I think last night's election pretty much repudiated most of the dire claims and predictions being made about stealing votes with voting machines.

And before folks start bring the tar to a rolling boil, let me state a few things for the record:

1) There is NO place in a democracy for paperless voting. Any voting system without a tangible ballot should be outlawed.

2) Yes, it is theoretically possible to alter election results by tampering with machine code.

3) That said, it is nowhere as easy as folks like to claim.

4) Without even introducing the possibility of fraud, voting machine code is so sloppy, the backup systems are faulty/absent, and the highest probability of incorrect vote tallies arise from these two facts.

5) Private corporations have no business in the election counting business.

6) Voting machines should enjoy the same kind of scrutiny that slot machines and our currency do.

7) Voting machine source code should be open source, should be the same for ALL states, and should under the auspices of the Bureau of Weights & Measures.

8) Voting machine design should be standardized, and specifications set by the BoW&M.

9) A statistically significant number of precincts in each state should be randomly chosen and audited to insure than the paper count and the digital tally match 100%. If it doesn't, paper beats electron.

With those points in mind:

1) It is easier, cheaper and more legal to suppress/depress the vote than to diddle dodgy source code.

2) Voting machines are subject to state and county laws, and are thus far easier to change than federal law.

3) When actual fraud takes place, it will generally be of the old fashioned, low tech variety: Losing/altering ballots, i.e. dumping absentee ballots in the trash, filling in selections left blank by voters. The main target will be LOCAL elections, which are won with hundreds of votes, not hundreds of thousands.

4) Rather than wasting time and needlessly alarming people with over-hyped claims of voting machine skullduggery, people should devote their efforts to FIXING the law in their county/state. This does involve hard work, and getting your hands dirty with grubby little things like talking to legislators, election officials, and the sordid process of making laws. But, it pays off in the end.

5) Never ascribe to treachery that which is more easily explained by incompetence.

6) Fact check, fact check, fact check!!!!


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