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Political Process and Electronic Voting

October 31st, 2004 Leave a comment Go to comments

Much is being made of electronic voting in the US elections. It’s a simple subject upon which no definitive answer can possibly be given. The reason, really is the nature of the problem: People are involved. People are involved in the voting and an electronic system should make this less prone to error – a very positive point after the “chad” debacle of last time round. People are involved in running the systems, databases and counting, programming the software too. Herein lies the rub, because this is the level at which most concern lays: the nature of electronic systems is that they are perfectly capable of being perverted to the political ends of a few. As in the last election the deletion of voters from the Florida database based upon aggregated “criminal” records from other states. Whether it was conspiracy or otherwise is not relevant but, a good many Florideans (? sounds like toothpaste), particularly of darker skin tones, were wrongfully denied their participation in due the elections because of an over-zealous exclusion policy. That this policy would outweigh the benefits to the brother of the state governor over other candidates must have been obvious to all but the unthinking. It would not be hard for private companies who manage electoral systems to be infiltrated by a small cabal of capable persons wishing to steer the result. After all if they can do it when there is a voting trail, they must surely be even more tempted when there is not one. The problem is divergent because persons are divergent: they can say one thing and do another.

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