Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vote Fraud The Digital Way

Think your vote counts?

Take a look at Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, an anthology of articles edited by Mark Crispin Miller. If you think that computerization has eliminated ballot hi-jinks, you’re wrong.

Part of the problem could be the classic fox watching the henhouse. Have elections tallied up only by a private company with little or no oversight by local government, a company beholden to a particular political party. Such loose security leaves open opportunities to manipulate the vote.

One way it could be done is a last minute “patch” or piece of “corrective” software being installed in the voting machines that will help keep one candidate ahead in the race by a few points, even if he’s losing. Or install a memory card in one machine that can spread a virus to other machines in the system, manipulating the vote in your favor.

Then there’s the memory card switcheroo. When the cards are taken out of each voting machine to be tabulated by a central server, just drop in a magic one that will affect the tabulations. Another way is wireless: install a wi-fi card in the tabulating computer with special software and jigger the results with a laptop computer in a nearby room.

And without a paper trail, who’s going to notice?


Doug said...

The government represents the people. That's the deal.

We just don't know which people.

Eh, but it's only politics. Not like it's anything important.

Oscar said...

"Such loose security leaves open opportunities to manipulate the vote."

Exactly, it doesn't matter how technically secure the application might be, ultimately humans need to verify it and this is where we have the problem.

People take sides, whether it is driven from their own experiences or encouraged by a political affiliation.

I think there must be a more open, transparent way of verifying votes. And more than one third party needs to verify and stick around for the process.

X. Dell said...

People would notice. The problem is that the people have no recourse, other than to ask the fox to again check the henhouse.

I have a friend who's been attempting to mobilize support for voting machine accountablitiy eer since the 2004 elections. Unfortunately, when citizens face corporations, they're usually the underdog.

Ray said...

The other part of the problem is that most people are busy, caught up in the day-to-day rat race, trying to make ends meet. If they turn on the boob tube, usually it's to relax and watch some empty-headed entertainment, not in depth reporting on social issues.

That's how "They" stay in power - keep the masses distracted, overworked, too tired to care.

Or manipulate them, get them all worked up with propaganda about the evils of socialized health care, death panels and whatever.

I agree, X. Dell - citizens are underdogs when facing corporations. This health care "debate" is a prime example.