Ever play word-association games? Like – someone will say a word and you will say the first thing that comes to mind when you hear it? Peanut butter! (Jelly!) Florida! (Beach!) Well, if I were to switch that up and ask you what comes to mind when I say “electronic voting machines” vs. “Las Vegas slot machines,” what might come to mind? If you are anything like me, the blaring thought may be something along the lines of HUH? (And that’s being polite).
Let’s change the question. If you had to place a wager on which of these two technologies would be more “above-board,” which would you guess? Think about it…slot machines – which were created as exciting games of chance, and electronic voting machines – which were created as a quicker way to determine who will be the next President. Hmmmmm. Well…it’s not as obvious as you might think, and if you are anything like me, what you are about to read may do nothing short of terrify you.
As it turns out, the standards slot machine manufacturers must adhere to are about as good as it gets, whereas electronic voting machines literally have next to no set rules to be measured against. In fact, should a voter wish to lodge a complaint for any reason, the only way to do so is to phone an unreliable phone number, leave a message and hope for the best. There is no way to know if the complaint is being investigated, and nothing that says it needs to be.
When it comes to software, the State of Nevada has access to all of the software used in all of its millions of slots machines, but with voting machines, this software is a “secret of the trade.” And then there’s spot-checking, which can be done at random at any time in Las Vegas, and should something even remotely un-kosher appear, causes the machine to be shut-down and full investigated. No such process is in place for voting machines. In fact, there are no checks required – ever. Furthermore, manufacturers of slot machines must agree to a background check, and any employee who comes in contact with the machine has been checked for a criminal record. Is the same true for voting machines? No chance in hell, as curious citizens will never know if fraudulent activity is on the resume of those who manufacture the voting machines. As if I haven’t scared you enough, there are agencies in place for the sole purpose of hearing from regular citizens should they have any concerns or doubts about a particular slot machine, and said agencies are deliberately kept at a distance from the manufacturers of such machines. Is the same true for voting machines? Think again! The manufacturers actually PAY to hire companies who work for a profit to vouch for them, and are not required to explain a thing to the public about how exactly they test these machines.
And so…I have to ask…are you shocked?