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Tech, GP

November 16, 2007

Tech, GP: Sometimes, low-tech solutions best

Well, another Election Day has come and gone. We voted with our old lever-type machines, and I haven't heard of any significant troubles with them, or of any disputed results.

Imagine that.

They worked.


The all-knowing federal government, however, has filed suit against our state to force us to buy new voting machines. Quickly.

It's not as if our state is completely against new voting technology. We just want to get it right. New York has come up with a set of standards that new technology must meet. New York's standards are high, and none of the currently offered devices have been certified as meeting them.

Yet, the feds want to force us to buy voting devices which are currently available, have failed numerous times in practice, and have been shown repeatedly to be hackable and insecure.

What can I say? Simple logic tells you that something is wrong with this picture.

I'm sure that back in 2002 when the Help America Vote Act was passed, the intentions were good. There were legitimate problems with election technology.

But the government took the wrong approach. As I said in a column a couple years ago, the election process is a much too important part of our society to just throw money at the situation and expect for-profit companies to fix the problem.

The motivation for these companies to make profit creates a big problem. Each of the companies want to keep the technology private, so that they can make money at the expense of the other companies. It's classic business competition.

There's nothing wrong with business competition. It's just that it doesn't belong in this particular issue.

Voting is a unique part of our government. It is not something that we should farm out to business interests so that companies can profit from it.

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Tech, GP

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