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Did Technology Hurt or Help the Election?

After the information hammering we all experienced over the last year, I’m sure that the last thing anyone wants to hear about is the election. However, it’s fresh in our mind and technology is surely affecting the outcome.

First and foremost realize that this is not a politically oriented blog. I’m merely recalling the issues I observed and trying to avoid weighing in on them. So don’t shoot the messenger.

“Uh, wait a minute, Beavith. Don’t you pay alimony?”

Fortunately those days are over however if they were still present, the objective would be to end the messenger’s pain and suffering; not enhance it. Accuracy would have been encouraged.

Back to the matter at hand. Prior to the election, social media was a huge viaduct for pounding messages out. My email was flooded and Facebook postings led to many false articles that kinda touched on subjects however for the most part were sensationalized, false mudslinging, and fluff. I’m not the only one who observed this. One interesting article I saw, blamed social media for keeping a certain party in an echo chamber where they only received one-sided information and therefore could not make an informed decision. Warning, the article I referenced is about a certain party and written by a party member. Again, I’m not choosing sides or promoting either.

From teleprompters, to emails, to Wikileaks, to voting machines and beyond; this blog could be huge. Instead, let’s just touch lightly on a few matters where technology may have impacted the outcome.

Voting machines were subject to great scrutiny. There were claims that machines in Pennsylvania would only accept input on one candidate and not the other. Colorado went offline for a while and there was speculation it was for “fixing” votes to a certain candidate. Videos about past programmers and voting scams floated around like rumors at a gossip gathering.

One time that I remember about technology impacting the election was in the 1984 Reagan landslide victory. TV stations were just starting to have news programs become prominent versus regular programming in “those days”. The reports I recall stated that voters on the West coast failed to vote after seeing the early results from states on the east coast. The theory was people felt they couldn’t turn the tide so they stayed home. I noticed that November 8 election results only heated up later in the evening say around 9 PM. Even then there were topsy turvy numbers with Washington flipping one way and Pennsylvania the other.

Some websites reported a win as much as a half an hour before others. MSNBC showed a remote shot from above their crew that “called the final decision” and emphasized about how the announcers or no media had the ability to approach, inquire, or influence. There was a corral whose outer perimeter consisted of wall to wall display screens lined up. Access was limited. The result was a late MSNBC call in an effort to ensure accuracy I presume. I only hope those many screens were being driven by the HP workstations I once had the privilege of developing.

This brings us to the main bastion of voting technology; voter ID. No one scanned my iris, took my finger print in a USB device, or read a chip that could have been embedded in my skin. Nor did I sign on and vote. There are many ways to defeat that method however I sure would consider the time saving at the polls and DMV if a secure option were available via the internet. Voting was still physical where a dead tree that was pulped and pressed flat, showed up in my mail box to be filled out, signed, and delivered by me physically. So much for working remote in the mountains of Colorado. Every once in a while ya gotta go into town. It reminds me of the Coors commercial where a trapper leaves the cabin during winter in the remote woods to go into town for a beer.

Upon learning of his roommate’s mission, the second trapper responds, “If ya think of it, get two.”

I’m Scott Deuty, and I approve this message. Sorry, one last election dig. Enjoy your year as the government shall not intervene again until April 15th .

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