Issue 3 Rough Draft
In modern times, the struggle for freedom and independence in the world has been something that the peoples of many nations have lived and died for. The government of the United States, though based on principles of democracy and freedom, is a republic; it is a government in which the citizens elect one of their constituents to represent them, so that the person elected can accurately represent the will of the citizens who put the person in office. More recently, however, there has been wide dispute as to what methods should be used to elect people to varying government offices. There have been many methods proposed, including the utilization of electronic voting and the continued use of paper ballots. Despite heated arguments and debates over which system(s) may be considered the “best” for the purpose of voting, and thus, representing the citizens of the U.S., there are problems still present in regards to social and political issues.
Socially, there are many pros and cons to establishing a single, uniform system of voting in the U.S., namely the adoption of an electronic national system for elections. To even begin the establishment of a single, uniform system of elections through electronic means would constitute having to revamp every voting system in all 50 states in America. Add to that, each individual precinct in each state would have to install and learn to use the new technology and learn the procedures associated with the new technology, should it fail or simply confuse the voter in question. In the year 2000, there was much controversy over the validity of paper ballots that were counted incorrectly, were unable to be counted as a result of “dimpled chads” or “hanging chads,” or in other words, ballots that were voted on, but were unreadable or simply not marked as indicated. Electronic voting would eliminate any discrepancies between who the voter actually voted on and the actual vote that the computers and databases receive. As with the most recent elections in the state of Georgia, electronic voting was utilized throughout the entire state, in all voting precincts. One of the significant social advantages to this was the fact that the voting booth clearly spelled out how to use the machine, how the machine counted your vote(s) and what the voter could do, should there be any problems with either the machine or the process of actually voting for the candidates for each office. This electronic voting system resulted in much less confusion on the behalves of both the voters and the counters of the ballots, which resulted in a more accurate and more exact counting of the ballots collected in each voting precinct.
Politically, the employment of an all-electronic voting system would lead to fewer disputes over whether or not a certain precinct in a certain state counted ballots incorrectly and would also decrease the time for precincts to report the numbers for the number of votes for each candidate. Presidential and state elections alike would be less likely to have instances of voter fraud and confused ballots, as well as represent the people in a manner that would benefit both those electing the candidates and those being elected.
Technologically, there are still many advantages and disadvantages that hinder the progress and implementation of electronic voting systems. On the one hand, many critics and naysayers of the use of purely electronic voting systems claim that these systems are extremely susceptible to fraud, as well as more modern dangers, such as hackers and general miscommunication between databases and the actual voting machines. At the same time, however, there are many advantages that outweigh the disadvantages of electronic voting. One of the most obvious advantages would be the utilization of new technology to reach more voters and thus increase the margin of error, should there be any fault in either the machines or databases. Nor would there be misrepresentation or lack thereof, as electronic and even Internet voting would be accessible from the comfort and safety of one’s own home. Though several of these technologies are being employed, widespread use and acceptance of such technologies has not yet taken hold during more recent elections on both local and national levels. For the most part, however, paper ballots are being used to vote for candidates, and these ballots are being hand counted by poll workers; this use of manual labor leads to the increased risk of careless errors and miscounted votes.
Socially, politically, and technologically, the acceptance and implementation of electronic voting systems as a national and uniform system for voting in the United States would drastically improve the democratic process as a whole. However, regardless of the method used to vote for elected officials in the U.S., one fact remains: a uniform system for voting must be implemented in the near future in order to reassure the nation that the democratic process still holds and that citizens are given the best representation for an ever-changing and ever-shifting political, social, and technological era.