Friday, March 11, 2005

Ensuring an accurate and AUDITABLE vote

Democracies are about the people having a say. In the U.S. Constitution we proclaim our government to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. When we hold elections, those elected are supposed to represent us. Most importantly we need to be able to trust that the will of the people has been spoken, and that the people who are elected are the ones the people voted for.

After all the U.S. isn't some tinpot pretend democracy like many of the worlds countries have.

I urge people to read this article,

Teresa Heinz Kerry - Hacking the "Mother Machine"?

(by Thom Hartmann;
Published on Thursday, March 10, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
)

Now, you may see the name "Teresa Heinz Kerry" and think, isn't she just ticked off she's not the First Lady right now? Maybe she is, but the article wasn't written by her, most of the article contains the work of people other than her, so the article isn't even really about her point of view.

Instead the article starts with this statement by Mrs. Kerry


"Two brothers own 80 percent of the [voting] machines used in the United States," Teresa Heinz Kerry told a group of Seattle guests at a March 7, 2005 lunch for Representative Adam Smith, according to reporter Joel Connelly in an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Connelly noted Heinz Kerry added that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

And the article goes on to explain who those two brothers are. One is Bob Urosevich, president of Diebold Election Systems, who famously said promised the 2004 election cycle that George W Bush would win the election. The other is Todd Urosevich, who was vice president for customer support of Chuck Hagel's old company, now known as ES&S, and Chuck Hagel is now a Senator.

I hadn't realized the centralization of control over the voting systems was so complete. This is something we should be very deeply concerned about. As I said, the vote needs to be representative of our will.

Most of the article discusses research done by a few organizations, http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ being the principle one. This research is about documenting and publicizing the problems with the newfangled voting machines that have grown in popularity since the 2000 election.

In 2000 we had a crisis, the vote was too close to call. It became an alarming issue, one of national concern. So "THEY" offered a solution during the crisis, "touch screen voting machines". Those machines offered to fix the immediate problem, namely that puch card voting resulted in a large percentage of "spoiled" votes (the hanging or dimpled chads), plus in some Florida counties the way the instruction card was printed led to confusion.

However the machines that were chosen, the aforesaid Deibold being very popular, have a huge flaw. ZERO PAPER TRAIL. Consider how easily "hacked" computers are in general, especially ones based on the Windows OS (as these voting machines are). It's easy to diddle with binary files and change things, so doesn't this raise the possibility of someone with nefarious intent diddling with the election?

Which just raises the issue of wny Bob Urosevich was so loudly proclaiming that George W Bush was going to win. With an insider obviously rooting for one of the candidates, a nefariously intended individual would not need to work very hard to diddle with the election, now would they?

However, if the voting machine produced a piece of paper, then the voter could easily verify that the paper represented their intentions, and the paper could also be easily scanned by a computer.