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Voting booth idea: checks and balances

 
Trailboss
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1) Voting booth is not connected to a network. You have a card with a magnetic strip (or maybe java ring technology) that you feed to the booth. The booth shows you the candidates and will put the information on the card.

2) You can pack a reader with you and read your card. If the information looks fraudulent, you can holler.

3) You then feed your card to the official vote counting types.

4) Each party and any media can provide readers. You can feed your card to all the readers you want.

5) There can be a curtained reader display, so if you don't have your own reader, you can look at what is stored on the card and see if it looks okay.

6) Each reader, via wi-fi, can say "card number 314598073450982734509872507360 says that you say it is okay to vote. Is it?" And the gub'mint reader can say yes or no. The same card cannot vote more than once. And you can't just make up numbers and vote.

Well, wuddya think?
 
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The problem is that it lacks a hard copy that can be recounted.
There are lots of sound techniqes for the actual voting. What people are worried about is what happens to the database after the voting is over and how can it be re-counted in the event of suspected fraud or malfuction.

For all their faults, the paper ballots have one thing that a software solution will never have. A concept that everyone from James Gosling to a janitor with an eigth grade education can grasp.

1...
2...
3...
4. wait chad...
4...
5....

:-)

The best one I've heard of so far consists of a touch screen and a printer/shredder under glass. The voter selects from the touch screen and enters. A paper ballot is then printed. The voter then approves or disspaproves it. If they disapprove, it get's shredded right there. When they finally approve, they get a printed recipt with a number. At the end of voting the server at that site prints a report containing all the votes with numbers matching the recipts.

In the event of a recount, they would first verify that the printed report mactched the numbers that got uploaded. Then, they could count the paper ballots to make sure they match the printed report. If necessary, they could publish the report so people could make sure that the number matching their recipt had the right votes.
 
Ben Souther
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But your idea would be more fun to write.
 
mister krabs
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It sounds way too complicated. My mother can't even work an ATM. I think too many people think that computers are used by everyone. It needs to be so simple that ANYONE can use it.
 
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I lot of people, particularly the old and/or paranoid may not trust an electronic solution. They may not understand the security methods used, and wonder if their vote may be rigged or lost somehow. With the continual bombardment of press stories about people hacking into communication networks, it would be hard to convince everyone that the vote information would not be compromised somehow. At least everyone understands how the paper system works.
 
Thomas Paul
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I still like the NY machines. You go in, flip the levers, pull the big handle, and with a solid ker-chunk your vote is registered.
 
paul wheaton
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I thought I read something about some precinct that was supposedly doing a recount and bales of ballots being thrown in the dumpster during the recount.

I'm just thinking that 99% of the polling places may be honest, but some kind of check and balance needs to cover the remaining 1%.

Perhaps a paper punch style is the way to go, only there can be more than one copy. A voter can then give the extra copies to whomever they choose.
 
Ben Souther
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What I like about the system that I mentioned is that it gives you the best of both worlds. You get real-time tallying + the ability to do a manual recount.

Also, seeing the actual paper ballot with your votes clearly printed out will give technophobes a little piece of mind.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Ben Souther:
Also, seeing the actual paper ballot with your votes clearly printed out will give technophobes a little piece of mind.



And helpful, too, if someone has paid for your vote. You can show them the piece of paper as proof. Or perhaps making it easier for criminals to buy votes isn't a really good idea.
 
pie sneak
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Originally posted by Ben Souther:

For all their faults, the paper ballots have one thing that a software solution will never have. A concept that everyone from James Gosling to a janitor with an eigth grade education can grasp.



I disagree. It might be good to keep paper in the picture somewhere but the common option of poking holes in paper is not any more intuitive than touching a screen.

I've always wished there was a quicker method of voting. Most people (myself included) have their minds made up before entering the booth yet it's like playing the Memory Game or Where's Waldo trying to find the name of the District Court Judge that looked so nice on TV. It would be nice to walk in with a scan card or pre-punched paper card to submit a vote. The card would prepopulate the screen and you can verify the information and even change your mind on some of the options.

