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How To Lose An Election 828

Posted by timothy
from the do-math-in-your-head dept.
smooth wombat writes "CNN has posted a story to their site about electronic votes from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines that were lost due to a computer crash.: 'The malfunction was made public after the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, a citizen's group, requested all data from the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride.' Other groups are challenging a state rule preventing counties that use the machines from conducting manual recounts from them." Reader fatwater adds a link to the New York Times' coverage.
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How To Lose An Election

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  • Ha! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Malicious (567158) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:33AM (#9821550)
    Raise your hand if you're surprised to see 'Computer Crash' and the Surname 'McBride' in the same headline.
    • Re:Ha! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rei (128717)
      I find it really scary that they reported *completely losing the results of an election* when it was desired to reanalyze it. Whether it is the case or not, in a state as hotly disputed as Florida, it reaks of partisan tampering.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:34AM (#9821558)
    To really fuck something up, that takes a computer.

    -- Anonymous
  • I TOLD YOU SO
  • Is it all that hard to add a 'print reciept' option to all of these voting machines? Honestly, if they had a ream of paper coming out of the back of the machine, and the option for Voters to print off a copy for their own records (and to verify their vote was recorded as they expected) a lot of the problems with the electronic voting machines would be alleviated. Votes could be recounted by going back over the paper trail, and there would be immediate response for vote tallies.
    • by Steve B (42864) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:39AM (#9821621)
      the option for voters to print off a copy for their own records

      Absolutely, positively NOT. Permitting a voter to walk away from the polls with hard evidence of how he voted is an open invitation to corruption and coercion.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:43AM (#9821668) Homepage Journal
      Yep, that's the solution. It is mind-bogglingly simple and obvious to anyone who has any interest in fair elections. It follows, therefore, that the voting machine companies, which usually answer such demands with bullshit excuses like "the printer would jam" (that gem comes from Diebold, which also makes ATM's which surely print out many more receipts than any voting machine would be likely to, and do so day after day) do not have such an interest.

      One quibble: the voters should not keep their receipts. Voter-held receipts are useless in the event of a recount -- how do you know that the receipt the voter brings in is actually the one he got on Election Day? -- and are actively dangerous, in that they provide a means for influencing elections through threat or bribery. ("Vote for candidate X or I'll break your kneecaps" / "Vote for candidate Y and I'll give you a raise"). The best sequence of events is to get the receipt, look it over to verify that it says what you want it to say -- and there's no reason receipts couldn't be printed in Braille for blind voters; some ATM receipts already are -- and deposit it in a ballot box.

      For those who say, "But ballot boxes can be stuffed or stolen!" -- yes, this is true, and no election method yet devised is foolproof. But this would be a hell of a lot better than what we've got now.
      • by misleb (129952) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:22AM (#9822132)
        Yep, that's the solution. It is mind-bogglingly simple and obvious to anyone who has any interest in fair elections. It follows, therefore, that the voting machine companies, which usually answer such demands with bullshit excuses like "the printer would jam" (that gem comes from Diebold, which also makes ATM's which surely print out many more receipts than any voting machine would be likely to, and do so day after day) do not have such an interest.

        Another thing that make this a BS excuse is that a jammed printer only means one lost printed receipt and a sign that says "Voting machine out of order" rather than thousands of votes mysteriously lost to a computer crash. People understand printer jams and can deal with them (assuming it would happen, even if rarely).

        -matthew

    • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:44AM (#9821683) Journal
      Honestly, if they had a ream of paper coming out of the back of the machine, and the option for Voters to print off a copy for their own records (and to verify their vote was recorded as they expected) a lot of the problems with the electronic voting machines would be alleviated.

      Absolutely.

      Now how, exactly, do you propose to provide a mechanism in which it is guaranteed to the voter that their recorded vote is the same as that which is on their receipt, without throwing away any of the anonymity characteristics that are also crucial to voting?
      • by sphealey (2855) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#9821778)
        Now how, exactly, do you propose to provide a mechanism in which it is guaranteed to the voter that their recorded vote is the same as that which is on their receipt, without throwing away any of the anonymity characteristics that are also crucial to voting?
        Voter reviews receipt and verifies correct. Voter places receipt in traditional ballot box. Random sample of ballot boxes counted and matched against electronic machine.

