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Diebold Voter Fraud Rumors in New Hampshire Primaries

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the oh-good-this-again dept.

United States 861

Westech writes "Multiple indications of vote fraud are beginning to pop up regarding the New Hampshire primary elections. Roughly 80% of New Hampshire precincts use Diebold machines, while the remaining 20% are hand counted. A Black Box Voting contributor has compiled a chart of results from hand counted precincts vs. results from machine counted precincts. In machine counted precincts, Clinton beat Obama by almost 5%. In hand counted precincts, Obama beat Clinton by over 4%, which closely matches the scientific polls that were conducted leading up to the election. Another issue is the Republican results from Sutton precinct. The final results showed Ron Paul with 0 votes in Sutton. The next day a Ron Paul supporter came forward claiming that both she and several of her family members had voted for Ron Paul in Sutton. Black Box Voting reports that after being asked about the discrepancy Sutton officials decided that Ron Paul actually received 31 votes in Sutton, but they were left off of the tally sheet due to 'human error.'"

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Finally! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986170)

I'd been waiting for this story to appear for days!

Re:Finally! (2, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#21986412)

Slashdot is powered by your submissions [slashdot.org] , so send in your scoop.

No need to "wait for it for days" just saying.

Re:Finally! (4, Informative)

KlomDark (6370) | about 7 years ago | (#21986666)

Yah, I used to beleive that. Now it's more like "Send in your subscriptions, and waste your time."

I've been here for years, have a four digit ID, and have NEVER had one of my stories posted. Sure, let's say most of them are crap, boring, stupid, lame, but I'd think at least ONE of them would have gotten thru in the last decade. I've seen a lot worse ideas actually get posted.

I'm not angry, I just don't give a crap any more. The other day, after years of not submitting anything, I tried another one, it was about Jack Thompson suing the Omaha Police Chief to get the video game records of the mall shooter. Seemed perfect for Slashdot. Bounced, rejected, nobody got their version posted either.

Just reaffirmed my belief that Slashdot is ran by tin-foil-hat wearing lizard conspiracy overlords trying to turn us slashdotters into mindless consumers. :)

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986700)

No need to "wait for it for days" just saying.
Unless he submitted it days ago and has been "waiting for days" for the editors to do their jobs...

just saying.


Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986178)

because she is a naughty whore!

Oblig. (5, Funny)

xstonedogx (814876) | about 7 years ago | (#21986218)

Dad, you're drunk again!

These things happen (5, Informative)

jamie (78724) | about 7 years ago | (#21986192)

These things happen in primaries. Often a lot of independents swing the same way, or last-minute campaigning changes people's minds.

As Bob Somerby points out [dailyhowler.com] , the polling for the New Hampshire primary was wrong, by a larger margin, the last time we had a two-party primary:

On January 31 [2000], Broder reported that Bush and McCain were "deadlocked in the latest surveys." The next day, McCain won the race -- by 18 points!

Re:These things happen (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 7 years ago | (#21986340)

These things happen in primaries.

Er, no, a candidate's ENTIRE share of votes at a precinct disappearing, doesn't happen. That is inexcusable.

This is why I've long held that the only way to ensure all votes are accurately counted, is to end the secret ballot. Don't make it available on the internet, but make it so groups, with stringent limitations, can audit the list, and people can check their own vote.

I mean, look at this -- people found that their votes weren't counted, simply because a weak reality check caught it. Imagine what it's like on all the times where it *isn't* painfully obvious your vote wasn't counted!

Re:These things happen (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 7 years ago | (#21986592)

I agree. I think the ballot should be as secret as you want it to be, no more. People should be able to at the very least check their *own* votes.

I know people who have argued that, well, if you can prove that you voted a certain way, people could buy your vote! But there are several problems with that.

1) You could already do the same -- I've never seen a polling place that prevents you from snapping a picture of your ballot with your cell phone. Even if there was an official ban, how would they know you were doing it behind the privacy screen unless they had a camera on you, which would be a much greater problem?
2) Our current system has a huge margin of error -- a couple percentage points, meaning in a national election, millions of votes. Is a slightly increased risk of vote buying really worth millions of disenfranchised voters?
3) Validation isn't really needed for vote buying. Half of Americans don't even vote in national elections, let alone little local ones. Their vote means almost nothing to them. Is one to believe that paying these sorts of people and taking them to the polls that they'll suddenly get a political opinion and vote for someone else, someone who's *not* giving them money? In large enough numbers to be relevant?
4) Even if all of this wasn't true, would it really be worth the risk to a candidate to run an operation in which people vote and then have to return to a campaign office to verify their vote? Or to have an online vote verification operation? Would it even be worth the time to that candidate to have people sit down and look at the votes to catch the few "cheats" that said they'd vote for the candidate but didn't?

It just seems like a complaint blown way out of proportion, and insignificant in comparison to the problems that we've had in voting.

Re:These things happen (1)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#21986610)

If ballots weren't secret, how would you keep people from coercing voters? How would you keep people from selling their votes? Ballots are secret for good reason.

Re:These things happen (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 years ago | (#21986624)

This is why I've long held that the only way to ensure all votes are accurately counted, is to end the secret ballot. Don't make it available on the internet, but make it so groups, with stringent limitations, can audit the list, and people can check their own vote.

