A very sensible and fair column by Krugman on electronic voting appears in todays NY Times. Has he gotten the message?
*** Update ***
I am so sick and tired of reading about Krugman, reading Krugman, etc., that I now officially declare that krugman has jumped the shark and that this site will be a Krugman free zone (unless he unleashes some really egregious lies).
It’s not a frothy column, but it’s still fairly partisan. I can deal with liberal partisanship so long as it doesn’t run into Bushitler territory. In that respect, you’re right, today’s Krugman column is an improvement.
Reading the column, I never knew that the republicans stole the elections in Georgia! Of course, there is no evidence for this. But as Krugman heppily points out, there is no evidence to suggest it did not happen, either.
By next column it’ll be “Zeeple bop fickle fackle Bush BUSH BUSH!!” again.
Don’t worry, Donald Luskin can do enough fretting about Krugman to supplant the efforts of 200 bloggers with less resolve.
This piece has a partial response to Krugman… gee, what a shock that Kruggie doesn’t bother to go into the outrageous content of the memos.
Christ, guys. If we can’t agree that elections should be fair and verifiable, then we’re well on our way to Latin American style democracy.
In response to the suggestion that maybe we ought not rely on unauditable, demonstrably insecure voting equipment, Matthew grudgingly allows that perhaps Krugman’s got a point, but offers that this advice is “still fairly partisan.” As long as the commentary is obviously, indisputably spot-on, Matthew can abide it. Whew…
mark’s used to dismissing out of hand anything Krugman writes, so reflexively falls back on the old “election stealing crybabies!” routine. Read the column again, mark.
“To be clear, though there were many anomalies in that 2002 vote, there is no evidence that the machines miscounted. But there is also no evidence that the machines counted correctly. You see, Diebold machines leave no paper trail.”
You don’t see a problem with NOT being able to recount an election should it be contested? No issue with a complete lack of auditability? Can’t cross-check election results against poll logs – no problem?
My apologies in advance for mild ad hominems above, but this issue seems so fundamentally indisputable that I can’t believe you guys would not just say “Hey, he’s right here. Next topic.”
Umm. I did just that, James W.
BTW- I, for the life of me, can not figure out why paper trails were not part of the original design of these machines. For chrissakes- I get a receipt from an ATM without much hassle.
Actually, bloggers have been all over this electronic-balloting business for months. And not in support of it, either. I can’t think of anyone right of center who supports electronic balloting. And it’s not because we’re all neo-Luddites, either.
Krugman’s just caught the wrong (and less useful) side of the wave, this time. Sure, he’s right. But if he’d used up the same column space filling us in on the exciting new discovery that the Earth is not only not flat, it’s an oblate ellipsoid!, I think just as much disdain would be merited. And for the same reasons.
Well, Slartibartfast, I think electronic balloting with a paper trail is fine. Unlike optical balloting (which I tend to like best for cost/efficiency reasons) and the punch-card system, the ATM-style machines should not be susceptible to the under/overvote problem. Without a paper record, however, these machines could throw recounts into the lurch. So, to echo John, the question to ask of Diebold is why not have the machines give a “receipt”?
And James, I’m not denying that what Krugman is talking about is important, but even Yglesias lamented that Krugman may have distracted from the real issues by appearing too partisan.
“the ATM-style machines should not be susceptible to the under/overvote problem”
Agreed, provided that a) it’s implemented correctly, and b) no one has yet found a way to effectively (meaning, change the outcome without being detected) game the system.
As far as the optical processing goes, I think there are ways to prevent over- and under-votes. Such as complete rejection of any ballots that are not properly filled out, at time of reading. I think the key to accurate polling is to get an accurate initial count. It’s easy to screw over the recount by tampering with ballots. I don’t care for punchcard ballots because the count/recount process of the numerous problems with interpretation of what constitutes a vote.
Matthew, I’ll grant your point. The argument would have been strengthened by pointing to *Democratic* malfeasance with regard to voting.
The overall point of vigilance over how citizens cast votes and how those votes are counted stands, though.
Slartibartfast is right in that an initial, accurate count should be the first priority. As a backup, some sort of documentation must be retained. We can’t lose votes into the oblivion of 0’s and 1’s, and that’s why the whole Diebold issue is alarming.
M. Scott Eiland
“I am so sick and tired of reading about Krugman, reading Krugman, etc., that I now officially declare that krugman has jumped the shark and that this site will be a Krugman free zone (unless he unleashes some really egregious lies).”
Well, I ought to be able to get this egg boiled before *that* happens. Assuming I start now, of course.
What I have never been able to understand is why the USA feels the need to use all of these weird variations of ballots, voting machines, levers, buttons, chads (dimpled or otherwise) and now paperless electronic gizmos.
Use paper ballots that the voter marks with an X, put in a local polling place for every 1,000 or 2,000 voters and you get quick accurate counts by hand and readily available ballots for recount if needed.
The problem is, this really is a partisan issue. The Republican House Leadership has bottled up a bill (HR 2239 which would require voter-verified permanent records. I honestly cannot conceive of disagreeing with this bill for any reason other than comfort with the idea of stolen elections.
Did it die in committee?
