In today’s world of high technology, electronic voting is a means of voting that utilizes any of the following:
- Punch Cards (they scan these thus they’re considered electronic)
- Optical Scanned Voting Systems
- Direct Recording Electronic Vote Systems or DRE
- Live Transmission of Ballots Via Telephone Or Computer Networks Or Internet
Types of Voting
This is further broken down into two specific means of voting. They are done at a location whereby people go in and vote, or they are done remotely via the Internet without ever entering a polling station.
Unfortunately, there are many insecurities in commercial voting machines. Many of these are due to using a default password. Without proper security, no one’s vote is safe. There have also been cases where the machines have made errors such as keystroke errors that can affect the votes.
Due to these errors, the system is open to examination from both the public and experts. There is great concern about inaccurate votes and the wrong person obtaining an office due to human error or electronic error.
One benefit of electronic voting is that it can greatly speed up the counting of ballots. This, in turn, can reduce the cost of staff that is required to count votes manually. Unfortunately, someone also managed to find an error in this method. There is great concern that it could facilitate electoral fraud that may be missed.
For these reasons, electronic voting has long been criticized as an unnecessary expense and an inaccurate means of voting. Many countries have chosen to forgo electronic voting for this reason and stand by the old-fashioned methods of hand counting.
Having been in place since the 60s, electronic voting is still in use in many areas of the United States. The newer, optical scan systems allow a computer to count their mark on the ballot. DRE machines collect, tabulate the vote, and send it in all from the same machine.
Internet voting systems are rapidly gaining in popularity as an electronic form of voting. They are used in areas such as Estonia, Switzerland and even in some of the municipal elections in Canada. There are also some hybrid systems that are very similar to the DRE machines.
Some will print out the votes and allow the person to verify that this is indeed how they had chosen to vote. A separate machine then tabulates the votes and counts them.
Electronic voting offers up may great advantages to voters including pin numbers that show it’s the right person voting. There are also ways that they can tabulate the results and show trends.
As technology evolves, more people are going to be making various adjustments to electronic voting machines to ensure their accuracy and encourage the public to embrace the electronic era. As more safeguards are put in place, it’s likely that other countries will again embrace electronic voting as a means to tabulate votes when they have elections. Electronic voting is ever evolving just as the technology of today is evolving to better standards.