A famous US billionaire recently proposed that you should get one vote for every dollar you pay in taxes. I presume he is exemptinig sales tax because that would be harder to track.

As for "modernized voting"...

Since the introduction of touchscreen voting, anomalous congressional election results have been increasing. In 2000 and 2002, Senate and House contests and state legislative races in North Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Minnesota, Colorado, and elsewhere produced dramatic and puzzling upsets, always at the expense of Democrats who were substantially ahead in the polls. All of Georgia’s voters used Diebold touchscreen machines in 2002, and Georgia’s incumbent Democratic governor and incumbent Democratic senator, who were both well ahead in the polls just before the election, lost in amazing double-digit voting shifts.

In some counties in Texas, Virginia, and Ohio, voters who pressed the Democrat’s name found that the GOP candidate was chosen. It never happened the other way. No one reported choosing a Republican and ending up with the Democrat. In Cormal County, Texas, three GOP candidates won the touchscreen contest by exactly 18,181 votes apiece, a near statistical impossibility.

In New Mexico in 2004 Kerry lost all precincts equipped with touchscreen machines, irrespective of income levels, ethnicity, and past voting patterns. The only thing that consistently correlated with his defeat in those precincts was the presence of the touchscreen machine itself. In Florida Bush registered inexplicably sharp jumps in his vote (compared to 2000) in counties that used touchscreen machines, including counties that had shown record increases in Democratic voter registration.

Anyone still think online voting is a good idea?

When you have corrupt politicians who contract the private companies run by their buddies to create voting systems without any kind of supervision or integrity checks on the software, then, yeah, this is exactly what you get.

I don't see this as an inherent problem with online or electronic voting systems. It's a consequence of a complete lack of checks and balances in the creation and use of those systems.

For example, with traditional voting (paper ballots), there are also many opportunities for rigging the system. This is why there are regulations, laws, standard procedures, and various checks and balances in the process to make sure to prevent or detect fowl play.

The problem with all the incidents you just mentioned is that the private companies were just contracted to create a voting software, and their products were exempt from any checking, and were just blindly trusted and applied. Obviously, as a crony corporatist fascist, by bribing a few politicians, you can award the contract to one of your companies and rig the software in favor of your favorite lap-dogs (the GOP) (as opposed to your less favorite lap-dogs, the Democrats, which are still your lap-dogs too).

People tend to make the mistake of thinking that "machines don't make mistakes", and therefore, there is no need for checks and balances on them. Many of us, being programmers, know how false this is. The way I see it, there are three main problems:

  1. The software (incl. submission protocols) could have bugs;
  2. The company developing the software could be malicious (rig the votes, add back-doors, etc.); and,
  3. The software could be hacked.

I think that the first two problems have the same solution: auditing the code. Personally, I think that the voting software should be open-source to make sure that as many eyes as possible can have a look at it (I know that I would probably look at it before voting with it). That would guarantee transparency and would be effective at getting rid of any bugs in it.

There can also be rigorous test harnesses to make sure that there is a perfect match between votes issued and votes counted.

Then, there would need to be robust software signing to make sure that all voting machines (or servers) are running an authenticated version of the software that hasn't been tempered with.

And finally, voting servers and physical voting locations (and machines) would have to be secure against any kind hacking from the exterior.

I don't think that any of these problems are beyond our reach. We have good and effective solutions to solve these problems already. And I even think it could surpass the traditional methods in terms of being fair and secure. And my main hope in this is that if voting becomes easier / cheaper / safer, then democracy could be made more direct (i.e., more referendums on issues, as opposed to votes through representation).

The real problem is that we have the worst possible people running the show, i.e., people with no morals and no competence, but with friends with deep pockets. That's the problem we have never been able to solve, ever. That's why I'm all for any system that would facilitate the by-passing of the representatives, which are necessarily corrupt (i.e., they represent their donors, not the people).

no different really than have your black panther buddies parade with truncheons in front of polling stations in districts known to be overwhelmingly in favour of your opponent and telling people "you really don't want to vote today"...

I am prepared to name you a dozen or so examples of poll intimidation and vote rigging by Republicans in recent years. I presume your "Black Panther" reference was implying that Democrats have done the same. If you cannot cite examples then please refrain from making unsubstantiated accusations.

I presume your "Black Panther" reference was implying that Democrats have done the same.

I believe that jwenting was referring to an over-hyped occurrence where, at a polling station in a predominantly black neighborhood, one of the security person there (like they always have at voting stations) was dressed in a way that was reminiscent of the Black Panthers movement (all black, leather jacket, etc.). However, the guy just happened to be black and be dressed this way, and was in no way affiliated with the organization in question. But someone filmed him, just standing near the entrance as any security personnel naturally would, and those images went viral in the right-wing media circus. I believe there was also a similar benign occurrence many years ago. And that is, of course, enough for some people to conclude to some massive Democrat conspiracy. What is the point for Democrats to do intimidation at polling stations in predominantly black neighborhoods? I have no clue, but logic doesn't seem to be required for these crazy conspiracy theories anyways.

And when jwenting says "no different really..", I have to point out the obvious false equivication here. This is not a "tit for tat" case. There is a massive difference between a few flimsy anecdotal occurrences of a "mean looking" guy at a polling station, and tens to hundreds of thousands of predominantly Democrat voters being disenfranchised by a crony company that admitted to its "error". Not to mention everything else on the GOP's tab when it comes to trying to cheat their way to being elected, like gerrymandering, selective registering of voters, voter ID laws, bringing down the voter's right act, etc... There is no evidence of Democrats ever doing anything of a scope comparable to the GOP. And even if they did, it doesn't make it right for any of them to do it. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Here's an article about a year old that you might find interesting about Democrat votor fraud.

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This is funny. Two right wing parties accusing each other of fascism... Sorry fraud.

Democrats seem to be more right wing than our right wing lunatics (current govt) . No pinkoes!

Oh yeah, primary elections are so dirty, in every party. One thing is always guaranteed, the guy that is backed by the establishment and the fundraisers is going to win the primary.. the vote itself is virtually meaningless. Primary races are all about convincing the establishment of the party of that you have a better chance than the other guy to win the actual election. Once the establishment and the fundraisers have made their choice, there is nothing they won't do to guarantee a win for their favorite candidate in the primary election. Remember all the dirty tricks Karl Rove pulled on just about anyone standing in his way in primaries. It's the first time I hear of actual election fraud (as in, stuffing fake ballots in the boxes) in a primary election, but it does not surprise me at all.

In fact, primary elections are really where the real battles are fought. For a real principled politician to be able to get through a primary election and come out victorious, it takes a real miracle, because they always get crushed under the weight of the establishment lap-dog candidate's ability to raise funds and to pull dirty tricks. That's why there are so few non-lap-dog politicians elected, ever. By the time you get to the actual election, you have a choice between two corporate lap-dogs, and all you get to pick is the color on their banner.

And I agree with diafol, from a perspective of outside from the US, you guys really only have a choice between two very right-wing parties, with barely distinguishable policies for most of the issues that matter. This is not surprising, given that the exact same people fund both parties, with the except of a few donors on the margins (e.g., labor unions for DNC, and Koch-brothers and friends for the GOP) that don't represent much of the funding overall.