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07-17-18 11:19 AM
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Main - Serious discussion - Election fraud New reply

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Marionumber1
Posted on 07-21-16 03:48 PM Link | #74209
In most Western countries, votes are cast on paper ballots and counted by hand in public view. The process may be long and tedious, but with so many eyes on the counting, it's almost certain that the end result is accurate. Hand-counted paper ballots, with a publicly-observable counting process, is the gold standard of election accuracy.

The United States does not do it that way. We have two main ways of counting our ballots:

* Optical scan: People vote on paper ballots, but they're fed into an electronic scanner that counts them.

* Direct electronic recording (DRE): People make their selections on a touchscreen or pushbutton interface. The machine records and adds up all the selections.

It all seems nice, easy, and modern. Why have humans, that are prone to mistakes, take the time to count our votes when we can automate it?

The problem is trust: why should you trust that the machine counted your vote accurately? It's nothing more than a black box that votes go into, and numbers come out of. That black box can easily be programmed to flip votes to other candidates. Having it count votes is like giving all our votes to one man who counts them in private, and announces a number at the end.

The only way to know whether the machine is accurate is to count the ballots by hand. In that case, why waste money on machines in the first place? Many states, though, don't even bother counting the ballots to verify the machines. And when they find that the machine miscounted, nothing usually happens. Even better, many DRE machines only only record your vote digitally, with no paper record printed out.

But who cares if voting machine results can't be verified? It's not like anyone can hack them. Oh wait, everyone with access to the machines can hack them. If you put a memory card into the machine containing a "firmware update," it will install it with no verification. So if you just put in software that rigs the election, oops, too bad. Guess the machine is hacked.

After the individual machines record their votes, they all need to be added up. This is done by transmitting the vote counts to a central tabulator. Sounds fancy, but it's really just a Windows XP machine running some shitty software. There are so many issues with this:

* Anyone sitting at the central tabulator can easily get into the election database and change all votes. There are basically no safeguards stopping this.

* Voting machines often transmit results by dialing into the tabulator over the phone lines. But if hackers figure out the tabulator phone number, they can dial into the machine and control it from anywhere in the world.

* You're not supposed to connect the tabulator to the Internet, but people do it anyway. Windows XP machines can be hacked after 4 minutes connected to the Internet.

* The central tabulator can hack all the voting machines, and the voting machines can hack the central tabulator. So if you hack one part of the system, everything is fucked.

This is how elections work in the United States. Anyone with access to the machines (which is dozens or hundreds of people) can hack them, and once they've hacked one machine, their hack can spread to all the others. It's possible to commit election fraud on a massive scale with very few people, and it quite likely won't be caught.

Has this actually been done? There are quite a few suspicious elections that have happened since we introduced electronic voting. I happen to believe that the recent Democratic primary was stolen. But that's not the point. The insecure nature of our elections leaves no reason to trust that they're accurate, and every reason to believe people have taken advantage of their flaws.

It may seem alarmist to some of you, but I think this is the greatest threat to the United States' democracy. When we can't even trust that our elections are accurate, we've lost the most fundamental part of the democratic process. And right now, that's where we are. I envy those of you in other countries that have hand-counted paper ballots, because at the end of the day, you can believe your elections were fair.

Tahcryon
Posted on 07-21-16 04:00 PM Link | #74210
We have hand-counted paper ballots. Nobody actually trusts the guys counting them, so usually normal people go and make sure that the people counting aren't fucking with anything. Though Turkey might not be a good example for this, as half the time we have mysterious blackouts and votes failing to reach their destination during the elections.

Also, I'm surprised that the United States relies on such things. You'd think that something as serious as voting would be handled a bit more seriously.

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Marionumber1
Posted on 07-21-16 04:07 PM Link | #74211
Posted by Tahcryon
We have hand-counted paper ballots. Nobody actually trusts the guys counting them, so usually normal people go and make sure that the people counting aren't fucking with anything.


Yeah, it's important to have a hand count and have people watching it. The more eyes, the better. It's not a silver bullet, but it's almost certainly the best system possible.

Though Turkey might not be a good example for this, as half the time we have mysterious blackouts and votes failing to reach their destination during the elections.


Chain-of-custody is another important consideration I forgot to mention. Hand-counting of ballots should ideally be done at the polling place, since there's little chance for ballots to be altered. Once ballots are transported elsewhere, untrustworthy people can do who-knows-what with them.

