Someone steal a Diebold and reverse engineer pls tia
September 12, 2005 7:25 PM   Subscribe

At this challenging time for President Bush, let us reminisce about the system that elected him. Will the next election be different? Do you want it to be? What are you going to do about it?
posted by Pretty_Generic (61 comments total)

 
I will kick, scream, yell, argue, beg, coerce, pontificate, demand and outright bully

everyone I come in contact with to NOT VOTE GOP
posted by stevejensen at 7:30 PM on September 12, 2005


Well steve, I just hope your friends are in non-Diebold areas.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2005


why do we all hate America?
posted by Elim at 7:36 PM on September 12, 2005


To be fair, lots of people have been successfull in demanding paper recipts for elections.
posted by delmoi at 7:40 PM on September 12, 2005


Good luck with your cmpaign, P_G. I can't see this post remaining, but I heartily commend it's intent.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:41 PM on September 12, 2005


I'll do what I did last time - vote, and urge others to vote.

Not like it'll matter, though. Bush can't run for office again, but I'm certain the next stooge pushed in front of the cameras will be dropped into office through yet another amazing series of failures and coincidences. More than half the voting population was too complacent to even bother voting, from what I understand, and the bare majority of those that did vote determined our current course. Gore was bilked out of his Presidency, and Kerry was just too weak a candidate to succeed.

Still, I'll do what I can.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:41 PM on September 12, 2005


I plan on making a series of giant comical puppets which I will parade around the World Bank Headquarters chanting "No Blood for Oil!"

I'm sure that will convince the bulk of the US populace to vote against the GOP.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:45 PM on September 12, 2005


Yup--a paper trail--we're doing that here in NY--we're supposed to switch over soon, and the State Senate has already made it a necessity. ...voting machines to produce and retain a voter verifiable permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity;
manufacturers to supply copies of the computer source code to the state for each voting machine to ensure that it has not been corrupted. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:46 PM on September 12, 2005


Don't despair. The flaws in the Diebold system are something that all voters would condemn if they understood them, except perhaps personal friends of the victor. Let us focus on that, rather than giving up and blaming weak Democratic candidates.

Knowing what we do about Diebold, who can honestly be certain that the last two elections were fair? That fact alone is cause enough for protest from all sides.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:47 PM on September 12, 2005


pollomacho: Good one.
posted by brundlefly at 7:48 PM on September 12, 2005


What would Bill Hicks say about this? Something about the illusion of choice, I imagine...
posted by SweetJesus at 7:49 PM on September 12, 2005


And don't just say "I'm going to do my bit and vote Clinton/Dean/Obama/McCheese", when there's a possibility your vote could be tragically mislaid. Get out there and make a stand against this unambiguous travesty of a voting system, not because it might harm the Democrats, but because it might harm Democracy.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:52 PM on September 12, 2005


That's why I'm voting for Pigasus...
posted by SweetJesus at 7:56 PM on September 12, 2005


I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!' 'Shut up! Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control. Here's Love Connection. Watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way, keep drinking beer, you fucking morons.' - Bill Hicks
posted by mullingitover at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2005


Stew Albert and Abbie Hoffman would be proud, pollomacho.
posted by nonmerci at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2005


Grow up, people.
posted by davidmsc at 8:16 PM on September 12, 2005


At least someone is happy for the fate of the world to potentially be decided by any two-bit computer geek or electioral worker. Grow upGo back to sleep, people.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:21 PM on September 12, 2005


I'll vote absentee again. I bet they still haven't counted mine, and it 'lost' in a warehouse in North Dakota.
posted by Balisong at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2005


I'm not sure what the ? link had to do with this. (The hopelessness of the situation perhaps? The futility of it all?). But I like it.
posted by marxchivist at 8:29 PM on September 12, 2005


From GEMS site: The goal, with GEMS, is to allow an election administrator to easily and completely control every step of the election process, from ballot layout to election reporting..
posted by 31d1 at 8:37 PM on September 12, 2005


It's going to be interesting, because results of the last elections showed that the majority of people wanted to vote for somebody other than Bush, but the Democrats didn't nominate the best alternative. I happen to believe that Bill Clinton picked the horse that would have beaten Bush handily (you remember General Clark?) but by the time he finally decided to get in the race, Kerry had a big money lead.

Next election, the Democrats still have to put somebody up that the nation likes, and it isn't Hillary (smart and capable though she may be).

What makes it really interesting is who the Republican's will nominate. I feel it will be a McCain-Hagel ticket (two Republican voices who have taken pains to separate themselves from Bush and his policies.

People might still vote Republican in 2008 because
a) they aren't Democrats
or
b) these aren't wacko Republicans.
posted by spock at 8:38 PM on September 12, 2005


> I'm not sure what the ? link had to do with this...

