Friday, June 23, 2006

Paper or plastic?

This week I took a trip to the Davidson County Election Commission office to see a demonstration of the new voting machines that will be rolled out and plugged in all over the county in time for the upcoming August primary.
As always the staff at the Election Commission were courteous. In fact, when I showed up unannounced and asked for a demonstration of the new machine they were accomodating and responsive.
That aside, my gut says there may be (underscore "may") a train wreck a'coming.
Voters...meet the new ES&S iVotronic.
If you have been exposed to touch screen computer technology you'll find the system fairly easy to navigate - with one minor exception. Because of the size of the August ballot in Davidson County, voters may be forced to scroll through as many as 15 screens of ballot boxes.
That's right - 15 screens of races.
This stark reality may give new meaning to the term "down ballot" race.
Remember this confusing comedic bit - "Who's on first?? What's on second?? I don't know. Third base."
If you have not been exposed to touch screen computer technology...well...may I suggest paper instead of plastic?
Imagine someone with limited exposure to this technology trying to navigate 15 screen pages of information - not to menition having to read and closely follow the navigational directives that will appear on each screen as they surf the system?
There are also other issues to be resolved by July 14, such as privacy while you vote. I understand there is some discussion at the commission about having voters be positioned with their backs to walls as they work at the very open air designed machines.
My hope is that the commission will make a concerted effort to notify all registered voters as to what they can expect when they arrive to vote at the polling places in the coming weeks. It might also make sense for the respective political parties to notify their constituencies of the new technology and offer tips and assistance of some sort to voters who might be adverse to this technology.
While I'm not afraid to use the new system, you can bet I'll be asking for a paper ballot when I show up to vote just to save time (unless there is no one else in line ahead of me).

2 Comments:

Blogger Litz said...

ES&S? You mean, the company owned 35% by GOP Senator Chuck Hagel? Great .... I'm sure they'll be counting my vote properly, yessirreee ... never mind all the problems with ES&S machines in Arkansas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Hawaii, North Carolina ....

S&S in the News — A Partial List of Documented Failures outlines the many problems with this company's machines. The iVotronic machine in particular has been cited with incorrectly recording and tabulating votes.

And we are using this system because WHY? Kiss democracy goodbye, folks, and don't say we didn't warn you. You wouldn't listen. You brushed aside our concerns as "tin-foil hat internet conspiracies." So when the next stolen election comes around and we find ourselves losing our rights so corporations can consolidate their power, all I have for you is four words: WE TOLD YOU SO.

7:29 AM  
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