In fact, this problem happens in the US, and adds to the issues with electronic voting. Even if you do get the ballots recounted, you have no way of knowing whether they were the original ballots people voted on. After the 2004 Ohio election, there was a court order to get the ballots, but it was found they had been altered to match the machine count. In a 2008 New Hampshire recount, several ballot boxes arrived open, and two boxes had each other's ballots.

SunakazeKun
Posted on 07-21-16 04:10 PM Link | #74213
In Germany we have hand-counted paper ballots as well.
People who actually fake the countings or try to do so can be sent to prison for up to five years. I'm not sure how this works in other countries.



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JakoNintenCraft
Posted on 07-21-16 04:32 PM Link | #74214
I can't believe our voting system is so susceptible to being rigged (well, not really. Look at any American news channel and you'll see what I mean.)
It seems society has become so corrupt that it wants to destroy society all just for one more dollar or one more vote for them. This is disappointing.

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Marionumber1
Posted on 07-21-16 04:38 PM Link | #74216
Posted by JakoNintenCraft
I can't believe our voting system is so susceptible to being rigged (well, not really. Look at any American news channel and you'll see what I mean.)
It seems society has become so corrupt that it wants to destroy society all just for one more dollar or one more vote for them. This is disappointing.


Indeed, I happen to think this is a major factor contributing to political corruption. Politicians become far less concerned with representing the people if their reelection is rigged.

I was incredibly disappointed and angry when I first learned about this. Now I'm determined to do whatever I can to fix things. That includes spreading the word, and making sure we observe elections to document evidence of election fraud. The public will care and demand change once they really see how bad our system is.

Hiccup
Posted on 07-22-16 04:49 AM (rev. 5 of 07-22-16 04:55 AM) Link | #74289
It was very surprised to see that politicians in the USA can say things like this and be taken seriously. There is something obviously wrong here. I mean, he had no argument.

MusiMasta
Posted on 07-22-16 11:05 AM Link | #74320
So, it can be very likely that Donald Trump is using his wealth as an incentive to the people who manage the tabulators. Anyways, America is on the "more advanced" side of technology but this doesn't mean that we should use technology for everything, especially in cases where they would mess up more than an actual person (with bystanders) counting up the ballots.

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Marionumber1
Posted on 07-22-16 11:15 AM Link | #74322
Posted by MusiMasta
So, it can be very likely that Donald Trump is using his wealth as an incentive to the people who manage the tabulators. Anyways, America is on the "more advanced" side of technology but this doesn't mean that we should use technology for everything, especially in cases where they would mess up more than an actual person (with bystanders) counting up the ballots.


It's pretty likely that the Democratic primary this year was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. Trump is rich, but Clinton is favored by the rich, so who knows how the November election will be rigged.

LeftyGreenMario
Posted on 07-28-16 11:20 PM Link | #75082
It might be another topic, but there is also voter fraud, both legit and an imaginary boogeymen (legit one isn't a problem though). Republicans often invoke this problem in favor for voter ID laws, but it's a dogwhistle for them to limit voting rights for minorities.

More on topic, I also think another big problem is the voting system in of itself. It's not about voters, it's about securing delegates which are represented by states. If you vote against your state, your vote means nothing. Coupled with the possible security issues that you've brought up, it's really concerning.

Marionumber1
Posted on 07-28-16 11:31 PM (rev. 3 of 07-28-16 11:32 PM) Link | #75086
The two things you mention are somewhat separate from election fraud (which I believe is the most serious issue facing our democracy), but they're still relevant:

Posted by LeftyGreenMario
It might be another topic, but there is also voter fraud, both legit and an imaginary boogeymen (legit one isn't a problem though). Republicans often invoke this problem in favor for voter ID laws, but it's a dogwhistle for them to limit voting rights for minorities.


From what I've seen, voter fraud (a different issue) is virtually nonexistent. It's mainly used, as you point out, as a justification for taking away voting rights.

More on topic, I also think another big problem is the voting system in of itself. It's not about voters, it's about securing delegates which are represented by states. If you vote against your state, your vote means nothing.


Yeah, the electoral college should be reformed or eliminated. I can somewhat see the reasoning behind it, but it should at least be proportional rather than winner-take-all.