There are a lot of older folks that will vote 100% Republican. I'm sure many of them would love to scan a card, see their votes on a screen, and select "Vote". It would certainly make their time in the booth less nerve-racking.
Political parties would jump on this option as well because they can mail out copies of the cards with the pre-selected votes. Simply show up to the polls with your Democrat Express and off you go!
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Marc Peabody:

There are a lot of older folks that will vote 100% Republican. I'm sure many of them would love to scan a card, see their votes on a screen, and select "Vote". It would certainly make their time in the booth less nerve-racking.
Political parties would jump on this option as well because they can mail out copies of the cards with the pre-selected votes. Simply show up to the polls with your Democrat Express and off you go!



That's probably not far off how it is. There's probably a large group of people that vote for a particular party because that's how they have always voted in the past. There's also another sizable bunch of people who vote for a party just because all their friends and family do. Maybe people should have to take a lie-detector test before voting, and can only vote if they can truthfully say "I have carefully considered the policies of several candidates and parties, and after lengthy consideration have decided upon the candidate/party that I feel is best". Of course then there would be lots of allegations of corruption against whoever operates the lie-detector machines. Maybe people should have to make the declaration anyway - it could make people think a bit before voting.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
That's probably not far off how it is. There's probably a large group of people that vote for a particular party because that's how they have always voted in the past.

You mean actors/actresses from Hollywood, right?

 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
You mean actors/actresses from Hollywood, right?



Its not such a crazy idea. I bet there's a bunch of people that think "I'm trendy left. I've heard that party X is also trendy left, therefore I'll vote for them", and another bunch of people that think "I feel fairly traditional. I've heard that only parties on the right are traditional and I've also heard that party Y is right, so I'll vote for them". Neither views are necessarily correct, but there's a sizable group of people that can't be bothered to research into what different political parties aim to do.

Similarly there's a tendency for some people to vote out of "party loyalty". While loyalty is an admirable virtue, loyalty to a political party is a very bad idea. If a party knows that people will vote for them no matter what they put in their manifesto, then there is no incentive for that party to offer an improved set of policies. This is one area where similar tendencies cover politics and economics - the ideas that "choice is good" and "competition improves products" apply here too. In a market with many suppliers and customers who are happy to switch supplier, competition will (hopefully) lead to those suppliers striving to make better products. If customers are loyal to a single supplier and never consider switching to another supplier, competition is reduced. The same applies to politics - if people are more likely to switch their vote to other parties then the parties are more likely to compete for good policies.

This would also suggest that dictatorships are bad (for the same reasons that monopolies are bad) and that having just two main parties is bad (for the same reason that oligopolies are bad), but then again there's only so far you can take an analogy.
 
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checks and balances - check sum digit - voter in - voter out
 
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
checks and balances - check sum digit - voter in - voter out



Thumb print reader at poll and thumb print on national voter ID card.
 
Marc Peabody
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


Thumb print reader at poll and thumb print on national voter ID card.



So people without hands are not allowed to vote?
 
Dave Lenton
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Today the UK government will announce the wording of question to be used in the referendum on if the UK should agree to the European constitution. I wonder what percentage of the voters will actually have read the thing? Most likely the vast majority will not have read it, and will make up their minds based on a newspaper article or a TV report.

Perhaps voters should be forced to pass a quick test on the contents of the document. Its a bit worrying to think of the hordes of people marching off to the polls, Sun or Daily Mail tucked under their arm, going to vote on if they should accept/reject a document that they've never even read. Maybe we could just save time and ask Rupert Murdoch if he wants it or not - he could probably swing the vote either way.

Democracy in action.....
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Marc Peabody:


So people without hands are not allowed to vote?



Weigh the costs and benefits as we do with every other aspect of public and private life. In the current system there is fraud on many levels, from non-enforcement of laws allowing people to vote in multiple States; to the lack of rigorous, or any, ID checks at polling places/registration places. Thumb print readers are dirt cheap in the total scheme of things, yet still a quantum level above where we are now (assuming ID is rigoursly established before hand). Taking it to another level, a national card system and/or combined with retina scans or other related technologies, would bring more expense yet prevent legitimate voters from being disenfranchised due to fraud.

