Last night's DL was something a little bit unusual...informative. Usually I just go to relax and kick around the Republicans a little bit, but I came away from last night feeling like I actually learned a thing or two. And I'm not just talking about learning the mechanism behind storm surges (Donnie thinks vacuum). What I'm really talking about is our visit with Christian Sande, candidate for Secretary of State.
Now, I know what a lot of you out there are thinking, "Secretary of State that's not exactly the most exciting race around. Heck, I'd rather watch NASCAR." To those people I say, "Why are you reading this blog again? If you're here you're probably interested in the inner workings of..." Then I realize I'm having a conversation with myself. Anyway...
Despite Secretary of State being a job somewhat lacking in excitement, Mr. Sande brings a real passion to the issues surrounding the job. He has extensive experience in this field, having worked to maintain voting rights for Native Americans and the homeless among others. Additionally, he has worked to try to maintain ease of accessibility to the polls for everyone by working to prevent excessive "vote challenging".
Looking forward, he also provided us with some interesting insights into the advantages and pitfalls of electronic voting, and how many of those pitfalls can be avoided. Quickly summarizing, the advantages include preexisting voter familiarity with the touch screen style format and the ability to more easily provide instructions in the voter's native language in order to avoid confusion. The pitfalls include lack of a paper trail, susceptibility to hacking and proprietary source code, and the ways of avoiding these include creating paper "voting receipts", limiting outside access to the machines, and open source code which can be independently audited.
All in all an interesting and informative night. I may be wrong about this, but I find it hard to believe our current Secretary of State would have made half as interesting a guest, or be half as knowledgeable about many of these issues. I'm sorry I missed Mr. Jay Pond's appearance (that was when I was learning about hurricanes). I hope Mr. Sande enjoyed his visit as much as we enjoyed having him and would like to extend the invitation to drop by again if he's ever in the area on Wednesday night (Thursdays-starting in June).
We now return to "all links-all the time" which has seemingly been our recent editorial policy. To get you started:
Here's the official website of Christian Sande for Secretary of State '06
And now that you've read through all of mine, here's Charlie's much better recap.