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Wisdom from the Web

Compiled by Daily staff

On the Vail Daily Web site, you can comment on each story or editorial you read there.Here, we publish excerpts of those comments:Re: Can we trust our voting technology?There is little, almost no proof in the entire country that non-citizens vote. You are forwarding the hatred and scare tactics of the Tom Tancredo types. The fact is that two or three federal courts have recently ruled against requiring ID at the polls. It is unconstituional. So, let’s move on to the real problem to the voters that Dana Jurich is presenting: non-paper balloting and counting of the votes.Re: Tipsline takes a turnI liked the way Tipsline used to work. The Vail Daily staff edited out the illegal comments and allowed people to see the other side of issues. I think that you are making a poor decision and the community as a whole will lose out.Re: Letters to the EditorWhat is this country all about, and what is our community about? it certainly isn’t about being a government-controlled and funded social state! Employers have to pay more, provide medical insurance and any needed child-care functions. They have to charge more to be able to afford these things, and the free market will adjust. Taxpayers cannot be expected to support private company employees and their needs. Vote no to more taxes and government attempts to control society and the free-market. Vote NO on 1A and yes for an end to corporate welfare and yes for as return to individual responsibility.Re: $4,000 spent to watch over one computer”The vitality of America’s democracy depends on the fairness and accuracy of America’s elections,” President George W. Bush said as he signed Help America Vote Act into law on Oct. 29. Judging from the numerous reports from coast t -coast of serious problems with new voting machines, the “vitality of America’s democracy” appears to be in mortal danger.The Help America Vote Act allocated $3.9 billion in federal money to the states over the next three years to buy electronic voting machines to replace paper ballot voting systems. While Bush called the bill “an important reform for the nation,” in many states and counties where the new voting machines were used last Nov. 5, serious problems cropped up during the voting and vote counting.While local newspapers have generally been diligent in reporting the voting problems, the national media minimized the “irregularities” by attributing them to “glitches” and “gremlins.” …Re: Tipsline takes a turnSo if something hurts your feelings, just censor it. Nice.Re: What will schools do without bond?This school board is asking for way too much money. By their own admission they don’t need it all now; $7 million to buy land that is not needed, but they refuse to help out the charter schools in the area? Vote no on 3B, 1A and 1B. Hell, just vote no on it all. It’s the same people supporting all of this crap.Re: Candidates say they trust voting machinesIt is always comforting to hear that we and our candidates trust the voting system. This is what we want to hear. In the past few years and particularly in the past few weeks we started to hear occasional hints of problems elsewhere (Ohio, etc.) There are two kinds of failures of voting machines, purposeful and accidental. Failures of the accidental kind are equally likely to occur everywhere, including here in Eagle County.It is often feared that voters will not bother to vote if they do not trust the voting system. This is why election officials feel they must put a “happy face” on the election. We can similarly guess that our candidates trust the voting system. But how much do they trust it? I suggest we ask them this question more specifically.I personally do not think that belief or trust are the components of a good election system. Rules, tests and accurate tallies will produce accurate results in the election. Several years ago I started asking questions and not getting satisfactory answers – questions such as “how do we know that the voting machines actually count votes accurately?” and “how accurately?” I have not yet received adequate answers to many questions like these and neither have a good number of Republican election evangelists whom I have met on this quest. Many of us are experienced technologists in hardware and or software. We partisans ironically do not trust the kinds of machines with which we are relatively well experienced. And many of us do not trust clerks, no matter how good, to ask these questions for us. It turns out that they are not always asking the toughest questions.I have a suggestion for a better question for Scott Miller to ask our candidates:”How close (in percentage points) can the election come before you think the election officials should hand count the ballots on your race?” This would really get at the heart of the trust. Candidates could answer with a technical or a legal or a personal answer, but it would be reasonable for each of them to have an answer for this question to prepare for the possibility of a close election in a year when there are more than the usual number of questions afloat about the accuracy of voting machines. Noting that the voting machines have not been well tested, as concluded by Judge Manzanares, we presumably are willing to go to the paper records to hand count the vote in a close election. That is what we are keeping the paper records for. Please be sure above all that your vote is properly recorded on paper.Harvie Branscomb, El JebelVail, Colorado


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