Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
16M Americans will vote on hackable paperless machines (technologyreview.com)
567 points by rbanffy 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 491 comments



It's not just the vote itself we need to worry about.

In the 2016 Presidential election, a lot of people in North Carolina had trouble due to problems with the electronic poll books they used to keep track of who registered and who already voted.

People would show up at their polling place and either be told, incorrectly, that they had never registered, or be told, incorrectly, that they had already voted.

Oddly, they only had trouble with these systems in Durham County, a heavily blue county, and these same devices in other states are known to have been targeted by foreign hackers--but it wasn't until this year that DHS finally agreed to actually do a proper forensic examination of the equipment to see if anything shady was going on [1].

[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/06/05/729920147/federal-government-...


Georgia also only had problems in heavily blue districts. They "forgot" power cables, left machines unused in warehouses, and rejected thousands of early votes due to "glitches".

There is nothing odd or mysterious about it. It's the logical conclusion of being a political minority clinging to power and it's been happening for decades both openly and less openly.


The state of Georgia was a basket case when I was still active (10 years ago). Per my friends who are still in the fight, it's still a basket case.

As Andrew Gumbel wrote in Steal This Vote [2005], America experiences recurring amnesia.

https://www.amazon.com/Steal-This-Vote-Elections-Democracy/d...

As a burned out election integrity activist, I've really struggled with the recurring incredulity.

My local newspaper called me a "sweaty paranoid kook", because I dared to explain how our jurisdiction's central count actually worked (per their procedures manual).

And all the risks we identified and tried to mitigate? It all happened. All of it. (Where's my parade?)

--

Some free, unsolicited, hard earned advice from a recovering activist:

Focus on "errors", instead of "fraud". Just because. The moment there's a hint of partisanship, the conversation is over. And really, at the end of the day, fraud is indistinguishable from errors. So just grit your teeth, for the greater good.

Focus on appropriations, aka follow the money. The very minor victories I've had were argued from a framing of good governance. Transparency, accountability, anti-waste, etc.


Thanks for your comment. This is good advice about keeping efforts to improve the system non-partisan - it's the only practical way to get people who disagree with each other to both agree to a fairer system.


Thank you for your efforts in making the world a better place.


As far as I could tell at the time, it's not that Georgia only had problems in heavily blue districts - they had problems everywhere. The mainstream media just only reported the problems which happened in heavily blue districts. Republican voters in red districts saw the same kinds of multi-hour waits as the folks in the district which was supposedly sabotaged via missing power cords (apparently that didn't even really delay voting), some of them even started theorizing that this was some kind of vote rigging attempt, the difference is that was treated as a nutso conspiracy theory whereas the idea that queues in blue districts might be vote rigging was regurgitated by AP and the rest of the press.


I believe you that it wasn't easy to tell that it was corruption instead of just incompetence. Here are some facts (not media opinions) to think about:

- Kemp controlled the election and was also a candidate[1]. He refused to recuse himself from his election duties. Why was that?

- Kemp purged more voters than anyone else in history[1]. His office then destroyed the evidence when an investigation was launched[2].

- A judge allowed an external audit of faulty voting systems used in 2018. The Republican Secretary of State objected[4].

1. Can you imagine a lawsuit being fair if the judge is the plaintiff? Or a football game being fair if the quarterback is also a referee? I don't trust any human to have that much honor and impartiality, especially if (in their mind) the lives of many unborn babies and the American way of life are at stake. Wouldn't someone like that think, "The ends justify the means?"

2. https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/vote...

3. https://www.apnews.com/877ee1015f1c43f1965f63538b035d3f

4. https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/judg...


well put. They'll do anything to cling to power.


I certainly saw that justification a lot. The trouble is that Kemp didn't control those parts of the election - they were controlled and run by the counties using people they recruited directly.


I've seen conflicting information on who made what decisions. I can't prove it either way, of course.

At the very least, the voter purge and subsequent FBI investigation and lawsuit are not what you'd expect from someone who wants to help people vote, right?

We've also seen federal judges, including the Supreme Court, say that Republicans have been responsible for racial gerrymandering[1][2][3], unconstitutional ID laws to suppress the vote[4], and outright election fraud[5] all over the Southeast. Voter suppression by the minority party is logical and also a decades-old strategy, including a motivation for the war on drugs[1].

Why would Georgia be different? If the election were completely fair, it would have been an exception rather than the rule, and the state govt would reflect the population (majority Democrat) instead of being 100% controlled by Republicans.

1. VA: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-c...

2. NC: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/north-c...

3. TX: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-rules-texas-di...

4. NC: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/north-c...

5. https://qz.com/645990/nixon-advisor-we-created-the-war-on-dr...


The NC State Board of Elections is meeting THIS FRIDAY to vote on the certification of voting machines. They previously scheduled to hold a vote on July 28 and of the 15 individuals allowed to give public comment during that meeting, every single one of them urged the board in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. Fortunately, one of those speakers also had prior been in touch with one of the 5 board members and gave her language for a proposed amendment to the certification requirements, requiring that any voting machine produce a human-readable mark so that voters could verify their vote was tabulated correctly (no barcodes). There was a 3-2 vote in favor of considering the amendment, which required a new meeting to be scheduled in no fewer than 15 days. the very next morning one of the 3 voters said he changed his mind and said he didn't understand what he was voting for, and a new meeting was called for 2 days later to rescind the motion to consider the amendment, which basically meant the certification would proceed without the protections of human-readable paper ballots. To make things even crazier, the next day the chair of the board made an off-color joke at a convention of state election officials and resigned. And so the vote to rescind the amendment proposal failed at 2-2. A new chair has since been appointed by the NC Governor and on this Friday the vote to approve the amendment will proceed.

DemocracyNC.org has made it very easy to email the NC State Board of Elections officials with a message in support of this amendment to provide voters with the security of a human-readable ballot. https://democracync.org/news/democracy-nc-ncsbe-decision-to-...

For excellent reporting on election security follow https://twitter.com/jennycohn1


I wonder how much that one voter was paid to make the off-color joke.


I live in Durham and remember this happening.

This is also the state in which the ruling party committed election fraud in the last cycle, and got caught.

Nothing that is possible is out of the realm of possibility at this point.


This type of system should be able to be challenged by the citizen. If I voted without my prior knowledge, then I want my record because I never voted.

This is pretty scary and I didn't know this occurred in other states.


Disclaimer: I served as an election judge in the 2012 general election in Arapahoe County, CO.

I'm so sick and tired of stories like this framing the issue of election security as a software issue or hardware issue. You can mitigate software flaws with chains of custody, tamper proof seals, bipartisan poll watchers, bipartisan election judges, and enough transparency. Most election systems in the United States employ all of these controls, which is why you have few stories of legitimate votes being discarded due to software failure or tampering.

If your argument is that paper ballots are more auditable or harder to hack, they are not. The same access controls above can be applied to paper, and paper is always susceptible to being destroyed, lost, or conveniently found in a clutch race. In Russia, cameras were provided at many election booths in a recent race and caught multiple instances of suspected ballot stuffing [0]. Paper products can be created at will and the requirement for ballots to be anonymous often prevents measures to prevent double voting or outright forging of votes.

Hackable machines are a problem, but they are not the only problem. Ultimately, it's easier to influence an election by discarding legitimate voters from voter registration systems, selectively failing to notify voters of elections, and other indirect interference campaigns that have been known to happen. Not only are hackable machines not the biggest issue, but they turn the camera away from bigger issues like these, which decreases scrutiny on the most vulnerable parts of the system.

Ultimately, if you vote in an election system, you must have something you trust in the system. You need to be able to trust the body running the election, the individuals that makeup the body, or the system elements itself. If you trust the government then you can be certain that collection processes happen correctly. If you can't trust the government, why do you think trusting the terminals that collect votes is any better? It's like trusting your child to bring home important documents from the school about their discipline. Sure, the paper might be tamper proof or tamper evident, but if your child throws it away it's pointless [note 1].

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH7uXZQsyHI

[note 1] The analogy breaks down if you talk about electronic records, and assumes that the child is the "higher authority" bringing the documents to you. The point is to demonstrate that tampering with reporting is much easier than tampering with the record collection.


> I'm so sick and tired of stories like this framing the issue of election security as a software issue or hardware issue.

Election security is certainly more than software or hardware. But I'm sick and tired of jurisdictions that permit paperless votes, because by definition they are insecure.

> You can mitigate software flaws with chains of custody, tamper proof seals, bipartisan poll watchers, bipartisan election judges, and enough transparency.

Not true; none of these mitigations work. If the software is malicious, it can receive one input and produce a different result. Reviews of source code and even machine code are not enough, because you don't get adequate confidence that what was reviewed is what was run. "Tamper proof" seals don't help, because the malicious code could have been what's installed in the first place, and hardware can easily report "what you expect to see" while running something else in practice on election day. In most cases the source code isn't even available for public review & scrutiny, so there's no possibility of enough transparency even if you could somehow be assured of what code was run.

When I was a kid I liked to do magic tricks. I bought cheap plastic devices that looked like they did one thing, but in actuality did something else. Modern DRE systems are just a magic trick device - they'll do something, but not necessarily what you think they do.

> Most election systems in the United States employ all of these controls, which is why you have few stories of legitimate votes being discarded due to software failure or tampering.

You hear few stories because there is no effective logging, and therefore no way to report failure or tampering.

> If your argument is that paper ballots are more auditable or harder to hack, they are not. The same access controls above can be applied to paper, and paper is always susceptible to being destroyed, lost, or conveniently found in a clutch race.

Paper ballots are subvertible, but because they are physical items someone has to physically be there to do the manipulation. There's also a long history with paper ballots, so the ways they can be subverted are known - as are their countermeasures.

> Hackable machines are a problem, but they are not the only problem. ...

It's true that these machines are not the only problem, but voting systems are systems. For voting systems to be legitimate we must address all parts. Direct Recording Equipment (DREs) subvert the entire voting system, and thus should never be allowed to be part of one.


> By definition insecure...

I take "secure voting" to mean a process where every participant can later individually audit that their vote was counted without betraying the confidentiality of any other voter.

For that, what would you think about a system where the election board published all the votes after the fact without any names, but placing each vote alongside a secret, a key, shared with that voter?

So, as a voter, I could perform a few operations on this published list of results. (1) I could search for my row indicated by my shared secret key to confirm my vote was recorded correctly. (2) I could add all the votes to confirm election officials added all recorded votes. (3) I could confirm that the number of rows is equal to the turnout reported on the day, possibly by district, so no ballot boxes could suddenly be lost or added after the fact.

> If the software is malicious, it can receive one input and produce a different result.

Sure, but all of cryptography is about solving for bad middlemen. The trick to secure multiparty computation is forcing the system to show enough of its work to verify, like above. Just publish the votes with the individual voters strongly masked.

Part of me worries that any voting system without public key cryptography is insecure, but our standards are so low we're just settling for paper, assuming that's the best we can do.

But I'm not sure what attacks paper advocates are trying to prevent, so I'm probably missing something. If I think my local election officials threw out my vote, how do I use my receipt to detect that from home?

But I agree with you if your main points are: 1) Current electronic implementations are terrible. 2) Paper never hurts.

N.b. - Vote selling could be an issue with either paper receipts or my protocol above. The best solution for either is probably outside the system (criminal penalties and significant whistle-blower rewards). You might be able to add deniability to the toy protocol above, but things would get complicated.


My point is not that paper never hurts. My point is that paper is the absolute minimum. The security requirements of a voting system are radically different than most systems.

A good summary of the problems and how to solve them is here:

https://www.verifiedvoting.org/


My absolutely minimum is that every citizen should be able to confirm how their vote was recorded after the fact.

If we can't do that, then no system can guarantee us anything. If we can do that, then the system doesn't matter.

I'm familiar with VV. I completely agree with their position that post-election audits are critical to ensuring trust in the system. (That's a weaker version of my own requirement above.)

However, their latest policy recommendation was that we must keep hand-marked ballots, which is just bizarre to me. That's the sort of policy you endorse if you want elections to be decided by teams of lawyers debating stray marks and creative misspellings to deduce voter intent. It's a good way to let money break ties in elections, and makes me question VV's impartiality or judgment on these issues.

They have repeatedly linked to outside teams of researchers covering end-to-end verifiable systems though. A thorough read of the research notes that while there are a number of challenges to overcome, end-to-end verifiable could provide a path to secure elections.


> My absolutely minimum is that every citizen should be able to confirm how their vote was recorded after the fact.

The downside of that is that such systems generally enable bought votes and extorted votes.


This takes us back to my first comment.

> Vote selling could be an issue with either paper receipts or my protocol above. The best solution for either is probably outside the system (criminal penalties and significant whistle-blower rewards). You might be able to add deniability to the toy protocol above, but things would get complicated.

Extortion and bribery work against individuals some of the time, but using it against large groups of people hoping not even one of them will alert reporters or police?

