E-Voting Yes? or No?

By poertner_1274 ยท 5 replies
Dec 10, 2003
  1. I found an interesting read over at CNN.com about going to e-voting. Take a look here

    I'm not too sure I like the sound of this. Granted it will make voting quite a bit easier, I don't think the repricussions of this if it got hacked are worth the risks. This could be a huge mess. Possibly even worse than the hanging chad incident in Florida.
  2. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    We've been using Electronic voting systems here for quite a while. It can't be hacked in the sense that there's no network involved.

    During voting periods, certain facilities, mainly schools, are "taken over" by the public service & used as voting offices. A few days before, you recieve a letter telling you where you will have to vote. BTW voting here is. You get fined for the first miss, after 3 misses, certain civic rights get revoked ( not sure which since I always vote :p ). When you recieve that letter, it can also tell you that you've been "randomly" selected as an assessor for the event. So you have to go the location, earlier that day to get things installed & stay later to help with the counting. If you really can't go & have a mean to justify it ( sick baby, broken back, aliens have been probing you in all sorts of places the night before, etc... ) then you won't get fined ( it's much bigger then the fine you get for simply not voting ).

    At the specified location, you have people there to greet you & direct you to the voting booths. They have a list of names of the people supposed to come voting at their office, you give your ID card, you get some sort of magnetic card & your name gets crossed out on the list. At the booth itself, you insert the card, choose the language ( French / Dutch / Klingon ) & have different candidates listed by political party.

    Once your vote is done, you bring back the card, which you stick in a box & get your ID card back. The different locations proceed with the vote counts during the evening & results are reported to a central commitee, but nothing is linked between the different locations, so no hacking fears from that side.

    It makes things a bit quicker but I still think it needs improvement in order to win the trust of the voters.

    Now I think the software used should be Open Source IMO. That's a way of making sure, the program does what it is supposed to do & just as Linux, flaws could be discovered quickly & "patches" could be rolled out easilly. I'm not sure what software is used right now, but it's probably some custome made software, contracted by some company.

    & there also needs to be a system where each vote would be put in two boxes, each box having to be counted in different locations. A way making sure the counts are correct.
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Topic Starter Posts: 4,172

    Ok, so there is no internet hacking allowed on it, but what is there to say that there isn't a way to hack it locally and have your vote count for 2000 people? This is something I have always wondered, it's only a matter of time before someone cracks the code and breaks the system. Just like anything else.

    I understand a little better how it works now though, thank Didou.

    As far as the counting goes, I agree there needs to be a backup system that counts to be sure they are both correct, but I also know this is a increased man hour thing and I'm sure people wouldn't want to have to do that.
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    That's why I think Open Source software would be a good choice. That way different groups of people or associations can make sure the software complies.

    As far as the workload, it wouldn't really be that bad. On a voting day here, "festivities" start early in the morning around 8am until 6pm & final results are shown on the news ( sometimes around 10pm though ). It would't really be a problem to spread the count on an extra day, as long as people feel security is being taken seriously.
  5. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    We're looking at e-voting from your home in Norway...

    You can currently do most of the official paperwork on the internet, such as sending in your "self indictment" (direct translation, dunno what the english word is), which is about what you own, how much you earn, what tax benefits/deductions you're entitled to, how much you owe other people etc..

    It's working very good so far, as you get sendt a paper with several pin codes which you have to use, and they're only valid once... Meaning that you cannot use the web service more than the amount of pin codes you've got.

    The reason we're looking closer at e-voting is that the % of people voting is going down, and this might be a possible remedy...
    Granted, it'll make voting less "dignified", and you might be less inclined to think about who you're voting for, but done correctly, it might help make a renewed interest in voting & politics...
  6. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    My uncle works for the board of elections in Ohio. There is a government mandate that we vote electronically by the next presidential election. The problem is that with all the systems being considered now, there is no physical back-up to the electronic tabulation. If there is a problem, and there has been in a couple of local elections that have tested the devices, there is no way to do a recount. The only way to correct problems is to have another election.

    The other scary part is that Diebold which is the leading developer is a major contributer to the Republican Party that enacted the legislation to mandate electronic voting in the first place.

    Personally Im all for keeping the punch cards when properly set up (unlike the fiasco in florida) the work fine and have for many years.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...