All you need for that is to issue a serial number with a voting stub. Let the voter check that a given serial number exists in the tally, and what the vote was recorded as.

It would be trivial to publish the list of serial numbers, and their votes. Voters could see that their vote was recorded correctly and included in the tally. And the tallies could be independantly verified.

The only thing you couldn't do is track back who voted for who, which is a good thing I think.

Re:These things happen (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#21986344)

These things happen in primaries.

Being forced to vote by methods that are easy to tamper with and have no way to prove otherwise? Oh, you meant something completely different.

Is it possible that people can refuse to use the Diebold machines when they get to the poll? Can't we just say, "give me the paper ballot?" Why do we have to do it one way or the other. If someone is not knowledgeable in the ways of corruption, cannot use paper for whatever reason, or want to use the modern technology they should be permitted to do so. OTOH, if someone (like me) knows that Diebold's results are easily corrupted w/o any trace, I want to use the tried and true method.

Why can't we?

Re:These things happen (1)

kabloom (755503) | about 7 years ago | (#21986554)

I bet your vote for Ron Paul would have gone away a lot faster if you had used a paper ballot, and nobody would care enough to track it down.

Re:These things happen (2, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | about 7 years ago | (#21986562)

To what end?

If a significant number of voters choose the easy-but-insecure method of voting, then the fact that your vote was counted properly isn't going to matter.

"Let's see, 1% of voters are insisting on paper ballots, so I can't rig those. Ok, I'll skew the results I can rig by an extra 1% to compensate. Problem solved!"

Re:These things happen (3, Informative)

wytcld (179112) | about 7 years ago | (#21986606)

The machines in question, as I understand it, are not touch screen, but rather Diebold tabulators into which are fed paper ballots (which somewhat resemble SAT sheets - fill-in-the-bubble things). At least that's how it works across the river here in Vermont. So there are paper ballots which can be hand counted. These tabulators are famously hackable. I don't know who has authority to require a hand recount in NH.

Re:These things happen (5, Insightful)

Kristoph (242780) | about 7 years ago | (#21986350)

It's important to note that in all these precincts the exit polls agreed with the actual results. So unless the machines made error s_and_ the voters lied at exit polling this is just sour grapes.


Re:These things happen (1)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#21986694)

It's important to note that in all these precincts the exit polls agreed with the actual results. So unless the machines made error s_and_ the voters lied at exit polling this is just sour grapes.
That, or the exit polling companies are in on the shenanigans.

Re:These things happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986356)

We should be able to statistically analyze the results, and assuming that they are random (which they are not) get an approximation of the probability that any district could have results that were so far off (i.e. if the election were to be repeated what probability would there be that a district of that size would be that far or further off). Of course, we will need to take it with a grain of salt, but if it can be shown that it is more than 5 standard deviations off, it is very likely we have a problem.

Re:These things happen (3, Interesting)

gunnk (463227) | about 7 years ago | (#21986404)

Sure, polls and results can differ. However, that is NOT what this is about.

The interesting part is that the results from areas using Diebold machines are significantly different from the results in hand-counted areas -- by an margin amply large to change the result of the primary. The data being published at Black Box Voting show that the differences exist even when accounting for the size of the population centers.

Maybe nothing to see here, but there is certainly enough here to warrant a closer look.

Re:These things happen (1)

Intron (870560) | about 7 years ago | (#21986470)

"These things happen"

What things happen? Differences between machine and hand-counted ballots happen? Did you even read the summary? There was a 5% discrepency in a race won by 4%.

Re:These things happen (5, Informative)

kabloom (755503) | about 7 years ago | (#21986630)

Even if you reverse the percentages of Obama and Clinton, they still get the same number of delegates from the state, and Clinton still did significantly better than expected. FWIW, when I saw 36% to 39%, I said in my mind that they basically tied. Others read a lot more into the 3 point margin.

But this is troubling, because we've had elections turn on less.

Re:These things happen (4, Interesting)

Westech (710854) | about 7 years ago | (#21986566)

To me the larger issue is the Ron Paul votes that were missing then found again only after the officials were called out on it. This is a very serious problem that can't be refuted or explained away, and I hope it's not overshadowed by the Clinton/Obama issue.

Fraud, Scmaud (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986194)

does NOT exist in the United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] .

Criminally forever,
George W. Bush

Nothing Changes (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | about 7 years ago | (#21986204)

From hanging chads to electronic machines, nothing has changed since 2000.

Very easy solution (1, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 years ago | (#21986214)

Just pull out the physical paper ballots and count. . . Oh wait, no paper ballots to count.

Never mind.

Re:Very easy solution (2, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | about 7 years ago | (#21986430)


The problem is, unless we can verify independently that the results are accurate, I certainly won't trust the results of any election - even without paranoid conspiracy articles!

Not to mention, when the presidential election comes- if there's no paper trail, then the votes will have been counted behind closed doors.

Even if I could review the source code- what assurance do I have that the source code I'm reading is ACTUALLY on the machine?

