September 05, 2020
Nothing New Under the Sun

From the New York Times of October 30, 2002:

Remember all that fuss a couple of years back over Florida’s Banana-republic voting procedures? And then the similar fuss but smaller fuss when it happened all over again in this year’s Florida primaries? And all that pious concern from the White House and the Hill about voting scandals in dozens of other jurisdictions across the country?

Well, it turns out that Brazil has already figured the whole thing out. Unburdened by Katherine Harris and the political leadership of the United States, Brazil just ran two huge elections (some 90 million votes in each) with hardly a hitch.

“The heart of the Brazilian system,” The Times writes, “is a plain $420 computer with a keyboard much like that of an automatic teller machine. Voters punch in the number of the candidate they want to vote for, wait for the candidate’s picture and name to appear on the screen, confirm their choice or correct any error by pressing another button, and then move on to the next office on the list.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 05, 2020 05:53 PM
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Is 't Brazil where they multiple names for how black and how white you are? Names like quadroon or octoroon. I wonder how that translates to voting with pictures.

Posted by: BP on September 7, 2020 7:11 AM

First of all, welcome back from wherever you've been since July 1, Doolittle. I was about to write you off for dead.

As to the Brazilian system: If it does not lead a paper trail, it's inappropriate for the USA, where one side or the other (depending on who loses) will raise bloody hell claiming that the computer system was hacked. And there will be no way to disprove it.

In New York City, where I live, we fill out a paper ballot and then feed it into a reader, which swallows the ballot for safekeeping, even as it passes on what I hope is our votes, as we voted them. But if there's ever a dispute, people can haul the paper ballots out of the machines and check themout them the old fashioned way.

Works for me.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Posted by: The New York Crank on September 10, 2020 9:08 PM

The US self-sabotages the voting system in the same way it self-sabotaged the Covid response: no standards and no oversight. Which is exactly what the those who demand small government really want.

Posted by: John Anthony Curran on September 14, 2020 10:32 PM
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