Hey, it's only democracy in action

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, September 27. 2006 in Programming

The Primary Election held in Maryland 2 weeks ago was, to be charitable, a fiasco. Election judges that simply didn't bother to show up, equipment that was either not set up or was still locked up, and, worse of all, e-poll registration machines that crashed at the drop of a hat. Heck, it even happened to me, and I needed to wait for about 15 minutes while the machine rebooted and they had to convince the machine that I had not already registered. Well, it appears that the e-poll machines and the software behind them (both by Diebold) were never really tested. In fact, the primary was just a super nice Beta test for the system. They then tracked the problems down to basically a memory leak. After 40 to 50 people were registered, the machine would crash. Just this week Diebold stated that "Hey, we fixed it!" As proof they ran this super test: they registered more than 100 (*gasp*) people through the upgraded machines and no crash! Wow! 100! Do these people have any sense of scale? This is woefully short of the number of people that the machine will be expected to handle. What sort of testing is this? But what am I complaining about... after all, it only affects one of the cornerstones of a democracy. We can't be bothered with protecting our democracy when we're busy doing it elsewhere.

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