On voting machines and tin-foil hats
Americans are having an election today. You may have heard. I'm not American, but I've still heard about it (for months). The last few elections have been rife with accusations of vote-fixing, cheating, and "hanging chads". This year appears to be no different.
A video showed up today on YouTube showing a voter using an electronic voting machine, selecting Obama and getting Romney. Apparently this type of thing has happened before, prompting The Simpsons to parody pretty much this same problem. Breitbart has also (although without any more than anecdotal evidence) claimed that the same thing has been happening to Romney voters, getting their votes changed to Obama.
This has set off the conspiracy brigade.
Now I want to make one thing very clear: it is very, very unlikely that this is any form of deliberate vote tampering. If it is, then it is the most incompetent vote tampering ever.
I fail to understand who would attempt to change someone's vote, and then show the voter. If a machine was going to deliberately change your vote, then it would do it silently, and not show you that it had done so.
I'm not saying that this issue is specifically the result of bad calibration, or poorly written software. All I'm saying is that the chances of this being actual intentional voter fraud are so tiny, that I could only imagine it being perpetrated by a cartoon villain who was too busy twirling their moustache to notice that they had completely ballsed up the execution.
So everyone, put your tin-foil hats to the side for a second, and focus on the real problem - there is obviously a bug in the software or the hardware which should never have gotten into production. If anyone should be blamed, it should be the company that makes the machines - not the candidates or parties they represent.