I know, I sound paranoid too, now. But after the reports of our last two "elections" (or what ever you want to call it), I think it's bout time we put some accountability into effect. Lest we have an incident like last time...
"We won't stop until all the votes are counted! "
*Somebody whispers into candidate's ear*
"Oh, sorry, just kidding, it was electronically tallied, I guess we just plainly lost, despite the 20 point difference from our exit polls."

I just don't know how much faith we can put into highly-tamperable procedure with no paper. There's a lot at stake here, so there'd be much motivation to rig things up.

Heck, if it *accidentally* counted each fifth vote incorrectly, that'd be enough to change an election.

Until we can get something as basic as an election down, everything built on top of it is set to crumble.

Re:Very easy solution (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21986472)

people keep saying that but what is to keep the machine from printing the wrong data on the paper trail?
I guess you could have the booth print the ballot and then the voter check the ballot and then put the ballot in a box...
Except that someone might forget to put the ballot in the box. Or when they do a recount the ballot might be miss read. I guess you could use OCR but that isn't perfect.
Or you could print a barcode that would reflect the ballot that is printed... Unless they hacked that so it didn't match.

Re:Very easy solution (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 7 years ago | (#21986526)

They should 'enhance' the voting machine accuracy by taking electronic vote as well as printing a paper stub to be toss into a different basket. Oh wait...

Re:Very easy solution (They do exist) (1)

StevisF (218566) | about 7 years ago | (#21986576)

In Seattle, WA we have Diebold voting machines which do have a paper tape, though most people don't use them still.

Re:Very easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986578)

Aren't there physical tickets? They use optical scan machines, not touch-screens, so couldn't you just recount the marked ballots?

Re:Very easy solution (5, Insightful)

dmoore (2449) | about 7 years ago | (#21986622)

RTFA. New Hampshire uses two voting methods: Either hand counted ballots, or optical scan vote counting machines. This means that in both cases the ballot is filled out by hand, there is a paper trail, and the results can be verified. We are not talking about ATM-style touch screen voting machines in New Hampshire.

question (5, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 7 years ago | (#21986220)

This may be off topic and moderated as such, but why is it that Diebold can make ATM machines that don't seem to get hacked, but can't manage to prevent hacking in their e-voting machines? Call me crazy, but wouldn't there be just as much motivation (if not more) to hack ATM machines as there is to hack e-voting machines? Something smells fishy.

Re:question (1)

dhakbar (783117) | about 7 years ago | (#21986242)

The idea seems to be that Diebold has made their voting machines easy to tamper with in order to influence elections.

Re:question (4, Insightful)

autocracy (192714) | about 7 years ago | (#21986250)

The first trick is that the person making a transaction is authenticated, so everything can be logged in a tracable way. The second trick is that the banks give a damn.

Re:question (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#21986272)

there are big kickbacks for fixing the vote.

Re:question (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#21986292)

who said Diebold ATM's can't get hacked? there have been several virus outbreaks on diebold ATM machines. I refuse to use them.

Re:question (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 7 years ago | (#21986364)

This may be off topic and moderated as such, but why is it that Diebold can make ATM machines that don't seem to get hacked, but can't manage to prevent hacking in their e-voting machines? Call me crazy, but wouldn't there be just as much motivation (if not more) to hack ATM machines as there is to hack e-voting machines? Something smells fishy.

One could easily argue that there is little if anything wrong with the machines, and it's actually the hand counting methods that are suspect due to human biases. If you want to help swing an election it is quite easy to bribe a bunch of the counters to reject the ballots of whomever they don't like. Or they may get rejected just due to human personal biases. That's why Florida was such a mess and Bush is an illegitimate president.

Re:question (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 7 years ago | (#21986452)

Yeah, because election judges by default don't care about the process and nobody ever turned down a bribe and turned over the briber to officials. What a bunch of anti-human bullshit. Bribery requires money and the dishonesty of many people. Electronic vote rigging just requires a piece of shit voting machine and one or two people who know how to game them.

By Hanlon's razor, the majority of the problem would be the gross incompetence of Diebold and officials who certify their machines with just a few truly crooked people.

Re:question (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 years ago | (#21986392)

Answer - don't use their ATM machines - you never know what will happen!

If everybody refuses to use Diebold equipment they are soon out of business.

A more annoying alternative is to post small signs "This is a Diebold machine - use at own risk" on or near their machines.

Re:question (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | about 7 years ago | (#21986454)

Banks care about money.

Banks care a lot about money.

Banks test them. They get contracts that probably say that if defects give money away, Diebold has to replace the money lost. Banks are willing to pay for a good ATM, not try to bid it out to the lowest priced person who comes along and cuts corners. If Diebold ATMs had this many problems, they wouldn't be in business long.

My only real question on this story is, how did the precincts differ other than the machines? Are the places that used the machines mostly urban? Is there something else that correlates that could explain the discrepancy, or does it appear to have no other correlating factors?

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986458)

but wouldn't there be just as much motivation (if not more) to hack ATM machines as there is to hack e-voting machines?
no, votes are very very valuable to politicians. a few thousand votes can mean the difference between being the next POTUS [the most peopleful person on Earth] and being a has been. lots of motivation there.

