And When A Kennedy Says It's Stolen, It's Stolen

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Undeterred by criticism from Stephen Colbert, Robert F. Kennedy Jr is back on the "stolen elections" beat; this time with a story for Rolling Stone about how Diebold voting machines will hand the election to Republicans no matter what the polls say. Crack research by the Kennedy team put him in touch with everyone who'd ever agreed with him.

Electronic voting machines also caused widespread problems in Florida, where Bush bested Kerry by 381,000 votes. When statistical experts from the University of California examined the state's official tally, they discovered a disturbing pattern: "The data show with 99.0 percent certainty that a county's use of electronic voting is associated with a disproportionate increase in votes for President Bush. Compared to counties with paper ballots, counties with electronic voting machines were significantly more likely to show increases in support for President Bush between 2000 and 2004." The three counties with the most discrepancies—Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade—were also the most heavily Democratic. Electronic voting machines, the report concluded, may have improperly awarded as many as 260,000 votes to Bush. "No matter how many factors and variables we took into consideration, the significant correlation in the votes for President Bush and electronic voting cannot be explained," said Michael Hout, a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

(For some reason these scholars never crunch the numbers for my old home state of Virginia, which uses electronic voting machines and in 2005 handed an ass-kicking victory to Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, after he'd only been tied in the polls.)

The reception of electronic voting is fast getting hysterical; after election officials in Maryland's Democratic bedrock Montgomery County forgot to bring all of the machine parts to the polls, Gov. Robert Ehrlich indulged the Kennedys of his state (he has experience with them) by suggesting nobody vote on electronic voting machines; everybody, fill out absentee ballots instead!

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  1. And if I remember correctly some machines (in another state)arrived with some votes for Bush preprogrammed. I’m thinking the number of votes were around 3000.

    An old style voting machine will do only what it was built to do.

    A computer can be programmed for almost anything.

    You could program it to move every third or fourth vote, or whatever, to the other canidate.
    Almost anything as long as the number of votes equals the number of voters at that machine. Sometimes that don’t matter either.

  2. The fact that no one can go back over the votes and prove, definitively, whether or not Kennedy is right renders electronic voting machines useless.

  3. An old style voting machine will do only what it was built to do.

    A computer can be programmed for almost anything.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but a computer is just a machine too. And you can “program an old style voting machine” to do just about anything too. Like alter the stylus that punches/marks the vote cards so it marks the card an inch below where it was supposed to mark, in the box of an opponent. Electoral fraud at the voting booth did not begin with Diebold.

  4. Lot’s of very sincere people (as opposed to conspiracy-driven loonies) are asking some very sensible questions about the current state of electronic voting.

    Very experienced programmers and security experts are raising questions about substandard software.

    Non-partisan people committed to honest voting practices are raising solid questions about Diebold’s political allegiances AND the lack of paper trail.

    Earlier this week this very site pointed out the discovery that voting machines can be opened with a minibar key.

    Now the ever vocally-challenged Kennedy has to come along and make them/us all look crazy.

  5. But at least old-fashioned voting machines (most of them, anyway) allowed you to inspect your completed ballot for errors before you submitted it. Either there’s a hole/mark in the box, or there’s not.

    The confirmation screen on a Diebold machines, on the other hand, can put a check next to Al Gore’s picture for you to confirm, but still be programmed to count the vote for Bush. And even if someone catches on that this is happening, there is no way to go back and verify which Bush votes were supposed to be Gore votes.

    At a minimum, there should be paper printouts for voters to confirm, and for elections officials to hand-count in case of a problem.

  6. So are there any problems that can’t be dismissed with blanket charges of “hysteria” and “conspiracy theory”?

  7. No, joe, don’t relent to any minimum.

    The electronic voting machine should, plain and simple, mark or punch a paper ballot. The paper ballot is given back to the voter for him to check as he wishes or doesn’t wish. The paper ballot is put in the box.

    Counting the votes means counting the paper ballots. It’s not a back-up for hand counting. It is the ballot as surely as if the voter punched it by hand.

    An electronic voting machine should have no memory and no network: Its only output should be the paper ballot that is dropped into the ballot box.

  8. Much as I hate to say it, joe is spot-on with this. How difficult would it be for these machines to create a paper record? It’s probably just a case of laziness or cost-minimizing on the part of Diebold, but it doesn’t look good that the company refuses to take such an easy step to put to rest concerns of possible election fraud.

