We got back a few minutes ago from voting for Barack Obama. Our polling place was Walter Johnson High School, in North Bethesda, MD. The line wasn’t too long. We waited about 25 minutes in line and it took about 5 minutes to vote.
The voting machines were electronic, and — I’m disappointed to say this — they were Diebold machines. After all of the controversy and research that Diebold has spurred since the last election, I am shocked to see the machines still in use, particularly after Maryland passed a paper ballot initiative a couple of years ago. These machines used a card with an embedded chips, that I inserted in the machine to get the votes written to it. When I got done, I put the card in a collection box and walked out.
Somehow this whole electronic process doesn’t inspire me with confidence. When I read up on it a few years ago, I found out that Diebold tallies the votes on a single computer, in an Access database that is easily hacked. Having designed and built Access database systems, I know how easy it is to bypass any sort of login restrictions and get right at the tables where vote totals can be changed in an instant without any sort of tracking record.
All I can say is that I hope for the best. Let’s hope this transition of power occurs smoothly, correctly, and in a democratic fashion, as George Washington wanted it to be from the get-go.