Tilting at Windmills
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By jank - Last updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - Save & Share - 3 Comments

Nobody bit at this the “last time”:http://www.rollerfeet.com/backporchbeer/archives/000351.asp I went off on it, but here’s “more”:http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,60116,00.html reason to go back to paper ballots. Wired’s got an article about a fella at Johns Hopkins who was bashing one e-voting system while holding a position on the board of a competing company. Yeah, baby, we’re reforming the heck out of our election systems…

At least the TV News will have rapid results.

Posted in Rants • • Top Of Page

3 Responses to “Tilting at Windmills”

Comment from etrigan
Time August 20, 2003 at 3:41 pm

Ok, I’ll bite…but this particular article isn’t a reason for stopping e-voting. It could just as easily be the owner of Kinkos bashing the owner of KwikKopy over who should print the paper.

E-Voting is a neccesary progression and will work as well as anything else. (I’ve used it here in Austin and LOVE it, of course.) It should be open-source and highly encrypted and have as much oversight as current voting systems. It’s benefits over paper can be seen in accuracy, ease of accounting and ease of oversight.

and quit your luddite bleating about how there aren’t any high-tech people to work on this. With all the IT jobs going to India there are a ton of qualified people who would love a nice solid government job right now.

Comment from etrigan
Time August 20, 2003 at 3:58 pm

As to your original rant:

Geekifying of Vote

This is spoken from a man who is completely out of touch “with the kids”. The ability to run a report off a database is as common as the ability to blog.

Proprietary Design

You are right. Let’s make it open-source.

Misuse of encryption systems

That’s just silly. Many IE users are running 128-bit encryption right now and the rest are using 64-bit with no problem at all. (And all of them would be using 128-bit if our gov’t wasn’t so screwed up about digital issues — but that’s for another time.) That’s a just design issue.

All The Wrong Reasons

Here’s the right reasons, again:

Comment from jank
Time August 21, 2003 at 12:52 pm

completely out of touch “with the kids”.

Au contraire, mon frere. The kids I run into in the non-tech world couldn’t find their ass on the internet with both hands. OK, they can easily find ass on the internet, but metaphorically speaking computers have completely become black boxes. If you talk to older folks in the non-tech world, there are still tons of people who are somewhat disenfranchised from understanding how electronics work in any way, shape, or form.

And there’s a quantum difference between being able to run off a report from a database and being able to verify that the information stored in said database hasn’t been manipulated by folks with vested interests. Besides, there’s some question as to exactly how far out of the white middle class blogging has spread (NB – I’ve been dying to post that article, but didn’t know if it rated a separate post).

bleating about how there aren’t any high-tech people to work on this.

The last thing I’d like to do is make elections any more of a full time job than they are now. Why the need to grow an additional bureaucracy, increase strapped budgets, and take talent out of the marketplace?

Finally, I don’t actually think that e-voting adds Ease of Oversight. It limits the ability to oversee the process to those who know how to verify code, ensure that the only aps running on the machine are ones which record and tally votes, etc. People whose only computer literacy comes from deleting offers for Viagra from their in-box and searching for baseball scores and p0rn have lost their opportunity to participate in the election process.

We’ve adopted e-voting in my district too, and I like the system. It was great to have the built in verifications that I’d voted on all the issues, easy ways to re-arrange the ballot to make sure I could find my candidates, and the rest. But I don’t trust it any further than I could throw it (Which is pretty far, the machine was smaller than a laptop). And I do know that the blue-haired volunteers from the League of Women Voters who were staffing the polling place had absolutely no clue how the system ran, other than where to plug cables.

But, I’m in Tom DeLay country, so I know that my vote was correctly rigged.

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