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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How Do You Feel About Electronic Voting?

Call me Old School, but I have a sense of dread about the confidence we may lack in election results tallied on electronic voting machines.

Most of you probably have a far deeper footing in the computer culture than I do. My 23-year-old son lives and breathes by his internet connection, so much so that when he moved to California he would park for hours outside a nearby hotel in order to filch off of their wi-fi connection until his could be activated. (Dylan's blog, in case you're interested, is at ) Dyl scoffs at my shaky faith in computers, but I've kicked my share of towers when glitches and gremlins gnarled my system. How many of you, for instance, find Blogger seamless?

So why does everyone assume electronic voting is going to solve our electoral dysfunction? I find myself absorbed by the conspiracy theories, how Republican-controlled manufacturers will rig the results. Tell me why I'm wrong. Educate me.


at 11/1/06, 11:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electronic voting is open game for fraud, but it would be nothing new.

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin

at 11/1/06, 11:16 AM Anonymous Brian R said...

It *can* be secured, but the public has to keep watch on it and MAKE it secure. Insist on machines that print paper receipts. Insist on independent audits.

at 11/1/06, 12:16 PM Anonymous Chuckie G. said...

You're old school (you asked for that!)

Q. What will electronic voting do?
A. Conspiracy theories aside, electronic voting will alleviate genuine human error. Computers are more accurate than a group people putting hash marks on a paper. ...And it will piss off those whom just are not into "the Google" on those there "internets" boxes.

Q. What will electronic voting not do?
A. It will not solve our voting mishaps because in my opinion those mishaps are manufactured. Just because the medium by which we vote changes does not mean the likelihood of fraud changes.

That being said, I'm all for it. I'm not too far from your son. 24 years old, moved from Cincy to So Cal and live and breathe my internet connection. And get this... even though I had my identity stolen, a business started in my name, and my credit thrown a pretty drastic curve ball, I still think online banking/voting/communicating safer than dropping something in the mail, or to be more on subject, handing someone a punch-card. How's that for blind love?

at 11/1/06, 12:17 PM Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

Yes, there is potential for fraud, there always is, regardless of how the votes are cast. How do you know that when you pull the lever your vote is really being counted?

at 11/1/06, 12:35 PM Blogger JohnDWoodSr said...

Jim, you are not wrong. Electronic voting machines are stupidly easy to manipulate by any programmer, technician, or hacker, and there are literally hundreds of instances where this has occurred.
Further, a paper receipt is absolutely no guarantee that your vote will be recorded the same way that it is printed on your receipt.
Electronic vote fraud is virtually untraceable and effectively renders our votes meaningless. In other words, we can have NO confidence that our ballot choices will choose our government.
The ONLY way to fix this is to return to a national system of paper ballots, which can be counted and re-counted if necessary, to determine the true winner of any election.
If our votes can't be counted accurately our Demoracy is only a memory.

at 11/1/06, 12:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The major shift with electronic voting as currently implemented in most areas is that now a single person or group can defraud a LOT more votes.

Jim, give this arstechnica article a read. The guy attempts to keep it as layperson friendly as possible. It is extremely informative.

at 11/1/06, 4:24 PM Anonymous M@ said...

This will feed the paranoia...

at 11/1/06, 7:18 PM Anonymous Norm Feuti said...

Whether you believe electronic voting machines have already been rigged is irrelevant ... their potential to be rigged in an untracable way should be enough to convince anyone that they shouldn't be used.

The best electronic voting machine model I've heard suggested is one where your screen vote would print out on a paper ballet. You would check the ballet yourself to validate its accuracy, then feed it into a seperate optical counting machine.

In this way, you would have an easy way to vote that cuts down on error with a mechanized ballot that is perfectly printed. While at the same time you have a paper trail so that an election could still be physically counted.

I also have absolutely no faith that such a common sense system will ever happen.

at 11/2/06, 11:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old school = The Wisdom of Experience. Technology changes but people tend to remain the same.

at 11/3/06, 10:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a computer geek for some 25 years and I have faith in computers but I also know that any really important data needs to be stored in more than one place. I like the idea of electronic voting with a printed copy that can be verified by the voter then put into the voting box as a backup to the computer tally. Then I would expect a random audit of several precints that would count to paper ballots and compare them to the electronic count. If they don't match, then you know there's a problem.

at 11/8/06, 10:13 AM Blogger who said...

I used the electronic voting machine, yesterday, and found it a good experience. I can't fill in those little boxes, tremor in right hand. So, why not, at least I could vote. I was among the first to use the bank's automated teller systems, phone and remote units. I trusted them with my money, why not trust them with my vote. It's been a good experience, all these years.

Thanks, Jim, you reflect my perspective, I love it.

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