I vote for better voting

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-vote-for-better-voting.html
I’ve just finished voting by taking a little metal peg and punching a hole in a thick piece of paper.

Seriously.

Are we still in kindergarten? Did I miss something? The 20th century called and they want their voting procedures back.

How is it that I can get a credit card and a bank account, enroll in college, pay virtually every bill I have, and complete 90% of my everyday tasks online, but to vote in any sort of government election I still have to take time out of my day to trek over to some dilapidated church or bingo hall or the like and poke holes in paper cards like an uninterested school child.

Don’t tell me it’s because computers aren’t secure. People aren’t secure. On the list of things I don’t trust, there are a lot more people than machines, mostly because the majority of mistakes machines make are due to human error.

Don’t tell me it’s because of costs, either. You know who the majority of poll workers are? State employees. I had a friend who had a job with the state one time, and he did about an hours worth of work per day but got paid for 8 hours at more than $15 per hour. Now multiply that by however many employees at each polling place (let’s say 5, for the sake of argument) and the numbers start to add up quick. Plus, I’m sure the state governments pay at least something to use the various polling locations. You can’t tell me that creating a computer system that would make all of that obsolete for the foreseeable future would not be cost effective.

And don’t tell me it’s because it’s less efficient. Obviously, the most efficient way to do this would be via the internet, but people don’t think the internet is safe or secure enough to transmit that information (although apparently Democrats do). I think that’s hogwash, and with the right measures in place it wouldn’t be an issue, but even so, we can do it without using this crazy world wide web and still be more efficient.

First of all, voting consumes endless amounts of paper, and even if it’s all recycled (which I doubt), the government is still endorsing using huge amounts of energy to manufacture all of this paper. Then there’s the extra time and money spent counting the ballots, whereas a computer would record them electronically. And of course, there’s that sneaky human error factor again, which might accidentally drop a few votes here or there. Or there might even be the faux “human error” factor: the biased employee who “accidentally” drops a lot of votes off of one or another candidate. Computers eliminate all of these issues.

So how ‘bout it, Uncle Sam? I know I’m not alone in asking this: can we finally graduate kindergarten?
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