  9. I assume that programmers are hired to check the coding of the machine for any discrepencies. If this is not done, then I feel the election officials have not done their duty to ensure a fair election. If this is done and is double checked and verified, I see no issue. However, this would have to be checked on each machine, which might allow for trade secrets to come out, but I feel anyone selling voting machines should waive their right to secrecy of code.

  10. So are there any problems that can’t be dismissed with blanket charges of “hysteria” and “conspiracy theory”?

    Let’s remember that all this nonsense about electronic voting is with us because a few idiots were incapable of making sure they completely punched the correct holes out of their ballot cards, and the frenetic press thought it was a harbinger of the end of democracy.

  11. A paper trail is desired in any case, so I would also support printed readouts of the vote.

  12. If I use a punch paper ballot – a COMPUTER still counts the votes.

    Isn’t it easier to change the code in 1 computer than to change the code in thousands?

    For that reason, it seems to me that the newer electronic voting is less subject to fraud than the earlier machines.

    BOTH have a paper trail for recounts. At least our electronic voting machine you see the paper getting printed with your votes (through a little plastic viewfinder) when you complete the touchscreen entry.

    The real fraud is not committed by the voters or the machines or those who run the machines, it is the damn politicians anyway we need to worry about.

    joel

  13. Could it be that the electronic voting machines were correct, and that the staff doing the manual counting for years has been undermining the results? The example from Virginia and the victory to Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, shows that it might go both ways?

  14. “Paper” trails and transparency of process (though not to the extent of personally identifiable votes) are good things. I’m quite dubious about vague allegations of fraud or just assuming fraud because of vulnerabilities (note that Democratic Supervisors of Elections have opted for the Evil? Diebold equipment, too–why would they do that if there was any serious conspiracy out there. . .and why would Democrats ever win?), but that doesn’t mean that I want the opportunity for fraud to exist without any attempt to remedy the situation. Like with anything else important, a little security would be a nice thing.

  15. We don’t even need to theorize about fraud to worry about all-electronic voting. If there’s no paper backup, then a machine malfunction (even a completely unintentional one, with no nefarious motives behind it, just plain old mistakes) will be unfixable. With a paper backup, you can recover from a machine failure.

    There’s nothing magical about paper, but redundancy is a good thing, and paper ballots are particularly robust ways of ensuring redundancy. I personally like the system that I used when I was a precinct volunteer in California: You fill out a paper ballot and the machine reads it. The ballot is kept in a locked compartment. At the end of the night the results are transmitted electronically, and then the paper ballots and hard drive are brought to the election office. You have 3 counts: The original transmission, the hard drive, and the paper ballots. In order to commit fraud without being detected you need to mess with all 3 of those counts.

    Is it fool-proof? Of course not. But it has a lot of redundancy, and if you have a large number of independent people supervising every step of the process you get more redundancy and transparency. Adding as much redundancy and transparency as possible is the best way to keep the system clean.

  16. How difficult would it be for these machines to create a paper record?

    How difficult would it be for these machines to punch or mark a ballot and give it back to you?

    The mere fact that having an electronic voting machine means you can more easily electronically count the votes does not mean you should…

    Isn’t it easier to change the code in 1 computer than to change the code in thousands?

    Oh, you mean that one computer that is surrounded by monitors from every party in the election and can be trivially spot-checked on any subset of ballots? As opposed to the ones that were brought from home by some precinct officer and output only a collection of numbers — and a roll of paper if you’re lucky — at the end?

    In any event, even if you have thousands of machines at the voting sites, one machine is still needed at the end to accumulate the accumulations.

  17. “”And you can “program an old style voting machine” to do just about anything too.”””

    How do you program one made of levers and cogs?

  18. With a wrench?

  19. TrickyVic,

    It’s actually pretty easy to make a secure voting machine – ATMs have similar security obstacles to overcome. The problem with the Diebold voting machines isn’t that they’re electronic – it’s that they’re crap. It’s actually harder to hack a Nintendo DS than a Diebold machine. With the Diebold machine all you need to do is order the key (it’s a standard part you can buy online) or otherwise get by the physical lock and pop in a standard memory card (I forget which type) and it will update the software on the machine with what is on the card.

    The ability to use encryption, audit trails, and data integrity checks actually has the potential to make electronic voting more secure that traditional methods. Combine that with time delay locks (say, once locked, it doesn’t open until the day after the election) and some write-only record (like a printout of checksums and a timestamp every x voters) and you’d need a lot of inside help to alter a vote count.

