Archive for January, 2003

Electronic Voting

Sunday, January 5th, 2003 Michael Barr

Many people take the position that electronic voting is less trustworthy than paper-based balloting. Without dismissing their concerns, I think we should also consider some of the positives that electronic voting may bring. Having moved this fall, I had the unlikely experience of using a shiny new touch screen electronic voting machine during the primary, then going back to a paper ballot during the general election. Traveling backward in technology like this gave me lots to think about.

Some of the really nice things about the touch-screen system are the ease with which a voter can change his mind or correct a mistake, and the virtual certainty that you’ve cast all the votes you are allowed and that they’ve been properly read. Misvotes, undervotes, and overvotes are all possible with optical scanners and other paper-based systems, since the ballot readers don’t give the voter any feedback. However, electronic touchscreen voting eliminates these issues.