11/20/2004

Scissors a bigger risk than disenfranchising voters

What IS IT with Political Science profs. trying to set the standards on technical e-voting issues ?!?!?


In "curious" statements about scissors and about scanners and touch screens being "the same" they    contradict their own VTP project director

Printers on touch screens like scanners


Touch-screen company balks at proposal for optical scanners

Both types of voting systems have advantages and drawbacks, say members of the Cal Tech/MIT Voter Technology Project..


By adding printers to touch screens, 'you effectively have an optical-scanner system, because the paper is the official ballot,' said Steve Ansolabehere of MIT.


.. one team member watched poll workers deal with a paper jam in a printer by opening the machine, cutting the vote-receipt tape with scissors, then taping it back together.


'It kind of defeats the purpose (of security) if you've got someone around with scissors,' said Jonathan Katz, associate political science professor at Cal Tech."


I have been ranting about VTP which says the opposite of Berkeley's FL vote study
Fox socializing with hens ?

VTP's own baby


'The [VTP] project achieved much more than anyone could hope for,' said Selker, an associate professor who leads the Context-Aware Computing Group at the Media Lab. 'We were listened to by legislators, election officials, lobbyists, voters and election machine manufacturers. We have had tremendous successes at bringing new data and analysis to the field, inventing better security approaches, ballot designs and processes. Our work helped motivate the Help America Vote Act and is finding its way into new voting equipment and statements made by the Election Assistance Commission and election officials


Did I mention their connections with right wing institutes such as Hoover, Olin and Scaife ?
More Caltech/MIT VTP Connections to Right Wing Think-tanks


1. MIT political scientists Charles ["no indication of fraud"] Stewart and Stephen ["printers and scanning are the same"] Ansolabehere both received Fellowships at the rabidly right wing Hoover Institution freeper factory, funded by just about every rich wingnut foundation in existence.


2. Caltech political scientists Ramon Michael Alvarez and Jonathan ["scissors guy"] Katz received John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellowships. The Olin Foundation spends millions a year to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges.


According to the Foundation Center, Hoover's $25 million annual budget is funded largely by a mix of conservative and corporate foundations, including Archer Daniels Midland, Bradley, Earhart, Donner, ExxonMobil, Ford Motor, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, and Scaife


About Richard Mellon Scaife
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/scaife/scaife.php
Hoover Institution: Board member


VTP recommends SCANNERS rather than touch screens

Technology Review: The Real Problem with Voting


Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than what I saw on November 2 while watching voting at 28 precincts in the Boston area. Boston has one of the best election set-ups in the country. The city used optical scan ballots; in our evaluation of the 2000 election, we at VTP recommended this as the method which had shown the fewest errors of currently available voting methods Moreover, through their hard work, local election officials showed an earnest desire to deliver an election free from tampering or fraud. Still, even in Boston , sloppy polling place practices and ill-conceived procedures abounded. These seemingly innocuous mistakes can result in lost or uncounted votes and can compromise the integrity of the final vote count.


Minor problems I observed in Boston included inadequate and poorly placed signage, making it confusing for people to know where to go. Disorganized check-in registration systems at numerous locations not only led to long lines, which deter people from voting, but also, in some instances, messed up the lists that allow officials to compare the number of people issued with ballots to the total number of votes. Some polling places casually permitted persons other than the voter (such as a poll worker or family member) to interfere in the process of completing and scanning ballots.


More dangerous irregularities also occurred. A poll worker removed ballots from a balloting box without monitoring. The person meant to observe him simply wandered away. At another location, the poll warden, also unsupervised, took bunches of ballots from the scan reader from time to time so that it wouldn't jam. Those he removed lay to the side in a pile of manila envelopes next to the voting machine.



Yet defend Florida touchscreens ?!?!

A November 11 2004 Cal Tech / MIT report says that there's THERE IS NO INDICATION OF FRAUD. The study is being used by GOP as a counter  to Berkeley's study who found significant "smoke alarms" on the FL voting patterns indicating touch screens could have cost Kerry as much as 160,000 votes.


As Keith Olbermann puts it nicely, It's Berkeley vs Caltech. Yet while Berkeley's study is signed and being promoted by Berkeley in PR Newswire, the Cal Tech study is anonymous and contradicts previous studies done by the same group such as this one:  

Up to 6 million votes lost in 2000


PASADENA, Calif.- Though over 100 million Americans went to the polls on election day 2000, as many as 6 million might just have well have spent the day fishing. Researchers at Caltech and MIT call these "lost votes" and think the number of uncounted votes could easily be cut by more than half in the 2004 election with just three simple reforms.


"It is remarkable that we in America put up with a system where as many as six out of every hundred voters are unable to get their vote counted. Twenty-first-century technology should be able to do much better than this," Baltimore said.


According to the comprehensive Caltech-MIT study, faulty and outdated voting technology together with registration problems were largely to blame for many of the 4-to-6 million votes lost during the 2000 election.


With respect to the votes that simply weren't counted, the researchers found that punch-card methods and some direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines were especially prone to error. Lever machines, optically scanned, and hand-counted paper ballots were somewhat less likely to result in spoiled or "residual" votes. Optical scanning, moreover, was better than lever machines



VTP professor recommends DoD to CANCEL IT'S E-VOTING plans
Ramon Michael Alvarez was awarded:


U.S. Department of Defense, "Evaluation of the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting (SERVE) Project", DASW01-02-C-0027, ($236,140), May 2002 - October 2002, Principal Investigator


SERVE's conclusions: Daily Kos :: DoD dropped e-voting because of security
In a Jan. 30 memo to David Chu, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote that 'in view of the inability to ensure legitimacy of votes that would be cast in the SERVE Internet voting project, thereby bringing into doubt the integrity of the election, I hereby direct you to take immediate steps to ensure that no voters use the system to register or vote via the Internet.


Ted Selker in on Nov 2nd: No software problems in FL ?

Nov 2nd: Ted Selker on FL problems

.. A poll worker blamed [a voter's] long fingernails, saying she must be hitting the wrong candidate with the pad of her finger.


'So I used my knuckle and hit the center of the circle and it flipped to Kerry,' Krayer said. She tried using a pencil eraser, with the same results.


Finally the poll worker moved her to another machine and she successfully cast her ballot for Bush and Martinez. 'This does not sound like a software problem,' said Ted Selker, co-director of the Cal Tech/MIT Voting Technology Project.


He said either voters touched the wrong choice or the machines were not calibrated right, meaning the button for selecting a candidate wasn't lined up properly with the candidate's name.


Vergia Virgil, 54, of Boynton Beach had to try twice to get her vote for Kerry to register. When asked if she might have accidentally pressed Bush the first time, Virgil didn't hesitate.


'Oh no, no, no, no,' she said. 'It was no accident. I know who I pushed.'"


See also Nov3rd Lines pose biggest problem for voters in FL

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