  20. The machines work perfectly. Its the claim of flawed machines that is the Rethuglican plot! The idea is to convince Dumbocrats that their votes won’t be counted. If your votes won’t count anyway, may as well stay home and get some sleep or hit the crack pipe a little earlier than usual. I like to take my conspiracy theories pretty much as far as they can go. I could be wrong on this. It could be a Democrat plot to make Republicans think the election is in the bag, or a Replupican plot to make Democrats think Republicans think the election is…

  21. Why exactly should we NOT be worried about easily hackable voting machines that leave no record of actual votes and are owned by a company that openly favors one candidate over the other? Why the knee-jerk reaction—-“Ooooh, a DEMOCRAT said we should worry! This of course must be untrue, so let’s make snide remarks about our superiority as evidenced by the fact that we’re not worried!”

  22. Is what Robert F. Kennedy Jr says about stolen elections as true as what he says about the evils of vaccination?
    Or as true as his commitment to the environment (writes endlessly about Global Warming but fights wind power project because it would obscure his views from the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod)?
    Inquiring minds…

  23. It’s interesting how a columnist, like Weigel can second guess a member of the National Academy of Sciences in his field of expertise, just by throwing in a remark about another election in another state.

    Overall, the divergence between the exit polls and the results in areas where the Diebold machines were used was unprecedented.

  24. I assume that programmers are hired to check the coding of the machine for any discrepencies. If this is not done, then I feel the election officials have not done their duty to ensure a fair election.

    You’d be assuming wrong there. See, that would require exposing “Trade secrets” or “proprietary information” to the general public. (Like, for instance, the fact that Diebold built their system on Access. Once the laughter ends, the tears begin there). So what happens is that, see, they hold a “test election” a few weeks early so election monitors can make sure the “actual votes” and the “tallied votes” are the same. Then the owners of the electronic voting machine SWEAR — cross their heart and hope to die! — that they won’t patch the code in the interim.

    And this is considered sufficient. I can think of several hundred ways to spoof the whole damn system, ranging from “Give me two minutes with a flash drive and one machine” level to the “Let me into their servers for half an hour”. Most of them utterly untraceable, and even if you found traces of tampering — you’d never know what I did, just that something was changed.

    I’m all for hysteria over electronic voting. Whatever it takes to get something done.

    All I really want are human-readable records (I don’t care how the final result is tallied — I just want voters to be able to look at their receipt/ballot/whatever and be able to visual verify the votes went to the right person) and random spot audits comparing the paper tally to the electronic one. Pick, say, 1% of all precincts and force a check between the paper and electronic tallies. And choose the precints at random — after the voting is over.

  25. I love the machines we use here in Phoenix.

    It’s an optical scanner that reads the large black marks that a voter makes with a felt-tip pen.

    It’s near impossible to make an ambiguous mark on there, unlike a punch card, and also a lot easier to read in a hand recount.

    You make your marks, then feed the card into the machine. If you screw it up then you get another card and the first one is destroyed.

    The scanner counts and relays tallies to the central computer.

  26. Let’s go back to an old style verifiable ballot.

    All those in favor line up here with me.

    All those opposed line up in front of the machine guns.

  27. In the end, thoreau’s solution makes the most sense. Redundancy is best. Atleast when someone overcomes the redundancy to fix an election, you can pat them on the back for such an impressive feat instead of smacking your head about the ease at which the election was rigged.

  28. Gosh, and nobody ever stuffed a ballot box with, er, ah, paper, so let’s just go back to that system that worked perfectly for some number of years.

    And for you, you Kennedy schwinehund, I give you COOK FARGIN COUNTY, where your family bought the election for your uncle.

  29. TWC,

    “Gosh, and nobody ever stuffed a ballot box with, er, ah, paper, so let’s just go back to that system that worked perfectly for some number of years.”

    That is perfectly fair point, but please recall, thoreau and Arensen weren’t proposing that we go back to old-style methods of ballot counting, just old style ballots.

    With the open, public, multi-party oversight of ballot handling and counting that we have today (and didn’t have in Illinois in 1960), stuffing ballot boxes would be much more difficult.

  30. “”With a wrench?””

    Maybe you could change the linkage to make all votes tally for X? The anomolies from that would stand out. It would be easy to program a microprocessor to subtract a number of votes from X and add them to Y. In all cases the total number of votes in the machine should equal the number of signatures in the book.

    Matt, I agree, there is a way to do it, but it’s a should of, would of, could of, arguement. I see no one in government interested in making the modification you or any one else here is speaking of in the name of voting accuracy. These issues should have been solved from day one.

