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sabbat hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:21 PM
Original message
vote on mechanical/lever machines
what is wrong with the old fashioned (But accurate) mechanical machines for holding elections. prior to the election starting, it is checked by members of each of the major parties to makes sure everything is zeroed out. a tally of how many people voted at each machine is done, must match the number on the side of the machine at the end of the day. the vote totals on each line are there for you (just need to add up if candidates ran on multiple lines.) each machine holds about 500 votes. if multiple machines are needed for a ED (election district) they are there. (if there are 750 registred voters in an ED then there are 2 machines for that ED, if there are 1000 then there are 3 machines, just in case)


in places like NYC a precinct has easily a dozen EDs each with 2-3 machines. and the tallys are done relatively quickly.

plus the machines can be "locked" at the end of the vote, in case a recount is needed.


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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. I fist voted on those machines in NYC
It was even fun. You could double check to make sure you pushed down on the correct levers. And when you pulled the curtain open, the vote tallied and all levers popped back to neutral.
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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. We used to have them in VA; they were great.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Make that "first" voted
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skylarmae Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. this is exactly what I have been harping! gets my vote, but my vote
doesn't seem to have been worth much lately here in Utah...Born in NYC though and never actually got to vote there, but my father ( NYC police officer ) swears by them. Says virtually no way to screw them up. Wishing and Hoping for some changes soon, cause if the election isn't a landslide, I fear we are in for much mischief...
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Those can be rigged also, but the scale is much smaller and the
chance of getting caught is much greater
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sabbat hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. extremely hard to rig
any rigging would have to be done one at a time and easily caught as the machines are sealed with special numbered tags. if those tag numbers dont match up the police are brought in to investigate immediately.



any vote can be rigged if the will is tehre, but with mechanical lever machines it is far harder to do.

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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. I agree with you that the ease and scale of of rigging
punch machines is very different than with e-voting.

One draw back (or it used to be considered a drawback, until we got the black boxes) was undervotes.

Have you read the book Vote Scam? It deals with a documented casew of election rigging in Miami/Dade in the early 70's

I read the first 5 chapter (which are online for free here) http://www.votescam.com/chapters.php


It's a facinating story. It deals with rigging punch machings. But as you say, it isn't easy and it's much more liable to be discovered by a real investigation.
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Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 03:18 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. SHAVING votes on these machines, won't be caught easily.
Once the individual machine has metal shaved from the pull handle, it will lose a small percentage of votes, maybe lose all the votes. The side of the machine will indicate the number of voters. The candidate's count will be low. Bunch of people went into the machine and did not vote for anyone will be the excuse, just as it is now with undervotes and overvotes. Year after year, good candidates will know which machines should have your opponent at which location on the individual machine board.

Not hard to do nor hide.

Paper ballots. People readable. Machine readable if we have lots of money.
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
5. Until Diebold in GA, those were the only kind I ever used to vote.
My county sold all of ours to another state. :( I miss my lever machines. You could even write in a candidate if you slid open a little door which revealed a piece of paper on a roll.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. There is nothing wrong with them.
Edited on Fri Aug-25-06 01:03 PM by Bill Bored
Studies show they have as low an undervote rate at the top of the ticket (which is the only reliable way to measure undervotes) as any other method. They don't allow overvotes, even with write-ins. They can only be rigged one machine/one race at a time, manually. They do not allow vote switching. And you can't "program" more than one lever machine at a time which makes it very difficult and time consuming to rig an election, esp. without getting caught.

In NY State, the undervote rate is about 3/4%. This is comparable to any other method and much better than some. And there are ZERO overvotes.

Al Gore would have won FL 2000 if that election were held on lever machines.

Sometimes the counters can get stuck on 99, 199, etc. and you get a few unintended undervotes that way, but there is no evidence that this favors any particular party or candidate. And the machines can be inspected to make sure they work in the event of an election contest, even after the fact.

You also can't stuff or steal the paper ballot box, which is one reason why levers were invented in the first place.

They are a low risk alternative to electronic voting and don't be surprised if NY State keeps them beyond 2006 for everyone except disabled voters who have trouble using them.

