Tuesday, November 7, 2006

More on Election Day in the US

It's quite exciting to see what an impact that today's technology is having on the elections. Some points of note:

  • Nearly all national news outlets in the US are talking about the impact that technology is having this Election Day. In particular, they are focusing on the e-voting machines (see yesterday's article for an explanation on e-voting machines), since this is the first high-impact election where e-voting machines are being used more widespread across the country.
    When I voted this morning, my polling place was using one of these e-machines. To me, they were very easy to use. The concerns that I did have were:

    • Pennsylvania is one of the states in the US that doesn't have a "back up" system or paper trail in case something goes wrong. If one of the databases becomes corrupt, and there is no back-up system, those votes may get lost.

    • The way that the polling place arranged the machines, I was able to see for whom my neighbor was voting!

  • The use of technology sites and tools, such as Youtube, blogs, and instant messaging (IM), can make or break a candidate. For example:

    • IM and e-mail messages to a 17-year old male page caused the downfall of Rep. Mark Foley, who happened to lead a task force against child pornography.

    • Bloggers are exposing inaccuracies or missing information being reported in the US national news about politicians. In one instance, bloggers were able to prove that a story on the CBS news program 60 Minutes about President Bush's service record was a hoax, which caused veteran news anchor Dan Rather to step down one year before his retirement.

    • A video of Sen. George Allen's campaign rally when Sen. Allen made racist remarks was published on Youtube.

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