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Today Vera Lofaro wrote a comment that points up a dilemma in our democracy:

I feel this election is a clear choice of who runs our country, the people or the corporations.
Right now it looks like the corporations have the edge, since they have all the money, we have to counter that with the bodies and the votes, now more than ever before....It was not simply because the Tea party was more motivated, or too many of us stayed home and didn't participate, plain and simple we were outspent, tell me how did such a good man like Russ Fiengold get defeated.  We saw a preview of it in Wisconson just recently, and unless we do something about it, we will see it again this Novemember.
I think this comment puts the finger on something that many of us have been feeling: the game is rigged.  As it turns out, that feeling is justified.  We have not had fair elections in this country for some time now.  And this is not some kind of conspiracy theory, there is real evidence of the problem, which goes by the name of "red shift".

(Continued below the orange squiggle)

"Red shift" refers to the systematic biasing of election counts toward conservative, Republican candidates.  If we look at the actual statistics, it is shocking:

One of my favorite mathematicians is Richard Charnin, who on his website, using readily available public information, calculates the odds of the so-called ‘red shift” occurring from the 1988 to 2008 presidential elections. The red shift refers to the overwhelming pick up of votes by the Republican Party in recorded votes over what actual voters report to exit pollsters.

In Charnin’s analysis of exit poll data, we can say with a 95% confidence level – that means in 95 out of 100 elections – that the exit polls will fall within an statistically predictable margin of error. Charnin looked at 300 presidential state exit polls from 1988 to 2008, 15 elections would be expected to fall outside the margin of error. Shockingly, 137 of the 300 presidential exit polls fell outside the margin of error.

What is the probability of this happening? “One in one million trillion trillion trlllion trillion trillion trillion,” said Charnin....132 of the elections fell outside the margin in favor of the GOP. We would expect eight.

-Bob Fitzrakis in The Free Press, 6/13/12

Now I should explain something about exit polls in the U.S.  In recent years, the practice of the consortium of news organizations that run the exit polls of presidential elections has been to "adjust" the exit polls to match the final official count.  It is assumed that the official count is accurate and that the raw data of the initial exit polls, if different, must be inaccurate. (Charnin, in the quote above, is comparing unadjusted exit poll data to the official counts.)

In this respect, U.S. elections are different from elections held in the rest of the world, where properly done exit polls are the chief means of finding electoral fraud--if the official count departs from the exit poll by a sigificant degree, that is evidence of vote rigging.  As Bob Fitzrakis relates:

Here’s where U.S. elections become laughable. A couple of private companies count our votes with secret proprietary hardware and software, the most
notable being ES&S [Election Systems and Software]. Every standard of election transparency is routinely violated in the U.S. electronic version of faith-based voting. How the corporate-dominated media deals with the issue is by “adjusting the exit polls.” They simply assume the recorded vote on easily hacked and programmed private machines are correct and that the international gold standard for detecting election fraud – exit polls – must be wrong.
The other private company that counts our votes is Dominion Voting Systems. (Their name has nothing to do with religion, by the way, but reflects the Canadian origins of the company.)  To quote Wikipedia:
In August 2010, Dominion reported that it has contracts to provide electronic voting systems to 600 jurisdictions in some 22 states of the United States, and has deployed 80,000 Dominion ImageCast Precinct Optical Scan Tabulators around the world.
ES&S is bigger--the U.S. Justice department required them to sell part of their operations to Dominion Voting Systems on anti-trust grounds.

Is it wise to entrust the counting of our election votes to, essentially, two private companies, that do so with proprietary hardware and software?  The question answers itself--the potential for corruption is obvious.  And the motivation for corruption is also obvious, as the stakes of elections can be very high--just look at the recent recall election in Wisconsin.  Corporate interests intervened on the side of Governor Walker to the tune of millions of dollars, outspending the opposition by more than 20 to 1.  You can be sure that Walker's backers really, really cared about the outcome of the recall election--they put their money where their mouth was, as the saying goes.  