    That fact that it’s not means they are not that concerned. They have some reason for that lack of concern. Who knows why? We can only speculate.

    I’m not opposed to electronic voting machines as longs as
    1. It contains no memory to record who voted for who. Printing a paper copy as a receipt to the voter is OK but, votes must be annonomus.

    2. It is tamper-proof and the poll workers can check to see if it is clean.

    3. The software can be audited for quality assurance by all political parties and state officials.

    I think electronic machine voting is doable with proper safeguards. I don’t like internet voting at all.

  31. In our county the voting machines put the information onto an electronic card about the size of an ATM card but a little thicker. You stick it into the machine, you vote, you hand it back to the volunteer behind the table who then gives you a I voted today sticker (they give the kids a half dozen of them). What happens after that I don’t know, but my county supe got re-elected by 3 votes last time and I’m sure somebody cheated. 🙂

  32. I think electronic machine voting is doable with proper safeguards. I don’t like internet voting at all.

    Especially if it uses the same server as Reason. My vote either won’t be counted at all, or it will be counted 17 times.

  33. “That is perfectly fair point, but please recall, thoreau and Arensen weren’t proposing that we go back to old-style methods of ballot counting, just old style ballots.”

    I just prefer elections stolen openly, fair and square.

  34. So Florida counties that had been heavily Democrat took a swing for Bush when electronic voting machines showed up? That could mean several things: 1) Republican vote fraud, 2) the ending of Democrat vote fraud, 3) the counties that got new machines are statistically different from the ones that didn’t: perhaps richer? 4) Maybe 9/11 had a disproportionate effect on those counties, because of a higher Jewish population?

    In any case, here’s my compromise: I’ll happily ditch Diebold and go for any better type of voting the critics want, as long as we also require photo ID for voting, purge voter rolls of dead/moved/duplicate/fake voters, and increase penalties for vote fraud. (Did you know that Philadelphia and other cities have more registered voters than adults over the age of 18? And that some precincts have had turnouts of over 100%? And that these areas are all “Democratic strongholds”?)

    But I doubt Democrats would want to trade their extensive, time-tested methods of vote fraud in exchange for Republicans giving up a form of potential vote fraud that probably currently exists only in the minds of Democrats and paranoid libertarians.

  35. And for you, you Kennedy schwinehund, I give you COOK FARGIN COUNTY, where your family bought the election for your uncle.

    Here’s one wild conspiracy theory that needs to be put to bed. There is no evidence that there was any voter fraud in this case.

  36. Electronic voting machines stink because there is nothing on paper or permanent to show what happened. The only solution is to have paper ballets. That way the ballets can be kept and there is some objective proof of what happened. The problem of course is that a certain number of people will inevitably screw up a paper ballet. They will mark the wrong thing or make an ambiguous mark. So with paper ballets you have to live with the fact that yes a few stupid and unlucky people will not have their votes counted. As long as the rules for counting ballets are set up in advance of the election and followed, I don’t have a problem with that. Unfortunately the sensible system of paper ballets ended in 2000 with the ?grandma was disenfranchised because she was too stupid to press hard enough on the ballet” arguments. That is a serious blow to democracy.

  37. It almost doesn’t matter if the Diebold machines work perfectly. They might actually be reliable and tamper proof. But the problem is that their design does not make it easy to PROVE that they’re reliable and tamper proof.

    * The source code is closed source, so it is impossible for non-authorized personel to audit the code.

    * The paper trail is non-existent for a lot of machines, and for the others it doesn’t seem very robust.

    These two flaws make it almost impossible to satisfactorily rebut these claims of election fraud. That IN AND OF ITSELF is a problem. Disputes to the veracity of vote tallies should be easily resolvable. Any time we have to say “trust us, it’s all fair,” rather than “do the math yourself, it’s clearly fair,” we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

    The whole point of democracy is to get everyone to at least agree that to a system of decision making. They may not agree on what decision to make, but they all agree to the method, and then everyone abides by the decision afterward. However, if it isn’t easy to make the case that the decision-making process was carried out correctly, then that undermines the concensus on the process itself.

    My motivation is not wanting to discredit the Bush presidency – I’m going to bitch about either party while they’re in power. I’m motivated by wanting to get to arguing about stupid government policy, not which jackass was supposed to be shaping it.

    I’m tired of arguing over the 2000 and 2004 elections. And if Diebold had done a good job building a clearly auditable, easily verifiable (I realize I was being redundant) we would all be able to quit arguing about this, and go on to arguing about retarded house-district gerrymandering.

