Original post: 1 May 2008
Conducting elections on the Internet terrifies me.
You might expect a Chief Geek to embrace putting technology everywhere – in every nook and cranny of government. Not me. Certainly there is a lot of the work of government which can be more efficient and effective through the use of technology. But use of the Internet for elections is not one of those functions. First, I have to admit I get a thrill walking into Admiral Congregational Church on election Tuesdays, walking past he American flag and the church women selling cookies, and then saying hello to Jackie and Nancy and Susan and the other poll workers. I feel so much more a part of my community and doing my civic duty. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mid blackening the little bubbles on the ballot. I don’t mind the automated counting machine and I don’t even mind people using mail-in or absentee ballots.
But it gives me a lot of comfort to know that my vote is on a piece of paper which can be felt and held and stored. That no Internet hackster is messing with the numbers – or, if they do, a legion of real humans can hand count those ballots and verify the results.
Personal ballot places, real pollworkers, paper ballots. Pretty similar to the workings of Democracy in the 1700’s, and a reliable election process for this geek.