New system will allow user to vote on iPad, iPhone

“As the calendar rolls into 2014, the political season moves into hyper mode as state voters prepare to go to the polls to elect a governor and two U.S. senators and make other decisions in a mid-term election,” Ron Barnett reports for Greenville News. “Memories of long lines at the polls and questions about the state’s electronic voting machines are likely to recur.”

“Juan Gilbert, chair of human-centered computing at Clemson, envisions a time when voters will be able to cast their ballots online without leaving home, and when each vote can be verified without relying solely on electronic data,” Barnett reports. “For 10 years, Gilbert and his students have been developing a program called Prime III — Premier Third Generation Voting System — that can be downloaded to a tablet, computer or smart phone. The technology promises to be easier to use, cheaper, more accurate and more accessible to voters with disabilities than current voting machines, Gilbert said. Clemson is making the software available free, and several manufacturers — including the maker of the touch-screen machines now used statewide in South Carolina — are considering it, he said. The system will be used later this year in Wisconsin, he said.”

“The South Carolina Election Commission, however, isn’t considering any new voting system now, spokesman Chris Whitmire said,” Barnett reports. “The commission has asked the Legislature for $5 million in each of the past two budgets and been denied, he said. It plans to request $10 million this year, he said. Once funding is in place and the commission decides to replace the current system, the state would seek proposals, he said. The state spent more than $34 million for about 11,400 iVotrinic voting machines in 2004 and 2005, according to a report released last year by the state Legislative Audit Council. That’s about $3,000 per machine, compared to about $500 for an iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

51 Comments

        1. You’re absolutely right – I have no proof.
          But, considering the kind of data collected or that could be collected on most of us, and noting what companies like Facebook, Google, etc. already do with that sort of data, it isn’t much of a stretch to surmise that the NSA could put together a “dossier” on you or I that would be startlingly accurate as to all the minute details of our lives.
          Probably one of the more trivial details to them would be who we were extremely likely to have voted for.

  1. I don’t like electronic voting. It’s to easily doctored and it can’t be verified the same as paper. Besides the only time electronic voting is even counted outside of the machine is if there were some big deal that would cause them to go recheck. Paper ballets are solid proof of a vote.

      1. Indeed. But with paper that is marked by the voter, there is at least a decent chance of verification if the software end of the system is rigged, which we know from the Diebold voting machine horrors is entirely possible.

        1. Exactly – and most important, *average voters* can count and verify physical ballots.

          I’ll never trust a pure digital voting system. Well, I’d trust it, but not the bozo politicians in charge of it.

          1. On the other hand, the *average voters* can’t seem to separate the signal from the noise and swallow all kinds of BS from the political ads, pundits, and pontificating “entertainers.”

            1. Of course, being conversant with the latest research in neuroscience, we would hesitate to make sweeping claims about cognitive bias or intellectual corruption, lest we be revealed as fools even more gullible than those we delight in jabbing with our rapier wit.

    1. In Orange County California, we have electronic voting machines that also print out a paper ballet, viewed and approved by the voter, that is stored in case there is a recount. The speed and accuracy of electronic voting with a paper backup.
      The system also uses an LCD screen, wheel and big red & green buttons, kind of iPod like. A nice system we’ve been using for years. If you can’t figure out how to use this system, you shouldn’t be voting.
      Voting via iPad would be cool too.

    1. The problem with on-line voting is not a matter of making voting secure, but preserving the confidentiality of the secret ballot. Voting from home or any place with an internet connection provides the means for someone to coerce you to vote how they want you to, and verify you voted that way by watching you vote.

      What if your boss said he/she wanted you to vote for certain candidates and would fire you if you refused to let him/her watch you vote for those candidates? This can currently be done with mail-in voting and is why mail-in voting should be stopped. Paper ballots aren’t necisarily better. One of the ways the political “machine” kept control of Chicago elections for many years was to print extra paper ballots. The extra ballots were distributed to the union bosses to be pre-marked. If a worker wanted to keep his union card (and his job), he would have to show he voted the pre-marked ballot by returning the blank ballot he got at the voting booth.

      Electronic voting can help reduce coercion and fraud, but the votes must be cast in secret, which is best done in public places in voting booths.

