2006/11/01

Reprogramming? No. Crashing Voting Machines? Yes!

I've long maintained that if this election is stolen by the Rethuglicans it won't be due to some sophisticated mass reprogramming of touch-screen voting machines. The infernal devices are not suddenly going to report GOP victories because, although reprogramming is possible, it would require a huge conspiracy to pull off in a way that would swing an election.

No. What we are going to see is AccuVote machines (and others like them) crashing by the hundreds...by the thousands. Poll workers taking incorrect or inappropriate measures to fix the problems, such as rebooting the devices while the polls are open. Improper calibrations that favor GOP candidates. In fact, reports are already starting to come in of machines that won't choose Democrats, machines that freeze up, and machines set up to hide or obscure Democratic candidate's names (Webb). And where will these shenanigans hit the hardest? In dense urban areas where higher voter volumes are handled at each precinct. Unfortunately for us, these are also the districts where Democrats are strongest and where the GOP can benefit most from dampening turnout.

So what do we have to do? Remain vigilant and document, Document, DOCUMENT!!! It's not enough to provide anecdotal evidence of election fraud. We need the proof! So carry a camera with you to the polls and photograph your ballot, the screen, whatever. And, if you experience a screwup, DOCUMENT IT!!! Write down what happened, get photographs. Don't let election workers intimidate you. Our democracy is at stake here!

I live in San Francisco, a safe California district where we use optical scan machines, and I still plan on carrying my camera with me on election day.

18 Comments:

I voted early, in Redondo Beach. There were 8 touch screen machines; 4 of the eight were not working. The poll workers who were there were frustrated, unable to figure out how to fix one of the machines. The wait to vote took over an hour; once at the machine, each voter took about half an hour. While I waited for my turn, two elderly couples came and left without voting.

Frustration is going to be a huge factor as well as the shenanigans you've outlined above. There are even problems with absentee voting in Ohio (go read Tina's post today at Fuzzy and Blue).

Our democracy is at stake; it has take six very short years for us to get to this precipice. Good one, Frog.
I took my camcorder to my polling place last election. They stopped me at the door. I called the N.C. Dem Party hotline - "nothing we can do." I went back out to some volunteers representing moveon.org. "We're not allowed in there." So I went back home, put a jacket on to hide my camcorder around my neck, then once at the touch screen, poked my camcorder out and taped the whole thing. If "it's" going to get done, we're doing to have to do it with little, or no real support. This election will literally be about the people, because nobody else is going to help.

There were ten touch screens at my polling place. I got there at 6:50, A.M. The polls opened at 7. By 7:30 A.M., when I was finally able to vote, only 4 of them were working, and the campaign workers simply shrugged when asked what was wrong with the other six.

That is something that has been grossly overlooked, imo. Republicans have been smart enough to pack balloting locations with Republican volunteers.
Diva, I remember well your early voting experience. As bad as it was that day, imagine how bad it will be when that polling place has to deal with the traffic flow of Nov. 7th? This is exactly what we need to be documenting.

TFWY, thanks for that account. We all need to be monitoring and documenting the percentages of voting machines that "are out of commissions". As I said, crashing machines in densly populated areas is going to be the biggest problem. In your case only 40% working...in Diva's 50%. This is a travesty!
Here in GOP-burbia, we have AccuVote machines. Anyone heard anything about those particular creatures? They ARE electronic. . .
And AP/Ipsos has announced they won't be exit polling this election. Hmmm.
John...don't know specifically if the AccuVote's are prone to crashing. Though I do know that many of the one's in use in Southern CA have been tampered with--mostly "back-door" updates to correct bugs that Diebold doesn't want to admit to.

Lew...there's a surprise. Don't want to get caught again as the GOP pulls off a stunning victory.
I'm trying to remain hopeful however it's extremely challenging the closer we get to the election.

Mark Crispin Miller was in my hometown several months ago & after hearing him discuss the magnitude of problems that occurred during the presidential election, who knows what will happen.

If we lose all hope, that would be even more of a tragedy.
"I live in San Francisco, a safe California district where we use optical scan machines, and I still plan on carrying my camera with me on election day."

Same with me here in New York, except we got the old lever pull machines. I'm still bringing my camera.
Good idea...BLOGNONYMOUS...sooo sorry I did this to you again. I got on the computer at 8:30 this evening so it's been whacked all day...like John Kerry, I am apologizing if I offended anybody by being stupid. Hey...it's fixed now, so am I still a frog member? Red face, red face...redrum!
Gracie, I agree. The electorate losing faith in the integrity of elections is a HUGE problem, a bi-partisan problem.

Fred...level machines. Haven't seen those since I lived in Texas. Back then they still had "party" levers you could pull where it would vote a whole party for you.

Sumo... No worries. You're not the first blogger to refer back to that old Blogspot site. Don't know the person who started it, but it apparently hasn't been active in a while.
Camcorder is loaded with extra batteries and tapes! Don't forget extra batteries and tapes or discs.

Peace.
I agree- we need to ALL carry cameras..and document the hell out of the day- Interview fellow voters- take notes and we should ALL blog on it too....thanks for the idea and inspiration...
Might I go a step further on this?

Some of you have phones that do video. That would be an excellent way to shoot what's happening in the booth. It might also be a good way to go, because of the size of the phones. Easy enough to carry one of them into the booth and not be spotted or harrassed.

I would also suggest to anyone using their phone in the booth to make sure you have any of those little electronic camera sounds turned off on the phone as well.

Might I also say that vote flipping, in some close races would be all that is needed to swing an election here and there. They don't need to flip any more then they need to move their candidate into the lead.

So be watchful my friends. The future is at stake,

Mike @
String Cheese Theory
Way to go TPM!

E4E, Mike...I think that phones are fine for documenting process problems: Machines out of service, long lines, clueless pollworkers, reboots. But, and this is a BIG but, for documenting things like "vote flipping" you must have a camera, the higher the resolution the better. I don't think that most camera phones have the resolution necessary to capture a missing candidate entry, a vote flip, or an error. I know that it's a lot to ask, and that it may put one at odds with poll workers, but we need verifiable evidence, and camera phones probably won't give it to us.
I think it is nearly impossible to pull off, but let us hope that enough people will take a chance to get evidence. Data on crashed machines could be set against precincts later and patterns could be established.

But you are right Kvatch, without the PROOF, it is all just harping.
No power, no voting machine.
How much easier could it get to shut down districts?

A shot gun, a truck into a power pole...
Oh so easy.

Paper doesn't do that.
After seeing HBO's "Hacking Democracy" tonight, I wouldn't be feeling too sure about optical scanning, Kvatch. The safety of a very blue district is much more comforting, at least for local races.

I just early-voted today. Our county has 345 machines, but only 8 were made avail for early-vote. I'm still feeling queasy about what happens after I hit "cast ballot". ~~ D.K.
Praguetwin, 1138 I really think that we should add the verifiable trail to the system. Paper...machine...whatever. At that point the public can take it into it's own hands to verify the results.

D.K., you're right. We've had problems with optical scan ballots in the past. Not least of which the 6 boxes of ballots that ended up in the bay in 2002.

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