  38. Where does any Kennedy get off talked about voter fraud? If it had not been for massive voter fraud in Illinois and Texas in 1960, JFK would never have been president.

  39. Papaya,

    Good luck with getting voter ID. The Reasonites are convinced that there are millions and millions of voters out there who don’t have photo IDs. The fact that you can’t cash a check, get any government benefits, open a bank account, board a plane, or do any number of pretty essential things in this society without a photo ID, be damned.

  40. In our county the voting machines put the information onto an electronic card about the size of an ATM card but a little thicker.

    I don’t think that’s what that card is for. I think the card simply contains the information “Show this person the Libertarian Party ballot.” Next time you vote note that they only have about six of these cards. They pick one up and put it into a machine and press a button (presumably the Libertarian button) before giving it to you.

    The votes are stored in the machine, where a wireless network connection broadcasts them to Rush Limbaugh’s office for operatives to change at will.

  41. Joe, that is the trouble with this medium, I wasn’t beating up on those guys and I’m truthfully surprised that my remarks were taken that way.

    I was directing my snark at the general idea expressed here by Kennedy that we should abandon electronic voting in the context of fear of new technologies. Perhaps there is the opportunity to easily steal an election, but I don’t think it’s that easy nor do I think it happens often.

    If GWB stole the election in Fla it wasn’t with a computerized voting machine, as I recall it was a problem with punch cards, which are not electronic devices per se. And if Kennedy stole the election in Illionis, it was by using old fashioned fraud with paper ballots and dead people voting. And if Sanchez stole the election from B-1 Bob, it was by using voter fraud, live bodies, fresh from Mexico (or your local barrio) claiming to be someone else.

    None of that stuff is easily preventable.

    BTW, the last time I was asked to provide ID as a condition of voting was 30 years ago. I could be anybody claiming to be TWC and asking for a ballot.

    There is no way to guarantee a fair election because it isn’t the machinery that cheats. It’s the people. I’m pretty sure that most of the time, most of the elections are okay.

  42. MikeP, you could very well be correct. I really have no idea about the cards but they sure seem to want those cards back.

  43. “The fact that you can’t cash a check, get any government benefits, open a bank account, board a plane, or do any number of pretty essential things in this society without a photo ID, be damned.”

    Well, dahling, nobody I know lives like that, so it’s clearly not a problem.

    Besides, think of the sort of people who would go through life without doing any of those things. A few Indians on reservations, some poor immigrants and immigrants’ kids, dirt farmers and various other back-woods hillbillies – not our sort of people at all, dahling. Many of them sound like the sort who would keep firearms in their shacks.

    Do we really want them to have a say in the government? Think of the sort of candidates they’d vote for!

  44. I agree with the earlier comment that there are legitimate concerns with these machines and it only takes a few nutjobs to make everyone involved seem like a nutter (not that we libertarians would have any experience with that or anything.)

    Also, and I’ll admit that I know nothing about this, I’m assuming that these machines are subject to something on about the order of strictness with regards to data recording as we are in the pharmaceutical industry (CFR 21, part 11). If they’re not, they either need to be subjected to those standards or eliminated in place of a receipt-producing mechanism. If they are subject to similar requirements, I’d feel pretty good about them as a whole, though there are clearly still some potential problems.

  45. “some poor immigrants and immigrants’ kids, dirt farmers and various other back-woods hillbillies”

    Joe,

    You have to be a citizen and 18 to vote. So, the immigrants and their children should not be voting. You need to have a photo ID to go through the citizenship process. Every “immigrant” who is in fact a citizen and entitled to vote will have a photo ID. You finally have admited your true colors. You object to ID requirements because you want people who otherwise do not have a right to vote, resident and illegel aliens and the like, to be able to vote.

  46. First in 2000 election voters who used the punch ballot were disenfranchised because they were not allowed to used electronic voting machines.

    In 2003 the ACLU sued to stop the California Recall because not all counties in California had the electonic voting machines. They sued on the basis that those people who had to use a paper ballot were disenfranchised to those who got to vote electronically.

    In the 2004 election and now in the 2006 we are in an uproar over the same electronic machines because the never left a paper trail when the previous 4-6 prior we were crying how systems that left a paper trail disenfanchised those who couldn’t vote on these very same machines.

    It’s little wonder why the rest of the world think we’re nuts.

  47. Joe,

    Why do you want to disenfranchise American citizens by allowing illegal immigrants to vote without an ID?

  48. Chris,

    If you can’t win an election, you can just destroy the system by constantly suing. You can also overwelm the system by objecting to ID requirements in the name of “immigrants”.

