Clearing out my notebook

While I'm working on another post, I thought I'd post this item, some random notes about my 2004 election experience in Broward County, Florida, and the controversial e-voting in particular. Timely, I know, but I didn't have a blog for them at a time, and I've been saving this file since then waiting for a forum. Besides which, this is still an issue.

I've worked over the years a couple times with a guy who was a butcher in a former life, and let me tell you, nobody is more picky and suspicious about supermarket meat. Well, as someone who has worked in software for 18 years now, this is NOT an industry I want to trust elections to, unless EVERYTHING is available for scrutiny by the public. This industry cuts a lot of corners, especially when they can do so in secrecy, and security and reliability are usually the first to go. All of the designs, source code, etc. for these systems need to be public record before I will have much confidence in them.

Anyway, on to the notes. Not that there's any revelations here, just sharing data.

1) Parking was wholly inadequate. There were hundreds of cars parked illegally everywhere. I was prepared to cry voter intimidation if I got a parking ticket ;-) In spite of that, there was basically no line inside.

2) touch-screen voting machine UI did not appear Windows-based, and was unbelievably slow rendering text (like, Sun 3/50 prom console text rendering speed).

3) display was large, clear, and bright.

4) touchscreen was very poorly calibrated (.5" or more off), but the checkboxes were large and spaced far enough apart that I don't see anyone selecting the wrong thing by mistake, and the visual feedback was very clear.

5) So, overall, C+ on the input side of the voting machines

6) as for output, I have no way of knowing if my vote was recorded accurately, or even at all

7) The voting place was in a senior center, and they were holding a flea market type sale and selling Dunkin Donut's and coffee at a significant markup on the way out.

8) There was an elderly black woman waving a "W'04!" sign outside.

9) On the way to work, I noticed a 18-wheeler with spinner rims. Never seen that before...