No, because the punchline is: New Mexico still uses dead trees. The bug was in the software that counts paper ballots.
New Mexico was given to Gore on election night by 6,800 votes because of buggy computer software. That software "failed to read" straight-party votes (oops!), and worse, it "also chose at least one candidate from another party."
If computer flaws had thrown an electronic-vote election, you'd be reading about it on the front page of every newspaper across the country, and pundits would be telling us (sometimes in ways very funny) how foolish we were to trust our votes to those nasty computers.
How many presidential elections does our 19th-century technology have to nearly destroy before the alternatives get serious consideration?
A friend in Sweden tells me that the U.S.A. is now being referred to as the B.R.A., the Banana Republic of America. Maybe by the 21st century we can have 20th-century voting machines installed at our polling places, what do you think?
(New Mexico could decide the election if Florida's votes are thrown out, Oregon goes to Bush, and one or two more improbabilities occur.)
Voting, right here in River(side) County Riverside County, California, used touch-screen voting in this last election. This is very different from internet voting since there was no network to the outside world. I think this is an important step and certainly should be done first.
ABC News's report describes Riverside's system and shows a photo. Randall Gardner points out that the local paper has a great story with an overview of the system and reactions from voters -- glitches, yes; late tally, yes; but all in all it sounded like a positive experience.
reports that voters in the Australian Capital Territory (in which our nation's capital, Canberra, lies) "could be the first in the nation to trial electronic voting at next year's territory election", according to the territory's Chief Minister, Gary Humphries. They're hoping to pass legislation next month to bring this about. Sounds cool, but the article goes on to quote Humphries as saying, "You might as well be doing it from your own home." Is it just me, or does this raise the possibility of voters being coerced into a particular vote where this sort of thing can't be seen? I'd prefer to see electronic voting available only from polling booths.
No grunge typefaces please User-interface wonks should enjoy this pure-and-simple design contest. Web Memes, Inc. is asking you to design a ballot, preferably one as unconfusing as possible while still using (spit) paper. You also get to make up your own candidates and issues.
Busily coding your next election... ...is Jason Kitcat, who says "I'm working really hard on the next release and haven't given it the PR time it deserves." Allow me.
FREE is "Free Referenda & Elections Electronically," "the first open source system for conducting electronic votes." We're now jumping from mere electronic tallying of votes in polling places to actual internet voting, so please keep your hands inside the browser at all times.
Originally an academic thesis, FREE is now GPL'd, written in Java, and its design background is available in whitepapers. I haven't tried running it. Someone let us know if the project could be useful.
See also thebell.net, which comments:
...the majority of paper punching systems used in the U.S. do not produce repeatable results when ballots are tallied more than once, which means that election officials lack the means to objectively distinguish between fraud and error under these circumstances. ...we should in fact be looking to Internet voting systems in order to try to reduce those faults and thus provide for more security than what is available today -- not less security.
The seriously skeptical view Let's end on a sobering note. Scoffing at The Bell's claim to have tackled the subject a mere six months ago, Rebecca Mercuri points out (on Dave Farber's IP list) that others have been thinking about internet voting for over a decade. She writes:
Internet systems indeed DO promise FAR LESS in the way of auditability (recounts) and anonymity (privacy) than do the paper and other manual systems presently in place. To promote the belief that Internet voting, in any way provides a SAFE VOTE, is wholly erroneous.
She has an intimidating collection of links to (mostly) academic papers on the subject on her Electronic Voting page.
And in conclusion The only viable form of government is perl-based: we need a bicamel legislature with an eclectoral college. Thank you and good night!
And now for something completely the same! A note from timothy: The next piece in our continuing Hellmouth Revisited series is online. Feel free to go read it.