Maturin42's Blog

Saturday, November 06, 2004

If you liked paperless voting...

News Flash:

Bouyed by the spectacular success of paperless, no-audit-trail voting machines in the November 2nd Presidential election, Diebold has decided to remove all paper receipts from their ATM machines, since it is obvious that they are not needed, and are an unnecessary expense.

On Thursday, Wally W "Wally-boy" O'Dell, Diebold's CEO, was quoted as saying "Diebold has earned the trust of the American people to such an extent that the expensive printing of receipts - pieces of paper recording transaction details that depositors and ATM users could produce in case of a dispute - can be avoided, increasing profit margins for the bank. The low error rate in our voting machines - under 10% in many cases - has inspired the confidence in the company's products that makes this all possible. Most bank customers are content to just let us handle their money and tell them how much they have."

"We showed those fancy-pants exit-poll junkies last Tuesday, when we recorded vote totals that showed exit polls to be wildly inaccurate, except for those backwards states like New Hampshire, who cling to the archaic notion that paper audit trails are required. Or Maine, where (snort) PAPER ballots were used. In those rare instances, exit polls were dead-on accurate, but luckily, Ohio went without a paper trail, and there the exit polls and pre-election polls were WAY off", said Mr. O'Dell. "Who knew that people would lie to a pollster about their vote like they obviously did?"

"Our engineering staff has conducted experiments, and have conclusively proven that presence of our machines will actually skew exit polls toward liberals and cause those polls to under-represent the conservative candidate's supporters. While they have not been able to pinpoint the cause for this, or how it happens, the effect was dramatically demonstrated in Tuesday's election."

Mr. O'Dell also took the opportunity to announce his intention to run for Senate in 2006, emulating Senator Chuck Hegal, (R) of Nebraska, who was famously elected on the voting machines his company made. "Chuck's success in the Senate has proven that voting machine executives have the right stuff, when it comes to political office. He even won a substantial number of black votes in Nebraska - something that Republicans had found difficult in past elections. That proves the confidence people have in the technology"

According to some experts, within 6 years, 25% of the Senate, some governorships, and perhaps other higher offices, could consist of former voting machine executives, clearly a talented group with untapped political skills.

Diebold announced that, in further cost-cutting measures, they also intend to phase out the cameras that record who uses the ATM, since it is well known that only the account holder could possibly access accounts through the layers of security they have installed. "Our security is based on Microsoft's best, most secure, 1997 version of their Windows Mee operating system, and can't be hacked, unless you are proficient in the use of ctl-alt-del, and the ordinary person just isn't that computer literate", said Mr. O'Dell. "Plus, the screens have the great primary-color graphics, popular with the younger people."

Asked to comment, several ATM users expressed some doubts about the move. Mr. Herman Fretzer, of Columbus, Ohio, said "Well, votes are one thing - it's only politics and democracy after all, but my money is valuable, and I am not sure I want to trust it to a black box that doesn't give me a receipt or anything to show what happened inside the machine."

In a separate news release, Bank of America stated that they would be installing the new machines in all their branches, and that monthly detailed statements would be discontinued. Mr. Eumus Trussme, Bank of America spokesman said "The statement will be replaced by a monthly e-mail telling each depositor how much money he or she has. It really saves them time, when they don't have to worry about pesky details, like cancelled checks and running balances, or reconciling at the end of the month. People appreciate that kind of convenience. The revolution of automation in the voting process has ushered in a new era of infallibility for automated processes, and we consider it a mandate to make changes that will improve our bottom line."

A sampling of Bank of America depositors were surveyed, and most just wanted to know whether they would still be offered a choice between a toaster and a blender for opening a new account with at least $100.


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