Microsoft Springs Up With A Free Voting APP Just Before The Iowa Caucus

I’m glad Bernie Sanders is casting doubt on serious concerns about his candidacy. “Some” might call him a conspiracy theorist, to shut down the conversation. It works every damn time in America. I’ve called it a post hypnotic suggestion in the past, and I’m still calling it that. As far as I know, none of the media has called out that particular big gun on Sanders yet.

I’ve always loved computers, but I’ll be the first one to tell you they don’t have any place in elections. A Computer will do anything the programmer tells it to do. The internet, in essence. is just a really, damned, big computer.

I wrote this letter to Bill Gates in mid 2006 on BradBlog:

AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL GATES CONCERNING VOTING MACHINES

Dear Mr. Gates:

I heard you on NPR’s “What I believe” series , talking about your hopes and dreams concerning computers and other very important issues facing today’s world. I too share your love of computers and have always thought they were the greatest invention of my lifetime. I even taught myself programming and published a little known program called “Cyber Print” for Atari in 1988 just before they went out of business. Don’t worry, I now own a PC and find it to be perfect for my needs.

Who could image a machine that could not only allow somebody to compose and orchestrate their own musical score, create incredible works of art, or think of virtually any question that popped into their mind and actually have the answer in the time it takes to boot up their PC and hop on the internet. Wow!

Many years ago I was with some friends, and the subject of computers came up. Somebody I had never met said something that seemed so stupid to me at the time, that for a moment, had put me in a state of rage! He said that computers were the “appliance from hell”. I was speechless that somebody could say something so ignorant and literally could not think of a thing to say.

Today, I feel he may have been right! Whether you are a conspiracy nut or not these days, nobody can argue that computers, intentionally or not, are keeping us from knowing our votes are being counted at the polls. Something so horrifying that apparently, people don’t want to believe it. This news is traveling slowly to say the least. Not from any lack of notification on my part though. Just ask anybody at the local news hotlines or members of the Voting Equipment Selection Commitee here.

I walked the streets and collected hundreds of signatures for a group of local activists in Utah last year soliciting for paper ballots. I even got to speak at a local rally for my efforts and told of my ease at gathering signatures from both sides of this 21st century political divide we find ourselves in. Although I didn’t ask, I assumed most of people I talked to must have been republican. Almost all of these people did not know that these machines were secretly programmed, but nearly everybody I talked to signed up immediately and were very appreciative that somebody was trying to fix this obvious problem.

Despite all my, and many others efforts and money, local officials elected to buy an unverifiable system for the 2006 midterm elections. I also understand the democrats aren’t planning to organize an exit poll this year. Maybe they are too busy getting one together for the next Kiev race! We all know how goofy those Russian elections can get!

This is where I hope you might come in. Although I don’t think it takes any great knowledge of computers to understand this problem, I’ll bet your thoughts on this disturbing matter would promote our cause faster then any thousand computer scientists. And I’ll bet those same scientists would be very happy to get back to their regular day jobs, and leave the task of producing verifiable voting procedures to competent professionals who get paid for that sort of thing!

I’m sure that your great American success story could only be enhanced by your bravery to come out against any corporation that would sell, or polling officials that would buy, a machine designed to count votes, without providing complete transparency. Some things are just too important to get all mixed up in a legal conundrum. In other words, they tell us we are lucky to live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I’m just asking for the right to have my ONE vote registered AND counted on election day.

Thank You!

When I got a forum on OneUtah, I published it again. I probably shouldn’t have included Bill Gates’s famous smiling mugshot. Maybe that’s why he never responded, even though it put me on Googles front page for about 8 years, and usually at the top. Try it: Type (an open letter to bill gates) into Goggle. I’m currently number one, but I’m interested to see what happens now. Read my whole post to find out why I don’t really trust Gates, and many others, in regards to voting integrity.

Here’s Microsoft’s reply to those who might have concerns about it’s new APP:

“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”

What we need, is hand marked, hand counted ballots. I’m a true Luddite about that!

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on January 29, 2016 - 12:46 am

    I’m on page three of Bing.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on January 29, 2016 - 8:31 pm

    What is the Microsoft voting app? Is there a link?

  3. #3 by Larry Bergan on January 29, 2016 - 10:54 pm

    You probably have to be involved with the leadership in each caucus to actually get the app, but there is a video which explains how it works on this page.

    The whole idea is silly to me. How is this going to make something like counting a few people and making a phone call to report that easier or more “secure”. I’ve come to hate that word since 9/11.

