Give me that old time technology
In the wake of the Florida election imbroglio, just about anyone who has ever fondled a mouse is calling for the modernization of America’s election technology.
Not I. As I see it, the problem isn’t that people don’t know which holes to punch or how to punch them. The problem is that they don’t know why they punch the holes they do.A Hacker’s Paradise
Technology is mere scapegoat. The fact is that Palm Beachers cast votes almost exactly the same way that Jackson Countians do. Curiously, for all the presumed backwardness of us hayseeds here in Missouri, we manage to do it just fine.
In either county, voters post a computer card on a couple of red pegs under a little voting booklet and punch out the designated holes. When finished, they put their card in an envelope and drop it in a monitored lock box. The ballots are then machine counted.
If there are errors in the counting, they are random and easily rectified in a recount. The system is not only neat and simple, but also tangible. At the end of the day, election officials have real cardboard ballots in hand. True, you wouldn’t let some of these folks near your silverware, but their capability for mischief is easily contained and cauterized.
In the electronic alternatives, the reality disappears. So does the local control. My more paranoid friends believe the whole election snafu was concocted to create a demand for centrally-controlled, electronically-driven elections, the results of which could be reversed with a keystroke.
As Josef Stalin has more or less said, (I have seen at least six different versions post-election), “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” Imagine how many fewer poll watchers Stalin would have had to liquidate if he all he had to do was goose the Net.
Think about it. Bored teenagers hacked into the Pentagon. A goofy post-adolescent in the Philippines wreaked about $2 billion worth of havoc with his “love bug.” Not-so-secret agents in half the world’s rogue nations salivate at the thought of burrowing into America’s computers and bollixing our elections.
Given so much negative juju, from so many nasty outposts, how hard would it be to skew the vote count in a national election? And even if the authorities did create a tamper-proof system, who would believe them? You can bet that the hard core on either side of the political divide would cry electronic foul every time their guy tanked.Return to Nature
Now, let’s talk human nature. The founding fathers did not trust it. So they created a system designed to contain its more craven impulses, the Electoral College. For instance, were all the residents of California to come down with mad cow disease and vote for Marilyn Manson as president, their madness would have no impact beyond California’s borders. To win a presidential election, the candidate has to carry the plurality of votes in a great number of states.
In the earliest national elections, state legislatures determined just who got to vote. As the multi-cultural scolds keep reminding us, the franchise was typically restricted to male property owners. The reason? Ordinary citizens did not want powerful land barons trucking hundreds of their property-less dependents to the polls only to buy their votes with the 18 th century equivalent of Marlboro Lights. These citizens had little idea that they would one day become evil white men. At the time, they thought they were reformers.
As to women, the general thinking was that each household got a vote, and the male got to cast it as he was more likely involved in affairs of the world. A little known factoid here: women in certain states voted in the very first national elections. Alas, a vote-buying scandal at a New Jersey boarding house for women led state legislatures to revoke the female franchise. If they could have foreseen the future, these legislators might have kept the female franchise and revoked the New Jersey one.Night of The Living Dead
By the late 20 th century, every adult who could breathe could vote. In some jurisdictions, even breathing is negotiable. The thrust in recent memory has been to make voting easier still for the living or the dead: motor-voter, mail-in ballots, instant registration, and the election scam of all time, Operation Citizenship.
Haven’t heard of Operation Citizenship? Not surprising. The mainstream media, which have generally been deficient in reporting Democratic vote fraud (excuse the redundancy), have been particularly derelict in their reporting on this Gore-managed hustle, one that would have made Tom Pendergast sit up and whistle Dixie.
As it worked, a million or so immigrants were herded through the immigration process just in time for the 1996 election and reminded that they had the Democrats to thank. So hasty was the processing that the INS didn’t have time for background checks. As a result, tens of thousands of felons became instant Yankee Doodles.
A few of them inevitably ended up in Florida where the Dems netted nearly 90% of the estimated 5,000 felonious votes. Had Monica not made impeachment so easy and removal so hard, this flim-flam might have sent Bill and Al packing a long time ago. (Read Democrat David Schippers’ book Sellout for a little eye-popping background.)Fixing the Problem
A voter is potentially even more dangerous than a gun owner. Remember, Hitler was voted into office. So we begin with an instant background check on would-be voters to screen out felons and non-citizens and Democrats with multiple personalities.
Then, of course, we need at least a five-day waiting period between registering and voting. Maybe more. When folks do come to vote, they show a picture ID. If they need an ID to fly to Omaha or buy a beer at Kelly’s, they can hardly gripe about having to show one to vote.
I also kind of like the idea of a test. TEST? Hey, if we make new drivers take a test, or new citizens, why not new voters? If we just ask what half-century the Civil War was fought in, we will screen out about 40% of all recent high school graduates. “Sorry, kids, study up and come back next year.” At a minimum, a voter should at least know the Bill of Rights and maybe the Gipper’s deathbed speech in the Knute Rockne Story.
True fact: a scarily high percentage of Missourians did not know Mel Carnahan was running for Senate until he died trying. So moved were some of these folks by the funeral of their new hero that they elected a dead man Senator.
No, the challenge here is not to create smarter voting technology. The challenge is to create smarter voters.
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