Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Thoughts

I haven't been to my polling place yet, but I think I'll be wishing I had gone this morning rather than after work.

To follow up on my earlier post regarding electronic voting, not only do you have to worry about hackers during the election, but you also must secure the voting machines before and after the election, just like you would lock up paper ballots. Ed Felton found some voting machines, unattended, days before the election. And he wasn't looking for them. *sigh*

From TechDirt:
One of the issues concerning e-voting machines, and Diebold in particular, is how they've responded to all the criticism and vulnerabilities -- with the company often being accused of covering up, ignoring or denying the problems... back in 2003, Maryland commissioned a study on the Diebold machines... Diebold demanded two very broad concessions: no source code access, and they reserve the right to redact out any proprietary information... The final "redacted" report came out weighing in at a lightweight 38 pages... Someone high up has leaked the original documents which weighs in at 200 pages meaning that someone (most likely Diebold) was able to knock out 162 pages of info on vulnerabilities... how many of the many, many vulnerabilities discussed in the report were actually dealt with before the 2004 election and how many were dealt with before today's election(?)...

In the meantime, if you're looking to feel confident about e-voting companies and their tech ability, Chief Elf writes in to let us know that he went to check out the company, Advanced Voting Systems, that built the e-voting system he used this morning, and found a nice big error message right on their home page. I just checked and it was still there, but in case they fix it, here's a screenshot. It's tough to trust these companies to build competent voting machines when they can't even correct database/PHP errors on their own website on election day.
From Slashdot:
Neovanglist writes "CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are reporting that voting machines in three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Florida) have already been showing issues, both in the machines themselves and in the training of poll attendants, causing many districts to switch to paper ballots."

So... time to get out and vote. Hopefully, the future will not mirror the satirical sites such as Fix-A-Vote. I'm signing up for absentee ballots.


  1. Yeah, we do absentee ballots. And not so much for the issue of safety. We're just too lazy to go to a polling location! ;)

  2. We were using Hart InterCivic eSlate machines, and it was so confusing to people that there was a 75 minute wait to get to vote! I was done in about 5 minutes myself, but there were people standing in the booths for 10, 15 minutes before I stepped up who were still voting when I left...

    So, to convenience, you can add "save time!" I'm definitely voting absentee next time!