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Quote of the Day - Vote: The only commodity that is peddleable without a license. - Mark Twain
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Hanging Chads and Hanging Voters

Now we wait until March, unless the U.S. Supremes elect (no pun intended) to hear the California gubenatorial challenge. In what is otherwise a wonderful historic lesson in voting processes - extending all the way back to the black and white fava bean method (see "Discussion") in revolutionary times - the Ninth Circuit voted "No" on the recall.

The well-written opinon tracks past history and into the present "disenfrancisement" of California voters given the "antiquated" voting system we now have in place. The 9th Circuit thinks in one place that about 40,000 voters may not have their votes counted, and in another that it may extend to 44% of California counties.

300,000 California voters have already voted.

The three Circuit Judges (the old joke is that there is no "Justice" in the 9th Circuit), then move into legal analysis of the injunction and voting rights.

The beginning section of the opinon contains this colorful gem: "In this case, Plaintiffs allege that the fundamental right to have votes counted in the special recall election is infringed because the pre-scored punchcard voting systems used in some California counties are intractably inflicted with technologic dyscalculia."

Huh? This 37-word sentence says it all. Heck, even I'm afraid to vote now. No wonder they put off the election.

Dyscalculia? Webster's defines it as: "Impairment of the ability to solve mathematical problems, usually resulting from brain dysfunction." That must translate into a difficulty to count votes.

I don't know. Last time I counted something, I started with 1, 2, 3, 4 and kept going. The problem, though, is in the proverbial hanging chad, a la Florida-style. The University of Iowa's Douglas W. Jones provides a lesson in hanging chads from a computer science perspective. But that's not the only issue.

The Supreme Court faces several problems in hearing the case. First, there's hardly enough time to render an opinion (the election was originally scheduled for October 7), second, the Justices came under fire for their involvement between Bush and Gore, and third, there's no hard evidence - only the spectre of prospective harm. MIPTC predicts the Supremes will turn down the opportunity to resolve the dispute because other than the delay, what's the harm?

Even without such a resolution, if our voting system was so flawed, then why didn't California have the disaster that Florida had in the last election (i.e. when we elected Gray Davis)? I don't know who's got the brain dysfunction here, but I don't think it's California voters.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 at 08:05 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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