Some thoughts about voting machines.

I don’t like voting machines. I don’t like electronic voting in general, at least as it’s implemented now.

Now, normally people who don’t like voting machines don’t like them because of Diebold, or their lackluster security, or their lack of a verifiable paper trail.

I don’t care much for those arguments. Diebold may indeed be trying to make a quick buck at the expense of the taxpayer with crappy machines that offer little security, can’t be audited, and don’t have a paper trail. Voting machines could indeed be improved in many ways to decrease the chance of tampering.

All those things could be fixed and the problem would remain. Electronic voting is centralised. It is efficient. And that’s the problem. Voting is one of the things in this world that we should absolutely not optimise.

Voting must be massively inefficient.

This is one of those times where efficiency should not be our first priority. Efficiency in voting introduces fragility into the system in the form of easy tampering. Contrast that with paper voting, which is fairly tamper-proof because it’s so gosh darn parallelised and inefficient.

It’s hard to mass tamper with paper ballots because of that lack of centralisation and the very real paper-trail.

It’s easy to mass tamper with electronic ballots. It’s just 0’s and 1’s.