Flipping through the channels on my TV, I passed one of the news stations covering the whole BushGore election fiasco (MSNBC I think) and heard the anchor say "Democrats don't trust machines". I've gotten to the point on this issue that I just don't care anymore, but this was enough for me to stop and listen.

Apparently, the Democratic party is requesting that some counties in Florida hand count the ballots. What? Excuse me? I lost respect for this whole political pissing match at about 4am after election day. The request to hand count ballots just made me lose all respect for the Democratic Party.

Requesting a method of counting that is slow and extremely prone to error is irresponsible, wasteful, and shows just plain stupidity. We live in an era where machines run everything we do. We trust them to manage our money, control our environment, and keep us safe. The ballots are designed such that they can be quickly and accurately machine counted. But, I guess those machines can't be trusted... ARG! Technophobia even rears its ugly head in a Presidential election.

(fade from black. show Jane Doe one of the people responsible for counting ballots.)
Jane Doe: "76, 77, 78,..."
(John Doe enters, slams a box of more ballots on the table next to Jane Doe)
John Doe: "Here ya go"
Jane Doe: (Looks at the box) "Thanks. 72, 73, 74..."

You know it will happen.

This is the first time I've ever felt the need to respond to any of my writeups. Shylock you attack me without even knowing the rules yourself. Florida does automatially force a machine recount if the difference between the two candidates is less than 0.5%. The hand count is a specific request from the Democrats to recount the ballots a third time. This is where I have my problem. It's a waste of taxpayer money. They are now saying that it will cost upwards of $20 million, just to do manual recounts in a few counties.

As for the machines having a 16,000 vote discrepancy? Sure it happens, but its much easier and faster to catch machine errors (they reproduce) than human errors. Hal 9000? Jesus H. Christ, Hal is ficticious. It never existed!

Trust machines? Two words: HAL 9000

Seriously, yes we rely on machines for many tasks, perhaps too many. But machines are not infallible. Otherwise, there would be no need for mechanics, repairmen, and tech support. For example, my so-called central air keeps one half of my home too cold and the other half too hot. And don't get me started on Windows.

Sure, on the whole, it is easier and more accurate to machine count ballots. But mistakes happen. A computer error produced a result of –16,000 votes for Gore in one Florida county. Should we trust the machine in this case?

On punch ballots, sometimes the little bits of paper are not fully detached from the card, and ballot counting machines register no vote. As the same ballots are recounted, the bits tend to fall off, leading the recount to be higher than the original count. When a machine returns different counts from the same set of ballots, which result should be trusted?

A recount in Pinellas County produced 417 extra votes for Gore. The Republican party has publicly stated that they are considering demanding a hand recount there. So this "technophobia" is not limited to the Democratic Party. It is a natural and logical reaction to a discrepancy in the machine counts.

A recount won’t be the responsibility of a couple morons in a storage room. This isn’t the dogcatcher election here; everyone in the world is watching. There will be lawyers and cameras and multiple people counting the same ballots.
dbrown: The HAL 9000 comment was a joke. Relax.
dbrown: Try listening to more news than just a sound bite, and then maybe you will know what's going on. The ballots are being hand counted not by order of the Democratic National Committee, but instead by Florida state law. Florida voting law requires a hand recount of ballots when the difference is less than .5%.

This is not a case of technophobia in the Democratic Party. Actually, the whole voting process is rather anachronistic, as we could easily computerize the whole damned system. However, there will still be good old fashioned human error in any system designed and run by humans.

I'm sorry, I was mistaken on one point: Florida voting law demands an machine recount when the difference is less than .5%. The Democrats requested a hand recount due to the nature of the ballots. The ballots in question are being hand recounted because the machines may have miscounted them due to something called a "hanging chad." A "chad" is a piece of paper that gets punched of the ballot to indicate a vote. Many weren't properly punched out, causing the machine to not properly count the vote.

How is it a waste of taxpayer money to accurately count their votes? I'm sure people would glady pay for the recount rather than have the wrong man get into office.

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