  49. John,

    1. Having someone else vote, too, does not disenfranchise anyone.

    2. I don’t want illegal immigrants to vote. I’m just not willing to address that problem with a solution that would deny legitimate citizens their right to vote – for example, all of those other groups I mentioned.

    You’re suddenly so concerned about voter disenfranchisement – what about those people who do not have, or choose not to carry, identification documents issued by the government?

  50. “Every “immigrant” who is in fact a citizen and entitled to vote will have a photo ID.”

    I don’t believe you, John. I don’t believe you know anything about what ID immigrants have or don’t have, and I don’t believe you really care about whether their rights are protected, anyway.

    People who work with immigrants, as opposed to people who bitch about them destroying our culture and economy on internet boards, have stated that an ID requirement would deny many legal immigrants the chance to vote, because they disproportionately do not have government-issued identity documents.

    I’m convinceable on this, but it’s going to take more that breezy assertions from people who are hostile to immigrants, and to the candidates that immigrants are most likely to vote for.

  51. I don’t think asking for ID to vote and having evidence that you are who you say you are is that big of deal and serves as a way to safe guard that a person can legally vote and only vote once.

    If we didn’t ask proof, what’s to stop me and a group of people (both legal & illegal voters) from just driving to voting location to voting location with a list of eligable voters in each district claiming to be that person and stuffing a ballot?

  52. Legate Damar: Free Cardassia!

    I think fraud is always going to be a problem, because the stakes are so high. People will have a strong incentive to hack the voting process–whether we use pottery shards or biometrics–because the rewards of winning are huge.

    Although I strongly disagree with joe about the ID requirement, I do share his and others’ concern about electoral fraud. It seems to me that the recent outcry about fraud is more than a little disingenuous–for instance, 2000 doesn’t look as much like fraud as it looks like an election that was too close for our measuring sticks to accurately assess–HOWEVER, the move to a fully computerized voting process is a bit of a concern. Monkeying with the process on a national or even state level would be tough in a manual ballot scenario. It may be less difficult with an electronic process, which means that the incentive to hack the system go up that much more.

    Maybe we should just cut out the middleman and go to something more like a shareholder vote. Give or even sell your proxy openly to the group, political party, or individual of your choice. Or choose to vote directly. I’m not sure how big a danger intimidation might be if votes weren’t secret (“You’re fired–nobody who voted for GWB is working for me!”), but that’s probably the biggest concern with any non-secret ballot process.

    For the most part, I think our system works, with only maybe 10% fraud per election 🙂

  53. yet another kennedy who is a rum and coke short on coke (soda that is).

  54. Coming from a family that has several Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins, that immigrated to the US Legally within the past 15 years, I don’t see getting ID for Legal Immigrants a problem.

    Several of them still have problems speaking the English language and work minimum wage jobs but the they all have ID. Even my 85 year old great aunt who lives with my Aunt and Uncle has a California ID. For all of them getting first the ID and then later several of them getting their US citizenship was a mark of pride for them.

    From my personal experience, I just don’t see the problems with getting ID.

  55. voting machines concern me less than democrap’s need for illegals, convicts, and dead people to vote. We really need the law requiring a government issued photo ID to vote.

    what are you democraps so afraid of? You need an ID for most everything else even checking at that scum bag chomsky’s book at the library. SO WHY NOT FOR VOTING??????

  56. I don’t understand why people are afraid of illegal immigrants voting? Illegal immigrants don’t usually try and expose themselves by getting registered and going through the hassle just to try and see that a illegal immigrant hating democrat or illegal immigrant hating republican gets elected.

  57. CW, whats wrong with a drivers license that identifies you with your registration? Why the fuck do I need another ID to prove again who I say I am.

  58. Joe,

    Resident aliens can’t vote. You have to be a citizen. Look it up. Please explain how in the world anyone could legally enter this country and obtain citizenship without having to have a photo ID?

  59. Chris,

    “If we didn’t ask proof, what’s to stop me and a group of people (both legal & illegal voters) from just driving to voting location to voting location with a list of eligable voters in each district claiming to be that person and stuffing a ballot?”

    That’s a fair question. I don’t know. Purple fingers?

  60. Lost in translation

    agreed. a government issued photo ID in most cases is a drivers license

    as to your other question. Illegal immigrants are criminals by virtue of being here illegally. They not have any rights! All they do is take away jobs, live off the system without paying taxes, and more and more commit violent crimes against people who live here legally.

