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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Can’t touch this … voting machine

    By the time you read this, the election will be over. The Arizona Daily Wildcat will go back to being a politically neutral paper that offers up tips for pruning, opinions on the best coats for winter, and where to get the cheapest nonfat soy latte.

    Indeed, it will be both a relief and a letdown for us hardcore political junkies to not be able to bring juicy election haggis to Daily Wildcat readers of red, blue and independent stripes – but that’s just the name of the game. After all, that hate mail you send us is so damned entertaining.

    However, it seems that with each election comes a new voting issue. In 2000, for instance, it was those pesky chads and butterfly ballots in Palm Beach County, Fla., that prevented Al Gore from capturing the state and thus putting the current loon in office.

    This election, the Sunshine State is a different beast. Republican Governor Charlie Crist made a point of getting rid of the punch-card ballots as well as the touch-screen voting machines that prior governor Jeb Bush supported, due to a congressional race two years ago in which 15 percent of the ballots made on touch-screen machines registered no choice at all, reported Time magazine.

    The touch-screen machines are still one of the main problems in this election. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to have a pen and a sheet of paper when I’m voting, so there’s not a shadow of a doubt about the persons that I voted for. With no official record that you voted, the touch-screen machines are a dangerous threat to the integrity of an election. Having no paper trail might be good in some instances, but not for something as important as a presidential election.

    In times like these, ordinary citizens sometimes have to take matters into their own hands. The Baltimore Sun reported on Monday that a local technology developer named David Troy set up a service called Twitter Voter Report (twittervotereport.com), where voters can voice issues they’ve had at the polls. After all, if those in power aren’t going to do something about it, who else is?

    According to The New York Times, voting rights groups filed lawsuits against Pennsylvania and Virginia officials that didn’t stock enough paper ballots to arrange for the voter turnout. Added to that, there were various reports in early voting states of “”touch-screen machine malfunctions, ballot misprints causing scanners to jam and vote-flipping, in which the vote cast for one candidate is recorded for another,”” the Times reported.

    One of the main purposes for the machines is to assist disabled voters, but as witnessed in various states, the ones that are out of calibration are throwing their votes all over the place. A video demonstration on VideoTheVote.org shows this phenomenon of “”flipping,”” which randomly chooses a different candidate when the one intended is pressed. I’m not gonna lie, though – I think it would be hilarious if some misogynist, gay-hatin’, Natural Ice-drinkin’ good ol’ boy accidentally gave his vote to Sen. Barack Obama.

    It’s up to both camps to ensure that this election is won clean – though if Sen. McCain concedes, I’ll have no problem with that. The senator can go back to throwing temper tantrums and, as witnessed on “”Saturday Night Live,”” might have a career in infomercials with Cindy. The Palins can go back to Alaska, and since Todd’s a secessionist, they don’t really have any business being down here with us high-falutin’ types anyway.

    The biggest tragedy was in both 2000 and 2004 when both Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry conceded and left many wondering if a fair fight was fought (writer’s note: it wasn’t). It’s time to look at one of the most important elections in our history seriously.

    Democrats, if McCain wins (so help me God), grow a spine and make sure he deserves to be in that seat. Republicans, if Obama clinches it, just rest assured that our country will finally be put on the right track for the next four years – or more.

    – Matt Wavrin is a media arts senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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