Thursday, November 16, 2006

Florida's Famous Touch Screen Voting Machines

No, Monkey didn't go to the polls with me last week. I'd already heard enough stories about poll workers hasseling people with cameras during "early voting". Yet just a few days earlier, at an early voting site Clarence Patterson, North Miami's city manager, asked me to shoot a photo of him voting. No poll workers hassled either him or me.

Anyway, it was The Official Day, it was Tuesday, it was ELECTION DAY! I showed up at the Congregational Church a couple of blocks away from my house at about ten in the morning. I guess the cars in the parking lot all belonged to poll workers. There sure were no voters there. After looking through the registered voters lists, checking my ID, and deciding that the clean shaven guy in the drivers license photo was indeed me, I was led to one of our infamous touch screen voting machines. The same ones that caused such as stir a couple of years ago during the presidential election. There's no "paper trail" and it seems that the system can be easily hacked into as well.

So there I was, the only voter in the room looking at the infernal machine with a poll worker hovering over me, asking if I understood how to use the machine, did I need any help. "I assume it's already preprogrammed to just record Republican votes!" I quipped. "Hey this is Florida!" was the reply. "Of course it is! Katherine Harris wouldn't have it any other way." Then I raised my hand holding the camera to get a self-portrait of myself voting.

The poll worker went ballistic. "You can't take pictures in here! You can't photograph people voting!" I pointed out that I was the only one in the photo and that the morning's Miami Herald had an article that didn't agree with her reasoning. I clicked off a few more frames while she was distracted by her own rant. Most people can't tell the difference between me gesticulating as I speak or my talking while I'm taking pictures. On my way out I thanked her and all the other poll workers at the long table up front for their devotion to the democratic process, and then I headed off to Starbucks for a badly needed cup of coffee. My civic duty was complete.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Bill's blog. He's put up tons of stuff about the famous e-voting machines.

12:30 AM  

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