Pros & Cons of Electronic Voting

Cons of Electronic Voting

As a country we have progressed so much in many different ways, but the most obvious has been our technological advances, and they are everywhere! But many Americans are uneasy about just how much technology is in control of many things, like voting. Many of our votes are left in the hands machines and some people argue there is too much room for error there.  “A recent New York Times editorial described the voting machine industry as ‘broken’” (Azurin, 2009). This system has been seen as so called “broken” due to the many possibilities of viruses that can damage the hard drive.  “New reports covering other recent elections describe lost and uncounted votes, failed voting machines, sloppy administrative procedures, technologically handicapped election officials, and lack of security for equipment” (Bederson, 2008, p. 2). This proves that though many Americans disagree with this new progressive equipment, they aren’t alone and they have support from the media. One of the major issues that has been a constant problem with the new system is that of time. The accurate counting of the results at a reasonable pace is one of the top priorities for a voting system and yet it’s lacking with the electronic systems. “In recent years, after electronic voting machines replaced mechanical machines, it often is past midnight before final results are reported” (Troy, 2009). The results with the new machines should be calculated rather quickly but instead it’s taking longer. “Many political veterans recall getting complete election results well before 11pm newscasts” with the past voting systems (Troy, 2009). It takes up to two days for all the votes to be counted and if it’s taking too long they may not even be recounted. Since the elections are based on the over-all percentages of the candidates that were voted for, it’s possible without time for recounts; the wrong person could be elected President. One of the other major cons with the electronic voting system is that of security, and the fact that this new way of voting isn’t 100% secure. There is no grantee e-transactions are completely protected and with that, votes are at risk. Since there is a possibility for hackers to get into the system and change vote counts many people are skeptical. The maker of the voting machine, Diebold, was under fire and it was said that they “maliciously installed software that caused its machines to miscount votes” (Azurin, 2009). Because this has already happened with one company Americans are very weary about the legitimacy of other companies that want to create the voting systems.


Pros of Electronic Voting

It’s only natural moving forward in our generation that everything becomes more technological, because after all our advancements in technology have been great.

There are many benefits to electronic voting, like it being easier and more accessible to the disabled with the touch screens. The touch screens provide disabled people with hearing imparities, blindness and other disabilities the ability to cast their votes without the assistance of someone else or having to tell someone whom they wish to vote for. This system also provides alternate language options as well to accommodate non- English speakers (HR, 2004, p. 15). This is a very big plus seeing as though America is a melting pot and many US citizens speak languages other than English. Another pro to electronic voting is its simplicity, many people seem to think it’s much easier, “most voters…seemed to cope well with electronic voting” (Grace, 2009).  It’s great to have people adjusting to technology as it progresses because we have already started incorporating it more and more into our everyday lives. The storage of the votes in a system like this is also much more feasible, then let’s say paper ballots. These votes are typically stored on smart cards, which make them more portable and easier to count especially if a recount is needed (HR, 2004, P.15). The smart card usage is also a feature that enables a more secure system that is less susceptible to hackers. Finally, this system proves to reduce the possibility of error on the part of the voter due to the fact that it catches mistakes before allowing the vote to be placed. “Voters can fix their mistakes before leaving the polling place or if voters are unwilling or unable to correct their ballots, a poll worker can manually override the program and accept the ballot” (HR, 2004, p. 13).

YouTube Video

1.) Azurin, R. B. (2009). “Strategic Perspective.” Business World. Retrieved, 29 September 2011, from ProQuest Asian Business and Reference. DOI: 1861152761.

2.) Bederson, B. B., Conrad, F. C., Hammer, M. J., Hernson, P. S., Niemi, R. G., & Traugott, M. W. (2008). Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. September 2009, from International Module. DOI: 1860742831

3.) Grace, T. (September 2009). “Machine Transition Mostly ‘Easy’”. McCatchy- Tribune Busines News. Retieved 29, September 2011, from ABI/INFORM Dateline. DOI: 1859952151

4.) HR. Rep. NO. GAO-04-766T. (2004).

5.) Troy, T. (September 2009). “Glitch in Database Delays Vote Count By 90 Minutes.” McClathy- Tribune Business News. Retrieved 29, September 2011, from ABI/INFORM Dateline. DOI: 1861080331.