Tags: 2020 Elections | Cybersecurity | caucuses | hava | clinton | price

The Iowa Voting App? Newer Not Always Improved

The Iowa Voting App? Newer Not Always Improved
Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 06 February 2020 10:11 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Serves them right! The high-tech wizards who are possessed by an uncontrollable urge to electronically mechanize our voting systems, have once again proven the adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

In my August 10, 2019 article ("We can easily prevent election hacking . . . ") published on Foxnews.com, I highlighted the folly of technology obsessed gurus forcing taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convert perfectly fine voting systems into a confusing, expensive and potentially hackable election nightmare.

You won’t recall major delays in 2016, when old fogeys tabulated votes the old-fashioned way — by counting hands and paper ballots, and calling in the results in a relatively prompt fashion. It afforded candidates the opportunity to get a needed bounce, or to at least mitigate pending disaster.

Observers around the country were able to go to bed knowing who won, and donations would start to flow at a rapid pace to those exceeding expectations.

Ironically, it was reportedly techies from the Clinton campaign who developed this special app, which was supposed to speed the process, while allowing for a voter's first choice to be announced, along with his or her final vote.

This was the same group that put so much faith in algorithms in the 2016 general election, that they felt emboldened to discontinue polling in the last few weeks of the election in crucial mid-western  states.

They patted the "old dinosaur" Bill Clinton on the head with an "OK, boomer" condescension, claiming his insistence on going more grassroots in these key states was an obsolete tool.

These new, elaborate and so-called "state-of-the-art" electronic systems are being hyped, in part, by techies seeking to prove their worth, and, in part, by companies seeking to make a fortune by selling their wares.

Case in point was the mandate imposed by the Help America Voting Act (HAVA) to disregard the proven lever machines and paper ballots for the new and improved electronic contraptions.

All this did in New York was cost state taxpayers over $200 million and force the county I represented to expend $1 million to construct a wing to our Board of Elections so we could house the new machines in a climate-controlled setting.

The old system never kept us in the dark as to the outcome, nor did it have us praying that nefarious actors would not seek to hack the integrity of our voting system. (While there is no belief there was any hacking in Iowa, the possibility, however small, remains a concern in other elections around the nation.)

The Los Angeles Times reported that "the Democratic Party was counting on a slick new smartphone app to make everything go smoothly" on the grounds that "party leaders feared that the established system of reporting numbers by phone would be too slow." 

State Democratic Chairman Tony Price blamed the problem on a coding error. More telling was the comment of Bryce Smith, chair of the Dallas County Democrats, who said that only about a dozen of its 34 precincts reported using the app correctly.

"Eight chairs had not even downloaded the app, suggesting some of them didn't or couldn’t adapt to the technology."

The process was made unnecessarily complex. Newer is not always better. It is about time that election officials, as well as Congress itself, come to the realization that the promoters of these new and improved high-tech voting systems are simply out to make a buck.

If maintaining the integrity of the process is not enough to reject an overhaul to proven systems, then why not just bank on the fact that we can save millions of dollars for our taxpayers by sticking with what we know works.

Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The old system never kept us in the dark as to the outcome, nor did it have us praying that nefarious actors would not seek to hack the integrity of our voting system.
caucuses, hava, clinton, price
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2020-11-06
Thursday, 06 February 2020 10:11 AM
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