By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2008, 5:22pm PT  

No idea who this guy is, but according to his personal website, Mike Elgan is a "technology culture writer" who "learn[s], think[s], write[s] and speak[s] about technology culture for" a bunch of well-respected IT magazines and websites.

Looks like he may have forgotten the "learn" and "think" part lately.

Given his self-proclaimed expertise in such matters, one would think he'd know better than to forward the irresponsible information found his article "Why Can't Voters Vote Right?: Computers can save democracy, if only we give up our affection for paper ballots" as posted at and at Datamation, etc.

I don't wish to spend too much precious space on his nonsense, but it's folks like him, at high-profile outlets, who haven't bothered to take the time to educate themselves on the issues they pretend to be experts on (or have, and yet don't care how wrong they are) and who have helped to get us into the very electoral issues threatening democracy today. Those issues would be the very ills that Elgan foolishly blames the voters for, before going on to recommend his brilliant prescription for curing the maladies: Much more of the very same toxic medicine that has made us sick in the first place.

I've sent him a personal email, with my phone number, offering to assist him in finding his way out of the fog, along with a link to this recent article, which includes a handy, bullet-point list on just some of the science and tech-based reasons why his uninformed proposal for straightening out our electoral woes is ridiculous.

His proposal includes laughably off-the-mark suggestions like...

  • "Each ballot booth should contain an integrated touch-screen voting system that has two completely redundant functioning machines, so that if one fails the other takes over." and;
  • "It should be required by law that every polling station have twice as many machines as needed"
  • ...which, by my math would mean that we should spend tax-payer dollars to purchase four times as many unverifiable, hackable, error-prone voting machines as we already are busy figuring out how best to trash entirely.

    So check out the ingenious Elgan's article, which includes such brilliantly conceived sections as "The Myth of Paper Voting," "How Computers Can Save Democracy," and the last, "The Case For Electronic Ballots," which informs us that "Our current warm-and-fuzzy feeling about 'paper voting' is based on delusion."

    Speaking of delusions...It's little wonder, as Elgan informs us on his own site, that he's "appeared on CNN, CNBC and FOX News and been quoted by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and hundreds of other TV, radio, print, in-flight and online media."

    With MSM-friendly cluelessness like Elgan's it's little wonder he brings in the bucks, while we go begging for donations.

    "If you've got an idea, drop me a line!" Elgan generously offers before proffering his e-mail address:

    If you've got any polite ideas for him, please be our guest...

    (Hat-tip BRAD BLOG reader MG.)

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