My experience as an Election Judge in Baltimore County

Avi Rubin [via Slashdot] with his thoughts on the new e-voting machines used in Baltimore. Excellent reading. It shows huge problems with the smart cards being used – if only Cullen would listen. Rubin concludes:

I continue to believe that the Diebold voting machines represent a huge threat to our democracy. I fundamentally believe that we have thrown our trust in the outcome of our elections in the hands of a handful of companies (Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S) who are in a position to control the final outcomes of our elections. I also believe that the outcomes can be changed without any knowledge by election judges or anyone else. Furthermore, meaningful recounts are impossible with these machines.

I also believe that we have great people working in the trenches and on the front lines. These are ordinary people, mostly elderly, who believe in our country and our democracy, and who work their butts off for 16 hours, starting at 6 a.m. to try to keep the mechanics of our elections running smoothly. It is a shame that the e-voting tidal wave has a near hypnotic effect on these judges and almost all voters. I believe that after today’s experience, I am much better equipped to make the arguments against e-voting machines with no voter verifiability, but I also have a great appreciation for how hard it is going to be to fight them, given how much voters and election officials love them.

We were not allowed to use cell phones or access email all day. On my way home from the polls, I called my voicemail at work. I had messages and requests for interviews from ABC News, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, Wired News, CNN, several radio stations and the New York Times. So, this issue is not going away. Over the next few days, I’ll be discussing my experience and probably sparring with the usual suspects in the various media outlets. My biggest fear is that super Tuesday will be viewed as a big success. By all accounts, everyone at my precinct felt that way. The more e-voting is viewed as successful, the more it will be adopted, and the greater the risk when someone decides to actually exploit the weaknesses of these systems.

It’s now almost midnight, and I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m. I’m falling asleep as I type this, so I will end here. Good night.

Take Action! Lift the Curtain on E-Voting

MediaRights.org have a call to action here, raising all the appropriate questions.

Millions of American voters will use electronic voting systems when they cast their vote for president this year. Many of these machines will get their first test on March 2, Super Tuesday, when voters head to polls in ten states. If more states install these new machines, the repercussions for American democracy could be worse than any hanging chad.

Since election reporting began last fall, network news coverage of the switch to e-voting has been little more than a blip. Media for Democracy analysis shows that since October 2003, ABC, NBC and CBS nightly news programs broadcast only four stories on e-voting machines. A look at CNN.com and FoxNews.com yields an even smaller assortment: a total of three reports between September 2003 and February 20, 2004, all on CNN.

Despite the already checkered history of the new machines — which includes evidence of political favoritism by the executives of the primary manufacturers of e-voting terminals, and tests that reveal extensive flaws to their software — the networks have failed to consider electronic voting worthy of coverage. As a result, few voters will see news reports about these glitch-riddled systems before they come face to face with the voting machines on Election Day.

Handing over control of America’s electoral system to a handful of corporations constitutes the privatization of America’s most public endeavor. Media for Democracy members must pressure mainstream media to focus more reporting on this important threat to democracy.

Tell news executives today that the problem of e-voting is a story they can’t ignore.

Irish e-voting marks new era: BBC

The BBC have a somewhat ‘safe’ piece of journalism on the electronic voting saga ongoing in Ireland. It talks about tallymen, and the loss of the traditional voting count to electronic voting.

What crap.

Nothing about the level of media coverage and the volume of criticism. Little about the enormous level of hostility to e-voting, and little on the justified position of requesting a paper trail to be added. Oh and the problems of e-voting worldwide are not mentioned.

Surely the BBC could come up with something more substantial?