Was there also vote rigging in Wisconsin?  Well, pre-election polls showed the recall election as "too close to call", but the official results had Walker winning by seven percent.  To quote Bob Fitzrakis again:

In any other election, the U.S. State Department would condemn the use of these highly riggable machines based on the discrepancy in the exit polls. It’s predictable what would happen if the former anti-U.S. KGB agent in some former Soviet Central Asian republic picked up an unexplained 5% of the votes at odds with the exit polls. A new election would be called for, as it was in the Ukraine in 2004.
And here is the headline from Reuters just after the polls closed in Wisconsin:
(Reuters) - Exit polls show the Wisconsin recall election on Tuesday is essentially tied between Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett, CNN said.
The CNN data is based on interviews with voters after they cast ballots and not on actual results.
Indeed.

We have a problem.  We cannot trust that our elections are being fairly counted.  There is strong evidence that important elections are subject to "red shift", where the results are shifted in favor of Republican conservatives.  The mainstream media pretends that the problem does not exist.  Democratic candidates are also silent on the matter.  And this web site does not see discussion of this problem either, despite the fact that we have the "extraordinary evidence" that Markos says is necessary for extraordinary charges. (Just look at the statistics in Fitzrakis' article)

I would think that any Democratic Party activist who wants to see progressive Democrats elected to office would be concerned about this issue.  Isn't it time to discuss this?  

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Comment Preferences

  •  the question is, did those 137 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, cotterperson

    exit polls that varied outside of the norm, did they vary in a random direction, or was it actually, red shift?
    That's the crucial issue.  the chance of 137/300 being outside the standard error range is bad, the chance they'd mostly all error the same direction? criminal.

  •  It's an important issue, but naturally ignored (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    out of left field, Smoh, kaliope

    because people don't want to think about it. The implications are staggering. If the playing field is tilted in the ballot box, then we do not have a genuine democratic republic, but an authoritarian regime masquerading under the guise of democracy. Very few people (myself included) even want to consider the possibility that this is the truth. I am willing to consider it, because I like to decide what to believe based on evidence rather than emotion. Most people prefer the opposite.

    The question becomes, what do we do if we come to realize that the ballot box is rigged? I see no good options. Voting for candidates who pledge to protect the integrity of the voting system would be fruitless, since the rigged voting system would certainly guarantee that such candidates would lose. Revolutionary protest movement are obviously not an option, in this age of high-tech surveillance and militarized police. So we are left with nothing to do except acceptance of the loss of the most basic concept of what America is, or else attempting to find a better country to emigrate to.

    No, nobody wants to think about this, for the result of such thinking is only a feeling of profound powerlessness and hopelessness. And that's why one can logically only expect continued silence about the issue.

    Eric Stetson -- Entrepreneur and Visionary. www.ericstetson.com

    by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:26:43 PM PDT

    •  What do we do? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope

      High-tech surveillance and militarized police are useful against small numbers of relatively isolated people.  But if you have a large majority of the people aroused and protesting against injustice, singling out activists doesn't work, because most people are then activists.  

      Therefore, I recommend spreading the word about electoral fraud as widely as possible.  The alternative, as you say, is to just accept that we can do nothing.

      •  The problem with this (0+ / 0-)

        is that it supports the Right Wing meme of "Electoral Fraud", and simply makes it easier to restrict voting.

        We know there is fraud, and all that is happening is that they are making the problem worse not better.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:58:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you are confusing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, Smoh, kaliope

          the right wing meme of "voter fraud", which concerns actions by individuals to vote more than once, use false ID, etc., with electoral fraud, which concerns actions to undermine the general integrity of the electoral system as a whole by corrupting the vote count.  The latter is best done by people who have official access to the vote counting process.  

          •  I didn't confuse the two (4+ / 0-)

            But the electorate will by the time the media have finished with "Democrats calling out Voter Fraud".

            Evidence first is the only way to challenge the process.

