"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." Communist Tyrant Josef Stalin

The Purpose of an Election . . ..

March 16, 2000 NA (Network America) e-wire


The Purpose of an Election . . .

"The purpose of an election is to throw the government out . . ." - that's at least a paraphrase of what Howard Phillips said in his acceptance speech in 1996 in San Diego, California at the US Taxpayers Convention (now the Constitution Party).

Today we conclude our internet voting series for now with two articles. Again, NA comments will be interspersed throughout.

First article:

Election.com tells voters no excuses--register online

By Patricia Jacobus

Staff Writer, CNET News.com

February 22, 2000, 4:40 p.m. PT

Election.com, an online voting service, is making a strong attempt at shaking awake apathetic voters by offering registration on the Web.

(NA comment: What do you want to bet Election.com and all associated with it want voters to be interested enough to vote, but want them to remain apathetic when it comes to questioning whether the results published at the end of the day are real?)

The privately held company, which is based in Garden City, N.Y., today announced the strategic acquisition of NewVoter.com, which provides online voter registration technology.

"By this we think we're going to increase voter participation, especially in segments of the population that, for whatever reason, don't participate in elections," said Mel Schrieberg, Election.com president.

(NA comment: I have a strange feeling Mel Schrieberg will be willing to leave those citizens behind who don't vote because they don't believe the published election results are real.)

The Internet has played a major role in this year's presidential campaign, with candidate Web sites drawing volunteers, donations and hundreds of constituent emails, industry experts say.

Although early signs show that political activity on the Web has increased, the real measure of success will ultimately rest with voter turnout on election day in November.

(NA comment: Never mind whether we have any idea of whether or not the published election results are real.)

That's where Election.com is hoping to make a difference.

During the Arizona primary elections in March, Election.com will provide roughly 800,000 Democrats the ability to vote online--a convenience, Schreiberg says, that could motivate more people to cast their ballots.

With today's acquisition, Election.com also is making a push to register eligible voters.

"People move all the time, and it takes them a long time to re-register to vote," Schreiberg said. "With this they can do it from their living room in their pajamas."

Mark Strama, co-founder and former chief executive of NewVoter.com, will join Election.com as vice president.

(End of article)

Next article:

Florida pushes online voting

By Courtney Macavinta

Staff Writer, CNET News.com

December 11, 1998, 1:35 p.m. PT

Florida residents may be the first to cast ballots for general elections using Net protocols, as a plan to set groundbreaking technical standards for online voting in the state moves forward.

The sunshine state's Division of Elections today said it has proposed rules to set up certification and approval of hardware and software for the implementation of electronic and electromechanical voting systems statewide.

The state is moving to adopt the "Florida Internet and Intranet Voting Systems Standards," a policy that will set minimum standards for all voting systems to transmit untabulated ballot images or ballot data through the Internet or any intranet. But the system will not allow voters to cast ballots from their home computers--instead the systems will be set up at the polls.

(NA comment: We'd love to see these protocols if anyone ever gets ahold of one.)

"This is cheaper, faster, and better because paper ballots are very expensive," said Paul Craft, computer audit analyst for the elections division.

(NA Comment: Hey, Mr. Craft, the purpose of an election is to count the votes properly and in a verifiable manner. It doesn't matter that it's expensive. Honest elections are worth the cost because they are supposed to be to domestic security against domestic enemies - what National defense is to defense against foreign enemies. … And, ya know what would be cheaper than internet voting, Mr. Craft? Let's not hold an election at all; we can just let Dan Rather and Ted Koppel tell us what the results are at 7:30 PM. That would really save money!)

"We are not politically ready to do [remote] Net voting in this country, but we are getting there," he added. "We are moving quickly technologically."

The details of the rules will be hammered out at a December 29 workshop, at which the community and various technology providers can give their input.

Florida's move will no doubt be closely monitored by lawmakers in other states, many of which already post campaign finance reports online or handle voter registration via the Net. Florida offers both services.

The state's latest initiative marks its second foray into online voting.

Secretary of State Sandra Mortham announced a pilot project in 1997 to let members of the military or citizens who were out of the country vote online through an electronic ballot book that instantly registered their votes with the supervisor of elections. But the project never received federal funding and ultimately was canceled for this year.

"It was not ready to run for the November general election, as we had hoped, because of the lack of federal funding," Craft said. "But currently we are hoping we can do a pilot as early as March or April."

Observers said that Net voting has yet to become widespread for a wide variety of reasons--from concerns about security to a strong desire to preserve tradition. Fears of ballot-tampering online, along with various state laws prohibiting voting over telephone wires, have hampered efforts to make the Net a legitimate polling place for public elections.

(NA comment: Oh! Darn those cumbersome laws that use to protect voters from the likes of today's election officials!)

However, makers of automated voting technologies say Net voting is progressing faster now than it was last year at this time.

"Internet voting [technology] is a project we continue to work on, and we anticipate that we will deliver a product to the marketplace somewhere down the road," said Todd Urosevich, vice president of election services for American Information Systems, which has been selling services to automate election processes since 1978.

"Security is a concern with any voting system, obviously," he added. "But we want to be prepared to deliver products when the individual states deem it appropriate to offer that avenue to their voters."

(NA comment: You deliver these products when the individual states are ready - with or without the security in place??)

Urosevich wouldn't discuss the developments his company has made so far in Net-voting systems, but said he expected to see a product on the market within the next two years.

Florida, for its part, is particularly sensitive to concerns about voter fraud. A study by the state's Division of Elections this year showed that 58,000 voters in the state were likely registered in more than one county.

(NA Comment: Florida has one of the very worst records on voter fraud and electronic voter fraud. Janet Reno and a man named Malone are implicated very convincingly in the Collier book, Votescam: The Stealing of America.)

Moreover, Secretary of State Mortham supported legislation passed in the state to curb ballot-box stuffing, by requiring the last four digits of a new voters' Social Security number in order to confirm that what a person lists as his residence on voting registrations is where the voter actually is living.

(End of Article.)

That ends our series of days on internet voting for now.


Jim Condit Jr.
Director, Citizens for a Fair Vote Count

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