Not to mention, this is a flaw in the current voting system, because people can easily sneak phones into booths to take video of their votes.

Being able to confirm that your specific vote was counted should be considered a basic human right. If you look at it that way, it feels strange to deny people a basic right to protect against some harm we don't currently address now, but could easily address in other ways.


> Being able to confirm that your specific vote was counted should be considered a basic human right.

No, not if that means that many people cannot safely vote. At one time it was considered a right in many jurisdictions that everyone could know what everyone else's vote was, and votes were public. This enabled the local landlords to ensure that bad things happened to people who didn't vote the "right" way. Many vote-confirmation systems allow others to verify the vote as well, and the historical record makes it clear that this can be very dangerous.

Currently we can't even verify that votes are counted correctly at all. We currently allow people to press buttons and then have an unverifiable machine report what its owners want the vote to be, without any reasonable way to verify it.

It's great to want much more, but let's start with the basics. Having a way to verify that the counted vote is the actual vote is that basic.


Paper ballots have a much more visible chain of custody than paperless ballots. In my county, from the time voting starts to the time votes are counted, ballots must either be in a locked closet with tamper-evident seals (for example, at night during early voting) or simultaneously in view of both Democratic and Republican election judges.

It might still be possible to interfere with those, but it's much more difficult than electronic voting machines, which can in some cases be manipulated over the internet, or very quickly by a voter who exchanges memory storage units.


I think this is the OPs point though. You are trusting someone to make sure the ballots are in a locked closet. You aren't personally there to see it, and I personally have never been on scene to witness vote counting by a bipartisan coalition of judges. For all I know, the ballots are taken in a back room, burned, and then the election officials throw darts at a board to determine who wins. There are no publicly available recordings of the count. I'm trusting quite a few people who say they were witness that the count was legitimate. But in my experience buying off the word of even dozens of people is fairly cheap for what you get manipulating an election.

And more generally, if you are already trusting said election commission to do the counting by being in a partisan staredown the same principle would apply to said commissions scrutiny over voting machines. If the parties are balanced enough in power to insure no one is stuffing the ballot behind anyone elses back they can probably mutually conclude if an electronic voting machine is safe to use for the both of them.

Its worth mentioning and considering that, even in those coalition election commissions, both parties are incentivized to discredit third parties any way they can. They share a duopoly of power that they are both in their own self interest to protect, and I do not hear often about third party oversight of election commissions. Why do you trust them on that front, then, when their incentives are entirely aligned against being truthful?


Where I come from, we use paper ballots and votes are counted multiple times by different people both on election day and after. And yes, the public is invited to monitor vote counting.


This seems like the most sane approach to me.

I get GP's argument that hackable machines isn't the biggest issue, however it's still a clear and present danger.


> You are trusting someone to make sure the ballots are in a locked closet

Where I'm from, the paper ballots are in a transparent box, you can stay there forever / be the one who does the counting of the ballots, and you need two locks that are given to the two frontrunners parties.


The number of people who can actually comprehend the operation of a computerized voting system, let alone inspect it (not possible without an electron microscope basically) is incredibly small.

Yet the possible impact of subverting it once is incredibly large. Paper ballots are not unhackable, but they do require a conspiracy. People have to turn up and take physical actions which can be comprehended by most of the general public.


But there are countless stories of paper ballots being miraculously found that sway the vote in a close race or ones that are found in a dumpster after a vote count has just taken place.

Everything can be manipulated.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ballots+found+to+sway+race

https://www.google.com/search?q=ballots+found+in+dumpster

Name for me one instance where either of these caused a major investigation, other than that one Presidential election count in Florida.


If the chain of custody is correct, it should be readily traceable which precincts were the sources of "ballots found in a dumpster".

And besides, "countless stories" are just stories. Show me one that's been investigated by responsible, neutral journalists. Just because everyone knows it's true doesn't mean it's actually true.


> Show me one that's been investigated by responsible, neutral journalists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_13_scandal


Find me a "neutral journalist". I'm guessing that is someone so apathetic, they don't even care about accurate reporting.


Sure, all news is fake news.

I'm fine with sources like CNN, NYT, etc. I'd be even happier with Reuters, or the Economist, or something like that.


They do that in Russia...and they also ballot stuff in Russia. The term "ballot stuffing" is from paper ballots.


Tampering with voting machines software is easier, less noticeable and doesn't even require a cooperation from staff at the polling station (which ballot stuffing requires). You just need cooperation from the manufacturer.


And of note, the manufacturers of voting machines get out there and make public statements that they are not politically neutral - https://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/09/business/machine-politics...


> Hackable machines are a problem, but they are not the only problem.

They might not be the biggest problem, but they're definitely an _extra_ problem. I don't see what problems they take away, in exchange for bringing this extra problem.

With a paper ballot, I can go to the polling booth, see my vote being counted, and see whether any other funky stuff happens, right there. It's all in the open. This in turn gives you extra trust in the system.

With an electronic system, how do I know what happens behind those layers of abstraction between the user interface and the hardware? How can I in any way verify that my vote has been counted?


In VA (or, at least in Fairfax County), we fill in a paper ballot which is scanned by a machine. The vote counting is done by the scanners/electronically, but there is a paper trail for audits. Seems like the best of both worlds (when implemented properly).

Like you, I would have zero faith in an electronic voting booth that simply said "Yup, you pushed a button." I have no idea what actually gets "written to disk".


Ditto. Fill out a standardized test-like multiple choice form and it gets fed into a reader.


The reverse also seems fine to me; fill it out in a machine, that shows you the paper ballot it's printing. (Presumably the latter is what gets recounted)


That is basically useless though. Have it print upfront with a certain amount per district, then hand-fill them out.

There is no difference between making a cross and pushing a button, except that the cross is unique. (There's a case where a guy made a huge anarchy sign on the ballot paper and it was a valid vote because two lines met for a candidate. This is also a thing btw. people should be free to vote as they like. They should be allowed to write in someone else, write "fuck", or draw a huge dick, whatever. Invalid votes are an important part of the electoral process as they signal decidedly uncontent voters.)

I mean especially considering the US, it is beyond ridiculous that this is even a discussion. You guys spend upwards of 2 billion dollars on presidential elections anyway, and then get up in big discussions over a few million dollars on election security.


>You guys spend upwards of 2 billion dollars

What is your concern with how our country spends its own money? Where do you live, and let's scrutinize that system like you judge ours?


Whether or not he lives in the US, he is right to express some level of interest in our government (and how it is elected). We're the worlds largest economy (or close to it), the world's largest democracy, and generally what happens here has a massive impact on the rest of the world.

And in this case, he's right. We spend an absurd amount of money on political campaigning, but then get lost in the weeds, and/or hand-wavey, when somebody wants to discuss election security. There are legitimate criticisms of how we process elections.


Is cable TV programming political campaigning? How about youtube videos funded by the Kochs or Soros?

"Election security," as in mandate, at the federal level, what the states do? Centralizing power (maximizing the possibility of a single point of failures) makes elections more vulnerable. Voting machines are air-gaped. Our elections were influenced by propaganda on social media, just like the Arab Spring.

Evaluating actual 'cause and effect' is helpful when trying to understand situations.


Is cable TV programming political campaigning? How about youtube videos funded by the Kochs or Soros?

No, that's not campaigning, at least not officially. But, adding those into the mix makes the money spent even more ludicrous.

As for federal mandates, I'm not sure I agree. Right now, states have nearly complete control of the election system, with vastly varying levels of competence. I'm not sure I'd want the federal government mandating which specific machine to use, but I'd love some consistency across states. And also some mandates around vote-by-mail and similar systems.

Air-gapping voting machines only does so much good when nobody outside Diebold knows what the machine does on the inside.


With scanning machines there still is a problem that they can be tampered with and even if you see that the outcome doesn't match exit polls, you don't have any solid proofs to require the manual re-counting of paper ballots.


In most states, if the election is within a certain degree of closeness (like half a percent), it triggers an automatic recount. And that will catch mismatches between the machine counts and the contents of their ballot boxes, unless you also carefully rig the manual recount - at scale.

And altering the count more than a percent or so is a LOT of alteration.


Sibling comment is correct - most states will auto-recount within a certain margin. If somebody hacks a difference larger than that, we have a larger problem (ie, not just a machine or two hacked, but the entire system has fallen apart).

And that also brings us back to an earlier comment about driving turnout (or lack thereof) is possibly a larger problem than tampering at the polls. If a party (or somebody acting on behalf of a party) can convince a significant block of voters to stay home, that's more likely to have an impact.


> With a paper ballot, I can go to the polling booth, see my vote being counted, and see whether any other funky stuff happens, right there. It's all in the open. This in turn gives you extra trust in the system.

> With an electronic system, how do I know what happens behind those layers of abstraction between the user interface and the hardware? How can I in any way verify that my vote has been counted?

The best I've seen is a verifiable electronic system with a paper trail. After a voter records their vote electronically, they're shown a "receipt" of their vote to verify it, and the "receipt" is stored securely and anonymously after the user verifies the vote. If the receipt doesn't match their inputs, a red flag can be raised immediately. After the election, the paper records can be used to run a stop-loss audit to verify the electronic vote count. The redundancy has an added benefit -- you're increasing the surface area of the attack itself, and by adding a physical element, you can capture bad actors on camera.


> the paper records can be used to run a stop-loss audit to verify the electronic vote count

You can't do this. Probably the most fundamental problem with electronic vote verification is that you cannot give someone physical evidence of how their vote was cast, because it makes voter coercion feasible.

Its why almost all absentee / write in ballots are set up so that if you send multiple ballots only the last one is counted (or an in person vote if you give one). If someone tries to coerce your vote and use the absentee ballot as proof unless they keep you imprisoned until the election is over they can't prove you didn't resubmit / go in person to change your vote.

With receipts for in person ballots the only way to defeat coercion is to make it so you can, at the point of receipt, get issued an intentionally flawed receipt. But if you are verifying votes this way, it would have to be for another legitimate voter voting the exact way your coercer wanted. That sounds like a hugely limiting technical flaw.


> You can't do this. Probably the most fundamental problem with electronic vote verification is that you cannot give someone physical evidence of how their vote was cast, because it makes voter coercion feasible.

There are machines that print paper receipts to voters (presented under glass so voters can verify), and then drop the receipts into a traditional lockable ballot box. The voter cannot access the paper ballot without evidently tampering with the machine; the only issue is that you'd need a way to get poll workers the ballot at issue without identifying the voter.


> you cannot give someone physical evidence of how their vote was cast, because it makes voter coercion feasible

Some countries try to solve this with an extended voting period and by making votes repudiable / changeable up until the end of the election.

Another solution is generous whistleblower rewards and significant criminal penalties.

There are tools outside the ballot box to prevent crime, and extortion is a crime regardless of whether there's an election going on or not.

(If you bake deniability into your system, you lose the ability to let voters prove to others that their vote was miscounted, so receipts lose a key feature at that point.)


>With a paper ballot, I can go to the polling booth, see my vote being counted, and see whether any other funky stuff happens, right there. It's all in the open. This in turn gives you extra trust in the system.

What do you mean you see it counted? I don't think I've ever voted with a paper ballot.


They are the biggest problem in terms of foreign interference. I don't think a Russian national can hang out in rural Organ and mess with paper ballots without being noticed.


The point is that you don't want to have to trust individuals or small groups of people. There are ways of manipulating a paper election, but that's why you have judges and election observers. If the count is done in a decentralized way, and the precinct results posted, you have to physically compromise the vote in many precincts. Doing this on a large scale runs a high probability of someone noticing.

With these zero paper systems, there is no observability. Even if everything is sealed, you don't know what the software inside is doing. You probably don't even know what software the device is running, because the machines are stored in some warehouse for months at a time, with who knows who having access to them.


If someone replaced the firmware, so selecting one candidate had a 10% chance of being counted as a vote for another, how could this be detected with "chains of custody, tamper proof seals, bipartisan poll watchers, bipartisan election judges, and enough transparency"?


> Ultimately, it's easier to influence an election by discarding legitimate voters from voter registration systems, selectively failing to notify voters of elections, and other indirect interference campaigns that have been known to happen.

Well, duh, this isn't happening in real democracies. Americans really need to get rid of their delusions regarding the form of governance they live in.

The problem with voting machines is that it makes it so much easier for a single entity to control the election. And that the people organizing the election are completely technologically illiterate as well as the huge majority of the electoral. If you can hide behind techno mumbo jumbo and plausible deniability it gets ever easier to manipulate the electorate in failing to see a problem.

They used admin as a password in voting machiens in the US, and the same company still holds contracts. The whole notion is beyond laughable.


You seem to be discounting the seriousness of this issue. If it weren't for Snowden, we would all blindly be thinking there _may_ be mass surveillance, but instead we _know_ there is and it's way worse than we imagined.

