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Re: [Demexp-dev] Thoughts on voting machines

From: Brian Hurt
Subject: Re: [Demexp-dev] Thoughts on voting machines
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 21:36:34 -0500 (CDT)

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004, Félix wrote:

> I have to disagree with this. I'm doing magic as a hobby. I went to see
> votes counting several times, and I had a look at the process. When
> voting is finished, they take the enveloppes out of the ballot box and
> put them one hundred at a time in bigger enveloppes that are dispatched
> betwen the tables for the public to count them. Switching the big
> enveloppe to another one is actually very easy for someone who knows
> these kind of tricks. Even switching the ballot box during the voting
> process can be done with a little preparation, trust me.

The next big city over is Chicago- trust me, I'm well aware how vote 
corruption works.

But to tamper with the paper votes, you have to get access to the physical
votes.  Doing it on a wide-scale basis, wide-scale enough to seriously
affect the election, is hard work.  It's hard work just to move that
amount of paper around, forget slight of hand.  And you need to make sure
that no one else knows stage magic either.  Small corruptions are 
certainly possible.  Large corruptions are a problem.

The big-time machines are more or less above board in their corruption- 
Chicago under Daley, Boston under the Irish, New York under Boss Tweed, 
every knew the elections were rigged.  You can't defend against wide 
spread, unopposed corruption.

The problem I have with pure electronic voting is that one person, sitting
in a basement in Yugoslavia (or in a cubical at Diebold) could rig an
entire election, without the physical effort and risk of moving large
piles of paper around.

> I think the point is not that paper elections are safe, it's just that
> people *trust* them, and that's enough. It worked pretty well, so they
> think it will keep working in the future. Actually, they trust it so
> much that even when they learn later that it was tampered, they do not
> make a big fuss about it!
> People have to trust electronic voting. And that's harder because
> technical knowledge of computer stuf is not that common. I have the
> personnal feeling that it will be easier to make electronic voting
> secure than to convice people that it really is...

It's my knowledge of how computers are programmed which makes me not trust 
electronic voting.  

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