Midterm election day. With electronic voting and counting machines, you do not vote, and you do not count the votes.

A precise description of the materials used and physical actions done in an election in even one county from beginning to end has not been discussed, in the detailed manner that would be used if you described an automobile assembly line. The fine print of state laws passed to authorize or compel the use of the machines is equally important.

This whole scandalous mess originates with Congress, which passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It promoted the idea of electronic voting machines [1]. President George W. Bush signed it on 29 October 2002 as Public Law 107-252. Congress offered taxpayer money to try to hook states into the program, in section 101. Nothing like a little bribe money to move things along–

“Sec. 101. Payments to States for Activities to Improve Adminstration of Elections.

“(a) In General. — Not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services (in this title referred to as the ‘Administrator’) shall establish a program under which the Administrator shall make a payment to each State in which the chief executive officer of the State, or designee, in consultation and coordination with the chief State election official, notifies the Administrator not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act that the State intends to use the payment in accordance with this section.”

Section 102 offered additional money for states to replace punch card or lever voting systems. HAVA is a classic example of how Congress can get states tied up in a program that it could not directly mandate states to do.

On this midterm election day, 8 November 2022, reports came in right off the bat about problems with the machines, with people being told the machines were “down” or not working. In some instances voters were told to go to some other location. Problems came up early on in Houston and Temple, Texas; in Arizona; and even in West Windsor Township, New Jersey, where the police department said machines were down across the county, and voters were to vote on a standard ballot and put it in the emergency slot in the machine [2].

Election officials have tried to describe the problems as just little routine events. But it has been 20 years since HAVA, and millions of dollars of taxpayer money have been spent, or maybe into the billions over time, as Georgia gave Dominion Voting Systems a 10-year, $107 million dollar contract before the 2020 primaries, with $89 million to be paid in the first two years.

There is a technology that is now inexpensive: high resolution cameras. They can watch everything, from the box into which ballots are placed at the polling place, to the counting of the ballots by hand.

Gambling casinos have used cameras for decades to monitor their games. They can explain how to do it.

[1] http://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/3295/text

[2] http://nixle.us/E34S9

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23 Responses to Midterm election day. With electronic voting and counting machines, you do not vote, and you do not count the votes.


    If this conspiracy theory is to be believed, one could easily posit that don the con stole the election from Hillary Clinton.
    Or is this conspiracy theory only valid when a republican candidate loses?

  2. TTG says:

    I’ve voted by paper absentee ballot from 1972 until my first in person vote in 1996. In Virginia, it’s hand marked paper ballots. They toyed with electronic voting for a while as an option, but wisely abandoned that. Electronic voting is too prone to errors, glitches and, yes, nefarious manipulation. It’s even more prone to generating conspiracy theories. Paper ballots that can be manually recounted, if needed, seems the best option. And, as you stated, registration is also key. Registration is checked with absentee ballots and with in person voting. Seems like a good system to me.

    All the talk about voting machine manipulation by Dominion, the ghost of Hugo Chavez, Italian master computers or Jewish space lasers are fairy tales meant to scare the children or impressionable MAGA types.

  3. JamesT says:

    As a Canadian I envy you Yanks your 1st amendment, but I am extremely happy with our paper ballot voting system. I helped count votes in one election years ago and I consider our system unrigable … and we seem to get our results faster than you. To paraphrase an old English expression “It is not enough for elections to be free and fair, they must be seen to be free and fair”.

    • Bill Roche says:

      I agree but then, how many Canadians are there (and no counting the Indians, native that is).

      • James says:

        Our population is 1/10th of yours – but if we had 10 time our current population we would just get 10 times as many people counting ballots on election night. I think the methodology scales just fine (I also think that we stole our system from the British).

  4. Al says:

    This posting was pure speculative dribble when 1st posted, even more so now!

  5. scott s. says:

    Having had responsibility for design and maintenance of a nuclear-capable system, I have some appreciation of the problems involved in ensuring the system works and only works as intended. It’s a mix of both technical and administrative procedures. We’re probably not going to do psychological evals of poll workers to determine their reliability but there is clearly more we could do, and it doesn’t require prior assumption of conspiracy theories.

    A cornerstone of the admin procedures was the so-called “two person rule”, that physical proximity (access) could only be gained with two persons each having knowledge of the procedure to be performed and being able to observe performance of the other.

    For technical concerns, there was independent design and software code analysis. There was also a split technical approval authority, as the weapon was owned by DoD but the warhead by DoE.

  6. Fred says:

    From the initial look it appears that in every state that didn’t have electronic machines or “irregularities”, the vote matched with pre-election polling. In every state that reported “irregularities”, the vote didn’t agree with pre-election polling. On the high profile cases, Trump backed “Oz” sucked more than the wizard, and Fetterman. Georgia looks to be a run-off, no telling how Walker will do with regards to getting out the vote. Overall it looks like Trump has peaked and beyond his hard-core support is an actual drag in many otherwise winnable places.

    Worse than Trump was the GOP establishment machinery. Just what have they managed regarding candidate selection and assistance? (That’s a complaint I and others made regarding the DNC back when I was still active in the party. (Howard Dean being the biggest, but not very successful, proponent of such a strategy at the local and state level.)).

  7. different clue says:

    In my state of Michigan we cast ballots on the opti-scan system. We hand-mark legal paperboard ballots which are then fed into a machine for counting and storing. But at least the process starts with the physical analog paper ballot marked by hand with an analog ink pen as the first foot-print in the trail.

    If questions were pressing enough to demand calls for a recount, the legal paperboard ballots could indeed be counted by hand.

    If our system were pure electronic ( touch screen or other such), I would stay registered to vote but I would not vote until such a pure electronic system were replaced with a legal-paper-first-footprint system at the very least. ( Or if there were an absentee or mail-in voting alternative available in such a pure-electronic-on-election-day state, and the absentee or mail-in alternative involved physically marking an analog paper ballot with an analog ink pen, I would cast my ballot that way.)

  8. robt willmann says:

    From the point of view of an election thief, one of the nifty things about using electronic machines for fraud is that political parties are irrelevant. You can focus on the candidate you want or do not want.

    Some people in the Democratic Party complained about events in the 2004 presidential election between John Kerry and George W. Bush, which included the issue of electronic voting machines. And Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee put out a report called, “What went wrong in Ohio: the Conyers report on the 2004 presidential election”.

    Dominion Voting Systems made a pitch three times for its machines to be used in Texas — in August 2012, January 2019, and October 2019. But the Texas Secretary of State’s Office denied the sytem all three times. The letter denying Dominion’s application of October 2019 said that–

    “The examiner reports identified multiple hardware and software issues that preclude the Office of the Texas Secretary of State from determining that the Democracy Suite 5.5-A system satisfies each of the voting-system requirements set forth in the Texas Election Code. Specifically, the examiner reports raise concerns about whether the Democracy Suite 5.5-A system is suitable for its intended purpose; operates efficiently and accurately; and is safe from fraudulent or unauthorized manipulation.”


  9. Jose says:

    An election has three parts — a voter registration list, voting procedures, and counting the votes — unless you divide the last one into two. That will make it: a voter registration list, voting procedures, counting the votes, and an official announcement of the results.

    There is another part: verification that the vote is a valid vote. Florida uses the sign and dated vote by mail ballots certificate which are then verified against the voter registration list, signature verification process, and finally the ballots and the security certificate are stored. You can request to see your personal ballot if you want.

    Counting the votes means they are tabulated and results are published within a certain time period. Tabulation begin before the election after a request is granted by the Secretary of State for x number of ballots on y day. Ballots are held in closed rooms with limited access and under camera with a Dade county police officer who looks like he is about to fall asleep. Access to the ballots are limited and they track entry. The tabulation process is broadcast on the web.

    If rejected, you have the option to request an text message, email or robocall in English, Spanish and Creole Haitian (Dade County is officially trilingual). The process of curing your ballot is simple but, might be too much for older people. You can request help. If you cheat there is an election crimes division of Florida.

    I’m expert since SWMBO forgot to sign her ballot and it was my fault.

    Technology is very helpful when used for good not to steal elections.

    Look at Philadelphia they change the rules of the vote on election day concerning verification of ballots. Detroit had magically appearing ballots in the middle of the night, again. Arizona does not know how many people voted or apparently how to run voting machines or count. Maybe their neighbors Mexico can show them how to hold free and fair elections.

  10. Fred says:


    That included forcing Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes from office.


  11. elkern says:

    I’ve been following issues of computerized voting for years. As a (now retired) Programmer, I heartily endorse Randall Munroe’s take on this:


    Ballotpedia has a good list of Voting Procedures used in different States (see link at bottom).

    The worst “voting procedure” currently in use in USA is “Direct Recording Electronic” systems (DRE), where voters touch a screen to indicate their choices and the machine (theoretically) records the results. Some of these machines produce a “Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail” – a printout of the choices the machine recorded. These can be stored for verification of Recounts (but there can be other problems). The worst case is “DRE without VVPAT”, where there is absolutely no way to verify or audit the results.

    There are only eight State where “DRE without VVPAT” was used in the 2020 election; seven of those are solid Red States, where Republican officials controlled the process. Louisiana is the only State where *all* voters use DRE without VVPAT; six others (IN, KS, KY, MS, OK, TN) use it in some cases but not all. New Jersey is the only Blue State (though with GOP Governor 2010-2018) which used some DRE without VVPAT in 2020.

    So I have a hard time taking Republican complaints about vote-rigging seriously.


  12. Jose says:


    My point is that the machines might be flawed but, flaws can be exploited.

    Stormy Patriot Joe
    @stormypatriotjoe . 1h
    22 million people live in FL
    7 million people live in AZ

    In FL we provided same day results
    So why can’t a state with less than 1/3 of the
    population do the same?

    A.) Cheating
    B.) Cheating
    C.) A & B

    • TTG says:


      Florida begins processing early ballots long before election day. That’s the way it should happen. In Arizona, and especially Maricopa County, it’s a different story. This is from an AZCentral opinion piece addressing Mark Finchem’s impatience with the slow vote count.

      “It’s what happens when you and your fellow election deniers tell Republicans to drop off their early ballots at polling places because they can’t trust the mail or a drop box. As a result, 290,000 early ballots were dropped off on Election Day — compared with 175,000 in 2020. Another 80,000 were returned or voted in the three days leading up to Tuesday’s election.
      Now those ballots must be processed and the signatures on each one verified to ensure they are legitimate votes. Or would you, Mr. Finchem, rather the county skip that part?”


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