With ballot stuffing and voter manipulation you maybe able to _possibly_ affect votes, but with hacking, you can practically just pick the outcome you want and be done.

We shouldn't be so easily duped anymore, we've seen to much come to light to pretend this isn't completely real, and most likely much, much worse than we know.


You have mentioned electoral fraud in Russia. With paper voting and cameras, we can at least know that the fraud has happened and estimate its scale. With electronic voting, we wouldn't be able even to check anything.

In major cities like Moscow or Saint-Petersburg, there are many activists that work as observers and just their presense helps to prevent fraud. With electronic voting, they wouldn't be able to do anything, except for verifying that reported turnout matches the number of people who visited the polling station.

I think that main threat for elections is the government and election staff. They have uncontrolled access to voting machines and can tamper with them. Maybe in Western countries it is impossible, who knows, but in my country paper voting is more transparent and auditable than electronic voting.


So why not paper AND everything else you talk about above? I just don't understand why people are arguing against any paper trail at all. Is there some NEGATIVE reason why having paper backup is more harmful to have in addition to everything else you listed above than not having any at all?


Assuming you're using proper paper chain of custody, seals, etc on your paper ballots, then how do you propose that ballots would be "destroyed, lost, or conveniently found"? These things are all extremely easy to audit.

Humans have been doing paper document chains of custody since the ancient Chinese and the Romans. It's not rocket surgery.


>Humans have been doing paper document chains of custody since the ancient Chinese and the Romans. It's not rocket surgery.

And people have been figuring out ways to get around these impediments since their advent. It's not as if voter fraud started with computers.

I'm not saying that computer voting is superior but I think you are overstating the security of paper voting systems.


Ok, so here are my assumptions for a good chain of custody...

Ballots, whether sealed or unsealed, blank or marked, must have at least two people present (from different parties) for all handling. At the end of the process, it should be possible to account for every ballot, marked or blank, and know who handled it (except for the individual voter), from the moment it was received from the printer to the moment it is eventually destroyed. Counts should match at every level, from the printer to the distribution to the voters to the number of ballots in each locked box. Every box can also be traced to an individual machine.

Assuming this is done, where do you fit fraud in? I see three paths for fraud - adding ballots, removing ballots, and substituting/altering ballots. How do you add or remove ballots without upsetting the counts? How do you substitute/alter ballots without breaking seals? And mind you, the techniques have to be able to a: survive a recount, and b: work at a sufficient scale to meaningfully alter the election results.

The way to break this isn't the weakness of paper security. It's to undermine the chain of custody itself, do have the kinds of sloppy processes endemic to Florida, Ohio, etc.


What you say about electioneering is true.

It's also true that errors (aka fraud) happens with the machines.

Just one example: Voter Action proved in court that New Mexico's touchscreens didn't count Spanish language ballots in 2004. Kerry would have won the state.

Paper ballots cast at poll sites tabulated when the polls close is the best available system. Our gold standard (per the Election Verification Network, which is everyone).

By comparison, any digital tabulation system is irredeemable.

" you must have something you trust in the system."

No. You don't.

Our very form of government's balance of power is built on mutual distrust.

The only system I "trust" is when all the belligerents mutually certify the results.


...we have paper ballots in CO. Yes there are potential problems with paper ballots, particularly when you don't allow the public to view the entire process, but non paper systems are much worse.


Software-only machines are qualitatively different than machines with paper trails, since they can be tampered with en masse by a small number of adversaries without needing physical access at voting time; and because such tampering may not leave any trace whatsoever.

Do you really not see how that’s a big deal?


There is something to be said for forcing an actual person to be physically present, using procedures visibly different from the normal voting procedure, in order to commit vote fraud. But you're right.

I emphatically do not trust the voting system used locally, but what is my alternative, really? It's not like the people for whom I am voting actually have a snowball's chance in Gehenna in this blood-red state with gerrymandered districts and independent-annihilating ballot-access laws.

Hackable, unauditable machines are just another load of fuel on the fire, when I feel as though I have never been faithfully represented by any elected official. The game is so thoroughly rigged before the voting happens that it hardly even matters how we cast the ballots.


With your Russian example there is a paper trail. There is a timestamp when that occured and if the machines that receive the ballots timestamp the receipt of the ballot and the location with scanner #, it's pretty easy to pinpoint the infringements.

As for throwing away ballots, again, in the USA there should be video evidence of such possibilities.

I was helping out in Denver for one of the elections, might've actually been 2012 or 2016. They had cameras everywhere and they should.

Paper > paperless. Seriously, there are reports/studies about this. It's common sense. You don't contrast how paper is better than paperless. Are both flawed? Yes but one is a dumpster fire of issues where the other can be fully audited and accounted for.


Evidence of paper ballots being tampered with, in my opinion, is a very useful/good thing. It means it’s possible to get caught.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous comment:

This is survivorship bias. Instead:

1. Assume that there are enough high-powered actors to want to rig an election

2. Note that confirmed case of a rigged election happens through paper absentee ballots

3. Note that there are very few known cases of a rigged election happening through electronic voting machines.

4. One probable conclusion is that election rigging is possible and undetectable through electronic voting machines.


Thank you for sharing this perspective! I think it's valuable. Few questions:

1) "... and other indirect interference campaigns that have been known to happen" Curious if you have links for these? The more I've learned about our election systems, the more I've suspected these to be highly vulnerable, but I hadn't been aware of known interference.

2) I believe Colorado has, generally, strong election practices. Given that "chain of custody" occurs at the county level across the US, and that a single county can sway an entire national election, could we not suspect that a single bad actor (or small group of bad actors) could intentionally modify the polling record? And that this is much harder to prevent & detect with purely electronic ballots?

3) Does chain of custody prevent attackers from altering the records of a voting machine in a voting booth? eg; accessing USB, other ports, or wireless connection?


> chains of custody, tamper proof seals, bipartisan poll watchers, bipartisan election judges, and enough transparency

Does closed source software allow for any of that?

- The chain of hardware custody is difficult: did any components come from China? The chain of software custody is similarly difficult: are the dependencies disclosed at all? Who wrote all the components it uses? At least paper won't surprise you

- Poll watching and judging still involves a handoff to a black box. The poll watcher and judge cannot confirm or deny that the software or hardware performed as expected.

- There is no transparency with closed source software, period. It could be doing <X> and we wouldn't even know it - until it was disclosed, sort of, in an impossible to understand TOS document that was just updated. This is the entire story of the scandals facing tech for the last 10 years or more.


Even open source doesn't guarantee this unless you can verify that every machine is running the code you think it is and was doing so during the whole election.

There's no feasible way for a voter to verify that a machine they're voting isn't compromised without giving people ludicrous levels of access to the machines. (Way more than just a USB port) Never mind the fact that almost no-one has the ability to do this verification anyways.


Most tech people only have tech solutions.

I see it constantly here on HN when there's a story about privacy and there's countless comments suggesting how you as an individual can do some jury rigged thing to protect your privacy.

Politics, policy, and law never enter their brains.


It’s a lot harder to steal millions of votes with paper ballot fraud than with software. That’s a simple fact.


It's kind of interesting how you try to use easily obtained and verifiable evidence of tampering with paper ballots as an argument against them.


Why this stuff is even an issue is mind-boggling to me.

In Canada we vote completely anonymously on a piece of paper. ID is verified at the entrance to the voting area, but your identity is _in no way_ associated with the piece of paper you mark your vote on. The ballots are counted by hand with numerous bystanders/observers of whatever affiliation. It just works. We have no need for digital (aka hackable/tamperable/buggy) voting system.

Global News has a decent article outlining why the system is so impervious to abuse: https://globalnews.ca/news/4049932/canada-2019-election-hack...


It's complicated in the US because it's the states that administer elections and IDs. Everyone does it differently, with different equipment, ID requirements, and allocation of election resources.

Voter ID, for example, is contentious because a state can influence election turnout through decisions on where ID offices are located and when they're open.

Edit: I always find it ironic that the Republican party--the party of limited government--wants people to have to go to the bastion of efficiency known as the DMV (!!!) in order to vote.


Also some states have restricted early voting times and reduced the number of polling places open in some (typically poor non-white communities that vote more democrat) as a way of making it harder for certain minorities to vote. [0]

> The U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed a Republican bid to revive a strict North Carolina voter-identification law that a lower court found deliberately discriminated against black voters, handing a victory to Democrats and civil rights groups.

> The appeals court found that the law’s provisions “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist,” concluding that the Republican-led legislature enacted it “with discriminatory intent.”

[0] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/north-carolina-voter-id/


I always find it ironic that the Republican party--the party of limited government--wants people to have to go to the bastion of efficiency known as the DMV (!!!) in order to vote.

Is it ironic? Republicans aren't calling for the abolishment of the DMV for driver's licenses. Requiring ID to vote is inline with requiring ID to drive.

I find it interesting the Democrats seem to idolize European governance, except for the part where requiring ID to vote is the norm.

edit: fixed typo - requiring id to vote is inline with requiring id to drive


Dems problem with requiring ID is that it just so happens that those proposals are always alongside attempts to make it more difficult for poor people to get IDs in the first place. Dems would have no issue requiring ID if republicans would agree to give every US citizen an ID for free.

Voter ID laws are simply an attempt to keep poor people and minorities from voting and honestly it's sickening.


Well, this exactly should be the Democrats proposal - but for some resaon it isn't. It would be an easy way to pull wind out of the sails of republicans.


Proposals to give everyone an ID for free have also run into massive Republican opposition.


They are also an attempt to keep ineligible people from voting. There are positives to the argument that you can only ignore if you want to vilify the person making it.


>They are also an attempt to keep ineligible people from voting.

Which is not a problem. There were less than 100 cases of voter fraud in the last twenty years: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/13/th...

Preventing ineligible voting is red herring for suppressing legitimate voters, by creating extra hoops to jump through for certain classes of citizens.


I vilify the argument that voter fraud of the kind which would be addressed by voter ID exists at any meaningful scale in the US. It is putrid. Used as an justification for mass disenfranchisement, it is repugnant.


Make IDs free and mandatory for all citizens — like in those European countries — and there's no problem.

Until then, IDs are a poll tax — and to put it mildly, that's a problem.


>Make IDs free

Sure.

>and mandatory for all citizens

And what are the consequences if you don't get this now mandatory (federal?) ID? Presumably some sort of passport card like thing that doesn't actually let you travel across borders. What if you don't have the documentation you need? What if you don't have the time to go to the offices that provide these IDs?

For a lot of people, the cost of getting the Equivalent ID to a driver's license isn't the big issue. All the other things are.


I would accept those sets of problems if the voter ID serves as voter registration.


I would assume that if someone went to the trouble of getting an ID primarily just for voting, also registering wouldn't be a big burden.


Yeah, but the crux is making it impossible to rescind that registration a la voter purges!


But it is an easy fix. I agree that there should be universal voter registration, and see no reason why we can't issue voter registration cards with a photo on them, which then serve as a valid form of identification for whatever information we choose to make publicly available on them.


IDs aren't free everywhere in Europe, in the Netherlands it's €56,80 for an ID card that is valid for 10 years. It is mandatory, though.


There's a scaling difference between the US and Europe. In the US, you might live a 4 hour drive from the nearest city large enough for a DMV. If you don't own a car, getting there and back can be a major obstacle.


You could solve these problems if you were willing to get a bit creative. For instance, the service could be provided by rural mail carriers.


The democrats are never going to call it a poll tax though because once you start calling statutory requirements to jump through non-free hoops to exercise rights "poll taxes" you've just paved the way to overturning a whole lot of gun control stuff.


Poll taxes are expressly forbidden by the 24th Amendment. I'm sure people will try and make arguments based on the 2nd Amendment, but they're really not comparable.


A photo ID is not a poll tax though. Just like requiring people to go to a polling place is not a poll tax. Just like people having to take time off of work is not a poll tax.


Requiring people to pay for the opportunity to vote is effectively a poll tax. I don't understand anyone trying to argue against this in good faith.


Would you say that someone having to own a car and buy gas so they can drive to the polling location is a poll tax?


Of course. Would you not?


I find it interesting that you've deflected their entire argument and made up a straw man to burn.


I answered the argument directly. Requiring ID to vote is not "ironic' because:

Republicans aren't calling for the abolishment of the DMV for driver's licenses. Requiring ID to vote is inline with requiring ID to drive.


Voting does not have the same privilege level as driving. Also thought your argument equating voting to voting was snarky dismissal, not a typo.


> Requiring ID to vote is inline with requiring ID to drive.

One of those things is an inherent right of citizenship. The other is a privilege that requires proving one has allegedly mastered the skills and knowledge required to safely practice it.


> except for the part where requiring ID to vote

The reason should be obvious, people without ID are likely poor, and likely to vote for Democrats. Voter fraud is just misdirection on the part of Republicans.


No one any where is against identifying voters.

Voter ID is required to register. At which time it is verified and eligibility is adjudicated.