            If there is any, and it's reliable then it's a nailed on Pulitzer for the journalist who breaks the story.

            It would make Watergate look like a misdemeanor.

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            by twigg on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:22:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Smoh, cotterperson, twigg, kaliope

              that evidence first is the way to go.  And we do have the evidence, in the form of the statistical analysis of Richard Charnin and others.

              •  If I were a Prosecutor (0+ / 0-)

                I might think that you have evidence for a Grand Jury .... but on it's own it isn't enough.

                It might be proof positive, but it goes nowhere without testimony.

                That's just how the cynical world works.

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                by twigg on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 08:08:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A Grand Jury sounds good to me. (0+ / 0-)

                  That is how many a criminal investigation gets started--a prosecutor presents evidence to a Grand Jury and they support his investigation of the alleged crimes.  I am all for bringing this problem of electoral fraud into the criminal justice system; after all, we are talking about the crime of subversion of our electoral system.

            •  Regarding the media: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kaliope

              for any journalist to pursue this in a major media outlet, his/her editors have to agree to run the story.  How likely is that?

              Consider where the media is today: we have Fox News, which pushes a right-wing party line and has been caught in outright lying over and over.  We have talk radio, with people like Limbaugh doing their best to sow division and hate.  We have newspapers that are part of chains that have eviscerated the investigative resources of those papers in order to save money and who avoid controversy so as not to offend advertisers.  

              And as for the old line media leaders, would the Washington Post investigate the equivalent of Watergate today?  Would the NY Times publish the Pentagon Papers?  In the 2004 election, the NY Times actually sat on stories that were unflattering to the Bush Administration because they feared that the election would be affected!  

              I guess what I am saying is, don't count on that Pulitzer.  The times have changed.

        •  There is voter fraud in the US, but it is (0+ / 0-)

          perpetrated mainly by Republicans. The most notable case is the Republican former Secretary of State of Indiana, Charlie White, convicted on multiple felony counts for voting where he did not reside, and for holding a local government job that was restricted by law to residents of a district he had moved out of.

          Also, New [Ann] Coulter Voter Fraud Investigation Reveals Danger To Domestic Abuse Victims

          Ann Coulter appears to have voted twice in the state of Connecticut while living in the state of New York.

          Busting the Dog Whistle code.

          by Mokurai on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 09:24:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is it possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, cotterperson

    That as politics has become more polarized then people are simply more reluctant to tell the truth to the folk conducting exit polls?

    That actually the counts are accurate, and exit polls unreliable to an extent greater than previously?

    Any other explanation demands that we accept that elections are being systematically stolen, not something that is easy to hide simply because so many would need to be involved.

    I am not discounting the suggestion, merely wondering how realistic it is.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:53:41 PM PDT

    •  I think not. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Saint Jimmy, cotterperson, kaliope

      The methodology of conducting accurate exit polls is well known, and there is no evidence that this method has been corrupted.  And why would people be reluctant to tell the truth to exit pollers?  When you are asked by an exit poller to tell how you voted, they guarantee not to reveal your identity.  While it is possible to imagine isolated instances in which people might be reluctant to talk to exit pollers, for this to be the norm would require extraordinary circumstances, like, say civil war.  The fact is, reliable exit polls have been conducted in countries that have far more problematic political situations than the U.S.

      •  You will never persuade (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevenaxelrod, Smoh

        anyone other than academics, that a statistical analysis of exit polls is describing electoral fraud.

        It would be seen as partisan, even if many understood the numbers.

        By all means use the suspicion raised to go looking for hard evidence, but the the numbers only describe fraud if the factors have remained constant ... and there is no real evidence that they have.

        I agree that Wisconsin really should never have been "too close to call", but that election was so incendiary, who could blame them for an abundance of caution.

        I am not saying you are wrong, I have no evidence either way .... and without hard evidence, neither have you ... That is my point.

