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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Dumb election question from an Aussie
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11/04/2008 09:51:29 PM · #1
I've been watching the election coverage over here, and I'm just wondering about the malfunctioning voting machines etc.

In Australia, voting is compulsory, and every 4 years every Australian votes using a pencil and a piece of paper. Nothing can malfunction, the rate of informal (read illegible or invalid) is low, and we have a result generally that evening, even through all votes are tallyed by hand.

Why do you use old and malfunctioning machinery, when a pencil and paper works just fine?
11/04/2008 09:53:41 PM · #2
Because it's usually easier for the votes to be "fixed" that way. LOL! Just kidding (sort of).
11/04/2008 09:55:22 PM · #3
Some of the uncalibrated touch screens are selecting the wrong candidate, not the one touched. Or, when they are touched too firmly or too softly, the wrong candidate is selected. I think they are using new malfunctioning machinery, rather than old. But I much prefer the paper ballots that we have in California. Seems silly to me that each state has its own voting procedures.
11/04/2008 09:58:19 PM · #4
In Indiana, my poling place used computer-like devices. Not all "malfunctioning" machines are old, etc.
America hasn't figured out that more techie isn't necessarily better. Besides, no one wants to take the time to read and tally all the ballots by hand (mine today was six pages, and covered about 30-40 contests / issues - from President down to 8 or 10 local / county judges).
11/04/2008 10:04:44 PM · #5
Lonni, I saw this show in TV today. There are many pencil and paper type voting areas here too but even then those papers are scanned via an optical scanner (usually manufactured Diebold AFAIK) which utilize a memory card. If it contains any type of executable code then it can be hacked. I don't trust a 100% computerized system with no paper trails. Rather a well maintained lever style for me please.
11/04/2008 10:06:38 PM · #6
Originally posted by Techo:

Lonni, I saw this show in TV today. There are many pencil and paper type voting areas here too but even then those papers are scanned via an optical scanner (usually manufactured Diebold AFAIK) which utilize a memory card. If it contains any type of executable code then it can be hacked. I don't trust a 100% computerized system with no paper trails. Rather a well maintained lever style for me please.


I completely agree on the mechanical voting machine - I love those things. We still used those as late as 2004 here in Connecticut, but they have been 'outlawed' since then. Very unfortunate if you ask me.
11/04/2008 10:09:29 PM · #7
Six pages! and I thought our 3 foot long senate voting form was excessive :)

Maybe the US should get dpchallenge to run the voting, come 6 o'clock, everything will go offline for a minute and presto, you have a winner (followed by a round of DQ's post voting) and then you'd have a winner.
11/04/2008 10:14:04 PM · #8
The machines at our precinct are very new. It is a touch screen, but there is also a paper rolling on the side that shows what you have entered.

I changed several of my votes back and forth just to see if it would "register" it. Then, when you are finished, it gives you a "confirm" or "go back" screen. At that point, your vote is recorded.

Also, this time around, we had to sign a form verifying our name and address and the polling workers explained, in detail, to everyone, how it worked. I had to wait a few minutes to vote, so by the time I got up there, I had heard the instructions no less than 5 times.

Message edited by author 2008-11-04 22:14:55.
11/04/2008 10:14:28 PM · #9
Yup, I love that satisfying clunk of a big old lever voting machine in my polling place in New York! Barring that, I'd rather use a paper ballot. A touch screen seems the least reliable and potentially the most easily corrupted method.

11/04/2008 10:18:57 PM · #10
Originally posted by citymars:

Yup, I love that satisfying clunk of a big old lever voting machine in my polling place in New York! Barring that, I'd rather use a paper ballot. A touch screen seems the least reliable and potentially the most easily corrupted method.

Did you happen to see the DL Hughley show on CNN the other night about the electronic voting booths? Hilarious!
11/04/2008 10:21:43 PM · #11
Originally posted by Lonni:

Why do you use old and malfunctioning machinery, when a pencil and paper works just fine?


we don't use old and malfunctioning machinery, we use new malfunctioning machinery!
11/04/2008 10:25:30 PM · #12
In my area at least (I'm in Northern Indiana) our voting location had two new touch screens available, but I didn't see anyone use either of them while I was there. It was all pen and paper. Of course, I voted Blue in a mostly Red area, so who knows if it got counted, right? :P j/k (a little bit...)
11/04/2008 10:27:45 PM · #13
Originally posted by Lonni:

I've been watching the election coverage over here, and I'm just wondering about the malfunctioning voting machines etc.

In Australia, voting is compulsory, and every 4 years every Australian votes using a pencil and a piece of paper. Nothing can malfunction, the rate of informal (read illegible or invalid) is low, and we have a result generally that evening, even through all votes are tallyed by hand.

Why do you use old and malfunctioning machinery, when a pencil and paper works just fine?


because we have our heads up our ass. We dont even require a photo ID in most states. it's freaking ridiculous.
11/04/2008 10:35:07 PM · #14
Originally posted by Anachronite:

because we have our heads up our ass. We dont even require a photo ID in most states. it's freaking ridiculous.


Here in Missouri we have to show ID.

And we use pens and paper, cause we don't make mistakes... ;-)
11/04/2008 10:37:48 PM · #15
Originally posted by Anachronite:

Originally posted by Lonni:

I've been watching the election coverage over here, and I'm just wondering about the malfunctioning voting machines etc.

In Australia, voting is compulsory, and every 4 years every Australian votes using a pencil and a piece of paper. Nothing can malfunction, the rate of informal (read illegible or invalid) is low, and we have a result generally that evening, even through all votes are tallyed by hand.

Why do you use old and malfunctioning machinery, when a pencil and paper works just fine?


because we have our heads up our ass. We dont even require a photo ID in most states. it's freaking ridiculous.


Actually, we don't require photo ID sometimes either (depends on the official at the polling place). Thanks for everyone's explanation/views.
11/04/2008 10:39:36 PM · #16
Because here in the US we try to make things more difficult by saying that we can make things eaiser...

It went something like this...

Counter 1 says to counter 2. "Man this is taking for ever... If we could come up with a way to have a machine count these it would save us a tone of time..."

Counter 2 says to counter 1, "Hey what a great idea"

The truth: Now we have miscounts, people filling in the wrong area's, pushing the wrong buttons, cheating, and anything else you can think of. Seems easier right???

We Americans are just plain LAZY...
11/04/2008 10:50:42 PM · #17
We have to show ID here in Colorado, and have the option of electronic or paper (marker and paper). I honestly think that some of the problems with the electronic voting machines is user malfunction, especially amongst the elderly crowd (though not just them) because they aren't (typically) as accustomed to touch interfaces. This is evident even at gas pumps where it takes some folks 5 minutes to select their payment method.
11/04/2008 11:19:47 PM · #18
Originally posted by Lonni:


Why do you use old and malfunctioning machinery, when a pencil and paper works just fine?


Don't know a lot about Oz but I think because of the form of Govt. you have, election procedures are fairly uniform across your continent. In the US the States are much more autonomous. I voted with a #2 pencil and the sheet was read by a machine. But Karmat is in the same state and seems she voted by electronic machine. The first time I voted was in Raleigh, NC years ago and they had mechanical machines back then. They were neat with all the levers and knobs. Even had a curtain that closed behind you when you went into the booth. Shame they cost so much to maintain.
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