LeftyGreenMario
Posted on 07-28-16 11:57 PM Link | #75098
I think proportional may have problems of its own, but yeah, it kind of sucks that if your candidate loses, this person has essentially no power to wield, even if it's a close vote. But if it's proportional, you won't have your vote as silenced.

As much as I don't... agree with the Republican Party, I'd imagine their frustration when they see candidates they like and agree with, but they're in a state stronghold of the Democratic Party, like California. Their votes mean essentially nothing because there is no way they'll win and have their votes mean something.

Another problem with the state's process is gerrymandering. Again, this isn't related to voter count, but it's just another issue I'm concerned about. Both parties are guilty of this (Democrats in Maryland), though it's been associated with Republicans more.

I'm not sure about the current results of electronic ballots. I myself have filled out a ballot by hand and then fed it into a machine, taking little of what's said into account. I still can't trust Hillary for whatever. She's a liar and she's chummy with other liars like her, and she gets paid millions for doing speeches to banks. I trust Trump even less, but Hillary makes me very uncomfortable. It concerns me that votes may even be rigged (yeah, our democracy has been a little crazy in the recent years, with no limits on super PAC-spending and attack ads and stuff).

Marionumber1
Posted on 07-29-16 12:09 AM Link | #75102
Posted by LeftyGreenMario
I think proportional may have problems of its own, but yeah, it kind of sucks that if your candidate loses, this person has essentially no power to wield, even if it's a close vote. But if it's proportional, you won't have your vote as silenced.

Another problem with the state's process is gerrymandering. Again, this isn't related to voter count, but it's just another issue I'm concerned about. Both parties are guilty of this (Democrats in Maryland), though it's been associated with Republicans more.


Yep, there's quite a long list of democratic reforms I think we should have. Among them:
* End electronic voting, or make it secure
* Make voting a universal right of citizenship
* Automatic and same-day voter registration
* Campaign finance reform
* Legislative districts drawn by independent commission or computer algorithm
* End voter ID laws
* Fix electoral college in some way

I'm not sure about the current results of electronic ballots. I myself have filled out a ballot by hand and then fed it into a machine, taking little of what's said into account. I still can't trust Hillary for whatever. She's a liar and she's chummy with other liars like her, and she gets paid millions for doing speeches to banks. I trust Trump even less, but Hillary makes me very uncomfortable. It concerns me that votes may even be rigged (yeah, our democracy has been a little crazy in the recent years, with no limits on super PAC-spending and attack ads and stuff).


Paper ballots that get optically scanned aren't much better than filling out your ballot electronically. Ultimately, it's the machine counting it, and you're blindly trusting it. Unless you actually count the ballots, and the ballots are safe from tampering before you do so, optical scan voting is still quite risky.

I definitely agree with you about Hillary's corruption, and this was the main reason I supported Bernie Sanders rather than her. But my biggest issue with her now is that the primaries were likely rigged in her favor, making her an illegitimate nominee. So despite the fact that she's running against Trump, I can't bring myself to support her (though I can't vote anyway, so whatever).

Baby Luigi
Posted on 07-29-16 08:27 PM Link | #75266
Well, if you could vote, you could always vote for a third party. For this election, I wonder how well they'd do, considering the recent event with both parties. I hate both nominees as well, and the leaks made me dislike Clinton even more.

LeftyGreenMario
Posted on 07-29-16 08:30 PM Link | #75267
You run the risk of helping Trump by hurting Hillary, though, which is another result I don't want to happen. I read about Ralph Nader. We got Bush Jr. >_>

Marionumber1
Posted on 07-29-16 08:33 PM Link | #75270
Posted by Baby Luigi
Well, if you could vote, you could always vote for a third party. For this election, I wonder how well they'd do, considering the recent event with both parties. I hate both nominees as well, and the leaks made me dislike Clinton even more.


If I could vote, it would likely be for Jill Stein.

Posted by LeftyGreenMario
You run the risk of helping Trump by hurting Hillary, though, which is another result I don't want to happen. I read about Ralph Nader. We got Bush Jr. >_>


Whether Ralph Nader was actually a spoiler is debatable. Exit polls showed that he drew equal support from Republicans and Democrats, and most of his voters had chosen the Reform Party in 1996, which was conservative.

