With all the concern over computer hackers interfering with free and democratic elections why don’t we just go back to paper ballots we fill out by hand and then count by hand?
I presented that question a few posts back — a rhetorical question I suppose, since I was not really expecting an answer, and I neither received one nor looked very hard for one. Except for the fact it’s more work to count them and it would keep us in suspense longer I can’t think of any cons. And because it would at least prevent vote tampering by computer hackers, it seems mostly pro.
Apparently leaders in Holland feel that way. With all the worry about hacking and the reports of Russian attempts to interfere with the U.S. elections, and I suppose others, they have decided that small nation will go back to paper ballots.
And at 67, I still have memories of filling out a paper ballot in one of my first elections. It’s not at all like chiseling in stone. Yes, for those of you either born with an I-pod in your ear and staring at a smart phone screen, it is possible to do some things without computers and has been done in relatively modern times.
And here’s something that confuses me, it seems to me that on the one hand I read that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Russians actually messed with our voting, even though some people seem to still imply that. What agents for Russia may have done is help in the dissemination of private (supposed to be private anyway) emails of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and of the Democratic Party that were embarrassing and may have affected the vote. But no one was saying that the information presented was untrue. Apparently the truth about herself and the truth about itself was thought to be damaging by Mrs. Clinton and the DNC.
But the other side, the winning side, had its share of embarrassing revelations, most notably the one with the candidate saying on video tape that he likes to accost women and grab their private parts. Now in another time that might have been a disqualifier, apparently not now, or maybe people just took it as boys will be boys and it was supposed to be private guy talk — and then all that stuff that JFK did in a time when you could just be off the record in your private life even when you were a politician.
I am not making light of the purported attempts of Russian agents to mess with our elections. That is a concern, but the efforts would have caused much more serious concern had they engaged in injecting fake news on a wide scale (and they may have).
Not much can be done to make voters be more discerning in their news sources and engage in more critical thinking but I think we could nip computer ballot tampering by eliminating the computers.
Computers have been a boon to our society, but they have also been a detriment at times.
Let’s go back to paper ballots — there still is the possibility of tampering and stuffing ballot boxes and voter fraud, but hacking would be impossible.
And it is puzzling and a bit distressing to know that in many cases there is no paper trail whatsoever in our modern voting — all computerized, so vulnerable to hackers.
And this thing about some states making it difficult for people to register to vote in the name of fighting voter fraud. I think in national elections the federal government should have standardized rules for all of this.
The way it works where I live it is super easy to register. I think they are still providing voter registration applications with driver licenses at the DMV. Well I don’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with that. But really, one ought to be able to go into a local government office during normal business hours, present a valid picture ID (driver license or state identity card) and get a voter registration application. Requiring such IDs would not be discriminatory or burdensome because virtually everyone has either one of those. You have to have ID, as far as I know, to get government assistance. So even the poorest of the poor and the handicapped would have it. For those who can’t make it into the government offices due to handicap or lack of transportation, provisions can be made and there could be voter outreach programs. But to simply suggest that voting is discouraged because someone has to put in some effort to register is ludicrous. If you can’t put in some effort you probably should not be voting anyway.
But, yeah, why not return to paper, hand-counted ballots?
Feel free to answer.