November 2, 2004

Faith-Based Voting

I voted this morning, using a Diebold touch-screen system. You can see a demo here. There was no paper involved, and instead of dropping my written or punch-card ballot in a sturdy, metal box, I dropped a smart card in a cardboard box. There's an odd, disconnected feeling to voting this way. I suppose it doesn't require more faith than the old paper systems. Obviously, there are ways to lose, or monkey with, those voting methods too.

Here's Diebolds explanation:

Q: How do I know my cast ballot is safe and secure?

A: When a voter casts their ballot using the Diebold touch screen system, the ballot selections are immediately encrypted and stored in multiple locations within the voting station. When stored, the order of cast ballots is scrambled to further insure ballot anonymity. The image of each and every ballot cast on the voting station is captured, and can be anonymously reproduced on standard paper should a hard copy of ballots be required for recount purposes. Once voting concludes at a precinct, a printed election results report is printed as a permanent record of all activity at each voting station. This printed record is used to audit the electronic tabulation of votes conducted during the election canvas process, when final, official election results are reported.

Posted November 2, 2004 11:27 AM
Comments

And here are a few more fun facts about this voting system:

Wally O'Dell, CEO of Diebold, the fastest growing corporation which has 33,000
voting stations presently in place in several states, including California in
2000, has publicly announced he will deliver Ohio's votes to Bush. Diebold's
election division (pun noted) is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother Todd is a
top executive at Election Systems and Software (ES&S), currently the largest
corporation. The Urosevich brothers were originally staked in the vote-count
business by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the steering group Council for
National Policy which is stacked with Bush faithful. Ahmanson is also a staker
of the "Christian Reconstructionist" movement. This movement openly advocates a
theocratic takeover of American democracy placing the entire society under
the "dominion" of "Christ the King".

Posted by: Laura at November 4, 2004 2:55 PM

Laura,

Incredible claims like that require good references. What is your source for the Wally O'Dell announcement?

Posted by: Dave Lemen at November 4, 2004 3:09 PM

Dave, here's the reference. You can decide whether it's good or not. I'm not sure ... but I have read at least four more reports this week of machine fraud ... so either the conspiracy theorists are having a great week or there's something up.

From http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/10/272749.shtml :

Posted by: Laura at November 6, 2004 12:41 PM

I didn't get a warm fuzzy from your link, because the author sounded like she was hyperventilating. However, after a little Googling, I found several other articles that verified that your assertion about Wally O'Dell was correct:
http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2004/03/03_200.html
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0828-08.htm
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=828
http://www.portclintonnewsherald.com/news/stories/20030827/localnews/140871.html

Ethical questions often deal with the perception of a conflict of interest, and it's certainly easy to get that perception in this case. Still, it's easy for me to believe that Mr. O'Dell is just another business person who's also a political fundraiser and that there is no evil plot to rig the election.

What really concerns me is that they're using Microsoft Access to tally our votes. Now *that* is a scandal.

Posted by: Dave Lemen at November 6, 2004 2:56 PM

Dave,
This is a long lost train of thought, but I got this email today, which is way too computer technical for me, but continues to make the point that it was, in fact, faith-based voting we were doing.
http://www.chuckherrin.com/hackthevote.htm.

Did you see Donna Britt's column in the paper last week about the questions around votes? She spoke what I've been thinking: even if it wouldn't change the election, we should care that all votes were counted and all were counted carefully. That's what democracy should be about.

OK, now I'm going back to trying to move past this election.

Peace!

Posted by: Laura at November 17, 2004 10:29 AM