Identity is confirmed when a ballot is issued. For postal balloting, which is not opposed by Republicans, your address is proxy for identity. One exception is North Dakota; no ID is required, because presumably poll workers know their neighbors.

The issue is what forms of ID are required to be issued a ballot.

Pro democracy persons who support enfranchising their fellow citizens are content to accept many forms of official ID to confirm identity.

Anti democratic persons who openly advocate wide spread disenfranchisement demand restoring unconstitutional poll taxes.


>Identity is confirmed when a ballot is issued.

That is not necessarily true in the US. If I vote in person on election day in my town (I usually vote by mail or earlier at town hall) I give my address but do not have to present an ID.


I wrote: "One exception is North Dakota"

You replied: "That is not necessarily true in the US."

Yes, yes, yes. There are always exceptions in the USA. No one person can know them all.

Because every jurisdiction is a snowflake. And everything keeps changing. Causing us all to talk past each other. No small part of the challenge talking about this stuff rationally.

For your jurisdiction, the powers that be determined that your signature was sufficient verification, which can be compared against the signature on file (your registration), just like with postal ballots.

Satisfied?


I live in what is almost certainly a perfectly typical town in the Northeast US. And it's fully compliant with Massachusetts law.

Which is just one state as you say. But, if you follow the news, requiring ID is a very contentious topic that's often associated with disenfranchising voters so I assume it's not the norm.


Left unsaid in the kabuki over voter ID is The Correct Answer:

Universal automatic voter registration. Like every other mature democracy.

We now have a handful of complete rosters. Of everyone living and dead. Updated in near real-time.

We know with complete certainty if someone is eligible to vote.

We could just use any of our existing national demographic databases (NSA, Planitir, Facebook, LexisNexus, ChoicePoint, etc) for good governance. Instead of 50+ mutually incompatible chaotic mutant voter registration databases.

(Related: Just do a query, instead of walking around with clipboards every 10 years and doing a partial head count.)

Why don't we use the resources we already have to moot this issue?

Discuss.


> Universal automatic voter registration. Like every other mature democracy.

Exactly this. Every citizen should be automatically able to vote without any effort on their 18th birthday. I personally think it shouldn’t even require being 18, but should be permitted if elections are happening during your 18th year, but you haven’t hit your birthday yet—nobody turning 18 in 2020 should be unable to vote for the next president just because their birthday is after Election Day. We should be doing all we can, on the public dime, to the point of begging and dragging people to the nearest booth to participate in their government.

I think post offices are the perfect first place to look to for handling this. Far more citizens live in close proximity to a post office than a dmv. And as needs require and areas permit, we can look to libraries, state universities, and community colleges as additional points where one can handle voting needs—even casting ballots.


If the federal government was serious about these voter ID cards and the goal truly was more reliable elections then we would be seeing real conversations about cost and a deployment strategy. The very fact that they are trying to do this nearly for free is, to my mind, proof positive that they have the same goals as the politicians who are agressively gerrymandering: fewer people voting.

What is the overlap between people who drive and people who can vote? How were the location of DMV and RMV offices chosen, were they selected to be accessible to every citizen? Who trains people at the voting locations to validate ID cards? Is there a physical device that scans and helps validate these ID cards? What does that cost?

Post offices make much more sense, they tend to be accessible by nearly everyone. But there has been no talk of providing these cards through post offices. Partly because of cost, training and the increased workload on the post office. Partly because the goal is to prevent voters from lawfully voting.

Even if you feel that the DMV or RMV is a reasonable place to issue these cards, where is the pushback from states who have to staff up in order to provide these cards? How long will these cards last before expiration? In MA, a driver's license only lasts two years, ID cards last five.

The whole thing, in my opinion, is an obvious sham.


> In MA, a driver's license only lasts two years, ID cards last five.

"Your Massachusetts driver’s license is valid for five years, unless it is your first license which expires on your fifth birthday after the date of issue, or until the end of your authorized stay in the U.S. (whichever comes first)."

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2019/04/02/chapter_1.pd...


>I always find it ironic that the Republican party--the party of limited government--wants people to have to go to the bastion of efficiency known as the DMV (!!!) in order to vote.

Even worse is that there is wide bi-partisan support to require people to go through the DMV for the ability to drive on public roads, something that impacts a person's day to day life far more than voting. This is especially true of the poor who cannot afford to uber and those located in areas without public transport.


I'm pretty libertarian. And, admittedly, the "licensing" requirements associated with driver's licenses in the US are fairly minimal. But are you suggesting that literally anyone ought to be able to hop in a car and drive it around public streets?


I had my license suspended once and at the time I lived in a city with mild public transit. To go get it renewed was a 6 hour ordeal that I can't imagine having to do if I were living paycheck to paycheck. Spend an entire day not making money so you can spend another days earnings so that you can go vote, all because of a political agenda, not any real issue.


Well, the parent comment was specifically about a license for driving.

I actually agree that requiring an ID that may require significant effort to obtain for voting is not reasonable.


Right, I was making the assumption in this case that a driver's license would be sufficient for voter identification and that if someone didn't have a driver's license, then obtaining one or an equivalent is a burden that many poor people cannot afford.


My point is that any argument about the DMV being a bad place to get a voter id applies even stronger to the (arguably) more important action of getting a driver's license.

If one accepts the argument with regards to a voter id, then why would they reject it with regard to a license?


In Russia we use an internal passport to vote. So the voter doesn't need any special documents.


that seems logical; I fail to understand the argument that some form of voter identification like this is 'racist'


The opposing party (in the US) will make the offices where identification is offered difficult to get to. Times when the DMV or RMV is open will shrink, some states will require an extreme amount of paperwork in order to get identification. We might see some states close some DMV or RMV offices.

Keep in mind that DMV and RMV office _assume_ that people have vehicles. In the case of voters this is not the case.

It's like gerrymandering but in this case what's being manipulated is the ability of voters to get these cards. In many cases it is racist.


This seems like something that could be mitigated by legislating where voter registration offices are located (based on census data perhaps) and their hours of operation and documentation requirements, including an appeals process.


I agree. I think the fact that these aren't discussion points is important. Steps could be taken to ensure that everyone entitled to a card gets one but I suspect there is a significant cost associated with that. So far cost hasn't really been a big part of the discussion.

As an aside, in the US, there's a history of not needing papers to get around or prove who you are. My grandfather fought in World War II and this was an important issue for him. There likely are people in the US opposed to a national ID card for similar reasons, fear that police will start demanding you carry your card at all times. I have no idea if they might be numerous or not.


The welfare state was much smaller in the 40s. Things have changed, and people need to be "means tested" in order to implement these government programs.


>The opposing party (in the US) will make the offices where identification is offered difficult to get to. Times when the DMV or RMV is open will shrink, some states will require an extreme amount of paperwork in order to get identification. We might see some states close some DMV or RMV offices.

Getting a photo ID is a infrequent event. That makes gaming the ID acquisition process a means of disenfranchising voters ineffective.


That is incorrect. In Massachusetts, for instance, you have to renew your license every two years. I believe you need a new photo (requiring a trip to the DMV) every four years.

Your next thought might be along the lines of accepting expired ID for voting purposes. That's an interesting idea but unlikely to be accepted. In Massachusetts, for instance, you can't buy even a six pack of beer if you cannot produce a valid driver's license. Expired licenses are as good as no license at all in that case.


This is incorrect. A Mass license is valid 5 years.

https://blog.massdrive.com/2012/03/26/renewing-your-license-...


It pains me to admit it, but you are correct. I was on my phone and misread the page.

Still, the life span of these cards could be managed for political gain. Perhaps if the majority part in the state house changes, the valid lifetime for only the ID cards could be shortened.


Interesting. Does it mean that people who don't own a car, have to take driver's education courses just to be able to buy alcohol?


We have ID cards in Massachusetts, you can get one of those without needing to take the driving exam. There is a "LiquorID" card that lasts five years, I can't find any information on the "MassID" card but it's probably good for five years as well.

Thank you for asking the question, I had assumed these cards lasted as long as a driver's license and that is not the case. :-)

You make a good point in that these voter ID cards might have a longer expiration then a driver's license. To my knowledge the expiration period of the ID isn't a part of the legislation. In that case we can probably expect to see the length of time vary from state to state. In that case I would suspect that state's with a shorter valid period might be trying to manipulate the number of legal voters.


> Times when the DMV or RMV is open will shrink, some states will require an extreme amount of paperwork in order to get identification.

The U.S. sounds more and more like a dystopia to me. In Germany having an ID is a matter of fact, you get a new one every few years and they glue an updated adress on its backside when you change your main adress. The times when you can get it updated might be inconvenient but you are required to have a valid one, so you just have to spend a vacation day every few years on it - the horror.

> In many cases it is racist.

How about trying to improve on the current state of afairs instead of complaining while keeping the barndoor wide open so the racists can continue doing as they currently do?


In my opinion there is no real issue with requiring ID in the US, they are inexpensive and not hard to get. If someone doesn't want to spend $20-$30 and take the time to get an ID, they don't want to vote very much. Although I strongly believe in progressive taxation, this is such a small sum for such an important part of civic life it is a strange hill to die on.

I very much think the right does attempt to exclude certain voters, and does use Voter ID regulations as part of a larger strategy regarding voter disenfranchisement. But it is a relatively easy fix that could be calmly resolved with common sense regulations, like other commenters in this thread have mentioned regarding requirements for physical location and hours of operation for voter registration/id centers. So it sometimes appears people (in this case the left) would rather have something to cry about than just calmly fix the loophole the opposition is trying to exploit.

In brief, the real issue is that actual attempts to cooperate and govern have died, to be replaced by grandstanding (when not in power) and scorched earth practices (when in power). I blame first past the post systems, and think this is an inevitable result. I would welcome the existential requirement for political parties to cooperate which comes with a larger spectrum of parties in power, as a natural effect of more effective proportional representation.


> The U.S. sounds more and more like a dystopia to me.

> Germany having an ID is a matter of fact

Having an id as a matter of fact sounds more dystopian than a country where you aren't required to identify yourself at any given time.


The few government related times I had to use it since I have the current one: once to have the adress updated after changing my main residence, once to get a passport, three times when voting.

The last time I had to deal with the police they just asked for my drivers license. Evil dystopian government keeping track of people who drive past red lights. Even in the U.S. you can't escape that.


I was taking issue with the characterization that the US is dystopian based on voter id arguments. You don't need an id to live in the us, you don't need one to vote in many states, and the contexts in which you would need one make sense.

If you contrast that to a country that has government mandated ids just because, then that's clearly the more dystopic example.


Not directly racist, but it costs money and time to obtain a passport.


In the US there is no such a thing as a universal ID. The closest thing is the state drivers license, and statistically poor communities tend to drive less for various reasons, so for them it is an extra hassle to go get a driver license OR EQUIVALENT ID just for the purpose of voting. The policy is not racist on his face, but a minimal context awareness is enough to understand the ultimate purpose.


In addition, trying to source IDs tends to surface some historical issues that we usually don't think about. One big one is that everyone has a birth certificate -- yet, if you weren't born in a hospital, you may not have such a certificate.


This is an internal passport (not for travelling abroad) and everyone has it because without it you cannot buy a train ticket, open a bank account, enter the college etc. Also there is a fine if you don't get it when you are 16 (or 18, I don't remember the exact age).

Also, young people cannot buy alcohol and cigarettes without it (to prove that they are adult) so some of them are motivated to get it as soon as possible.

Here is a Wikipedia link in case if someone didn't hear about "internal passports": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_passport


Also I wanted to add that internal passport is valid for a long time and you have to change it only twice in a lifetime: you get it first time at 14, then get a new one at 20 and at 45 years and that last one is valid forever (of course if you don't happen to die). So although there is a fee to pay, it is not really expensive.


Why should you need any form of identification to buy a train ticket? Say, for domestic-only travel.


Passport for a regular person in my country costs 30$, for children, people under 20 or over 65 and disabled persons it is 15$, and it is valid for 10 years. You literally have 10 years to put down 0.25$ per month.

P.S. You must have a valid passport when you reach a certain age.


The US does not have a law requiring you to have an id. Requiring people to have one is making the assumption that every person in the US can afford the time and money to obtain one, as well as the physical ability to do so.

If you cannot make this assumption, then you are actively disenfranchising people.


Sounds a bit backwards when one of the most powerful countries in the world cannot afford to issue its poor citizens passports...


We can afford to do that, easily. Can we achieve it politically? No. Is it worth doing? No.

You can achieve the same result by not requiring an id to vote.


In the US passports — our only national photo ID — are $145.


Passport cards are $65. But the cost is somewhat a red herring. There's nothing to keep the US from issuing a free voter identification card but issues of appropriate identification and the effort involved exist outside of out-of-pocket cost. [ADDED: And, of course, concerns about slippery slopes to national IDs which Europeans in particular may consider silly but nonetheless we're all allowed our hangups.]


