Voting Machines vs. Democracy

Mighty suspicious, given that they’ve known about this problem since last week, but still can’t fix it.

Some Voting Machines Chop Off Candidates’ Names –

U.S. Senate candidate James Webb’s last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.

Thus, Democratic candidate Webb will appear with his first name and nickname only — or “James H. ‘Jim’ ” — on summary pages in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville, the only jurisdictions in Virginia that use balloting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic of Austin.

Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb’s full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.

If the summary page has no value, they wouldn’t use it. Consequently, I can’t see on what grounds anyone could say this is an irrelevant error. (I will agree it’s not as bad as messing up the actual voting page, but even so…)

Couldn’t they shelve the machines and use paper ballots?

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3 Responses to Voting Machines vs. Democracy

  1. Donald A. Coffin says:

    The article indicates that this “glitch” affefts candidates with long names. Hmmm.

    James “Jim” Webb
    George Allen

    So more than 12 characters in one’s name in long? I find this quite amazing.

  2. ruidh says:

    The big WTF? here is a system that was designed to have two seperate characer limits. The number of characters it can display on a ballot and the number it can display on a confirmation. Why aren’t these two numbers the same?

  3. The Black Monk says:

    It’s not a glitch. I think it’s a feature.

    It allows you to ID people who vote democratic and disenfranchise them. And it allows you to do it without disenfranchising republican voters or actually changing any votes or throwing them out, so it’s all legal.

    Consider the neighborhood. Northern VA is the democratic powerhouse of VA. It’s why there’s a Dem. Gov. And it’s why Webb is polling well. And Alexandria is one of the the liberalist areas in NoVA.

    Now consider the feature. The name of the candidate you chose changes on the summary/confirmation page if you changed the font size. Who would change the font size? The elderly.

    A lot of elderly people here (in Alexandria – where I live) can’t stand Allen because he’s genuinely disrespectful – he chews tabacco at, and wears cowboy boots to, meetings; He calls people nigers and macacas (sp?) and cracks wise about people dying in Iraq. He also gave us the donut hole in Medicare part D. So whether the elderly voted democratic or republican previously, many intend to vote for Webb this time around.

    Disenfranchising democratic voters is the name of the game when you’re a modern republican – its the only way to win. And this feature allows republicans to disenfranchise people who vote democratic and not people who vote republican. It’s clever. And it’s very slimey. Right, Karl?

    Computer voting is so disgustingly easy to manipulate. No one who has ever written a line of code could think otherwise.

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