In the last few days we have learned how to vote twice (or more than twice) on two different models of voting machines. And Whaddya know! One of them is the dominant machine in Iowa, the Diebold paper ballot scanner.
These two news items pretty much demolish what’s left of the credibility of the new voting gadgets. We now know that anything is possible with them–anything from fraudulant programming that could corrupt many machines to easily understood one-person ballot box stuffing.
Take the Sequoia touchscreen (which is not used in Iowa). Turns out there is a yellow button on the back that can put the machine at the mercy of the user, allowing multiple votes to be cast once the button is pushed. The details are on the internet.
Or take the popular scanner used at my precinct in Havelock, Iowa. Researchers at the University of Connecticut have described a way to cast the same ballot several times. They used two sticky Post-It Notes attached one the other. Then both are stuck to the tail end of the ballot, which thus gets a tail about 5″ long. You can see a photo on page 12 of the Connecticut report.
When the ballot is fed into the scanner it is tallied immediately. But it can’t drop into the ballot box if the voter holds on to its “tail”. By pulling the ballot back out and feeding it in again, another vote is cast.
This ballot box stuffing will work best on that razor close race for soil district commissioner or something else that is on the ballot in your precinct alone. No point risking sticky notes (or jail time) to boost your man if someone on the other side of the state is doing the same for your man’s opponent.
The Sequoia stuffing works best for someone with very long arms. Or someone who gets to take the machine for a sleepover.
So the story of new voting machines has reached its absurd conclusion, just in time for the election. Anyone still optimistic enough to have faith in them should make his case in the comments.