Voting Machines To Be Scrapped For Applause-o-Meter

Pensacola, FL, April 22, 2007 -- Following a series of potentially flawed elections in which the integrity of voting machines was called into question, the Elections Board of Florida has made the decision to scrap the traditional voting process altogether and put in its place a new system, based on the Applause-o-Meter, with which they feel the voting public may be more comfortable.

Kermit Porter, spokesman for the Florida State Elections Commission, elaborates:

"We noticed a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, as well as the midterm elections of 2006, and decided a more dramatic form of election reform was needed. As you know, each state's electoral commission may decide the method they use to determine the will of the people. The method we've decided upon has been used extensively on televised game and talk shows, and we're confident it's one the people will trust. We're even expecting it to boost turnout levels, which continue to break historical lows."

According to Porter, popular elections will be performed in a modified "town meeting" format, wherein all registered voters will gather in a public park, shopping mall, or parking lot at an appointed time on election day. A duly appointed "Candidate Hawker" will read the names of each candidate over a public address system. Voters will applaud when the name of their chosen candidate is mentioned, and the applause level received for each candidate will be measured by an Applause-o-Meter. The candidate with the highest Applause-o-Meter level wins.

Worried that the method may lead to the disenfranchisement of voters who are unable to applaud due to physical disability, representatives of the disabled were quick to criticize the measure, but Porter indicates a solution is already in place.

"We'll equip one-armed, no-armed and paralytic voters with small foghorns used in recreational boating. They're tuned to approximately the same decibel level as a standard adult clap, and can be operated by an assistant if needed. We've also performed some testing to check whether stronger people can clap louder than weaker people, and we feel any discrepancies are statistically insignificant. Physical fitness is pretty evenly distributed across political boundaries."

The Applause-o-Meters and foghorns will be supplied by Diebold, makers of many of the previously disputed machines, in a no-bid contract award worth $977 million. Each custom-designed Applause-o-Meter, available in pink, puce and mauve, will cost taxpayers $148,000, while the foghorns are a more reasonable $1,838.

"We think we'll need about 4,992 Applause-o-Meters and 129,559 foghorns, but it's a one-off charge as they can be reused in subsequent elections. The foghorns will probably run out of steam after about 10 votes."

The Applause-o-Meter method will be tested for the first time in a series of local County Selectman and Municipal Tax Assessor elections and, if successful, will likely spread to other states.

"We're already talking with Oklahoma and Texas about sharing statistics on our results. We're pretty sure this is the way to go. I mean, if it works on Oprah, you know you've got a winning concept there," said Porter.

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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