21 September 2006

Vote or Die(bold)

This was sent to us by alert and loyal reader Dan Mullin, who may be the only alert and loyal reader we have. We don't get a great many reader requests/suggestions, in fact you could count them on a bad shop teacher's bad hand. So forthwith:
Hotel Minibar Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines

And from the inestimable and esteemed Dr./Mr. Mullin:

"The more I hear about electronic voting the less I am impressed. Technology for technology's sake in my opinion. The belief that digitization is the solution to every problem is poorly thought out. [ed.: In fact beliefs are rarely "thought out" at all, poorly or no, which is the problem with belief. qv Sam Harris] The 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections expanded the market for electronic voting machines when it should have expanded the market for valid and reliable voting procedures. The former does not necessarily have anything to do with the latter in my opinion."
He's right. Voting rights as an umbrella issue is going to be extremely important in this country over the (say 15 year,) short haul, and of supreme importance worldwide this century. It's a complex issue, one that merits having whole blogs/papers/hours of TV coverage devoted to it, and if the 2000 election didn't prove that to the media powers that be, it's hard to imagine what would.

The sad fact is that at some point voting is going to have to be digital in order to be relevant at all (see Starship Troopers, Earth by David Brin and Zardoz, among others for good takes on the future of techno-democracy,) and that right now is not that point.

However, as a caution against thinking that Diebold is the golden goose of fixing democracy, our little bit of high-powered political experience indicates that 90% of elections are stolen well before election day, and that tinkering with the voting technology itself would be a last ditch effort.

And there is some dirty validity to offering the nation the choice of a party that tries hard to follow the rules and a party that plays every angle, propagandizes every issue, and shows a willingness to cheat to win. Or perhaps we've just been watching too much "Lost" on DVD this week.

1 comment:

ruski-canuk said...

Hmm - I think you underestimate the ability of electronic voting to revolutionize democracy. Any new technology will have growing pains but such a system which allows for CHEAP voting will widen the scope of democracy to a more grass-roots level. Eventually the common people can vote on more and more major issues than ever before because it will be affordable.