        The deception you describe is massive, and would require that a lot of people kept their mouths shut. That's the hardest bit to believe.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:33:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Statistical analysis of exit polls (5+ / 0-)

          versus the official count was quite sufficient to persuade the U.S. state department to call for a new election in the Ukraine in 2004.  In the rest of the world, when you have discrepancies of several percent between exit polls and official results, that is a big fat red flag that vote rigging has gone on.

          By its very nature, computerized vote rigging is hard to prove because it can be done so easily by so few people.  It takes an in-depth law enforcement type investigation to uncover the actual perpetrators of that kind of act, and to have such an investigation, people have to be willing to pursue it, whatever the political cost.  I think this explains why the Democratic party has shown no interest in looking into this issue, even though "red shift" works primarily against them.

          Consider also that we already have very open attempts at vote suppression by Republican governors, state legislators, and party operatives--in some cases doing blatantly illegal things like producing robo-calls telling voters that if they signed the recall petition they don't have to vote in the election!  With stuff like this going on, is it so unthinkable to tamper with the actual vote?  Consider the stakes, where monied interests are willing to spend millions to influence the outcome.  

          At the very least, we need an investigation into why our voting systems are under non-transparent, proprietary control, which can cover up a multitude of sins.

        •  Wisconsin was deemed too close to call b/c... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          out of left field

          The UNADJUSTED exit poll when the polls officially "closed" at 8 p.m. revealed that Barrett and Walker were tied.  So explain to me why it should never have been considered "too close to call"?  It was NOT originally deemed too close to call merely because the "election was so incendiary."  If that was the case, then they should've waited until every vote was counted, seeing as the atmosphere was as toxic as any I've ever seen surrounding an election.  Personally, I've always felt that no states' elections should ever be called or deemed "too early to call" simply based on an exit poll of approximately 2,000 people, especially in an election where 2.5 million people cast votes.  It's a fucking sham and an affront to everyone who actually goes out and casts their vote.

          As far as an "abundance of caution"???  From the same networks that call entire swaths of the country for Presidential candidates the instant the polls close by time zone and before a single vote has been reported??  The networks all called the Wisconsin recall election for Walker approximately 45 minutes after the polls had closed...and while scores of voters were still waiting in-line to vote around the state, primarily in the heavily Democratic-leaning City of Milwaukee.  How cautious of them...

    •  Regarding systematic stealing (8+ / 0-)

      of elections: in the days when elections were conducted with hand-counted paper ballots, it did indeed require the participation of many people to steal an election, and there was necessarily a strong component of outright intimidation involved, since the stealing would be pretty obvious.

      Today, however, we have elections being tabulated by privately controlled, easily hackable computers.  The number of people needed to actually do the dirty work would be a mere handful, just so long as they have access to the election data on the tabulators, and the only evidence of their work would be statistical analysis of the election results after the fact, compared to exit polls.  This analysis does indicate that electoral fraud is happening.  

      •  As you mention it (4+ / 0-)

        I would be perfectly happy to go back to crosses on paper, counted by humans :)

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:35:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Returning to paper & pen would EASY! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, out of left field

        When I was a kid, each precinct tallied its own votes and called them in to the county courthouse. People gathered there to watch the changes on the blackboard. It was exciting and quite a public process.

        In cities, precincts could use school classrooms that are empty at night. It could be done quickly because "many hands make light work."

        If I could will that back into existence, I'd do it in a split second!

        "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

        by cotterperson on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 07:12:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This turns out not to be the case (0+ / 0-)

        See Landslide Lyndon Johnson, who stole an election by the simple expedient of having enough ballots made up (in the same handwriting) to close the gap and put him ahead. That would require him and the ballot-box-stuffer. Two people.

        Or the elder Mayor Daley, who bragged that he could have the the old style lever voting machines rigged by a man with a screwdriver in five minutes each.

        What we see now with DREs is not actually new. You couldn't audit lever machines, either.

        Busting the Dog Whistle code.

        by Mokurai on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 09:06:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, cotterperson

    to those who have commented so far.  I'm off to bed and will check in again in the morning.

