Kanook – Tlingit Nation Sept 14th, 2010

Maintaining democracy in our country depends on one-thing and one-thing only the voice of the people, whereas the mechanism that we employ to record and evaluate that voice is broke! Oh we see from time-to-time changes to the process where some advancement’s have been made but the majority is still sticking with the traditional methods of recording the will of the people. We live in a digital world with instant connectivity around the world, and yet we push people out their doors on election day and have them make a journey to their local polling place, mark a book filled with 1000s of choices, put a slip of paper in a box, have this slip scanned into a device by a person with dyslexia, where if the paper slip goes in backwards it isn’t counted. Any suggestion that is made to upgrade or advance this process is met with a hue and cry from every group in the land, some for it but most against it…the against it scream personal freedom and individual liberty noting that if we changed to a different method they would loose their freedom as the machines would be dictating to their lives, or that the process would tell the world how they voted or from what region they hailed from, or count their vote more than once – in a couple of words, they’re stupid. Yet the powers-to-be seem to go along with this asinine position, which leaves me wondering if they really want to change the system in the first place. The technocrats write numerous papers that the system will fail and give skewed results, as if the present system servicing our electorate today is so accurate and non-manipulative, the published fear is that honest folks or elderly voters will be denied the right to cast their ballot, along with middle-income people that will cheat the system and cast their ballot as many times as they desire – in other words sort of like Chicago! Yesterday (Sept 14th, 2010) the “new” system in New York failed miserably – a paper driven project that was supposed to scan in electorate results and sort, store and count. Once again a method linked to the voters getting out in mass, trekking to their polling locations and casting their vote on their position. Well, besides missing machines, inoperable machines, the human element showing up late for work, and what-have-you the result was long lines, along with 1000s not being able to vote. I could just pass it off as a typical result of a project

supervised by a committee (NY Election Board) but in doing so would only encourage other districts to hire a single individual with a whip and .45 automatic for the next attempt. Is there a solution to all of this? You bet! We have the greatest voting mechanism ever designed well within our grasp right now – it is called the Internet. Think about it with your registered ID you could cast your opinion from around the globe, yes, let us get rid of the absentee ballot thing, you’re a citizen of the USA you vote, pure and simple. You could vote from an Internet Café, cell phone, iPod or your favorite pair of shoes if they could access the Internet. Most detractors shout about “security” and the accuracy of your vote - - get a grip! We have “machines” that process information today that fit on your desk or lap that out perform super-computer of 20 years ago and they don’t need Freon to cool them. We have data centers that can fit into a normal single car garage that process billions and billions of bits of information, and if they can’t tell who is what or where or even if their real, I’ll eat my hat and yours at the next corporate picnic. How would you access, well for example the first thing we’d need to do is establish who you are, now don’t go pissin and moaning about giving up your identity – there is more data floating around on you than you can imagine. Giving you a simple voter ID would be as easy as stepping in front of a parked car – in other words dummy, painless – as for security even if someone stole your ID and tried to vote it would be noted and cancelled – or if a question was asked, you would be able to clarify the correct response – what is the big deal here? An example of an ID could be “JLB45SEA63WRG”. Simple! Your initials followed by the last two digits of your date of birth, city you were born in, year you graduated HS and where you graduated, or any other combination of values that you’d remember with ease. This ID could be programmed into any device you communicate with, including your mobile phone – it maybe true that the elderly might not have such a device, but this where their family, neighbor or community outreach personal slide into the snapshot. Instead of the elderly filling out an absentee ballot, usually cluttered and confusing a friend or family member would drop by and help them access the Internet and cast their ballot. Or I’m sure the expanding “grey” machine would establish temporary facilities that would allow the codgers like myself to vote, enjoy a beverage or two along with a hot lunch and what-have-you. What about the cost – get a grip – we read today that NY spend over $160 million tax dollars for a system that was about effective as a rubber boot with a hole in it…I know personally at least a dozen outfits that could set up a national data center that would and could register

votes from across the land, and handle even the local elections down to the picking of a Mayor, Governor, and other representatives of the people. All for less than or equal to $160 million, and it would work. Complicated – about as complicated as accessing your bank account with a debit card, doable? Well that is a different question, politicians would hate it because voting would be easy and more would vote – and the returns would relay an honest result, not one that could be dragged in front of some judge to determine who wins. Never seen that happen have you? Just kidding it was meant to be a joke. Used for other things, hell yes, it would make opinion polls obsolete, they are a multi-billion dollar industry – think, a couple of “dundar” heads peer out from you communications device in a debate – you could access the system and give a thumbs up or thumbs down opinion on the spot, save them a lot of money campaigning and you having to see their face when they interrupt the Jay Leno show with some stupid and meaningless campaign add. Keeping track of the boys and girls on the Potomac, like they never have been before – open the polls for at least 48-hours and watch the result of some stupid decision they made get shouted down by the population, as for the press – they too would not like the system, you could call them to task in a heart beat, rip their information to shreds and spit them out like tainted meat at the town picnic. Isn’t it about time we turned the system into what it should be and not what it is advertised as being, the “information highway”, what a concept!

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