        Admittedly this is a facile answer to a complex problem, but people like Peter Neumann have thought deeply about the problem for more than 30 years and have developed some solutions - none of which Diebold uses.

        sPh

    • Many here are comparing electronic voting to financial transactions. There is a problem with that: votes are much much more important and infinitely more valuable than financial data.

      In Minnesota (or at least my county...don't know if this is state wide) our ballets are a Legal sheet of heavy stock paper. They are also rather simple...the candidates have triangles pointing at their names. To vote for a candidate, draw a line through the name of the person you are voting for, connecting the triangles. Even
  • Election Observers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lucky_Norseman (682487) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:35AM (#9821569)
    Maybe UN observers wouldn't be such a bad thing?
    • by Bearpaw (13080)
      Maybe UN observers wouldn't be such a bad thing?

      I wish I thought this was a silly idea. Aside from the fact that it may make Birchers go bugfuck ... er, more bugfuck ... it might be a good idea. An official request has been made; I haven't heard whether there's been an official response.

      "Several members of the [US] House of Representatives have requested the United Nations to send observers to monitor the November 2 US presidential election to avoid a contentious vote like in 2000, when the outcome

  • by rstewart (31100) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:35AM (#9821572)
    The question that no one in this article has asked is what do you do if the voting machine has a hard drive crash during an election so you literally lose all of the votes cast on the machine before it can even report what votes were cast that day.

    Multiply the number of machines in use across the country and eventually this will happen.

    Do you ask all the voters who used that machine to come back and vote again ? Probably not.
    • This is where redundancy comes into play. The more redundant the system the less likely such a scenario is to take place. On the other hand it also increases cost and complexity of the system.

      However IMHO redundancy whether it be mirrored hard drives or paper records is a plus in my book when it comes to elections. After all elections are kind of important to our system of government and is one area where skimping probably isn't a good idea...
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#9821788) Homepage Journal
      Millions -- tens or hundreds of millions? billions? -- of financial transactions are conducted electronically every day. These transactions are stored on RAID and other redundant error-correcting systems that are as near to foolproof as any data storage system ever devised by hand of man, and yes, that includes handwritten paper records. Very, very few of these transactions fail, and when they do, there are some pretty serious laws about what has to be done to correct them. Most of these transactions are conducted by businesses that have far fewer resources to throw at the problem than does the US government, or even any state government.

      It is entirely possible to produce a reliable e-voting system ... just not if that system is produced by the current crop of voting machine companies. I'm a big fan of "never attribute to malice what can properly be attributed to incompetence," but in this case, malice -- i.e., a desire to produce insecure, unreliable machines that can easily be rigged to produce the "right" electoral outcome -- really is the simplest explanation.
      • The problem, as I see it, is one of accountability. In the case of financial institutions, if a computer somewhere starts "forgetting" transactions, someone will notice when they get their statement in the mail and their account is short a couple hundred bucks. But in the case of e-voting, there's no way to tell if your vote didn't get counted.

        A computer is an inscrutible black box. How do you know what's going on inside it? Sure, you can open the source code up for inspection. But how do you know that cod
  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:36AM (#9821585) Homepage
    ``Our concern is voter confidence,'' Howard Simon, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told the court. ``There is no way to know if a vote isn't counted by one of these machines.''

    Joining the ACLU in Judge Susan B. Kirkland's courtroom were several other organizations that cited evidence in recent elections in Florida and Virginia that recorded abnormal numbers of blank votes or computer glitches that resulted in incorrect vote tallies.

    Under questioning by the groups' attorneys, Division of Elections official Paul Craft said, ``All machines experience problems,'' but he did not know of any problem that had resulted in an inaccurate vote tally in Florida.

    George Waas, of the state attorney general's office, told Kirkland that the advocates were suffering from ``the sky- is-falling syndrome.''


    Sorry, but due to issues that happened in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida I would certainly be "suffering" from the "sky-is-falling syndrome" too.