Nor am I, but it's great to see Jack Chick putting his talents to work in the service of Chthulu instead of that other loser he used to shill for...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:42 PM on September 12, 2005


My belief that elections can still be decided by voters is quite endearing, isn't it?
posted by spock at 8:46 PM on September 12, 2005


Let us focus on that, rather than giving up and blaming weak Democratic candidates.

Yes, let's not look at the message or the candidate, it can't possibly be them, let's look at the voting system and see how it cheated us.

Oy.

It's okay to look at the flaws with the system, but you *have* to look at your message and see where people just didn't get it or didn't like it. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for another loss.

Knowing what we do about Diebold, who can honestly be certain that the last two elections were fair?

I can honestly say the election was "fair" in that both sides benefitted and lost votes due to errors. Does that mean that errors could not or should not be fixed? Obviously not. We can fix the diebold errors, but that doesn't automatically mean the election was fixed for Republicans.

because results of the last elections showed that the majority of people wanted to vote for somebody other than Bush, but the Democrats didn't nominate the best alternative

And this is exactly WHY you have to look at the message. The ABB should have been enough, but John Kerry still lost. You can't blame that one on diebold in its entirety, and if you think that was the reason the Democrats lost, and don't work on fixing some of the internal problems, you'll see another loss soon (although I'll admit, it'd be hard for Republicans to overcome gaffes and f-ups since last elections).

Look at the message and ideas in addition to the system. Don't get lost in looking at the system and thinking it cheated you.
posted by Drylnn at 8:48 PM on September 12, 2005


All you have to do it open Access for God's sake!
posted by 31d1 at 8:53 PM on September 12, 2005


If voting could change the system, it would be illegal.
posted by Balisong at 9:08 PM on September 12, 2005


Why America hates itself.
posted by objet at 9:46 PM on September 12, 2005


Nobody's vote counts. The Electors could pick whoever they wanted, they just pick with the majority of popular votes. They could all vote for Ron Jeremy if they wanted. At least thats my understanding. Don't think the constitution says anywhere we have the right to vote, just that the government shall not hinder our vote due to race, sex, religion, etc.
posted by Ron at 9:47 PM on September 12, 2005


I can't believe nobody has linked black box voting yet...

So.. there it is...

/obligatory.
posted by twiggy at 9:48 PM on September 12, 2005


This is more apt
posted by SweetJesus at 10:11 PM on September 12, 2005


Ron-

A lot of states (I don't know how many offhand,) have laws that prevent their electors from voting differently than the popular vote. But their is no federal law, yes.
posted by Snyder at 10:12 PM on September 12, 2005


The next election is not for president.

Write that down. Don't forget. The president is not nearly as important as congress. All the representatives are up for election in 2006.

It is a clever trick to make people focus on the presidency. Its really quite a show. It fools people into ignoring congress.
posted by Goofyy at 10:23 PM on September 12, 2005


The president is not nearly as important as congress.

You've got to be kidding. Its a heck of a lot easier for the president to keep a law from being passed than it is for anyone in congress. Congress might be more important when the white house and congress are held by opposing parties, but when its single party rule, there's no question that the president has all the power.
posted by gsteff at 10:28 PM on September 12, 2005


grow up people etc.

Indeed. Grown up people don't believe in fairy tales, nor do they fall for 2-bit cons, nor are they mesmerised by smoke and mirrors. So let's all be grown up about this election business. 30 million votes - 3 in 10 - were cast in 2004 on machines which cannot be audited. Would you trust your money to a bank that cannot be audited - would you send your children to a school that cannot be audited? Why would you cast your vote on a machine that cannot be audited?? You can say that it is childish to question the integrity of government agents; in fact is is cowardice to accept it without question. You can impugn the sanity or patriotism of those who raise the alarm; in fact it is insane or treasonous to attempt to silence them. Your government assures you the house is not burning down, but where there's smoke there's fire, and the flames are already licking the foundation of your paper republic...

There doesn't need to be any evidence of fraud to see clearly that these machines are bad news. In any case there is plenty of evidence (<cough> exit polls </cough>) that small vote manipulations can swing elections.

Oh and make sure it's not a paper receipt but a paper *ballot* - a receipt is useless - the ballot needs to be have a physical form, so that even if the counting is done electronically, there is a "real" object to fall back to, and to randomly sample to verify the accuracy of the electronic count.
posted by dinsdale at 10:34 PM on September 12, 2005


Get rid of the electoral college while we're at it. It may have made sense in the days of the Pony Express, but it doesn't any more.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:35 PM on September 12, 2005


In the latest Zogby poll, GW would lose to every President since Carter (including Bush 41), but would still beat John Kerry. Maybe it does have something to do with the candidate.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:00 AM on September 13, 2005


Maybe it does have something to do with the candidate.