As for this year, the election fraud ensured I wouldn't support Hillary anyway. I don't intend to reward fraud by voting for its beneficiary. So I would either vote third party or not choose a president.

LeftyGreenMario
Posted on 07-29-16 08:44 PM (rev. 2 of 07-29-16 08:45 PM) Link | #75272
In terms of science, it seems like none of the candidates are really solid. Even Bernie Sanders subscribes to anti-GMO lines of thoughts and I believe both he and Hillary have supported some sort of push for "integrative" (code for quackery, really) medicine. Of course, the Republicans are worse in a lot of aspects, but at least... they don't support GMO labeling... which is... I guess a good thing? The Green Party is also susceptible to woo. They promote integrative/complementary/alternative/quack medicine too.

Maybe this year, I'll hand them a blank ballot. That'll serve them.

P.S. Bernie Sanders still isn't bad. His only flaw is just the woo stuff and the anti-GMO stuff, and it's not terribly bad.

Marionumber1
Posted on 07-29-16 08:51 PM (rev. 2 of 07-29-16 08:52 PM) Link | #75273
Posted by LeftyGreenMario
In terms of science, it seems like none of the candidates are really solid. Even Bernie Sanders subscribes to anti-GMO lines of thoughts and I believe both he and Hillary have supported some sort of push for "integrative" (code for quackery, really) medicine. Of course, the Republicans are worse in a lot of aspects, but at least... they don't support GMO labeling... which is... I guess a good thing? The Green Party is also susceptible to woo. They promote integrative/complementary/alternative/quack medicine too.

Maybe this year, I'll hand them a blank ballot. That'll serve them.

P.S. Bernie Sanders still isn't bad. His only flaw is just the woo stuff and the anti-GMO stuff, and it's not terribly bad.


As far as I know, he doesn't think GMOs are dangerous, but supports labeling because that's what his constituents want. I don't agree with the need for it, but it's not really harmful. I agree that the support for alternative medicine is undesirable, and I also dislike that he's against nuclear power. But I agree with you that these are pretty minor issues, and he was still the best major primary candidate (too bad the primaries were stolen).

Jill Stein is mostly in agreement with Bernie Sanders (including the anti-science stuff, sadly), and is a bit further left. If you supported Bernie Sanders, you'll probably support her too. I think it's important for the Green Party to gain power, since that could lead to one of two things happening:

* They build a strong progressive movement and are absorbed by the Democrats, making the Democrats an actual left-wing party.

* They displace the GOP, becoming the left-wing party to the Democrats' pro-business party.

Baby Luigi
Posted on 07-29-16 09:38 PM Link | #75281
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate I legitimately want to vote for but you know, he has to compete with Hilary Clinton. Though I think Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, is okay...? but just not left enough for me.

I mean, I hate both candidates now, but I really really really hate Trump and I feel like he doesn't deserve to be president. And if he was? I don't think major disaster would ensue because at least Congress checks him but just think about the image it sends to other nations of the world, the guy who said all of these horrible things in his campaign to become president.

Marionumber1
Posted on 07-29-16 09:46 PM Link | #75286
Posted by Baby Luigi
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate I legitimately want to vote for but you know, he has to compete with Hilary Clinton. Though I think Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, is okay...? but just not left enough for me.

I mean, I hate both candidates now, but I really really really hate Trump and I feel like he doesn't deserve to be president. And if he was? I don't think major disaster would ensue because at least Congress checks him but just think about the image it sends to other nations of the world, the guy who said all of these horrible things in his campaign to become president.


I firmly believe Clinton is a corrupt, corporatist warmonger, and while I don't dislike Kaine too much, I find several of his policies objectionable: TPP (which he flip-flopped on but I don't believe he opposes), right-to-work, and calls for bank deregulation.

While I certainly don't want Trump, Clinton "winning" through election fraud makes it impossible for me to support her. Rewarding fraud is just going to legitimize it and allow it to continue with no reservations. Elections come and go, but election rigging won't end without serious changes.

And to be honest, I think Hillary Clinton is more dangerous. She's likely to make no positive progress on domestic policy, allowing corporate interests to become more entrenched, while ramping up aggression in Iran and Syria. And 4 years of a bad Democrat make it likely that Republicans win 2020, gerrymandering Democrats into oblivion for another decade.
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Main - Serious discussion - Election fraud New reply

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