        1. His is a specious argument to say the least.

          NAD doesn’t realize these very tactics ARE being used in the workforce today to sway voter opinion. Employers are filling the vacuum of voter information with their own brand.

          To me, any talk centered around voting should be treated like profanity; not tolerated in public, or the workplace.

          I no longer see a need to “gather” volunteers (“old” people) to set up complicated and controversial voting equipment in thousands of weather-prone areas around the nation, when anyone can enter a public library and vote online, or from home, using a unique ID.

          If I can file my taxes online, why can’t I vote online?

          1. For the same reason that you may or may not be able to enroll in the ACA (Obamacare) , and if you do, you may not be able to pay for it, and if you do your private information is not secure, and you hospital may not be able to verify your coverage.
            Other than that, it will be wonderful.

            1. “For the same reason that you may or may not be able to enroll in the ACA…”

              No, that’s not a reason, because online taxes appears to be the government’s killer app.

              Paying my taxes online just works. It’s an incredible advantage over those who don’t have internet access and with access to online healthcare I can refill prescriptions, pay bills, and read up on stuff.

              So, one fail does not a trend make.

              How hard can it be to log into an IRS-like platform and vote? Just as it is when I pay taxes, I do so using a unique key-identifier known only to me and the IRS.

              Their reputation as of late notwithstanding, I trust them and the banks with my life where my wealth is concerned, so why not my vote?

              All of my choices are made in RAM and I’m assured that when I log off, any trace of my session is gone.

              Unlike the current process, when I drop my ballot into the box; I’m never going to see that document again, and what assurance do I have it will be destroyed and not earmarked?

              Online voting should be like praying; known only to you and God.

      1. The hypothetical employer situation you’re describing is highly illegal, and I certainly hope that anyone in their right mind would immediately report said employer.

      2. You have a strong point. Mt company just put stickers in the men’s room stalls warning about “dawdling. Won’t admit they built a call center style building with too few bathrooms to save a couple bucks. (8 stalls for about 350 men, there are lines after lunch). I’m personally disgusted with management philosophy today

    1. It could lead to that, especially if all political advertising and promotions were confined to apps produced by the candidates camps themselves.

      Take it off the television, the radio, and the internet and keep it confined to simple applications posing as interfaces to the candidates and their message.

      By then, the general public would no longer be bombarded with all of it at once during each election cycle.

  2. Aren’t paper ballots just as susceptible to fraud as electronic transactions? I can understand holding out on presidential and state run elections…but I truly wish that local governments and amendments, and various other things we get to vote on would be on an app. It seems so easy. Give the app your zip code, and it populates with local government voting issues and any elective position that might be coming up.

  3. The state spent more than $34 million for about 11,400 iVotrinic voting machines

    Well, at least they weren’t suckered into buying POS Diebold/Premier Election Solutions/Dominion Voting Systems voting machines that anyone’s granny could rig within 5 minutes. Sympathies to California, Maryland and Pennsylvania who did fall for the scam.

    It all comes down to the security of the software employed.

    1. “It all comes down to the security of the software employed.”

      From your lips to Gates’ ears.

      It just sounds like a no-brainer to me and something each state could administer with the same aplomb and integrity as they do the Lottery.

      Lotteries and ATM transactions are private processes using a public kiosk, for which there is a receipt. We trust that software to manage our money and our winnings, so why not voting?

      If we can trust the Early Voter paper trail, I submit the online voting idea would negate any need for any early voting.

      Log in and Vote American™

    2. Absolutely. Unfortunately, the contract that purchased the Diebold machines considered the software proprietary to Diebold and prohibited inspection of the software by agents of the government. (Even after the president of Diebold promised to”deliver the election to Bush”)

      Contrast that with the software and hardware in electronic slot machines that you find in Las Vegas. Every line of code and chip in the device is subject to inspection by the Nevada Gaming Commission, both to protect consumers and casinos. There is no shortage of companies willing to provide equipment under those rules.

      Should we go to a national electronic voting system, and I think we should, we just need to have the right people overseeing the process. Every county election commissioner or state Secretary of State aren’t the right ones. It needs to be a single, national voting system, consistent and robust. The vote is the single most important Constitutional right and deserves protection.

  4. Anything that improves voter turnout/participation is a good thing, but will be fought tooth and nail by the right as the higher the voter turnout the lower their odds of winning are.

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