Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

Electronic Voting

Electronic Voting Machines aren't ready. That much is clear from approximately one billion indicators. But beyond that physical lack of readiness...I just don't like them. Voting is one of those things that should have an air of tradition and, yes, gravitas, about it. When I step into the musty old voting machines in my district, machines that may well be older than I am, I feel like I'm part of something. Call it history. Call it tradition. I pull back the lever, mark the switch next to my choices (no confusing butterfly ballot, just a clear little switch next to each candidate's name.) I did screw up once and pull the lever back too soon, but that's just a learning experience and they did let me fill out a provisional ballot afterwards.

The point of democracy is not just the vote itself. It's the act of voting. This connects us to our government and our society. It remind us of what it is to be American.

These new machines, in addition to being hackable, questionably accurate, and frequently difficult to use, look like something out of Star-Trek. They turn voting into something akin to working the self-checkout machine at your neighborhood Shop N' Save, or buying a book over the internet. They eliminate any sense of historicism and focus purely on the functional.

And why do we need that?

Because of Florida 2000? The problems in that election had to do with those particular machines, not the vast majority of this country's voting machines, which were working fine. They also had to do with a badly conceived and executed ballot design. That can happen anywhere. So to fix the problem we're replacing all the voting machines in America with soulless kiosks that have grave security concerns and leave no physical trail.

Leave well enough alone. Some things are supposed to be old-fashioned. Few enough Americans vote anyway. Make it something entirely lacking in distinction from the rest of our lives and even fewer will.

Eventually, I know, electronic kiosks have to replace the old lever-pull booths. It's progress. But let's at least wait until the machines are 100% vetted and error checked, totally unhackable, and that enough time has passed that the new devices seem a little outdated and out of place. By 2050 we'll probably have chips in our brains that allow us to transmit our thoughts directly into a whole range of computer devices. I hope to still be alive then, and to be standing in front of an electronic kiosk pressing a touch-sensitive screen, just like our forefathers did way back in 2006.
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