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Be Very Afraid: Online Voting Systems Fail Even for Political Bloggers

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyOctober 23, 2008 8:07 PM


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Voting and technology have nothing resembling a smooth relationship. And as Nov. 4th fast approaches with its expected record voter turnouts, there's a pretty good (translation: 99.999 percent) chance that the computers and scanners we rely on to register our identities, store our personal information, and correctly record our votes will fail us—in fact, screw-ups are already being reported, and it's not even the October home stretch.

Given this heartening news, the question is not "Will voting technology break down during this election?" but rather "How can I keep the cyberworld from chewing up and spitting out my vote before I've even cast it?" Thankfully, while voter databases and e-voting machines are apt—perhaps even destined—to crash and burn, voters have an ally in the Internet, which offers a means of keeping an eye on details like whether you're registered correctly (or at all).

So how likely is it that your local voter database has already made an error? Well, to test the system we decided check our registration status in New York, RB's home state. And while RB endeavors (ahem) to remain non-partisan, we were not at all surprised to find the following error:

republican computer error

To avoid suffering the same fate, we suggest you check your registration status online (all voters in New York can use this link). Find any errors in your home state's database? Let us know in the comments!

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