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Position Paper

I firmly believe that the US should create a uniform national system for elections to national office, including voter qualifications and registration, and the machinery of voting. This is very debatable topic and i will explain why we need a uniform national system, to what extent we need voter qualifications and registration, who and how should operate the polls, and what the medium for voting should be.

The first thing i would like to talk about is why we need a uniform national system for elections. The first thing you need to think about when trying to change the current standards is who or whom has set these standards to begin with. The devolopment and revisions of voting standards are done by the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC). This is the group that ultimately gets to decide what gets put into the standards for voting. These voting standards must be reliable because this helps State and local election officials ensure that the voting systems they buy, and that the public vote on, work accurately and reliably. We need a national system for our country to feel completly secure if they are going to be voting by machine. If some people are voting by paper ballot and some people are voting by machine, there are just so many ways that someone in power could cheat the system. When voting by paper ballot, most of the time the people who are running the polls are volunteers. They are there without getting paid, so they could be great citizens or they could have other motives. How hard would it be for a volunteer to tamper with votes. Imagine if I lived in a mostly Democratic county that was going to be the deciding factor in the State that was going to be the deciding factor in the electoral college for the Presidency. So basically, whoever wins this county is going to win the election. Not a very likely scenario, but not out of the question either. So if I am a diehard Republican and a volunteer, and i wanted the Republicans to lose, I could volunteer and tamper with the votes to get the outcome I wanted. If all elections were done by computer, it would be much harder to alter the votes. This is why we need a uniform national system for elections. Currently 37 States have adopted the national standards set forth by the U.S. Federal Election Commission, or require testing against the standards before a system can be used.

Voter qualifications have seen many changes over the years. As we all know the 15th Amendment tells us that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." So you cannot be told that you are not allowed to vote just because you are black or a women. The only voter restrictions other than that are you must be 18 and you must meet the residency requirements of your state. I do not believe that any other changes are neccasary at this time.

The only way for your voice to be heard in an election is to vote. There are many ways to vote, but i will describe the top five. A Paper ballot system employs uniform official ballots of various stock weight on which the names of all candidates and issues are printed. Voters record their choices, in private, by marking the boxes next to the candidate or issue choice they select and drop the voted ballot in a sealed ballot box. This is the earliest way to vote. On mechanical lever voting machines, the name of each candidate or ballot issue choice is assigned a particular lever in a rectangular array of levers on the front of the machine. A set of printed strips visible to the voters identifies the lever assignment for each candidate and issue choice. The levers are horizontal in their unvoted positions. You simply have to pull the lever that corresponds with your choice. The Punchcard system employs a card (or cards) and a small clipboard-sized device for recording votes. Voters punch holes in the cards (with a supplied punch device) opposite their candidate or ballot issue choice. After voting, the voter may place the ballot in a ballot box, or the ballot may be fed into a computer vote tabulating device at the precinct. Feeding these punchcards into computers was how the scandal in Florica came about. The Marksense system should be fairly familiar to all of us here at Georgia Tech. On a piece of paper there is a list of names and next to the names there is a corresponding oval or box. To vote, simply darken in the oval or box that correspondes to the person next to it. The most recent voting type is the Direct Recording Election system. Voters see all possible choices on a screen and are prompted to touch the item that they want to vote for. Most of these DRE's are touch screens. Others use keyboards or some other kind of input device.

We have made many strides in our ongoing effort to keep our America a fair and free one. The 15th amendment is seen as one of the most important civil rights movements of all time. I believe that these standards for voting are just as important if we want to keep a strong unified national government. Just as the framers of the Constitution left some things to interpretation for the government, these standards also need not be set in stone. Our world is changing all around us, and if we don't change with, including the way we vote, we will be left behind.

The best method to use is by far the Direct Recording Election system. This is the most fool proof method and also the safest. As long as we can keep the hackers out of the system and keep our safety software one step ahead of them, we will be able to use this system for a very long time.


I think you make some very good points in your paper, but you might want to make it more assertive and formal. For example, when you create the scenario donít say that itís unlikely. Also maybe pick which voting system you think is the best for the country to use. You could even go into detail why the others are not acceptable to prove that the one you pick is right. I think you could. I think that if you want to make it longer, you could explain some of the states who have adopted uniform voting systems that have been successful, and that would really prove your point. I think your paragraph on voter qualifications is good because you provide a piece of evidence and then explain and make a case off of it. Also your concluding paragraph is very good at providing a final reason to reform the voting system in our country. Overall this is a good and just needs a little refinement.

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