I ran into a radio ad for True Majority on my way into work today. True Majority is an online liberal advocacy group founded by Ben Cohen (of Ben&Jerry’s). The ad was for a project of theirs called “The Computer Ate My Vote”. Unfortunately, I can’t find a copy of their ad online so I can link to it, but it was fascinating.
While I have severe issues with electronic voting, especially as it’s practiced in America today, I found the tone of their ad disturbing. The central premise was that EVERYONE knows that computers are unreliable and thus electronic voting is inherently unreliable, without a paper trail.
As I said, I support the principal that electronic voting is dangerous. I love the fact that my precinct votes with a scan card – the card is scanned in at the voting place, and validated tallied there. But the card itself is stored in a vault inside the scanner and can be tallied afterwards in the need of a recount.
I do have issues however with the fear mongering about the <scaaaaarry music>“evil computer that’s going to eat your vote”</scaaaaarry music>. How often do you have computers eat your data nowadays? I haven’t had a Word or Outlook crash that ate data in YEARS. Computers are VERY reliable these days, the issues with electronic voting from my standpoint is that there is no recountability and that the systems are hacker-prone, NOT that computers per se shouldn’t be involved in voting. As I said – my precinct votes electronically, WITH a paper trail that I authored.
I do feel obligated to point out one of the cooler things about the ad: They targeted it at a particular county, and at the chief elections official in that county, by name! So it wasn’t a shotgun ad, it was carefully targeted. A nice touch.