Re:question (1)

jmauro (32523) | about 7 years ago | (#21986476)

Easy banks will pay for the better machine since it costs them money when it was hacked. Governments, not so much to spend so some things get cut.

No Audit or Case Law (1)

harl (84412) | about 7 years ago | (#21986512)

ATMs are audited every couple days. Most people audit their bank account at least once a month. If there is a problem they _will_ be caught.

If their ATM screws up there are hundreds of years of case history that state they will be punished. They will be punished hard. They will loose significant amounts of money. Banks will stop doing business with them.

Who audits the vote counts? What penalty will they face if there is a problem? What's the case law?

Re:question (1)

nategoose (1004564) | about 7 years ago | (#21986638)

When Diebold decided to get into the voting machine industry rather than develop their own they bought Global Election Systems that already had voting machine products as to have an immediate product offering. The problem was that the product that the small company had wasn't really designed to be that secure. From what I've heard it was used a lot in things like high school elections, but not really in important elections until Diebold bought them. Diebold may have been duped when they initially bought Global Election Systems but they never should have sold the machines as a secure voting machine, and they seem to have been trying to hide, cover up, and ignore the flaws in the machines more than trying to fix them. Since they are now trying to get rid of the voting machine subsidiary as Premier Election Solutions due to the tarnishing of their reputation voting machines have brought them I'm sure that a lot of their banking customers are asking the same questions as you. What I've never figured out is why they didn't work hard to try to fix (not rig) the machines rather than come off as a bunch of lying cheats to the whole world.

Please stop the madness (0, Flamebait)

toupsie (88295) | about 7 years ago | (#21986222)

Polls before an election are a guess who will win, not an actual predictor who will win. Imagine how many white folks said they would vote Obama so they didn't sound like a racist. Plus Hillary cried.

Re:Please stop the madness (1)

alienw (585907) | about 7 years ago | (#21986352)

Not to mention, just because there is a difference between machine and hand-counted districts does not mean there is fraud. I doubt the machines were randomly distributed throughout the state. In fact, I would guess that most precincts with a lot of tax revenue would have machines, while rural and/or less affluent regions would be hand counting ballots. In that case, you would expect there to be differences between the two.

Re:Please stop the madness (1)

jandrese (485) | about 7 years ago | (#21986530)

Exactly. The fact that the exit polling matched up with the precinct results makes the probability of vote fraud pretty low in my mind. I'm also willing to believe human error on the Ron Paul ticket because, hey, it's Ron Paul. He's a joke candidate anyway. The votes they put back on the ballot had no effect on the primary vote as a whole so any allegations of fraud would have to be modified to allegations of incompetent fraud.

Re:Please stop the madness (0, Flamebait)

nelsonal (549144) | about 7 years ago | (#21986658)

All likely, but that makes it curiouser, because Obama beat Clinton in wealthier/better educated exit polls (while Clinton won the poorer/less educated vote).

Re:Please stop the madness (1)

nakajoe (1123579) | about 7 years ago | (#21986388)

Exactly--polls have a long history of turning out to be inaccurate as to the final winner, so the difference between the polls and the results by themselves really doesn't constitute much evidence that the voting was inaccurately counted. Also, the difference in votes between hand-counted and machine-counted precincts could be to any number of factors as well (i.e. perhaps a distrust for the black-box Diebold machines is linked with a distrust of older politicians?), so it's very hard to draw conclusions from just this. I'm not a fan of the Diebold voting machines by any stretch, but the NH primaries don't offer any real evidence against them.

Re:Please stop the madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986620)

polls have a long history of turning out to be inaccurate as to the final winner

A long history starting from 2000, with the exception of the failure in a single presidential race prior to that.

perhaps a distrust for the black-box Diebold machines is linked with a distrust of older politicians?

Nice try, but unless this distrust is so strong you're going to move to another precinct just to avoid using them, well, you don't get to avoid using them.

Re:Please stop the madness (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#21986608)

Well, it wouldn't make sense to use common sense on this matter. While I agree with you, you will have people claim that the polls are scientific and therefore 105% true and cannot be wrong. Plus when my candidate lost, it feels better to know he lost from fraud instead or the people just not voting for him.

As long as someone can conceive of a way to cheat, there will be claims of it when their candidate looses. It just makes sense because it not only hides deficiencies in your candidate, it attacks the opponents "ethics and character". It also give you the pity of undecided compassionates. So even if they are wrong about the cheating, it gives a certain amount of help to the cause.

But here is a question. Seeing how the claim is that the cheating came from both sides of the isle, how likely do we think it actually is? I mean you wouldn't see a joint effort between democrats and republicans because they can use the same Techniques to make their winners lose the general election. And this even goes back to the accusations of fraud in the past. If one side claimed they were being defrauded in the past because of diabold machines, do you think they would participate in the current fraud or just use it as evidence to stop the fraud. 4 years of bush, with all the attacks on him as apposed to Kerry or Gore who could have taken office if it was rigged...... I mean think about that. It must be one hell of a conspiracy to take mortal enemies in the public view and be secretly working together behind the scenes without anyone spilling the beans at all.

