Tuesday, November 02, 2004

And So It Begins

Early reports are not good - but that too, might be an attempt to bias perceptions, as it's all smoke and mirrors.

The Drudge Report reports that voting machines were already stocked with votes prior to voting opening in Philadelphia

From the FAQ on EVMs - Government of India - see below:

Q28. In the conventional system, before the commencement of poll, the Presiding Officer shows to the polling agents present that the ballot box to be used in the polling station is empty. Is there any such provision to satisfy the polling agents that there are no hidden votes already recorded in the EVMs?


Before the commencement of poll, the Presiding Officer demonstrates to the polling agents present that there are no hidden votes already recorded in the machine by pressing the result button. Thereafter, he will conduct a mock poll by asking the polling agents to record their votes and will take the result to satisfy them that the result shown is strictly according to the choice recorded by them. Thereafter, the Presiding Officer will press the clear button to clear the result of the mock poll before commencing the actual poll.

Pretty obvious what could have been done

From Instapundit & jsonline.com, my home city, Milwaukee has had some minor tiffs, Also, I know a few people who did not vote because they were not registered correctly. About 35 people's address was the same - a billboard

Blackboxvoting.org has breaking news that the Diebold machines were hacked 6 weeks ago and Election Officials are asking all servers to be unplugged from the telephone lines & Internet

It appears that such an attack may already have taken place, in a primary election 6 weeks ago in King County, Washington -- a large jurisdiction with over one million registered voters. Documents, including internal audit logs for the central vote-counting computer, along with modem “trouble slips” consistent with hacker activity, show that the system may have been hacked on Sept. 14, 2004. Three hours is now missing from the vote-counting computer's "audit log," an automatically generated record, similar to the black box in an airplane, which registers certain kinds of events

The faulty log with 3 missing hours (9:52pm to 1:31am) is here

India conducted a full-scale electronic election earlier this year successfully - none of the EVMs were connected or hacked.

voting machine

FAQ on EVMs(Electronic Voting Machines) from the Government Of India:

Q1. What is an Electronic Voting machine? In what way its functioning is different from the conventional system of voting?

Ans. An Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units – a Control Unit and a Balloting Unit – joined by a five-meter cable. The Control Unit is with the Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, the Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit will press the Ballot Button. This will enable the voter to cast his vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit against the candidate and symbol of his choice.

Q3. How can EVMs be used in areas where there is no electricity?
Ans. EVMs run on an ordinary 6 volt alkaline battery manufactured by Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. Therefore, even in areas with no power connections, EVMs can be used.
Q16. How long the Control Unit stores the result in its memory?

Ans. The Control Unit can store the result in its memory for 10 years and even more.

Q17. Wherever an election petition is filed, the result of the election is subject to the final outcome. The courts, in appropriate cases, may order a recount of votes. Whether EVMs can be stored for such a long time and whether the result can be taken in the presence of the officers authorised by Courts? Will not the battery leak or otherwise damage EVMs?

Ans. The battery is required only to activate the EVMs at the time of polling and counting. As soon as the polling is over, the battery can be switched off and this will be required to be switched on only at the time of counting. The battery can be removed as soon as the result is taken and can be kept separately. Therefore, there is no question of battery leaking or otherwise damaging EVMs. Even when the battery is removed the memory in the microchip remains intact. If the Court orders a recount, the Control Unit can be reactivated by fixing the battery and it will display the result stored in the memory.

Q18. Is it possible to vote more than once by pressing the button again and again.

Ans. No

As soon as a particular button on the Balloting Unit is pressed, the vote is recorded for that particular candidate and the machine gets locked. Even if one presses that button further or any other button, no further vote will be recorded. This way the EVMs ensure the principle of "one man, one vote".

Q19. How can a voter be sure that the EVM is working and his vote has been recorded?
Ans. As soon as the voter presses the `blue button’ against the candidate and symbol of his choice, a tiny lamp on the left side of the symbol glows red and simultaneously a long beep sound is heard. Thus, there is both audio and visual indications for the voter to be assured that his vote has been recorded

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