    Why the fuck can they not manually recount votes? I honestly believe that when we elect someone to office we should be 100% certain that they were elected fair and square. None of this pre-election bullshit of skimming out legal voters through third parties, none of this "tough, the machines are right" shit, and certainly allow a recount.

    Cheating is going to run rampant if there is no manual backup mechanism available. Why the hell was this written into law?

    The sky-is-falling isn't exactly the way to describe this. The sky-has-fallen might be better.
    • Why the fuck can they not manually recount votes? I honestly believe that when we elect someone to office we should be 100% certain that they were elected fair and square.

      Not trying to defend the law here, but the thinking is probably this: no counting of 60 million objects is ever going to be perfect or precise. Every time you recount you will get a different answer. Yet an election must have a "final answer (tm)" in some definite amount of time, otherwise there will be a perception that it is being s

      • no counting of 60 million objects is ever going to be perfect or precise. Every time you recount you will get a different answer.

        Really? Banks seem to have no problem counting millions, and even billions. Think people complain when their vote goes missing? Try seeing what they do when their paycheck goes missing.

        Maybe we should be getting the banks to handle the elections?
  • verification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spoonyfork (23307) <spoonyfork@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:37AM (#9821594) Journal
    if you are a US citizen of voting age...

    Who did you vote for in the last election that you participated in? Can you prove it? Can they prove it? Why can't I verify if my vote was even counted let alone who they recorded it for? Why is there no verification or personal audit trail available for elections?

    • Re:verification (Score:4, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:43AM (#9821672) Homepage
      Why is there no verification or personal audit trail available for elections?

      So that you cannot be held personally responsible by a repressive regime when they find out who you voted for.
    • You forget that an election is supposed to be 100% anonymous. While ideally we would have voting systems that were reliable, a paper trail identifying who voted for what candidate would fundamentally damage the concept of anonymous voting.

      I'd rather take the chance that my vote may not be counted due to machine/process flaws than potentially letting politicians, corporations, and political activist groups knowing who I voted for.

      • And that is exactly why I don't promote video cameras watching our every move, voter receipts, paper trails, or computer-based voting machines.

        The machines we have been using have worked rather well for the many many many years they have been in use. Why should we open ourselves to malicious code, malicious coders under the guidance of malicious politicians, and general problems?

        How do we know no one is watching when we pull that lever or touch that screen?
  • Best quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by devorama (625557)
    My favorite quote from the article:

    In December, officials began backing up the data daily, to help avoid similar data wipeouts in the future, said Seth Kaplan, spokesman for the county's elections supervisor, Constance Kaplan.

    Hey, here's a novel IT solution: BACKUP YOUR DATA! Ever hear of fault tolerant disk subsystems? Sheesh!

  • why electronic? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:39AM (#9821614) Homepage
    what is wrong with a good old paper ballot and a pen to mark your choice(s)?
  • No big surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b-baggins (610215) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:40AM (#9821622) Journal
    This is always what happens when you let hysteria and demagoguery drive your decisions.

    Punch card balloting is an extremely accurate and economical way to tally votes.

    Instead of being men and telling voters to read the damn ballot and punch the card completely next time, we get all boo-hooey over a few idiots who don't do either, and let ourselves get whipped up into making stupid decisions by political opportunists exploiting said idiots.
  • Another example (Score:3, Interesting)

    by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:41AM (#9821643) Journal
    Also see this article [lacitybeat.com], the subject of a Metafilter [metafilter.com] discussion [metafilter.com] today:

    At around 8:50, Soubirous's campaign manager, Brian Floyd, received a call from an election observer in Temecula informing him that the vote count had been stopped - apparently by Registrar Mischelle Townsend herself. The reason was not made clear. So Floyd and another Soubirous campaigner named Art Cassel jumped into a car and drove to Townsend's office to investigate. Sure enough, the counting area appeared to be near-deserted. But then they noticed two men huddled at one of the vote tabulation computers.
  • by VeriTea (795384) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:42AM (#9821660) Journal
    According to the article, recounts are only allowed under state law to determine "voter intent". I am completely against the 'no paper trail' voting machine monster that is pushed so heavily, but I agree with the judge when he says that determining "voter intent" is impossible. As a voter, I would be very upset if the election officials started looking through my votes and decided that I voted Republican for 4 offices and Democrate for 1, therefore my true intent was to vote Republican for all 5 offices, or more likely, my true intent was to vote Democrate for all 5 and my first 4 were mistakes :)
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:44AM (#9821687)

    Does anyone else feel that the November 2004 elections are shaping up to be some twisted Monty Python skit?

