Final Copy of Posistion Paper, robertoSmith
In the United States the idea of freedom, equality, and choice reign high in the mindset of the American system of government. Democracy and the freedom of choice to elect certain government officials is quintessential to American life. However, in today’s voting system equality, democracy, and choice are being put on hold due to a lacking of fair and systematically inefficient voting locations throughout the United States. These inefficient voting locations hinder the voting system and hurt a powerful nation in almost all aspects. In recent elections (2000), this system has created large outcries and controversy because the opinion of the people has not been correctly identified because of its faultiness. The US should create a uniform national system for elections to national office, including voter qualifications and registration, the operation of polling places, and the machinery of voting (electronic, paper ballot, etc.) Furthermore, the system must be accounted for by the national government and not by the states to ensure equality and equal facilities. However these facilities must meet the individual needs of each voting district to ensure the opinion of the people is upheld and the nation remain strong and unified.
Throughout the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and Alaska there are numerous different methods in which voters vote. An American in any part of the United States could see as many as 5 different methods in which to cast a vote. This simple fact is a key problem to why some citizens are having difficulties with voting. There is a large inconsistency across the nation. Any individual can see at an election paper ballots, mechanical lever machines, punch cards, Optical Scan voting cards, and the direct recording electronic voting method (Johnson 2005). The infamous voting method of the 2000 election involving “hanging chads” are the punch cards. In the 1996 presidential election 37% of the nation used this method. As indicated by the 2000 election, the punch card method seems ineffective and should not be used as part of a national system of voting because of its faults.
The two newest methods involve electronics and show the most promise for the future. Direct Recording Electronic, or DRE systems, operate much like an ATM machine with touch screen capabilities; when the voting is done a ballot is printed and handed in (IGS Library 2005). The DRE system also provides components for multiple languages, audio, and other capabilities which would greatly help voters and allow for a better voting experience. This would be a great method for use nationally in every state because of the many options it allows (IGS Library 2005). Concerns have been raised about the reliability of such voting programs and on the proof that correct ballots were cast but this concerns are small flaws in comparison to the numerous voting methods of the past and the lack of a uniform voting method.
With an establishment of an effective method seeming more possible because of electronics the idea of a national system is more feasible and easier to maintain because of technological advances. Looking toward the future, the problems facing America and the voting process today are not easily solved through a quick solution. While it is clear that methods and changes are needed for future elections, and a uniform national system is a must, the task of creating a foolproof election process has never been accomplished in history.
There are many ways that the problem could be handled, however, each solution involves sums of money likely to be taken away from American taxpayers. With this in mind, there are three keys to creating a solution to the voting problem which must be handled together to attain a system of voting that is fair to all people throughout the United States. The first key have a uniform voting method to vote that is used throughout every district and town in the entire United States and territories. This means that there would not be multiple ways to cast votes at all. Every voting prescient would have the same type of voting machinery, the same method to record the vote results, and the same procedure for maintaining lines and crowds and allowing every individual to vote. To accomplish this task there must be a procedural outline that must be checked by the national government at each district to maintain that every site is up to code. This must be accomplished because in past elections this has been an issue. In Ohio, many have had allegations that the richer more republican districts of society are being provided with the impressive touch screen systems while in the poorer districts there were insufficient amounts of voting machines (Jaffa 2004). This means that the voter turnout was unfairly skewed due to an inability of the minority and poor individuals to vote. These problems could have hindered many of the recent elections on the national level and therefore a system provided to all of society is important. A second key to creating a better voting system is to foolproof the system as much as possible. The system must be strong enough so that no group could tamper with the results or unfairly change the outcome of the election by hacking into an electronic voting system or counting the votes unfairly. A way in which this could be prevented is to have a group that is paid and does not care about the issue to count the votes. Finding individuals like this would be difficult but necessary to provide a fair vote count. Lastly, for a new voting system to be created, large sums of money will need to be raised to bring each district to the same standards. A way to provide this money must be accounted for. Any method for raising money would be controversial and many people would disagree with it because it would be taking money out of pockets of individuals that do not feel the problem is their own. A method must be created to keep all citizens happy and raise the money for such tasks. If these ideas are used, a better voting system should occur and the recent voting problems will be lessened.
The need for a strong and uniform national voting system extends beyond the basic issue of fairness and the American democratic system. The recent activities in Iraq and throughout the world have the international eye on the United States. Earlier this year, congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. commented on this problem and stated, “As we try to spread democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, it might be wise, first, to look in the mirror; to take a serious look at our own house; and to analyze our own democracy, "( Jesse Jackson Jr. 2005). In this speech Jesse Jackson Jr. spoke of the issues and the need for voting to be a national process and not a state right (2005). The necessity of keeping unity and maintaining order while trying to set up order elsewhere has great importance in the social and political standing of the United States. Without order, other countries could look to weakness in the United States and plan activities both in war and elsewhere which could reduce American power tremendously. This alone makes the election process much more important. The government could look to the recent election of a new Catholic Pope for inspiration of a clear concise method for electing a new leader. The method of electing a pope has been used for a long period of time and there is little complaint of faultiness on its part. Although the “election” of the pope does not involve the public vote it is still a democratic process and thus has qualities the American government could look upon for guidance. Overall, in the 2004 election the voting issue subsided somewhat and there seems to be hope for the future. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 is a key in the recent improvement( IGS Library 2005). However, the recent improvement would sustain much more importance and growth with the foundation of a national voting system.
David Johnson, “Election Ballots: Types and History
Paper, lever machines, butterfly, and more.” [web page] 2005;
http://www.factmonster.com/spot/campaign2000ballot.html [Accessed 19 April 2005].
Eric Jaffa, “Ohio Voting Issues and What You Can Do” [web page] 10 November 2004. http://www.moveleft.com/moveleft_essay_2004_11_10_ohio_voting_issues.asp
[accessed April 19, 2005]
IGS Library. "Electronic Voting - Overview and Issues." [web page] December 2004. http://www.igs.berkeley.edu/library/htElectronicVoting2004.html. [Accessed 24 January 2005]
Link to this Page
- robertoSmith last edited on 19 April 2005 at 11:56 pm by robertoSmith