Furthest Right

Form Follows Function Form and Function Are One

I worked an election site in midtown Manhattan for over ten years some forty odd years ago. The morning of Election Day, a policeman used his key to start the voting machines at six in the morning when the doors opened. The clerk would have a voter sign his/her name under the vote’s previously recorded signature in the voter registry on the table, so the signatures could be visually compared. Then the clerk directed the voter to the booth (or downtown to the court to see a judge if the signatures didn’t match and the voter still wanted to vote). The voter got in the booth, pulled the big lever to the right and the curtain closed. The voter toggled the small levers on the panel for his/her candidates only. Then the voter pulled the big lever to the left, which caused the vote to be recorded, the small levers to  reset, and the curtain on the voting machine to open for the next voter.

The only electricity in the voting machine was for the red bulb that lit up to warn others that there was a voter in the booth. The voting machines were only designed to tally the vote and protect the identity of the voter. They had no functions designed for user intervention at all because user intervention was not required to tally the vote and protect the identity of the voter.

Upon closing the doors at 9:00 pm, the policeman used his key to total the counters. The vote totals for each candidate were read and recorded on sheets by the clerks and the assembled poll watchers. There was no record of who you voted for. It was a secret ballot, with a visual signature check by a clerk to see if it was really you. Those older voting machines didn’t record your identity at all. There was no TCP/IP protocol or internet then, so your vote could not have been transmitted to Berlin or Barcelona or automatically duplicated by the thousands or copied down to a thumb drive by a poll clerk.

Poll watchers of the opposing party(ies) were treated with respect and were never prevented from poll watching. Poll clerks were introduced to poll watchers by local party officials (when there were poll watchers). There is no remedy when poll clerks of an opposing party prevent poll watchers from entering their assigned election site. The election is invalid.

Decades later, on Election Day in 2020, I got to my table to vote. A clerk told me to “sign” the small computer display screen, which was now in place of the paper registry. I decided to test the machine and simply scribbled on the screen with my finger. The clerk did not protest. I must assume there was no signature check, therefore no identity verification at all.

When I was young, I read Cheaper by the Dozen, a book about a professional couple: Lillian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Bunker Gilbreth, who were industrial engineers. The following text is taken from the foreword of Cheaper by the Dozen.

They were among the first in the scientific management field and the very first in motion study. From 1910 to 1924, their firm of Gilbreth, Inc. was employed as ‘efficiency experts’ by many of the major industrial plants in the United States, Britain, and Germany. [1]

Cheaper by the Dozen was filled with humorous stories of how the couple applied their profession. Here is a sample:

Yes, at home or on the job, Dad was always the efficiency expert. He buttoned his vest from the bottom up, instead of from the top down, because the bottom-to-top process took him only three seconds, while the top-to bottom took seven. He even used two shaving brushes to lather his face, because he found that by so doing, he could cut seventeen seconds off his shaving time. For a while he tried shaving with two razors, but he finally gave that up. ‘I can save forty-four seconds,’ he grumbled, ‘but I wasted two minutes this morning putting the bandage on my throat.’

It wasn’t the slashed throat that bothered him. It was the two minutes.[2]

If the major industrial plants of the United States, Britain and Germany employed efficiency experts in time and motion study in the pursuit of industrial efficiency, why are our current voting machines designed to provide much more than their necessary and sufficient functions? Why do the designers add extraneous bells and whistles to their machines that compromise the integrity of the vote?

‘All things in nature have a shape,’ [the architect Louis] Sullivan said, ‘that is to say, a form, an outward semblance, that tells us what they are, that distinguishes them from ourselves and from each other.’ That these shapes ‘express the inner life’ of the thing is a law of nature, which should be followed in any organic architecture. [3]

Said simply, form follows function.

[Louis] Sullivan was a mentor to [Frank Lloyd] Wright, his young draftsman, who never forgot Sullivan’s lessons. As he did with Sullivan’s designs, Wright took the words of his lieber meister (“dear master”) and made them his own… Wright wrote: “‘form follows function’ is mere dogma until you realize the higher truth that form and function are one.”[4]

The older voting machines I had used only decades before were designed to reliably tally secret votes. That’s all they were designed for and that’s all they did and that’s all they should have been doing. The voting machines employed in our current elections have assumed a form much more complex than their necessary and sufficient voting functions require. Since my time working an election site, these machines have acquired computerization, duplication, scanning, USB ports for downloading to thumb drives and other USB equipped devices, TCP/IP protocol for internet access and potentially worldwide communications — why?

Until I get a rational answer, this American must conclude that the suspect voting machines in the 2020 election, with their extraneous functions not intrinsic to their sole function of reliably tallying secret votes, were designed for fraud, and successfully and criminally used as a weapon against the American people and their widely maligned champion and certain winner of the 2020 election: President Donald J. Trump.

[1] Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Cheaper by the Dozen, Illustrated by Donald McKay (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1948) Foreword

[2] Ibid., page 2

[3] Jackie Craven, The Meaning of ‘Form Follows Function’ Subtitle: The famous architectural phrase said design should reflect activities, by Jackie Craven, 2019. Retrieved from

[4] Ibid.

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