    And no I'm NOT aiming for +2 Funny. :-/

    Seriously, we've got just over three months to go and the system is not only unimproved since the November 2000 disaster, it's actually worse. Now someone can just change the results in critical swing districts without a trace.

    Add that with the Florida "Felons Who Can't Vote" rolls that were only released after a court fight, and then immediately abandoned by Florida election officials when it was revealed to be terribly flawed. But only after a court order to make them public, of course.

    Maybe we can call in the U.N. to observe the elections for us. This is out of control. Cradle of Democracy my ass. We're heading to be the laughing stock of Democracy. And we're the punchline.
    • I think history will look upon the last election as the beiginning of the end of democracy in America.

      It seems like we are no longer enamoured of democracy anymore. Over 80% of the people in this country live in a state that always votes for the same party. Over 90% of the people in this country live in a house district that has been specially made so as to always elect one party.

      The way I see it only 10-20% of the people in America experience democracy.
  • Correction (Score:4, Informative)

    by travdaddy (527149) <travo AT linuxmail DOT org> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:44AM (#9821693)
    Other groups are challenging a state rule preventing counties that use the machines from conducting manual recounts from them.

    The rule exempts not prevents the machines from conducting manual recounts (from paper receipts). Slight difference.
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:45AM (#9821695) Homepage
    Voting officials or voting machine manufacturers who respond to these allegations ususally say those who argue for a voting trail are introducing voter confusion, or underminding confidence in the voting process, or some other Orwellian doubletalk. In fact, what underminds voter confidence is the knowledge that there will be no way to recount votes and verify what happened.

    We are talking about electing people to positions of power. If you remove the voting trail, you remove accountability. Power without accountability...saaaay, that's the way to instill voter confidence, huh?

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:51AM (#9821772) Homepage
    A word is needed for the, um, logical fallacy? Dishonest rhetorical technique? Honest self-deception? in which administrators, and proponents of policies, use language that automatically asserts the infallibility of the device, technique, or procedure being proposed.

    "This couldn't have happened because we have procedures in place that prevent it..."

    For example: no recounts are allowed because no recounts are needed because our voting machines are perfect.

    This rhetorical technique is used all the time (and on both side of the aisle). For example: who could complain about making sure that felons don't vote (in those states where felons are not allowed to vote?) On the other hand, who wouldn't complain about disenfranchising people whose first four letters of their first name, their surname, and their race happens to be the same as that of a felon?
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#9821779) Homepage Journal
    for purchases.

    As the submitter for this story (thanks Timothy) I always chuckle when I hear the excuses from Diebold et al for not putting in a paper trail for electronic voting machines. The usual excuse is that computers don't make mistakes.

    If that is the opinion of those producing these machines and their backers then they wouldn't mind not getting a receipt when they go grocery or car shopping. In both instances computers are used to calculate the total bill including tax (if any).

    By their logic since computers are used to perform this calculation, and, according to them, computers don't make mistakes, then there is no need for a receipt to show how much each item costs. Instead, they're just told how much they owe.

    I'm sure grocers and others would love this. A few cents here, a few cents there. By the time the bill is rung up you could end up paying several dollars more than you should.

    For all the protestations we make about other countries not having open and fair elections, there are certain parts of this country which aren't too far behind.
  • by jjh37997 (456473) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#9821785) Homepage
    Here's what we need...

    A touch screen voting booth that lets voters select the canidates they want.

    After the voter casts their vote the booth prints out a ballot that's machine readable yet understandable to the naked eye.

    The voter checks to make sure that the canidates they selected are recorded on the ballot and then feeds it into a reader. It's this machine that actually records the voter's vote.

