From our email this morning, more concerns over the voting process in Georgia. These concerns are made more topical with the elected Secretary of State’s resignation. The SOS, Karen Handel, a high school GED holder, quit. She quit to ‘become’ Governor. Maybe she should have stayed SOS and just manipulated a victory with an iPhone. The iPhone has enough computing power that it can be used to rewrite the Diebold operating system. The system can be hacked that easily and has been done in college laboratories. So here’s the email and it’s announcement.,

Making Sure Our Votes Count…Literally

How we vote has received its fair share of attention over the past decade or so.  Since the Florida debacle in 2000, when “hanging chad” forever became a part of our cultural dictionary, states have experimented with different approaches to voting. Among the more creative in my mind is Oregon’s, which exclusively uses mail-in ballots now, all of which are read by an optical scanner.
Of course, Georgia’s big push was touch-screen voting. After tens of thousands of Georgia ballots went uncounted in 2000, the state quickly rushed to upgrade its voting method, and a contract with ATM maker Diebold was signed in 2002. From the start, the Diebold contract has been a point of contention and criticism statewide, beginning with the appearance of the contract having been essentially “fixed” by the presence of corporate lobbyists with direct ties to the Secretary of State’s office.
Eight years on, the issue hasn’t died. Diebold officially got out of the contentious voting machine business late last year, selling that division of its company to Election Systems and Software, or ESS for short. But the machines remain unchanged, as do the problems associated with them:
·The lack of a “paper trail” or any independent method of verifying the accuracy of vote totals from each machine
·The lack of control the state has over software.
Georgia has never owned nor developed the software that runs these machines, and so the state foolishly relies upon the company’s word that the software does what it does accurately. Running elections and counting the votes is the direct responsibility of the state, not a corporation, regardless of whether its Diebold, ESS or some other for-profit company.
·Lack of speed.
You would think that, at the very least, vote totals would now come in much more quickly than they did before, but if there’s been an improvement in this area, you could have fooled me. Other states wiz right past Georgia on election night results, and some of them still use paper ballots.
·Perhaps the biggest issue…lack of security.
The software on these machines could easily be tampered with. A 2006 report from a voting watchdog organization on the ease in which this could happen to Diebold machines had to essentially be classified by federal and state authorities in order to keep simple methods of hacking the voting software hidden from public view.

I am by nature a technophile, someone who loves and supports new technology. I didn’t have an issue with the voting machines at first, but the problems associated with them have lingered on too long. Regardless of who we vote for, we need to have confidence that our votes will be counted the right way, and the people we vote on to oversee this process, namely the Secretary of State, is in fact in charge of the whole process.

Two of the candidates for Secretary of State in 2010, Gary Horlacher and Michael Mills, will be speaking Thursday night, April 15th, at the Dade County Public Library at 7 pm. I hope you’ll come out and let them know your concerns and questions regarding the future of voting in Georgia.

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