[E-voting] Framing Computerized Voting

Adrian Colley aecolley at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 13:21:39 IST 2007

I used to say "computer-mediated voting" before I joined ICTE.  I work
with computers, so the concept of "computerized voting" doesn't bother
me -- it's the fact that the computer casts a vote on your behalf (as
opposed to assisting you to cast a vote) where the trouble starts.


On 27/06/07, Catherine Ansbro <cansbro at eircom.net> wrote:
>     *June 22, 2007 at 14:19:07*
> Framing Computerized Voting
> <http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_paul_jac_070622_framing_computerized.htm>
> /by Paul Jacobs <http://www.opednews.com/author/author5733.html> Page 1
> of 1 page(s)/
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> "Electronic Voting" is the death tax of the election integrity movement.
> It is imperative that we change the vernacular to "Computerized Voting"
> to reveal that election systems are much, much more than simple electronics.
> Recent news headlines warned of breaches in Homeland Security computers.
> United Airlines was grounded for 2 hours due to a computer malfunction.
> When was the last time you read about an "electronic" failure in
> mainstream news?
> Most of us are familiar George Lakoff's books and publications on how
> framing is used to manipulate the public. One of the better examples of
> this ploy was the transformation of "estate tax" to "death tax." A tax
> that only impacts those with considerable wealth was repackaged as an
> evil monstrosity that sounds like it shakes the loose change from the
> pockets of dead people.
> "Electronic" sounds innocuous and we are easily misled into believing
> that voting machines simply mark and count ballots, when the truth is
> nothing close to that. Computerized voting systems typically "define"
> your ballot on a touch screen and then "capture" votes by converting
> them into bits of data stored on a cartridge. A separate computer reads
> those cartridges and the "results data" is deciphered by software that
> tallies the votes. Described this way, computerized voting leaves few
> voters feeling warm and fuzzy about the machinery computing our elections.
> Election integrity advocates must never utter the E-word again. It is
> computerized voting that threatens our democracy. Computers are
> programmable and prone to software glitches, while electronic systems
> are perceived as nearly infallible. We flip a switch and the light comes
> on. Most of us don't understand the science of electricity and the word
> "electronic" is equated with reliability.
> Vehicles come with EFI – electronic fuel injection. If an automaker
> tried advertising computerized fuel injection, they would likely end up
> with a lot of unsold cars.
> Computers offer many conveniences in life, but they are prone to
> problems. Most companies that rely on computers have stringent backup
> systems in place; otherwise United Airlines would have had their wings
> clipped for much longer than 2 hours. Election systems that are used
> maybe once or twice per year lack the troubleshooting that comes with
> regular use of computer systems. While banks routinely make backup
> information available for customers to verify transactions, the
> information contained within voting systems is treated as a closely
> guarded secret not available to the average voter.
> Computers routinely suffer glitches, reboots, hacks and other
> vulnerabilities. There is no evidence computerized voting systems are an
> exception to the rule. In fact, because of their scarcity of use and the
> secretive nature of election officials and voting machine manufacturers,
> the computers that run and decide our elections are more prone to having
> problems that are never revealed to the public.
> The battle to reclaim democracy also requires that we be armed with
> accurate words. Computers are prone to problems and computerized voting
> is a definite problem if we expect legitimacy from our elections.
> http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_paul_jac_070622_framing_computerized.htm
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