The multiplicity of electronic vote in the United States

Unlike Latin American countries, where the governing body of an election, states and applies the system stated by the Law to hold an election in a country, in the United States the decision is in the hands of local authorities (counties), with which are over 3140 different electoral mechanisms are deployed.

In the November elections, the American nation patented the use of new voting technologies. Touch screens, but with no paper record of the votes, and paper ballots and optical scanners for counting, replaced in many states the old punch card systems. In the year 2000 these systems where challenged after being used for decades, for the errors made on the identification and counting processes.

To have a better understanding of the electronic voting versions used by the US, the Verified Voting Foundation has stated that the country uses several variants of at least three computerized voting procedures.

The system used by 66.74% of the almost 181 million voters in the country, is a mixed scheme, as it contains traditional paper ballots that must be marked by each voter, but are counted with technological devices. There are two ways to accomplish the counting process, one is when the ballot is carried by the same voter to a scanner that tabulates the votes at the polling place, and is used by 37.38% of the country. In other cases, the ballot is placed in an urn which is then transported to a counting center. The screening device identifies the marks made by voters on the cards and records the votes accordingly. There are also locations where the sum is done manually.

The second method of electronic voting is represented by the so-called Direct Recording Electronic (DRE), which is used by 33.22% of voters. It is a touch-screen machine on which voters mark their ballots directly. This systems have at least three variants: the first is the equipment that prints a paper record of the vote, representing just 8.13% of the voting population, and the ones that do not allow the issue of proof which amounts to 24.90% of the electorate .There is also a third type, which supports printing or not, but its use is determined by the authorities and represents only 0.19% of voters.

The third possibility of electronic voting is nearly eradicated. It is the much criticized punch-card scheme, which is still used in very few areas. It represents only 0.04% of the voters.

These three systems and their variants are applied simultaneously in the United States. Although advances have meant big changes, especially in 2010, pressure groups and political movements still insist that the technology needs improvement, as “dark areas” remain that could light up, if for example the use of equipment that enables the issuance of receipt or proof of their vote is formalized, so that each voter could verify that the candidates they have voted for on the screen is the same as was the one recorded in the machine’s memory. This and other issues of electoral guarantees will continue to be discussed and claimed for, because voting technology still has much to offer to the U.S.



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