Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So What's Really Up With Voting Machines Today?

It's becoming fairly difficult to get a serious read on exactly what's happening with e-voting machines during this election cycle. The big media consensus describes various reports of e-voting breakdowns as "technical glitches."

Here's The Washington Post take:

Some of the longer waits were attributed to technical glitches with new electronic voting machines in several states. Balloting was delayed in dozens of precincts in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado, forcing election officials to extend polling hours in some places. However, the computer problems and other delays did not appear to be widespread or politically motivated, election monitors said.

The NY Times seems to take this a little more seriously:

With control of Congress hanging on a handful of races, voters streamed to the polls today in a midterm election that many people have viewed as a popular referendum on President Bush and the war in Iraq, but there were a variety of voting problems scattered across the country.

This is perhaps the most important issue in this race, on whether this technology is a reliable and robust tool worthy enough of preserving the world's leading democracy. Doesn't look like it. This blog differs with the simple analysis that machine breakdowns are due to "technical glitches." Glitches imply the notion that it's "not so bad." There's nothing ... "glitchy"about the core tool in American democracy breaking down. Until we begin applying a greater sense of dread to this problem, it'll be a long time before we fix it.