As American continues in efforts to give the people of the world more freedom and bring an end to unjust regimes it can no longer afford to lag behind in its own election processes. The voting fiascoes of the last two election where catastrophic in appearance for a national process that was being watched by the rest of the world. If America doesn’t have a system in place to assure a fast and accurate outcome of an election, how can we expect other countries to listen when imitate our process in a much more volatile setting? The need to show elections can be fair and non controversial is why we need to update our national system into one that is easy to use, accurate, and timely.
The people, of countries like Iraq, need to know that the system of government they have or are getting will be one that will last in their country and be a fair and just government. It is essential to show that in our government the people do have an influence over it and that different parties can co-exist and change power without acts of violence and bloodshed. If we wish to liberate people in other countries it is our responsibility to assure them that they do not fall into a situation that is worse than they are currently in. If we cannot demonstrate the process without error then we face the possibilities of groups becoming aggressive and resistant to adopting our form of government. Our current foreign policies mandate that we take a long look at our national election process and fix the deficiencies thereof.
The first obstacle is making a new system that is easy to use. It has to be easy to operate and to vote. The difficulty of the system will ultimately be used to grade the system on how it works. A system that takes a lot of time to train personnel to use will likely be too complex to implement and will likely fail to met all of the demands the system will have. Moving to a standardized computerized system will allow for programs to be developed to help bring people and areas up to speed. The system would also have to be very user-friendly so all voters regardless of knowledge or ability. There should be extensive research done to ensure that less fortunate voters have an equal say in the elections to voice their opinions.
The system must also increase the accuracy of the current system. Anytime you look at a system and try to correct problems you will ultimate be looking to reduce errors in the system. Moving to a standardized system it will eliminate the confusion of everyone having their own system. It will be easier to identify areas that need to be looked at and may need improvement with a standardized system. The ability to more effectively review the system will inherently make the system more accurate. A computerized system will also help to eliminate any human error that may be going on with the current system. A computerized system will also be able to eliminate situations like the on in Dade county Florida in the 2000 elections. A situation arose about the legitimacy of the votes because they were improperly counted and said to be confusing and hard to understand. A computerized system would be much harder to tamper with the votes. With properly trained personnel around the voting area a computerized system will also help to lessen the confusion of anyone uncomfortable voting on a computerized system.
Timeliness of the election results is also starting to be an issue with the current system. Something needs to be done to either start the military and absentee voting sooner or to give them an overhaul as well. While the number of people voting absentee and from the military has increased drastically over the last few elections the current system has done nothing to respond to the new demands except for taking longer and longer to tabulate all of the ballots.
The biggest objection to a national system is that the federal government has no jurisdiction to tell the states how they have to have elections. A federal system will be seem as an infringement of states rights and will no doubt be the central argument in many debates. The precedent has certainly been set that the ability to regulate and organize voting has been left up to the states. The problem with this precedent is that some states have not been responsive to the new demands on national elections. If the States had been able to adapt to the new demands a standardized federal system might not have been necessary. The constitutional provision to do what is “necessary and proper” to run the government effectively gives the federal government the jurisdiction to set a standard of both equipment and protocol in national elections. The federal government does not have the right to tell states how to run their instate elections but it does have the right to set a standard for national elections. Because the states have let their own standards slip it is necessary for the federal government to overhaul the system and put something in place that will let the elections function in an effective and proper way.
Security issues also pose a point of contention. Where a computerized system would increase the accuracy over a ballot punching it is also susceptible to other electronic forms of error. The two major areas to worry about here are hackers and system glitches. If a hacker were able to get into the federal system they could possibly change the outcome of elections. While hackers are a constant consideration for any computerizes security system there are also several ways to help ensure that the system works properly without taking large amounts of time to inspect the whole system. With the ability to protect against hacking there is no reason to let fear impede the progress that can be made, especially if in design you incorporate safeguards against such dangers. The second computer problem arises from the fact that sometimes machines fail to function properly or work correctly, known as glitches. These unexpected glitches in the system are problematic because their nature is to arise without warning or reason. If a glitch were to occur on the day of the election it could possible wipe out votes cast and put a large delay in the rest of the voting process. Where again we have reasonable cause for concern it should not be looked at as a problem we cannot overcome. Some solutions to combating glitches include saving the results in regular intervals, making a paper backup of votes as they are cast as to not lose any, and making sure the system is sufficiently overpowered for the upcoming events.
Because we must adapt to the times and continue to be an example of a strong democratic process the US needs to create a uniform national system for elections to national office, this system should be an easy to use, accurate, and timely system. More than likely it will need to be a largely computerized system designed where it can be set up easily and has a very user-friendly interface. As the United States tires to spread the benefits of democracy to other people we can no longer afford to let our own election process to lag behind the times and have so many inconsistencies that can be seen on a national level. If we aspire to bring others into the same form of government we must make strives to continue to improve our own government so we can give others the best possible systems and forms of government available.
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