Why are Republicans against voter paper trails?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by meta-ghost, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. meta-ghost macrumors regular

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    #1
    like many of you, i've been following the advent of computerized voting. the question i have is why this is a partisan issue at all? why is it that at every level, federal, state and local, it is always republican officials who resist, block, and prevent requirements for paper trails of votes and methods to ensure software security. am i just being paranoid? these "officials" label anyone who raises these concerns as "left-wing activists" and declare it is all about trust.

    democracy is not about trust. it's about counting the votes.
     
  2. Waluigi macrumors 6502

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    #2
    My theories of why republicans don't like e-voting:
    • The more people that vote, the more votes the democrats get
    • The easier and faster it is to vote people won't make mistakes, and maybe younger people would vote if it is as fast as a drive thru at mcdonalds which could mean more votes for democrats
    • It costs money to put in all new machines
    • There are no standards that the e-voting machine companies abide by
    • Possible sabatoge of either hacking or power failure could destroy the election
    • If there is a paper trail, then there could be recounts if the vote is close, and that is one thing that republicans want to avoid more then anything else following the near disastrous results for them in 2000

    --Waluigi
     
  3. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #3
    I cannot say for sure why the GOP is "against voter paper trails"...in some cases, like Florida...they are not (Jeb Bush and the Florida GOP have been sending out notices to their constituencies telling them to vote by absentee ballot, so there will be a paper trail).

    Many of the companies who design the computerized touch-screen voter machines are unabashed Bush supporters, and some have ties to the GOP (either state or National) with regards to Fundraising.

    It has been suggested that several important races have already been decided by these machines (in 2003), most notably in Georgia...where two Democratic candidates, ahead by 6 pts in the polls right before Election night, both lost by 7pts in the Election, a remakable swing...

    The governorship of Alabama, originally awarded to a Democrat, was rescinded overnight and given to the Republican...

    Whether these were actual inproprieties is less of the point than the fact that there is no way to check.

    Here is an article that outlines the above, plus many of the things wrong with Electronic voting of this type...
    http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-22.htm

    It should somewhat warm the heart that in the upcoming Presidential Election, many important swing states have outlawed the voting machines (wisconsin, Oregon), but maybe the biggest swing-state of them all, Ohio, has not (as of beginning of 2004)...
     
  4. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #4
    There's an extensive paper trail...

    If we follow the Visa reciepts for senators luching with execs at the various companies manufacturing the machines. We can cross reference that with who signed the net 30 reciepts for the machines themselves. Plenty of paper trail: $$$
     
  5. meta-ghost thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    that's the thing... if a race has been "decided" outside of +/- 1% (number varies) there won't even be a recount and a paper trail wouldn't even help. if a hacker was going to rig it - he would do it outside the margin.
     
  6. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #6
    Give me a simple clockwork machine any day.

    Those little press-button "clicker" style counters have served reliably for a helluva long time in other duties. Why not use them for this?

    Flippancy:

    We could just use networked electronic slot machines.

    We could do all the voting through Vegas casinos: Cheating gets yer legs broken.

    We could go back to the old Village style of raised arms. Do a batch of fifty at a time and take a Pic per issue, "Ayes" and "Nayes".
     
  7. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #7
    Not quite as interesting or broad-based as the link I posted above, but it is shorter, so I thought I'd post it in it's entireity: (1 of 2)
    Continued in next post...

    From a WIRED article...
     
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #8
    CONTINUED...
    Makes you kinda long for the simplicity of a hanging-chad, doesn't it?...
     
  9. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #9
    Right now, I'm very anti-computerized voting and very anti-paper trail (depending on your definition of paper trail).

    The biggest reason I don't trust computerized voting is security. From the many reports I've read (many of them commissioned by state governments themselves), these systems are entirely insecure. This is true both internal to the companies that manufacture the voting terminals (Diebold) and from external threats. Until I am sure that the system is damn near fraud proof (or more fraud proof than the current system), I will not back the system.

    If by paper trail you mean a voter walks away from the booth with a "receipt," then I'm against them. Why? Because if every voter walked out of the ballot box with a piece of paper which could be used to track a vote, these slips could be used as a commodity. "Bring proof of your vote for candidate X and get a free happy meal!" "Bring proof of your vote for Candidate X or we'll break your legs!" Etc.

    If you mean keeping a paper record of ALL the votes in a secure location, then I am for paper trails. The two are very different concepts.

    The way I see it, the system must be both secure and anonymous. Both are a must for fair voting.

    Taft

    (BTW, I'm not a Republican. In fact, many on these boards consider me a flaming liberal.)
     
  10. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #10
    Good point. I had always assumed that people were referring to the latter definition of a "paper trail", but now I'm wondering if some combination of the two is appropriate. I mean, if I walk up to one of these machines and vote for a candidate, what assurance do I have that it correctly recorded my vote?
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    One thing above all that the "world's greatest democracy™" should have sorted out by now is a reliable way of registering, recording and counting votes. I don't see any way that these electronic voting systems are going to be worthy of public confidence in time for the election, so why not go back to handwriting and hand-counting until such time as a proper, verifiable system is in place? After all, it is quite an important job...
     
  12. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #12
    Evidently not much...
    And this is ignoring the potentiality for manipulation by hacking etc...
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    regarding paper trails...

    i've walked out of my polling place w/ a piece a paper which only indicates that i have voted, not for whom i've voted.

    has anyone had a different experience?

    i've always considered a paper trail to be something which stays at the polling place until moved to a central location. it represents the voter intent completely and a recount can be done using nothing but it. i.e. voters don't need to be contacted.
     
  14. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #14
    Right now, thats how it works.

    I have, however, heard people advocating receipts for electronic voting systems which would be able to be used to retally votes in the case of a recount. That doesn't strike me as a good idea. If its anonymous, central and secure, I have no problem with a paper trail.

    Taft
     
  15. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #15
    FWIW, I am a (usually) Republican voter, and I don't trust computerized voting nor like the absence of a paper trail. Maybe the electronic systems should spit out a verification ballot which is easily verifiable by the voter, then those go into a box like the old ballots... Only, then what happens when the computers and paper ballots disagree?

    I also don't like punchcard ballots (too fragile), so I guess the only one left is the optical scan cards (where you blacken the ovals).

    Nevertheless, I feel obligated to point out amid all this lib-conspiracy theorizing that the Secretary of State in Georgia is a Democrat, and she's all for the machines, claiming them as an achievement of her office.

    Further, former Gov. Barnes had a few other issues working against him than just the state flag. There was a flap involving GA 400 (a major Atlanta toll-road) funds being used for purposes not consistent with their publicly-promised intended uses, and a fear that said major tollway would never be converted to a toll-free highway, as originally promised... But, of course, it's easier to blame the so-called "closet racists"...
     
  16. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #16
    "Williams does acknowledge, however, that a month and a half before the November election, he worked with Diebold to apply a patch to the Windows CE operating system. The voting machines run on version 3.0 of Windows CE, he said, and they patched it to correct problems they were having with the system."

    Now, I think this is the real problem...
     
  17. Bobcat37 macrumors member

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    Colorado
    #17
    Dude I knew it! About a week ago in another topic on voting problems I guessed that exact thing (jokingly of course, but I guessed it), and I was right!

    Chalk one up for Bobcat :p
     

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