Watching the results of the recall elections in Wisconsin last night, I temporarily returned to the accepted state of mind of waiting through the night for the various voting districts to “report” in with their results, and as they did the apparent outcome of the races in question changed back and forth.
There were 6 recall races in Wisconsin yesterday. 5 of the 6 races were “called” by the networks relatively early. In 3 of the races, the GOP State Senator held off the recall. In 2 of them, the Democratic challenger won. The last race was close. At one point it showed the Democrat leading by 2 points, with 67% of the vote “in”.
All of a sudden, the results just stopped coming in. It turned out that one county was having some “issues” with returning the results of the race. It would be at least an hour, they said, till any results would be forthcoming.
The VERY SHADY record of the county clerk involved, Kathy Nickolaus will hopefully be highly scrutinized in the coming days and weeks.
But what got my attention was when a TV commentator said that he found it odd that this county had problems with their results, since they had the SAME VOTING MACHINES as everyone else in the state.
This statement snapped me back to reality. The same voting machines. Right, the same overly expensive, unsecure, untrustworthy voting technology that EVERYBODY ELSE is using.
In today’s world, using the online service technology that we use in every other facet of our lives, our voting systems should be doing away with the entire archaic concept of waiting around all night while election officials, with sometimes questionable ethics records, “tabulate” and finally “report” voting results from dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of individual, stand-alone voting devices.
In today’s world, we should be voting into online systems that keep track of voting results in real time. At the end of the voting day, election officials AND observers like the press, watchdog groups, and representatives for the candidates themselves could see the results IMMEDIATELY. No tabulation necessary. No waiting around for hours for them to “report in” is necessary. No opportunity for vote tampering is necessary.
The other story I followed yesterday throughout the day was the action in the stock market. From 9:30 AM to 4 PM every day the Dow goes up and down, from Green to Red, and the numbers change on the display instantaneously. Can you imagine if all the trading was done all day, and then everybody had to wait for hours every night to find out the “results” of all that trading? That isn’t necessary because today’s online technology can easily keep up with the billions, even trillions, of dollars traded around every day.
But on election day, somehow we are supposed to believe it isn’t “safe” to conduct our voting business the way we conduct all the rest of our business EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES.