Voting machines remain worry in US election

Nov 03, 2012 by Rob Lever

Few want to even think about it, but the 2012 US election result could be clouded by problems with voting machines ... again.

Twelve years after the Florida punch card debacle in which thousands of votes went uncounted in the crucial state, some experts cite similar concerns about voting .

"I'm not sure we've made forward progress since 2000," said Douglas Jones, a University of Iowa computer scientist and co-author of a book published this year, "Broken Ballots."

"We've put a tremendous effort into changing the voting systems, but in many cases we've discarded systems too quickly and replaced them with systems that we haven't examined enough."

Jones said technology used on some vote machines is now close to a decade old and should be updated. And some systems have or may not allow for recounts or audits, he noted.

"Whenever an election is close all of the weaknesses become apparent," he said. "I expect there will be some states where the margin is so close that people will raise questions about irregularities."

A frequent target for critics is the use of touchscreen , which lack a paper backup. Around 25 percent of Americans are expected to use paperless electronic voting, according to the Verified Voting Foundation.

A report earlier this year by two activist groups and the Rutgers University School of Law said systems used in 20 states were either "inadequate" or needed improvement.

That includes 16 states which use paperless machines in some or all jurisdictions. Six states were ranked "good" and 24 "generally good."

— Storm becomes wild card —

Hurricane Sandy's destruction has added another element of uncertainty, says Thad Hall, a University of Utah and researcher for the Voting Technology Project.

"No power means that (vote machines) will only operate as long as their batteries last," he said. "It also means that voters voting on will not have the use of scanners to identify errors on their ballots."

The devastation also means "some voters will literally not be able to vote because they will have been evacuated from their local polling place and there is no provision for remote voting."

Hall said the storm probably had a disproportionate impact on supporters of President Barack Obama, creating new political risks even if the incumbent carries those northeast states.

Lower turnout "may not mean that Obama does not win the affected states but it could mean that we have a re-run of 2000—an electoral college winner who does not win the popular vote," he said.

A report last month by the Project, a joint effort by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found some electronic voting systems had a failure rate as high as punch cards.

— Technology: solution or problem? —

The report said between four million and six million votes were "lost" in the 2000 election, and that despite some progress since then, it's not clear whether the problems could be repeated.

"What has changed since 2000? In many respects, there have been profound changes in the voting equipment business, but in some very important respects, very little about this business has changed," the report said.

The report said growth in mail-in and early voting raises new questions and Internet voting available to overseas or military voters raises security issues.

Charles Stewart, an MIT professor and member of the project, said the most likely problems may come from mail-in paper ballots, which have increased as states ease absentee restrictions.

He said these are problematic because "absentee ballots are not secret ballots, they generally don't have a secure chain of custody, and they are prone to be disputed."

Jones meanwhile is among computer specialists who argue that paper ballots scanned by computers remain the most reliable method.

"Everything is complicated if you have no paper backup," he said. "If the scanners fail you can hand count the paper ballots. If touchscreens fail, what can you do?"

But Paul DeGregorio, a former chairman of the US Election Assistance Commission and currently a consultant, says technology should be seen as the solution, not the problem.

"Of course there are the naysayers to progress and change. They believe paper and pencil is the answer to everything; that technology is not our friend—and that it cannot be trusted, under any circumstance," DeGregorio said in a commentary to the CalTech/MIT report.

He added that "modern technology can make it easier to confirm legitimate voters and also catch those who are trying to vote illegally," and that electronic systems have "prevented thousands of voter errors."

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xen_uno
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
All the errors and glitches fall into Obama and his soft headed parties' favour ... dam I hope they're straightened out in time. Had they been before the 2000 election we may not of had that train wreck and RINO Bush Jr.
John_Dellysse
4.3 / 5 (7) Nov 03, 2012
All voting should be paper with machine scan as back up simple cheap honest
lonewolfmtnz
1 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
All the errors and glitches fall into Obama and his soft headed parties' favor ... dam I hope they're straightened out in time. Had they been before the 2000 election we may not of had that train wreck and RINO Bush Jr.
= congenital LIAR, ALL 'votes' are the same, namely institutionalized FRAUD (that you are "free'"/have rights/a say/a choice - you aren't and don't) and servile acquiescence to the status quo anti that fiat fantasy denominated wealth = power = self-righteousness = dominion.
VendicarD
2.5 / 5 (8) Nov 03, 2012
Odd isn't it, how none of these Conservatives trust the free market to produce voting machines that will result in a fair, unbiased election.
obama_socks
2.8 / 5 (9) Nov 03, 2012
Odd isn't it, how none of these Conservatives trust the free market to produce voting machines that will result in a fair, unbiased election.
-VD

What does the "free market" have to do with electronic voting machines? These voting machines are probably manufactured in Red China or Taiwan anyway. Any glitches would be the sole responsibility of the programmers or the machines were tampered with by Obama supporters. Conservatives have nothing to do with vote tampering or voter intimidation. We shall see on Tuesday, 11/6/2012 if there are any irregularities and whether or not the New Black Panther Party decides to intimidate voters as they have done in other elections:

http://en.wikiped...ion_case

http://www.wnd.co...s-again/
VendicarD
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 04, 2012
All voting machines in America are supplied by private corporations competeing against each other in a voting machine marketplace.

Didn't you know that? You poor Tard you...

"What does the "free market" have to do with electronic voting machines?" - ObamaSox
VendicarD
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 04, 2012
Undoubtedly. Conservative Americans have shipped most of America's manufactuing sector out of the U.S.