I’m not convinced that it’s necessary (or proper) to dictate electoral law at the national level. But it’s been shown (in one case, at least) that the states won’t do it until they’re embarrassed into doing so. And the Constitution seems to provide for such regulation.
It’s not dead, but it’s not moving. I’m not sure if bills are sharks or not.
Well, my state’s enacting voting reform all by its lonesome, without the swell support of the U.S. government. Maybe you should get yours to do the same, Michael. At least it’d be something, instead of waiting for the political players in DC to do something sensible. I know I’m not holding my breath on that one.
…and since the States are independent countries sending representatives to a largely impotent Confederate government, I can completely see how voting irregularities in neighboring states would have absolutely no effect on legislation which could affect me.
Besides which, this sort of shit taking place in my country is just offensive unto God.
Anyway, both my home state of Illinois and my current home of Hawai’i are already on top of this. Next?
I can’t imagine God being all that fascinated in the exact manner in which we elect our pompous windbags.
So, who is next, Kimmitt? If there’s a rather concerted effort for states to get their electoral feces in a group, why have a federal law? I can’t think of a good reason.
And, as a note, this notion you keep bringing up that since I disagree with you, I must be against fair election, against rule of law, and against any conceivable set of human rights is getting tiresome. It’s only a slightly more wordy version of “traitor”.
There is a rather concerted effort for the “blue” states to get their shit together. There is a rather concerted effort in the “red” states to keep their shit from getting together. As with the Civil Rights Movement and so many times before and after, it falls upon the Fed to guarantee the basic rights of citizens in states dominated by conservatives.
The right to vote and have it reliably counted is absolutely sacrosanct. We do not get to wait around until some states eventually decide that it might be a good idea to grant it to their citizens.
Yes, I think that anyone who opposes a Federal law guaranteeing basic minimum standards is disturbingly comfortable with the possibility of stolen elections. You seem to think that I shouldn’t care if the next Presidential election could be undetectably decided on the basis of fraudulent results. I do.
Florida is in fact a red state and is in fact getting its electoral shit together. In light of that, it appears you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
Second, errors will occur in tallying votes, however hard you wish for them not to. If you want to talk about rates of error, I’d be happy to listen.
Third, you’re missing an entire other area of electoral fraud whos impact is potentially much larger than a few hundred votes of error across an entire state.
Fourth, I’m completely unwilling to grant you the claim that anyone who opposes Federal remedies to any and all problems is in favor of keeping those problems around. It’s fallacy, and continued indulgence in this fallacy is making you behave like a dick.
I tried really hard to care, but then I remembered that the GUY WHO OWNS THE VOTING MACHINE COMPANY PLEDGED TO DELIVER A STATE HE SOLD HIS MACHINES TO TO PRESIDENT BUSH.
The option, in this case, is either a Federal remedy or elections which cannot be trusted. If you oppose the Federal remedy, you at minimum tolerate elections which can be altered untraceably by the owners of the voting machines. This is not my problem.
This must be the manic phase. Context, Kimmitt? Hard for anyone to have delivered Florida when it’s pretty much different voting technology all over.
Heard of links? I know you can link; you’ve done it once or twice before. But maybe the manic phase is link-phobic. You’re starting to closely resemble the frothy expostulations one would expect from DU.
I apologize; Diebold has not, in fact, sold the systems to Ohio, but is merely one of the three companies certified to bid for the right to sell such systems.
So what we have is a potential horrifying scenario, rather than a definite horrifying scenario (though, of course, one rather worries about states other than Ohio which have Diebold machines).
I think there are likely enough Democrats in Ohio who, with fair-minded Republicans (I just know you’re laughing at that idea, but there do exist a substantial amount) can make (or are making) such cheating impossible to do covertly. And overt cheating on that scale would result in federal intervention. The spread in Ohio in 2000 was 180k votes, or 4%.
I’d be more worried about Florida, Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin and possibly Minnesota. Granted, most of those states have less than ten electoral votes. But cheating on a large scale is nearly impossible to hide; therefore I’m thinking it’s in the close races that you’ll see most of the cheating.
As for the doom-and-gloom thing, the idea that Ohio could do something stupid is not really evidence that they’re about to.
“But cheating on a large scale is nearly impossible to hide; ”
That’s the beauty of voting machines which don’t leave a paper trail — even if the cheating is painfully obvious, there is simply no way to prove it in a court of law without catching someone in the act red-handed.
Well, here we must disagree. If, for example, the state of California cast their electoral vote for a Republican who won the popular vote there in an 80-20 split, I think there’d be some questions raised. If Ohio all of a sudden became a state where the majority of votes were for a Republican candidate, eyebrows would be raised.
The only reason Florida is all of a sudden interesting is that it’s transforming from a historically blue state to a red state. If this transformation were to occur in a space of, say, a presidential election, I think there would have been hell to pay.
That said, Ohio needs to get its house in order. I see no reason why they can’t be threatened with getting the hammer from Congress in the form of an elections reform law, but I’d prefer for them to act within their own legislature to accomplish the same thing.
I don’t know why I bother to explain myself. Given that you’ve convinced yourself that I have no regard for the rule of law, and that I have contempt for the electoral process, I mean. So now I’m bugging out of this conversation.