Legal requirements -> technical requirements?

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sat Nov 11 2000 - 16:16:28 MST

"Michael S. Lorrey" wrote:
> Spike Jones wrote:
> > This experience has also placed a spotlight on the traditional dirty
> > tricks that surround every election, the only difference being this
> > one time, it really really matters. Examples being: calls to known
> > Democrats claiming to be the NAACP, endorsing Bush. Another
> > would be the gag email saying "Democrats vote Tuesday,
> > Republicans vote Wednesday," or one of the very old standbys,
> > used traditionally in the south, is to have a police car park near
> > the polling place with the flashing lights going, which tends to
> > cause a disproportionate number of Democrats to flee in terror.
> > Old tricks that never mean anything, until now.
> Technically, those avoiding polling places due to police presence are felon
> fugitives, who shouldn't be voting anyways. Now what would be offensive is to
> post some drug K-9 units at the doors, nailing anyone who smelled like drugs to
> the dogs.

#include not_just_criminals_fear_government.rant

Seriously. Many people who are, legally, perfectly innocent believe
they have something to fear from police and other government enforcers.
Granted, what they fear is abuse of the sort that would most likely be
illegal for the cops to pull. However, just because something is
illegal does not mean it does not hapen, nor does it prevent people from
taking action to prevent it from happening (even, in this case, at the
cost of their vote by avoiding the polling place).

Which brings up something that's been knocking around my mind for a
while. In system designs, when you wish to prevent an action, you can
put in physical (or, for non-physical systems like programs, logical)
blocks that prevent the proscribed action. For example, if you're
building a car and don't want it going over 90, you can put in a speed
governor to stop acceleration when it hits 89. Sure, one could get to
89 and then go downhill to accelerate; if the desire for never-over-90
was strong enough, maybe the governor could kick in at 79 (assuming the
car will usually never be used on a hill long and flat enough to
accelerate from 79 to 91).

I wonder if it would be possible to come up with inexpensive, similar
guards for illegal actions, where the problem is big enough that the
methods currently used to prevent these actions (for instance, avoiding
uniformed police at all costs in order to avoid police abuse) is far
from inexpensive (many societal costs of people not trusting the police
- whether the police earn that mistrust or not - are rather obvious,
when looked at as such). If it becomes literally impossible to violate
the law, then "enforcing" the law becomes moot. (Which would make the
issue of making sure the law is just and fair even more important, but
that's another topic...)

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