Electronic Voting Issues

I have half-paid attention to the numerous stories about e-voting machines being bandied about in the media over the past year or two.  All of the usual suspects were involved: evil corporate overlords, sinister influence peddling, venal legislators, and a few stalwarts fighting for truth and justice.  The new electronic voting machines are more susceptible to fraud!  Well, let's admit one thing.  There's been too much money spent for the e-voting machines to go away now.  So what to do to fix them?  The default solution always seems to be what this article from the New York Times suggests: voter-verified paper trails.

I am wholly and unalterably opposed to this idea.  My reasons are many, but a primary one is unabashed, naked, and shameless self-interest.  J is the election judge in our precinct, which means I get to work the elections.  Working the elections is already a giant pain in the ass.  More pieces of paper to contend with on election day?  Oh, joy.  All you people who say "they used to do it" can bite my ass.  Lugging the 400 pound metal box full of paper around?  Screw that.  When all you whiny bitches come down and get your 7 bucks an hour for working a 14 to 16 hour election day, then you can start talking to me about proposed solutions.  Especially here in Texas, where the poll workers and election judges are paid volunteers.  I take a day off from work to help run the election and deal with hostile people bitching about how everything about the process sucks.  Make the process more time-consuming and a bigger hassle.  That'll keep those voters and volunteers coming back!  Good plan, that.  Let me file it away under "Ideas, Shitty".

I am also not convinced the problem is as threatening as it's made out to be.  The NYT article mentions the Texas voting machines.  Some dimwit from Rice babbles about how someone can sit at home and modify the programs.  Yeah, because it's that easy, spanky.  After all, I have a pocket manual of the I/O protocols for the software and the hardware in my back pocket and can figure how to reverse engineer the source code from the executable in the firmware.  I've got that kind of time.  So many of the people working elections have those resources readily available, and the technical knowledge to pull it off.  I've met the people working the elections in my local area.  The alternate election judge in our precinct ran the elections for 20 years before J took over.  He couldn't reverse-engineer a paper bag, much less tamper with voting software.  Quite honestly, he's doing good to turn the bloody machines on.  If the election results are going to be fudged, it will take a conspiracy on the part of the elections office. 

That brings me to my next point.  Most of the people raising the great hue-and-cry are on the left side of the aisle.  The idea seems to be the evil efenant people, with the help of the corporate shills and/or overlords, are going to conspire to steal the election, even though voter fraud has been a traditional donk strength.  I've had an up close and personal look at the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy as exemplified by the Republican Party here in the state of Texas.  These people are doing good to get a state convention organized.  The idea that the efenants could pull off some grand conspiracy to steal votes is, quite frankly, laughable.  I could run a better conspiracy with J and my 7 housepets than the Texas GOP could with all of its members.

Finally, I'll just mention one thing that may or may not carry much weight with you.  As mentioned above, the people who run elections in this neck of the woods are all volunteers.  The election workers are literally your friends and neighbors.  They are just as committed to having fair elections as everybody else.  They are also willing to give up their time to make it happen and ensure that you can vote.  If the atmosphere in this country has gotten to the point where no one involved can be trusted to ensure the integrity of the elections, maybe it's time we as Americans reconsider this whole democracy thing.


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