November 19, 2003

Comment spamming and Verified Voting

I recently received a message about "black-box voting", an issue I'm very concerned about. Unfortunately, 1) the message was "comment spam" attached to an older posting and 2) has very little to do with the mission of this website.

 Comment spam is a real problem, both for the unlucky recipient (whose site is basically being hajacked for others' purposes) and for the well-meaning commenter, who risks hurting the cause he or she cares about. See Movable Type's website for more information about this problem and how to deal with it.

My policy on this site is that I reserve the right to remove any comments I deem inappropriate, and that includes comment spam, no matter what the subject. If you aren't responding to one of my blog entries, and you want to ask me to post information about something, then email it to Otherwise, prepare to see it go into the virtual wastebin of the web.

That said, I do think that the problem of closed-source voting systems which lack a paper trail and can possibly be tampered with is a major one, so I include the message I received below, including the email address of the sender. If you have questions, feel free to contact her. I hope everybody out there who cares about making sure we still have a democracy to pay attention to this issue and pressure the powers that be... And for Sally, if you're reading this... if you want to get the word out, please do it by emailing website owners directly and asking them to spread the word — you'll get a far more positive response.
Greetings!  I am asking for your help to ensure that computer technology be used responsibly. After the worms and viruses earlier this year, it is clear that such technology can be abused.  Do you know that computer professionals have been trying to sound the alarm about touchscreen voting? They are stepping forward to say that the 2002 Help America Vote Act all but invites vote tampering. For more information, please see the November 3 issue of Newsweek ("Black Box Voting Blues") and the New York Times article available online "Machine Politics in the Digital Age" by Melanie Warner.  In this regard, do you know about the Verified Voting web site and the petition on the Working Assets web site (found under "Activism")? If not, please lend your name to these efforts to prevent the computer manipulation of elections and spread the news of these efforts which are so central to keeping faith with our nation's democratic ideals.  Here are the actual web addresses: There is a place where you can endorse the proposed legislation. I believe it's on the left side of the page. This site was put up by a Stanford computer scientist, David L. Dill.  The Working Assets petition is found at To sign the petition look at the right side of the page for a reference to the petition.

 Thank you for your consideration.

 Sally Morita
 a concerned American citizen