Sunday, January 06, 2008

Polar Bears and Voting Machines

I suppose you thought we might be talking about the animals today, but I read the most stupid group of articles about how conservative people are less creative. I got a little hot under the collar at that one, so decided to prove them wrong, cleverly juxtaposing an animal picture with some frank talk on voting machines. Did Dali ever do this? Well I guess he didn't have a blog.

During this year’s presidential primaries, about one-third of all votes cast votes will be on touch-screen voting machines, and the New York Times has an excellent article on their vagaries.

"Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish."


"THE QUESTION, OF COURSE, is whether the machines should be trusted to record votes accurately. Ed Felten doesn’t think so. Felten is a computer scientist at Princeton University, and he has become famous for analyzing—and criticizing—touch-screen machines. In fact, the first serious critics of the machines—beginning 10 years ago—were computer scientists. One might expect computer scientists to be fans of computer-based vote-counting devices, but it turns out that the more you know about computers, the more likely you are to be terrified that they’re running elections."

Okay, that's enough of a teaser. Go read the article.
Around election time, even the strongest of citizens can become political junkies. If you are interested in election news from any number of states, just click here. (And yes, if you keep getting drawn into those political conversations but want to keep your views to yourself, this is just what you need.)
If you're sick of politics but a polar bear fan, you should explore the website of Norbert Rosing who took the picture of the Polar Bear and the Husky, above.


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