Out here, it was pretty calm, and boring as usual.
There were no glowering goons with guns (aka: “neighbors”) or idiots driving around in tanks festooned with flags. In fact, there were 4 people there running the polls, same as usual, same people as usual – I didn’t have to give my name because everyone sang, “Hi, Marcus!” in unison. I’m probably known as “the liberal” or something.
Anna voted in her community, nearer to Pittsburgh, and also reported no gun goons or lines. It seems as though Pennsylvanians are taking this thing seriously, which is very good as we are an important swing state.
One thing that made me extremely happy was that they are not using the voting machines this year. We had a paper ballot to fill out (“completely fill the circle by your selection”) and we then walked it across the room, fed it into a scanner, and OK’d the scan results. As you may guess, I am professionally unimpressed with voting machine technology. My old co-worker and fellow JHU alumnus Avi Rubin used to bedevil the voting machine manufacturers (most notably Diebold) by ripping giant smoking holes in their software and networking protocols on a regular basis. I, myself, was once involved in some consulting for a voting machine manufacturer and made heads explode by recommending that, instead of using networks of VPNs over the internet, they simply could E-mail the results using an open protocol like PGP and an embedded sequence number in each message. (sequence numbers are easy to summarize and missing entries are immediately detectable and can be mapped to the time-stamps on either side of the missing sequence to locate the event in time) E-mail’s queueing and transaction management is remarkably good and resilient, and is near real-time on fast networks. Why not? “Well, Marcus, we appreciate your input but I doubt we will be using your suggestions…”
Anyhow, done is done and I am going to take the rest of the day off, go to the shop, and weld some pieces of cable into bars. I haven’t done any cable bar for a while, and I’m feeling my oats!
I wish you all patience and calm for the next few days.