view.  But the fact that a substantial number of Americans can think that a survey of 1% of voters could be a better indicator of who won the election than a count of everyone's votes says something pretty serious about how far American democracy has travelled towards losing its legitimacy!

                            But sorry if I caused offence- not intended! I agree that what you suggest is what is required.  it was certainly not what happened in Ohio,

                          •  None taken. (none)
                            Agree completely on the legitimacy question.  We are bordering on bananas in banana republic.
                        •  If anyone is going to be in charge... (none)
                          ...of doing the math to "estimate who won," and doing it the right way, I think it should be Febble...

                          Wonderful to see you on my thread, Elizabeth.  I have an enormous amount of respect for you and for your modeling skills.

                          Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

                          by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:59:53 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  "statistically," you do need more . . (none)
                           . .  than this because you want to be able to count more than a sample, and do more than an authorized audit.

                        You see, an audit (such as you envision) would catch only the errors that turn up randomly across precincts in universally applied code and procedures.

                        But deviations or hacks if they occurred would not be random; rather, they would be inserted in hand-picked precinct.

                        So a 3% sample is not enough, unless you're lucky to pick they right place.

                        Febble is right. You want 100%. A count, not a hit-or-miss audit.

                        We need a VVPB law, not a vvpat. A voter-verified paper ballot, not a paper "audit trail."

                        A paper "ballot" has full legal standing to be counted, as much standing as the 'recorded' ballot translated by bit-counts. An audit trail is available theoretically, but rarely used, and only used in a sample (unless problems turn up in that sample).

                        •  As someone who's been... (none)
                          involved in some challenges to elections, you are absolutely right that we need a VVPB.  It is only a "ballot" that has legal significance.

                          However, it seems you are making the same category mistake as Febble.

                          An election is a vote of the population.  Leaving aside the "audit" terminology, which I agree is a poor word now that Diebold, Dodd, Dickson et al. have so altered its meaning, there has to be a way of determining whether the ballots (whether electronic display images or paper), reflect the intent of the voters.  This follows the election and might be called a check on the accuracy of tabulation.

                          I take both you and Febble to be proposing that every election be followed by a full recounting of all the paper ballots.  This would be a complete, entirely EMPIRICAL check on the accuracy of tabulation.

                          Which is fine and dandy, but it ain't gonna happen.  Election officials would go bananas.  And, as I understand it, it just ain't necessary because every statistics person I have talked to says we CAN sample all the paper ballots in a statistically valid and reliable manner to determine whether the ballots were tabulated properly.  That being said, I further agree with you that 3% is too little.  I have been told that 7-8% will raise the margin of error into the millionths.

                          Of course, if the difference were in this margin of error, then that is a different story.  Presumably, a larger sample would then be dictated.  And, that would be in keeping with the procedures and statutes currently in force.

                          All this is a long way of saying that I agree with you on the need, within limits, for more EMPIRICAL counting in order to meet a high order of statistical certainty, but I don't think you have to go overboard and essentially have a full recount after every election.  

                          •  3%, 7% . . . (none)
                            That's no good, because as I said, certain problems would occur because they were inserted into hand-picked precincts and locations.

                            A random selection will likely not pick up something that is deliberate, or pick up something that is not a uniform error (across jurisdictions) of the reporting or tabulating software. It will more likely pick up uniform, accidental program inaccuracies.

                          •  So, (none)
                            sampling of X of each precinct?

                            What in your view should X be?

      •  Would make a great Letterman stunt (4.00)
        Have cameras follow David Letterman from ATM to ATM. He could do "man on the street" inteviews with bank customers, asking them to join him in getting banks to stop giving out receipts, because the receipts are really just a waste of paper, you don't really need to know how much money was taken from your account...

        Once he rounded up enough people who agreed (or not), he could go into one of the banks requesting the manager to disconnect the printer from the ATM.

        Then he could have David Dill as his interview guest.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
        What is the White House Hiding?

        by mataliandy on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 12:36:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Decouple (4.00)
      Why not have the touch screen produce a ballot, and the ballot is then counted by a separate machine.  It seems to me the many problems with manual systems (punch cards/chads, anything hand-written, fill-in-the-circles, bad erasures, stray marks, etc) could be eliminated by having a machine produce the actual filled out ballot.  It can be made as user-friendly as possible and use a touch-screen (or whatever else works well).  The person could then see that their ballot is accurate (some provision for blind/illiterate would be needed).

