Protecting your vote using Net technolgies

Protecting your vote using Net technolgies


It's better to prevent voting problems than to try to fix them after the fact.

I'm not talking about "voter fraud," like where nonexistent humans are registered. That's a rarity, and generally a hoax.

Bigger problems usually involve efforts to prevent legitimate voters from voting. For example, voters might be purged from voting rolls illegitimately, or not enough voting machines might be made available.

The Net can be used to protect voters from being disenfranchised in these or other manners.

Notable among these efforts is the Voter Protection Project. It uses a combination of technologies which people can use to provide real-time reporting of problems.

For example, you can call 1-866-our-vote (1-866-687-8683) to alert the project.

They're already seeing a lot of real stories regarding voting issues. Here's one:

Lee, Des Plaines, Illinois

During the 2004 presidential election, Lee went to cast his vote at his polling location and noticed that something was different, there were very few machines. Lee has voted at the same school many times. Normally there are several machines but this time there were very long lines. Lee believes that local election officials placed fewer voting machines in democratic counties. He has heard several news stories that report similar issues taking place across the country. Lee has contacted local officials to alert them to the issue and ensure that there is an adequate number of machines at his polling place come November 4 but he has not received additional information or evidence that the problem has been addressed.

You can use Twitter to report problems at polls or elsewhere in a very public way. Check out the Twitter Vote Report. Check out their voter report map; it displays a Google map of the US along with the icons of people reporting issues. This specific project grew from a TechPresident suggestion by Nancy Scola and Allison Fine a few weeks ago.

Participating in the Twitter Vote Report project are an impressive range of organizations including the Election Protection Coalition,
Rock the Vote, Credo Mobile, Common Cause, Plodt, YouTube, Twittervision, NPR's Social Media Desk, Independence Year Foundation, The Center for Community Change, Student PIRGs, PBS, Video the Vote, Election Suppression Wiki, Women Donors Network, Why Tuesday? and Demos. In addition, Current TV will be using the #votereport information as part of their special election coverage throughout the day.




Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein's October 27, 2008 (online ) and October 28 (hardcopy) column, "Truck Beds & Eraser Heads" discussed one person's electronic voting experience at the touch screen at Riverside, CA's Tyler Mall.
Should say our extended family has voted at this location at touch screens for many years and never before noticed anything amiss.
But when the individual in Bernstein's column voted for HIS congressman, a check appeared by the OTHER congressman's name.
Another unusual item in that column is that when the voter asked for help, an election official tapped the screen with an ERASER and the incorrect vote disappeared from the screen. But to get the full and accurate story see the link above.
As it turns out, I, my mom, and my nephew voted, likely about the same time (that Saturday) and workmen were working on one voting booth that was out of order for some unstated reason while we were there. We voted in another booth, but I believe the entire time we were present that one booth was out of order and someone was trying to fix it.
I did observe when I was voting if my candidates were getting the AND I did look at the printed paper tape, and my machine was working A-OK. My mom and nephew also used machines that worked fine.


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