04 November 2008


So I did end up at the polling place since there was zero line and plenty of parking.  As mentioned, my main motivation was to vote on a couple of referenda, which I did.  I ended up casting my presidential vote for Barr, because as I feared there was no abstain, and my last forlorn hope for this election is that neither candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, continuing the streak that has run through the last 4 elections. There was no way for me to guarantee that I added one vote to denominator of all votes cast without voting for someone, so it had to be Barr. I also voted for whoever the LP put up against Van Hollen, though again that is nothing more than symbolic. There were also two judges running unopposed.  I voted NO for each, though I doubt it will do any good.  For all other questions I chose write ins, selecting only those individuals who are already deceased.  I believe my final slate of candidates was Richard Feynman, Sol LeWitt, F.A. Hayek, Robert Nozick and William F. Buckley, Jr.

By the way, if you're one of the people I heard fretting about electronic voting: get over it.  You've probably been voting electronically since the 80s and haven't even known it.  Those paper ballots you felt so comfortable with were counted by computers, and those machines weren't much more reliable than the touch screen ones you may have seen today.  Are they notoriously ill-secured?  Yes.  Designers could do much, much better.  But most voter fraud is perpetrated by poll workers and other trusted insiders, and such attacks are very difficult to prevent no matter how the physical systems you use are secured.  Don't use technology as a scapegoat when the real problem is fraud generally.


  1. There's a huge difference between electronic counting of paper ballots and all-around electronic voting -- the former leaves a paper trail that we absolutely know the voter looked at.

    That said, given that it is practically impossible to get an exact count, I'd be in favor of changing the laws to allow some sort of margin of error. Pretending elections can be perfect expressions of the people's will is a terrible mistake...

  2. I'm all for paper trails, don't get me wrong. I'd like to see that and any number of other improvements made to current electronic ballot systems.

    I just find it amusing that people deride electronic voting, as if adding something digital to the mix is introducing some sort of bogeyman, when there have been computers involved for years.

    I'd like to see people worry about fraud or error *in general* and not fraud or error due to digital systems.