Posted Aug 9, 2007 14:16 UTC (Thu) by jmorris42
Parent article: Securing our votes
We are all tech geeks so we tend to obsess over the tech. But it really doesn't matter all that much. If the people running the election have half a clue and can be trusted you will get a result that is accurate enough for the purpose with paper, punch cards or the most insecure Dibold machine. And if you don't have reliable and trustworthy people running the election you won't get an accurate result. Period, full stop.
"It isn't who votes that counts, it is who counts the votes." Name one disputed election where the problem was really in the process rather than the people?
The infamous 'butterfly ballots' were laid out by a Democrat in the local government. So it wasn't some scheme by Karl Rove, it was just a local guy who perhaps did poorly at trying to ram all of the candidates onto a fixed size ballot. I say perhaps because the physical limit was real and unless you have a better solution than his, and it is so obvious that his failure to think of it can be described as incompetence I find it hard to lay much fault at his door.
Most of the other irregularities in the last few cycles have involved:
1. Accusations of discouraging voters by, long lines, challenging identity, etc.
2. Dead people, felons, etc. voting. Other disputes over voter identity. Example: Sen. Landrieu's popularity with the dead in N.O. giving her victory in '96. Historians are pretty much agreed these days that JFK won on the strength of the vote fraud in IL and TX.
3. Ballot box stuffing. Example: The most recent Gov election in WA where unsealed boxes of 'uncounted' ballot kept appearing until the Democrat had enough votes to win at which point all recounting instantly ceased.
Tech probably can have only a marginal influence on any of those sources of actual vote fraud. So yes we should insist on secure and transparent machines, but be under no illusion it will make all that much difference.
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