That's democracy for you! (0, Flamebait)

siyavash (677724) | about 7 years ago | (#21986246)

People deserve the government they get... Sadly, 90% av US citizens don't seem to know that US is a Democratic REPUBLIC... Anything electronic can usually be altered without any trace... I wouldn't trust those machines... but then again, I don't live in US! :D

Enjoy your upcomming fascism! :p

Re:That's democracy for you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986510)

"US citizens don't seem to know that US is a Democratic REPUBLIC..."

Only in the sense that the US had a war for independence. Many "Democratic Republics" countries, past and present, have little or nothing in common.

Not that I really believe it... (1)

zulater (635326) | about 7 years ago | (#21986264)

But it does lend more weight to the theory that we don't really pick our leaders but we have the illusion that we pick our leaders.

They used to say (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | about 7 years ago | (#21986278)

There is no smoke without fire...

Time to grab the fire extinguisher and go see where this smoke is coming from.

In the words of Patriot Act protagonists: "if there is nothing to hide, there is no harm in looking"

If for no other reason than to help settle the country down, for fuck's sake, go do a recount and get it over with, then we can all go back to our regularly scheduled updates on Britany and those others.

And please, Quickly do the recount before these people start asking about where the money for the war was spent.

Bunch of freaking radicals... geesh

Re:They used to say (1)

Surt (22457) | about 7 years ago | (#21986546)

I know your post is intended to be humorous, but I'm not sure if you're deliberately missing the point that a recount is impossible.

For heaven's sake... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#21986298)

In machine counted precincts, Clinton beat Obama by almost 5%. In hand counted precincts, Obama beat Clinton by over 4%, which closely matches the scientific polls that were conducted leading up to the election.

Please, not this again! Why do we bother having elections at all if they couldn't possibly deviate from "scientific polls"?

And that's "Dr. Ron Paul", thankyouverymuch.

Re:For heaven's sake... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 7 years ago | (#21986438)

I have reservations about calling them scientific polls. Obama's (and Paul's) supporters are dominated by younger, internet- and social-networking-savvy people. People who avoid the landline phones through which the surveys are conducted, like the plague.

Re:For heaven's sake... (1)

Palshife (60519) | about 7 years ago | (#21986602)

Um, okay. Then it's also Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. To be honest though, I don't think he was being referred to as an obstetrician in the context.

Personally, I see validity in suspecting fraud if the election results vary wildly from predictions. It's not proof, but it could be a symptom. Why not take a closer look?

Nah, it can not be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986300)

Why similar results showed up in the last MAJOR election and everybody swore that it was just a statistical aberation.

Where is the damn UN or even EU when you need them? ABout time you folks come here and check us for cheating. After all, this impacts the rest of the world just much as us.

Electronic vs. paper ballots (1)

CtrlAltTabby (1214622) | about 7 years ago | (#21986306)

As an IT professional, I'll certainly be using a paper ballot! Seriously, with the number of online testing sites and various computer-based tests that are available to record multiple choice answers, how is it that electronic voting gets screwed up so easily when those (presumably) don't?

Re:Electronic vs. paper ballots (1)

caldaan (583572) | about 7 years ago | (#21986634)

True at least problems like these can be corrected (If found) with paper ballots - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacking_Democracy [wikipedia.org] .

The problem is optical scan software, or even the central tabulating software can be compromised as well.

I'm not saying that it happened in this primary election, but it just doesn't seem like anything is "safe" anymore.

This says a lot about this nation (1)

rambag (961763) | about 7 years ago | (#21986316)

It says we don't care. With the last election still in question to this day the country as a whole or even a majority doesn't seem to care that we have such a flawed system. What is it going to take a company offering $500,000 to someone that can improve the overall system so that it has an accuracy worthy of a decision this big. There was more outrage(IMO false outrage) over what Don Imus said and his words effect no one!

statistics? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | about 7 years ago | (#21986322)

Anybody more statistically inclined than I able to put together a guesstimate on the likelihood of this happening in the normal course of events?

TFA states... (2)

X00M (526040) | about 7 years ago | (#21986336)

"Second, these results by themselves are NOT enough to prove that any fraud occured. They simply show that some things stand out as being odd and worthy of further investigation."

Technology... (1)

NoobHunter (1090113) | about 7 years ago | (#21986342)

...is not infaillible.
A piece of paper can be traced from when you mark your X to when you drop it in the locked box. If it is changed after it leaves the box, hopefully the chain of custody list will show who had access so it narrows down who may have commited the fraud.
Now, in the case of the voting machine...was it biased? Was it designed so that no matter who voted what, the votes would come out a certain way? Was it a hacker? It cannot be readily determined. Now, if there is an error margin that rivals that of opinion polls...should this not make the voting method invalid?

As a canadian voter, I would never approve of digital voting...the more complex the method, the easier it is to foul it up. Having said that, who thinks there will be no recount....oh yeah! How do you recount voting machines?

Well...electronic voting machines suck by nature. (1)

Coopjust (872796) | about 7 years ago | (#21986346)

First off, comparison to polls are irrelevant. They are predictions, not orders.

Secondly, the notion of an electronic voting machine- running non OSS, no less- is ridiculous. No verifiable ballot, nothing.

The simple solution would be to use an electronic voting machine to make the voting process easy, provide a print out via laser, and right underneath the machine- a locked vote collection box. Voter verifies that the vote is correct, and deposit the paper for record keeping. (No slip to take home, that could encourage vote coercing).

