Sunday, April 09, 2006

Humboldt Voting Safe

or so says Carolyn Crnich, head honcho at County Elections.

Some, like Dan Berman, have been complaining about the accuracy and security of local polling equipment for some time. I've never been all that concerned about the issue. Sure, we should do all we can to ensure accurate vote tallies, but there's always going to be some way to cheat, if the powers that be want to do so. I've felt fairly confident in the ballots we use where you fill in the ovals with a marking pen. The machines that count the ballots? Who knows?

"It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes."- Joseph Stalin


At 2:06 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Dave Berman,not Dan Berman

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

Pogo checked out Dan's [?] GuvWurld blog. Pretty impressive. His "Peaceful Revolution" blueprint looks for all the world like a term paper for a lower division sociology class complete with footnotes citing the editorial pages and magazine sections of the New York Times and Washington Post. Wow! This is guaranteed to win an A+ from most of the soc profs at either HSU or CR.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"Dave Berman,not Dan Berman".

Oops! I knew that.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

What we need is a voting system which draws more voters to the polls,and allows them to cast a vote which truly states how they feel.Third party candidates will never go anywhere until something better is in place.Winner take all elections are always going to create riffs.I mean who is going to truly watch what happens to their vote cast
if they're voting for the lesser of two evils.Sure, the machine tabulation issue has been a problem in other places like Carolyn states,but we need a better system like ranked voting in place for people to truly care about what happens to their vote after its cast.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Fred said...

mresquan writes, "What we need is a voting system which draws more voters to the polls,and allows them to cast a vote which truly states how they feel.".

Agreed to, in part. The only problem I have with what you're saying, esquan, is that you seem to assume some collective wisdom lies in the masses. Most of whom, don't even think about issues until they show up at the polling place. A dangerous thought, indeed.

I support Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). But, to think that IRV is the answer to problems with our country's elections, is pretty naive.

I appreciate you bringing it up, but I think, as far as personnal liberty is concerned, IRV will do little to stop the erosion of personal rights. It might well make it worse, as we've seen with the supposed groundswell of support for Measure T, at least from what we've heard from Democracy Unlimited.

IRV might well serve to ensure, the "Tyranny of The Majority".

I don't care how many voters go to the polls. I want whatever voters that show up there to have a regard for personal liberty, and a belief in live and let live.

IRV does nothing to ensure that. I'm not sure that anything will.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

"...a vote which truly states how they feel."= the votes by asylum inmates driven to the polls by their social workers in New Hampshire and "assisted" in voting.

Third party candidates will NEVER prevail until the Constitution is changed to eliminate "winner take all" election procedures. Until then it's "the lesser of two evils". By the way, "peaceful revolution" is an oxymoron!!

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Fred,ranked voting won't solve everything,correct, but its certainly better than what we have as far as voting procedure goes.As far as something which would affect personal liberties,mail in ballots are probably the biggest risk,especially with the problems at our own post office here in Eureka.Seems easy to break into,and has happened a few times.I wonder how long they sit there before heading over to the elections office.Plus,you rely on someone else to cast your vote.Lets see IRV ensuring tyranny of the majority, I don't know,winner take all may ensure tyranny of the minority.I guess tyranny will always exist,just pick which one you prefer.

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

mresquan (Dave?) said: just cause I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not: a) trying to steal the election. b) kill me. c) shoot puppies. d) cut down ancient trees or e) going to outlaw idiocy.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Dave Berman said...


Your Stalin quote is where it's at. Your presonal "feeling" of being "fairly confident" in the ballots is based on...nothing. Carolyn Crnich's assertion that we should vote with confidence is based on...nothing. You are both speaking to how we cast our votes and you are disregarding how we count our votes.

In Humboldt County, we use Diebold optical scanners which contain secret and illegal interpreter code. Between the time your ballot is scanned and the results announced, the data is jumbled into the proprietary language of Diebold and we therefore have no way to know that what is reported as the outcome matches the will of the People as evidenced by their votes. Any "feeling" you have is based on blind trust. I suggest you set a higher standard and demand a basis for confidence. We can keep the ballots just as you like them. But let's count them by hand, in public, with lots of members of our community participating and watching.

Dave Berman
Download my new book, "We Do Not Consent"

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Say, that's a nice tinfoil helmet you got their Mister.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Dave writes: " But let's count them by hand, in public, with lots of members of our community participating and watching".

Seems to me that was exactly what was done in Florida after the Bush/ Gore election. They counted the hanging chad ballots, how many times- each time coming up with different totals? Yet we're still hearing that it was some scam.

We have machines count the ballots in Humboldt, but there is a paper trail.

Yep, somewhere along the line someone could always cheat. I would think that would remain a possibility no matter what system of voting tabulation used.

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry berman, but anyone who hangs out with david cobb is automatically suspect in my book.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Dave Berman said...

Um, anyone who posts anonymously is automatically suspect in my book...

Fred - the ballots from FL 2000 are not the best argument against hand counting paper ballots. Remember, those ballots were bad *by design*, hence Jews for Buchanan and many voters certain that they cast their vote for someone other than their preferred candidate. Not to mention all of the unjust disenfranchisement through purging the voter rolls. That's not completely connected to the counting but consider what situation we would have faced if the results weren't seemingly so close.

Your point that cheating could occur in any system is stronger. This is true. Even with a full hand count we would want to do audits to check the accuracy. Doing a second, partial hand count is one way. Some people argue that a partial (or complete) machine count would be good to check the hand count (as opposed to the other way around). This is, of course, predicated on having machines that are not secret, proprietary property of private corporations. Open Voting Consortium has an intriguing concept using open source code and a system that allows both hand counting paper ballots plus creating two electronic records for a built-in triple check of every ballot. To understand their proposal better, see:

I don't see a way around this: corporations have one responsibility which is to deliver a return on investment to their shareholders. Election outcomes can surely have a bearing on any company's profits and so there is an inherent conflict of interest to have private corporations making election equipment. Further, government has no inherent authority to outsource election administration to corporations. And further still, government itself has a conflict in conducting elections in that the very people controlling the conditions are those whose grip on power is at stake.

We need fully public elections from campaign funding to vote counting and every step in between. Elections exist for only one reason and that is to regulate the transfer of power from We The People to the government. So much of what we have to deal with to get this all straightened out is needless red tape thrown in our way to prevent the public from duly exercising its proper role and authority.


At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey... everyone who blogs is suspect in my book.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

berman and cobb are part of the wingnut crowd arguing that the 2004 election was "stolen." gimme a break.....

on the bright side, they constantly demonstrate just how kooky the left really is.


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