Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pottawattamie County Open Records

I have received 3/4's of the records I requested from Pottawattamie County, Iowa. I requested machine tapes reports, test ballots, sample ballots and ballot definition files (as defined by NY election regulations).

I received the first 3 of these 4 items for each of the precints in the county.

I will post more when I complete going through the recived records.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

August 19, 2006
Direct Electronic Voting? Nein, danke.
by Armed Liberal at August 19, 2006 01:31 AM
Professor Avi Rubin has a column in Forbes this month on e-voting. His suggestion? Let's not.

You don't like hanging chads? Get ready for cheating chips and doctored drives. I am a computer scientist. I own seven Macintosh computers, one Windows machine and a Palm Treo 700p with a GPS unit, and I chose my car (Infiniti M35x) because it had the most gadgets of any vehicle in its class. My 7-year-old daughter uses e-mail. So why am I advocating the use of 17th-century technology for voting in the 21st century--as one of my critics puts it?
He then chats briefly about the weaknesses of the current implementations of DRE (Direct Recording) technologies; I'll go a step further and suggest that even robust voting devices present some of the systems problems - the problems in the end-to-end chain of voting process - don't get addressed.
I'm working on something longer - but note that no modern American corporation could run financial systems as risky as the voting systems we propose to use for electing our public officials without the directors of the company facing sanctions under Sarbanes-Oxley.


Sun Aug 20, 09:42:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marc Danziger: Chad-free voting machines can be hacked
Marc Danziger, The Examiner
Aug 22, 2006 5:00 AM (1 day ago)
Current rank: # 105 of 5,827 articles

WASHINGTON - Our house just had a plumbing line break; it was a big deal because here in California, many houses are built on slabs, which means that you have to tear rooms up and jackhammer concrete to get to the lines and fix them.

We wound up having to do a whole new bathroom downstairs, and in talking to a friend, he mentioned that “at least we’d gotten something for our money.” What he meant was that we’d gotten something visible for our money.

Because to me, toilets that flush and tubs that drain are a big part of what makes our house livable, whether they are in a shiny new bathroom or not.

Similarly, our democracy is livable because of a lot of things we tend to look on as “plumbing” and only think about when they break and back up, and we wind up with a mess all over the floor.

We came close to seeing that mess Aug. 8 when Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., lost her renomination bid. Had the race not been a landslide against her, McKinney’s charges of voting irregularities might have become the center of another contested election involving claims of voting machine fraud.

Regardless of McKinney’s defeat, it is far from inconceivable to see 15 or 50 such contested elections in the near future, a situation guaranteed to undercut the legitimacy of our governing institutions. We simply must have honest elections in fact and perception.

Now people who I discuss these issues with tend to react in three ways: “Huh? How’s the tinfoil hat working for you?”; and “Of course!! The elections are being manipulated by ... .”

For now, these folks overlap with those who see Bush behind 9/11, see alien spaceships in Area 51 and believe we are looking down the barrel of a coup d’etat any day now. Beliefs that many sensible people can dismiss pretty easily.

Here’s some news: As far as elections are concerned, they have a point, and you’d better not dismiss it.

Now if you’ve read up on urban machine politics, Texas politics or hardball politics as it’s been practiced in many places and times in this country, the importance of who counts the votes isn’t exactly news.

But things changed after 2000. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, aimed at eliminating the “hanging chads” and “butterfly ballots” that engrossed us in December 2000. HAVA promised modern technology would fix everything.

But techies started talking about voting machines “with issues” about three years ago.

Having made my living in that sphere for some time, I perked right up and paid attention because I recognized those issues as serious. Go read Aviel Rubin’s column in this month’s Forbes (www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/0904/040.html). He’s pretty darn concerned about voting technology.

You should be, too. Let me be very clear: The machines in use to count your vote aren’t remotely as secure as the video poker machine that you lost $5 to at the airport in Las Vegas. Seriously. You can look it up. Go over to the Gaming Standards Association (www.gamingstandards.com) and surf around. If voting machines were as well-tested, none of us would worry about them.

Bad as the machines’ security is, the voting systems surrounding the voting machines are so laughably insecure that no modern American corporation could use them, for fear of a Sarbanes-Oxley indictment of executives and directors.

Consider the recent special election here in California. The local San Diego County Registrar set up the election by allowing local precinct workers to take the machines home with them the night before.

I don’t think that specific election was hacked. But one of these days, one will be. And worse, as faith in the plumbing of democracy fades, what’s going to happen is that — like the proverbial banana republic — the losers in our elections won’t walk away vowing to do better next time. Instead, they’ll be convinced that the game is fixed, the referees bought, and that there’s no reason to participate in electoral politics.

That’ll lead to a whole other kind of politics, and I don’t think we’ll like it very much.

I don’t wear tinfoil hats. I don’t believe aliens are housed at Area 51. I do know for certain that we need to look hard at how we’re handing the plumbing of our democracy, or we’re for sure going to end up with a heck of a mess on the floor.

Marc Danziger is a member of The Examiner’s Blog Board of Contributors and blogs at Windsofchange.net.


Wed Aug 23, 10:45:00 AM CDT  

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