Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Election 2016 - An Exercise in Faith?

Wasn’t it Al Capone who said, “Vote early, and often”?  That’s the Chicago way!  And we’ve all heard reports of people voting from their graves in Colorado and California.  

Then there’s the famous quote ascribed to Communist leader Joseph Stalin that goes something like this; “Those who cast the votes decide nothing.  Those who count the votes decide everything.”   It’s enough to make a soul cynical on the whole idea of democracy.  To echo that age-old sentiment, “Does my vote really count?” 

The answer to that question may very well rest with how the votes are counted.  In days of old people marked their choice on a piece of paper and stuffed it in a ballet box (perhaps early and often).  And we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to learn the results.  

However, in the Information Age that is the 21st century we have optical scan devices and direct recording electronic (DRE) systems with touch screens.  These methods were designed to count the ever growing number of voters in a quick and organized fashion.  Thank goodness for technology!

But then Princeton professor Andrew Appel showed us how he can hack an electronic voting machine in 7 minutes, skewing the results at his whim.  His message was simple – the machines we use to vote are less secure than the smartphones we carry in our pockets.  And our angst grew deeper.  So now we swallow hard and head to the polls, trusting the powers that be to count the votes as closely as possible, and perhaps with the help of divine providence get the candidate we actually chose.  At least that’s what I’m doing.

So, remember to vote on Tuesday, November 8th.  Hey, it’s a civic responsibility, but also a privilege to have your say!  Just watch out for hanging chads!

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