Dateline 2004: Florida Introduces "Idiot-Proof" Election System

Fake News From The Future posted by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, September 17, 2002

from the flori-duh dept.

Editor's Note: The following article will appear in the October 1, 2004 edition of the Miami Herald-News-Infotainment-Ledger-Picayune newspaper.

WEST PALM BEACH -- After four years of election screwups, court battles, and endless jokes, the State of Florida has unveiled a new election system that has been described by its inventor as "idiot-proof".

"There's absolutely no way that election judges and voters can mess this up," inventor Gerald Granklin said at a press conference.

After attempts to use high-tech touch-screen voting machines failed miserably in 2002, and experiments with higher-tech Internet voting failed even more spectacularly in 2003, it was clear the state was heading in the wrong direction. What they needed was a low-low-low tech solution that anybody could use with virtually no prior training.

As a result, the state has adopted Granklin's non-patent-pending "Stone-o-matic" election system. The method is simple:

  1. For each race or issue, the voter is given a small rock.
  2. The voter walks up to the "voting booth", which consists of a row of buckets, each corresponding to a candidate.
  3. To place a vote, the voter deposits their rock in the appropriate bucket.

"Like I said, it's fool-proof," Granklin said. "Voters know that their vote will be counted because they can see their rock in the bucket. Meanwhile, each bucket is clearly labeled in five-inch-high letters with the candidate's name, thus preventing seasoned citizens from mistaking Buchanan for Gore. Finally, in the event of a recount, there's no hanging or dimpled chads to worry about, and it's quite difficult to steal or misplace a bucket containing hundreds of pounds of rocks."

The biggest advantage, however, is that ballot counting machines are no longer needed. Each bucket can be weighed on the spot, which will instantly reveal how many votes were cast. If each rock weighs 0.1 pounds, then a bucket that, say, weighs 100 pounds must contain 1,000 votes. (While the mathematics might be out of the reach of some election workers, the county clerks should have no trouble performing this cipherin'.)

In preliminary testing, the only problem encountered involves the transportation of all of the rocks. "These buckets can get a bit heavy," Mr. Granklin admitted. "But with all of the money each county will save by not using high-tech equipment, they can afford to buy wheelbarrows and forklifts."