Frankenstorm and the voting booth

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 10/29/2012 - 09:40

The storm of the century may have blown over by November 6th, but if power is still out in some places in the northeast, I wonder what the Plan B is for voting if all the local governments have are coal-powered (i.e. electric) voting machines? If all the old manual voting machines have been recycled for scrap, how will they handle the power outage? If they still have the old manual voting machines in storage somewhere, do they have a well-designed contingency plan to haul all those machines to each voting precinct and train the poll tenders to set them up and use them on short notice? If there are no manual voting machines, or if there is not time to get them all moved to the precincts, do they have a paper-based voting system ready to go that can be verified and audited?

Just because you can use a computer to do something does not mean that you should. The convergence of the storm of the century and a presidential election may well expose the weak underbelly of our excessive reliance on electronic gadgets for things that could be done with virtually fail-safe mechanical or manual systems that work even if there is no power.

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