I Guess Record-Breaking Ain’t What It Used To Be
I understand, everything in life in this bright new millennium is about spin. Polarized as we are, we try to spin everything; statistics, news events, sports related results. This past Tuesday's election results is the latest example of spin.
It's not who won or who lost, it's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's release touting record breaking results. Whereas a typical election day like this draws about a 12% turnout, this one had almost 25% of eligible voters turning out.
I don't know about you but I don't think this is a reason to have a parade. (Yes, I know, those are illegal or something, right now.) A "record breaking" 25% turnout means three out of four eligible Michigan voters passed on the opportunity to cast a ballot.
Given the mess we have in front of us both locally and nationally, you'd think pretty much every able person would be casting a ballot. Trust me, I've seen social media. There is no shortage of people with opinions. Where are they on Election Day?
I will say this, the encouraging statistic here is 99% of the ballots cast were absentee. The positives I draw from this are a.) we're working out the kinks in these lesser elections, making sure the system in place actually does work, when the big elections come up, like in November. b.) In general, we are proving that a computerized balloting system can work. c.) Specific to this year, we can conduct an election safely.
Now, the scary part in all this, the more we expose the entire election process to the cyber world, the more possibility there is to having it hacked and corrupted. So while Secretary Benson's statement is somewhat encouraging: “We have the tools we need to carry out elections that are safe, accurate and secure, and yesterday we saw those tools in action. Now we’re going to take the data and the lessons learned from this process and use it to determine the best and safest way to proceed in the August and November elections,” the whole online voting option is still fraught with peril. One only needs to look at their own email to see criminal activity has grown, especially during the pandemic lockdown.
I don't know what the answers are. Ideally, we get huge voter turnouts, (and is "turnout" even an accurate term) if we put voting online. It feels like this is a very high-stakes cat and mouse game. It's just our democracy at stake.