And god forbid if you need a passport in two months or less--then you're looking at spending $200 to expedite the process (and add to that USPS 1-2 day document delivery).


>it costs money and time to obtain a passport.

As long as the process and cost is not punitive and targeted it's fine if something costs time and money. We have multiple constitutional rights that are burdened in that fashion. The right to petition the government, to have courts decide arguments, to own a gun, all cost time and money. (Not to mention that I have to have a photo ID and pass a criminal background check every time I buy a gun.)


As long as you acknowledge that you're implementing this explicitly to suppress American votes, sure, go ahead and try. I'm tired of the misdirection with election safety when anyone in the game knows what it's actually about.


[flagged]


On the contrary, you've just put words in my mouth because you've done some logical leaps in your head that just took you away from reality.

In reality, if you want to make an assertion and have other people convinced of your argument, then your obligation is to provide all the facts. Given that, you cannot simply take the inverse hypothetical situation where election fraud is just assumed and use that to form your argument. We still have yet to establish that fraud is happening. So why would we want to suppress votes to prevent something that doesn't happen?


[flagged]


I've already been banned from reddit, please don't ban me from this site. How will I debate the merits of plastic making trans people gay, men's rights, programming languages that were created before 1990, startups that have clear business value but discussing how they don't have value to a small subset of society, overvalued IPOs, etc, etc etc.

It is not factual that fraud happens on a scale the warrants disenfranchising voters. If you advocate for disenfranchising voters without providing any sort of argument that legitimizes doing so, then yes, I absolutely am accusing you of wanting to disenfranchise voters for no reason other than to fear monger. You're the TSA of airport security. The WMDs of war. The daily weather of climate change. The fucking pizza of sex trafficking.

You should be banned from this site for spreading this fucking nonsense.


If there was already a universal ID everyone has, it wouldn't be racist to require it in connection with voting, but there isn't a universal ID everyone already has.

It's easy to forget that about one in seven or eight adult americans don't have a driver's license.


Even the libertarian wing of the Republican party doesn't really believe that anyone can live without an ID nowadays.

I'm not an American and while I rarely have to produce an ID, going without one entirely would be impossible. Also illegal here in Poland but this law is not enforced because it's hugely impractical long before you run into any legal issues.


that's how it had worked in LA county for as long as i've lived here, but i've heard that they're changing the voting machines for the upcoming election cycle, so we'll see how it goes.

it's angering to realize that some people will accept election fraud if it benefits them (while simultaneously decrying other unsubstantiated election fraud), regardless of moral or ethical concerns.

cheating to win is losing in my book. hopefully the long arc of the moral universe corrects the harms eventually, if not soon.


In the Ontario provincial elections we used a hybrid system. They ballots are paper following the same process you described, but they're first inserted into a machine that tallies the counts electronically and the paper record stored in case of discrepancies that might call for a hand count.


Such scanning machines save the time of people counting votes (it takes at least several hours), but you cannot know if the machine hasn't been tampered with. To require re-couting the paper ballots you will need some kind of proof that the results are invalid.


... you're describing the reason why people are calling for random audits of a subset of votes in every election.


>you will need some kind of proof that the results are invalid.

are discrepancies between exit polls and election result valid reason?


Exit polls are considered non-scientific for a variety of reasons.

A better option is human-readable paper ballots, as you can manually compile results from batches of ballots and run stop-loss audits on them.


King County, Washington does something similar:

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/about-us/security...


ID verification is a really big issue in the US the Democratic party is very strongly opposed.


>ID verification is a really big issue in the US

No it is not.

There have been less than a hundred voter impersonation cases in the last two decades: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/13/th...

Anyone saying that ID verification is a big issue is using it as a red herring, to create more hoops to jump through for citizens who have a right to vote.


I mean politically it's a hot topic.


Only because the GOP politicians make it difficult for lower-income and elderly to get IDs.

Also the verification process itself can be often biased or outright discriminatory (ie, registration polls being inaccurate).


Or Native Americans.


Which GOP politicians made it more difficult for lower-income and elderly to get IDs? That would definitely be scandalous.


You don't have to make it explicit that you're targeting a specific group. If there is a correlation between groups that tend to drive less, and the groups that you don't want to vote, all you have to do is to require a driver license and that imposes an extra burden on the people that you don't want to vote, whereas populations that tend to drive, they already have a driver license and need no farther work to exercise their right to vote. It's so happens that poor people, communities of color, and the elderly tend to drive less.

In Spain everybody has a mandatory ID, and it is very easy and cheap or even free to get it. In that context it makes sense to require an ID. In the US, for cultural reasons, there is a lot of reluctance toward a national ID.


This is a systemic thing, not the work of a single villain with a face. Getting an ID is inherently more difficult for lower-income individuals for a variety of reasons. It doesn't have to be a specific GOP politician stopping people for it to be discriminatory.


Assuming that people can't get IDs based on their demographic is also a form of discrimination. Weak ID requirements disenfranchise voters of all backgrounds by enabling the possibility of diluting their votes with fraudulent registrations and ballots. Los Angeles County had more registered voters than they have age 18+ citizens and recently were forced by lawsuit to purge 5 million invalid registrations from their rolls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW2LpFkVfYk

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/06/20/calif_...


> Assuming that people can't get IDs based on their demographic is also a form of discrimination.

Assuming it based on no evidence would be a form of prejudice.

Concluding that such a disadvantage exists bases on ample empirical evidence plus occasional statements of policy makers cheering themselves for preserving or advancing that disadvantage is not.


The same ones that aggressively gerrymander districts. In most cases this is a committee, it is seldom one person.



From the linked article:

While a driver’s license is the most common form of ID in the state, Bentley said anyone without a driver’s license can go to any county register’s office and have a photo ID made and the closing of the DMV offices will not change that fact.

Bentley also pointed out that every probate judge in the state has the authority to renew driver’s licenses and the closing of the DMV offices will not change that fact.

Bentley said not only is the state not engaged in any effort to curtail voting, it is doing all it can to make sure anyone who wants to vote will be able to register to vote.

“We will go to people’s houses to have their picture made if they don’t have a photo ID in the state of Alabama,” said Bentley. “We’re not ever going to do anything to keep people in the state of Alabama from voting. And for them to jump to a conclusion like that, that is politics at its worst.”


You are literally quoting the guy who shut down the DMV locations. Politicians can and will say anything to get what they need (reelection).


For damn good reasons too. They're intentionally used to target minority voters that vote democratic in most cases under the guise of preventing a problem that doesn't actually exist. It's bad enough the courts decided that representatives can choose their voters through gerrymandering but allowing them to lock some voters out by requiring IDs without making it significantly easier to get IDs reeks of Jim Crow style poll taxes and literacy tests.


Well then fix that problem (of it being difficult or onerous to acquire an id that you can vote with).

In Canada, you don't actually even need an ID to vote. [0]

Two pieces of paper like your voting information card (that is mailed directly to you) and a utility bill with your name and address will suffice.

https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=ids&do...


For a very long time, I'd show up to vote, say my full name, and they'd ask for a street name or house number, and I'd tell them, and they'd strike out my name and hand me a ballot to go vote. That was the identification process.

Now, same state, I get the ballot mailed to me, it has my name on it, it's bar coded, I vote, put it in an envelope, mail it back or drop it at a collection box for this purpose, and I get an email telling me I've voted. That kind of tracking gives me a frowny face. I don't know that they have a way to associated my vote with me, but they know whether or not I've voted, same as before.

Anyway, other states are different, where they have onerous ID requirements, including government issued photo ID, because the like that sort of thing. There's not much to be done about it.


The point of the policy isn’t to ID voter fraud (extremely rare) it’s to restrict voter access so the republicans pushing voter ID laws aren’t going to implement things to fix the ID availability problem.


It's hard to fix that problem when the people who benefit from it are in charge of setting the relevant policies.


They're opposed to ID verification laws that act as a poll tax. Not all voter ID laws carry the same burden. 11% of Americans do not have any form of government ID, yet they have a right to vote.


1.3 Billion votes on electronic machine that's proven multiple times it's hackable. Yet the Parties use that to showcase that they are advanced despite many people asking for Paper Ballot votes. It's quite ironic that a country that usually copies / adopts Western world isn't concerned about the fact how democracy is better handled in the west. Hope Canada stays strong with its democracy


A big difference between Canada and the US is that in the US the "vote" is practically never for a single question, but for a much larger set of questions. You could still count by hand, but it takes longer.

There are also more people in the US (around ten times more). You could still count votes by hand in US, but it would take more people or time to do it.


Ah yeah, we have definitely had multi-referendum votes. Still done on paper. For example, here's the ballot paper for most recent one we had in BC [0] (with only two questions): https://3yvac3s24fb2wj4gx27tcv71-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-...

[0] https://electionsbcca.blob.core.windows.net/electionsbcca/re...


What if there was a remarkable amount of evidence abuse has already occurred?

https://www.theroot.com/exclusive-thousands-of-black-votes-i...

Or how about a federal district court ruling?

https://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/georgia-dre-d...


Bev Haris' grassroots watchdog movement Black Box Voting also has documented a lot of sketchy behavior as well, such as throwing away paper records of votes.

https://blackboxvoting.org/


Electronic voting and vote counting machines pose one of the greatest threats to democracy.

We should really just go back to paper ballots, which are not perfect but are a lots less hackable at scale and are much more trackable than electronic machines are.


Or if we do use machines, we should use hand-marked paper ballots for the act of voting and just use machines to count up the results.


Why does America have problems counting?

I went to watch a count for the local elections in May in the UK (I was a candidate)

The papers were counted in front of me and dozens of other people from the various parties. I could see each one going into each pile of ten, each pile of ten being bundled as a pile of 100 and put into a basket, the ambiguous ones (blank, voting for multiple candidates, writing "WANK" next to all candidates but one (which had "NOT WANK" written next to it), went into a separate pile.

At the end of the counting the returning officer went through the ambiguous ones with the candidate or agent and explained if he would accept it or not.

This doesn't take long - it scales, and is fully repeatable by completely different people if needed. The problems that seem to occur are not in the count, but in the returning officers (who tend to be doddery old men) writing the wrong result down, and for some reason this result is final, but that's the same whatever the counting method.


My understanding is that the ballot is more complicated in US elections. You are not voting for a single MP, you are voting for a Representative to the house, and one for the state house. You may be voting for a Senator and a state Governor. You will probably be voting for a host of local officials. In many (most?) states, there are ballot initiatives (sort of like referendums) on various issues. It gets complicated, fast.


That's just numbers. You're making say 5 votes rather than 1. In some places in the UK we can have MEP, MP, Borough Council, Local Council and Mayor all elected on the same day, as well as local referendums.

That's not complicated -- just post each vote in a different box (paper can be different colours) and count them separately. OK it may take a day or two to find out who your local parish councillor is. Whoopee.


Just numbers. But leaving aside ballot questions (of which there are usually around a half dozen in Massachusetts, more in some places like California), there were 13 state-level elected officials in 2018 plus whatever county-level or local officials there were on the town ballot. So you can be making 20-30 choices. That's a lot of paper shuffling.


How on earth do you spend time to adequately research so many decisions without overload?


You don't really. There's usually lots of news about most of the ballot questions and the top state level offices. You may or may not be familiar with your local Congressional race and the lower-level state offices.

You probably start to get fuzzy about your state rep/senator. And are pretty much clueless about the county Sheriff, Board of Selectmen, and Register of Deeds.

In practice, a lot of the positions lower down on the list are running unopposed or have been in their position and seemed to have done fine for a while. Of course, this being Massachusetts, a lot of these seats are pretty much Democrat locks anyway.


In Colorado, we often often have ~15 ballot initiatives, as well as city, county, and state elections. That's on top of the federal elections. Most of our domestic policy is dictated at the local level rather than the federal level, and it is this decentralized nature which flummoxes our European friends.


Local referendums rather than representative democracy is odd - don’t you pay your reps to research the options and make the beat descision. I wouldn’t have time to understand 15 options

We tend to have 5 or 6 layers of government too so I don’t see the problem there.


We do not have a federal sales tax (i.e. VAT). Europe hasn't had yearly GDP growth over 1% in 25 years, and Europe is issuing bonds at negative % rates. The U.S. subsidizes the European military defenses and pharmaceutical prices to boot.

I have no issue with European countries sovereign decisions, but when Europeans project their ideas on Americans I take great offense.


Five votes is very low. 15-20 is common.


Was not wank counted as a vote?

Reminds me of the line from some American tv show where one character says "I don't vote, I just write down Jesus," and another says "we count that as a Republican vote."


Yup (although that wasn't at my count, or indeed election - there are rules about secrecy so I couldn't possibly comment on some of the actual comments)

https://www.joe.co.uk/politics/voter-writes-wnk-all-over-bal...


