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Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
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ANON1249656338241
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ANON1249656338241,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 9:17:42 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Voting is not important. The Democrats show that when they fight voter id laws which are the same requirements to get on an airplane, to get medical service or to get in to see an Obama speech. Of course that is another discussion. One rule is software should not be purchased from an oversees company. There is too much potential for rigging. All software should go under rigorous independent checking. Make it a Consumer Reports type organization, independent from govt and the manufacturers. I think I'd like to see a copy of my vote, either hard copy or through some database. But then that would necessitate saving a copy of the vote. I think getting a receipt would be the best way. The paper ballot would have to be time stamped and the receipt issued. I don't trust anyone when it comes to votes.
shockeymoe
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shockeymoe,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 5:50:57 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
With all due respect we have all of those challenges and then some in Canada. Our country is geographically larger, our climate more harsh, a wider variability in population density, and on tech know-how I'd call it a draw.
We haven't had much appetite for eVoting although there have been some projects. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron...
We get our results quickly. Our last election was decided at 10:51 EST. Of course we don't have all of the votes in and we unfortunately don't have Karl Rove to freak out... we are a sober bunch.
As far as privatization of the voting system, not bloody likely!
shockeymoe
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shockeymoe,
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11/8/2012 | 3:49:49 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Got it.
J. Nicholas Hoover
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J. Nicholas Hoover,
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11/8/2012 | 3:15:51 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
While most other countries have standardized elections, and while your point is well taken, I have to wonder if the United States isn't so large that one size necessarily fits all, particularly as regards variables like climate, population density, and availability of technical know-how.
nbatik786
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nbatik786,
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11/8/2012 | 4:32:41 AM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Voting, while a national issue, would not benefit from a national solution because there are too many variations:

- Buford, Wyoming (pop. 1) does not have the same requirements as New York City (pop. 8.2M);
- Climate extremes in Buras, LA, Death Valley, CA, or Kotzebue, AK would require environmental hardening for transportation and storage (and maybe even use) that would be overkill for most of the rest of the country;
- many evoting machines require technical personnel to program, calibrate, install firmware upgrades, upload vote tallies, etc. which would be challenging for many small, rural communities;
- the cost of voting is typically covered by the city of county. Too many budget-strapped local governments would have to rely upon subsidies, which could easily become another contested political football;
- standardizing on a single system would assign a monopoly to a single company, which would be contested in court by competing companies. A single provider would also become a target hackers, internal espionage, and corruption;
- a standardized interface might simplify the system and spur competition, but would probably infringe on someone's patent, and again, wind up in the courts.
- systems around aging populations need ease of use, the ones around technical communities may need better security;
- it's a little difficult to e-vote from Forward Operating Base Chapman, Afghanistan;

Finally, the whole process is still pretty new. Right now lots of places are trying lots of options, and eventually we may get to a commodity solution, but we are far from there, yet.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point. Few systems beat the reliability of pencil and paper (not the punch-a-hole, hanging chad variety), but you can't get instant results at poll close. With e-voting, expect failures and try to improve with each iteration.
hoohah
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hoohah,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 11:57:04 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Calibration or alignment is necessary on most touch screens to assure that the measured location of finger or stylus pressure corresponds with the image being displayed. I don't know how you could have avoided it when you describe your experience as "all my years". I remember doing it often at least a dozen years ago on my Palm III and Vx. Google "touch screen alignment" or "touch screen calibration".

Misalignment is a serious problem in touch screen voting machines and users need to be very cautious to check that machines register their intended selections.
Lobo VNVMC
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Lobo VNVMC,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 11:51:32 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Most of the voting machines I've seen and used are touch screens. When calibration is referred to they are talking about calibrating the screen to touch. I also learned this voting cycle that the battery in some machines warps the screen when it gets hot throwing the calibration off. There is a fix; they are replacing the screens with ones that are not susceptible to heat.
shockeymoe
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shockeymoe,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 10:41:04 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
I have worked in various roles during our elections in Canada at the federal level as well as the provincial level. The process is paper based for the most part and fairly labour intensive but the results have been trusted for decades and it is very standardized and well scrutinized.
The hours of voting on election day at a general election, or when by-elections are held on the same day in more than one time zone, have been staggered so that the majority of results are available at approximately the same time across the country.
Recounts are mandated in certain circumstances of course but as a nation we generally know our results very quickly.
As an IT analyst I often view situations where throwing the technology at the problem can cause more problems than it solves. The voting process in the US can be improved and some national standardization would be a good first step imho. Questioning the need for imposing technology to essentially count "Xs" would perhaps be a good starting point.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Author
11/7/2012 | 9:47:22 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
We have a national income tax. We should be able to have one clean, efficient national voting system. I know from talking to a fellow attendee at Cloud Expo in Santa Clara that voting systems vary widely in how they operate. In Texas, they punch holes in the card to indicate preference. In California, we use a black pen to connect the gap between two black marks by the candidate we wish to vote for. That may make for automated counting, but the polling place staff had to rip multiple cards out of big tablets, along with receipts, assemble them in a folded paper cover and hand them to each voter. Seemed to take a long time -- an extra 30-40 seconds of time spent standing in line to vote on election day for every voter. I like the ritual; hate the wait. Workers who have to punch a clock may not have the luxury, even if the law claims you get two hours to vote..
shockeymoe
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shockeymoe,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 7:38:22 PM
re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
In all my years of IT I have never heard anyone use the term re-calibrate to describe a fix to a purely digital system.
"Calibration is a comparison between measurements G«Ű one of known magnitude or correctness made or set with one device and another measurement made in as similar a way as possible with a second device." Wikipedia
Sounds like some non-tech has got themselves into the communication stream and everyone is repeating the same phrases without really digging in.
Untested software, as cited earlier in the document, is far more often the issue than "calibration".
Configuration maybe. But that would mean somebody is inputting some rather suspicious logic.
What was really wrong with the voting machine?


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