You could get a quick tally via the software stats, verify the number of electronic votes vs. number of physical votes to make sure they match, and randomly audit the paper. Voter gets to verify, two records, and one that can't be modified via editing on a memory card.

Re:Well...electronic voting machines suck by natur (1)

Soko (17987) | about 7 years ago | (#21986568)

You're close:

The simple solution would be to use an electronic voting machine to make the voting process easy, provide a print out via laser, allow the voter to verify that his/her vote is correctly marked on the ballot before dropping it into - right underneath the machine - a locked vote collection box.



I hope the Fraud is real (5, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | about 7 years ago | (#21986366)

And no, I am not an Obama supporter. I am a Canadian...

There are a few reasons why I hope that the fraud is real and can be proven.

1) It will make for good television, and be highly entertaining to me.
2) It will force people to realize that such fraud is possible, and force a solution to be created before the next US Federal Election.

I may be a Canadian, but I am not naive enough to think that your election results wont have an effect on my country. Also, I suspect that the kind of people willing to rig an election are not the sort you want to have running the show.

For more conspiracy fodder, are the Clintons really stupid enough to have a hand in this?


Re:I hope the Fraud is real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986564)

For more conspiracy fodder, are the Clintons really stupid enough to have a hand in this?

If we're going to go all conspiracy fodder on it, why would they have to be stupid to have a hand in it? If they get caught, they can express shocked outrage that some staffer would do that on her behalf, and immediately call for whatever corrective actions are open. She seems to have survived the Hsu debacle pretty easily, and the various email and drug smears that have been tied to members of her campaign seem to have been handled well. The damage gets done, you respond quickly (once the truth gets out), and you look like an upstanding person. Nobody asks questions about what you may have known beforehand.

I will bet that .... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#21986372)

super tuesday has a WHOLE new meaning. Why, I would guess that more than a few ppl at Diebold get VERY rich, right after that.

We go back to when Moses wore short pants (4, Insightful)

longacre (1090157) | about 7 years ago | (#21986390)

Have you ever seen the people who work at polling places? Most of them run about the same age as Rasputin and left the workforce before their offices had touchtone phones, never mind computers. Now imagine these people attempting to operate fairly complicated and very important computer equipment. Throw in some younger folks who were too dumb to get jobs at the DMV and that's your typical local Board of Elections. Clearly something is wrong, but I don't think instantly blaming fraud is in order when there is such a real chance of simple incompetence.

Re:We go back to when Moses wore short pants (1)

wytcld (179112) | about 7 years ago | (#21986680)

Yeah, those are the poll workers. Now consider what they do when the expert from the private firm running the vote tabulators comes in to "update" the software. They can really tell if that worker does something fishy, right? Right?

Interesting New York Times article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986398)

New York Times has just published an interesting article [nytimes.com] about all of the problems voting machines have. One interesting part of the article talks about how Diebold wants to change the name of their divison that makes voing machines, since these voting machines have been a public relations nightmare for them (They also make ATMs and what not).

Thank God this is finally being reported (1, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 years ago | (#21986402)

The Western World SANCTIONS other countries when exit polls conflict with actual results. Despite the cries of the punditry, exit polls are highly accurate. Pollsters have been perfecting their methods for decades. If you ever start seeing a deviation, rather than saying "Polls are stupid anyway," you should be asking yourself "WTF is going on?" I'm not saying that the primary was rigged, but SOMETHING happened and we MUST find out if we're to have an honest Presidential election next time around. I know most people can't believe that election fraud on a wide scale can't happen here in "Democracy Central," but we've already found black and white evidence in 2000 and 2004. Ask Tim Griffin about caging lists :(

Re:Thank God this is finally being reported (4, Informative)

Surt (22457) | about 7 years ago | (#21986616)

Note that the results don't deviate from the exit polls, they deviate from the pre-election polls. The exit polls were as accurate as usual.

hangingchad (1)

trybywrench (584843) | about 7 years ago | (#21986420)

My name is Chad you insensitive clod!

The prize is the power, what would you do ? (4, Insightful)

what about (730877) | about 7 years ago | (#21986432)

Electronic voting is/will be a fraud, the prize for winning is too high

I am not saying that it happened now, but i surely will happen, no matter what. Please all of you "good will" men/women come down to earth and stop pretending that electronic voting can be made perfect !

Electronic voting says: "trust me, I will count your vote for you in a way that you cannot verify". This is going to be a terrible democracy crash

Paper trail should/must be the one that counts, all the rest is exit polls (do we really care to know who the next president of US is in real time ? or better, what are we giving up to have real time results ?

Vote Fraud (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#21986450)

There will always be Vote Fraud, because there will always be humans involved.

I'm not sure what scares me more, that either nobody counts the votes (automatic) or that people(manually) count the votes. What I'd like to see, is a double double balloting system, two ballots printed, each with both an encrypted vote, which is automatically scanned / counted by machines and human readable form. When discrepancies seem to creep in they can tally both sets of ballots using both automatic and human counters and make sure that all four counts line up, two encrypted and two human readable on two separate sets of ballots. We can even use four different sets of counters, to eliminate counter fraud.

