Saturday, September 18, 2010

Repairing Voting

Today is Free Software Day and geeks in my lineage (open source) are expected to stand up for democratic rights, even in an electronic age. Especially in an electronic age. Here's from today's stash of writings (typos fixed):
Imagine something similar to vote by mail in Oregon. You don't
all have to vote on the same day, there's at least a week. You
need not take time off work. You'll have a way to vote online,
by entering your PIN. Email confirmation will come back to your
email box, showing how you voted and giving another number you
can use to find your vote. You needn't keep it a secret how you
voted -- be as public as you like (your choice).

Traveling overseas? No problemo. There's a way to vote from
your iPhone.

There's also a lot of votes taken throughout the year, polls. People
are in the habit of voting often if they want to. So they know
if their credentials are working, i.e. it's not a matter of being
surprised on "election day" (once a year? once every four years?).
On the contrary, a trusted voting infrastructure is used almost
daily, by at least some set of eligible persons (you might have
needed to register -- like now).

It's easy to imagine working solutions that are light years more
advanced than what we have today. People generally feel satisfied
with the systems and understand how they work. Access is quasi-
universal. Literacy rates are high, infant mortality is low, and
the debates on TV are intelligent and to the point.

People in this future look back on our ranting raving dark age of
crazy-making punditry, and fall to their knees in gratitude that
at least it's not 2010 or thereabouts, when everything was just
nuts! They weren't even teaching about Bucky hardly at all, when
so much depended on waking up to brighter prospects.

Hard to explain, how our ancestors could be so slow.

Something in the water? Lead poisoning?

That's what some speculate happened to the Romans. Brain rot
eroded their civilization from the inside out. Fast food?
I've written quite a bit about voting and voting technology in these blogs already.

You may ask why I haven't instituted tagging for your reading convenience, or turned on comments to this post.

Well, I come to the Web from a Quaker background and was just thinking of these as my journals, world-readable for sure, but not water coolers for people to gather around and chat with each other.

Lots of blogs out there serve that purpose (literally millions at the time of this writing), so I hope it's OK.