Keep it simple, stupid!

After what feels like forever, the next US President will finally be decided upon at the polls tomorrow. Obama is the clear favourite but his victory is not guaranteed by any means. There’s the Bradley effect to take into consideration for a start.

A more tangible effect will be observed by the use of the voting machines. Since 2001, $3.9 billion has been spent on solving this non-problem. Non only do these machines not have any verifiable auditing process, they are expensive, insecure and inaccurate. I’m not just talking about the hanging chads fiasco but actual vote switching. I’m far from being alone in thinking that this is a serious issue.

I’m usually all for throwing technology at things but only if it actually improves a process. The voting process in the United States is overly complicated compared to the UK or Canada (as covered by Robert X. Cringely in 2003). Earlier this year, the Dutch governement de-certified voting machines and reverted to a pencil and paper based system (Google translation).

It reminds me of the story of the Fisher Space Pen for NASA. There was apparently an investment of $1 million by Fisher to research and develop these special pens.

The Russians just took pencils.

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