    With this sysetm even if all the computer records are erased the paper ballots can either be re-scanned or counted by hand.
    • Then you have to worry about the accuracy of the machine-readers, which will mechanically read the papertrail. If someone corrupted that, you're still screwed. That's the problem - even though it's machine-readable and human-readable, the counting is done by closed code, which is most definitely not human-readable.

      What happened to "put the tick in the box next to your candidate"? It scales REALLY well, doesn't cost millions, and can give you an accurate count within hours. And, recounts are more than p

    • by Remlik (654872) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:32PM (#9823439) Homepage
      Remove the computer, give the voter a felt tip pen and have them check the appropriate box (on a machine readable form) and you have the same system without the computer costs or failures.

      In fact, I live in MN and thats how I've been voting for the last 7 years. The machines that read the ballot are even smart enough to detect common mistakes like two votes in the area and spit the ballot back out to be destoyed. The nice elderly person manageing the machine examines the old ballot, tells you what you did wrong, gives you a new ballot and sends you back to start again. The old ballot is shredded into another locked box.

      This is not rocket science people, there is no need to use a computer to make a small mark on a piece of paper. What was Ockums Razor again? The simple solution tends to be correct.
  • from nyt (Score:3, Funny)

    by nFriedly (628261) <nathan.friedly+s ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:56AM (#9821831) Homepage Journal
    quote from the NYT article:
    "it may very well be too late - Florida is headed toward being the next Florida,"
    that sounds just like something that would come from florida
  • by rlp (11898) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:04AM (#9821910)
    After the voter casts their vote the booth prints out a ballot that's machine readable yet understandable to the naked eye.

    You mean something like a punch card or optical mark card. Hmmm ...

    Ohio in the most recent election was still using punch cards. I always check my punchcard (the punch fields are numbered) against the column #'s on the ballot, and (since 2000) also check for 'chad'. It takes a few seconds to do so. Then I place the card in the locked voting bin. For all the bad press punchcards have gotten, I trust them more than an untested and potentially unsecure proprietary touch screen system.
  • Belgian voting (Score:3, Informative)

    by houghi (78078) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:05AM (#9821917)
    Reminds me of someone who was involved in the last elections here in Belgium. They discoverd an error where if you voted two specific people from different parties, then both would get a vote.

    Normaly this is NOT possible and would result in a unvalid vote. However they caught the bug.

    When asked how many bugs they DIDN'T find, he looked surprides and proudly said: NONE! He didn't get it.

    Just use paper ballods. Yes, errors can be made. Yes, there can be fraud. It even might take much, much longer then with a PC. You however still have a papertrail. Either that or open the source.

    When I told that to the person I sugested, it became suddenly security trough obscurity. He even told me the source was safer, because only four (4) people know the source. I feel realy safe now.
  • by Al Dimond (792444) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:15AM (#9822029) Journal
    This article is over a year old, but...

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0307/S00065 .htm [scoop.co.nz]

    Shows some of the security problems with the voting machines. Even if the article is over a year old, it's still troubling: storing results in MS Access databases, introducing the ability to "correct" vote tallies and erase the trail. If voting machines are going to be computer systems, they need to be designed from the ground up for security, not just "secure enough right now". And not having any backup as in this story? Sounds like these machines were made by amateurs.
  • In Riverside County (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:17AM (#9822058)
    This incident in Riverside County, described in Paul Krugman's latest NYT column [nytimes.com], is even scarier:
    • It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.

      When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.

      This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent.
    See also a reprint [commondreams.org] of the Independent UK article and a longer LA City Beat article [lacitybeat.com] on the event.
  • by ScooterBill (599835) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:28AM (#9822216)
    Unfortunately, a series of terrorist events will cause the government to indefinitely "postpone" the election. Of course, martial law will follow and anything that doesn't tote the party line (slashdotters lookout) will be summarily seized and thrown into a black hole. That's the good news.

    We will all live happily ever after...
  • by hethatishere (674234) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:46AM (#9822410)
    Call and get your Local Reps to Co-sponsor the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" or HR2239.