Here in Russia (and I assume in other countries too) we have rules where the mark can be put and where it cannot be, so if you write anything outside of the box, it won't be counted.


Since a lot of the ways we do things in the states are pretty ridiculous, I feel the need to clarify for foreigners that this does not actually fly. As I recall, it was only a few election cycles ago someone in my state had been convicted of vote fraud for for filling in the republican candidate option on votes that were left blank on ballots which had otherwise voted republican on every other vote. This amounted to two modified ballots.


Are you talking about the ballot harvesting in North Carolina, or the fraud investigations in Georgia? If it's the latter, we don't have any good way to estimate the impact because the ruling party destroyed evidence and canned the investigations[0]

[0] https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/07/26/poli...


Which combines the best of both (speed and audit-ability).

But you'd need mandatory random audits, and a legal requirement to keep the paper originals for up to years.

There's been cases of the paper ballots being destroyed while legal action was ongoing, and a never audited system cannot be trusted (because there's implied trust, not tested trust).


Again referencing Minnesota, because I've been an election judge and we have the best system in the US...

Mandatory random audits are part of the system. We get automated counts from the Scantron machines, but those are unofficial, preliminary. On election night, there are random audits of some number of voting machines for hand-counts, to detect systematic fraud. And the total number of ballots in each machine is hand-counted to make sure it matches the totals given by the machine.


We do not need speed for results. We can wait 1-2 days for security.

Paper ballots that are hand counted. Ideally, streamed live.


In Russia we had cameras on approximately half of polling stations (about 45 000) and the video was streamed online (the site didn't allow saving videos, but activists managed to write scripts to do it in a short time). The total expenses for this were about $41M.


I'd argue we've ended up here exactly because people are impatient and won't wait for results. If you design a system that declares e.g. the presidency two days later, you're going to run into a lot of resistance.


Use the stats to do it. Oregon does. Results come in fairly timely, and finals can take a couple weeks, depending.


It would be a way better feuilleton to get a trickle of the results during 48hrs.

More seriously, France has paper voting, yet results are published at 8:00:00pm, closing time of the last voting offices. How? Statistics. And only takes the night to confirm, when we’re on a 50,3% kind of results. And it’s already 60m voters; If it works for 60m people, it will work for 300m (especially if only 120m vote in USA).


> But you'd need mandatory random audits, and a legal requirement to keep the paper originals for up to years

Or you publish all the marked ballots, so that anyone who wanted to could do their own count to verify the results.

You can also design this so that any individual voter can check to see that their ballot was included in the count, and counted correctly, without being able to prove to someone else that they voted for a particular candidate (so that vote buying schemes aren't enforceable).

See Scantegrity [1] for a specific system with these properties, which can be implemented on top of existing optical scan vote counting machines. For a more general look at securing voting, see end-to-end auditable voting systems [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scantegrity

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-to-end_auditable_voting_sy...


Going with a hybrid voting system (say filling out paper ballots but having a machine count them, or using a voting machine and having it print paper ballots) isn't getting the best of both worlds, it's getting the worst of both.

To use a metaphor, it's not having 2 locks on your front door, it's having 2 different keys that open the same lock.

Say you have a hybrid system, and the numbers come in and the electronic and paper counts disagree. Which one is used as the true vote?

If you take the paper, then what was the point of the electronic? If you take the electronic what was the point of the paper? If you throw out all votes where the paper and electronic disagree, you just enabled any "fraudster" the ability to disenfranchise any subset of votes by breaking either system.

You also can't exactly pick and choose which to accept per instance (could you imagine the abuse that could come from that!?), and methods of "averaging" them don't really solve the problem as much as they make it marginally harder to pull off (to sway 1% of votes in a 50%/50% weighted system, you'd only need to hack 2% of the electronic machines). And of course using a significant "disagreement" between paper and electronic to trigger re-doing an election isn't a solution either because if they hacked it the first time, chances are they can do it again. Not mention that having a second voting day because the first was taken over by fraud is going to be a logistical nightmare, it will change who can come out to vote, and it may even change who/what people will vote for.

If what you want is an audit or a second count, then call for more exit polls or an explicitly secondary system. But this whole dual-voting idea isn't really a good one when you really dive into the dirty details of how it would work.


It gives you grounds to annul the result and re-vote, after re-verifying the software. You do open the possibility of secondary effects (votes not on the annual election day typically get much lower turnout) and denial-of-service attacks.


Relying on randomness is not good enough, not for voting. A chance, no matter how small, of a different candidate than the one actually voted in by the people getting in to office is not worth the risk.


No matter how small? What about one in a million? One in ten million? This is literally what statistics is for - randomness is a powerful tool against fraud, not some weak cop-out.


That chance always exists. Your choices are to minimize it or pretend it doesn’t exist, but there’s no way to actually eliminate it.


Why?

If the result is 49.999% vs. 50.001%, you cannot conclude anything meaningful about the will of the people. Maybe the weather was just slightly worse in a neighborhood supporting the losing candidate and it tipped the result slightly.

So even if the voting process is perfect, that close of a result is totally random for other reasons.

Most people don't seem to be capable of thinking about non-determinism like this, though. Witness the huge number of Americans who think the presidential election is illegitimate because Trump got 46% of the vote to Clinton's 48%, when honestly 46 vs. 48 is very little difference in terms of what they mean about the general will about Americans.

On the other end of the political spectrum, witness the amount of Brits who think a 52-48 vote to leave the EU is somehow relevant.

In calculus/analysis terms: this is why proportional representation parliamentary systems are better -- because the function from "how many people support which parties" to "what policies you end up with" is not discontinuous.

If the UK ran on a proportional system, they'd be getting some sort of very soft, Norway model Brexit. If the US did, a center-right Democrat like Clinton or Biden would be PM.


I was talking about random audits on top of targeted audits if suspicious activity exists just to be clear.

Routine double counting all votes would be controversial due to the high cost.


I've never seen anyone advocate abolishing recounts for close races. Random audits all of the time is an addition to current procedures, not a replacement.


We already have an 11% failure rate for the presidency, and it has nothing to do with recording votes accurately.


I'm also okay with a recipe based system, where a snazzy machine UI is used to produce a paper record of the vote.


I'd go the other way -- use machines to mark ballots in a human-readable way, so that manual processes can be used to validate the machine processes be questioned.

The whole electronic voting movement started because people had difficulty with ballots in Florida; a _good_ UI would help alleviate this.


This is how I've always voted in Florida.


The really dumb problem with those is that the vote counts are stored in removable media - back in 2000 they were often referred to as "cartridges", and when mandated to do a recount, certain election officials choose to interpret it as just checking again what vote counts were reported by the cartridges. Or worse, just checking their Access database again that they put the vote count into, to re-read the vote totals there. This is some of what happened during the 2000 recounts. Ballots that were supposed to be recounted were never actually physically recounted.

Still, better than touchscreens, if you can mandate audits and that recounts actually mean counting the physical ballots themselves.


> in Florida

This is not a vote of confidence for this particular method.


This is how New York does it.


Maybe yes. But in a populous country like India there were lot of issues when we used to vote with ballot paper:

https://www.quora.com/Why-does-India-not-use-ballot-papers-f...


Luddite. Electronic voting is inevitable, and far superior if done in a transparent untamperable way (eg. utilizing a publicly verifiable blockchain). I don't know why you guys have so much faith in paper voting when there are many instances of it being tampered with in even first world countries.


Nearly every demonstration of voting machine hacking has required unrestricted physical access to the machine and tools/keys.

Paper ballot boxes are just as hackable at scale with those requirements.


> Nearly every demonstration of voting machine hacking has required unrestricted physical access to the machine and tools/keys.

For that to be any consolation, we’d have to unconditionally trust those who have physical access to the machine and tools/keys.

Such trust is not necessary with paper ballots because they can always be hand-counted with supervision from both sides of a disputed election.

A vote count given by an electronic machine has no such auditability.

> Paper ballot boxes are just as hackable at scale with those requirements.

“Hacking” a stack of paper, e.g. ballot stuffing or destroying ballots, is something people can see happen. It’s not impossible, but it is very difficult to do out in the open with security cameras and the public there to watch. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but you tend to make a much bigger mess doing it.


Also, today an observer can take a video and instantly publish it on the Internet if something fishy is happening in the polling station, but nobody can see what happens inside a voting machine and whether it counts the votes properly. Electronic voting is a perfect tool for falsifying election results.


I appreciate your perspective, but these issues should be dealt with by citizens. It is not a global issue how the USA handles its elections. Foreigners weighing-in scare the shit out of our old people. That's how we get epithets like (((globalists))).


>Such trust is not necessary with paper ballots because they can always be hand-counted with supervision from both sides of a disputed election.

That assumes they aren't replaced at some point. For a nation-level election this is probably too difficult to significantly influence an election but at even a state level it's relatively doable with a little coercion and/or carefully placed individuals even in 2019 in the United States.

You also have the option to do voter impersonation in states without voting ID laws, again this would mostly only work at a more local level.

https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud documents 1052 CONVICTIONS of voter fraud in the United States with 1,216 proven instances.

Outside of the United States there are all sorts of examples, including standing out the polling places with force to let people know vote our way or we'll shoot you.


What you describe can be easily detected by an observer, who can take a video and instantly publish it on the Internet. You cannot take a ballot from the box so that nobody notices. But with electronic voting, you can replace the firmware and nobody notices anything.


>What you describe can be easily detected by an observer,

Have you never heard of bribes or threats? It happens with juries, I imagine it happens with poling places, and I imagine some of those convictions involved exactly that.

If you've reached a point where you are willing to tamper with an election, greasing some palms or finding something to threaten key people with is not going to make you lose a single wink of sleep or have any mental reservations or other hesitations. People like money, like a lot, and if you haven't the funds to bribe them with the 21st century offers a horde easily discoverable information about people and those close to them.


Here in Russia, every candidate can assign up to 2 observers to every polling station (and also one person to the election committee). As the people are chosen by a candidate, we can assume that they are motivated and you cannot easily bribe them.

Also, with presidential elections in 2018, there were no prior notifications and the government didn't know who was going to become an observer before the voting day, which was nice.

Sadly, you cannot become an observer by yourself, I don't like that.

I haven't heard about bribes or threats, but there were cases when an observer was taken away by police for allegedly being too loud and obstructing the voting. In recent elections, independent observers used a Telegram chat for coordination, so that they could ask for consultation or ask someone else to come to the polling station if something happened.

In Russia fraud is usually committed by election staff who often are public school employees, social care or government workers, people who are paid by the government. And typically they prefer to falsify results when there is no observers, they don't want to appear in Youtube videos.

Of course, in other countries the situation may be different.


Also, here in Russia, people who are observers, are often opposition activists, who dislike the government and for example take part in illegal protests and get arrested for this. This is the type of people that would be most difficult to bribe.


Sure, let's do like Russia and ban opposition candidates[0] from running in the first place. Russia was always founded on liberty and is a living example of it forever. No "blood and soil" or eugenics garbage from the Russians...Yes, that's sarcasm.

The Russian Revolution established a control-freak government that hated freedom; Lenin was a self-annointed genius. The USSR failed because the incentives were misaligned.

My grandparents immigrated from Russia when their parents saw the pogroms in the 1890s. Using scapegoats, promising free stuff, and fear mongering is over 100 year tradition. Emotion and anecdotes over data.

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/27/world/europe/moscow-prote...


I'm not saying that electoral system in Russia is perfect; it is constantly manipulated by authorities. They are very inventive and develop new techniques every time. Nobody can be trusted, because we saw how the head of central election committee was looking for excuses to justify banning opposition candidates that you mention and ignore their objections. The meetings were livestreamed and I watched hours of such videos trying to clear up everything for myself.

But this allows us to see what measures to ensure transparency work in such circumstances and what don't. We see that independent observers and paper voting at polling stations help to prevent fraud and electronic voting would be completely opaque and uncontrollable.


You banned so much stuff, you created the most powerful black market in the world: The Russian Mob.

I'm sorry to report that I feel your government is at war with my country.


> Sure, let's do like Russia and ban opposition candidates[0] from running in the first place

Holy whataboutism. Yes Russia is a far cry from a healthy democracy but that has no bearing in any way on paper ballots. You seem to have just changed the subject entirely.


Both sides of the political spectrum are increasingly believing that elections are not fair, and it's far easier for people to believe conspiracies (true or not) when electronic voting machines are involved. At some point we will lose the ability to peacefully transition power.

A successful voting process both accurately counts the votes, and is trusted by the people. Computers can count, but they are not seen as trustworthy by the people. Paper is more understandable and trustworthy. Even as a computer programmer I'm not sure I can trust electronic voting.

Thus, even in the absence of any actual hacks or fraud, electronic voting is inferior at a primary objective of the voting system, being understandable and perceived as trustworthy.


Election commitee (or whatever it is called in different countries) has unlimited and uncontrolled physical access to those machines and their keys. What stops them from uploading a firmware that would count every N-th vote for candidate A no matter what was voter's choice? How do you detect that?

