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November 18, 2002 7:56 AM   Subscribe

chip glitch Robbie Floyd - seemed agape even hours after learning of his defeat Wednesday. "It was hard to believe that that type of mistake had happened," he said.
posted by specialk420 (8 comments total)
The funny thing about all this is that some people thought it was a joke when other countries called for election monitors in the US ...
posted by walrus at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2002

Walrus: there were election monitors. They did their job. That's how we found about about this.
posted by wobh at 8:17 AM on November 18, 2002

I welcome our new microchip lords and masters. Truly we live in a technocracy, where the all-powerful computers will decide our leaders.

But seriously Wobh, the article states the election officials only raised a red flag because of the wide discrepancy between the outcome and predicted outcome. It takes a lot of backbone nowadays to call for a recount citing voting irregularities or possibly tally failures, and if the race had been closer, I highly doubt they would have called for it.

the big problem here is that there's no redundant system. Nasa has three computers running the shuttle, with two completely different codebases. They run in realtime and, when they have different answers, majority rules.

Voting should have a redundant system. We need to acknowledge that there will *always* be irregularities, either via accidental misvote or tallying or reporting errors. What we need are two separate mechanisms along the whole way, so we won't have to rely on "this absolutely wasn't what we expected" to let us know that maybe there's a bad chip or a flawed ballot.

If the two systems show the same winner, hooray! And if they don't, then it's time to revote.

Just a thought.
posted by kfury at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2002

kfury, I go along with that, generally, but this case is an example where human backbone was enough to do the job.

Sure it would be nice if human backbone wasn't required and our election officials and foreign observers could just kick back, relax and admire the running of our well oiled election machine. But that day is not yet. Until then it's nice to read about responsible and brave people who stood up to make sure the people's voice was heard.

(I'm also growing more and more leery of removing the human element from various social type things like elections, censuses, jurisprudence, medicine, etc. There are balances to be struck between adaptability and stability, consideration and reflex.)
posted by wobh at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2002

wobh: Miami-Dade requested election monitors from the Center for Democracy, following a preliminary report on county election procedures they had prepared beginning shortly after the 2000 election. So far as I know, no other major US jurisdiction had any monitoring other than the normal two-party oversight procedures (e.g. election judges at each precinct and central office representing Democrats and Republicans). There was no set of "other countries" that called for monitors, and in any case the CfD only comes in when requested by local officials representing major parties.

And anyone who cites the shuttle's three computer systems as justification for two parallel voting systems has ... missed a major part of the logic.
posted by dhartung at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2002

The probability of vote fraud without paper trail, and with only the tech priesthood to guard against it, is apalling to contemplate.
posted by gametone at 3:06 PM on November 18, 2002

dhartung: I'm glad to hear it. I hope it becomes a trend.
posted by wobh at 10:46 PM on November 18, 2002

Again, is is so bad to require that people be able to write in order to vote in an election. and then ask them to write the name of their choice in the blank?
posted by planetkyoto at 1:14 AM on November 19, 2002

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