When talking about electronic voting, voting machines are the undisputed protagonists, as they faithfully represent how technology can facilitate, but also strengthen, the electoral process. These tools are electronic devices capable of recording the votes, so they can be reliably counted.
Currently there are multiple variants of voting machines in the market. The voter may express his or her vote either by an operation of a panel with buttons, marking on paper and then scrutinizing the vote electronically, or by choosing his or her options directly on a touch screen or electronic ballot.
In Venezuela, the selection of the candidate can be done through an electronic ballot system or touch screen, depending on the number of contenders. The voting data is encrypted and stored on fixed and removable memories that are in the machines provided by Smartmatic. They issue a proof of vote and allow secure data transmission to the national aggregation center and finally, the results can be published automatically on the Internet.
An example of the voting machines used in Venezuela are the models SAES-3000, and SAES 3300 and SAES-4000, which record the votes, they allow automated counting, without intervention of any external medium, and transmit election data. The stored data does not include a sequential order. For the machine, the elector is anonymous; there is no way to associate the will of the vote. Moreover, to ensure subsequent audits, they give the opportunity to reprint the paper ballots.
In Brazil the biometric voting machine is used, which allows the identification of voters through fingerprints. Voting equipment, developed under the supervision of the Superior Electoral Tribunal, consist of a scaffold that provides for the automated transmission of results, digital signature and encryption of information. While the machines used in this country do not print the proof of vote, the fact that the machines are activated by biometric authentication is an advantage, as they can ensure one voter, one vote.
In the United States, different voting machines and technologies provided by various companies like ES & S, Hart and Premier are used. They range from optical scanners with which the voter must complete the ballot paper and then pass through a scanner that reads his or her selection, to the most advanced machines touch screens that allow printing of receipt and record electronically the vote. There are other machines that to be activated, voters need to introduce a smart card (similar to a credit card equipped with a chip) and then vote. The selections are recorded in the internal electronic memory, but with no paper impression of the vote.
Although in many elections the screen of a voting machine can be enough to complete the process, there are elections where the need to choose various candidates forced the use of a ballot. These instruments are used to list the options or candidates, but for a long time it was only a paper tool on which voters stated their will, and then were placed in an urn. In the last decade, since 2004 exactly, where it was first used in a national election (just in Venezuela), electronic ballots have been booming since they work in conjunction with the voting machine and are configured according to the electoral requirements, or as scheduled by the EMB. It is also a great way to bring automation to the idiosyncrasies of the voter.
The Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico started research to implement an electronic voting system in several states of the country, including Chiapas. In November 2010 they submitted the electronic ballot in several locations. This ballot must be connected to the electrical current or in default to a battery; it has four options that can be selected by the voter by pressing on their choice, casting a small paper ballot that falls automatically into a transparent ballot box.