Unlike electronic voting, paper ballots are much more difficult to manipulate. If a voter has marked a box for candidate X, you cannot change it or ignore it if there are observers. An observer can verify that voting goes according to the rules and votes are counted properly. The most popular way to "hack" paper voting is to organise groups of people and ride them on a bus from one polling station to other so that they can vote multiple times, but it is more difficult to do, and easier to spot than simply replace the firmware in a voting machine.

In the case with an electronic machine, you cannot see what's happening inside.


In Canada, each person is assigned to a polling station, typically a school, church, or community center near their residence. You present ID at the door and your name is crossed off a paper list. Your name is not on the list at any other polling stations.

You have the option to mail in your vote or to vote in an advance poll, but these options close a week before the main poll, so if your name appears on the list at your polling station, they're pretty confident you haven't voted yet.


How does one “simply replace the firmware” is a way that isn’t trivial to spot by an observer?

Assuming there is no external IO such as USB or Ethernet, someone would have to disassemble the machine and solder a programming header in order to re-flash the device.


Replace the firwmare (or even the whole motherboard) long before election day when there are no observers yet.

> to disassemble the machine

Is it that difficult?


Hack voting machines: trick or bribe an election worker to plug a USB drive into all the machines a week before the election.

Hack paper ballots: bribe the multiple people, including representatives from each party who cares to send one, to look the other way while you steal a box full of paper ballots and substitute your own.

It’s not impossible, but it’s much harder to mess with paper ballots at scale and much easier to secure them.


>Paper ballot boxes are just as hackable at scale with those requirements.

No they arent. You need one guy with physical access to to a machine, at any time, to screw an election, with manual counting you need everyone in the room conspiring to rig the election during the voting hours. With the possibility to volunteer to count votes and publishing the voting numbers for each voting station, you just dont get those situations.

I know its an unpopular statement, but having a democratic election is not a new problem to solve. Most western countries do it just fine. This is not a problem with the concept of paper ballots but a absurdly broken system.


Electronic voting machines run proprietary code which, AFAIK, was never publicly audited (AFAIK, the manufacturers have resisted auditing efforts bitterly).

How can you trust that the machine will behave as you expect in a "real world" setting, when the results truly count?

IMHO, the biggest risk from electronic voting machines isn't some rando swinging the elections with their 1337 haxx0r skills: the biggest risk is that the machines basically come "pre-hacked" from the factory - either intentionally, or unintentionally (bugs happen).


My concern is with the officials themselves. Everyone should be treated as untrustworthy.


In Minnesota, the problem of individual untrustworthiness is handled by putting multiple people on every task - and those people must be from different political parties. So any time ballots are handled, marked or unmarked, members of at least two different parties are present.

So simple, so effective.


That's how it works in the 9 states I've lived in personally.


Translate that concern into action. Volunteer to be an election official yourself and keep an eye on everyone else. Participate in how this thing works. It's really rewarding.


[flagged]


> paper ballots are a threat to the species

What? How?


He likely is worried about the printed paper and tree cut down. I don’t agree that should be a worry here but I think that is what he is getting at.


A few billion sheets of paper?


Paper is a renewable resource. Trees are replanted when we cut them down to make paper.


This isn't the 70s anymore; all paper companies nowadays use tree plantations instead of random old growth, which means paper is now only about as damaging as regular food products.


Intensive agriculture is very damaging.


just call your credit card company(ies)/banks and demand they stop sending you offers in the mail

this action alone will save an enormous amounts of paper, orders of magnitude more than is required for every democratic action you'll participate in with our super low tech future (paper ballots for all), and nicely reduces the amount of shipping/logistics etc. that your local mail delivery service has to do. massive win-win for the planet and democracy


> just call your credit card company(ies)/banks and demand they stop sending you offers in the mail

Yes, I already did that. Everyone should too as well.


The USPS has subsidized junk mail. I have a mail scale, 90% of the mail sent to me is complete junk. Non-market based entities have no incentive for efficiency.


Paper and mail-in ballots aren't without their problems too - vote harvesting comes to mind.


vote harvesting is only an issue with mail-in or absentee ballots.

in-person paper voting doesn't suffer from that problem, because you walk into the voting area, write your vote on a piece of paper, then you yourself place it into the box, and you can then stand there and watch the ballot box with your own eyes until they are counted, at which point you can count along.


Pretty sure this would be a good application for blockchain technology, which would work better than pen and paper and open to the public!


The problem with "open to the public" is it opens up an avenue of reprisal.

Let's say your parks department were headed by a libertarian guy who vehemently opposes using public funds to fill a landfill and turn it into a park and he finds out his deputy voted for the ordinance to spend the money on said park. He could retaliate.

Another hypothetical could involve your local councilman finding out which members of his district voted for him and which didn't, and using that knowledge to influence who's streets get priority when plowing snow this winter and which don't.

Any voting system, including those based on blockchain, should be designed in such a way that disclosure of someone's vote is entirely up to them.


Additionally, disclosure of one's vote can't be provable, or the failure to prove you voted "correctly" can itself invite retaliation.


Is this satire?

https://xkcd.com/2030/


I hope it's satire. Anyone who thinks that paperless voting machines are acceptable for non-trivial elections should first see https://www.xkcd.com/2030/ , and then look at https://www.verifiedvoting.org/


Paper ballot tied to a voter via a strong voter ID + electronic counting is the best of both worlds.

You get the speed of automation with a paper trail in case you have to go back and audit.

EDIT for those replying that you feel voting should be anonymous. With anonymous voting, how do you stop the "hey we just found this box of filled in ballots" ala Broward County Florida every election? If you can't tie a ballot back to a voter, how do you know the ballot is legitimate?


You don't need to trace individual ballots. You just need to count the number of ballots received against the number of votes signed in the registration books. With that simple audit, your whole "we just found this box of ballots" scenario falls apart. That box of ballots would have to be traced back to a precinct, which traces back to a book full of signatures of individual voters, and to handling signoffs by multiple election judges.

Just because Florida is unwilling to do it doesn't mean it can't be done.


>Just because Florida is

To be fair, I believe that is not the case across the state, just certain areas (i.e. county level).


Eh. If state law were clear, county-by-county shenanigans would be impossible. Florida's whole system is a mess.


Under a proper federalized system, that shouldn't matter unless one lives in FL. Let them handle their local issues how their voters see fit; they have voter initiatives there. The only people that have issues with the way things are done in other states are people that want to use the federal government to impose their standards and values on people living 100s or 1,000s of miles away (I'm ~2,000 miles from D.C.).


Bullshit.

Florida's electoral incompetence and corruption (probably) handed the 2000 presidential election to Bush. Because of that, we wound up with the Iraq war, and a mind-boggling amount of American blood and treasure (not to mention Iraqi lives) wasted on lies. Florida's inability to conduct free and fair elections has tangible consequences on me as a Minnesotan. So yes, I want to impose some standards and values on their elections, because their elections lead to MY president.


Very civil. I love reading HN so I can read "Bullshit." More intolerant authoritarianism is not the answer to your issues.


Pointing out that bullshit is bullshit is not "intolerant authoritarianism". It's simple honesty.

I'm not suggesting a federal takeover of elections. I am, however, pointing out that some states, like Florida, are running elections so badly that it harms other states.


I don't want anyone to be able to look at my vote and know who did it. That's a powerful tool for thugs and tyrants.


Are paper votes in the US not anonymous? Like... with two envelopes and stuff? I don't see where it matters if persons or machines count which cross is marked on the ballot there tbh.

Edit: thanks for all these clarifications!


Paper ballots in the US are anonymous. But the blockchain-solves-everything crowd sees blockchain-identifiable ballots as key to solving the problem of not having blockchain in the election, so they invented "But I need to see that my ballot exists!" as a justification.


They are anonymous, and I'm saying I like that. I'm only responding to the "ballot tied to a voter" aspect of the comment to which I replied.


In Ohio, they scan your ID, then keep track of the ballot number they give you.

Thus, if they audit they can be sure the ballot was cast by a legitimate voter.

If you don't tie ballots to voters, you go full Florida where they just keep "finding" boxes of prefilled ballots.

You MUST tie a ballot to a voter if you want your elections to have any integrity at all. There is no other way to prevent double voting, voting out of precinct, etc.


>If you don't tie ballots to voters, you go full Florida where they just keep "finding" boxes of prefilled ballots.

Broward county, 2016 election. They found a box of filled out ballots at the airport return in a rental car trunk... never a word about it again. Same county, defying a judges orders, the police stopped anyone from entering/auditing the count under direction of then admin Brenda Snipes.

Guess who oversaw Bush / Gore recount? Brenda Snipes.

What is the definition of insanity again?


The Bush/Gore recount was 2000, 3 years before Snipes was appointed admin; that being said her entire history is a tale of general incompetence culminating in getting kicked out last year for bungling the 2018 election so you aren't that far off the mark


A machine that produces no paper record that can be verified at time of voting by the voter can trivially be changed by the machine.

A lock generally needs to be stronger than the motivation of a would be thief. In this case we are talking about controlling the disposition of trillions of dollars so there probably isn't a lock in the world that is good enough.

Based on prior stories many of the machines aren't merely not good enough they are quite laughable and indeed often so old that no parts can be sourced anywhere because they haven't been made in decades.


How do you prevent duplicate voting, then (i.e. me casting 100 votes for Trump)?


Keep a record that I voted. Don't attach it to my vote.


Ok, and how do you verify that your vote was cast for X candidate (i.e. that the machine didn't count your vote for Y candidate)?

There's no way to do that without tying the voter to the vote somehow. Why not hash the voter ID + a secret of your choosing and store that with the vote? Then, even if counting by hand, you can verify your vote was indeed cast for X candidate.


Such verification would enable a market for selling votes.


Just make vote selling illegal then? Or just make verification onerous, so that you can only do it during a recount, not on-demand via the internet.

I would rather be able to verify that my vote was cast to the desired candidate than to have a strictly anonymous (but unverifiable) voting system.


Paper.


That's a trivial problem, long solved. In order to vote, one must be registered. Registrations are printed on a paper book for that precinct. When you show up to vote, you have to sign your name in the registration book. Then they give you a ballot.


Easily gamed without strong (physical presense) voter ID requirements.

EDIT: Mail in voting is skimmed with little to no risk. Oops, lost 1% of that zip code...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW2LpFkVfYk


Not really. The odd vote here and there might be gamed, but enough votes to statistically affect most elections is extremely difficult. Think about it. You need a voter, physically present at the precinct, matched up to a registration. What does that mean?

Assume a million votes are cast in an election. To move the needle 1%, you need 10,000 votes. And let's assume a single fake voter can realistically cast ten votes in different precincts, considering vote time and travel time (they can't just keep coming to the same precinct, for fear of recognition).

So you need 10,000 fake registrations, that must match real addresses, and you need 1000 people working all day at fake voting. One voter out of every thousand would be working for this conspiracy.

Now, you need to do this in complete secrecy. Nobody can talk. Nobody can gather evidence. They can't go to the police, or the media. Even one leak is enough to not only ruin the scheme, but create a nationally known scandal. And if it can be connected in any way to a particular political party, that party's name would be dragged through the mud across the country.

It's insanity. No one could safely pull it off.

You know what can be pulled off, though? Voter suppression. Make it much more difficult for certain categories of voters to actually vote. Such as poor people who might not have ID (or might hesitate to use it). Then, convince a large swath of the public - people like you - that this is about security, not suppression. That form of election manipulation is now seen as patriotism, not corruption.


Seems difficult to do. You'd need to know the name and address of the voter, and be sure that that haven't voted yet, and won't try to vote after you.

I can see that happening maybe a few times, but it seems ineffective on a large scale.


Most of that isn't true. When I lived in California, you simply asserted that your name was X, where X is someone on the list, and you got X's ballot. No need to know their address.

If they already voted? "Oops, I forgot."

If they haven't voted and come in later, so what? You're long gone.


In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we have two people cross checking each other to consult 3-ring binders of registered voters for the particular district they are assigned to vote in. Your name is check-marked as part of handing you a paper ballot.

This may sound laborious and slow but it should be enough to block repeat voting, IMHO.


I think lots of countries will stamp your wrist and check for a stamp before allowing a vote to happen. I could be mistaken, but something akin to this is possible.


Just mark it down on a list. Whether someone has voted is not a secret.


In Russia you need to show an ID (internal passport) to receive a ballot and put a signature into the voters registry. So duplicate voting is possible only with the help of election staff (usually in such case a person has something in their passport, or says a code word that gives a hint that he should receive a ballot without checking his name against the registry).


Then you could wash off the stamp and vote again


Why is the "speed of automation" important? Just hire more people to count if it's too slow.

Voter ID is entirely orthogonal to this issue. Tying ballots to a voter is not desirable, since it opens the door for voter intimidation.

