Thursday, May 13, 2004

Maybe we need an IQ test for voters

In a copyrighted story in this morning's San Jose Mercury News [warning: registration required], reporter Elise Ackerman quotes Ed Davis, vice president of Common Cause: "As bad as Florida was, ultimately they could have kept recounting. They had the votes there. With electronic voting machines, there is nothing to recount. Over and over, you are going to get the same answer you got the first time.''

You know why, Ed? Because the votes were counted accurately the first time! Its paper ballots and hand counting which shows different totals every time you go through the pile of votes - because humans are fallible! Provided the tally machines are properly tested (and, since humans are doing the testing, that's not a given) the count will not only be the same each time but it will be accurate each time.

Even candidates (or should I say, especially candidates) become Chicken Luddles when talking about electronic voting. The story ends with this paragraph:

"Candidates who have been through electronic recounts say a larger issue is involved: the legitimacy of an election. 'All the other stuff goes away if you don't know that elections are legitimate,'' said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who requested a recount of digital ballots after losing a 1998 U.S. Senate race by 428 votes. Ensign, who went on to win another Senate race in 2000, said the electronic voting machines merely reproduced the same tally as before, causing him to doubt the outcome."

Evidently, the election isn't "legitimate" until you get different totals every time you count the votes!

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