[Homestead] Dave Barry on voting

Gene GeRue genegerue at ruralize.com
Sun Sep 19 11:30:15 EDT 2004

Every vote counts! Well, sometimes

Pretty soon, you, the American voter, will enter the sacred sanctity of the 
voting booth and cast your ballot for the next President. Or not. It's also 
possible that your ballot will go back in time and participate in the 
election of 1848, or wind up in a distant galaxy, helping to elect an alien 
being with 73 eyeballs (slogan: "A Being of Vision"). The truth is, you 
don't know WHAT will happen to your ballot, because you might be using one 
of the new electronic voting machines. These are supposed to eliminate the 
screwups we had in the 2000 election, in which the ballots of thousands of 
Florida voters were not counted because, due to poor design, many 
Floridians have the intelligence of a sugar beet. No, sorry, what I mean 
is: The ballot was too complicated! There were names and chads, and to 
figure out which name went with which chad, you had to follow an arrow, and 
... Whew! As a Floridian, I'm getting a headache just THINKING about how 
complicated it was! So this year many states are switching to electronic 
voting machines, which use computer technology - the same foolproof 
technology we use in the newspaper industry to (%$(AT)!(AT)hkjhou((7%$ 
things CAN go wrong with computer technology. One big concern is that 
electronic voting machines could be tampered with by "hackers," as was the 
case recently when an 11-year-old New Jersey boy named Jason Feeblehonker, 
using only his Game Boy, was able to get himself elected governor of both 
North Carolina and Wisconsin. (He's actually doing a decent job, although 
some state police officers are not thrilled about having to carry light 
sabers.) But aside from that, electronic voting machines are a great idea, 
according to people who make millions of dollars selling them. Here's how 
this "high-tech" voting system works: Inside the voting booth you'll find a 
"touch screen," which is a computer screen coated with a thin, invisible 
layer of germs left by all the people who voted ahead of you. When you 
touch this screen, tiny pieces of electricity called "electrons" go 
shooting into your finger, through your arm and into your brain, where they 
whiz around until they locate the name of the candidate you wish to vote 
for; they then transmit this information to Central Voting Command (located 
in India) along with any legally questionable thoughts you may have 
regarding terrorism, tax evasion or sexual fantasies featuring an armadillo 
and Wayne Newton. Electronic voting is fast and harmless, unless they get 
the voltage wrong, in which case an overhead sprinkler system will 
automatically extinguish any flames in your hair. So there's nothing to 
worry about! Remember: Before electronic voting was approved for use on 
humans, it was extensively tested on laboratory hamsters (87% for Dennis 
Kucinich). So that covers how you're going to vote. The other question is, 
who are you going to vote for? The best way to decide this is to watch TV 
ads, which present the issues with a degree of honesty, nuance and 
sophistication rarely seen outside of Vegomatic commercials: (On the 
screen, we see the CANDIDATE. Next to his face is the word "LEADERSHIP.") 
ANNOUNCER: "Leadership. It isn't just a word. It's a word that tested 
really well in our focus groups. And it's a word we want you to think about 
when you think about the candidate." (Now we see the candidate's OPPONENT, 
in an unflattering photograph that makes him look like the world's largest 
glob of earwax.) ANNOUNCER: "The opponent favors policies that could cause 
the Earth to rotate in the opposite direction, causing all life on the 
planet to hurtle into space and die. Is that really what Americans want?" 
Yes, voters, by the end of this campaign you'll be so well-informed you may 
flee to Paraguay. But I urge you to stay, because on Nov. 2, you have an 
opportunity to help choose the person who will lead this nation for the 
next four years: Jason Feeblehonker.

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