The Problems with Voting in America Essay

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The Problems with Voting in America

If one were to look at the voting history as of late in America you would surely find information on the Florida catastrophe in 2000. The problem with our voting system today is in the technology being used; many demographic groups find our current systems confusing and hard to use. As voters step into the polling places this election year many will be voting through new devices some even sporting “touch screen” technology and we can only hope that the new technology is understood and accepted.

In the US each municipality selects their own voting equipment regardless of what other places are doing. According to this CPSR article the Vote-O-Matic system has been in place for over ten years in
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Chads are perforated and held onto by 3 spots, but often only 1 or 2 of these spots comes undone cleanly which is known as a hanging chad. This analog manner of literally “punching” votes can be very ambiguous when read by a machine. Erik Nilsson calls these machines antiques and rightfully so, these machines have no place in polling places.

In 2000 Riverside County California decided to spend 14 million dollars to make their voting system all electronic. This decision was made on the basis that in 1998 more than one million dollars was spent on paper ballots (in Riverside), but when only half of the county voted the extras had to be trashed. For local elections their new electronic system fetched a 99% approval rating from voters (Wired.com article). The only foreseeable downside to this technology is the start up price and with internet voting not likely due to security issues, this maybe the best solution.

Can our government trust a company enough to allow them to make our voting machines? The answer is no. The only way electronic “touch screen” voting will eliminate all other methods is to have a way to be audited. PBS states in this article that an ATM company called Diebold has their eyes on making a sufficient voting machine, but with ATMs always printing a receipt it’s likely that receipt technology will find its way into voting. While I do believe that our future voting machines will have to be
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