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Author Topic: Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...  (Read 4573 times)

MouseBorg

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Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« on: November 07, 2002, 03:25:03 pm »

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« Last Edit: December 13, 2002, 06:46:12 pm by MouseBorg »
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5pectre

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2002, 04:32:10 pm »

The polls opened on time and the new voting machines worked properly, but Broward County election officials couldn't get the results right in Tuesday's election.

heh, couldn't get the results right i can just imagine:

official 1: "we've been told we need a republican victory"

official 2: "but the voters just aren't voting the right way"

official 3: "make it up then, they'll never notice"

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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2002, 03:02:08 pm »

U.S. Cracks Case of British Hacker

Why Can't Hackers Be Stopped?

So the upcoming vote in 2004 is supposed to be entirely 'puter based is it?

And this is the very same government who can't even keep unauthorized folks out of their military 'puters? With no paper trail for verification, along with a likelyhood of no exit poll to know if things are even anywhere near the ballpark? Sheesh...

Naturally, so called hackers have much less to gain than our own government when it comes to compromising the vote... Reassuring isn't it?

Why can't we do redundant systems?  The electronic system spits out a clearly readable receipt, which the voter verifies, and places into a separate box.  If the computer vote is invalidated, then there will be a paper trail, and unbiasable (no chads) material for a hand count.
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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2002, 03:40:25 pm »

Well, if there was a good method to verify the electronic vote, that would defeat the entire purpose of the government having absolute control of it. That would be illogical & self defeating from the governments perspective.

In the curent point of our cycle, this would be a case of moving backwards into an elective despotism. No reason to do that all over again... at least not till we come full circle. ;D

There is no conspiracy to control votes here.  There are too many conflicting forces of similar power for that to be the case.
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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2002, 04:45:51 pm »

Quote
author=maestro
There is no conspiracy to control votes here.

As already stated, human nature accounts for this, with no need for any sort of silly conspiracy... at least not of the X-Files variety.

Collusion might be a much better term, as its meaning hasn't as yet been intentionally spun by the media to ensure its usage will immediately invalidate any information used in conjunction with it.

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There are too many conflicting forces of similar power for that to be the case.

This was covered over in the Iraqi Oil War thread, in that given enough reason, folks can cooperate nicely together, no matter what their differences. If this were not the case, the FSP would never get off the gound, considering the differences in folks around here.

And as you may have noticed, whenever theres major dissent amongst factions in the government, things like anthrax, snipers, scandals, and having their planes shot down tend to help them along in making the proper decisions.

As demonstrated by recent events, the presumed "balance" or "similarities" of power is history.

I don't mean this in a derogatory manner, as I do respect your viewpoint, but I often wish I had such blind trust in our government (a government which has repeatedly shown itself to be extremely untrustworthy.) It would be much more comforting to simply ignore the current train of events, their results, and what they imply for the future.

But this is the mechanic which determines who has power.  How can the two parties collude in fixing polls when that will _guarantee_ that one will lose power?
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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2002, 05:52:02 pm »

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author=maestro
But this is the mechanic which determines who has power.

Thats the right idea... Or more to the point, as a starting place:

Who makes the vote-counting machines?

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How can the two parties collude in fixing polls when that will _guarantee_ that one will lose power?

This isn't actually the point really... The (alleged) two parties could of course collude, but its not required. That would simply complicate the issue. With the current system in place, only a very small number of folks need participate.

If this were the case, then one side or another is going to be robbed of votes.  Unless this is hidden _amazingly_ well from men with _huge_ amounts of money to spend looking for it, the manipulator will be tried and convicted of vote fraud and the courts will become involved, and the entire advantage gained by the manipulation will be lost.  

Sometime I'm gonna have to look up the game theory principles behind what I am suggesting.  I can only describe it in the terms I know, but I'm pretty sure that group dynamics do not permit this kind of activity to go unchallenged.  My intuitive grasp of game theory (to whatever degree it is accurate, which might not be too high a degree) is what tells me that there is no significant collusion in these kinds of things.
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5pectre

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2002, 07:58:32 pm »

Well, as we are now dealing with 'puter code, we are right in my area. Can something be hidden "amazingly well" inside of a nice chunk of proprietary spaghetti code?

Proprietary code yes, but why does the code need to be proprietary?

The fact is, most of us who write software do embed certain things inside the code, and sometimes make that embedded data extremely difficult to locate. The purpose of course isn't usually malicious. Shareware authors for instance embed registration data.

Yeah, they (laughably) call it 'security through obscurity'. In the free software movement we have a saying 'With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow' (Linus Torvalds) :)

This is why those familiar with such are either laughing hysterically, or crying hysterically.

have they actually given a reason as to why it isn't free software (open source)?

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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2002, 08:06:10 pm »

I'm also a programmer (in fact I'm working on a directX shader problem right now that's particularly frustrating).  I _do_ know that plenty of stuff can be hidden, but only for so long as it is not suspected to exist.  After that point, it is merely a tedious matter to track down any modifications based on the input and output.  

In the case of the voting box, if I suspected fraud, I'd take the box and vote a million times for one party, get the results, and repeat for each party, or each vote.  It would be a simple matter to find the fraud once it was suspected.  Now the one way to make this not work is if the voting box were programmed to reset to standard after the votes are counted once, thus providing proper answers after that point.  This can be countered by voting, counting, voting, counting, etc. n times before the "real" vote to make sure that this could not happen.

As such, serious vote fraud involving changing numbers within the system would be discoverable, and such a discovery would result in _very_ long prison terms.  

I think that exclusively electronic voting is stupid, however, since minor forms of ballot fraud are proven to exist, and would be made somewhat easier with "computer glitches" making voting difficult, etc.

However, concerted ballot fraud is highly unlikely due to the prowling eyes with lots of money and the extreme penalties for fraud.
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maestro

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Re:Vote? What vote? Oh, that one...
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2002, 08:39:58 pm »

At this point, only the most trusting can remotely feel that the US isn't in dire straits. However, it is oddly comforting that we do get to preserve at least the illusion of being able to select our masters.

The problem is that whichever side thinks that its gonna lose (or actually _does_ lose) will challenge the voting system for the same reasons that we are using in our arguments.  And while our arguments may not count for much, the DNC and the GOP both have lots of time and money to spend on making sure the votes are at least _mostly_ fraud-free.  Of course in actuality, both sides would like to make sure that fraud _does_ occur, in their favor, but due to these two goals being mutually exclusive, we can count on a mostly fair system with a few bad eggs and criminal convictions.
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