      A second machine is then used to count them.  There are a variety of ways this could be done.  Optical scan for simple fill-in-the-circle type ballots, or OCR for spelled out choices.  It could all be enhanced by using things like MICR encoding and other technologies.  

      The totals from the "tabulator" could then be checked against the totals for each individual ballot machine as a quick and dirty verification.  If the totals don't match 100%, you know you have a problem.  Worst case, you still have the physical ballots that you could go back and do a hand-recount.

      The software that runs both machines must be open sourced.  The main thing is, the machine that records the voter's intentions should not be the same machine that counts the votes.  This is the main point of audit, and combining the functions makes a reliable audit impossible.

      •  "why not have the touchscreen produce (none)
        a ballot?" [repeat, that's a paper ballot, not a mere receipt. (The legal standing is different.)]

        YES, yes, exactly so!! And the technology is here now; it is disabled-accessible.

        This new machine just recently got certified by the feds. South Dakota selected it in May for its future elections; Volusia County (Fla) wants it now also.

        See about it upthread.

        The "Automark" satisfies HAVA disability requirements and creates ballots for counting.  Can bridge these 2 needs that have been at odds up until now.

    •  Open source software should be ... (none)
      ...the only consideration for electronic voting systems.  Making the software open source and available for inspection by any citizen is a critical safegaurd for electronic voting systems.  

      But in my opinion there should also be other safeguards such as using generic hardware (prevents any company from gaining a lock on voting through proprietary hardware) and a non-partisan state-level review board that certifies the voting equipment.  I'm thinking of a cetification board similar to what the state of Neveda uses to certify electronic gaming systems.  

      I think a public tabulation of the votes at each precinct after the polls close should also be part of the voting process.  

      I also think that a paper ballot is important but if our first, last, and only line of defense against voting fraud is a paper receipt, then we've already lost.   As several other people have already commented, it takes nothing to rig the software (or hardware) so a person's vote is tabulated one way, and the paper receipt says something entirely different.

  •  Conny McCormack is EVIL (4.00)
    Okay, she's not evil. But she happens to be good
    friends with Deborah Seiler, Diebold's chief sales representative in

    According to Kim Alexander of, McCormack has
    been more openly opposed to the voter-verifiable paper audit trail than almost anyone else in the country:

    Conny McCormack is the LA County Registrar/Recorder; she claims she doesn't like the idea because "printers jam."

    According to Kim Alexander, McCormack is so against paper printouts from touchscreen machines that she hired a documentary film crew to tape people voting in Nevada, time them, then calculate how much longer the voting process would take if voters then had to review a paper printout.

    Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

    by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:16:37 AM PDT

    •  Gosh. But wouldn't.. (4.00)
      Gosh, wouldn't that just mean that the polling site would need more machines?  Wouldn't that increase sales?  At the very least, machines with printers would likely cost more.

      Why would Diebold be against this?

      Gosh.  I just don't understand.


      "You're either with us or against us in the war on terror." - George W. Bush
      "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi Wan Kenobi

      by Stymnus on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:30:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Diebold loses ... (none)
        Diebold's behind the 8-ball on the paper trails issue. They lose their political and financial advantage if everyone adopts paper verified systems.  

        Clark County, NV uses many AVC Edge machines from Sequoia Voting Systems, who implemented a paper trail mechanism for last year's elections. The machines were so impressive Nevada's Republican Secretary of State Dean Heller wants the whole state to use them for 2006.

    •  What do you expect? (4.00)
      She's added a patina of Democratic respectability to her resume by being appointed as registrar of voters for Los Angeles County, but her two prior jobs were as registrar in the Republican strongholds of San Diego and Dallas, Texas.

      I suppose she got in in LA when they had their Republican mayor recently (actually, I think the office is nonpartisan, but he was a Rethug and everyone knew it, no?)

      That seems to be the soon as you get a Republican in, appoint or elect a new registrar of voters or Secretary of State...the pedigree is clear...Katharine Harris, Kenneth Blackwell, Conny McCormack...