Consider, if you will, how the media of today shapes our opinions of the Democratic candidate of today. (War hero = why do you hate America?!?!?!) Politicians are gaming the system, and thus a historical comparison may not say what you want it to.
posted by mek at 12:39 AM on September 13, 2005


Metafilter: Politicians are gaming the system.
posted by Goofyy at 3:01 AM on September 13, 2005


gsteff: please go take a civics class.

The president can not spend 10 cents without congress.

The "next election" is 'mid-terms', next year. Anyone really concerned about the state of the Union would focus on that.

gsteff said: but when its single party rule...

Yes, "but". And that is influenced by what? Oh, that's right, the mid-term elections, next year. Terribly important to focus on that. Of course, I'm sure plenty Republicans would like us to focus on 2008 and ignore the vitally important mid-term election which happens, um, like, uh, next year, in 2006. Mid-terms, you know? Its important!
posted by Goofyy at 3:10 AM on September 13, 2005


Nobody's vote counts. The Electors could pick whoever they wanted, they just pick with the majority of popular votes. They could all vote for Ron Jeremy if they wanted.

Ron, the system simply doesn't work that way. The DC electors attempted to pull something like this in 2000 (voting for no one) and were shut down. Needless to say, in the end DC cast its 3 votes for Gore.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:32 AM on September 13, 2005


Yup, the midterms are important, but unless Diebold is prevented from cheating how people actually vote won't matter much (at least in areas that use Diebold machines). Bear in mind that the CEO of Diebold said, just before the 2004 elections: "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president." He said this in a 2003 fundraising letter sent to Republicans.

So Diebold's machines leave no paper trial, much less a human readable paper trail, and it has been demonstrated that a trained monkey [1] can delete the computer records.

Kinda hard for your vote to make a difference when it's either deleted, or altered by a corporation who's CEO is dedicated to "delivering" votes to a particular politician.

[1] Via FoxNews, which does its best to pretend that this isn't an important thing.
posted by sotonohito at 5:38 AM on September 13, 2005


Pollomacho: Its still a stupid, manifestly unfair, system. One acre one vote as opposed to one man one vote.

Right now the presidential election essentially ignores most of America to focus on a few "swing states". I voted for Kerry in the last election and that counted for exactly nothing because I live in Texas. I might as well have stayed home on election day. Similarly a Republican living in New York shouldn't bother voting either.

Direct election of presidents will make the system more fair by eleminating the "North Dakotans are better than everyone else" factor, and produce a 50 state campaign because politicians will have something to gain by campaigning in all states.

If direct election is too big a leap, or (more likely) politicians from the small states currently benefiting from unfair representation object, we could at least mandate that the electoral college votes be split.

Optimally we'd have direct election with Instant Runoff Voting which encourages 3rd party candidates, and even if they aren't elected lets the winning politician know how much of his support really liked the other guy better. That's gotta influence policymaking a bit, yes?
posted by sotonohito at 6:01 AM on September 13, 2005


I can honestly say the election was "fair" in that both sides benefitted and lost votes due to errors.

No, you cannot say that, for the simple reason that the manipulation shown in the links is undetectable. Because of the pathetic flimsiness of GEMS's security, none of us can be certain that Bush won the last two elections. It really is that simple.

Frankly I'm alarmed that you don't seem to understand this. Have you read the links? If you're not technically minded, the gist is that hacking the vote is piss-easy for any geek, and erasing your steps is a task that has literally been performed by a trained monkey.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:07 AM on September 13, 2005


I voted for Kerry in the last election and that counted for exactly nothing because I live in Texas. I might as well have stayed home on election day. Similarly a Republican living in New York shouldn't bother voting either.

To my knowledge, no state has ever officially been decided by one vote -- including Florida in 2000. As such, the logical extension of your argument is that no vote ever counts. Ever. Because it never makes a difference. Therefore, no one should ever bother to vote for President because there are just too many votes out there and your one vote cannot make a difference.
posted by flarbuse at 7:45 AM on September 13, 2005


He's right. However, it is still logically unfair that a vote in Wyoming counts for so much more than a vote in California; although that really is the least of our problems.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:22 AM on September 13, 2005


both sides benefitted and lost votes due to errors.

Not, in fact, true, even setting aside the Heisenberg Voting Machines.

