Friday, October 27, 2006

Vote By Touch?

A column by Kevin Leininger
Elections must be secure
We should do whatever it takes to ensure they are

Which is more important: voting or buying cat food?

That admittedly bizarre question came to me the other day when I noticed something new in the checkout lane of the Scott’s Food & Pharmacy store in the Village at Coventry: a scanner that will allow customers to pay their bills simply by having their finger scanned.

The American Civil Liberties Union has not yet made its feelings known about Scott’s new alliance with Pay by Touch, a San Francisco-based, high-tech, consumer-identification company. Its system compares 40 different points on the fingers of shoppers who choose to sign up for the service. But where selecting our leaders is concerned, the organization has made it clear even 160-year-old technology has no place.

With close, bitterly contested elections becoming the rule, not the exception, the results of those elections must be as reliable as possible. Consider this: Of the 228,580 registered voters in Allen County, about 32,400 are considered “inactive,” meaning they have not voted recently, have moved or, perhaps, even died. And, of course, there are more than 12 million illegal immigrants in this country.

With the technology available today, requiring a photo ID is the very least government should do to assure fraud-free elections. A grocery check-out lane shows how much more is possible.

Imagine a system allowing you to vote from home – or from anyplace in the world – simply by scanning your fingerprint into a database.

For now, though, that kind of common-sense convenience and security is available only at your neighborhood store
. Gotta keep our priorities straight, you know.

Editors Note: People buy groceries every week. They vote once every 2-4 years. That isn't to say that maybe one day we'll see the Pay By Touch biometric technology making elections, like financial transactions, more secure. Imagine how many more people would vote if they could do it using their TrueMe (tm) sensor right at home. I personally have to use an hour or two of my life today to pick up an absentee voter form, as I will be out of state on this years elections. l would welcome the convenience of being able to vote "securely" online. For now it's on the backburner, but with another election looming in less than two weeks, there's sure to be more complaints of voter fraud or inproprieties that some will claim make the election results questionable.

So who knows? Maybe in 2008, but more likely after that, we'll see emerge. Then again, profitability is the priority, so, unless we could charge, say $1 to vote, because of the convenience and time saving element, maybe not.