It's the total turnout that will matter in Alabama...

The highly anticipated special election in Alabama is coming up on Tuesday, and the results will be used by either Republicans or Democrats to claim some kind of symbolic, long-term trend or another. Sadly, there will be no talk about the most important result of that evening – how large will the voter turnout be?
No national election in America can be used as a true gauge of the desires of the American people, as we have not had more than 65 percent of the eligible voters participate during the past half-century. Some years barely even half the electorate bother to do their civic duty. Now, after more than five decades of poor voter turnout, we really have no idea what the majority of voting-age citizens believe is the best way to govern ourselves.
What's worse, we don't know for certain if the votes in certain states are being counted honestly. When a digital system is used to collect votes and tally them up, that system is highly vulnerable to being hacked or manipulated in a wide variety of ways. No security system yet devised can prevent a truly determined hacker from gaining access to information stored on a digital machine, and yet we use all kinds of machines in voting booths across the land and upload the results to servers that can be reached by anyone who is highly motivated to tamper with the vote.
Paper ballots marked with a pencil can't be hacked in large quantities. Anything other method is never secure, and therefore always always suspect.
So before anyone starts making any predictions about the mood of the country based on the vote this week in Alabama, they should start by looking at the number of voters who show up and how their votes are counted. If we see a turnout of 80 percent or more, we might be on the cusp of real change in America. It won't signal a change in politics or the games of political power, regardless of who actually is credited with the most votes, if half the electorate decides to stay away from an election that is drawing national attention and offers a clear choice between two very different politicians...


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