Of Course, It's Going To Be Florida, ... Again!

Source: New York Times - July 28, 2004

At what point does stupidity become apparent? The eyes of America were on Florida in 2000 and never left. One would think the powers that be would at the very least craft a better way to screw the electorate so Jeb can hand the election over to his brother again. Are Florida election officials so dense that the bleeding obvious shows their complete lack of anything resembling a fair election?

More importantly, will the even denser Florida electorate even rise to the occasion and demand a better, accurate and auditable(?) voting system? Or are they really just Blue Hair retirees with a mickey mouse intelligence for two presidential elections in a row?

The Florida branches of ACLU, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters all are lobbying for an independent audit of the results of electronic voting machines. (The LWV originally endorsed the touchscreen machines, but reversed its position in response to vigorous protests from the membership.)




We just had a GD thread about the recently attempted (and abandoned) purge of “felons” from the Florida voting rolls: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=265501

Jeb and the Florida Bushistas aren’t dense – they just think they can get away with any damn thing at all. I do not think it is stupid of them to believe this, given the fact that they got away with brazenly stealing the 2000 election already, and used that as a pretext to bring in new tech that will make stealing the 2004 election EVEN EASIER!!! Why should they NOT think they can get away with any corrupt scheme they can come up with? All the evidence says they can, and even if they get caught, the courts are increasingly Republican, if you know what I mean.

I’m not a conspiracy minded person but this REALLY bothers me. I can survive if Bush wins. It will suck as hard as anything has ever sucked but I can accept it and go on with my life. I CAN’T accept not knowing if it was legitimate. Siddhartha Buddha, man if the US can’t be sure that it’s election results are accurate then what the hell have we become? I would say this even if would help my side. I would rather lose legitimately than win illegitimately.

Christ I hope they fix this, and soon. Why does it have to be Florida again? Why couyldn’t it be North Dakota? There’s only three electoral votes in North Dakota and they’re permanently Republican. We wouldn’t even have to count them. But Florida…Jesus…this whole election could turn on Florida.

I hate living in Florida sometimes.

Isn’t part of the problem, perhaps, the complex and often transient nature of the populace? It’s hard enough for any state to keep track of its residents, but it seems to me I know soooo many people who are moving to, moving from, or spending parts of their year in America’s wan–the Sunshine State.

Okay, Dopers that are older’n me… has this ever come up as a significant concern in any elections in the past fifty years? I remember the late '80s and '90s elections, but criminy if I recall any big scandal about chads or voting machines…

Jesus, such “reliable” technology… sometimes I feel like the United States is the starship Enterprise… about to suffer a warp core breach…

And the Ferengis have taken the bridge…

I offer for your consideration a Constitutional amendment:

“All public elections shall use paper ballots marked in pencil by the voter and counted manually.”

Canada does it, and it works well. So we wouldn’t have results on TV as fast. Big whoop. You have the ballots as physical evidence for as long as need be or as many recounts as it takes.

I’m for it. You have a list of names, and a box next to each name. Put an X in the box of the candidate of your choice. I’m as technocratic as they come, but sometimes low tech is best.

And independent exit polls will satisfy our need for instant results in all but the closest elections.

Jesus yes. I work in IS and when someone askes for an automated solution, the first thing you have to look at is their business practice. Automated bad business practices just let you make more mistakes faster.

I’ll do you one better – use opscan forms. Paper ballots, able to be counted by hand or by computer. The difference? Don’t X the box, but fill in the circle.

It’s surprising to me why this hasn’t caught on – it’s cheaper, I’ll bet, than paying people to fix Access databases; the technology has been throughly proven; almost everyone who’s been in school since the 1970s has had to fill one out; and it’s countable both by hand and by computer.

I may be moving to Florida within the next month or so.

They had better get this stuff straightened before November.

That’s all I gots to say on the matter.

Canada votes for one thing at a time.

By my count (and I’m sure I’m off) there will be no less than 15 questions on my ballot in November. Probably more. Shuffling and reshuffling all those ballots all those times is going to lead to bigger problems (more miscounting, more lost ballots, more chances of human error) than the current imperfect scantron sheet.

There is a way that we can have both the instant gratification of knowing who won right away (barring recounts, of course) and yet maintain a paper trail…

Have an ATM-style touchscreen present the races/refereda one at a time on the screen, asking the user for their vote on each. At the end, a summary screen comes up showing who the user voted for and offering a “confirm votes” button (and a “change votes” button which would take the user back to the races/referenda). Once the user confirms, a paper is printed out with their votes. The user checks to make sure that the paper has the votes they wanted and then takes the paper and sticks it in a “ballot box.” That way we maintain a paper trail, but avoid “butterfly ballot” type issues.

Zev Steinhardt

I was thinking the same thing. Print out what the computerized touchscreen thingie registers as your vote and then there’s a paper trail. Have a barcode print out on the paper and have the voter insert the paper into a scanner which records the correlation of paper-with-barcode to electronic vote and opens the voting booth curtain, something like that.

We also have all our Congresscritters, 1/3 of the Senators, etc., as well as referenda and other such business of democracy on the November ballot. It would be hideously expensive to have another election day for the Presidential balloting and another for other stuff.

Besides, what about places like NYC and others that haven’t screwed up? Our Big Hulkin’ 42-year-old Gray Shoup Machines O’ Freedom do pretty well, and we have ready contingencies for if they jam or whatever (involving paper forms and a #2 pencil, as it happens). We’re not all Floridas down here.

I like Zev’s idea, but I don’t see it happening without money from Washington. Lots of money.

You obviously have never stood in line behind a “technologically challenged” individual at an ATM. I’m only half-kidding about that. I’m sure that there has to be some maximum amount of voting time, beyond which even the best system will cause problems due to overloading.

You do get extra points, though, for not typing ATM machine:slight_smile:

…or about twenty old folks in a row, like the rush we get after meals and the 9:00 Mass.

And we’re not allowed to rush them out of the booths, either. We are allowed to poke our heads in after five minutes and ask if they’re OK, but legally we have to allow them all the time in the world that they need. And if there’s working people behind Slow Senior or First-Time Kid who have an hour lunch break and have taken 15 minutes to get there and spent ten minutes on line already, as is not uncommon in working-class neighborhoods like mine…mass, selective disenfranchisement, perhaps?


I should be disallowed from using the word “allow” for a while. Sorry.

And 20 old folks is on a primary day, like the Utterly Suspenseless Super Tuesday we just had. Count on 50-75 in line on an actual Election Day. Many of them will just see “a computer!” and freeze in confusion. I’m not kidding. My 65-year-old mom, a highly intelligent woman with a Masters in Education, can barely turn one on.

Lucky Florida isn’t full of old folks. :smiley: