Las Vegas Slots Versus Electronic Voting Machines

Las Vegas Slots Versus Electronic Voting

[tags]slot machines, las vegas, nevada, gambling, electronic voting, diebold, voting machines, infograph, standards, protocol, how safe is electronic voting[/tags]

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  1. air palin says:

    Cute graphic, but a bit misleading. Debra Bowen, the Secretary of State of California, teamed up with the University of California in 2007 to test electronic voting machines and generally found that they were stuffed to the gills with vulnerabilities — weak cryptography, failure to prevent people from voting multiple times using certain methods, and the like. However, these vulnerabilities apparently stemmed from simple incompetence and laziness rather than malice. Cryptography is a difficult thing to program, especially good crypto, so EVM makers resorted to using shortcuts. Vulnerable is still vulnerable, but this infographic seems to suggest there are shady background deals going on for YOUR VOTES made all the more impenetrable because the machines are ELECTRONIC, OH NO!

    This article: [[ http://www.usenix.org/events/sec07/tech/wagner.pdf ]] explains the vulnerabilities found in a few commonly used voting machines, or you can read the reports yourself at [[ http://www.sos.ca.gov/voting-systems/oversight/top-to-bottom-review.htm ]]. The latter goes in to much more detail but you probably need to be trained in Computer Science to understand a lot of it. Good for tech wonks.

    California basically uses the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) system, which relegates EVMs to glorified ballot printers. You punch the button, it prints out your ballot choices, which you read, and then put in the ballot box for someone to count manually, the idea being that it’s harder to falsify a paper trail than electronic data. (This means all of the voter fraud that happens can only be the old-fashioned kind, which is still a problem, but hey, at least it’s easier to prosecute.) Many other states use this system as well, though I don’t have statistics about how many. Check with yours!

    Short version: graphic is misleading and suggests malice when the reality is merely incompetence and laziness.

    • air palin says:

      Also, the more I read this thing, the stupider it sounds. You have no way of knowing if the person writing the code for your voting machine was convicted for fraud? I suppose that’s true, but it’s also true that you have no way of knowing if your doctor is a convicted murderer.

      • Not the point says:

        Actually state medical boards kind of routinely pull medical licenses of doctors after they are convicted of felonies. A quick Google came with a dozen different doctors who got their licenses yanked for convictions.
        I think that the graphic makes a good point. Whether we are talking corruption or simply laziness, why would we pay more attention to slot machines than to voting machines?
        Your “it’s not malice it’s just laziness, so it’s not really that bad” argument kind of sidesteps that point.

        • air palin says:

          It’s not like you just get in to a tech job without having to talk about prior convictions, either. Good luck getting a job with fraud on your record.

          My point here, really, is that state governments have actually stepped in to perform their own audits of these machines and have enacted laws and regulations that help protect voters, so the situation isn’t quite as skeezy as the graphic makes it out. Not every state has jumped on the bandwagon, but I don’t like seeing stuff like this that sort of promotes silly conspiracy theory thinking, like the next post.

  2. joeblow says:

    spot on. everyone knows voting machines are rigged by their far left liberal computer programmers… this is exactly how obama got elected.

  3. adam says:

    So here’s a clear solution: Federal government contracts the regulation of voting machines to the Nevada Gaming Commission.

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