Welcome to the Machines

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and PR giant Burson-Marsteller are launching "Help Ohio Vote," a state-wide, 18-month, $15.3 million PR and advertising campaign "educating Ohio voters about new [electronic] voting machines." The massive campaign includes focus groups, media tours, ads, direct mail, and an "embedded" media program. Local press noted that Blackwell's media work for the campaign may help his potential gubernatorial run in 2006. Meanwhile, e-voting machines received mixed marks on Super Tuesday. In San Diego, "touchscreens failed to boot properly, causing delays of up to two hours and forcing some voters to other polling places." Computer science professor Avi Rubin concluded: "Some of my concerns were laid to rest and some were made worse" after serving as a Baltimore County election judge.