hack the vote
Voting in America is so annoying, it can make you miss the days when we were presided over by inbred British monarchs bound by laws of primogeniture.
Okay, nothing is actually that annoying, it’s just the royal baby fever talking. But voting in the U.S.A. is stuck in the mid-20th century. It’s a procedure that could use some updating, for the sake of both accuracy and convenience.
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The Instagram army is out in full force today, smartphone drones snapping pics of every step of the democratic process, from the long polling lines to the braggadocious “I voted” stickers. But here’s a helpful PSA for anyone voting in New York state: those cutesy Instas could actually (technically) land you a misdemeanor.
According to Think Progress, sharing a ballot (or a photo of a ballot) after you’ve marked down your choice could actually be against New York State voter laws. NY Election Law 17-130 reads that a citation is in order for any person who “shows his ballot after it is prepared for voting, to any person so as to reveal the contents, or solicits a voter to show the same.” The Citizen Media Law Project confirms that “photos or filming of own marked ballot” is prohibited.
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Superstorm Sandy washed and blew away some polling places and displaced thousands of residents in New York and New Jersey. New Jersey, in an effort to make sure every voice is heard, has enabled voting via email.
New York didn’t want to go with the email voting option because officials feel it might be vulnerable to fraud.
Writing in Norman’s “Security Exposed” blog, Norman’s vice president and GM Darin Andersen examines the problem of email voting.
Mr. Andersen writes that polling machines may have their own security problems but admits there hasn’t been reliable evidence of hacker interference in previous elections. However, Mr. Andersen is wary of email voting:
The Argonne National Laboratory’s Vulnerability Assessment Team specializes in assessing security weaknesses. They examine physical devices like locks, seals, security tags–and voting machines. How easy is it to hack certain brands of voting machine? Turns out Argonne’s Roger Johnston discovered it was way too easy to hack the touchscreen Diebold Accuvote-TSX. That’s a little alarming, since versions of this machine will be used to cast up to 9 million votes on Tuesday, November 6th. (You know, tomorrow.)
In an article in Popular Science magazine, Mr. Johnston explained that he used a “man-in-the-middle” hack on one of the Diebold machines, simply attaching a small microprocessor that allowed him to essentially interfere with whatever the voter intended to do. Worse still, Mr. Johnston says you can do this with pretty much any voting machine, because as far as he knows, most of them are not encrypted. One thing, however, works against any would-be voting machine hacker’s malevolent, vote-stealing intentions:
If last week’s memeification of fired Big Bird is any indication of a trend, this is the world’s first GIF elections and debate-watching now consists of sitting around waiting for your joke to go viral.
RoboRomney, which you’re likely to start seeing in your Facebook Newsfeed, is on the more incisive end of the political meme-critiques (meme-tiques?).
It’s a single-serving web site that inputs your political positions on a list of topics and spits back matching Romney quotes and video montage, showing that Mitt has–at one point, at least–supported every position you could possibly take on an issue.
Social media has played an increasingly important role in elections over the years–just ask the Obama campaign for confirmation on that. But there’s one frisky feline who’s using the platform to drum up support for a Halixfax mayoral campaign. Meet Tuxedo Stan the cat: He’s running for mayor in Canada, because why the fuck not?