April 23, 2004

A Modest Proposal

Republicans apparently still don't think it's important for voting machines to provide a paper trail.

The debate over the health of America's electoral procedures is turning into a partisan fight, with Republicans dismissing the concerns as Democratic politicking unworthy of serious examination. When the Commission on Civil Rights convened an expert panel in Washington this month to discuss its report, the Republican Party delegation walked out before the proceedings began, one panel participant, Rebecca Mercuri, a Harvard University voting machinery expert, said.

How can we convince Republicans that voter confidence is a nonpartisan issue? I can see only one way.

By rigging the election.

Not that I'm recommending anyone do this. It's probably illegal to suggest anyone actually do it. I'm just pointing out that if the Republicans are, as they seem to be, convinced that riggable, unauditable voting machines can only work in their favor, the only way for them to be disabused of that notion is if they lose the election, and think they didn't deserve to lose.

Now, they might lose the election honestly, mightn't they? To be sure. But since they seem so unperturbed by the thought of these vulnerable voting machines -- a thought which generally causes concern in anyone who hears it -- can we assume that they know something we don't? Is it just maybe possible that there is a plan to tweak the election results in the GOP's favor? If that were the case, the simple expedient of, you know, actually winning the vote wouldn't be much help. You'd need a counterhacker.

I merely point this out to any Republicans out there because I cannot possibly be the only one who has thought of this. And no doubt one of the other people who has thought of it is (a) more technologically savvy than me, (b) less lazy than I am, and, most importantly, (c) willing to break federal law, unlike me.

But I'm not willing to pin my hopes on some theoretical crazy radical hacker stepping in. So I'd kinda rather just get the voting machine situation fixed.

Posted by Francis at 02:54 AM

You should probably read Bruce Schneier's essay on the economics of stealing an election. Let's just say that while the costs are out of reach for the average citizen, they are pocket change to the Dems and Republicans.

Posted by: debby at April 23, 2004 01:11 PM