There is no excuse for something like what is being described in the article happening, ever. Ron Paul not getting any votes ... oops sorry, he actually did get votes. I don't trust the results at all when shit like this happens.

Fire the Hand Counters (1, Flamebait)

Edward Ka-Spel (779129) | about 7 years ago | (#21986474)

"In machine counted precincts, Clinton beat Obama by almost 5%. In hand counted precincts, Obama beat Clinton by over 4%"

Sounds like the hand counters did a terrible job. They lost about 9% of Hillary's ballots. I would look into some serious voter fraud on these hand counters. They were clearly trying to throw the vote in Obama's favor.

(slightly sarcastic reply to point out there is more than one way to explain a stat)

Just as the Hacker testified.... (0, Flamebait)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 7 years ago | (#21986482)

I'll have to paraphrase, as I cannot Google the quotation (!)

When the exit polls don't jibe with the results (and there is a Diebold evoting machine involved) then the results have probably been tampered with.

He was speaking before a committee of Congress about being asked to write a program to fix a Florida election, and was responding to a question about whether the Ohio elections of 2004 might have been tampered with.

I remembered his meaning yesterday when every member of the press and their pundits was trying to make sense of a situation that has only one explanation that fits Occam's Razor.

I hate to say it, but it appears our votes no longer count. Or no longer count right.

People tend to get... (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | about 7 years ago | (#21986490)

...the government they deserve. And as an outside (from the UK) it looks as if that is about to apply to America.

It isn't like any of this is surprising. Everyone knows that Diebold machines are crooked, but they are still being used. Nobody did anything about it, that's why.

I know its a pain standing up for your civil liberties, but don't worry - if you ignore them, they will go away.

Re:People tend to get... (2, Funny)

Chemicalscum (525689) | about 7 years ago | (#21986710)

..the government they deserve. And as an outside (from the UK) it looks as if that is about to apply to America. It isn't like any of this is surprising.

As a British expatriate, I want to ask did the British people deserve Bliar and NuLab. Britain has an uncorruptible voting system where the only choice you have is which of the corrupt to vote for.

This proves nothing (1)

hey! (33014) | about 7 years ago | (#21986504)

other than you can never be sure when it comes to all electronic voting machines.

Yes, districts with machines are different than districts without. However the differences extend to more than the machines.

The most credible analysis of the Clinton win comes down to this: Clinton was acknowledged to have the most extensive and well run organization. Clinton was counting on NH all along, she's been building the organization there for years, and she spent money and time getting ready. Therefore, she was able to skew the "likely voter" results by making sure that more of her supporters got to the polls come hell or high water -- a significant thing in a country where voter turnout is very low.

The places that went for HRC tended to be the more densely populated areas, where an effective organization can have a greater marginal impact. These are also the places where it is most "advantageous" (if we can use that word) to use electronic voting machines. If a polling place handles lots of voters, its easy to justify technology investments. The last places you'll see technology investments are places like Dixville Notch, which has twenty six registered voters. It's also the last place a campaign will put any effort into organizing its voters.

Now, if you want to show the machines are doing something fishy, the best thing is to compare the official poll results to exit polls. Admitting that there are inevitably differences between these, and that there may even be party bias in the difference, you then look at e-voting districts vs. paper voting districts. If the discrepancy is different between those groups of districts, then something is very likely fishy.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986536)

- the results matched the exit polls, so they must have been fixed too...

Clinton carried the large towns (1)

eaglesnax (238705) | about 7 years ago | (#21986538)

Look at the stats, in the (perhaps 1) large town that was hand counted, Clinton beat Obama 44%-31%. If she carried other large towns similarly, why are the overall results so hard to believe? You can read these stats any way you want by looking at just the portions that make your case. Elections are the food that conspiracy theorists live by.

Not just Sutton -- also Greenville (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 7 years ago | (#21986552)

As first reported at ronpaulwarroom.com [ronpaulwarroom.com] , Greenville had the same discrepancy as Sutton. CNN [cnn.com] shows zero votes for Ron Paul while the Nashua Telegraph [nashuatelegraph.com] shows 25 votes.

Also note that New Hampshire was a focus of the 1992 book Votescam [amazon.com] (full text [constitution.org] ) regarding the 1988 election:

Then came a widely reported promise made by Bush to his campaign manager, Gov. Sununu. It happens that Sununu's computer engineering skills approach 'genius' on the tests. If Sununu could "deliver" New Hampshire, and Bush didn't care how and didn't want to know how -- then Sununu would become his chief of staff in the White House.


Washington Post: [...] For Vice President Bush and his supporters, Tuesday's 9-percentage-point victory over Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) in New Hampshire was a delightful surprise; for Andrew Kohut, it was a horror story.

Kohut is president of the Gallup poll, whose final New Hampshire urvey was wrong by 17 points: it had put Dole ahead by 8; Bush won by 9. "I was dismayed," Kohut acknowledged yesterday.

See the Votescam text for a length discussion on the unreliability of those 1988 electronic voting machines.

