Bulletin Board
Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
February 9, 2004

So, You Believe The Polls?

When Scams Become Totally Shameless

"People who vote mean nothing. Who counts the votes means everything." -- Josef Stalin

I've long had a theory that one should vote for the candidate one disagrees with the most, on the basis that the ineptness of politicians virtually guarantees they'll end up achieving the opposite of what they set out to. Now it seems that, such being the progressiveness of the times, precisely this is being set up automatically for us.

The Senate Republican Conference put a Web poll on its front page about the capture of Saddam Hussein. But the results weren't turning out the way they wanted, so they simply switched the inputs! That's right. If you voted for choice A, it was added to the total for B, and vice versa. Consistent, I guess, with the Orwellian precedents already in place, where liberation equals bombing and midnight arrests, and market economics equals looting a country wholesale, backed by tanks. The switch was confirmed from Google's cache of the page. Story

The same people who want to railroad through electronic voting with kindergarten security and no paper trail to enable any audit. They assure us the system is as secure as their integrity is impeccable. (If you buy that, I have some great rice-growing real estate near Okeechobee that you might be interested in.) A New York Times editorial, January 31, 2004, "How to Hack an Election," reports that when the State of Maryland hired a computer security firm to test its new machines, the hackers had little trouble casting multiple votes and taking over the machines' vote-recording mechanisms and changing its count from a remote location. Nevertheless, the machines' manufacturer rushed to issue a self-congratulatory press release with the headline "Maryland Security Study Validates Diebold Election Systems Equipment for March Primary." I guess the logic must have been the same as the Republicans used for tallying their poll.

In Boone County, Indiana, last fall, an electronic system initially recorded more than 144,000 votes in an election with fewer than 19,000 registered voters. Well, if those Iraqis won't appreciate free Democracy, it will just have to be forced on them.

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