Thursday, November 18, 2004

statement of US election verification project

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 -- For eight months, the Election Verification Project, a national coalition of technologists, voting rights and legal organizations, has worked to raise public awareness of the need to reduce computerized voting risks, and ensure that votes will be recorded and counted as cast.

On November 2 more voters cast paperless ballots than ever before in a U.S. election: roughly 30 percent compared to 12 percent four years ago. The Election Verification Project is not questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election results. Instead, we are questioning a voting process in which 30 percent of the ballots cannot be verified and, of the remaining 70 percent, most will not be verified.

While there was no nationwide meltdown, the election was far from error-free. Our preliminary analysis of nearly 900 reports of e-voting irregularities, gathered by the Election Incident Reporting System, indicates that electronic voting machines need much improvement. Problems were reported with all vendors and across most of the states that use e-voting. Electronic voting machines lost votes in North Carolina, miscounted votes in Ohio, and broke down in New Orleans, causing long lines and shut-downs at polling places.

The documented problems with touchscreen machines, vote-counting irregularities, and the fact that votes cannot be verified or recounted show us how vulnerable our democracy will be in the future if there is a disputed or unclear result.

from CalVoter.org - November 18, 2004
Statement of Election Verification Project

why worry, the machines are always right

The kindest thing I can say about this article is that it is smug and uniformed.
In ATMs, Not Votes, We Trust

Last weekend the New York Times published an editorial that found "no evidence" of vote fraud but called electronic voting "a problem" all the same. After all, the editorial noted, there is "no way to be sure" that votes weren't changed "by secret software" inside the machines. If you're tempted to believe that analysis is rational, just ask yourself this question: Are you really sure that your bank isn't using secret software to steal $9.72 from your retirement account every week? And if the answer is no, why aren't you up in arms about that, too?

The bank is an ongoing set of transactions that are repeatedly, multiply audited.
You check, the bank checks, and if it's wrong, it gets corrected.
Your transactions are information that is shared between you and the bank.
And probably to various auditing partners (the tax man, banking associations) beyond the bank.

A vote is a one-time transaction.
It's a secret ballot.
No information about it is supposed to be shared with anyone.
Now, tell me how you audit if a vote is correct, if you are supposed to have NO WAY OF KNOWING how someone voted?

The reason you need paper is you have a visible indication of a vote.
Inside a computer you have nothing but anonymous, unauditable bits.

Hey, article lady, how about we try this scenario.
You give me $972 and I will promise to deposit it for you.
But you don't get to check whether I deposited it.
You just have to trust me.

This (hmm, how to say this kindly) misguided article is by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post, November 17, 2004.

Now I want to emphasize: this voting conspiracy theory stuff gets us nowhere.
Talk about the FACTS of unauditable systems. Don't speculate about things that (by design) are impossible to prove or disprove.

Monday, November 15, 2004

preliminary report on US election e-voting


A national coalition of voting rights and computer security experts will hold a post-election press conference to provide a preliminary analysis of electronic voting problems and solutions, and their implications for increasing voters’ confidence in the legitimacy of elections.


-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation

-- Lillie Coney, National Committee for Voting Integrity/Electronic Privacy Information Center

-- David Dill, Ph.D., Verified Voting Foundation

-- Will Doherty, Verified Voting Foundation/Election Incident Reporting System

-- Chellie Pingree, Common Cause

-- Matt Zimmerman, Electronic Frontier Foundation


Thursday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 12 Noon

Common Dreams Progressive Newswire - November 15, 2004
Voting Rights Coalition Grades E-Voting, Calls for National Standards

I guess related to CPSR's Election Incident Reporting Project.

There is CPSR Canada, I wonder if they're doing any e-voting anything.
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