'Fixing' the Election

If the voting machines aren't working, how about restoring the public's trust by tampering with the machines to produce plausible results?

Editor's Note: "Lonely at the Top" is a humorous (we hope) take on business news in the form of an advice column.

Dear Lonely at the Top,

I'm worried that my parakeet is about to defeat Orrin Hatch for election to the U.S. Senate. See, I run a company that makes voting machines. Just for testing purposes, I inserted "Crazy Daisy" into the software in nine states. Now my techies are telling me that the bird stands a good chance of winning in Utah. What should I do?

Holding My Breath

Dear Holding,

Let's see. I guess my first question is: Where does your parakeet stand on gay marriage?

No, seriously, this is a real problem. Things are going to get very ugly if you have to go on TV and explain how a bird got more votes than Orrin Hatch. Is Crazy Daisy even registered to vote in Utah?

Unfortunately, this is just the latest mess for your joke of a business. We all know about the voting-machine "security system" that you can break with a hotel minibar key. The touch screens that record votes for the wrong candidates. The cover-up of defective motherboards. The ex-CEO of Diebold (DBD) who wrote that he was committed to "help Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."

Here's what you need to do: Tamper with the election.

I know tampering sounds kind of illegal, and it is, but the whole reason you're in this fix in the first place is that you were messing around with your voting machines. So get back in there and mess around with them some more until you make absolutely sure that Crazy Daisy doesn't win. This is one case where two wrongs really do make a right.

There was a time not long ago when American voters believed that when they pulled the little lever in the booth, their votes were recorded and added up—and that they actually determined who won or lost the election.

I think we the people have gotten over that naive notion. We understand now that our votes are just one ingredient in a great, swirling pot of political stew. All we ask is that the election results be approximately plausible and not too drastically distant from the so-called "will of the people."

That means: No Crazy Daisy. So get out your hotel minibar keys and your cereal-box decoder rings, bring in the code jocks from Belarus and Bangalore, and make sure those election results are plausible. Not "accurate" (hah!). Plausible. Tamper!

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