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Most of the opposition to electronic voting machines comes from the same lunatic left that insisted on replacing punch ballots with high-tech solutions in the wake of the 2000 presidential election. To a nation sick of hearing about pregnant, dimpled, and hanging chads, this appeared to be a good investment in electoral confidence. Now, however, touch-screen voting and the venerable Diebold corporation appear at the center of every paranoid conspiracy theory, the latest version of which came from Cynthia McKinney after Hank Johnson beat her like a bass drum in a marching band.
Marc Danziger argues in today's Washington Examiner that we should not leave the issue with just the conspiracy theorists. He says that electronic voting machines are far less secure than the average nickel slot in Laughlin, a situation that should concern all voters:
Let me be very clear: The machines in use to count your vote aren’t remotely as secure as the video poker machine that you lost $5 to at the airport in Las Vegas. Seriously. You can look it up. Go over to the Gaming Standards Association (www.gamingstandards.com) and surf around. If voting machines were as well-tested, none of us would worry about them.
Bad as the machines’ security is, the voting systems surrounding the voting machines are so laughably insecure that no modern American corporation could use them, for fear of a Sarbanes-Oxley indictment of executives and directors.
Consider the recent special election here in California. The local San Diego County Registrar set up the election by allowing local precinct workers to take the machines home with them the night before.
I don’t think that specific election was hacked. But one of these days, one will be. And worse, as faith in the plumbing of democracy fades, what’s going to happen is that — like the proverbial banana republic — the losers in our elections won’t walk away vowing to do better next time. Instead, they’ll be convinced that the game is fixed, the referees bought, and that there’s no reason to participate in electoral politics.
That’ll lead to a whole other kind of politics, and I don’t think we’ll like it very much.
This entire mess sprang from the insistence on the Left that people could not possibly be relied upon to complete a ballot with punch cards, despite decades of experience telling us otherwise. The "butterfly ballot" that received such universal condemnation (and that was designed in the Florida election by a Democrat) had been used in California for years; I learned to vote with butterfly ballots. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, and in case anyone got confused, the booth had instructions that reminded voters to make sure their punched holes were free of chads.
As a result of the so-called conspiracy to confuse the voters in several Florida counties, the federal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on touch-screen voting machines so that voters could select the face of the candidate they wanted. Now that system apparently has too many holes in it to be reliable. Danziger rightly notes that insecure systems will erode confidence in our electoral system, but how many times must we change machines to appease the same tinfoil-hat brigades that determined that a time-tested system of balloting had to be tossed into the garbage?
Here in Minnesota, we use optical-scanned ballots for voting. The voter circles the candidate they desire rather than punch a chad or tap a screen. When complete, the ballot gets fed into a scanner and the voter waits to see if the ballot is accepted. If no double-voting has occurred, then the voter gets a stub from the ballot and goes upon his merry way. This system allows for quick tabulations of votes in all races and still produces a paper trail that can be used for recounts.
Perhaps we can get the rest of the country to adopt the optical-scan system and put all of this nonsense behind us. However, I'm sure that as soon as we do, we will start hearing about conspiracies to replace the optical pens with markers that don't get scanned when certain paranoidal politicians lose elections. Let's just make sure that the rest of us rational people have a system with which we can remain confident.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» CQ: Do Electronic Voting Machines
Pose A Threat To Democracy? from Old War Dogs
Most of the opposition to electronic voting machines comes from the same lunatic left that insisted on replacing punch ballots with high-tech solutions in the wake of the 2000 presidential election. To a nation sick of hearing about pregnant, dimpled, [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 1:47 PM
» Fixing our Electoral System. from Blog From the Underground
There are many problems both real and perceived with our electoral systems. I personallythink the problems are exaggerated, but that’s just me. One solution suggested for stopping voter fraud is to simply go to an open ballot. That would probably... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 7:42 PM
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