  •  I think it's ridiculous (4+ / 0-)

    that we have 2 private companies with proprietary software counting the votes that our entire government depends on. Would we ever have 2 private companies allowed to count paper votes, with no outside oversight?  That is exactly what this amounts to, because a single hacker could throw an election, if they had a way to create a random shift of just a few percent in a significant number of machines, or in the device that aggregates the vote count. In this era of stuxnet - please explain why this is impossible.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:56:13 AM PDT

  •  Very, very interesting. Think for a moment about (3+ / 0-)

    many of the personalities we've had in politics from about the 1970s to the present.  Many of them wouldn't hesitate for one instant to hack into computers and steal a major election.  Since Reagan, this country has mostly accepted a "win at any cost" attitude in everything from beauty pageants to sports to politics to academics.  This "just win baby" attitude is even openly admired now.

    Since the Reagan presidency, our ethics have slowly but surely eroded.  Since the Nixon presidency, very little that has happened in U.S. politics has surprised me.

    The real power in America is held by a fast-emerging new Oligarchy of pimps and preachers who see no need for Democracy or fairness or even trees, except maybe the ones in their own yards, and they don't mind admitting it. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

    by Saint Jimmy on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 06:22:28 AM PDT

  •  I don't doubt that systemic fraud by the gop is (0+ / 0-)

    possible. They've shown they have it in them.
    However, what makes it easy is the low voter turnout.
    Dems have a hard time getting their voters to the polls.
    The other side is dominated by the religious right and their zealots are able to get out the vote.
    As long  as this factor is in place, you're going to have the reds succeeding beyond their numbers in the overall electorate.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:00:39 AM PDT

  •  Why didn't McCain win? (0+ / 0-)

    The reason, if there is such a strong "red shift" out there, is that Dem voters came to the polls in such numbers that they swamped the cheaters' capacity to cheat.
    Another strong turnout like that would again weaken the power of cheating, and also of "big money" buying of elections.
    I do think the Dems need to be investigating this, but in the absence of evidence and convictions for fraud, we should be working on raising the voter turnout numbers to an acceptable level.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:08:02 AM PDT

    •  Indeed: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, kaliope

      As Bob Fitzrakis points out in his article, according to state exit polls, Obama got over 60 percent of the vote in 2008, well over the official tally of 53 point something percent.  It is possible that those who rigged the machines simply underestimated the size of the vote that Obama was going to get.  

      The problem is, you can't count on this sort of result all the time.  What with Citizens United opening the floodgates of corporate money and numerous state governments engaging in actions to suppress the vote, for any Democratic politician to get this kind of landslide support again is unlikely.  

      If we were serious about raising voter turnout, our country would be doing things like holding elections on weekends, or making federal elections national holidays so people wouldn't have to take off from work to vote.  We would be supporting massive voter registration drives and in general doing everything we could to involve people in the political process.  

      But the reality all goes the other way--all sorts of measures to make it harder to vote, to criminalize voter registration drives and to make the political system less responsive to the people.  In Michigan, for example, the right to vote in local elections is being made meaningless as unelected managers are taking over entire towns, at the behest of the state government.  And the Republican majority in the legislature suppresses attempts at resistance by the Democratic minority with tactics that are utterly undemocratic, violating rules of procedure every chance they get. (Striking video of this at work has been shown on the Rachel Maddow show.)  

    •  Or McCain didn't win because the people who (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder

      really control the elections didn't want him to. The GOP was being held responsible for the damage to the economy, and handing it off to the Dems was a good strategy. Besides, if the GOP always won, we would realize something was wrong pretty quickly. I agree that turn out is a major concern, but we have to remember that the people who are playing games with our democracy are not stupid.

      "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

      by tb92 on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:54:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  red shift into high gear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    csbrudy

    I've worked on the elections reform issue since 2004. I've also worked as an active Democratic Party member, supporting the right people in local, county, state and national elections... all the while knowing that the votes are very fragile... easily flipped, dropped or otherwise ignored.  

