Hacking Democracy

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I watched the HBO documentary Hacking Democracy today. It had lots of great information in it, but it also had some annoying junk.

Basically, much of the narrative is sensationalist and even lies.

For example, right at the beginning, the narrator says (slightly paraphrased, I don't feel like hunting the exact words), that a negative vote count for Gore in 2000 "could not have happened by machine failure because it only affected presidential votes." That conclusion is totally unwarranted by the evidence at hand. By the same logic, the fact that my own name was left off the ballot was therefore not machine failure, because it only affected a single name in a single race.

Bev Harris, the woman behind Black Box Voting, at one point asserts as fact that Diebold is lying when they say the problems were fixed because they are not listed in the release notes. Sorry, that's not proof; it is also quite possible that the release notes just left those fixes out.

A Democrat involved in Kerry's campaign asserts as "fact" (his word!) that there was widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2004. This assertion barely has any evidence to support it, and certainly it is not established fact.

The narrator claims Cayuhoga County, OH election workers removed ballots or precincts that threw sample count off during the recount, but they did not provide any evidence at all to back up the assertion.

And so on. Again, I like the content. There's a lot of important stuff in this documentary, but there's also some B.S. you have to wade through.

Bottom line is what I've said for a long time, and what I mentioned in the journal I linked to above: we must have open source. It should be a requirement. Further, note that the machine hacked in the documentary is not a DRE (touchscreen) machine, but an optical scan machine. This is not about electronic vs. paper, because most paper ballots are ultimately tabulated by closed source machines.


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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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