I know they don't provide voter-verified paper records, but they are the only form of automated voting that is NOT computerized. Computerization is one of the primary reasons for requiring VVPRs and audits, but of course most states don't even bother with that!

Some will say that levers have high down-ticket undervote rates, but in my opinion, this is NOT a reliable way to measure undervotes. I've seen punch card results with lower down-ticket undervote rates than other voting systems, yet it's been well-established that punch cards have among the highest rates of undervotes at the TOP of the ticket.

When you look at the big picture of ALL the risks, including ballot definition programming errors (virtually impossible on lever machines without them being discovered), e-voting system failure rates of 9.2% allowed in any 15 hour election day (according to federal standards!) and the potential for scalable wholesale attacks on e-voting systems both before and after the election, thoughtful people will realize that lever machines have a much lower risk than any e-voting system. The only way to approach that lower level of risk with an e-voting system is to hand count a SIGNIFICANT number of paper ballots and compare them to e-vote tallies. This option does not even exist in about half the states and only a few states actually require it; those that do, have not even defined what a significant number might be.

We are long way from making e-voting as safe as lever machines.
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sabbat hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. down ticket undervoting
i think many times there might be "undervoting" on the down ticket elections, like local judges, etc because people either dont know about the candidates or dont like any of them (judicial races are often cross endorsed giving voters little choice)


i think we need to push lever voting as the way to go.

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I agree.

And I wonder if the down-ticket data is noisy, as febble might say.

I like Bill Boreds presentation of that info.

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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. I like them.
I was a poll worker in Rochester and we used them.

A bloody nuisance to move around, but reliable. Every number at the end of the day was read off and written down by teams, one person from each party on each team. A bit cramped with a lot of people in them, but that rarely happened (mostly a parent with underage kids, showing them how to vote).

The problem, as it was explained to me in 2004, was that nobody made them anymore: every year the county had fewer. The technicians scavenged those that had broken to keep the survivors up and running.

My favorite kind of voting. It leaves a mechanical record that can be verified later; with the two-ledger accounting system that we were encouraged (registration book + extra-legal listing of names), it was hard to beat.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. K&R.
Yes, the good old days.
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Einsteinia Donating Member (645 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
12. Well, the Chicago ones were riggable!
California State Senator Debra Bowen has regalled many a story of her youth when everyone knew one could rig a lever machine by simply sticking a pencil in the gear to make it pass that ballot option. By the end of the day the pencil would be ground away with no evidence left to examine.

So, not all lever/mechanical methods are equal. And when the paper trail is merely a paper with holes on it, there's always the issue of what those holes actually corresponded with.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Many levers have no paper Einsteinia. Poll workers write down the totals.
Edited on Fri Aug-25-06 05:33 PM by Bill Bored
It would require thousands of those pencils to rig an election. And if they don't leave a trace, how come "everyone knew" about them?

Let's see what kind of luck Debra Bowen, whom I admire greatly, has with a 1% audit and toilet paper VVPATs in the great state of CA.

Right now there is NO e-voting system that is safe enough to use in an election without EXTREME precautions being taken by poll workers, elections officials and voters, none of which seems to be happening. Logic and Accuracy tests, as performed, are often a joke and there isn't enough auditing going on after the election. Until these issues have been resolved, none of these systems should be allowed to be used in an election. Just like the NY Regs say:

Section 6209.11 Temporary Provision

Notwithstanding any other regulation, no voting machine certified after May 1, 2006 may be used in any election until the State Board adopts regulations for routine maintenance and testing, voting system operations procedures, and central count procedures.

Well good luck with that because no one else has come up with anything that really works and that's actually being implemented!

I know some will be defensive about this and they have made great strides. But frankly I think it's all still a big experiment:

See how many errors can be detected on computer hardware, 9.2% of which is allowed to fail every 15 hrs.

See how many votes can be switched without detection using bogus L&A tests, spotty post-election audits and unaudited ballot definition programming.

See how many voters actually bother to verify their VVPATs.

No thanks. I'll risk the pencil trick any day.
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