I for one (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 7 years ago | (#21986574)

do NOT welcome the destruction of the democratic process that is happening since the implementation of electronic voting machines, i wont bother to vote anymore...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSPb-fmqUyY [youtube.com]

Causation, meet correlation (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 7 years ago | (#21986580)

Before we start playing the 'jump to conclusions' game, it's important to determine whether there are any demographic patterns that overlap. I wouldn't be surprised if the roll-out of the Diebold machines went first to wealthier districts, or possibly bigger cities, or whatever.

I have to say, this is really annoying. Thanks to the 2000 election, we're basically going to have to deal with allegations of election fraud from the loser of every close race. I initially thought it was just an anti-Republican thing, but clearly the Democrats are turning on each other now.

Human Error == (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 7 years ago | (#21986582)

Buying Diebold.

Objectively, though, I have to wonder if e-voting machines are statistically worse or better at reporting results than old-school mechanical voting tabulators, mark-sense counters and "fill-in-the-bubble" paper ballots, or even hand-counting.

The major hit in e-voting, as far as I can tell, is the lack of after-the-fact verifiability (a shared issue with mechanical tabulators, I think), commodity software and hardware making the skills needed to hack results almost ubiquitous, and the perception that the vendors involved have political agendas.

But yeah, I'd find a way to absentee vote before I cast a ballot on an e-voting box.

Anything significant? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | about 7 years ago | (#21986586)

I don't see anything showing an actual statistical significance in this. Has anybody seen any other places with info that might show whether or not these numbers actually have meaning?

Might as well start in the primaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21986618)

Why are people so surprised to see evidence of vote-rigging in the primaries?

After all, the idea here is to select the candidate with the best chance of winning the presidency right? Well if you can't successfully rig the primaries what good are you when it comes your turn to rig a general election?

Oops (1)

10e6Steve (545457) | about 7 years ago | (#21986650)

Who do you want to vote for?
1. Obama
2. Clinton
3. Edwards
4. Richardson
5. Gravel

int selection = input();

if (selection == 1) ++clinton;
else if (selection == 2) ++obama;
else if (selection == 3) ++edwards;
else if (selection == 4) ++richardson;
else { // should not be reached

Is this any surprise? (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 7 years ago | (#21986652)

When Bill ran in the 90's there were multiple rumors of voter fraud. Many residents of non-decisive states voted in an adjacent swing state claiming simply "I plan to move here within the next year." I live near Chicago and you can see during Presidential elections that busses full of homeless were provided money and food for their vote.

Worst thing for Obama was for Hillary to lose Iowa. Now her husband is pulling out every dirty trick in his arsenal.

Now shameless plug time. Want a candidate who won't change his views just to trick you out of your vote? Want someone with national security experience along with multiple terms in Congress? Fred08.com

I call BS. (1)

dudeman2 (88399) | about 7 years ago | (#21986674)

1) There is a paper trail in NH, even for those who voted on Diebold machines. You want to count the paper ballots? Count them.
2) Vote discrepancies vs. pre-election polls are not prima facie evidence of election fraud.
3) Hillary Clinton was leading Obama in NH for the past year. Obama surged in the past week in NH, that's all. So her win didn't come out of nowhere.
4) Let's assume she DID rig the votes. From my point of view, it's good to have a Democratic candidate who can rig votes as well as the Republicans can, the better to win the election. :-)

A good article to read: http://dhinmi.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/10/02623/2264/85/434176 [dailykos.com]

Here in lies our nation's problem (3, Insightful)

rambag (961763) | about 7 years ago | (#21986686)

Apparently we just don't care. As long as my life runs smoothly I don't care. Bush is president and we didn't elect him who cares! We should be outraged we should demand this be fixed but the country as a whole or even a majority of the country doesn't seem to care. There was more outrage(IMO false outrage) over what Don Imus said and that didn't effect anyone. We've had it too easy for too long and we've lost the ability to learn to stand up and be heard when we're being wronged. /rant

yep. (1)

grimbasement (1174943) | about 7 years ago | (#21986698)

Yep, and we're "exportin' democracy" to the rest of the world. Pretty soon it's just not going to be the lunatic fringe that believes in conspiracy theories.

poorly publicized pre-primary polls (5, Insightful)

RyLaN (608672) | about 7 years ago | (#21986704)

I campaigned for Obama for several days out of the North Conway NH office. While the media reported a 10-12% lead, none of us inside the Obama campaign believed them. At best, our own internal polling put us at 1-2% behind Clinton in rural areas and slightly ahead in the urban counties.

In Ossipee, where I spent the majority of my time, Clinton won 281 to 261 over Obama (hand counted). There was record-shattering voted turnout in the area for both parties. Previously, the record was ~1000 voters. On Tuesday over 1500 voters showed up. Several nearby towns even reported running out of paper ballots.

I think the real problem was how the media handled their polls. Many Obama supporters I talked to on primary day mentioned that they were planning to support Ron Paul or vote against a candidate in the Republican party because they didn't believe Obama needed their support. Mind you, these are people with Obama signs in their yards who had actively been helping in his campaign. I wonder how much credit we can attribute to voter complacency rather than some Diebold conspiracy theory.

In any case, I don't understand all the fuss. Obama and Clinton were awarded the same number of delegates. This whole mess only matters to the media and spin people.
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