Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Electronic Voting: Steve is wrong

Some people (let's just call them Steve) would have us believe that these pesky electronic gadget thingies are going to be the ruin of this country since the Republican party will obviously control them and turn the state into a Matrix like world where a few corrupt despots will rule with the power of machine-code. Only paper can protect us from this apocolypse.

I thought that I would just summarize the success of paper as in keeping us secure:

1) personal checks - oh no, nobody could ever forge you signature. Well, someone stole my tax refund check two years ago and forged my endorsement as happens to thousands of refunds every year.

2) passports, green cards, birth certificates, naturalization certificates, drivers licenses etc. I can get any one of these in one day on Alavardo and Sixth Street. If you are scared of terrorists, I bet you every single one of them has got a forgery of one of the above.

3) doctor prescriptions - I'm sure my pharmacist is intimately familiar with my doctor's squiggle. His pad isn't exaclty something Miles could replicate in Microsoft Paint in a minute and Carl could sign to get his Vicadin and Cialis.

3) and C and D.. I could go on forever on this.

I now know why Steve is always busy and tired. He is going through every debit card transaction and ATM withdrawal every month with Miles and making sure that his paper printouts always agree to his bank statements. I imagine that he has been very successful at finding the bank's errors which would never have happened had they being using paper and pencils to write down everything and not those doomsday computing machines.

So electronic voting can never be trusted unless some poor sod redoes the computer's task of adding up all the printouts from its corrupt printer to make sure that its internal adding machine was not linked to Al Queda. I thought to prove the point I would forward the following extract from yesterday's LA Times and if you can't see the humor in it then you better start putting all your dollar bills under your matress in case a virus destroys your bank account:

Orange County supervisors Tuesday approved spending $12 million to retrofit 9,000 electronic voting machines to give voters printed displays of their ballot choices, an expense required by state law for the June election. Acting county Registrar Neal Kelley said the action came just in time and followed certification of the retrofitted equipment Friday by the secretary of state's office. A team of 60 will begin cutting holes in voting booths Monday to accommodate the new printers, which also must undergo several tests before being cleared for use."It'll be quite an operation," Kelley said.The county's next balloting, a special election April 11 to fill a vacant state Senate seat, will be conducted with paper ballots because the new equipment won't be ready.The retrofit became necessary after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law in 2004 requiring counties to have printers attached to their electronic voting devices for elections this year. The aim is to allow voters to review their choices and catch any errors before casting their ballots. The printouts also are to be used for official recounts.Voting-rights activists lobbied hard for the law, saying printed records provided better security against fraud and equipment malfunctions. Election officials statewide initially complained about the cost of adding the printers, which aren't eligible for reimbursement under a 2000 federal law requiring the phase-out of paper ballots nationwide.The state law requires counties to be eventually reimbursed for the cost of additional equipment, though counties had to pay for it up front.Some counties, including Los Angeles, plan to avoid the expense by continuing to use paper ballots and scanning them electronically.Kelley said he expected the state and federal governments to combine resources and reimburse counties for all costs of providing new voting systems.Printer retrofit systems have been approved for 20 of California's 58 counties, with another 20 awaiting federal review before the state can certify them, secretary of state spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns said Tuesday.The remaining counties have paper printout systems already in place or don't plan to use electronic voting.


Blogger Miles said...

That fraud already happens with paper documents is not an excuse for not having some sort of record of how you voted.

At the very least, an electronic vote should be kept in some sort of database or a record should be sent to you electronically or you should be given -- gasp -- a paper record.

I'm sorry, Andrew, you are wrong. Thanks for playing.

1:45 PM  
Blogger angryredballs said...

I think you just proved my point by saying 'at the very least, an electronic vote should be kept in some sort of database'. Admitting that paper is not necessary. Love ARB xxx.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Miles said...

ah, not really. you have misinterpreted my statement. i will now state it so that it cannot be misinterpreted:

voters who vote via electronic voting machines should receive some type of receipt that reflects who or what they voted for.

fraud does happen in both nonelectronic machines and electronic. with receipts, it might be less likely to occur or at least more easily challenged. that's a good thing, right?


5:11 PM  

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