Thats another topic, "disenfranchisement"; but the angle never discussed on that topic is the injury done to legitimate voters due to voter fraud...
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Democracy in action.....



Yes, democracy in action. If I choose to make my decisions based on a newspaper, how is that any worse than someone who makes their decision based on what Bruce Springsteen says? The thing with democracy is that people have the RIGHT to vote. They can vote based on whatever they want.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


The thing with democracy is that people have the RIGHT to vote. They can vote based on whatever they want.



We know democracy is severly flawed; even the designers of the US govt recognized that obvious fact. Why not discuss possible better options?

Why not place people in power based on merit rather than the dubious talent of the ability to appeal to the ill educated mob?

I know everyone will point out the flaws in any system designed to measure merit, yet the current system is more flawed than such alternatives. At least trying to select based on merit points the whole process in the proper conceptual direction and should therefore have better chances of achieving that result.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
I know everyone will point out the flaws in any system designed to measure merit, yet the current system is more flawed than such alternatives. At least trying to select based on merit points the whole process in the proper conceptual direction and should therefore have better chances of achieving that result.



So you disagree with the idea that all people are equal. OK, here's my plan. Only I'm allowed to vote because the rest of you are too stupid to make good decisions. Good thing I don't have an army to back me up, huh? I think the system is fine the way it is. Everyone gets to vote even if they don't meet some arbitrary requirements.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:


So you disagree with the idea that all people are equal.



I believe in legal equality of all people, but to use the same type of distortion as you, I ask you if you beleive all people are equally qualififed to lead our country?


My simple asnswer is that if all people are equally qualified, than there is no need for an election, a random selection from the general population will do. If they are not equally qualified, than at least try to devise some system to select people based on qualifications other than mob appeal.




OK, here's my plan. Only I'm allowed to vote because the rest of you are too stupid to make good decisions. Good thing I don't have an army to back me up, huh?



That scenario doesn't necessarily follow from anything I've suggested.


I think the system is fine the way it is. Everyone gets to vote even if they don't meet some arbitrary requirements.



I wasn't addressing voting qualifications (a good topic also, but that was a past thread), but rather candidate qualifications.
 
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My simple asnswer is that if all people are equally qualified, than there is no need for an election, a random selection from the general population will do. If they are not equally qualified, than at least try to devise some system to select people based on qualifications other than mob appeal.



I find it a rather arrogant opinion to think that people are too stupid to select their leaders so they need some arbitrary point system. I don't know about other countries, but in the U.S. if you run for public office your life is basically laid bare. If you had a parking ticket it's going to hit the news (maybe a bit of an exageration, but not much).
 
Thomas Paul
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Why not place people in power based on merit rather than the dubious talent of the ability to appeal to the ill educated mob?

Perhaps IQ... Nixon had a 143 and Kennedy a 117.

Here are the US presidents with the highest IQ's:

Jimmy Carter
Richard Nixon
Herbert Hoover
Woodrow Wilson
William Howard Taft
John Adams

Not exactly a group to brag about.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Why not place people in power based on merit rather than the dubious talent of the ability to appeal to the ill educated mob?

Perhaps IQ... Nixon had a 143 and Kennedy a 117.

Here are the US presidents with the highest IQ's:

Jimmy Carter
Richard Nixon
Herbert Hoover
Woodrow Wilson
William Howard Taft
John Adams

Not exactly a group to brag about.



Why would anyone even suggest merit == IQ ?
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Steven Bell:


I find it a rather arrogant opinion to think that people are too stupid to select their leaders so they need some arbitrary point system.



Maybe for the same reason that the US is not and has never been a pure democracy; maybe for the same reason that is a republic instead; maybe thats also why we should also not have the masses directly elect a President.

And the whole point is that the "point system" would not be "arbitrary", unlike the basis of popularity appeal today used to select candidates. We could even have an election to establish the criteria, thus separating personalities from the issue and hopefully leading to a more sound result.
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Sheriff
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Umm... we're a republic because it was considered to unweildy to have a direct democracy. Republics are much more efficient and easier to administer, particularly without the benefit of technology that we have available to us today.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Umm... we're a republic because it was considered to unweildy to have a direct democracy. Republics are much more efficient and easier to administer, particularly without the benefit of technology that we have available to us today.



