A lot of technical people have proposed their solutions to free and fair elections. This is an old American tradition among engineers and inventors.
However, the problems with our election system is not one of technology. It is one of integrity. It always will be a problem of integrity.
The temptation for any politician or political activist to tweak the voting results is great. This temptation is contagious. Today, we live in a world, not unlike any other time in US history, where he who can get their people in as the vote counters is more likely to win when things are close. It has always been this way, and it always will be.
If you are of the mind that integrity is more important than political persuasion, which I believe is the vast majority of people in the US, then you need to do some things to demand integrity. For starters, let’s take Reagan’s advice to “Trust but verify”. In other words, we should have an election system that is totally open and honest. We should allow people to inspect and verify the election process.
If a county election supervisor opens her books and records and process to inspection, but no one comes, can she be sure that her election system is working properly? Of course not. Inspecting and verifying election processes and results is no simple task, and takes a considerable amount of time, expertise, and dedication.
Who should do the verification? Either we trust the government to verify themselves, or the people provide their own verification system. I believe we cannot trust government to ensure elections are free and fair. There is far too much at stake to take their word for it.
Who then should pay? If the government cannot verify its own elections, then we cannot trust it to hire or pay for others to verify those elections for them. There is too much potential for corruption. The financing for verifying elections should come from the people themselves.
There is, in fact, a major operation of both political parties, to provide election overseers and auditors and to ensure that the elections have worked according to their interests. However, I don’t trust the parties either, not even my own, to do the right thing. Therefore, I encourage regular people to both finance and provide their own election checks and balances against both parties and the government.
We should take this very seriously. If we are at all involved in politics, a small portion of our time and money is all that is needed. If we are not involved in politics, but we believe a free and fair election system is important anyways, then we can volunteer our time as well.
This is a good example of how technology cannot fix apathy and inactivity. It is a good example of how the anarchist message of no participation hurts rather than helps ensure chaotic freedom. If anarchists wanted people’s voices to be truly represented, they would self-organize to ensure the megaphone the people use to make their voice heard, the ballot box, was not being violated at all.
This coming election season, I hope a few more people in our country will stop believing the poison that says no participation is the same as participating, or that participating in politics and casting a ballot have no effect. These things do have an effect. If 5% more people begin casting their votes a certain way, you can be certain that politicians interested in earning that 5% of the vote will begin courting those voters by addressing their concerns. When that 5% grows to 20% or 40%, you will see the political parties realign themselves to address the concern.
You can see that today. For the first time, we have a budget that actually proposes to slow the rate of growth of the federal government. You have a national dialog questioning whether Medicare and Social Security should even be alive. You will see, as time goes along, that the new generation’s libertarian philosophy will be more and more represented—provided the young libertarians actually cast their vote and participate in politics.