UPDATE: The presenter of this program, Robert Sheldon, has canceled his appearance in Kingsland. The meeting will still go on as planned.
BY CHARLIE VINCENT • SPECIAL TO DAILYTRIB.COM
Robert Sheldon is passionate about voting and the sanctity and security of the ballot box.
As a Vietnam Navy veteran, Sheldon believes voting is a duty “to honor those brave men and women who signed an oath of allegiance to protect the Constitution by being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, as many have. I’m one of the fortunate ones that lived to enjoy another day of life as a free person.”
With the mid-term elections only weeks away, though, Sheldon, a veteran polling judge with a lifetime of experience in internet technology, has concerns about the inadequacies of the current system — run by each of Texas’s 254 counties — and will address the Llano County Democratic Club at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 Polk St.
The public is welcome.
“There is such a variance from county to county,” he said. “Some use software from Company A, some from Company B. It’s a mish-mash of ways that people vote.”
Sheldon contends that much of that software is outdated, and “there is a pretty high risk that it is easily compromised. Some use paper ballots, which I would endorse at this stage.”
His concerns center around the security in computerized systems.
”The Russians, the Chinese, the Ukranians, and your next door neighbor’s teenage kid can hack into the system. … It would be very easy for me, if I was a bad guy,” Sheldon said.
But he is also concerned about the lack of state oversight in each county.
“In some counties, it’s one guy’s bank account that rules the county,” he added. “It’s their kingdom.”
Sheldon, who is the chairperson of Travis County Democratic Precinct 346 and principle consultant for eTopia LLC in Austin, knows changes will not come about overnight and come cheaply, but he believes they are necessary for a safer and more secure voting system in Texas.
“Counties can’t do the job because they don’t all have the resources. … Making changes would be expensive, but it’s something we have to do if we really do care about voting,” he said. “Voting is our number one right, something we need to bend over backwards to protect, and we are not doing a good job.”