The Bombay Ballot
- What the U.S. can learn from India's electronic voting machines.
By Eric Weiner
Posted on Slate on Sept, 29 2004.
Some similarities with my First article on this blog, which was boingboinged and slashdoted in May 2004.
Snip from Eric Weiner's Article on Slate:
"Remember the Cold War tale of Soviet and American scientists racing to solve the problem of writing in zero gravity? NASA spent a decade and millions of dollars developing the high-tech Astronaut Pen. The Soviets solved the problem another way: They used a pencil."
Snip from My Post
"Reading this article, some of you might remember that Cold war era joke, about NASA and its multi million dollar experiment with a pen that can write in micro gravity to solve the writing problems of astronauts, and the Russian solution of using a Pencil to solve the same problem."
"The U.S. voting machines are loaded with Windows operating systems, encryption, touch screens, backup servers, voice-guidance systems, modems, PCMCIA storage cards, etc."
"IMHO, the Diebold system is too complex for a simple and straight forward task such as voting. Windows CE, Modems, PCMCIA storage cards, Touch screen GUI, On-screen writing facility, Voice-guidance system, multiple language UI, DES Encryption, centralized voting Server, a step-by-step wizard to cast a vote, Microsoft SQL Server to store votes, Backup servers etc. are all unnecessary."
"A voting system, whether Indian or American, is only as honest as the officials running it."
"You cannot make a system that is guaranteed as secure. A lot depends on the electoral process and the integrity of election officials."
The Slate article is also salted with racism, inaccuracies and exaggerations.
"How can an impoverished nation like India, where cows roam the streets of the capital and most people's idea of high-tech is a flush toilet, succeed where we have not?"
"For decades, Indians cast their votes by marking a paper ballot with a rubber stamp."
Correction, Oct. 11, 2004:
The article originally claimed that Indians used to vote by pressing an ink-stained thumb onto a paper ballot. In fact, Indians voted by rubber-stamping a paper ballot. They pressed their ink-stained thumbs onto the ballot in order to prevent voter fraud.
[smz: this correction is also inaccurate. :-|]
"Why do the U.S. machines have so many more bells and whistles than those in India? One reason is that we can. For us, the cost of electronics is largely irrelevant (thank you, Chinese workers). This explains why your DVD player has more features than a 747."