The Paranoids Are
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday 10 October 2006
Washington - Sometimes, paranoids are right. And sometimes even when paranoids are wrong, it's worth considering what they're worried about.
I speak here of all who are worried sick that those new, fancy high-tech voting systems can be hacked, fiddled with and otherwise made to record votes that aren't cast, or fail to record votes that are.
I do not pretend to know how large a threat this is. I do know that it's a threat to democracy when so many Americans doubt that their votes will be recorded accurately. And I also know that smart, computer-savvy people out there are concerned about these machines.
The perfectly obvious thing is for the entire country to do what a number of states have already done: require paper trails so that if we have a close election or suspect something went wrong, we have the opportunity to go back and check the results.
And so it is heartening that a diverse group - Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives - in Congress has proposed legislation to give everyone, even the supposedly paranoid, confidence that our elections are on the level.