Edit to respond to the "hey we just found this box of filled in ballots" comment: anonymous voting means you don't know how someone voted, but whether or not they voted is still public record. The number of ballots counted still needs to match up with the number of votes cast.


Voter ID does not tie the ballot to a voter.


The comment to which I was responding advocated it:

> Paper ballot tied to a voter via a strong voter ID + electronic counting is the best of both worlds.


How do you know you have to go back and audit except by looking at the forgeable vote counting results? Those results could easily be hacked to not meet whatever the criteria are for an audit.

Hand counted paper ballots are the only way to be sure, and elections are important enough to be worth it.


>Paper ballot tied to a voter

Nope. Ballots need to be anonymous. Otherwise you can be coerced into voting a particular way.


You can't do anonymous ballots.

With anonymous ballots, you can just "Find a box of ballots" and have no way to authenticate that they came from actual voters vs fraudsters.


For some weird reason, Germany has been doing the impossible for decades now. Nobody "finds" boxes of ballots here, and all votes are cast anonymously. Several people in this thread have already explained how this magic trick works (registration book, each voter is ticked off, number of ballots from precincts are counted against ticked-off voters = can't find thousands of additional ballots).


Unfortunately that doesn't work in the United States.

We regularly get precincts reporting more votes than are even possible given their total number of eligible voters.

Fraud in anonymous voting states is rampant here.


So you are basically saying it doesn't work because people in the US just don't care if there is obvious bullshit going on. Okay, great (or not so great for the self-acclaimed forefront of democracy), but why should that change if the votes aren't anonymous anymore? Why should people suddenly start to care if the results actually make any basic sense and aren't obviously either manipulated or erroneous?

Any precinct reporting more votes than possible given the numbers of eligible voters is recounted. If the recounts can't manage to arrive at results that make any sense at all the entire precinct is ignored. Where's the problem?


As far as I know, the secret ballot is present in every state within the USA. Could you please cite your sources if you have different info (I've lived in 9 different states)?


Yep, there were several counties where they "found" extra ballots that they missed during the count in 2018 in the US.

It was across both parties in multiple states wherein the "found" votes were heavily favoring one party or the other (a few were well outside 3 standard deviations from the current votes, even in areas that were normally not heavily favoring one side).


"Found" boxes of ballots have had their chain of custody broken, and must be thrown out. All interested parties should be able to follow the votes. Put them on a open trailer, covered with a clear tarp if necessary in transport.


You keep posting the "find a box of ballots" theory.

It continues to be implausible and easily prevented without de-anonymizing the vote or resorting to strong voter ID.


None of the replies mention that a secret ballot is a concept that goes back to ancient Greece.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot


You have to make that ID national, free, and easily obtained with very little to no wait time. Otherwise, it's going to disenfranchise those without time and/or money.


US Passport Card has all the features you want except for the "free"-ness thing.


...and except for the fact that the US Passport Card itself (DS-11) requires another ID card, so the same exact problems arise.

And those IDs usually require proof of residency and/or a copy of a US birth certificate, which can be problematic to acquire or prove in their own ways for the more vulnerable to disenfranchisement (such as the homeless) in our society.


Legislature may overcome that hurdle by amending the Passport Act, making the Passport Card free and internationally valid federal ID document on its own. And do not say that Birth Certificate is too costly.


You don't want to tie it to a voter. You can tie it to a voting group so you can audit the votes for the whole group instead of a single voter.


"audit" is a euphemism for recount. Recounts get challenged in court and are not guaranteed to happen.


Audit is separate from recount, though the capacity for the former is equivalent to the capacity for the latter. Audits can be done by third parties as a review without having the force of an official recount (for instance, this happened in Florida in 2000 after the official recount was ended.)

If an election method cannot be audited, it cannot be trusted.


It's the same thing. You can call the case where the counting is not official whatever you want, but the same bar exists. "Audit" requests get challenged in court.

Note I said nothing about whether recountability is a good thing. It's clearly a good thing. Hence we should stick with hand counted paper ballots since machine counting introduces trivial ways to game the vote.


Depends on what you mean by voter ID.


I would also add automatic recounting of votes if the electronic count is >1% of exit polls prediction, as well as some statistical recounting of various precincts to check if everything comes up as it's supposed to.

Finally, the punishments need to be strong, swift, and decisive if something does come up as being wrong. You can't just be "oh well, mistakes were made with the hundreds of thousands of mis-counted votes/purged voters. What can you do?!"

No way. None of that. All the people responsible in such a situation should be investigated, and if found guilty punished. Otherwise, there will be no fear of trying to steal the elections, especially if the upside is big.


What is a "strong voter ID"? This sounds like voter disenfranchisement or a poll tax, or both (and both are unconstitutional). Voters are not required to have ID, nor should they be. Not everyone has an ID, and many states have specifically passed laws to make it more expensive and more difficult for some people to get government-issued photo ID.

Without a massive outreach program intended to reach all voters and supply them with convenient, free of charge voter IDs, and a system that can continuously and quickly resolve errors, such a "strong voter ID" would be unconstitutional (for good reason).


Then we need to fix the problem of people not getting ID instead of using it as an excuse not to secure out elections


You're almost there. "Fixing" that problem - and you'll find many folks who don't want the federal government to have ID information for everyone - is not simple. In the meantime, multifarious ID laws will empower discrimination and disenfranchisement.


What about the disenfranchisement of citizens who's will is overrun by people not eligible to vote? Are you really trying to convince me that we should make our elections insecure because some people want to vote in federal election while simultaneously not wanting the federal government to have their ID. You do realize you have to register to vote right? Why should we all make our election insecure for people who don't even trust the government themselves?


Because its a free country, because a federal ID disenfranchises those who will find it difficult or impossible to get such an ID, because not trusting the government is the whole point of the US constitution.


It solves a problem that doesn’t exist in practice and is impossible to exploit at scale even in theory. It would be good, but it’s not terribly important.


"that doesn’t exist in practice"

It's ridiculous to assert that it doesn't exist in practice due to lack of evidence when in reality pretending to be someone else to vote leaves virtually no evidence. You can't even begin to analyze the problem so its laughable for you to assert such things.


> It's ridiculous to assert that it doesn't exist in practice due to lack of evidence when in reality pretending to be someone else to vote leaves virtually no evidence.

If it's happening at any significant rate, without perfect knowledge of which eligible voters won't vote (or have someone else try to steal their vote, which is just as bad for the prospective vote thief), it leaves quite tangible evidence in the form of people presenting themselves to vote under names that have already voted.

The absence of this occurring fairly strongly indicates that vote stealing by impersonation isn't a thing that happens at any meaningful rate.


Or people are smart and only pick names of people who haven't voted in quite some time. 2 out of 3 people don't vote. If you have ever volunteered at a precinct you would know that it's literally just an excel sheet of names and you're supposed to check someone off. It's very easy to check the wrong line and your failsafe is easily explained away as a mistake instead of raising any sort of alarm. There is no one investigating that people actually voted.


> Or people are smart and only pick names of people who haven't voted in quite some time.

If there was more than what vote theft operation in the same area, you'd still expect them to have collisions.

> 2 out of 3 people don't vote.

Wrong. A majority of the voting-eligible population votes in Presidential elections.

> If you have ever volunteered at a precinct you would know that it's literally just an excel sheet of names

A printed paper sheet, sure. Whether Excel is used in making it or not is immaterial (I assume it's generated straight from the voter database, which I hope isn't Excel.)

> and you're supposed to check someone off.

California state law requires the actual voter to sign in on the list; I would think that this is normal.

> It's very easy to check the wrong line

If it was a just a check off, maybe it would be easy.

> It's very easy to check the wrong line and your failsafe is easily explained away as a mistake instead of raising any sort of alarm.

Even if it was just a check box, you'd also need to have extremely lax procedures that all the poll workers and any observers were all in on for this basic integrity check to be routinely ignored.

Given the political factions interested in selling the idea of rampant voter fraud, you'd expect them to raise a ruckus if there were actual instances of this going on routinely.

You'd also have to either randomly mark off some non-voter (potentially creating a new instance of the problem) each time this happened or turn in a tally sheet where the count of marked voters didn't match the ballot count. The former would magnify the visibility of the casual disregard of integrity, the latter would definitely raise an alarm in counts.


If there is an observer in the polling station, how are you going to throw ballots in a box without them noticing? You need to find people who would pretend that they are voters. It only works when nobody is watching (when nobody cares).

Also, here in Russia, voters put a signature in the voters registry when receiving a ballot.


I love this argument because it exposes that voter legitimacy is not based on any sort of logic or evidence, but based on feeling more secure about it.

It's especially ironic.


It leaves a record that the somebody else cast a vote. This would be noticed rapidly if the real person then showed up to vote and was prevented because an impersonator got there first. If that doesn’t happen, you can ask them if they voted. For people you can’t ask and know that they couldn’t have voted (for example, the record is stale and they’ve moved or died) then you know that any record of them voting must be an impersonator.

How often do any of these things actually happen? It’s all public record. The data is there for analysis. And yet nobody can point to more than a handful of examples.


It is disenfranchisement. It can cost almost a hundred dollars just for the IDs to be issued some places. If you have lost some identity documents you may need to request records from other places to substantiate name changes. That is to say marriage licenses and divorce decrees. Gathering this additional documentation may require another hundred bucks easy.

The common reply to this is that you need these documents anyway to work, to drive etc. This is true but ignores all the peripheral people you don't see. People whose roles in their family are support or who themselves are in need of support because of illness. Not all of them drive or work and they are citizens too.

It seems to me that the easier solution is to make public records free. Let the taxes you already pay serve to pay the salary of the peon at the printer. Then the people clamoring for us to check ID's to keep the "illegals" from voting can be happy and those people can be enfranchised.


[flagged]


That list seems false in at least one case.

You don't need to show ID to vote at a polling place in Australia. And you don't need ID to enrol to vote.


You're missing the point about IDs being incredibly easy to obtain. They are not in the US. Additionally, there's a long history of using voting requirements to disenfranchise voters.

I can't comment on the countries in the picture you've linked. I'll guess that most or all of them make it both easy and required to have a national ID card. That is not the case in the United States.

Consider a working class non-driver who has never travelled overseas. What is their ID?

Would you propose a new state or federal ID card? Great. How likely is it that the state or federal government will produce a system for issuing these that is easy to access, widely available, free, quick to issue IDs, etc? How likely do you think it is that politicians will attempt to modify the system for issuing these IDs so that their opponents' voters will find it more challenging to receive them?

If your answer is "likely" and "unlikely" respectively, you are naive to the history of voter disenfranchisement and vote-system-gaming in the United States. Much of it is based on race.


That list is wrong. I'm in the UK, we don't need ID to register or vote here.


That's not exactly correct.

ID is required in some places like Northern Ireland. Iirc, the UK poll card isn't 'typically' or ID required in England, Whales, Scottland)

But as of 2018 that's changing when some districts required ID for the first time. Although last I heard, laws suits on that were still going on.


Very well. In the vast majority of the UK, you don't need ID. That checkmark on your list remains misleading at best.


What is this supposed to prove?


Your post is a logical fallacy - it assumes that other countries have the same history, laws, political structure and modern problems as the US does, which is a verifiably false assumption. Your list is also flat out wrong. Voters in Canada are not required to have ID.

Your list is also without sources and presenting an oversimplification of laws to the point of being presented in bad faith, with intentional misrepresentation of the original data. Your list is a lie of checkmarks, intended for propaganda and not to inform the reader.


I didn’t say a single one of those things. You just made some big assumptions.

Tell me more about Canada, this implies you may be mistaken. https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=ids&do...


I don't understand what you're saying at all. From your link, Option 3:

> Option 3: If you don't have ID

lays it out pretty clearly:

> You can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you.

No ID needed, anywhere in Canada, ever, to vote. Period.

And I made no assumptions whatsoever in my post. It is your graphic that is full of false assumptions.


That person needs ID to be assigned to their polling station to vouch for you. You’re being very stubborn.

Canada very effectively requires ID to vote, sorry that offends you.


Please don't post in the flamewar style to HN, and please don't use HN primarily for political battle. We ban accounts that do those things.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

cryptoz 29 days ago [flagged]

I really, really don't understand. Where did you get this information?? It is false - it is lies.

> That person needs ID to be assigned to their polling station to vouch for you.

That is absolutely not true. The site says,

> The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care institutions).

Nothing about ID. Just "prove their identity and address", which does not require ID.

> Canada very effectively requires ID to vote, sorry that offends you.

This is false. I am not offended by facts, or by your lies.

Canada does not require ID to vote. You are spreading lies by continuing to state that it does.

Have you ever lived there? Do you know anything about Canada from experience? You are lying and citing false information to claim falsehoods that are extremely dangerous.

Canada does not require ID to vote. Period.


Please don't start posting like this again. We don't want to have to ban you again.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: