Saturday, November 10, 2018

Here’s The Real Reason Election Voting Machines Break Down So Much – By Richard Enos

·         The Facts:
The long voting lines caused by the breakdown and malfunctioning of our voting machines is characterized in the mainstream as a complicated, multi-faceted and difficult to solve problem, rather than being founded on one simple fact.
·         Reflect On:
Can we use the reality of voting machine malfunction as another entry point into the realization that we are living in a thinly-veiled deception that actually makes a mockery of true democracy?
If you follow mainstream media, the answer to the question of why election voting machines break down so much is ‘complicated.’ Much too complicated, in fact, for us to come up with any kind of permanent solution. An article like Wired’s ‘Voting Machine Meltdowns Are Normal—That’s The Problem,’ will fill us with the nitty-gritty details: paper ballot scanner malfunctions, machines actually ‘flipping votes’ because of some kind of ‘bug’, machines running with ‘outdated’ Windows operating systems, about which the article states, “it stands to reason these antiquated systems would break down under pressure.” But far and above all this was the detailed explanation that the rain may have had something to do with votes not getting processed properly:

Simply replacing old machines with new ones wouldn’t guarantee an incident-free election, though. Take the claim that the rain messed with people’s ballots—it isn’t just an excuse. Kings County in New York and Madison County in Alabama both use an optical scanner machine called the DS-200. According to its operating manual, Stewart says, it’s designed to operate in 10 to 15 percent humidity. In both Kings County and Madison County on Tuesday, the humidity was more like 98 percent. The irony there, Stewart says, is the DS-200 isn’t one of the old machines we always hear about becoming obsolete. It came out at the end of 2015. “It’s a more persnickety piece of equipment, giving you greater security,” Stewart says. But that sophistication clearly comes with unforeseen consequences.
More on this later. But even as budgetary issues, late delivery of funds or new machines or other bureaucratic matters are also pointed out as having an impact on the problem, the articles concludes that even these problems of neglect, incompetence, and disorganization, as with the voting machine issues, have to be accepted as the “new normal.”
Bull Cookies, as M*A*S*H*’s Colonel Sherman Potter used to say.
True Source Of The Problem
The true source of the problem is so simple. The people that have long held the power in the United States don’t want us living in a true democracy. They certainly want us to believe we live in a democracy, and think we have true freedom and representation; the fact is that in all realms of society, we have long been living in an oligarchy controlled by a wealthy elite who is more than happy to keep the ‘democracy’ charade going for as long as it suits them.
A thorough background check on who gets to make the voting machines and the kinds of profits they get for the sale of these pathetic contraptions, and who approves the purchase and implementation of these machines and on what basis they are approved as anchor points of the democratic process reveals of litany of self-service, conflict of interest, fraud, greed, intimidation, and corruption of the highest kind.

Then there are the machines themselves and the ridiculous extent to which they are not secure from hacking and external manipulation. As this New York Times article points out,
In the 15 years since electronic voting machines were first adopted by many states, numerous reports by computer scientists have shown nearly every make and model to be vulnerable to hacking. The systems were not initially designed with robust security in mind, and even where security features were included, experts have found them to be poorly implemented with glaring holes.
Let me get this straight: systems that were built to be at the heart of American Democracy ‘were not initially designed with robust security in mind’? Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous in your life? And we are supposed to believe that this was some kind of ‘oversight’ and not part of the hidden agenda of the powers that be in America to manipulate voting results?
The fact of the matter is, it is not only obvious that airtight security should be one of the prime characteristics of voting machines even before they get off the drawing board, and would be if true patriots were in the positions of power in the country; it also needs to be stated that creating a secure voting machine that works 100% of the time for decades would be one of the simplest-to-make machines known to man, an unchallenging two-week homework project for a first-year mechanical engineering student.
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Bottom of Form
If We Had A True Democracy
I am sure many people have devised a voting system while waiting for a bus or getting a haircut that would be a vast improvement over the one currently in place. Please indulge me as I explain how easy it would be–if, indeed, the powerful forces in our country actually valued democracy over their own personal agendas.
1.     There would be one system country-wide that would be agreed on at the Federal level in cooperation with state representatives that proved to be the best, most secure, most reliable, and easiest to operate and use. While I am a strong advocate of decentralization of power and the rights of local and state governments over the Federal government, I still believe an independent Federal election agency would be the best thing for implementation of this system (Of course, this is contingent on it being an honest, uncorruptable agency)
2.     Funding matters we hear about are all hogwash. Not only would overall funding be significantly reduced through the mass production of a single model of voting machine of the highest quality that would be readily available as needed, the cost would further be slashed tremendously if there were no special interests and middle-men gaining huge amounts of money in these transactions. With an honest Federal agency getting the best price for the American people, the cost would be an absolute pittance, a drop in the bucket, and would likely be touted as one of the most important and worthwhile expenditures in the federal budget.
3.     The machine itself simply needs to help the user fill in a simple online form. Each machine would be linked to a State database (that could be off the internet, if this was a security concern) which would contain one read-only database file with the ballot information (candidate, party, referendum questions, etc) and one read/write file to record the voter’s identification and their votes on candidates and proposed laws.
4.     Each voter would work with a touch-screen to make their choices, laid out clearly, one-by-one on the screen. When they had finished, they would be able see all their votes on the screen and ‘CONFIRM’. Then they would get a paper copy of all their votes under their vote id (consisting of, for example, a combination of State code, District code, Polling Station, Machine number, and timestamp), and would again be able to check if their paper copy exactly matched the screen, before pressing ‘END’.
5.     Each machine would record transactions on their own hard drive as well as sending them to the state database. Vote-counting would be instantaneous for each state, complied by secure programs accessing the state database. This information could then be securely uploaded to the internet on a federal government website. All citizens would be able to see their own vote as part of a detailed list of vote count by state, by district, by polling station, even by machine, based on their vote id.
I’m sure there are better systems out there, which is fine. This is really just off the top of my head. My personal preference would be a system through which voters names were made public on the internet, and verification of fraud would become much simpler, but that is a matter for a later discussion. Suffice it to say that, solely based on my 8 years as a computer programmer/analyst in earlier days, making secure software for reliable machines grounded in a reliable system seems like a simple project to me, let alone for the technological wizards in the country who could be brought into such a project, if only the sole motivation was the proper functioning of this aspect of the democratic process.
The Takeaway
If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you will recall that I have said there is no good reason to waste your time voting under the current circumstances, because indeed, I don’t believe we are currently living in a representative democracy, but rather a thinly-veiled, poorly disguised mockery of it. But I wrote this article in order to bring forth the idea that our democracy is not failing due to the haphazard incompetence, laziness, or even greed of our elected officials, vendors, technicians, and bureaucrats. Our democracy is failing because many of the citizens of this country have stayed asleep while the powerful elite has continued to push its agenda of control and domination right under our collective noses.
I believe the Founding Fathers had great wisdom and the best of intentions setting up the Republic in the way they did through the Constitution; they were very well aware of the dangers posed to our liberty by the powers that are afforded to centralized governments and the undue external influence that is brought to bear upon them. If we are to honor the Founding Fathers and be part of the process of reclaiming our liberty, we will do so by awakening collectively to the veil of illusion that we live under now, and creating the conditions through which such deception is no longer possible.

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