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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 11:56 PM
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Why one New York county is hand-counting all its ballots

Your vote counts

Tuesday, 07 December 2010

Why county is hand-counting all its ballots

COMPUTERS HAVE TOUCHED almost every aspect of our, of course someone would connect software and elections. That, however, is not necessarily a good thing.

The zeroes-and-ones electromagnetic technologies that enable the most utilitarian and wonderful aspects of our connected culture....can' the kind of gut confidence in an electoral process that is possible when human beings from my town, whom I know and every vote cast, call out each vote, see it recorded by another, and then together tabulate all the votes.

This is hands-on democracy. That it's a vanishing species is a crying shame. But, this fall, Commissioner Jason Nastke and I have brought it to Columbia County, because our alternative was to submit our democracy to invisible...processes by which computerized voting machines scan a paper ballot, interpret the votes cast on it, record those votes and tally all the votes they've handled.


The half-dozen programs that run our optical-scan voting machines are... so complex that computer scientists say that testing them to confirm that they contain no errors, inadvertent or malicious, is beyond the state of the art.

That doesn't build my confidence. Nor do I gain confidence that the machines are accurate simply on New York State's say-so. Since I, as election commissioner, have to certify to the accuracy of any election run under my watch, that steers me in the direction of a more elemental process -- a hand count under the watchful gaze of individuals who are invested in its accuracy.

Our state handed us a $50-million lemon when it required that we use computers to count votes...We were far better off when we could use simpler, less-expensive lever voting machines that operate via simple physical processes that anyone can understand and check....So, the Columbia County Board of Elections is making lemonade.


Virginia Martin is Democratic election commissioner of Columbia County.

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SugarShack Donating Member (979 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:07 AM
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1. Florida has a bad set up now and will continue to be rigged
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:35 AM
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2. Excellent! K & R nt
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:46 AM
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3. K&R'd
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:17 AM
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4. Wonderful!
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:58 AM
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5. You'll be interested in what's going on in Alaska
with Joe Miller's continued fight. Everyone, including Democrat Mark Begich, is practically begging him to concede, but in this article at The Mudflats, AKMuckraker explains why we should be encouraging Joe to continue this fight. (I never thought I'd say such a thing, but decide for yourself.) /

Alaskas Democratic Senator Mark Begich made a statement yesterday that was covered in Politico and the Anchorage Daily News, calling for Joe Miller to abandon his legal challenges to the U.S. Senate election that has Lisa Murkowski unofficially declared by herself and the Associated Press as the winner of the race.

It is time for Joe Miller to put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition and allow the state of Alaska to certify Lisa Murkowski as the winner, Begich said. Without both senators, Alaskas interests will be at risk on critical issues from energy development to job creation and reducing the national debt in a way thats fair to Alaskans.

Theres nothing in the statement that should surprise the casual observer, assuming of course that the casual observer looks no farther than the obvious ideological political differences between Begich, Murkowski and Miller. Tally up the total votes cast for Scott McAdams (D), Murkowski (R-write in) and Miller (R Tea Party) and its obvious that the majority of Alaskans lie somewhere to the left of Miller and doubtless disagree with his political agenda.

And it seems likely to our jaded minds that Miller wouldnt be pursuing his current course if he really truly believed there was no way he could actually win, no matter how much he may protest that this is not the case.

But even if Miller is only out to win, and using these legal challenges to do it - it doesnt matter.

If Millers legal challenges result in a hand count reconciliation of Alaskas election, this is a good thing, regardless of Millers motives. And its not potentially a good thing just for Miller, or just for Murkowski, whichever one of them emerges victorious. Its good for all Alaskans, including Senator Begich.


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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-13-10 01:33 PM
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6. kick nt
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