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gosh. But wouldn't.. (none)
    Gosh, wouldn't that just mean that the polling site would need more machines?  Wouldn't that increase sales?  At the very least, machines with printers would likely cost more.

    Why would Diebold be against this?

    Gosh.  I just don't understand.


    "You're either with us or against us in the war on terror." - George W. Bush
    "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi Wan Kenobi

    by Stymnus on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:28:56 AM PDT

    •  oops (none)
      Meant to be posted under Maryscott's...I just added it there.  Whoopsie.

      Need a 'delete comment' button :)

      "You're either with us or against us in the war on terror." - George W. Bush
      "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi Wan Kenobi

      by Stymnus on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:31:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, not completely unpublicized (4.00)
    Dayton did put out a press release:
    Today, U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, a Member of the Senate Rules Committee, received an affirmative response to his request that the Committee hold a hearing into requiring electronic voting machines to print receipts of all ballots cast. The receipts would help to eliminate discrepancies in vote tabulations, which were reported during the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. The hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 21st, at 10:00 a.m., EST.

    During 2005, all the nation's states and counties will receive $1 billion in federal funding to purchase new voting machines and equipment. Dayton introduced an amendment earlier this year to the campaign finance bill that would have required receipts and would have reduced voter error, by enabling voters to print and verify their ballots before casting them. Dayton's amendment, which did not pass, would have required states and counties to purchase systems that provide voter-verified paper ballots and receipts.

    "When I was a State Auditor, I learned the necessity of keeping backup documents and creating a paper trail," said Dayton. "Without paper backup copies, there is potential for massive fraud if somebody were to break into an electronic system and alter the numbers after votes had been cast. It would be impossible to go back and determine what the actual vote tally should have been.

    "I was happy to learn that the Senate will hold this hearing focused on protecting the integrity of our elections."

    Earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature unanimously approved legislation to require voter verification of paper ballots in elections involving federal officials, Constitutional officers, and the State Legislature. In addition, Minnesota state law requires a random review of 80 precincts - approximately two percent of statewide precincts - for tabulating accuracy and substantive and technical errors in elections.

    •  Dayton is the only good guy on the dais (4.00)
      Well, except, maybe, for some of the other staffers.

      Lott was going to adjourn the hearing when they called a vote on the Senate floor rather than recess and reconvene, but Dayton went up to him and basically whispered in his ear and made him recess.    Dayton had not had a chance to ask any questions yet.  So we're waiting for everyone to get back now.  I have pictures on my Treo and will upload them as soon as I get to a decently fast connection.

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:37:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you're good, DC (none)
        thanks for being there.

        Looks like you're not missing the history here.

        It could be a small but important brick in the edifice of our undoing.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:57:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great work DC Pl Sci (none)
        Except I would say that Professor Ted Selker (Caltech/MIT Voter Technology Project) is making sense ("that paper trails are just as subject to hacking as "audio" trails, which just tell the voter how s/he voted").

        Appears that the "frame" is to set up a straw man of an ATM type throw-away "receipt" versus no audit trail whatsoever!  Then they will "conclude" that the ATM bits of paper are pointless, BUT they will recommend them anyway to show that they have bent over backwards to please the tinhat crowd!


        "The American people now understand we have a problem." George W. Bush, Galveston, Texas, April 26, 2005

        by BornOn911 on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:26:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not "on the dais." (none)
          Only the Senators sit on the dais.  The witnesses are at the witness table.  But I do agree with you that Selker does make some sense.  Still, I think a paper trail (perhaps in addition to whatever other kind of trail one wants to invent) proved its utility beyond any real doubt in the Washington State governor's race this year.

          Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

          by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:01:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  They are hiding something (none)
    So they are hiding something!

    TRANSCRIPT time... keep the transcript. they gonna delete it soon after otherwise.

  •  Is that voter verification or vote verification? (4.00)
    The Republicans loaded HAVA with provisions requiring greater scrutiny of voters. Their big concerns are "voter fraud" which means all those felons that they keep trying to purge off the rolls in Florida. It means working and poor people who move a lot and have to vote at the "wrong" precinct, and "unqualified voters" which means people without an education (unless they're rich) and people for whom english is a second language (unless they're rich or Cuban).

