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Monday, November 06, 2006

On Voting:

Since Election Day is tomorrow, I’ve been pondering a few things, one of which is voter fraud. Allegations surface almost every election now, and I’m sure they will in 2006. Two primary issues seem to be the root of the distrust of the system – black-box voting, and lax voter registration laws.

Detractors of black-box voting claim that there is no proof that one’s vote was logged correctly. They also complain about the platform dependence of the software, and the ease that the software can be hacked. I believe those folks are right to have such concerns.

Advocates of stricter voter registration laws believe that one should not be able to vote unless one can prove one’s identity, and such proof should consist of a photographic ID. Opponents claim that this is tantamount to racism, disenfranchisement, and all sorts of other similar types of vote suppression. The fact is votes from ineligible people should be suppressed. Period.

As I see it, these two issues seem to be the ideal place where Democrats and Republicans can arrive at a strong compromise for voting reform. Why not propose the following?

Require any software used for voting machines to provide a receipt for one’s vote. Allow for changes in case one’s vote was incorrectly recorded. Establish a voting software commission that audits source code without requiring the developers to publicly disclose their intellectual property, and allow the same commission to recommend changes both in the process and in the software. On the registration front, require all voters to have indisputable identification, with no exceptions. Limit or eliminate same-day registration. Provide a streamlined (maybe even a taxpayer-subsidized) means for poor individuals to acquire the necessary identification needed to be able to register to vote.

Establish identity. One vote per eligible person. Provide traceability and validation. Such ideas only make sense if we’re truly trying to count all votes correctly. It’s not about counting only the votes that will provide your favorite party victory. In a representative democracy, it’s about making sure the right representatives are selected by the right people. Surely, even in today’s partisan environment, we can agree on that.


.: posted by Dave 11:02 AM

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