All the News That's Fit to be Tied

I have an axe to grind, but unlike the New York Times, I freely admit it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where’s my Purple Ink?

More important than last night’s astounding victory in the U.S. House of Representatives is the trashing of the electoral system. In New York, where mechanical voting machines have been replaced with electronically-scanned paper ballots, voting took a step back to the early 1900's. I was ready to ask for purple ink like the citizens of Iraq. If politicians really wanted a cheat proof voting system it could be easily designed using the online banking system and the U.S. Postal Service. But that isn't want machine politicians want. In machine politics manipulating the vote is a common practice and is done using fraudulent registrations, absentee ballots, provisional ballots and outright submission of incorrect statistical results, or if you prefer, lying about the numbers: It easy to see why the voting process is flawed. For national and state-wide elections there must be a uniform system for the way votes are acquired and tallied. This can be done using the Post Office, and the nationwide ATM system. Data is locally collected. Except for the process of registering voters, local precincts have no further interaction with the voter. Registered voters are given a unique number on a credit card blank that they can insert into any ATM kiosk and vote. Votes are collected electronically with no human interaction. Every voter is given a paper record of their vote, that is then collected by a national clearing house. The results are relayed back to the precinct. This is oversimplified for brevity but the concept in not difficult. Going back to paper ballots is not the solution we are looking for. We want voting options that are easy to use, understandable and trustworthy.