Friday, January 28

Diebold to Market Paper-Trail E-Voting System

Diebold is racing to the computer-voting scene once again with their newest product-- a digital voting apparatus that gives voters a 'receipt' to review their recorded votes and for polling places to keep as a paper-trail safeguard in case a recount is called.

Computers fail. Everybody knows that. I haven't ever gotten the Blue Screen of Death on my Windows XP machine, but it was a fairly common occurence for me in Windows 98. I ran quite a few unstable beta products, and as many games as I could get my hands on, on that system, so the messiness of the hard drive and Registry are partly to blame... but even so, it's still a demonstration of the fact that computers aren't infallible.

I didn't mind using a Diebold screen-only machine when I voted in the California recount election two years ago, but I understand citizens' complaints about the lack of a paper trail. I personally am currently in the process of removing the paper trail from my life, preferring to pay bills online and stop the flow of personal-information-laden paperwork that will eventually end up in public view in a dumpster anyway (of course, I rip things up first, but no system is foolproof).

So, for record-keeping, a paper trail can be good. Especially when a large part of the populace still eyes computers as somewhat devilish. Once there isn't a generation who can remember a time without computers, computerized and electronic workflows will be more accepted.

Until then, I'm fine with playing it according to the rules of the previous generations. After all, one day I'll be in the generation that has seniority and will be telling the new crop of whippersnappers what it was like to "only" have a 50MHz PC with 4MB of RAM.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.