    I've been able to live with this by understanding that it is still possible to win by overcoming the amount by which they cheat... but also that they won't steal every race where the outcome is predetermined to be Democratic, or where they aren't set up to do so... all the while knowing "they" will when they want to, almost every time.

    Democrats and certainly Republicans don't want to know about this... they deny it out of hand and always have until recently, as huge turnouts such as Wisconsin's belie the supposed vote tallies and exit polls are ignored or readjusted to fit the "official" numbers.

    Hardest thing about this is that when you try to tell Democrats about this who are working their hearts out to win honestly, you're saying their work is for nothing because even when we win, the numbers are often jimmied to show we lose... or as in Obama's victory in 2008, our landslide is stolen so that he is truly denied the will of the people.

    I just can't for the life of me understand why no one at higher levels of the Democratic Party are acting on this.  And the only reason I can figure they are so quiet is that some of them are in on it... that the rampant election theft transcends political party and goes to the heart of our permanent government... those terrified of the Left wing, the so-called slide into Socialism, etc... and of course major media is fully complicit in its silence and lies... (Operation Mockingbird perhaps).

    Far as I'm concerned they are traitors, and I look forward to a time when the truth winds its way out to the public and we can watch them hang for their crimes… and I don't mean just figuratively.

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StPete

      that the Democratic Party establishment has to be a major enabler of what is going on, not just with electoral fraud, but with a whole lot of things.  While there are individual Democrats who fight the good fight, the party as a whole does not behave like a true opposition party regarding the Republicans.  Over and over we have seen the Democrats get rolled and you have to ask, "what were they thinking!?"  This is another serious problem with our politics that needs attention.

  •  Solution? Return to Handcounts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    out of left field, chmood

    A return to hand counts in the precincts is the only way we, the majority, will take our nation back from the wealthier minority.   Anyone who believes the BS that the right is winning fair and square is suckering into the media Kabuki.

    For information on hand counts, search for Nancy Tobi of New Hampshire.   The videos of the hand counts in Lyndeborough are particularly interesting.

    To hell with the Repugs,

    by csbrudy on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:47:04 PM PDT

  •  Montana faced down the corporations and won. (0+ / 0-)

    No stream can rise higher than its source and the law proceeds from the people, consequently there is no such thing as law that stands independent of popular opinion, and for the legislatures and courts to...divorce the law from reason,...would be fatal to the law and destructive to the country.
    Law in Theory and Practice
    Billings Daily Gazette (April  1910)

    Montana acquired a nauseating reputation during the Clark-Amalgamated-Heinze imbroglio and it has no stomach for a repetition of these scenes.  
    Some Objections to Clark
    Livingston Daily Post (July  1910)

    What use are ideal laws if corrupt officials connive at their violation. ...What we want is a congress, a cabinet, and federal and state and local officers who will see that all stand alike before the law, that privilege is abolished.
    The Big Problem Ahead
    Plain Plainsman  (June  1910)

  •  There is a remedy, but it depends on you (0+ / 0-)

    I am a Founding Member of the Open Voting Consortium, which designed a secure voting system that uses computers running Free/Open Source Software to mark ballots, but not to record votes.

    It is not possible to explain all of the security threats in voting in a comment, or to explain how our design counters each one. That will have to be a topic for a Diary. For now, I will just point out that using computers prevents overvoting, stray marks, and other problems with manually-marked ballots, while permitting the use of security features such as providing both human-readable and computer-readable content on the paper ballot. We then show how to create independently programmed verification systems so that the voter can test whether the computer-readable votes match the voter's intent, as shown by the human-readable portion.

    The fundamental problem, however, is not the technical design but the lack of political will. We can have believable elections only if the public cares enough to make politicians care enough, and if enough of the public is then willing to do its part in verifying each and every election.

    We now propose to offer our voting software to schools, so that large populations can test it, learn how it works, and contribute further ideas.

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 09:17:34 AM PDT

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