“Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, Trash it, change it, melt - upgrade it.” If only fixing and changing the technological infrastructure of Congress would be as simple as Daft Punk would have us believe. At the beginning of the month Republicans were up in arms over a seemingly nefarious move by Democrats to gavel out a vote on an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, a move reminiscent of the 2003 Medicare vote and 1989 incident where Speaker Jim Wright held the vote open for more than the required time. It seems, however, (a special House committee is looking into this) that the error made was possibly the fault of an outdated, outmoded electronic voting system employed on the floor of the House.
Avid voter that I am, I was at my local polling place before work this morning to be greeted by the usual cast of 75-year old women who were "manning" the polling station - a local church in my neighborhood. After signing in (and checking to see if husband had already voted) I was handed a paper ballot at the same time that I was told "the electronic machine has malfunctioned." Surprised, I asked why and how and I was told that when they tried to start it up they "just couldn't get it to work. They say they will send over a new machine later in the day but I don't believe it," one poll worker told me while shaking her head knowingly. I asked the name of the manufacturer and after digging through a stack of manuals that was at least 8 inches thick together we found a manual with the label "Sequoia."Continue reading