However did they cope in 19th century America with the "low information density of paper"? Did the election system work, or not? Answer: it did.
THe "proven history" of paper ballots is a history of one abuse after another. Search on 'election fraud' in American history. Actually, election fraud really got going in America a big way with the advent of the secret ballot in the 1880s (which was near the end of the 19th century, by the way), but that is another issue. Are you really holding up the 1800s as a shining example of pure elections? Some brief time prior to the latter half, I take it? Add "Hayes" to your search above for enlightenment.
its thoughtless gee-whizz revolutionaries like yourself that cause all the fuck-ups in this world.
Yeah yeah, from paper ballots (look up the origin of the word 'ballot', hint: it ain't papyrus) to electricity to airplanes to 'putas, us thoughtless gee whiz types have just made the lives of you stick in the mud and complain about moving forward types worser and worser. But if you'd been paying attention, I've been arguing all over this comment stream against hasty adoption of poorly implemented systems from shysters like Diebold.
replaced by another unproven system that is orders of mangitude more complex and less transparent,
Uhh huh, ok explain in detail how the counts from the precincts make to the secretary of state's office in a statewide election. Don't forget to count the number of security experts you need to trust along the way, the form the vote counts are held in while they move from the precincts to the capital to the hand of the expert charged with certifying the results. Please note that if they move by phone or wire, you have exactly the scary complexity of moving data via electrons that EM is so afraid of above & note that the ballots can be copied, boxes can be lost and when the numbers from the ballots are recorded, they can be altered.
And note that finally, they are entered into a database (whether it is bunch of marks on paper, a calculator, or *shudder* one of them computer thangs, it is a place where a whole big amount of data is kept and added up), the elections officer reads off the totals but doesn't count all the papers herself or memorize and add up all reports from the precincts in her head (what a case of trusting an 'expert' that would be!).
So think again why they switched to paper ballots from colored balls back there in Salem (you did look it up, right?): the demands of democracy had outstripped the voting technology. Now paper ballots are fine when you have two canditates for each seat and maybe a couple issues. Especially if you vote a straight party ticket (along with all your dead relatives & pets).
But if you want to have numerous candidates as well as referenda, the paper soon gets unwieldy: the font gets smaller, the number of items per page gets larger, and increasing numbers of citizens can't make out what they are voting for. Also the expense of printing, voting, trucking, and tabulating all that paper puts limits the number of elections & drives the cost per election up. You have to employ increasing numbers of people to handle the mass, which adds up to increasing chances for the unscrupulous to taint the vote.
So the paper issue only seems "orders of magnitude more transparent", really it's a highly complex system, very prone to fraud, with a long and ongoing history of fraud, that serves to preserve the 2 party status quo. With e-voting done right, we can have more issues to vote on more often, more candidates on more ballots, better assistence for the elderly and the blind to vote, ability to track votes from their entry to their count, and assure their authenticity and anonymity (if we really need to keep that new fangled notion that has enabled so much fraud to occur).
But it has to be done properly, a big part of which is opening the code for public scrutiny. Just like writing was in the 16th century when paper ballots were intrduced in this land (no doubt to the gloom and doom cries of colored ball devotees), there is nothing to coding that ordinary citizens can't understand & plenty of folks who do understand it (& who disagree on the issues) who can explain how it works to us directly & point out any chances for abuse.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
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