Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Imitation, the highest form of flattery 

This is a little off topic for the blog but I'm sure many readers will be aware that the U.S. has been experiencing problems with its electoral system in recent years. And I'm talking about the actual vote counting, not the fact that the person who gets the most votes may not win. The problems with punch cards not being read properly, butterfly ballots, and computers that just drop votes because their memory system is overwhelmed are but a few of the problems.

To help find a solution the U.S. government formed a independent electoral commision, led by Jimmy Carter and James Baker, to look into possible solutions to these problems. And what is one of the key solutions they came up with? That all computers used for voting should emit paper receipts so that the voter could verify that his/her vote was recorded properly and then these papers would be kept and audited for confirmation of the overall vote tally.

Sounds like a good idea. Wonder where they got the idea from though? You guessed it, Venezuela. Venezuela has largely automated its vote with machines that emit a paper receipt. It was an audit of these receipts that confirmed that the Presidential Recall Referendum results last year were indeed accurate.

So once again, Venezuela is out front, showing the way.

And by the way, in Venezuela the person who gets the most votes actually wins the election. Another inovative idea that the U.S. might want to consider adopting.


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