Libertarians and Conservatives insisted that Americans - "The greatest, smartest, most productive, and most able" - workforce in the world would be able to compete successfully with third world labour, and that there wouldn't be a race to the bottom in terms of product quality, or environmental and workplace standards.

What happened Tard Boy? Why has that Conservative/Libertarian plan for America been such a spectacular disaster?

"These voting machines are probably manufactured in Red China or Taiwan anyway." - ObamaSox
VendicarD
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 04, 2012
"Conservatives have nothing to do with vote tampering or voter intimidation." - Obama Sox.

Then why did Ron Paul receive negative votes in some regions during the primaries?

http://www.youtub...Nd34ueeA

More Republican Fraud against Ron Paul by the Republican Party.

http://www.youtub...=related

Yet more Republican Fraud against Ron Paul during the Primaries.

http://www.youtub...=related

Republican Ron Paul, accuses Republicans of Election Fraud.

http://www.youtub...=related
VendicarD
3 / 5 (8) Nov 04, 2012
Clear Evidence Republican Party Committing Voter Fraud!

http://www.collap...er-fraud

G.O.P. Operative Long Trailed by Allegations of Voter Fraud

http://www.nytime...amp;_r=0

Major Voting Fraud at Iowa Caucus Robs Ron Paul

http://www.infowa...-babies/

And Finally

Republican U.S. House Staffers Indicted for Felony Election Fraud as GOP Fraud Epidemic Continues

http://www.bradbl.../?p=9467

ObamaSox appears to have been lying when he claimed..

"Conservatives have nothing to do with vote tampering or voter intimidation."

Oh.. Hold on.. One more...

VendicarD
3 / 5 (8) Nov 04, 2012
GOP Rep. Tells Employers To Intimidate Their Workers Into Voting For Romney

http://thinkprogr...obile=nc

GOP becomes the party of intimidation

http://www.newsle...midation

Romney campaign and Wisconsin Republican Party linked to voter harassment and intimidation training

http://scottwalke...raining/

The GOP Money Behind The Conservative Media Campaign To Intimidate Martha Raddatz

http://mediamatte...m/190519

freethinking
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2012
VD you need to get on your meds again. Your rantings are become as crazy as your sources. Media matters and think progress are as reliable and unbiased as pravda during the cold war.

Voter ID accoding to Progressives is intimidation b/c if people have to prove who they are, they might not vote for Obama multiple times. FYI, at the democratic convention the hypocrite progressives demand voter id. But progressives want no voter id in national elections. Can't scare away those who want to vote for Obama multiple times can we.

In close elections, progressives are great at finding votes that some how just got missed. Pay no attention to the union thugs, black panthers, or NAACP workers shoving in line. No intimidation here. Black Panthers with bats won't scare whites.

If youre a conservative, you need to vote. If conservative want to win, we need to win by a landslide to prevent Progressives from stealing the election. Vote for the love of your country, not for revenge like progressives
Rencell
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2012
I find it interesting how both sides of this election already seem convinced the other side is cheating the election. There are always those fanatics who pressure others to vote their way but the majority of political people are completely on the level. If you've convinced yourself one side or the other is corrupt you've been blinded one way or the other. I can only hope this country will respond with proper justice if real proof of such things surfaces.

In response to this talk of voter fraud, from what I've read very little in the way of actual votes are fraudulent. Usually its simply voter registration fraud easily explained away by registration workers collecting commission per voter registered. Names like Scooby Doo are used, not likely to be an actual voter in any case. Media and political commentary on this will always focus on it as though it has a large impact but in reality the effect of fraud is minimal. Hopefully it stays that way and we get a real election. A guy can wish
obama_socks
3 / 5 (4) Nov 04, 2012
Ron Paul is not a Conservative. The old man is a Libertarian whose Party VD has been flailing all along because he didn't like Libertarianism...which is his right, of course.
Why VD seems to be so fraught with despair over Ron Paul not winning the nomination is just another of his smoke screens to hide the fact that VD would be screaming about Ron Paul also, IF he had won the nomination. But Romney won, so VD is crying the blues (alligator tears) that Ron Paul was not picked to be our candidate. VD is the soul of hypocrisy...he can't help being a hypocrite and a liar. That's what Progressives/Liberals/Socialist Leftists do. They have their brain farts all the time and it comes out of their mouths and is typed in science forums like this one.
Without American Conservatism to bash, people like VD would have nothing to live for, but they may not mind dying for their Progressive/Liberal/Socialist Leftist ideologies if it actually came down to it
Shinobiwan Kenobi
1 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2012
Ron Paul is not a Conservative. -Scared of the black man


Funny, for not being conservative he sure votes like one. 73% in line with the GOP and listed as a Republican for Texas... Libertarian, yes, which usually means fiscally Conservative.

... but no need to worry, just turn on your Fox News, continue sipping your Kool-aid, and reminiscing about "the good ole days".

Digital_Wangateur
1.5 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2012
He who purchases the polling machines and the programmers will win during the primary the GOP had to test the software... now it is ready to go ..... this is why Boehner is so confidant of the Ohio win.
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2012
"Odd isn't it, how none of these Conservatives trust the free market to produce voting machines that will result in a fair, unbiased election."

VD, who says voting should be dependent on the free market? Should we substitute Black Water for the military so there will be profit in destruction rather than production? Should the IRS be privatized in the name of efficiency(not that the IRS is constitutional)? Conducting elections, collecting taxes, and national defense are inherent and critical functions of government which is why only government should be handling them. We don't want a profit motive for anything associated with elections. Profit is good in the private sector but not in the public sector.

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