There are many controversial topics in this politically correct world. There are topics about morals, standards, and personal ethics. One of the newest debatable subjects however, is the one concerning this new centuries way of casting an individual’s vote, through electronic voting. Electronic voting is a way to cast a person’s ballot using an electronic voting machine that is touch screen. There are many advantages to using these machines during an election but there are also many disadvantages to using them as well.
Before a person can make their own judgments on this subject it is important to understand and view both sides of the argument.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been put forth to upgrade voting systems all around the country, and most of the money going to going to paperless e-voting systems. A study by Election Data Services indicates that 50 million voters, or about 28 percent of the voting population, used such electronic voting systems in 2004. This is about twice as many more than voted electronically in the previous election (Boyle). These numbers are important to understand the experience that this new way of voting has been used. Not even half of the voters have used the machine so before our country changes the system of voting they need to know how this small percentages voting is affected and how accurate and safe it truly is.
Many people, who support the newest electronic voting machines, are people who remember the year 2000 elections. In those elections there were many problems, tons of the paper ballots had not been punched through properly, and so could not be counted. The lack of a clear cut winner made it even more controversial throughout the country. According to the Voter Technology Project six million votes could not be counted because of the errors. Many elderly people reported having had trouble putting the holes in the proper space while voting. Another problem found while voting in that particular election was the voting places made it difficult to cast a persons vote.
There were also numerous rumors going around that poll workers were involved in fraudulent activities to support the candidate of their choice. All of these reports and rumors brought on the idea to start voting electronically and eliminate paper technicalities.
Supporters understand that electronic voting is not flawless but it is still more perfected than the old way of voting on paper. One person believes that electronic voting is the safest way to vote today. No ballots can be misplaced and there is no need for poll workers to help a voter out by looking over the voters shoulder, then making changes where necessary (Voting Technology Project). People are looking to protect their privacy and make sure that there vote is one of the votes that really count.
The problem is that it is not safe to have a paper or receipt type thing printed out for a voter, this type of thing could lead to a wide spread buying of votes by the separate sides. Buying votes is obviously something neither side wants to see happen.
Many groups opposed to electronic voting want a paper print out like a receipt that could be used for recounts. The request does not seem absurd but returning to this paper system introduces some new complications, among them: What happens on Election Day if the printers fail, as printers often do? How do poll workers and voters prevent tampering with the paper ballots? These questions do not have strong enough answers to make companies add printers to the machines. The main reason there is a demand for the electronic voting system is because of the rumors of fraud with the older paper ballots.
The government has passed the Help America Vote Act, after the 2000 elections voting problem occurred.
The act set aside the money to help fund the purchasing of new and improved voting equipment (Voting Technology Project). Some of the major improvements with touch screens or simple dials and buttons also known as the electronic voting system, is that they allowed people with disabilities to vote in private, without an election worker doing it for them, as the paper .