Thursday, March 20, 2008

Absentee ballot voter fraud

I've long had my suspicions about the potential for fraud with absentee ballots, and this article out of the UK shows just how easy it is to abuse the absentee ballot situation. Someone actually used this to rig an election! This is a tricky issue, because obviously we do not want to disenfranchise folks who cannot make it to the polls, whether due to travel, work or disability, but a lot of states, including California, are trying to move as many people to vote absentee as possible.  We've already seen problems with stolen ballots in the state of Oregon, which votes 100% absentee. I wonder what it will take to get the powers that be to seriously look into the implications of all of this.  Not that voting in person is much better. I reregistered with my new name this year, but my polling place still had me under my old name. They let me vote with a normal ballot (vs a provisional one) anyways.  Also, my parents said that for years after I left Indiana my name was still listed at the polling place by their house. 

1 comment:

  1. It's like everything else dealing with security, computer or otherwise: what is the hazard, what is the probability of the attack, and (directly from these two) what is the risk? It's not like vote fraud has been unknown before computer voting, and there have certainly been suggestive examples here in recent years, eg, King County WA, where uncounted ballots kept showing up until enough were found to turn the election for Governor. By some obscure coincidence, King County has a fairly strong machine government of the same party as the eventual Governor-elect.
    Or, of course, the recent question in New Hapshire, where there were arguments that Diebold had turned the election to Clinton. Later investigation, however, showed that in fact the voting machine votes had fewer errors than the paper ballots.
    What we *really* need is an investigation of *both* approaches and an estimate of the error rates and threats; then we have a chance of making an intelligent choice.