    This goes right back to old Jim Crow, where they used "literacy" and "civics" tests for voter qualification. For some reason all the white folks were able to pass even if they didn't know jack, and the black folks, even with advanced degrees, had a real tough time. Funny how that worked.

    What HAVA doesn't do is verify votes. It throws technology at the problem, so all the politicians could claim they did something, but without an audit trail, technology makes the problem only worse, as we now know.

    HAVA was a deal with the devil. In exchange for letting the Republicans bring back a little more Jim Crow, they let us have Diebold. Some compromise.

    It's important to keep your loonies straight

    by TomB on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:54:16 AM PDT

  •  Thanks You! / Paper Jealousy .. (4.00)
    I get envious watching footage of overseas voters emerging from behind scrappy curtains and stuffing folded papers into tabletop boxes.

    Joe Biden mentioned going to Iraq to help monitor elections - bet he hasn't seen the the video wherein Howard Dean learns to change the Diebold vote tally on a laptop.  
    So easy a chimp could do it!

    Please post details of the hearing!

    I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way.  Carl Sandburg

  •  Thanks for the article (4.00)
    This has to be a top priority.

    If we don't have fair voting then all the Howard Deans in the world won't matter a bit.

  •  How will a paper trail help? (4.00)
    In the spirit of asking the hard questions, as DHinMI suggests, how will paper trails help? The real issue here is getting rid of machines that: 1. can be accessed remotely on line; 2. use proprietary software with a rich record of miscounting votes; 3. are made by openly partisan corporations; and 4. that no public agency is allowed to verify the soundness of. Which one of these issues are paper trails going to solve? And of course the issue is still deeper than that. With elections boards across the country at every level run and manipulated by political hacks, we need real people to run and get elected to these boards. Paper trails are a red herring issue because if they are implemented, then much of the public that was originally concerned about bad machines will relax thinking it is all better now, leaving the real items listed above unaddressed. Wheels within wheels... Election fraud is rampant in the US, but let's not sit on our butts and hope some committee in Washington is going to solve these core problems -- they won't. And this goes as much for Democrats as it does for Republicans. Remember, Democrats made no serious objections to any of the blatant cases of election fraud over the past 3-4 election cycles. The exception to this is the Congressional Black Caucus, but we have seen how little influence they wield inside the party.
    •  In And Of Itself (4.00)
      On its own, the paper trail is meaningless. It only has an impact if along with it, 1-2% of counties, randomly selected (plus any counties within a certain margin of victory), are required to recount by hand, using the paper receipts.

      Solving the problem of Republican hacks disenfranchising potential voters is a (possibly more serious) problem, but lets at least have voting machines that count the actual votes as cast!

      •  Must have truly random recounts (4.00)
        Anything that requires a recount only after a "certain margin of victory" won't expose the hacked code.  Writing vote-stealing code that always insures at least a victory beyond the minimum is very simple.

        Going back to paper won't happen, there is too much money to be made by the rich cronies of Bushco, HAVA was the end of democracy in the USA when combined with the Repug vote-stealing machines.

        Vote by Absentee Ballot, at least there is a chance for your vote to be counted.

        •  Random Plus... (none)
          My original comment was that recounts should be mandated to be in a random 1-2% of precincts, plus all those within a certain margin of error.

          And the recounts would be of the paper ballots, counted by hand. There wouldn't be any way for "technicians" to go in and tweak some machine so the count was right, as there's no machine to tweak in the recount process.

          The only part of this that's flawed is determining a selection of precincts that is random enough to satisfy the voting public. (Perhaps states could hold a lottery and people could bet on which counties were going to be recounted! At least the income could offset the potential cost of the hand count...)

          •  Sorry, which do you mean? (none)
            Do you mean we should recount the paper receipts, or recount the paper ballots? If you mean paper ballots, then you see how paper receipts do not address the issue.

            If you mean recount the paper receipts, then I am curious how this would work. Election officials go into the random county and ask 1-2% of the voters for their receipts? And if they don't have them anymore?

            •  Clarifying Terminology (4.00)
              Sorry for being unclear. I probably mean ballot in the terminology you're using. Whatever it is, it's the piece of paper printed out by the electronic voting machine that the voter can verify and then deposit in a ballot box for any subsequent recount.

              In general the electronic count would stand, but where requested, as well as in the randomly selected some-odd-percent of counties and where margins are close, the ballot boxes would be opened and the paper copies would be counted by hand.

              Then if there's a major discrepancy, you throw out the electronic count in all cases, decertify the equipment used, and fine the company that supplied the machines the amount necessary to count all the paper copies everywhere by hand.

    •  You're right, but ... (none)
      I don't think a paper trail is the best solution.  A paper trail helps if you need to verify the official electronic count.  However the real solution is not a voter-verified paper audit trail but a voter-verified paper ballot.  With a paper ballot, the paper copy you verify is the official record of your vote.  You simply use the electronic system to make a machine-readable and human-readable copy of your ballot.  The only names on it are the names of the people you voted for, so it's immediately obvious whether it's right or not.  If the ballot is wrong it doesn't go in the box to be counted.  If people are suspicious of the results, they can insist on a hand count (see the Miami Herald in 2000)

      The electronic tally (open source software, but doesn't really matter if it's hacked, since the electronic count is non-binding) is the likely winner predictor, and the hand count of the paper ballots is the final, official tally.  If we can get the potential for fraud out of the optical scan systems, you could scan the ballots for a faster tally of the paper ballots.  Either way, the hackability (word?) of the electronic side becomes moot, since the electronic tally is unofficial.

      As far as this meeting, I think our elected officials in general are stuck.  We need consensus on this, but since it's hashed out at the state level, there's a limit to how far the government can go in imposing regulations and restrictions.  Besides, none of them want to eliminate backdoors that they may need...

      •  Can't figure out how to edit comments (none)
        but I wanted to add a link to the above post:  Open Voting addresses every concern that I think it's possible to address in a voting system (as opposed to concerns best addressed through legislation or through the judiciary).  Clearly, human error and human fraud are inescapable, but at least this gets rid of as many variables as possible.
    •  paper trail (none)
      is physical evidence of fraud on a grand scale.

      Personally, I have no problem with computer voting nor with voting machines connected remotely.

      Proprietary Secret software is ridiculous,  but the 2 main problems seem to be with tabulation vunerability (to error and fraud) and the loss of data in individual machines.  Evidence of both these problems can be generated (and the problems fixed) by producing a paper trail.

      I envision a system where we vote on a machine that sends the votes to 2 tabulation centers, a county computer and a state computer (tabulation difference between the 2 systems would be red flag of error) and prints out a receipt on card stock (ink a vote style) that gets perused by the voter and then  collected sent to the country as normal.  Those cards can be counted (and matched against precint reports) as a checksum for error.  But the votes on those cards won't normally be counted unless there is suspicion of error or fraud in the electronic system.  

      So a paper trail can be used to ID problems with local machines (if you get 100 cards from a precint, but 50 (or 150) votes electronically, you've got a problem) and possibly as a deterrent against tabulation fraud )since the votes recorded on the cards could give a very different count and expose the manipulation.

      When all else fails...panic

      by David in Burbank on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:44:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go Ensign Go! (none)
    Or rather, Go, Nevada, Go!

    Haven't been the biggest fan of my Republican senator from home (esp. in light of the ass-kickings Reid's been delivering), but he is a sort-of friend of the family, and I appreciate that he's fighting for a paper trail.

    Let us know how he does...

  •  Its not about a paper trail! (4.00)
    Verifiable voting is not about a paper trail... its about accountability.  The only way for electronic/computerized voting machines to be trusted and accountable is for them to be completely open for everyone to see... and that means Open Source.

    Nowhere does it say that Deibold have some God given right to make a profit on Democracy.  If they (or anyone else) want to sell voting machines, they should be required to disclose absolutely everything... or they should just go home.

  •  Open Source Code (4.00)
    Until the Source code for the voting machines is posted and every reputable programmer can walk by it and examine it and confidently say ...yup that is tight code....  we have a problem.  Open code verifiable by all.  "trust but verify"....Reagan
  •  Why the AAPD? (4.00)
    Check out the Verified Voting site:  apparently there's fodder for the conspiracy theorists...


    Someone posted to the AAPD-affiliated email listserv that Verified Voting was against accessibility requirements and they should all go to the hearing!

  •  forget paper trails WE NEED PAPER BALLOTS (4.00)
    The only valid ballot is a paper one. How the hell do you recount an electronic vote.

    Please wake up people to this issue! Forge the paper trail.  It's useless, we need paper ballots that are retained as the official ballot at the voting booth.

    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:14:09 AM PDT

    •  from now until the end of time (none)
      Complete agreement here.

      We must all picture an advanced civilization in a future time of world peace, a great democratic union, centuries from now (put them in star trek costumes if you want).

      Now picture these citizens, even in their advanced age of science, still marking their ballots by hand, still waiting for the hand-count, and honoring the decision of the majority in complete confidence that it is an expression of the union's sovereign will.  And willing to fight to keep it that way.

      Electronic voting is not the wave of the future

      It is a potential totalitarian tsunami

      It's too important to give it up.

      Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

      by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:37:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that is what most of us mean by paper trail (none)
      a paper record of each vote cast as the official record in case of recount. voter verified paper trail.
      i just think it would be hard to outlaw electronic machines altogether so the best solution is to require they print out a voter verified record of each ballot cast, placed in a ballot box by the voter.

      sure i'd prefer paper ballots only nationwide, but think it would be too hard to get through. the paper trail is a fix for existing, hackable systems.

    FUCK these god dammed machines! Many other countrys do it this way,they make it work,learn from them,STOP FUCKING AROUND!!! we are only talking about your FREEDOM. this should be long term goal # 1. STOP FUCKING AROUND!!!  sorry for the rant.
    •  You are so right. (none)
      I completely fail to see why America has voting machines at all.  They are expensive, corruptable and they don't work.

      In the UK all that is supplied at the polling station is a ballot and a pencil, which means that there are no queues.

      The votes are counted in public, overnight, by bank tellers who are skilled at counting paper, trustworthy, and available in every community. We have the result in time to install a new government the next day.

      Machines are completely unnecessarily.

      •  Why America has voting machines (none)
        They are expensive, corruptable and they don't work.

        That's why . . .

        All of life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the questions. - Tennessee Williams

        by Leslie in CA on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:37:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Conny McCormack, poster child for fraud (4.00)
    Conny McCormack is the keynote speaker at a nice conference being sponsored by Sequioa, Diebold, and ES&S for state elections officials in Hollywood and Beverly Hills this summer, in the middle of the work week.

    Read all about it on the Vote Trust USA site.

  •  Optical Ballots Solves Most Problems (4.00)
    I wrote an article for the SF Chronicle last year on this topic. My recommendation, which I still stand by, is to use optical ballots. Most people can mark these ballots quite easily. For the disabled, have machines which will help them cast their votes - which are printed out on an optical ballot, and that printout becomes the ballot.

    This does several things:

    1. It separates the vote recording mechanism from the vote counting mechanism.

    2. It provides a means of manually verifying the tally.

    3. It provides a record which cannot be altered, at least not without leaving clues. (Electronic records can be manipulated without leaving a trace behind. I'm speaking now as a professional programmer.)

    4. It provdies a means for the voter to check that he voted the way he intended, prior to committing the vote. (Recall the infamous Palm County (FL) butterfly ballot.)

    As with any voting technique, there are opportunities for fraud and error. (Just one example: Optical scanners don't always work right.) But given the alternatives, this is the best we've got, and the one that will restore confidence in the vote.
    •  Cool column you wrote for the SF Chron. (none)
      Your points are right on the mark.
    •  Optical Scanners can be hacked! (none)
      Please see the article on black Box Voting ( titled -- "Optical Scan System Hacked 3 Ways" !

      "If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

      by vlogger on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:58:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, It's Diebold - What Did You Expect? (none)
        I see that the company who made the hacked machines was our old friend Diebold. I wouldn't buy a used punched card from them.

        And, yes, any system can be hacked. There are many points of vulnerability. The advantage of optical ballots is that, when there is a suspicion of hacking or other fraud, the original ballots still exist and can be recounted, by hand if neessary.

        Any voting technique which relies on an electronic-only method of preserving the vote is not only subject to the same hacking, but - far worse - cannot be cross-checked by any non-electronic means.

  •  THAT (none)
    is some damn fine Internetting! Peering inside a hearing in real time with updates; Freakin powerful buddy!
  •  Technically, Dodd is Correct (4.00)
    when he says that HAVA already has a paper requirement. Here is 42 USC 15481, Section 301(a)(2)(B):

    (i) The voting system shall produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for such system.

    (ii) The voting system shall provide the voter with an opportunity to change the ballot or correct any error before the permanent paper record is produced.

    (iii) The paper record produced under subparagraph (A) shall be available as an official record for any recount conducted with respect to any election in which the system is used.

    I haven't heard any particularly loud calls to enforce this rule, but there it is.

    Also, the rule doesn't make it clear how to ensure that the paper record actually reflects the vote in a way that cannot be faked. For a way to do that, see my previous post on optical ballots.

    •  Hmmm...some lawyer on here... (4.00)
      ...get your summer intern to research the following question (I'd do it myself if I had time...):  what remedies might be available in a federal court for contesting an election that did not comply with this provision...

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:06:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but the hava record is a reprint (4.00)
      not a recount. that is what hava mandates. the computer totals printed out at the end of the night. no record of individual ballots cast, just a printout of the machine generated totals. completely worthless, and shame on Dodd for not having a fucking clue.
      •  That is one way to read it (4.00)
        The section is a bit ambiguous on this point. Subsection (ii) implies that the voter gets to inspect a paper record before the vote is recorded, but it does not spell it out.

        One would expect that a vote audit would mean a recount of the individual ballots, not of the total tallies from each machine. But not always, so I suppose you could make a case that recounting the total machine tallies satisfies the law.

        Which is just another argument that the law needs to be changed.

        •  yes, but (4.00)
          "so I suppose you could make a case that recounting the total machine tallies satisfies the law."

          that is the way the states have implemented HAVA. Example, florida, where all those south FLA counties that went heavily for gore went less heavily for Kerry, and there is nothing to recount, just reprints. The fact that diebold and es+s refused to provide machines with printers even to counties that requested them helped things along.

          regardless of wether hava is amended or not there is progress being made towards VVPT state by state. see:

          and some counties like miami dade are now considering junking the touchscreens altogether and returning to opscan. for the first time since 02 i actually have some hope, but if the fed won't help we have to do it state by state, or even county by county.

  •  What Else Really Matters? (4.00)
    There's no hope left for the U.S. unless we get paper ballots back. And yet this diary  - while recommended - is getting relatively little attention.

    Here's a question: since the U.S. electorate would probably not settle for an explicit one party state, what would happen if individual Democrats stopped giving money to any campaign held in a state subject to massive electronic voter fraud? Would the RNC feel compelled to subsidize the DNC? After all, that's the relationship between the Harlam Globetrotters and Washington Generals. Our oh-so-impeccibly credentialed consultants would still get invited to the best DC cocktail parties. And the rest of us could use the money we save to buy a better grade of cat food to improve our dining experience.

    Paper ballots. It's the only issue that matters right now.

    visit - home of "girlsong"

    by jabney on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:33:46 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (none)
    A very strong Thank You to DC Poly Sci for your efforts at this real-time blogging.

    Keep it up; we may be quietly lurking, but we are grateful for your reporting and are following this thread with interest.

    Anarchy is better then no government at all.

    by fazzaz31 on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:06:48 PM PDT

  •  Amusing Anecdote (4.00)
    Well, not so much amusing as insightful.

    I live in Silicon Valley.  When I went to vote, I requested a paper ballot.  (We have touch screen voting in my area, but in California, you can demand paper.)  The man working there handed me my ballot and asked if I work with computers.  I replied that I did, and he said "All the computer guys are asking for paper ballots."  All the computer people I asked later did get paper ballots.  This anecdote carries more credibility than the testimony of any single expert IMHO.

    •  Uh, the paper ballot option only. . . . (none)
      applied to the November 2, 2004 election.

