re: Election 2012: New Voting Tech Caused Some Headaches
Voting, while a national issue, would not benefit from a national solution because there are too many variations:
- Buford, Wyoming (pop. 1) does not have the same requirements as New York City (pop. 8.2M);
- Climate extremes in Buras, LA, Death Valley, CA, or Kotzebue, AK would require environmental hardening for transportation and storage (and maybe even use) that would be overkill for most of the rest of the country;
- many evoting machines require technical personnel to program, calibrate, install firmware upgrades, upload vote tallies, etc. which would be challenging for many small, rural communities;
- the cost of voting is typically covered by the city of county. Too many budget-strapped local governments would have to rely upon subsidies, which could easily become another contested political football;
- standardizing on a single system would assign a monopoly to a single company, which would be contested in court by competing companies. A single provider would also become a target hackers, internal espionage, and corruption;
- a standardized interface might simplify the system and spur competition, but would probably infringe on someone's patent, and again, wind up in the courts.
- systems around aging populations need ease of use, the ones around technical communities may need better security;
- it's a little difficult to e-vote from Forward Operating Base Chapman, Afghanistan;
Finally, the whole process is still pretty new. Right now lots of places are trying lots of options, and eventually we may get to a commodity solution, but we are far from there, yet.
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point. Few systems beat the reliability of pencil and paper (not the punch-a-hole, hanging chad variety), but you can't get instant results at poll close. With e-voting, expect failures and try to improve with each iteration.