Wednesday, June 07, 2006


First, they moved the location of a lot of polling places. Not sure why that was done. Mine was still close to where I live, but not quite close enough to just walk over.

They had three machines but were only using one. There was someone on the machine before me and they were having trouble finding my name (bless these elderly ladies' hearts--even when they got to the page with my name on it they still couldn't find it and it was the first name on the page).

So I finally signed in and saw the voter access cards lying there on the table. I asked them if I should just take a card or what (I knew that I had to have one from the online demo I had done) and they said, no, the woman over by the machine will activate it for you.

So when it's my turn (and my 2-year-old son is with me), I go to the machine and there's a poll worker there. She puts the voter access card into some little blue encoder device and punches in some numbers. I'm thinking "aha--this is an opportunity for tampering" and then she pulls it out and says "I hope this works."

Actual Voting
She puts the card into the machine and the choices come up--only two offices to vote for in this primary. So I vote for Erik Fleming to take out Trent Lott and then I vote for Gene Taylor. Not because he's who I'd like to have as our representative, but he does have a "D" by his name.

By the way, the poll worker is standing right next to me the whole time this is happening, walking me through it as though I'm 80 years old and have never used a touch screen mechanism.

Anyhoo, I must admit that selecting the candidates was easy and painless--my choices were displayed accurately on the screen. Then I pressed "print ballot".

"Verified" Paper Audit Trail (or whatever the printout is called)
Here's where it was a little dicey to me and seemed like more tampering could take place here. The online demo made the printing seem very careful and legible and verifiable. However, in reality, there was a flap covering my printer readout area.

I asked the poll worker if I could look at the printout and she flipped the flap up. The window on the readout area was not very clear--it was kind of yellowish and like a thin plastic material. You could see through it, but not that well. And, unlike the online demo, everything didn't print out "just so."

The paper on my printout did not seem to advance quite right--I could read the first choice I had made. Well actually, I should say I could barely read it. The first choice was the first line printed and it barely made it into the window and I couldn't read the second line at all.


Overall, I like the idea of electronic voting machines and their ease of use. However, as we all know, Diebold is a for-profit corporation, and like any corporation, doesn't care so much about doing its job right as it does about maximizing profits.

And apparently they got $20 million from the federal government for these Mississippi machines. That's a pretty good haul from one state. And now they have the money, so what do they care if the machines don't work right, or don't tabulate votes properly, or what have.

And we also all know that Diebold and other electronic voting vendors do not make their software available to our elected public servants for verification of their security and reliability. So that's troubling.

I just have a bad feeling that these electronic machines are how they're going to try to keep a Republican majority this November...

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