OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

President Obama mentioned last night that we need to fix the voting system.  Yes, definitely.

Fortunately, making our voting system work better isn't hard, we just need to look to people who've spent the time to figure it out.  Congress hasn't spent the time to research it.  Neither have voting machine companies, who simply want to sell their products to a captive market.

Who has?

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen won the Kennedy award a few years back for her incredible work in figuring out how to fix the modern broken voting system.  At the time, California was much like many states, with horrible electronic voting machines that have unverifiable and buggy software, bad user interfaces that sometimes don't work, and high expense and limited support which makes it hard to put out a lot of them to handle high voter turnout.

What did she do?  She began by starting the California "top to bottom review" of voting systems.  As we all know, many popular electronic voting systems are fundamentally flawed.  Unfortunately, many of the results came from the outside, and were both narrow and not taken seriously within government.  Bowen commissioned a study of California's voting machines to be conducted by actual computer security experts (led by two highly respected University of California computer science professors).  When she began this study, there was plenty of complaint from the usual quarters (especially the voting machine vendors) about how it was paranoia to worry about broken electronic voting machines and how counties should keep using broken machines since they had already overpaid for them.

The results were both groundbreaking and what we would expect - all three electronic voting systems in California were fatally flawed (a single voter could create a virus to compromise an entire state-wide election, among other problems).  Bowen decertified all the machines and returned us to optical-scan paper ballots, and has led other secretaries of state across the nation to re-examine their voting systems.  She was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for her work on voting reform.

So, what's the answer?  It's actually remarkably simple:

  1. Optical-scan paper ballots that can be filled out using an ordinary black pen. This makes fraud hard, is inexpensive, doesn’t require (limited-in-number) machines that then cause lines to grow long.
  2. Mandatory random hand recount of 1% of ballots, followed by increasing fractions for close races.
  3. Optionally, a limited number of electronic voting machines that print optical scan ballots for those who have bad eyesight.

Really, that's it.  There are of course policy issues regarding early voting, and the like, but the actual machinery of the voting itself is straightforward, and we just need to apply the learned wisdom of Sec. Bowen and her team across the country.


If you want to learn more about how to fix the voting system, please listen to Debra Bowen's brilliant talk, Dr. Strangevote or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Paper Ballot.  Her talk is a bit wonky but is filled with information, and when I first heard it a few years back I really felt like I got a grasp of what the challenges are and how the solution is actually simple.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to barath on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 06:17 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.