We’re about to go to the polls again in a very crucial election for both local and national politics and the direction of government. It’s certainly a valid question then to ask if our votes will be accurately and fairlly counted. Unfortunately, the answer is, it’s really hard to be sure.
What’s so disconcerting is that since the Florida hanging chad debacle in the 2000 presidential election, things have actually gotten worse as far as creating a secure voting process.
The obvious human failings that that have plagued our elections (lost or stolen ballots, miscounting, purposeful or mistaken disenfranchisements in various forms) remain with us. But now, in a misguided attempt to overcome some of these issues and an unsophisitcated trust in technology by officials has brought about another layer potential errors and malfeasance with electronic voting machines.
Jim Nelson provided a good summary of the issues in last week’s Tech Beat (this orignially appeared in the Times-Standard, but is archived at the Redwood Technology Consortium web site). And he offers some excellent links for further information.
Technology is a wonderful thing. But when it is misapplied as I think it has been in this widespread adoption of voting machines without careful thought and planning, the results can be disastoruos. It’s clearly too late to change the system for this election. But certainly not too late to make corrections before 2008. Let’s hope concerned citizens and politicians can find the will toÂ make the changes necessary.