The Corner

E-Voting, Continued

I don’t know anything about Rep. Robert Wexler, but when it comes to this story, he’s on the side of the angels. In an attempt to ensure e-voted elections where voters can actually trust the results, he’s suing election officials in Florida to compel them to install an upgrade to their electronic voting systems that would produce a printed duplicate of every e-vote cast. The congressman believes that this is the only way to deliver an accurate recount. He’s right. He’s also right when he says that Florida’s (of all places) opposition to this is “mind-boggling…there is nothing partisan about this issue. There is nothing Democratic about it, and there is nothing Republican about it. This is as American as apple pie…”

Read the story a little more, and what do we discover:

“His fears were confirmed by last week’s special election for Florida House District 91 in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Ellyn Bogdanoff was declared the winner by 12 votes. Voting machines showed that 137 people who went to the polls that day cast no ballot even though it was the day’s only election.”

Now, it is, in fact, quite possible that those 137 decided not to vote at the last moment, but that misses the point. If democracy is to work, there has be an acceptance by the electorate that the system of tallying votes can be trusted. For too long fraud, cheating and incompetence have been allowed to erode that trust (and the 2000 shambles in Florida shows quite how corrosive that can be), but e-voting is about to make matters much, much worse.

That’s good news for conspiracy theorists and for extremists, but terrible for everyone else.