Another conspiracy theory: the new voting machines…

Recently I read a story that said paper-and-ink ballots were still the most secure form of voting. The same story said some of the new voting machines were so expensive that the people in charge of elections didn’t buy enough of them and that led to long lines at the polls.

You wouldn’t think expensive and unreliable would be outstanding selling points and maybe we ought to just go back to marking paper ballots with ink pens.

So why don’t we?

I have a very intelligent son that I would call a conspiracy-theory nut if most of his conspiracy theories didn’t turn out to be true.

Before it became common knowledge my son pointed out my cellphone was also a tracking device.

Long before the mainstream media started talking about the issue, my son warned me that the price of using the supposedly free internet was people collecting and selling my information to companies that wanted to keep track of me.

Turns out my alternate theory – that out of the goodness of their hearts those nice folks at Facebook just wanted to get me back in touch with the people I avoided in high school – was slightly more nutty than the one my son proposed.

When I told him about the paper-and-ink ballot story, he made a suggestion: when someone does something inexplicable or seemingly stupid, ask yourself under what conditions would that decision be smart.

Do a little reverse engineering and see where you wind up.

And as my very smart son pointed out, if you want to change the outcome of an election it’s a lot easier to do with a voting machine than paper-and-ink ballots. With paper-and-ink you would need a lot of people in on the scheme; with voting machines one talented hacker could get the job done.

If you threw this theory at me a decade ago I would have thought it was nuts; after the last few elections I’m not so sure.