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2008-11-04
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2008 Election Voting Mechanisms

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Tagged As: Hacking, Politics, Society, and Voting

So I just came back from the polls in Englewood, New Jersey. There were large burly men standing outside of each booth holding baseball bats with nails driven through end. Each bat was emblazoned, "G'Obama ... or else" and they simply said, "Do it. Or we'll 'change' you." As a man exited from behind the curtains in front of me, the largest man (with the "MOM-Skull" tattoo) grunted loudly and dipped his knuckles into broken glass before escorting the voter out the back door.

Okay, so the mob wasn't really influencing the vote in New Jersey. What I am curious about is:

  • How did they validate your identity?
  • What sort of mechanism did you vote on?

When those vote count scandals in the past years revealed how military absentee ballots were often lost and never counted, I essentially vowed to never again not vote in person on election day. As such, I arrived at the poll center very early this morning because I anticipated long lines given the early voting stories. Fortunately, there was no line and I only had to wait for two people ahead of me. The volunteers looked only at my driver's license to confirm my identity against an alphabetical list of registered voters. Beside my name in the book was an image of my signature from my driver's license. I recall that I registered to vote years ago when I got my NJ license. I had to sign beside that digital signature image in order to receive a ticket which permitted me to enter the booth itself. In the booth was a huge layout that resembled the mailing I received earlier in the week from the district. Each candidate's name was printed large and clear with a black button beside each. When you pressed the button, a green X would appear beside their name to clearly indicate who you had chosen. Simply pressing the submit button at the bottom concluded the process. So in a nutshell, I used some kind of electronic ballot though I did not see any paper receipt generated for subsequent audit proof.

And lastly, if you didn't vote and have one of those yellow "Support the Troops" ribbons on your car - I ask you to be honest and remove it for having absolutely squandered their diligent duty to protect your rights.



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