Sunday, November 05, 2006

The amazing pencil...

I have not been excited about electronic voting. It seems I am not alone:
On Nov. 7, more Americans will vote on electronic voting machines than ever before. No fewer than 39% of voters will cast their ballots electronically. Many of these votes will be cast on machines without any paper record. The votes will be fully electronic. As a computer science professor, and as someone who has been studying electronic voting for years, I am nervous. [More of really good article]
One crucial factor in the success of democracy is the confidence people have in the process. My guess is there is little to no public enthusiasm for the trustworthiness of voting machines. In fact, in places like Florida, Ohio, and Chicago the expectation could mostly be for the results to be inaccurate, if not outright rigged.

Voting machines are touted as cheaper than all those people needed to handle paper ballots. And , of course, faster. Lord save us from having to wait a half-day longer to find out the results.

If the results on Tuesday differ significantly from the vast number of polls, look for an uproar over electronic balloting.

The solution may be deciding to invest in democracy first and technology second.

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