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  • Wednesday, November 24, 2004


    One Nerd's Opinion

    A relatively brief summation of Annalee Newitz's opinion on the possibility of hacked voting machines. As much as I would like to believe differently, my opinion is generally in accord with hers. I'm not saying there was no fraud, just that it probably wasn't the voting machines and probably, overall, not enough to swing the election.

    I just had a slight realization about the winning margin of an election. If Bush won the popular vote by 3.5 million votes, how many would have to change their vote to Kerry for Kerry to win? Half of 3.5 million or about 1.75 million. Why is this startling to me? Just the change of perspective that cuts down the actual margin of victory. It's obvious but still seems important. From AlterNet: We're Sorry:
    Granted, there may have been thousands more unreported problems. But without evidence, we can't say that for sure. Moreover, the evidence these groups do have shows a pattern of problems with the machines that looks more like what you'd expect from shitty equipment than from deliberate hacks. The devices crashed; they had to be rebooted multiple times; they wouldn't start; some had the wrong ballots. People of all political persuasions reported serious problems in every single state using e-voting machines. And these kinds of problems popped up in every type of machine being used. A hack would have to be written for one specific type of machine, so you'd expect to see the same problem repeatedly in the same make and model of device.

    That's not what we saw.

    What we saw were people who were disenfranchised because their voting machines were designed so poorly -- and the poll workers trained so quickly -- that the devices couldn't be used. And we saw situations in which people questioned the outcome of the election in states like Ohio, but the vote couldn't be recounted because most touch-screen machines don't leave a paper trail.

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