Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Rob at Helpy-Chalk has a post about mechanical voting machines. We still have them in New York, though probably not for long. You go into a booth, close the curtains, and pull levers indicating your choices. When you open the curtains your vote is recorded.

It's a great system. As Rob points out, there's a satisfying feeling in pulling the lever. I've used punch cards and I much prefer this sysytem. At the end of the day, I believe, the judges open the back of the machine and read the number of votes for each candidate, like reading an odometer.

Already today there have been reports of problems with electronic voting machines. Here's one. And this makes me like the mechanical machines all the more. I'm not even sure if they need electricity to run. In addition, when we asked the judges what they thought of them, they were unanimous: they think these machines are great, too. For one thing, there just aren't the same concerns about fraud or hacking.

This is one of those places, I'm convinced, that the low-tech solution is miles ahead of the high-tech system. I'll be sad when New York moves to another, most likely inferior, system.


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