Links: 21-03-2007

  • AP: Ohio Election Workers Sentenced
    Other than the ‘Hursti Hack’, one of the other main stories in Hacking Democracy was the manipulation of the recount in Ohio in a populous swing county, Cuyahoga county, which could have actually changed the result of the 2004 presidential election. Two of the workers shown in the film were found guilty of rigging the recount by handpicking the 3% sample so that it would match the overall result certified. They’ve been sentenced to 18 months in prison each. Why they rigged the recount and for who still hasn’t emerged, the judge said that “I can’t help but feel there’s more to this story.” This case (where investigations are continuing) shows that just requiring a recount isn’t enough, how it is conducted is vitally important.
  • BBC: ITV’s Ice final hit by vote fault
    In the continuing controversy over TV phone-in votes, Vodafone have announced that 11,500 text message votes were not delivered until Monday morning (the show was Saturday evening). ITV claim that this represented less than 1% of votes cast and would not have changed the result whilst Vodafone will be issuing a 50p refund for each text sent. SMS text is such an unreliable platform for communications, I’m glad the pilots are not trialling its use again this year. These stories also highlight the lack of scrutiny over the results counts for these shows, something that Avi Rubin touched upon on his blog recently with a shocking admission of reality TV viewing!
  • BBC: 10,000 passports go to fraudsters in 12 months
    This is astonishing. The UK Identity & Passport Service, the Home Office agency who will be responsible for issuing and administering identity cards, have wrongly issued 10,000 passports in response to fraudulent applications. How they know this number or can be sure it’s not more or less is an interesting question. The Home Office cite the figures as further justification for their plan to interview passport applicants. I think interviews, done properly, would be a useful but expensive measure. However one must wonder about the agency’s competence if this really is the level of fraud that they allowed under the existing system.
  • The Times: Drafting error scuppers move to beat election fraud
    It’s been known for a while but The Times chose yesterday to report on the flaw in the Electoral Administration Act which prevents electoral officers withholding ballots from electors whose signatures don’t match their council-held sample.
  • Heise Online: ES&S demos the wide-screen e-voting they want to sell in Germany (in German)
    Due to legal requirements over the effects of candidates not all being displayed on the screen at one time ES&S have shown a wide-screen system for use in Germany. It’s a shame they are flawed single-use systems because I’m sure schools could benefit from big touch-screens like that.