Category Archives: fraud

summary of ITIF’s eVoting report

I’m writing up a full point-by-point review of the ITIF eVoting report. [Update 9/20/07: It’s written. Here is the point-by-point review]

For now, here is a quick summary of my impressions.

I agree with the basic premise of the report that the debate about electronic voting needs to be broader and include other verification technologies than voter-verified paper audit trails. I am in basic agreement with the policy recommendations of the paper but I feel that these recommendations need some caveats. I discuss the recommendations below.

I disagree with much of the setup of the report. The susceptibility to fraud of electronic voting machines is downplayed too much as is the ability of voter-verified paper audit trails to mitigate that. The tone of the report when talking about organizations promoting voter verified audit trails or promoting distrust of eVoting is absolutely poisonous and Mr. Castro should be ashamed. I suspect that much of the poor reception this paper is getting is due to that.
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Buzz about ITIF’s eVoting report

[Update 9/20/07: I have read the report and review it here: summary and points-by-point]

I just got an interesting comment from Daniel Castro, the author of an Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) report on electronic voting. Castro’s comment:

I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the report we just released on electronic voting. We discuss the limitation of paper audit trails, alternative technologies (to paper) that can be used for audit trails, and suggest that we should focus the national discussion not on whether or not we should have paper trails, but rather on how to implement universally verifiable (or end-to-end verifiable) voting systems.

From the report’s teaser:
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seeking clarity on ‘Software independence’ in voting systems

In response to the Timothy Ryan op-ed “A Damaging Paper Chase In Voting”, Rick Carback (one of the punchscan developers) wrote about HR811:

…the article makes an excellent point — mandating a specific technology (which has been known to be problematic since the inception of voting) is a bad idea. By contrast, the authors of the bill could have taken the approach of Software Independence, where the outcome of an election can be determined independently of a piece of software. Any software independence approach would rule out paperless DREs, a hidden audit trail printout, and other ill-conceived technology. DREs with unreliable printers for a VVPAT approach could also be excluded, but you would need to add a reliability requirement (not hard to do). Our system, and similar systems like PAV, would more easily fit into such a definition.

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More on electronic voting machines

A bit more on electronic voting machines (EVTs):

The site Counted as Cast is a good resource for information about what systems are out there, where they are used, and what sort of issues there are with EVTs. What is interesting to me is that the primary arguments for EVTs (accessibility and cost saving) are fairly weak.

For your information and entertainment, here is a graphic from the Washington post entitled “How to steal an election”:

It’s easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That’s because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America’s voting machines, Freeman writes in a book out in July that argues, among other things, that President Bush may owe his 2004 win to an unfair vote count. We’ll wait to read his book before making a judgment about that. But Freeman has assembled comparisons that suggest Americans protect their vices more than they guard their rights, according to data he presented at an October meeting of the American Statistical Association in Philadelphia.

(click on image to see full graphic)
Rigging an electronic voting machine vs a slot machine

Did Sequoia intentionally sabotage the 2000 elections?

Burried in my summary of the broadcast of Dan Rather presents “The Trouble with Touch Screens” is a description of allegations of incompetence and/or fraud by Sequoia voting systems in their production of punchcard ballots for the 2000 election.

These are the punchcards that were used in Florida and taught Americans terms like hanging chad.

There are serious allegations. It is important that these allegations are investigated:

  • Did Sequoia voting systems knowingly produce defective ballots?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce defective ballots?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce especially defective ballots for Palm Beach county?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems attempt to cover-up the evidence of these problems?

Tell congress to investigate!

Here is a summary of what was revealed in Dan’s report:
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More Dan Rather on voting machines

The trouble with tribbles touchscreens

The full hour of the Dan Rather presents “The Trouble with Touch Screens” is now available online. It is a very interesting show to watch! The name of the show is actually misleading as the show covers three major topics:

  • ES&S iVotronic voting machines issues in the 2000 election (focused on Florida: Sarasota and Lee counties)
  • An interesting interview with Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who is supportive of voting machines in theory but critical of their use within the US
  • evidence of incompetence or fraud by Sequoia voting systems in the 2000 election paper ballots. In particular accusations and evidence of special changes for Palm Beach Florida where many paper ballot flaws occurred

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