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· Meh.
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I still say that they dub in canned laughter when the live audience laughter isn't loud enough. Some of it sounds "engineered" like with his segment on Stephen A. Smith.
 

· Registered
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It was an interesting segment on voting machines however he never explains how, if voting machines are not connected to the Internet, how are the votes tallied the same night that the votes are cast? I always wondered about that.
 

· I am Groot!
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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
It was an interesting segment on voting machines however he never explains how, if voting machines are not connected to the Internet, how are the votes tallied the same night that the votes are cast? I always wondered about that.
I assume the votes are tallied locally (by the machines), and the results are sent to state officials by the local officials.

After all, we got results the same night from much of the country even before there WAS an internet!
 

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It was an interesting segment on voting machines however he never explains how, if voting machines are not connected to the Internet, how are the votes tallied the same night that the votes are cast? I always wondered about that.
The only part that bothered me is that a direct dial modem, while it may have some vulnerabilities, is absolutely NOT the same thing as the internet. (I'd compare it to a BBS or Fax machine - but many people don't know how those work; even if they know what they are :eek:)

Even on a complicated ballot you're usually talking about less than 50 individual races. The local tallies could simple be called or faxed in to a central location and then entered into their systems. There's no need to transfer the vote counts digitally. (Ideally the voting machines would print out a tally sheet that would include checksum or other integrity check data that could also be passed verbally (it'd be trivial enough to turn it into nonsense phrases of real words). That would protect against transcription errors but still allow easy non-digital, or even verbal, transmission of the information.
 

· Cat God
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Living in one of the states where there is no paper trail (NJ) I can see how this is a problem since there's no record anywhere of how a vote was cast. We do have kind of a work around in our state. A few years back NJ made it so that anyone can vote by absentee ballet for any reason (now called "mail-in" ballot). There's a paper trail with that, but it can delay the election results. In last years election, the result for the US congressman in my district wasn't known for over a week because it was close enough that mail-in ballots mattered.
 

· Registered
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Why couldn't a record of the vote that was cast in a paperless system be recorded on disk in the voting machine?
It is. But if someone hacked the system there's no separate record to cross check against what the disk says. You just have to trust it unless it's claiming something literally impossible (i.e. Abraham Lincoln won the 400,000 voter district with 2 million write in votes) in which case you can't do much except throw out all its results.

With the paper trail systems you can go back can check what was printed out as each vote was cast. (And those systems should be set up so each voter is able to see the paper record of their vote so they can double check it for accuracy). There are two main types of voter reviewable paper trail machines -
1) direct tally where the primary record is on disk within the machines and the paper backup also stays within the same machine throughout election day
2) ballot printers where the "voting machine" simply prints out a ballot with your selections pre-filled and you (after reviewing it) carry it over to a dedicated tally machine.

For a few of reasons I prefer the 2nd type. Easier to review and void an incorrect ballot; can work in parallel with pen and paper scantron ballots; and the primary record is the human readable scantron style ballot.
 

· Happily Vaccinated!
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Living in one of the states where there is no paper trail (NJ) I can see how this is a problem since there's no record anywhere of how a vote was cast. We do have kind of a work around in our state. A few years back NJ made it so that anyone can vote by absentee ballet for any reason (now called "mail-in" ballot). There's a paper trail with that, but it can delay the election results. In last years election, the result for the US congressman in my district wasn't known for over a week because it was close enough that mail-in ballots mattered.
In my county in NJ we use a completely different machine. I'm pretty sure that the Election official puts a punch card into the machine before we pull the curtain to vote. Then again, I've done mail in ballots the last two election days so perhaps they changed the machines since. But they were the same machine for at least the last 20 years before I started doing mail in.
 

· Give 'em Hell, Devils
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I think the method we use here in Arizona is pretty foolproof. The ballots are paper. You use a marker to draw a line connecting two black boxes next to the candidate you are voting for. Then the ballot is fed into an electronic machine that scans it and counts the totals. So the result is totally auditable. There are no voting machines to be hacked. And the scanning/counting machines can be used locally and then have the results called/faxed manually or they can be set up to send the results over a secure connection without exposing the machine to the internet.
 

· Señor Member
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I think having a paper ballot (for accountability, recounts, etc.) should be required, always.

But I also think being able to use a screen that generates that ballot is the best of both worlds. Our ballots have 3 languages, and can have a dozen ballot questions, in addition to all the races. They are a mess, but a good UI can help a lot by not showing languages you don't need, warning you of things you did not vote for, or if you try to double vote in a race, etc. But without the paper, a pretty UI is not enough.
 

· Give 'em Hell, Devils
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I think the method we use here in Arizona is pretty foolproof. The ballots are paper. You use a marker to draw a line connecting two black boxes next to the candidate you are voting for. Then the ballot is fed into an electronic machine that scans it and counts the totals. So the result is totally auditable. There are no voting machines to be hacked. And the scanning/counting machines can be used locally and then have the results called/faxed manually or they can be set up to send the results over a secure connection without exposing the machine to the internet.
I just went and dropped off my mail-in ballot at the polling place and it turns out they are now using touchscreen voting machines. They look like large all-in-one computers with a big (approx 24") touchscreen. I asked about them and they told me you can use those machines, and they will then print out a paper ballot which then gets scanned the same way as the mail ballots that I described earlier.
 

· Deregistered Snoozer
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We use optical scanners: we fill in circles with a black marker then feed it into the machine. To me this is the best possible solution: it's easy to understand, fast to count, and completely verifiable. If the machine breaks it's no big deal, you just collect the ballots and count them by hand (or with a different machine). And, they are relatively inexpensive.

I understand that people with some types of disabilities or who don't speak English could have problems with this, so absolutely we should have one (or a few, for larger polling stations) automated systems. But the large majority of people don't need these complex systems and they're ripe for exploitation or just plain malfunction.

As a tech nerd I've been watching and reading about this for 20 years and if anything, this show underplayed the problems.
 
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