We're a republic because the Founding Fathers explicitly noted the historic instability of "pure" democracies such as in ancient Greece. The masses cannot be trusted.
 
Steven Bell
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


Maybe for the same reason that the US is not and has never been a pure democracy; maybe for the same reason that is a republic instead; maybe thats also why we should also not have the masses directly elect a President.

And the whole point is that the "point system" would not be "arbitrary", unlike the basis of popularity appeal today used to select candidates. We could even have an election to establish the criteria, thus separating personalities from the issue and hopefully leading to a more sound result.

[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]



So you're going to let the 'masses' who are incapable of choosing a leader correctly determine a point system by which to choose leaders.

P.S. The reason behind the democracy vs. republic was based in large part on historical stability of pure democracies, but it is not accurate to say the masses cannot be trusted. A republic has the added ability to better protect the minority. The federal government was not meant to be a central power, the states were meant to hold most of the governmental power. It had nothing to do with mistrust of the people, it was mistrust of the government and the forsight to see potential abuse.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Steven Bell:


So you're going to let the 'masses' who are incapable of choosing a leader correctly determine a point system by which to choose leaders.



The purpose is to separate a personality, who may have the ability or talent to rabble rouse, from the true issue that needs to be determined - the merit of the candidate himself. If the public is not under the spell of a personality, a big if in all circumstances I admit, then there is a chance cooler and wiser heads will prevail in establishing those criteria. The choosing of criteria itself is a rather dry affair and unlikely to be swayed by undue and unwarranted emotional appeal in contrast to every single TV commerical we see now during elections.
 
frank davis
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This is what is distressing: Javaranch has many educated people who visit its forums, yet none seem to understand the reasons and the origen of the reasons for why the US government was designed the way it was. Even the very few true Sons of Liberty, of which I count Jason Menard and Thomas Paul (on a good day), are not entirely on mark.

Of the Federalist Papers, perhaps "The Federalist No. 10" explains my agreement with the Founding Fathers most clearly. There we learn about democracies the historical truth that, ".. instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished."

We learn of "overbearing majorities" in democracies. We learn that republics are superior to democracies because "by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose."
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Yes, democracy in action. If I choose to make my decisions based on a newspaper, how is that any worse than someone who makes their decision based on what Bruce Springsteen says? The thing with democracy is that people have the RIGHT to vote. They can vote based on whatever they want.



True. I totally agree that everyone has the right to vote, but its a shame that a lot of them are making an incredibly important decision for slightly suspect reasons. Voting is one of the great contributions that people make to society and with that comes a responsibility to try to do what is best for society - my vote will (albeit only slightly) effect an awful lot of people. I think it only reasonable that I attempt to be as well informed as I can be before I use that vote.

It would be hard, and perhaps not acceptable, to force people to be more informed about political subjects... but maybe more education on the subject should be encouraged. In the UK a lot of people are woefully undereducated in politics and history. Maybe less ignorance of political issues could help them better decide which newspaper articles are truthful and which (the majority I expect) have a political bias. It may also give people a better understanding of the policies of the different political parties and therefore reduce "wasted" votes.
[ January 27, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


Thumb print reader at poll and thumb print on national voter ID card.



Not quite the digit I meant something which allows for a bit of annonymity and that the local hill-billy sheriff can't get hold of and analyse.
[ January 28, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Why would anyone even suggest merit == IQ ?

So how would you suggest we measure merit and who would be responsible for determining if a candidate has merit?
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
So how would you suggest we measure merit and who would be responsible for determining if a candidate has merit?



Measure it? we haven't even defined it!

I see 3 separate issues now, defining merit, how to measure it, and who will measure it. You've opened quite a can of worms there Thomas...
 
frank davis
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Merit covers a large conglomeration of values, perhaps such things as such as loyalty to the United States, courage, respect for laws, maturity, etc.

Note that our Constitution already attempts a few primitive and rudimentary devices to limit the probability of people lacking some of the values above from holding the Presidential office. I'm merely suggesting we add and improve.
 
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