Friday, October 22, 2010

Voting with eSlate and Justice in Texas

Do you remember back in 2007 when the Texas Democratic Party sued the Texas Secretary of State over the Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines? About how these voting machines are programmed to possibly mishandle straight ticket votes?

Straight ticket voters, you see, are a little overzealous. They use the straight ticket choice, but then when presented with the ballot with all candidates shown, and the party line vote registered by showing the boxes next to the names filled in with red pixels, some straight ticket voters emphasize their vote by voting for their choice again.

Canceling out their vote by unwittingly deselecting their candidate of choice.

Well the TDP filed suit because of this and other things, and on August 17th of that year the lawsuit was dismissed by Republican federal district judge Sam Sparks.

Ah. Sam Sparks evidently saw nothing in the argument that a Texas voter was being disenfranchised by this particular voting machine if they used it in a way that the voting machine programmer did not anticipate.

In other words, Sparks told the TDP and Texas voters to take their suit and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

But imagine my surprise when I went and early voted this past Monday at my favorite Early Voting polling place, and I used the straight ticket option. I then went on to emphasize my dislike of all things Kesha Rogers by moving the cursor over her already selected box and hit the enter button to deselect that vote. Immediately a blue screen popped up with a message, and a warning that I was about to change my straight ticket vote and had deselected that particular candidate.

And did I want to go back or continue.

Sam Sparks didn’t see this particular problem as a problem, but that didn’t alter the fact that Hart Intercivic went ahead and made a change in their programming to correct this glaring infringement of voting rights.

I guess that’s how justice works here in Texas.

It doesn’t, so we all have to become codependents and alter the way we do the business of voting.

And I guess now any voter who can prove that they had their vote cancelled before now because of the problem that Sam Sparks didn’t think was a problem has standing in a new lawsuit.


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