Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Hacking the vote.

Hacking the vote.

Boing Boing has a great blurb on using the absentee ballot as a way of avoiding the flaw-riddled fiasco that masquerades as electronic voting in far too many American jurisdictions. Is it possible that we could have a system of collecting votes that is based on the laughable principle of security through obscurity? Not just possible, pervasive.

I happen to be going on a business trip which will keep me out of state on Election Day, so I voted by absentee ballot this very evening, as luck would have it. I note that the Code of Virginia, §24.2-700 states, in part, that any registered voter who meets the following qualification may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which they are qualified to vote:

Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation, will be at his place of work and commuting to and from his home to his place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6:00 AM to 7:00 PM).

(For many Virginia voters who commute to Washington, and work a standard day of 8.5-9 hours, this is a trivially low qualification, given the state of Beltway traffic.) I also note that rescheduling one’s work away from one day and into another is a perfectly reasonable, regular, and orderly conduct of business in which we all engage daily. The absentee ballot application merely requires that you certify that you “will be working and commuting on election day from ___AM until ___PM,” and that you indicate your place of employment. (Of course you must also certify that you will not vote in any other place in that election, duh.)

Therefore, if you’re a Virginia voter whose district is plagued by the new wave of proprietary, unaudited, and unauditable electronic voting terminals, I recommend you consider voting as an absentee.

You still have time to request an absentee ballot.


  1. Nick Harbour

    One thing that really infuriates me about voting is the fact that absentee ballots are usually not counted. It would take at least an additional week to get all the votes in by mail then at least a few more days due to the manual labor involved with processing the absentee votes. It is quite obvious that this is never done since the definitive election results are posted within a day of the polls closing.

    Also, I followed the florida situation in closely in the 2000 election and they never counted the absentee ballots their either. Most people write off the absentee ballots as being an insignificant amount of people, or “wealthy people living abroad.” Being enlisted in the military I guess qualified me as too rich to have my vote counted. oh well.

  2. I thought that was only the case when the total number of absentee ballots wasn’t sufficient to change the election, or within a certain percentage thereof. The elections results, even when posted, usually aren’t certified by the state board for some time after the elections to make sure that this isn’t the case. Am I completely misinformed on that?

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