YOUR VOTE COUNTS! (maybe)

Remember remember the second of November? Get out and vote! Make your voice heard! If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!

Yeah, well, it looks like none of that might apply anymore. Because here’s the thing: there’s a very good chance the 2004 election was rigged.

“Oh Dave,” you say. “Take off your tinfoil hat! Will you Democrats just let it rest? Bush won, get over it! Why should we listen to you, you whiny liberal Liberal Whiner?”

Meh, don’t listen to me. Listen to these folks:

A Corrupted Election

None Dare Call It Stolen

..and now:

A Diebold Insider Speaks Out

And what is this insider — who we’ll call DIEB-THROAT if it helps get your attention — telling you, America? Only what you already should have known. What even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security already acknowledged in full prior to Election 2004: That your Electoral System, now wholly privatized and run by the “Halliburton of the Voting World” — is, and has been, open and vulnerable to be rigged by one — just one — malicious person. Not “a conspiracy of many.” Just One.

DIEB-THROAT — someone who knows and works with them — tells us, in a BRAD BLOG exclusive that I recommend you actually read, that the Diebold system is “one of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known.”

DIEB-THROAT tells us — and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security agrees — that “one malicious person can change the outcome of any Diebold election.”

DIEB-THROAT is warning you. The U.S. DHS is warning you. I am warning you. The FACTS are warning you. So what will be your excuse next time?

We don’t know for certain if the election was stolen. There’s certainly a big stink coming off of it. I certainly have no doubts that there are enough morons in this country to legitimately give Bush a victory. The fact of the matter is, the 2006 and 2008 elections can be stolen. Easily. And nobody cares. The alleged liberal mass media is completely silent on the issue. The Republicans shrug off any questions as “sour grapes”. The Democrats huddle meekly in their cage, terrified of alienating people who don’t like them anyway. Not a word is said as we say goodbye to true democracy.

And what do you do about it, if it’s true? If the allegations are true, then really, what’s the answer, short of taking up arms? Voting to restore democracy? Telling your Democratic leaders to investigate this or else you’ll stop casting votes for them that aren’t counted anyway? Tell the Republicans in charge to assure you that everything’s fine? How do we demand answers from a government that has lost all interest in listening to us?

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6 Responses to YOUR VOTE COUNTS! (maybe)

  1. Steven Berg says:

    This is a good web site about e-voting security problems: http://avirubin.com/vote/. As a computer-science student, having read a couple of technical papers on electronic-voting security (including an analysis of the source code for a Diebold voting terminal that was discovered on, ahem, an insecure FTP server used by Diebold in 2003), I am frightened by electronic voting. (So are a lot of computer scientists, actually, but I guess their lobbyists aren’t as good as Diebold’s.) The security in a lot of machines currently in use is so crap and/or nonexistent that the results of an election using them is entirely unverifiable—a “recount” most often means recalcuating the results with the same unverifiable system. I think a couple people in Congress have proposed legislation that would require all electronic voting systems to produce verifiable paper trails, but I don’t know how likely they are to be passed.

  2. Charles says:

    Verifiable by who and at what point in time? If I vote does it kick out a piece of paper to me showing who I voted for to turn in to a poll worker? There goes privacy. Who is going to count those and if someone has to tally them then what’s the point in the “electronic” voting system in the first place? Print a summary at the end of the day? Who is to say it is right? What does it tie back to…information in the insecure system? Sounds like there would need to be an audit of the data or at least the processing of the data. There is a reason that auditors say “it appears internal controls are working properly”…there is no guarantee that the errors will show up and whose to say that someone couldn’t find a way to make the audited process look correct while manipulating the real process. People should be afraid…very afraid.

  3. Steven Berg says:

    Um, old-fashioned voting systems with paper ballots create, well, paper records as you describe. The electronic terminal (there are some electronic terminals that do this) prints out a paper record of your vote, you look at it to verify that it’s correct, then you stick it in a box or something. It doesn’t have your name on it, obviously. It’s easier to ensure anonymity with a simple paper-ballot system than with a electronic system that has a complex and poorly designed anonymizing algorithm. (Which the Diebold system analyzed in the paper I mentioned does, and Diebold’s rebuttal to that paper indicates that they don’t understand the problem, let alone have plans to fix it.) At the end of the election, the digital vote records are tallied by the computer system, and the paper records are tallied by humans. If there’s a discrepency, the paper record is considered authoritative—because, yes, paper ballots counted by humans are more reliable than digital ballots counted by mysterious software. This does not make the electronic system pointless: it makes it redundant, and redundancy is good. Without redundancy, you can’t even begin to allow for a verifiable recount. And of course you want to be able to recount election results in as verifiable a way as possible.

    Diebold, and many other electronic-voting vendors, haven’t even bothered to make their systems look legit. They haven’t had to, because knowledge people who’ve pointed out disturbing problems with the systems in use are largely ignored.

  4. Steven Berg says:

    Mmm, just to be clear, I’m not saying I expect any voting systems to be perfectly verifiable. I am saying they ought to be as nearly perfectly verifiable as possible and, furthermore, that many of the electronic systems currently in use aren’t close to as verifiable as even the infamous punch-card systems whose failures prompted the widespread adoption of electronic replacements. My reasons for believing this can be found through the web site I linked to.

  5. Charles says:

    Ummmm…actually I was basically agreeing with you about being scared of the system though probably for different reasons.

    Don’t know about the info on the link as it doesn’t work from my office and I rarely get on-line at home so I haven’t checked to see if it works from home. One thing to consider…rather than saying that the paper count always takes precedence, wouldn’t it make more sense to reconcile the descrepancies between the two counts. Not sure how it would be done though but since both systems have the potential for errors….

  6. Steven Berg says:

    Oh, sorry, I guess I misread you, and I never got around to checking back here…. That’s a good point about reconciling discrepancies between the two counts; I think the reasoning for at least considering a paper-ballot count more authoritative is that it’s easier to verify, but you’d certainly want also to figure out the cause of any discrepancy.