America's "worst voting machines" dropped in Virgina (at last)

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Surprised they didn’t prosecute him for hacking.

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As a counterpoint: Are there any best voting machines, both in the sense that they are objectively better than the others, but also that they implement best practices regarding how votes are collected, tallied, stored, and reported? If not, is it because there is just no market pressure to produce such a system?

I know in the past I’ve see calls to action asking for an open source alternative to proprietary voting systems. Does anyone know of any that have reached a level of maturity that they could provide the basis for one or more organizations to compete with the commercial offerings? If something could be built with free software and widely available hardware, it’s hard to imagine that it wouldn’t be cheaper, and therefore an easy sell to a government regardless of their current power structure, assuming a rational decision making process. At that point, the fact that they should be transparent and accountable just sort of comes with the package.

In other words, if we can somehow make it easy for them to choose the path the provides the most protection from corruption without making it specifically about corruption, does that more likely to success that trying to attack the problem head-on?

WA (well King County is all I can attest to casting ballots for) still uses fill in the bubble/scantron machines.
So easily counted, and easy paper trail if a manual recount is needed.
So why not make that a standard? Oh yeah not fancy newfangled cutting edge or somethingsomething.


I don’t get the American obsession with voting “machines” of any kind.

Paper and pencil - done. Same as every other country in the world. This is one of those stupid parts of American exceptionalism that needs to be gone.

I guess if we absolutely insist on machines because god forbid the local TV stations can’t announce vote tallies by 10pm, then the scantron OCR machines are probably the best. Paper ballot, fill in the bubble as all US students have been trained to do since first grade. Optical scan, paper record, no code to hack really.

But maybe all those “consultants” slipping envelopes into officials’ pockets wouldn’t make as much money this way, so every county in every state has to create some bullshit infrastructure of their own.


I’m probably in a liberal minority on voting machines in that I think they’re both a necessary and an inevitable step forward. Pen and paper ballots are prone to massive error - partially filled, wrongly filled, hanging chads, weird scribbles,… Manual counting is even worse - we know today that human eyeballs are among the worst evidence-gathering mechanisms…

What I think is needed is a simple, open-source and open-hardware voting machine, which is verified with open procedures before voting and then locked away physically. That last step is critically important - we all know that physical security is 9/10ths of security. Also, a verified multiply redundant recording system (that’s NOT a goddamn Access DB) - optical drives or EEPROMS maybe?

Multiple counting systems run by separate observers (in India, each candidate in the election gets to appoint observers during voting and counting) completes the whole thing.

Oh, and there’s absolutely no freakin’ need to complicate the thing with WiFi and touchscreens - buttons, LED displays and wires are perfectly capable of ease of use.

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Okay, here’s the Smug Australian view.
First off, you don’t need machines. You get volunteers from both sides of the vote, they count and you usually have an answer that night. It works. A few missed votes only matter when it is close, and then you do a recount.

Secondly, IMSO (in my Smug opinion), you guys desperately need a National Electoral Commission.

An office, well funded and separate from political parties, whose sole job is to do elections properly.
They make sure there are enough voting stations, that there is a sensible system in place, that it is all legal and balanced and the votes get counted honestly.

States will hate losing that power, but too bad. Do the Voting bit of Democracy properly.

Wrongly filled? Chuck it in the bin.
Chads? A box and and a pencil [X] do the job fine.

Yeesh, yes! I’m always shocked by the US’s lack of a common election body!

If there’s one good thing about Indian elections, it’s the Election Commission - they can really rattle parties during the elections…

Fantastic! Disenfranchisement, that is…

Light pencil, X is outside the box, somebody ticks instead of drawing an X, the pencil mark gets erased,…

Oh, and ballot stuffing and booth capturing - you may not know about those in the US, but it happens a LOT elsewhere.

India faced many of these before coming up with our own EVMs. There have been complaints about them, but they’re pretty safe as long as they’re kept physically secure. Most of the big problems with counting have actually reduced since we had EVMs.

Like I said, the most important thing is verification and physical security.

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