October 26, 2012
A National Disgrace
If you want proof of the fundamentally unserious nature of American politics look no further than our conduct of national elections. The modern twist, paperless electronic voting machines, makes it possible — even before taking account of Byzantine rules for the Electoral College — not only to "elect" the candidate who receives fewer votes but in close and perhaps questionable elections to be unable to conduct a recount. Instead of optimizing democracy the system optimizes fraud or, to be precise, potential fraud... since a lack of forensic evidence makes electronic vote theft an almost perfect crime. To talk about all this I turned to Dr. Barbara Simons, co-author with Dr. Douglas W. Jones of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? (Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford, 2012). Barbara expects serious problems in our forthcoming election. I hope she's wrong but I fear she may well be right. I also think it makes sense to consider electronic vote theft a national security issue and I'm pleased to find that Barbara agrees. When will the serious set grasp the larger implications? Total runtime forty eight minutes. Volentī nōn fit iniūria.