An election day disaster in Pennsylvania raises still more concerns for 2020

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    • #236007
      • Total Posts: 9,978

      We don’t need to speculate on what might happen if, because of sabotage or simple malfunction, the electronic voting machines now ubiquitous throughout the nation were to simply not work on a vitally important Election Day, altering the votes, tossing others, and possibly throwing entire elections to a candidate who hasn’t actually won. We already have examples. Less than a month ago, a Pennsylvania county’s new top-of-the-line voting machines did exactly that.

      From The New York Times: Vote totals in a Northampton County judge’s race showed one candidate, Abe Kassis, a Democrat, had just 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across more than 100 precincts. Some machines reported zero votes for him. In a county with the ability to vote for a straight-party ticket, one candidate’s zero votes was a near statistical impossibility. Something had gone quite wrong.

      That something was, it soon proved, the Election Systems & Software-manufactured voting system, ExpressVoteXL, reporting wildly inaccurate vote totals: A recount of the paper backup ballots produced by the machines showed that the Democrat did not get 164 votes in the election, but 26,142. Officials don’t yet know why the machines returned invalid results; we also don’t know, of course, whether results in other elections in other counties and states had similar but less severe problems that were not so improbable as to spur officials to recount. It’s entirely possible that elections were thrown, just in the last few years, by software error.

      The ES&S spokesperson is of course full of bluster in that Times story, noting that because the malfunctioning machines also had “voter-verified” paper backup ballots to be recounted, everything turned out fine with “fair, accurate and legal election results.” Others seem similarly relieved that there was, in this case, a paper trail to fall back on—even if programming errors (we hope) did render the actual touchscreen-voting electronic devices absolutely useless for their intended purpose. In the case of the lavish and expensive ExpressVoteXL, a human-readable paper ballot is printed behind a transparent panel for the voter to verify; once approved, it is dumped into a secure bin under the machine.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #236096
      • Total Posts: 3,599

      Why, after all of these 200 plus years politicians and Powers That Be think they can game the voting system. This is silly.

      If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit WC Fields

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    • #236100
      • Total Posts: 2,056

      ATMs never do shit like this. They shut down with the slightest error. I wonder how they might malfunction if they used software that was deliberate designed to enable surreptitious theft, through backdoor access to the programming.

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