Fact is that, as we have moved toward computerized voting, we have also moved toward closed source voting. The code that defines how voting machines work is a closely-guarded secret.
This makes the results naturally suspect.
As a computerized task an election is really pretty basic. Networked voting machines should be able to report their results instantly, as they are entered, and giving every voter an electronic receipt of their vote is simple as well — gas stations do it.
Of course an open source election, done over a network, would violate many of our precious political precepts. State and local control, for one thing. Because a truly effective, national election, conducted over a network, would require standards, and local officials like making these decisions on their own.
But I strongly suspect that many, many politicians have taken advantage of this local control to manipulate electoral results over the years. And in the wake of our present scandals, the way will be clear to major reform.
So let’s make that a plank in our Open Source political platform. Honest elections, conducted using open source, networked computers, should be our goal.
I don’t think that is impossible to achieve. There should be no reason
to wait until 2 in the morning, let alone weeks, to know who the
winners are in 2012. We should have one national voting period and
reveal the preliminary results a minute later, subject to audit.