Electronic voting sparks controversy

Oct. 27, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 2 months ago

Security and recounts are major concerns for voters

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The Washington Post article "Electronic Voting Raises New Issues" by Dan Keating on Oct. 25, 2004.

This year, one third of all voters will use electronic voting systems to cast their ballots, causing critics of the system to voice the concerns about software reliability, its ability to recount votes and the competency of local election administrators to handle the technology, according to The Washington Post.

Critics argue that a software error could distort results because machines do not keep hard copies of votes. However, local election officials dismiss their fears, claiming that electronic voting will benefit voters by eliminating the possibility of the hanging chad (problems with the punches in the ballots).

Twenty-eight states, including Maryland, will employ electronic voting; many are doing so because of the problems with the Florida ballots in the last election, according to The Washington Post. The touch screens on the machines will not allow voters to chose more than one candidate or leave stray marks that invalidate the ballots.

However, after many complaints, California, Maryland and Ohio conducted investigations of voting machines and discovered software problems, security loopholes and uncertified software. According to The Washington Post, these investigations convinced Ohio to discontinue their plan to use electronic voting machines. Maryland and California chose to implement better security measures.

According to The Washington Post, critics of electronic voting also claim that untrained volunteer poll workers may shift election results, especially if the election is a close race. Doug Chapin, the director of Electionline.org, believes that the switch to electronic voting will probably contribute to mistakes. "Change breeds uncertainty, and that is always fertile ground for error," he said.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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