    For more information go here: http://verifiedvoting.org/resources/hr2239_volunte ers/hr2239_effort.asp/ [verifiedvoting.org]

    Or to read the bill in full: http://www.theorator.com/bills108/hr2239.html [theorator.com]

    Let's get this passed so we don't have to worry about anyone monkeying around in quite possibly one of the most important elections this country has seen in decades-with two very divergent paths for the American people.
  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:52AM (#9822478) Journal
    It's interesting how the article starts out with a link to CNN.com.

    This is a classic case of "Don't trust the mass media except when there's an article that I agree with, in which case, trust the mass media".

    According to the ./ logic (Check out the Turner thread), CNN is owned by an evil right-wing corporation and it only spreades right-wing lies like the rest. So since the story about election machines losing votes are right-wing lies, just as the reports of American soldiers and Iraqis dying everyday are right-wing lies, when actually, the soldiers and Iraqis are having daily picnics at the flower gardens.
  • For the record... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mratitude (782540) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @11:00AM (#9822578) Journal
    I followed some of the threads and noted some attitudes and opinions that should be hilighted.

    The first opinion that seems to stand out is that e-voting seems to be a Republican (read that as "right wing") conspiracy to harness elections. If these folks do their homework, they'd note a preponderance of e-voting initiatives are being pushed in majority Democratic districts.

    The second, almost universal, view seems to contain the idea that e-voting is OK and the only problems exist in the margins. The major details seemed to be accepted. The "gee whiz" glitz seems to have misplaced general intelligence.

    Considering this medium draws a lot of people in various technology fields, I'd think the overwhelming opinion would be a complete distrust of e-voting based on the potential abuses of the technology and the means to manipulate the outcome of an election.

    The basic logic points should produce an overwhelming distrust for this form of individual duty and trust.
  • by radimvice (762083) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:44PM (#9822929) Homepage
    At first glance I read the story headline as 'How to Lose an Erection'...
    Although I suppose reading any story involving Janet Reno would be pretty effective there as well.
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:25PM (#9824107) Homepage
    says that immigrants being granted citizenship in Florida were handed forms to indicate their voting preferences when they registered to vote.

    All the preferences were prechecked "Republican"!

    Some of the immigrants complained to the Democratic Party officials in Florida and the Federal Elections Commission is investigating.

    It doesn't get more obvious than this.

    Why Florida is still part of the United States instead of Germany - or maybe North Korea - is a mystery to me.

    • This actually happened in my hometown (Jacksonville) at my university (UNF). *shivers*

      It was reported in the folio weekly [folioweekly.com]. Unfortunately they don't have an online version.

      An interesting note in the story was the lady that discovered it and went to the Democratic Party headquarters in town was a republican. Who would have guessed?
    • The moral of the story is... ... When you walk up to a Republican registration table, don't be surprised that the forms are pre-checked Republican.

      On a more serious note, considering the problems that Floriduh voters had in general during the last Presidential cycle, information like this should be taken with a grain of salt (and then throw that over your shoulder!).
  • by eadint (156250) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:44PM (#9824331) Homepage Journal
    This happens after someone requests an opportunity to review the voting records.
    Cmmon this is slashdot, how about the real questions.
    1. Where are the Backup Tapes
    2. Can the necessary data be recovered from the hard drive
    3. Can the data be restored from backup
    4. What is your disaster recovery plan
    5. Why were you working on live data without a backup
    6. why does your software crash and delete valuable data
    7. why did this happen now and not before the results were posted
    I think that the answer will be a little be scarier than we would like
    1. The data was not lost in a crash
    2. The data was deliberately destroyed to hide tampering
    3. the blame was put on a computer crash as a technical scapegoat.
    4. when people hear about things that involve computers they automatically assume just about any damn thing is possible.
    In my 10 years of working with computers i have never lost any critical data due to a crash or a computer failure. there are too many ways to prevent accidental data loss and to recover data from a completely hosed hard drive. this data was probably not lost in a computer crash it was deliberately destroyed. call me paranoid but i challenge anyone on this board with more than 5 years field experience to site a single case where data was lost due to a crash (not including incoming data during downtime) and not recoverable. if you do post a case than you shouldn't be in this business.

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