In the cases in 04 where there are documented irregularities -- precincts that reported more votes than they had voters, polling places which received far too few machines for the number of people expected, phone banks calling voters and telling them to vote on November 3, faux "election monitors" harassing voters, etc., -- they vastly favored the republican side.
posted by ook at 8:36 AM on September 13, 2005


(and before you ask, here's a long compilation of those documented irregularities. If you've got evidence on the other side, let's see it.)
posted by ook at 8:43 AM on September 13, 2005


Paper ballots are essential.

We are not helpless unless we do nothing.

Some pending legislation is better than others (some are mere window dressing). Go to http://www.verifiedvoting.com/article.php?list=type&type=43 . They have great analyses of which pending state and federal bills are best.

Then go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg . They make it easy to contact all your representatives to urge them to support the bills you favor.

Take back your power!
posted by bbgun at 9:03 AM on September 13, 2005


He's right. However, it is still logically unfair that a vote in Wyoming counts for so much more than a vote in California; although that really is the least of our problems.

Logically unfair... Logically unfair. I keep turning that phrase around in my head, because it makes no sense. Firstly, who said life was fair, but secondly how does a vote in California count less than a vote in Wyoming? And how does this idea transmutate into "logical unfairness"?

The electoral college was created specifically so states with smaller populations would be represented in the Government, to protect the minority. If we just had a popular vote, the center of the country wouldn't matter (at least in the traditional campaign-calculus sort of way). Even though I'm hard-left, I wouldn't want to get rid of the electoral college just to screw the red states. It assures each state has a representative say, and forces candidates to pay attention. I'll admit it has some problems, but to say that Wyoming votes count more that California votes, that's just a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the electoral college works.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:21 AM on September 13, 2005


P_G, can you please point to the part of your post that constitutes "best of the web", in an act of kindness that will surely deter me from crying "GYOB" from the highest mountain?
posted by mkultra at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2005


SweetJesus: Firstly, as I said, reform of the electoral college is of tiny importance compared to fixing the holes in the Diebold system, and it's a lot better than the systems in many other countries.

But, in any case I stand by the phrase "logically unfair", because logically a President should represent human beings equally, not, as you seem to think, acres of land. "Protecting the minority" should be the role of the constitution and bill of rights; it shouldn't lead to an artificial boosting of the power of less populated areas in deciding the ruler of a nation.

Who said life was fair? - No-one, but that doesn't mean elections shouldn't be. We now have the capacity to make all votes equal; I'm a big supporter of computer voting machines so long as they have a decent paper trail and a modicum of security.

It assures each state has a representative say

No Sir, the current system ensures that most states have an over- or under-representative say.

to say that Wyoming votes count more that California votes, that's just a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the electoral college works.

Divide the number of electoral college votes for a state by its population, and you'll find what I said is exactly right. I leave this as an exercise for the reader.

mkultra: The reason this is best of the web is that without these websites, I wouldn't have learnt that the President of the United States could be put in place using a motherfucking Visual Basic script.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:52 AM on September 13, 2005


Why is everyone mad about the cups?
posted by fandango_matt at 10:57 AM on September 13, 2005


┬┐que?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:00 AM on September 13, 2005


so long as they have a decent paper trail and a modicum of security and don't run on top-secret proprietary code.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:03 AM on September 13, 2005


oic
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:11 AM on September 13, 2005


mkultra: The reason this is best of the web is that without these websites, I wouldn't have learnt that the President of the United States could be put in place using a motherfucking Visual Basic script.

Come on, man, Diebold has been discussed to death here. You're not treading any new ground, just rehashing old arguments.
posted by mkultra at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2005


mkultra: "mkultra: Come on, man, Diebold has been discussed to death here. You're not treading any new ground, just rehashing old arguments."

Yes, and it's all better now, right? Let us all breathe deep and forget.
posted by 31d1 at 3:24 PM on September 13, 2005


Yes, and it's all better now, right? Let us all breathe deep and forget.

MeFi isn't the place to dig up old (or even not-very-old) arguments. It's the place to discuss interesting things you find on the web. We can safely say that evidence of Diebold security flaws have been found, and found often, by members here.
posted by mkultra at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2005


Well, it was new to Pretty_Generic, that the "hack" was opening Access at least, and well posted and well recieved, your whining aside.
posted by 31d1 at 2:28 PM on September 14, 2005


None Dare Call It Stolen Apologies if this was already linked. Pretty good summary of Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio the report by Representative John Conyers of Michigan. It's more than just Diebold and GEMS. Many different tactics were used. In a way it's funny how flagrant they were about it.

Such a shame our attention span is so short on this critical...oh...huh?....it's beer and football time!!! Yay!
posted by well_balanced at 12:38 AM on September 15, 2005


... some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's "upper management" -- as well as "top government officials" -- were keenly aware of the "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's main "GEM Central Tabulator" software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold -- who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company -- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:46 PM on September 15, 2005


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