Importance of Standarized Voting Procedures
In the United States of America, there are currently many different systems of registering votes in elections. There is a movement to largely standardize and modernize these voting systems, but further actions must be taken than are currently provided for.
Currently, the main systems of voting are punchcard ballots, lever-based systems, optical scanning machines, and DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) machines. The punchcard ballots are remembered infamously from the 2000 presidential elections in Florida, where every single ballot had to be examined closely by hand to determine how the voter had voted. There was a bill passed in 2002 called the Help America Vote Act, which mandated that the states had to update their voting systems to a national standard, and provide for a voter registration database that was fully searchable and accessible.
Voting is the strongest symbol of a democracy, as it shows the power that the people over the government. One of the principles that America has come to espouse firmly is that each individual citizen can show his or her opinion in the election process. The fact that every citizen now has the right to vote means that the registration and voting process should be the same for every citizen. If there are differences made in screening possible votes in different states, how reliable is our voting system? Only by establishing a set of standards for the nation can we really truly achieve unilateral voting rights for our citizenry.
These standards should apply to everyone that is eligible to vote, which should be all citizens of the United States that are 18 or older and have not been convicted of a felony. Even felony convictions do not prevent citizens from voting in some states, as they can regain the right to vote after a period of time. However, care should be taken to ensure that when checked the validity of voters that as much racial bias should be removed from the process as possible, to ensure that the process is truly democratic in scope and not biased towards any particular agenda or group.
Another thing that should be given a good deal of attention is the security of measures taken to ensure that the vote is not tampered with. As the nation transitions to using electronic voting devices more heavily, there is a possibility that a skilled hacker could possibly use their influence to change or sway a vote. Thus, there should be systems in place to prevent this happening, by either having a paper trail for each vote, or making each system completely self-contained.
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