Computer Voting Woes On Election Day

    November 7, 2006

As we all head out to vote on our favorite candidates and issues on this Election Day ’06, a bigger question looms in the minds of many as we recall the well-documented disorder of elections’ past: Will my vote really even count?

Computer Voting Woes On Election Day
How Reliable Is Electronic Voting?

Recent studies have indicated that not only is it more difficult to actually cast a vote in some states due to confusion on exactly what kind identification is required to vote, but there are the very real possibilities of malfunctioning computers and lines so long (due to a shortage of voting machines) that it will frustrate lunch hour voters, causing them to leave without making their choice.

In Election ’04, voters in Ohio waited hours in line because of problems like these, including the inherent technical difficulties’ of electronic voting. Each state has its own way of dealing with these problems of the past, but according to independent studies, most states have not fully addressed the issues. For example, in Ohio, a law was recently passed mandating one machine for every 175 registered voters. But the law does not go into effect until 2013.

Then there are the conspiracy theories running rampant in blogs across the Net, adding further confusion and paranoia to the proceedings. Whether true or false, talk of rigged voting machines, buttons manipulated so that they will actually count for the candidate opposite of the one you want, and computer tampering that could erase the voice of the people in the tap of a keystroke have allegedly soured many on the whole process.

Recently, the PBS television show Down For The Count tested a government-sponsored $3.1 billion dollar investment spread out between states to fix’ computer voting systems and found that “the upgrades were made too fast and the same problems that can declare losers as winners’ still exist.” Rolling Stone magazine (“Will The Next Election Be Hacked?” RS1010) also did a recent expose on electronic touch-screen computer voting systems.

Many have also pondered whether or not the folks manning the ballot booths even know how the new technology works. Most states, however, have recruited younger people to help monitor and oversee the electronic voting processes during the ’06 Elections. It is believed that the younger generation understands the new technologies better and will be able to help ensure that everything runs smoothly and that your computer vote ultimately will count.


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Tim Ritter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.