The VW case of tampering with the computing in their automobiles for emission tests once again highlights just how easy it is for a computer to “do” whatever it’s programmed to do — even if for nefarious reasons. With a simple switch inserted into the program, the output is factual when circumstances are one way and are tainted when it’s another way.
This is the fundamental claim that Dr. Beth Clarkson is making in the Kansas voting recount case. While Republicans were ahead, the votes were counted correctly, while Democrats (and independent Greg Orman) were ahead, it was almost like a switch was turned on to skew the results back to Republican.
So what’s the fundamental difference? Both the U.S. and German governments have pounced on VW’s software issues, launching full investigations, and assessing huge fines.
What has happened in any of the cases involving likely voter tampering of machines? Nothing.
Dr. Clarkson stated in her latest news letter that she now has both legal representation and a date for discovery — so the case is moving through the wheels of justice slowly.
But this is a sad reality. We jump on statistical anomalies that alert us to potential food contamination in our food supply, we test our water supplies daily for the same reason, and we test cars to make sure they are upholding legal emission standards. So why on earth are we not testing voting machines, something that has a complete and irreparable impact on our republican form of government?
The unwillingness of state officials, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (the chief election officer), to do anything is only making this worse. And the problems will continue to get worse as America’s voting machines continue to age — with the oldest being about 15 years on average. These machines use outdated and unsupported operating systems, but they are still deemed “safe” for elections?
There has to be a balance between the quick delivery of election results on election night and the integrity of the vote itself. Because once human eyes are taken out of the equation, the fraud becomes greater and much harder to find.
For me, I’m alright with going to bed on election night not knowing the winner if it means that the system is more secure and our republic isn’t being ruled by “cyber-criminals” the next day.