Did your vote count?

Well, ours didn’t… Teresa and I can’t get a Colorado Drivers license yet… for some reason, this state doesn’t think a passport AND a Georgia drivers license is enough to identify you.  Never mind that both can be checked for authenticity and our pictures are in there.  So, while I wait for a certified copy of my birth certificate from California (“surf’s up dude!”)… there it is… we didn’t vote in this election, but, even with all the stories of “how much you vote matters,” I’m no longer sure it matters anyway.  I have little faith in our governments’ ability to count our vote.

Teresa and I just watched the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.  Yeah, I know, it’s after Halloween and all…  but this is the scariest because it affects all of us living in the USA in a very real way.  The question the movie tries to answer is: did your vote count?  After watching the video, my honest answer to this question is a resounding:  “I don’t know.”  And I didn’t even vote!  It doesn’t matter if you are a hard core conservative, a bleeding heart liberal, an independent, or a libertarian.  If you vote, you NEED to see this video… and it’s completely free, available from Google Video.  Now is the time to get enraged about our broken voting systems in the United States of America.

The video was well done, and, in my humble opinion, riveting… I know, that “riveting” seems like a weird word to use for a documentary, but Teresa and I were certainly hooked.  You’ll wonder where your 1h 22m went.  To folks that think this may be “alarmist” propaganda, take a simple look at the evidence presented.  Do some Google searches.  I will note that nothing has been proven yet, but the possibility of vote tampering is real and a much easier than it has been in the past.  You’ll see very reliable publications and newspapers are covering this topic. Why it hasn’t made the front page is beyond me.  This is scary stuff.  Our democracy (or representative republic) is in danger.  Now is the time to do something about it.

As far as I am concerned, I think a computerized vote should go as follows:

  1. I walk into my voting precinct and wait less than 30 minutes to be “processed.”
  2. I am identified as a valid voter.  Since I have been identified as a valid voter, I should need no further paper work at this point.  I should, at this point, become an anonymous voter and moved to another line or the voting area.  I should not be handed a card or any other such device which could identify me.
  3. I start my voting at a voting machine.  I am assigned a unique number. 
  4. I vote at a machine using a touch screen display or some other simple method.
  5. After I have completed the questions, I have the option of printing my votes out to review them.  Once I have verified and completed my vote, the voting machine spits out one last printout of my selections as well as my unique number.
  6. I have the option to securely shred any printouts as I walk out of the voting area.
  7. My selections should be sent to a central computer which records my votes AND prints additional paper records of my individual vote for later recount if needed.
  8. I should be able to go online, and, using my unique number, verify that my vote was counted as my printout shows.

Electronically counted paper ballots would be fine too, but I sure would like to take a copy of my vote home with me.  You know this is not rocket science!  This is actually how a number of financial transactions work.  Don’t you think we deserve to have more trust in our voting officials?  Write your Secretary of State!

PS Being a software engineer myself, I could tell, from watching this video, that the system was indeed easy to hack.  It appears a rudimentary knowledge of Microsoft Access/SQL, a card reader, and access to the right items at the right time is all that is needed.

PPS Of course, we aren’t a true democracy… we are a representative republic… but that’s another story.

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