Did somebody say, "election"?

In Wednesday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch the voting: apparently there was some sort of an election recently. Not to mention how the other employees view the IT Department...

Elizabeth Montalbano reports:

Problems with e-voting machines were reported early on Election Day in several states, including Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia, which are identified as battleground states where the outcome of the vote could tip the presidential race in favor of either Democratic Sen. Barack Obama or Republican Sen. John McCain.

According to reports from voters on the ground and from watchdog organizations, there were problems with getting e-voting machines up and running in these key states and others, and in some cases the machines would crash during the voting process and had to be rebooted.

Todd R. Weiss adds:

Despite reports all day long about an assortment of e-voting machine problems in several U.S. states, no massive systemic meltdown occurred ... election officials, e-voting activists and experts said Election Day polling generally went well -- even with the problems that did surface.

Sharon Machlis is furious:

Gross incompetence or criminal malfeasance. Those are the only conclusions one can reach when looking at places where people have to wait 3, 4, 5 or more hours in order to cast their votes.

Waits like that are simply inexcusable ... If vendors can't guarantee that touch-screen machines with voter-verified paper trails will work better than optical scanning of paper ballots, then it's time to ditch the touch screens. As for systems without paper backup, they need to be outlawed.

Don Tennant stirs it up:

I voted this morning in the town of Shrewsbury, and I was stunned by how efficient the process was ... I was exponentially more stunned by the stupidity. Inexplicably, no one asked me for an ID to verify that I was who I claimed to be. Anybody could have walked in and given my name and address and stolen my vote, as long as he arrived before I did.


It's absolutely preposterous. We're doing all this hand-wringing about the accuracy and security of e-voting technology because we feel so strongly about ensuring the validity of the results, and yet we blindly leave the front door open to allow blatant voter fraud.

Why don'cha come on over, Valerie Potter:

I voted bright and early this morning in Alameda County, California. After confirming my name and address, I was given the option of voting electronically or by paper ballot, which I would feed into an optical scanner. Well aware of the problems that have occured with e-voting machines, I chose paper (as did the vast majority of the voters I saw around me).


On my ballot, there's no oval to fill in -- instead there's an arrow with a gap in the middle pointing to each candidate's name. You complete the arrow next to your choice by drawing a straight line between the two pieces of the arrow.

But Arianna Huffington muses positively:

I am ready to declare a winner in the 2008 race. The Internet.


2008 has delivered the first truly 21st century presidential race ... The clichéd putdown about the blogosphere is that it's just people spouting opinions, but this election has shown it's also about expertise and information -- collated, graphed, spread-sheeted, distilled, and cross-tabbed.

Alexander van Elsas agrees:

If anything this election has shown that the effect of traditional media like TV isn’t nearly as powerful as (online) communities. The old fashioned TV campaigns that the Republicans used to discredit Obama failed because it didn’t bring involvement or hope. It merely brought fear and apathy.

Jeremy Toeman, too:

Thanks to the Internet, our ability to research and fact-check audacious claims was stronger than ever. In fact, I’d argue that the Internet truly thwarted the McCain Campaign, which was clearly unprepared for the power of blogs ... twitter, Google and youtube, digg, and social networks.


The era of politicians being able to say one thing while do another is at an end ... The Internet was a major part of this election, and this is only the beginning.

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

Other Computerworld bloggers:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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