Open source election software

Read this article about the announcement earlier this week of an open source election system that was made publicly available. Now read this wee little blog post about why this isn’t providing us much in the way of guarantees.

The open source nature of the code is helpful in the long run, but it provides absolutely nothing in the way of assurance to voters. Ben Adida’s Helios Voting System provides voters with a cryptographic, verifiable receipt that their vote was counted. Commercial implementations or Open Source versions of this software would both still need to provide a cryptographic receipt. That’s your proof. That’s something that can support the weight of democracy.

Sorry, I Don't Speak Texan

Apparently, the Associated Press writers were up a little late last night… they must have been a bit slap-happy today when they wrote this article that appeared on CNN:

Before church, the president, clad in a tan cowboy hat, moseyed around the Rose Garden area, his dog, Barney, in tow.

Moseying. Clad. Tan cowboy hat. Towing a dog before church. It’s an impressive sentence, don’t you think?. I wonder how often George puts his cowboy hat on (“Lau-ra! Where’s my tan 10-gallon?”) before dawdling in the Rose Garden with Barney? It is an event that must be all the more awkward with three secret service agents in tow as well, as if they’re guarding some kind of important event that must imperatively take place.

Alternate Realities

What has amazed me since Jesus told Dubya to invade Iraq (to take away their WMD…, no I mean, to attack the al Qaeda there… no, I mean that Freedom is on the march!) has been the popular misconception that Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved prevacid with the 9/11 attacks.

According to a Knight-Ridder survey in 2003, 44% of Americans surveyed believed this. In September 2004, that number had plummeted to … 42%. In effect, almost half the population has a misconception about one of the most important events in recent American history.

For some reason, during the past two months, this number seems to have dropped off to around 20%, which I suppose represents some kind of an improvement that only 1/5th of America has bad information.

Should I be surprised about the information gap between the Kerry supporters and the Bush supporters? It’s a rhetorical question. Don’t answer.