Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hey, Steve Jobs, I have an Idea for You: Voting Machines

On my way to vote i was listening to NPR and I heard that in the next county over the machines weren't ready and voters were being turned away. The Washington Post has the story as well.

No electronic voting machines were operational when polls opened at 7 a.m. in Montgomery County, because election officials failed to deliver the required voter authorization cards to the county's 238 precincts. Voters were supposed to be given provisional paper ballots instead. But several precincts quickly ran out of those backup ballots.

I am not exactly sure how these machines work/have no idea at all how they work. I also have very little idea how computers actually work. Neither do most people. But there is a sort of computer that you don't need to know much to use. This type of computer is made by a company that has designed the entire system including hardware, manuals, software, retail channels, everything to make it idiot proof. Of course, that company is Apple. They brought us iMacs, iPods, MacBooks, G4s, all kinds of cool stuff.

Before Apple, MP3 players were confusing. People couldn't figure out the software, they crashed a lot, people screwed up the connections, and cables. Then Apple brought out the iPod and now grandparents are toting them all over the place, even technophobes can use MP3 players.

We need someone to do for electronic voting machines what apple did for MP3 players. Who better than Apple? Well, no one is better at this than Apple. Steve Jobs should design voting machines and we should buy them.


At 9/12/2006 , Blogger Sam said...

Preach it!

At 9/13/2006 , Anonymous rdl said...

despite my overwhelming love for Mr. Jobs and his Apple machine, I cast my "vote" for the constantly reliable, always there for you, easy to double check, and hard to corrupt... paper ballot.

in my days in the senate, i was involved with a number of conversations about verified paper ballot voting (see www.verifiedvoting.org). so, whether or not the machines actually work at 7am, there are also huge issues about security.

For example, how does one ensure that an electronic voting machine is actually recording your vote correctly. Answer: a paper record that you double check to ensure it is correct, and can then be manually audited. So first of all, this brings up a ton of issues for the disabled community (for whom the electronic machines were designed to serve). But second, if at the end of the day, we have a paper ballot, why go through all the hassle of touch screen machines (except for what is necessary for blind/disabled voters).

paper is simple, it works, its usually quicker than the computer, it can be recounted easily, and it cant be corrupted by malicious hackers. so, environmental concerns aside, let Steve Jobs make me an ipod with an fm receiver. Im sticking to paper.

At 9/18/2006 , Blogger Ruby K said...

Word. I'm with RDL. Also, given Apple's involvement with that wretched mockudrama that fabricates events before terrorist attacks, I'd appreciate them not being involved with anything political ever again.


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