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There should be paper ballots or receipts in every election in America. There can be machine counting or even touch screen voting but if any candidate requests it there should be an automatic 100% hand recount. This might be very expensive and inconvenient, but it is worth it to restore confidence in the electoral process.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 04:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is tempting to conclude that paper ballot voting could  be the only tight and robust voting system. But I wonder, where is competition for Diebold? How is happens that Free Market does not deliver any competitive improvements, or (perhaps) even no demand for fair voting machines?

I am sure there could be technology more handy and more reliable than paper ballots. I have a proposal myself. There seem to be academic specialists working on the problem, though I did not get the impression that their sway is significant or coherent. From time to time "unbeatable" voting schemes are announced, but is anyone listening if it is not on Foxnews?

The technological discussion is alive (witness this review of recent timely Ny Times article). But political decisions (and discussion) are still tightly controlled - as if in USSR.

by das monde on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 05:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are other companies that make electronic voting machines. They are just as hackable. The problem in the U.S. is that the 50 states control the voting process. It's not like France, for example, where everything is run by the national government. In France, the government could commission IBM or another company, to create an electronic voting system, with backup paper, which system would be run by the professional bureaucracy. The public would have confidence in that system.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 05:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LEP:
The problem in the U.S. is that the 50 states control the voting process. It's not like France,

If it's a Federal election, should not the voter registration, voting and counting processes not be subject to Federal legislation and control?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elections are a state issue. And then the mechanics can vary by county or even by municipality.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:24:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that, and it has facilitated all sorts of local discrimination, gerrymandering, and downright vote rigging by whoever is in power at the local level.  When the US decided it was time to take the civil rights issue seriously, it had to be done by Federal legislation against a lot of local opposition - e.g. the school busing issue.

If we are to stop whining about vote rigging and start doing something about it, we have to encourage major candidates to adopt a platform of electoral reform to be applied consistently across the US - and that can only be done at Federal level - especially if we also want to remove the Diebold monopoly control of parts of the process.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 07:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a very complicated constitutional issue. In the case of civil rights legislation the laws were passed relying on the 14th amendment among others. There is very little basis for the Feds interfering in state run elections. In fact, as far as the Senate is concerned voting is not even required. The state legislature can appoint senators. The same may be true with the electoral college, ie; that the legislature can appoint the electors without a vote. If I am wrong on these assertions someone please correct me.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 09:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After checking, I believe you are right. Neither Article Two of the United States Constitution, Clause 3: Electors nor Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that the electors have to be elected by popular vote.

Wikipedia says:

The Constitution gives the power to the state legislatures to decide how electors are chosen, and it is easier and cheaper for a state legislature to simply appoint a slate of electors than to create a legislative framework for holding elections to determine the electors. As noted above, the two situations in which legislative choice has been used since the Civil War have both been because there was not enough time or money to prepare for an election.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 01:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough - as far as the selection of electors is concerned.  But can Federal laws not be written to control how Federal elections are conducted?  Otherwise what is to prevent the wholesale non-registration of minority voters, the systematic under-representation of minority areas in terms of voting booths, and the utilisation of partisan resources/people/machines in the vote counting process?  Is there not a concept of over-arching human/civil rights in the US constitution which can over-ride local and state level discriminary practices in the democratic process?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 01:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think if you can make a case that someone is being discriminated against because of race the feds can make a case. If the feds just don't like the way you count, I'm not sure. I have legal training but in no way am I a constitutional lawyer. You might want to email Glen Greenwald if you read him on Salon.com. He is a great constitutional lawyer.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 02:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government Diebold would already be running every election in the country.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 03:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The paper trail doesn't matter if the ballots are controlled by the fraudsters, though.  See the update at the top of the diary.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking over all the paper ballots in New Hampshire would require a huge conspiracy if it was at all possible. If such a conspiracy could exist it would be almost impossible for it not to leak out. And who would take all that trouble for the Democratic New Hampshire primary? If the Clinton camp did that and word came out she would be finished. For the Republicans, the risk seems hardly worth the reward. Can anyone be so sure be that Clinton is the weakest Democratic candidate?
In my gut, there is more of a possibility that Cheney was behind 9/11 than that there was vote fraud in New Hampshire. On the other hand, did you see the way WT#7 fell?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 08:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I'm hoping -- that doctoring the actual ballots would simply be too big a job.

I'm not sure about Tower 7, but I don't believe in the whole 9/11 conspiracy.  The evidence I've seen points to it being what we saw, -- a terrorist attack -- and the amount of coordinating necessary would be impossible for the feds.

It's a bit like the line that "Mac guy" has in "Live Free or Die Hard" when Bruce Willis's character suggests the government must have ways of dealing with the Firesale attack on the nation's infrastructure: "It took FEMA four days to get water to the Superdome."

So, no, I don't believe it's possible for the feds to have done it.  Plus, the "Truthers" are pricks.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 08:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not only hacking computers. It's taking control of the physical ballots and changing them, not a simple task. And they are counting now! If Dennis K. is satisfied, then I'll be satisfied.
I haven't mentioned what this would do for the reputation of New Hampshire which prides itself in being the first primary in the country. (This may change anyway.)

