Voting Made Easier

It occurred to me that if voting were easier more of the 80 million non voters might vote. I don't know if either party would want that, but certainly the technology is there.

A secure site, using an easily obtained voter ID number (maybe tied to your Social), and a reasonable window of days prior to that first Tuesday in which to log in and cast your vote. A non-partisan and non-government entity could manage and secure the site, avoiding any hint of incumbent tinkering (and guaranteeing that the site would actually work).

Libraries could double as digital polling stations, and we could still have the physical locations, like people's garages and firehouses as we do now.

There is something valuable about that walk to the polling place, greeting your neighbors. We could keep it, but supplement it with digital voting that would eliminate a lot of moving paper great distances. 80 million is a lot more voters, some of which might be enticed to vote digitally.

People in hospitals, in nursing homes, troops overseas, would be better served by this system than a paper absentee ballot.

Voter Fraud? Sure, we have some now, but make it a felony, with no possibility for achieving citizenship for immigrants caught voting illegally, go to the head of the deportation line, and put prosecution in the hands of an independent entity instead of a politicized Justice Department.

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Another idea

An article in the Guardian titled A cure for America's corruptible voting system offers a different approach -- very much at the other end of the technological spectrum.

Here is my modest proposal: let us end the secret ballot, because we have reached a point, with the internet, in which transparency and accountability is more important than absolute secrecy. Don't panic, because this is what I mean: your vote won't be publicly available, but why can't I get a number when I hand in my ballot, or when I vote in a machine – just as I do with bloodwork, or computer passwords, or other transactions in which I get accountability, but not disclosure of my actual name? Then, the votes get tallied and posted – with their corresponding numbers – online on a public site, and major media reproduce the lists. And I can check my number (unidentifiable to anyone else) to check whether my vote was correctly registered.

The article talked about machines that apparently changed votes prior to this proposal. To me, the idea makes sense to address the "did my vote get counted right" issue. What it does not do is address ballot box stuffing but maybe solving one problem at a time does make the most sense. In fact, it would seem that ballot box stuffing can be addressed by poll watchers counting the number of people who go to vote. In Nicaragua, indelable ink is used to prevent (or at least hinder) the same person from voting multiple times.

I was heartened to see the PLI rallies this year

Much less fear than I saw in 2011. I think having two parties (or more in a parliamentary system) keeps both parties honest. One issue for Nicaragua is no party seems to have a completely clean record regarding voter tampering. Rule of law only works if both sides refrain from cheating.

Rebecca Brown

Harper's Article

WantToKnow has made a Harper's article titled How to Rig an Election available. It is specifically about US elections with enough history to understand that corruption is not new but what is new is how computerized systems have made it easier for one change to change millions of votes.

The article is not anti-technology per se but what it does is expose what has been done wrong along the way to a more efficientvote counting system. Before contemplating how to make a better system, it will help you understand what went wrong in the US and why.

Many years ago, before electronic voting was the norm, a few of us fleshed out what seemed like a reasonable approach for a secure system. One of the requirements was that the software would be Open Source. Since then, as the article points out, both poor software design from a security point of view and corrupt manipulation of software has plagued the industry.

The right solution is not a technological challenge. The challenge is how to develop and implement the system without its integrity being compromised. We have gone from buying votes to buying voting systems. I assert that the only path that will work is one where the design and implementation of the system is all done openly. Computer security comes from proper design, not from trying to keep your mistakes secret.


why do i want more people voting? more money to run bc more people to reach! just keep it for the rich to run?

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

id check

ballot integrity, that's what we need.

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Greg Palast

BBC Investigate Journalist Greg Palast has a new book out called Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps which looks pretty interesting. While he is looking at US elections, it's pretty clear that some of the nine steps are equally aplicable to other elections including Nicaragua.

The Real News Network has a series of interviews with him. It this one, he goes over the realities of how ballots, particularly absentee ballots, are rejected. Unfortunately, this is not applicable to Nicaragua because absentee voting is not allowed.

One generic point he makes is that the US system/US courts have moved from considering the intent of the voter (a specific example he gave was adding a write-in candidate but not marking the bullet next to their name) to accepting only evaluating whether the rules were followed. Any new system, anywhere, needs to be concerned with/respect voter intent. A properly designed system, no matter how automated, can do that.


did hugo buy the book?

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

The most important voters in the US

Are the "Big Boys" that give millions to PACs for political advertising and the political analysts & strategists that produce the advertising and strategy for both of the candidates.

Before the second debate Obama's people thought he had the election won & advised him to lay low and uncontroversial so he could not make any stupid mistakes. They are the voters that cost him the election - He had no coached responses for Romney's coached attacks.

Before the second debate...

Did you mean "before the FIRST debate"?

You are right!

The debates were so exciting I lost track. As bad as Obama and his handlers did planning & executing that debate against a guy like Romney he deserves to lose.

Do any of the above mentioned folk read the Daily Mail?

Just asking.

i do

and i am pretty thick. they do the work the LSM won't do....

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

I'm dumb too



Lame Stream Media, a takeoff on MSM - Main Stream Media. Probably why Rebecca says, "Reality has a liberal bias!"

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Is That The Paper

that only "thick" people read? If so, I'll check it out.

Does anyone have a scorecard for the UK papers?

I started to get a taste during the Assange controversy, but it didn't stick.