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.