    Besides, this is a company built by a man who always succeeds in making things more complex and harder to understand then is necessary. Remember, this is the man couldn’t even pour a bucket of ice on his head without engineering an apparatus to do so. :)

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on January 29, 2016 - 11:11 pm

    The Republican party in Iowa is boasting about the massive training that has gone into teaching people to use the app.

    “Our plan can be summed up in three words: Training, training, training.

    This morning the Iowa GOP completed a successful test of its caucus-night reporting system in all 1,681 precincts.

    It’s a good thing they got rid of grandma and grandpa already, who weren’t interested in learning to use or haul 30 pound Diebold machines around instead of punch cards with rubber bands around them. :)

    And let’s hope this isn’t a Volkswagen repeat, where the cars computer acts differently while it’s being tested then it does in operation.

  5. #5 by Larry Bergan on January 29, 2016 - 11:23 pm

    One of the features of this miraculous tabulation system is that it will flag when more people show up to caucus then in the past, to alert workers of an error.

    Actually , that’s just what I was hoping would happen. I’m excited that thousands of young voters will show up, who probably haven’t been counted so far in polls because they all have cell phones.

    In Iowa, you can register at the caucus on election night.

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on January 30, 2016 - 8:55 am

    Last time around, the Tea-GOP reported Romney won the Iowa caucuses, then they said it was a tie, then Santorum won, and finally Ron Paul ended up with the most delegates. If they could tell us the actual winner the next morning instead of a month later, maybe it will be a good thing?

    • #7 by Larry Bergan on January 30, 2016 - 6:26 pm

      Romney seemed to have won because somebody entered in the wrong information and the people who were at the caucuses noticed the error. Nothing in Microsoft’s fancy software is going to prevent anybody from putting in the wrong information this time either. It will still be up to a lot of people to make sure that everything adds up. I could care less how long that takes.

  7. #8 by Richard Warnick on January 30, 2016 - 10:01 pm

    Iowa Political Parties Acknowledge Major Gap in Online Caucus Tool

    The systems were only built off the list of registered voters’ addresses. As a result, for new voters who have never registered in the state and who live at addresses where no one else has registered, the online feature does not work.

    Instead, when an address is not found in the system, users are confronted with a complicated set of instructions, telling them to look up their precinct name on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, and then return to the parties’ websites to look for the caucus location for that precinct.

    The process requires multiple steps and users must flip back and forth between three webpages. Both party websites also tell people they can call the party offices if they are confused.

    In Iowa, voters can register on site the day of the caucuses. The only catch: They need to go to the correct precinct site.

    Not just Microsoft screwing up, this is another problem.

    • #9 by Larry Bergan on January 31, 2016 - 12:39 pm

      “This problem impacts young people and new caucus-goers the most,”

      The exact people the Sanders’s campaign is counting on to insure a win.

      How about instead of Microsoft’s method of “securing” success…

      “Our plan can be summed up in three words: Training, training, training.”

      …we just simplify, simplify, simplify, and don’t add another layer of complexity into the matter.

      Plus, a lot of older people don’t want anything to do with computers of any kind.

  8. #10 by Richard Warnick on February 2, 2016 - 10:03 am

    Iowa Democrats push back on Sanders claim of lost votes

    The Democrats do not rely on paper ballots for caucuses — supporters instead physically cluster together and are counted by precinct chairs. That means there are no provisions for a recount on the Democratic side, since those events are not possible to recreate.

    It’s not the first time that the Sanders team has floated concerns about the process. One aide questioned the party’s use of Microsoft software to count the votes, considering many of the software giant’s employees have donated to Clinton.

    Don’t call it a “win”. Six coin tosses and fuzzy math determined Iowa vote lead

    Regardless of who ended up with a handful more of the votes in Iowa or how those results were achieved, the elected delegates are 22-22 coming out of Iowa, a tie. The Clinton campaign and corporate media however are already showing the results as 30-22, claiming that 8 unelected Super Delegates (sometimes called Auto-Delegates) are siding with Clinton.

  9. #11 by Larry Bergan on February 4, 2016 - 11:44 am

    This doesn’t involve Microsoft as far as I know, but the only video I saw of the caucuses, had one of the precinct captains manually phoning in the counts, saying the App wasn’t working.

    Des Moines Register calls for audit of Sanders-Clinton result in Iowa

    The Register, which endorsed Clinton, is calling for a full audit that would include a release of raw vote totals and the results of coin tosses.

    “Too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems,” the Register writes.

(will not be published)


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