Nevada:The future of voting in America
September 9, 2004
If you work on a computer, then you know those electronic contraptions are far from infallible. That means the newfangled voting machines aren’t perfect, either.
First, as the folks in the Information Technology Department will remind you from time to time, there is the all-too-familiar human factor.
In the case of Primary Election Day, that would be the folks in Washoe County who apparently forgot to remove the data cards before they locked up the machines. So that took awhile.
And then there are the purely technical glitches. Something happens with the voodoo that is computer chips and, poof, all your work is gone.
That could have been Nye County, where a damaged computer cartridge refused to give up its data. Eventually, it did. But if the cartridge had been ruined, paper receipts could have counted by hand.
“That’s the whole point of the paper trail, isn’t it?” asked Nye County deputy clerk Laura Zubia. Yes, it is.
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While we were full of confidence voting would go smoothly on election day – mainly because the county clerks we know are among the most organized people on earth – there was still some apprehension.
After all, the eyes of the nation were on Nevada’s electronic voting machines with paper printers. If they didn’t work right, democracy might falter.
Fortunately, things went fairly smoothly – about as smoothly as can be expected on any election night, when a few glitches are bound to crop up somewhere.
Carson City was the first to report its full results. Though there were few races on the ballot, it was still a testament to Clerk Alan Glover and his staff’s preparation.
Clark County’s results seemed to drag on and on. Voters there were using the same paperless machines they’ve been using, so no excuses.
The first test was passed in the primary. Now onto the general election and the future of electronic voting in America.