July 14, 2024

Avi Rubin's Election Judge Experience

Avi Rubin, the John Hopkins computer science professor and leading critic of e-voting, has posted a fascinating account of his day as an election judge in Baltimore, Maryland, using the new Diebold machines.

UPDATE (11:00 AM): It must be noted that the polling place where Avi worked was not typical. Everybody seemed to know in advance who he was. One of the other poll workers just happened to be an experienced Diebold trainer. Very senior Diebold executives just happened to show up before the polls opened to make sure everything was okay.


  1. hunbergurg says

    PS: I can imagine glazing eyes when shiny voting machines are introduced in austria. the only thing missing here seems to be a, preferrably local manufacturer with ties into the political parties.

    PPS: computers really excel at counting; but who wouldnt miss eg. a in statement of bank account the single transactions, if only a sum was presented… the tax office perhaps?

  2. I am from Austria. Here elections are held about once a year (alternating state, district, community, presidency), typically on sundays. Votes are paper ballots, during the day filled in secretly in small chambers at the office and thrown into a big box. In the evening, votes are count manually.

    I can think of only one advantage of using machines to count votes: results are available more quickly. Not to be able to cast an invalid ballot (eg. two parties or no parties, aka. white vote), is not one, because thats not the same, as not voting at all.

    Results may not be published, as long as the last office hasnt closed. But statistics are very accurate, and about 2hrs later, the estimates are only off by less than 1%. Quite impressive, and quite cheap.

    There is one turn in Avi Rubin’s story: Using machines for counting will _not_ help reduce the manpower required to hold elections. Which was eg. interesting to the Swiss, who have elections nearly weekly:) The only difference is, american poll workers can leave the office an hour or so earlier (depending on number of votes to count) than their european colleagues.

    At the price of no evidence but the number of votes cast? With nobody watching over the counting procedure?

  3. Avi Rubin’s Day as an Election Judge

    Johns Hopkins University Computer Science Professor Avi Rubin is a bete noir of the e-voting industry, having been one of the authors of a famous dissection of the security flaws of one e-voting vendor’s machines (Analysis of an Electronic Voting…