e-Talk Radio: Pressman, Roger, 14 November 2000


with a bunch of seniors doing line dances. And I have to tell you that, because I live here, that Palm Beach County has major industrial parks, it has all kinds of shopping malls and young people's facilities, and sports stadiums, et cetera. Why they chose to do this piece with a backdrop of seniors doing a line dance escapes me, unless they were trying to mold opinion in a specific way. And this was MSNBC, this wasn't a hack media outlet. Maybe some people might consider them a hack media outlet, but I don't know. But the reality of it is, the media can shape perceptions in a dramatic way, and all of us have to remember that we have to gather the facts and not just listen to what they tell us. Because in many cases, the facts are far different than what they tell us.

Carol: Right. It was interesting to me living in Florida to hear the polls, because on a day by day basis, I don't know what it was like anywhere else in the country, but it would be, you know, 40 to 49 to 49 to 48, and the undecided voter that I've read about for so many years wants to go with the winner. And it's almost impossible to know who the winner's going to be so that you can vote for the winner, unless you know ahead of time. And I think that really illustrates the closeness of the whole thing. Moving beyond the election, what are the solutions? What are some ideas that we as a nation could embrace?

Roger: Well, the solutions are difficult, because the solutions have to be political. And the minute you move from a technology solution to a political solution, all the rules change. I can only say that first of all, we have to understand what we need. Secondly, it would seem to me, we have to understand what the key issues are. And thirdly, we have to consider what the alternatives are. We need, and I would think most people would agree with me, easier, less error-prone modes of input for the election. I'm going to use software jargon here, but that's really what I'm saying. We need an easier mode of input, less error prone. We need better collection mechanisms and better communication of the collection that we make. It would seem to me we need a much higher degree of accuracy, which therefore means a much lower error rate. We need a high degree of security at the polling place, if in fact we have a polling place. And I believe, this is kind of a personal thing, I believe we need more time to execute the choice. And by that, I mean that although we've been sending people to polling booths for 200-odd years, it may be time in the 21st century to change that and say maybe we should have a week to conduct the election. And during that week, people can make a calm, informed decision. And then submit their vote in some way. One of the problems that we had in South Florida is the lines were so enormously long, polling places were so crowded, there was a subtle pressure on all of us to rush through the vote.

Carol: Hold that thought. We'll be back right after these messages.

Welcome back. I'm Carol Dekkers. Our guest this week has been Roger Pressman, who is a renowned author in the area of software engineering, and consultant, professor, I think you've pretty much done everything, Roger.

Roger: Well,

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