Re: Reflections on the election and implications for the OVC

From: Robert Rapplean <robert_at_rapplean_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 11:27:57 CST

Anthony P. wrote:

>Hi Everyone,
>What about the potential for using inexpensive game console machines
>like PS2 or XBox as voting machines. I think that I read here that the
>CalTech team had dismissed this idea but is it viable at all? The
>hardware is all standard, controllable, and reliable. They are easy to
>secure and cheap.
>Am I missing a major point here?
There are numerous problems with attempting to convert a gaming console,
although they aren't terribly obvious.

Platforms like the Xbox and playstation are manufactured as a loss
leader. They sell them at a loss, fully expecting to make up the cost
with the sale of games for it. That's why they're so cheap. If someone
was to use them in a way that didn't involve the future sale of games,
then the companies would complain and resist. This resistance would
mean that nobody could purchase them in bulk, which pretty much
eliminates the possibility of using them as e-voting machines.

It's possible that you could contract to bulk purchase them at a higher
cost, but I'm not sure you'd be gaining anything there.

Another problem is that their internal architecture is purposely
destandardized. They us a non-standard connector for their drives, for
instance. This means that they aren't repairable, which severly offsets
the cost benefit of using them. It also means that retrofitting them
isn't a simple or cheap process, which limits mass production of the

The issue with not being able to buy them in bulk also means that you
couldn't rely on new systems being available long-term, so you'd have to
re-invent the conversion process on a pretty much annual basis.

This all doesn't make it impossible, but it makes the idea significantly
less attractive.
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:08 2004

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