Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Here's how to "protect our democracy"



Jami Floyd
360 Contributor





I was one of hundreds of journalists dispatched to Tallahassee to cover the 2000 Bush/Gore Recount. All those dimpled chads and hanging chads and pregnant chads. Now, eight years later it almost seems funny. But it's not.

As we begin yet another presidential election cycle, Americans are still trying to figure out how to get it right -- or at least how to avoid getting it wrong. To that end many states have turned to electronic voting. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

As a witness to the ways in which democracy can elude some voters, I commend any effort to protect the right (and opportunity) to vote. But there are legitimate concerns about electronic voting, including the potential for tampering with the machines, not to mention bugs in their software.

We need a system that will reinspire confidence in our voting process. But as long as private companies use proprietary software that the public cannot examine, there will be questions about the legitimacy of the system.

Technology is not always the best solution to our problems. And the more I learn about electronic voting, the more I support a return to a good old fashioned method: The paper ballot.



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In Session:
Posted By CNN: 11:57 AM ET
  5 Comments
I think we need the good old fashioned method too.
When tech things work, they work, but most days there are too many glitches, let alone the way they could be criminally manipulated.

Lorie Ann
Buellton, Calif.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 12:41 PM ET
Jami:

Great article! It brings back the old saying 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. It was't broke, we fixed it anyway, now it is broken, and too many times 'fixed'.
Posted By Anonymous Sandi : 12:48 PM ET
No system is perfect! Most of these electronic machanies allow the voter to print out a copy of their ballot. Paper ballots have problems regarding tampering as well as other issues (falure in machine that reads ballots, paper ballots getting wet, etc). Electronic voting is our best solution at this point.
Posted By Anonymous Dabbt : 1:09 PM ET
Jami,
Paper ballots and optical scanners would be practical. However, general Presidential election ballots often include voting for Congressional seats, circuit court judges, state referendums, etc. It makes the actual ballot quite lengthy.

I'd much rather see the electoral college done away with, and have our elected President be based only on the popular vote. Isn't that part of the democracy we taught the people in Iraq?
Posted By Blogger Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 1:17 PM ET
Jami,
We have electronic voting here in Ga. and we had problems last time also. I think there needs to be an overhaul in our voting system. I think the government should run it with no outside help! And I also think that every state should vote the same way not some electronic and some paper! I have no idea how to get it right but we do need to try! I mean this is our way to "speak" and control what we want to happen in our government.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 1:35 PM ET
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