One of the early posts on this blog was regarding Electronic Voting. In fact, it was one of the very first posts and I can recall writing it from my family’s living room back in California:
…rantings and ravings and very long run-on sentences aside I ask you this: If Visa and MasterCard and Discover and Am-Ex and even Diners Club can do it, why can’t we? Think this through with me: every day, all over the world, there’s a nearly real-time network that securely and with a minimum of fuss and complete transparency and verifiability transfer large sums of money between owners. Now all we’re asking for is a system that presents options, records choices, tallies outcomes, one or two days a year, in a technologically advanced country.
In California this issue is back in the news, and lo and behold, but my hometown paper gets a link from Google News. Now my hometown paper is no paragon of journalistic ability. It’s a rag, a true rag. And people are more likely to subscribe to it because they need a good source of paper to line their pets trays than to actually read what passes for news between those pages. But, the Daily Democrat has arrived. Heaven only can help us now. But asides aside…the issue here is Electronic Voting machines and the continuing saga of too much money, too little planning and no sense whatsoever.
Apparently California counties, at the behest of Secretary of State Deborah Bowen, used most of the federal funds tagged for updating aging voting systems to buy new Electronic Voting systems which were immediately attacked and with which there have been found several issues. I’m not familiar with the actual issues of the systems, but reading my previous post on the issue, linked above, the opinion is still relevant.
Bowen thinks the voting machine companies
can should will assist in covering the cost of transition back to the old ways:
“Sequoia, for example, will want to maintain their clients and help them replace their system by moving them to opti-scan,” said Nicole Winger, director of communications for Bowen. “It has a choice of helping counties or losing them as clients.”
And Sequoia responded:
Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee Columnist, appears to be on one side of sense here. He thinks the voting machines are OK and it’s only a bunch of irrational malcontents and Luddites complaining and fearing everything except fear itself:
Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a lawyer by trade, should reread… the Penal Code. She cast aside the principle of reasonable doubt when she tried and convicted electronic voting system manufacturers of making unsecure (sp) devices — delivering her verdict in an odd, post-midnight news conference Saturday.
If Credit Card companies can do it every day, why can’t we? Oh, yea, because it’s government. Hey, anybody else for privatizing the election system? Anybody? They wouldn’t be capable of doing worse than Government, unless said Government insisted on controlling them and forbidding actual autonomy.
Well, so the voting systems were certified, and Luddites screamed. And then they were de-certified, and the counties screamed. They’d already spent all their election money and now they had to get totally new systems. And these aren’t just low population counties where the sheriff can go door to door and record all the votes on two hands and a foot. Santa Clara county, which contains nearly all of the South Bay of California, millions of people that need to vote. San Bernardino county, in the heart of Southern California and the Los Angeles basin.
The problem is that insufficient testing occurred, the roll out was too fast and there was insufficient attention given to recovering from, learning from, and preventing issues. There was not enough thought.
Hey, Electronic Voting sure sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it! Oh, wait, someone is claiming disenfranchisement.
What happens now? We spent all the money getting the new machines!
So what do we do now?
Elections are in February and we have to find and buy totally new systems, train volunteers and elections workers how to use them, print new ballots, etc?
And if you think that 6 months is plenty of time to accomplish this… This is California we’re talking about, and it’s Democrat-controlled legislature and government. Heh, this should be fun to watch.