Monday, November 08, 2004

No Electronic Voting Machines!

Forget for the moment conspiratorial propositions that the election was stolen by "black box" jobs performed on electronic voting apparatuses by minions of Karl Rove. Consider, rather, verifiable and HUGE problems with touch-screen ballot machines right here in North Carolina.

The New Bern Sun Journal reported last Friday that a "glitch" in systems software in Craven County "swelled the number of votes for president here by 11,283 more votes than the total number cast." Fixing the problem (supposedly) changed the outcome in one local race, reversing the loss of an incumbent Democratic county commissioner to a win.

The Sun Journal in that same article also reported that in nearby Carteret County, 4,530 early votes were "irretrievably lost." Say what? Irretrievably lost. And it was in early voting that Democrats did especially well state-wide, so we can only suppose that 4,530 irretrievably lost votes might have heavily favored Democrats.

When 4,530 votes can simply evaporate into the ether, and there's no existing paper trail to perform a recount on ... is this what we're willing to give our ballot access rights over to? Not this voter, not ever. We've got to fight the creeping technological voodoo of electronic balloting. When every PC in practically every home in America has multiple viruses holding a hootenanny with our personal data, why on earth would we turn over something as precious and as fragile as our right to vote to unseen forces in unknown software?

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