      In April of 2004 when Kevin Shelley discovered that our California elections were not secure, he wanted to implement the accessible voter verified paper audit trail ("AVVPAT") right away, but the County Clerks, etc., said the timeline was too tight.  As part of a compromise--because no election of consequence were anticipated before 1/1/06--EXCEPT for the Presidential election in November--a compromise deal was struck.  The compromise said that implementation of the AVVPAT wouldn't occur until 1/1/06, but that in exchange during the only election of consequence, the Presidential election, that either everyone who used a paperless system (a DRE) had a choice of:

      1. offering a paper ballot through the voting device-or-
      2. complying with 23 safeguard set forth by Shelley, including offering a paper ballot as an option, parallel monitoring of random DREs and registering the proprietary software with the Registrar of Voters.

      Now, we have Schwarzenegger's special election coming into effect after these temporary safeguards have expired but before the 1/1/06 AVVPAT standards go into effect.

      How very convenient for those who seek to rig our elections.

      P.S. What we do now have is the option of provisional ballots thanks to the otherwise questionable help offered by HAVA.  However, after the 11/2/04 experience we learned a hard lesson that absentee and provisional ballots are not counted with the same standard of the customary ballots.

      Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

      by Einsteinia on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:45:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What of Dill, Selcker? (none)
    Will the Stanford and MIT "experts" at this hearing be talking sense (like the computer folk in Silicon Valley on election day)?

    Or are they just window dressing, mere fluff in somebody's pocket?

    Anything to report, DC?

    Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

    by Upstream Review on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:17:23 PM PDT

    •  Nothing really to report on that front... (none)
      I can't tell you what goes on behind the scenes, except to say that if John Ensign is for verified voting, it means there really is a bipartisan push for this thing and that our efforts have borne some fruit.

      Of course, with Chris Dodd against it, it also means that some of the opposition is bipartisan.

      What will come out of this, I don't know.  I doubt it will be anything this Congress.  It's going to take a few more fiascos and a bunch of Republican losses before anything real gets done, I think.

      Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

      by DC Pol Sci on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:50:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  athan gibbs (none)
    why can we not implement his truvote system?  did it die with him?
  •  Use the Mastercard example (none)
    I agree that you need both a voter receipt and verification of the tabulation.
    The credit card data fiasco should provide the justification for verifying the tabulation, without help from a Diebold technician.
  •  Idea for getting more people aware of this (none)
    Does someone want to submit this as a story to Slashdot? They'd probably be interested in something like this, since they've had similar stories in the past.

  •  May have been said, but: Time to swarm Dodd. (none)
    He doesn't see it? Tell him to talk to Rush Holt.

    Cripes. I know, perfect should not be enemy of the good...but, it doesn't matter how well we campaign unless we can get our votes counted.

    Again, sorry if a repeat, but must run. Will read all later.

  •   I still think (none)
    that we should get rid of electronic voting altogether.  These machines can never be made tamoer-proof and paper trails aren't enough to compensate.  
  •  Dodd is part of the problem. (4.00)
    I don't know if he has some emotional investment in the flawed HAVA or has a family member held hostage at Diebolds skull island HQ :) but he is the one Terry McAwful said told him that the touch screens  and tabulators were "safe"...

    This was face to face in Seattle in Oct 03 even after several people who had access to the GEMS software source told Terry how badly written the software was.

    I was not aware the Senator from Conn could read source code....

    -- If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. * Noam Chomsky --Democracy is the theory that the comm

    by NCrefugee on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 09:23:30 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this! (4.00)
    Dickson was on the electronic voting panel a year ago. He seemed too prepared. I know that sounds ridiculous, but he sings that one song so loudly that you can forget that the bigger issue is transparency and vote verification, the core of democracy.

    "If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

    by vlogger on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:28:51 PM PDT

  •  Is there anything that we can do to (none)
    influence others how important we think this is?

    It's incredible that any Democrat would be agains this, HAVA or no HAVA.

    Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:42:31 PM PDT

  •  the disabled should not be disenfranchised -- (none)
    To accommodate the blind and the wheelchair bound or height-challenged EVERYBODY can use braille ballots in voting booths with the writing surfaces at knee level, but the fucking ballots should be paper and numbered.
  •  put it in terms they understand -- (none)
    We want the same standards of security and anonymity for our votes as they want for their offshore bank accounts.
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