Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Doing Elections Right

There's been lots of discussion about electronic voting and all of the potential problems. In fact, across the country in this most recent election there were major problems with reliability of the systems, long lines, and people unable to vote (Denver being a nearby example).

Personally, I'd love to see punch cards come back to Boulder County. Reliable, paper trail, hard to mess with. But that's not going to happen.

Contrary to the rest of the country, I was very pleasantly surprised with how the election was handled here. Some highlights:
  • Anybody who doesn't want to wait in line on election day can vote early or absentee.

  • Boulder County made paper ballots available to anybody who didn't want to vote electronically. This also guarantees that people can vote even when there are problems with the voting machines.

  • The electronic voting machines printed a paper record of every vote and gave every voter a chance to confirm that the paper ballot matched their intentions.
Every voting location in the country should do every one of these things to create a fair, reliable, and well-trusted election result.

What would I change? A couple of little things. First, the optical scan paper ballots we use are incredible clumsy. For every vote you have to entirely fill in a huge box with a ball point pen. No little bubble on a standardized test, a technology I thought was well understood back when I took the SAT a hundred years ago. Second, work on the readability of the electronic voting machine screens. In particular, some of the print is in a disturbingly small font. Yeah, most people don't care that much about voting for or against judicial retention. But at least pretend, and put the judges' name in a typeface that someone over 35 can make out.

One other thing. We need to recognize that we live in a representative democracy, and stop letting every kook put every little pet cause onto the ballot. Because, some of those kooky pet causes actually pass, and then they become "the will of the people". And people generally write notoriously bad laws.

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