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April 30, 2009

Riggin' Elections

So, the film that we watched in class on Monday and Wednesday called Hacking Democracy shed some light into the world of fixed/tampered voting and how it affects us in the larger scheme of things. First of all, when I think of voting "screw-ups" and hassle in regards to vote counting, I undoubtedly think of Florida in the 2004 Presidential Election with President George W Bush and Senator John Kerry. I think we all heard from the news that somewhere in Florida there was a discrepancy with the way in which votes were cast and counted. Because, from what I can remember, the votes were cast with a "punch card" style method, there were obvious invitations for problems to occur when punching a hole in a piece of paper and counting it as a legitimate vote. For one thing, some people could not grasp the concept of how this process worked and punched multiple holes or something really ambiguous.
The video definitely made you think a little bit as to how and where your vote gets counted and by whom. The primary example of Diebold voting machines was used and exploited by the main woman in the film. She used all of her networking skills, friends, and resources to completely exploit the disturbing truth of how easily it is to change votes and alter elections by the lack of proper security on these systems. The part in the film where she went dumpster diving seemed a little extreme at the time, however she did find evidence and leverage which brought forth breakthroughs in her case.
It's shocking to think how easily one person could hack into the system and completely change an entire election from his basement. All of the people who took the time to exercise their democratic American right to vote would be completely spat on because their efforts to elect a leader collectively would have all been for nothing. This is a huge cause for concern because the overall outcome of American history (a little dramatic, yes) could be altered by a computer programmer or teenage genius-hacker (and it really doesn't even take someone THAT tech-savvy to do it) sitting alone in his basement.