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 09:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, they're counting now.  Apparently Kucinich paid for the two largest counties (Hillsborough and Rockingham), which would include the "big" cities of Manchester, Nashua, and others.  This is where EDA also suggested the fraud likely took place, since we have such massive changes between hand- and machine-counted votes -- a complete flip in Hillsborough from Obama to Clinton, which itself would be enough to overturn the result, even leaving aside the other counties.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 09:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
That's what I'm hoping -- that doctoring the actual ballots would simply be too big a job.

You don't doctor the ballots. Unless I'm missing something, you can simply swap whole boxes of them with boxes full of the results you want after the election.

The original machine counted ballot shows the results you want. Then when there's a recount, the paper trail also shows the results you want.

I'm not sure how strong paper ballot security is, but the only way to keep it watertight is to have representatives from both parties and at least one indepedent observer watching the boxes all the way from the initial ballot to final count to storage. Storage has to be sealed, vetted for political independence, and secure.

I think you'll find few, if any, of these measures were in place in NH.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:17:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the sound of it from Harris, it seems to depend on where you are in New Hampshire.  The state has laws and guidelines, but I think a lot of the decisions are made at the local level, which is deeply troubling, since the public doesn't pay a sufficient amount of attention to state and local politics.  Some of them seem to be secure, while others don't.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:25:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If such a conspiracy could exist it would be almost impossible for it not to leak out. And who would take all that trouble for the Democratic New Hampshire primary? If the Clinton camp did that and word came out she would be finished. For the Republicans, the risk seems hardly worth the reward. Can anyone be so sure be that Clinton is the weakest Democratic candidate?

Last bit, first: Yes, the fundamentals on Clinton's candidacy are extremely weak, while those on Edwards and Obama are unusually strong.  Second: Hacking computers doesn't necessitate a massive conspiracy.  It is, as I understand it, sickeningly easy for anyone with even basic programming skills.

Taking the trouble makes sense.  It was being built as "Clinton finished off in New Hampshire."  She'd been humiliated in Iowa, not only getting her rear end kicked by Obama but suffering the indignity of losing to the slack-jawed yokel candidate, Edwards.  That matters a great deal to undecideds who are looking at these candidates, particularly since voters seem to like Obama and Edwards more than Clinton, but are pulled to Clinton based upon experience (via Bubba) and their memories of the '90s.

Now, instead of Clinton being finished off, the entire narrative has changed.  (My personal theory was that stopping Clinton in Iowa was an absolute necessity, and that stopping her in New Hampshire was probably a necessity.)  Now we're back to Hillary As Front-Runner, with Edwards ignored to the point of becoming almost irrelevant and Obama bogged down in this race-baiting garbage.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 09:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Second: Hacking computers doesn't necessitate a massive conspiracy.  It is, as I understand it, sickeningly easy for anyone with even basic programming skills.

Yeah, but the point you are answering is that taking control of and subverting the paper ballots was what would require the massive, impossible-to-conceal conspiracy.

Computers (these ones at least) are easy. Ballots are hard.

Regards
Luke


-- #include witty_sig.h

by silburnl on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
American history you know all it takes is an easy-to-hide conspiracy.  

Yeah, there were doubts.  And there will be doubts after this is over.  But unless the fraud team has REALLY screwed up, there won't be proof.  

Well, here's hoping I'm wrong.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 04:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You only need to do it in the largest municipality, or even the largest single ward in the state, really.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 09:03:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that would be so, statistical analysis would have sput out one single ward that is off, rather than find a debated effect across-the-board.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:06:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at the chart I made of the county-level effect. No county shows a vote reversal except for Hillsborough, which is the largest county of all.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But all but two counties show a machine-counted vote surplus, and Coös County displays a difference as big as Hillsborough.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:14:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I discuss this in the other thread:
Let's do a nonparametric test here. We observe that only two of the ten counties show machine counts favouring Obama. What are the odds of that? This is like tossing a two-headed coin (Clinton on one side, Obama on the other) ten times and getting two or fewer Obamas. The odds of this are 1 + 10 + 10 * 9 /2 divided by 2 to the 10th power, or 56/1024, or 7/128, or about 1/18. This is not quite significant at 95%. Moreover, it would be equally suspicious if machines favoured Clinton in only two counties or less. But for a two-sided alternative the odds of an extreme result are 1/9, so not quite significant even at 90%.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the relevance?

Maybe if the hypothesis is that there was vote reversal in a single county, the odds to calculate is of Obama ahead only in 3. But I don't think such a calculation is realistic by using a binary variable (Obama ahead/Clinton ahead).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is difference from the question of who's ahead. It's the question of which direction the machine effect goes. There are counties in which the machines don't change the lead, but here I'm looking at how many times the machines favour obama or Clinton (regardless of whether it is by enough to change the lead). In fact, the lead only changes in 3 out of the 10 counties. But to study the odds of the lead changing you need a model of the average lead and the variability of the vote, so it is no longer a nonparametric test.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not clear for me from that update that it is the paper ballots which are controlled by the private company. To me it seems he means the memory discs, thus only the machine-counted data.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if that is the case, the recount should still replicate the original results - or else there is reasonable suspicion of Fraud

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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