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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Electronic Voting

As a result of the 2000 Presidential Election fiasco, America no longer has a hodgepodge of confusing and potentially unreliable voting systems. We now have a hodgepodge of confusing and potentially unreliable electronic voting systems.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at this map of the county-by-county breakdown of voting machines being used in Pennsylvania, which also allows you to view a video showing how your particular electronic voting machine works. I live in Luzerne County, so I will be using the ES&S iVotetronic, which sounds like something out of The Jetsons. (The folks in Montgomery County will be using the Sequoia Advantage and those in York County will be using the Sequoia Edge, both of which sound like either multi-bladed razors or fancy types of NordicTracks.)

Oh, surprise, surprise: according to the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice, it turns out that Luzerne County has to pay an annual maintenance fee for the fancy new voting machines, budgeted at over $252,000 for next year - $62,500 to download ballot information for two elections and $190,000 for "routine and preventative computer maintenannce, which would be completed by the electronic voting machine vendor." (The article notes that the old lever voting machines had no maintenance costs, though this is probably an underestimate; I am sure somebody spent a few minutes each year dusting the machines and applying a few drops of oil to the mechanism.) This is on top of the $2.4 million price tag for the machines, which were bought from Nebraska-based Electronic Systems and Software. It's nice to know that somebody is making a huge profit from the fiasco of 2000!

1 comment:

George said...

Brother Harold,

Does it make you feel better to know that at least one country is about to have a closely-monitored and well-prepared election?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6439233