  61. CW,

    “what are you democraps so afraid of? You need an ID for most everything else even checking at that scum bag chomsky’s book at the library. SO WHY NOT FOR VOTING??????”

    I afraid that legitimate citizens will be prevented from voting. Is that such an illegitimate thing to be concerned about? We do have a bit of a history with that sort of thing in this country, you know.

  62. further more it is everyones responsibility to not employ illegals and to REPORT all companies who do. By not doing this you are driving down wages and standard of living. Have you ever been to the real Mexico outside the resorts? If you have you know what I mean.

  63. Tee-hee! CW, you’re a spot-on impressionist, and cute! Do you do parties?

    No, seriously though, kid, go back to LGF or VDare or whatever rock you crawled out from under. Seriously, “democraps”??? What are you, twelve?

    Get outta here kid, ya botherin’ me.

  64. Hey, um, Weigel, have you bothered to think that maybe the problem with electronic voting machines whose source code is a mystery make it very, very easy to commit massive vote fraud? I really can’t believe Reason is poo-poohing this.

  65. joe,

    a passport, drivers license, healthcare card, worker ID card, something that matches face with name. Are there people that vote that have NONE of these?

    I’ve got 3, so maybe I just can’t imagine being that far off the grid.

  66. don’t you know that ayn rand was an insigificant footnote in history? Certainly nothing to be proud of.

    Call me what you wish. Facts are facts. we are under siege and unless we take this invasion seriously the USA as we know it will be gone turned into a third world destination. Perhaps judging from your handle hatred of America is what you are about anyway.

  67. We’ve got an immigration resource organization in my city. I sent the following question in to the Director via email. I’ll post her response if I receive one. The names have been changed to protect the innocent:

    “Dear Ms. F——-,

    How are you? We’ve met before – I used to be the City’s Neighborhood Planner. I hope all is well with you and your organization.

    I’m currently involved in an internet debate about Voter ID requirements. I’ve heard it said that a requirement that people show a picture ID at the polls before voting would discriminate against immigrants, and against ethnic minorities. People have pointed out that immigrants are issued photo IDs as part of the naturalization process, and yet I’ve heard that concerns about immigrants being turned away is one of the biggest objections to this requirement.

    Do you have any information about this question? Would you be able to provide me with any links I could check out that addresses the issue?

    I hope I’m not too much of a bother asking you about this. It’s just that — —— is the best source I could think of for answers about this question.

    Thanks.

    joe boyle”

  68. “”””If we didn’t ask proof, what’s to stop me and a group of people (both legal & illegal voters) from just driving to voting location to voting location with a list of eligible voters in each district claiming to be that person and stuffing a ballot?”””””

    I don’t know how they do this where your from.. But here in NYC there is a book that the board of elections provides containing all the registered voters in that precinct with the signatures from when the voter registration card was filled out.

    Your name must be in the book and you must sign below (or above, I forget) your “listed” signature. The proof of who you are is determined by your matching signature. If it’s dubious or does not match, the poll worker has a right to challenge you.

    If your signature is not in the book, you can not vote on the machine, you must vote with a paper affidavit ballot.

    It would an incredible amount of work to forge those books, and it’s really hard to forge someone’s elses signature when signing the book in front of the poll worker. You would have to seen their signature in advance to learn it and you better make sure they don’t show up to vote after you did.

    That’s what would stop you from doing that.

  69. Lost In Translation,

    Yes, there are. Certainly not a large segment of the population, but concentrated among certain communities, and potentially enough to swing an election.

    And besides, since when do we decide that it’s good enough if most people have their rights respected?

  70. Joe:

    The Purple Finger is a good idea, but all it takes is a little Paint Thinner mixed in with water, a paper towel, and the Purple Finger is gone.

    I’m willing to listen to other suggestion but at this point right now, the best solution that I see to avoid double voting is having an ID.

  71. Kill each person who votes. No fraud then, and only people who really wanted to vote would do so.

    “I regret that I only have one life to give to my country, but I’m glad that I can give it to John McCain.”

  72. Perhaps judging from your handle hatred of America is what you are about anyway.

    Why does Ayn Rand hate America? (my god…I am almost crying you’re so funny, CW)

    Seriously, CW, you’re just too cute to be for realz…you’re just precocious! But seriously, I am sure Mommy told you that you have to play nice on the Internet, otherwise it’s no PS3 for you, mister.

  73. Perhaps judging from your handle hatred of America is what you are about anyway.

    Why does Ayn Rand hate America? (my god…I am almost crying you’re so funny, CW)

    Seriously, CW, you’re just too cute to be for realz…you’re just precocious! But seriously, I am sure Mommy told you that you have to play nice on the Internet, otherwise it’s no PS3 for you, mister.

  74. joe,

    If a person is not willing to spend an hour, once every ten years, to go to their local govt office to get a photo ID, they obviously don’t value their voting privileges that much. (Yes, privileges, not rights, since they can be granted and taken away by act of law.)

    I absolutely agree that the state should remove any obstacles to a person eligible to vote getting proper ID, but there has to be a balance struck between making sure that everyone eligible to vote is able to do so, and making sure that everyone who votes is really eligible to do so.

  75. I know a LOT (over 50) of legal immigrants through my GF’s family and other friends (all of whom fled the communist domino effect in SE Asia – the one that was a myth…). Appologies in advance for the heternormative use of “GF”.

    I’m not aware of a single person who could not prove their legal status. The ones here legally, but on green cards, are a bit nervous about travel back home – some petty concern about getting out of the old country at the end of the vacation. But as far as I can tell, they have it all – SSN, DL, checking accounts, savings accounts, VISA/MC, mortgage and car payments, school records (and tapes), etc. I don’t know of any here illegally, so I don’t have much empirical basis for comparison in that area. Just sayin.

    Joe, the system you advocate seems so unstructured, like unplanned growth:)

  76. Glad to see the argument finally got away from the hypothetical vote fraud problem (electronic machines) and back to the real one (voter fraud).

    No matter how good our system of tallying votes, you can’t get away from GIGO.

    In other words, a bulletproof system of tallying votes is worthless if it easy to cast a fraudulent ballot.

    I find it fascinating the rights that various people hold in high regard. joe, for example, has little respect for property rights, but thinks the right to vote is so sacred that you shouldn’t be required to prove your identity.

    I would have thought the mantra “one man, one vote” would mean that we need bulletproof protection against fraud; otherwise, its “one man, many votes.”

  77. TrickyVic:

    In California, we do have a book that one must sign. But here there is no counter signature that a person must match to. They simply ask for you name, provide an address, and sign on the dotted line.

    The NYC system will help discourage voter fraud but I still think showing and having an ID along with that will help further secure and prevent voter fraud.

    I guess I simply don’t understand what the big deal is about showing ID when getting a govermnet issued ID is fairly simple and the amount of times one gets asked to show ID during a given month say like if you buy Beer or Cigerettes, go to a bar/club, use a credit card, writing a check, or cashing a check.

  78. Please re-read the Post editorial….it wasn’t about voting machines, it was about the faulty electronic voter registration machines….The problems at the polls with these machines keeps getting lost in the clashes about the election morning problems and electronic voting machines. The voter registration machines broke down repeatedly…these largely untested machines are supposed to know whose registered to vote and who has voted.

    Please think about the implications if the electronic voter registration machines are inaccurate, unreliable…or possibly hacked.

  79. Things were a lot simpler when the large, scary man waiting by the door of the polling place would hand you an already completed ballot. All you needed to do was go inside, get a blank ballot, deposit the completed ballot, and give the blank ballot to the large, scary man once you got outside.

  80. ?People who work with immigrants, as opposed to people who bitch about them destroying our culture ??

    Use a bit of common sense for Christ sake. OK, I work almost exclusively with immigrants; they all have reams and reams of documents and ID in triplicate. It?s the product of the interfacing the endless bureaucracy of two governments. Most of the process is so opaque they have to hire lawyers. I know a poor immigrant with a lawyer probably doesn?t fit your stereotype, but they are very real nonetheless.

    Vote fraud disenfranchises voters. If ID prevents one more illegitimate than legitimate vote it is worthwhile.

  81. And if kangaroo trials convict one more guilty suspect than innocent they are worthwhile.

    What a repellent assertion.

  82. Don?t be an ass joe, that analogy makes no sense. As it is, we have a large pool of folks who are disenfranchised. The choice is a surmountable barrier for legitimate voters or significant illegitimate votes. If the number of folks unwilling or unable to get an ID is comparable to the number of folks voting illegally the choice is clear.

  83. I really, really hope the Democrats gain control of Congress next election cycle. Maybe free-thinking libertarians will take the threat of easily hackable, unverifiable voting machines more seriously if they think it’s Democrats who stand to gain.

  84. The funny thing to me is that in the eeeevil Republican state of Texas…I vote with a plain, paper ballot. Why is it all those could-go-either-way states that have no interest in the security and accuracy of votes?

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