The United States before the opportunity to improve its voting systems


The November 8th elections in the US have left a mark not just in the way of the presidential results, where Donald Trump won over Hillary Clinton in electoral votes but not in the popular vote. They can also be the framework for the country to keep evolving on the subject of electoral guarantees.

At the end of the process, the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) published a preliminary report that highlights the civic behaviour of the electorate and also some technical issues that delayed the voting in several counties.

The observation team, who worked in the United States for the first time, stated that “in occasions, the long lines were due to sporadic failures of the voting equipment, like the scanners, or in the case of Colorado, the Statewide Voter Registration System (SCORE), which was down for 20 minutes”.

The organization warned that these technical issues were solved efficiently by following the procedures for eventualities that had been previously adopted; however, other analyses state that many of these problems could be a result of the obsolescence of the machines used in every state of the union, whose respective administration duties lie on each county, meaning several different models are operative.

In the wake of the Voting Day events, these issues did not generate any problems or doubts about the results, however it is important to insist on the need that local authorities have to renew their technology.

Updating the equipment would not only make the voting easier, strengthen security and shield the process, but could also improve one of the weak spots of voting in the USA: the results broadcast on election night are only preliminary, and every state has an average of five weeks to formalize the count.

The situation is that after a week has elapsed there is still not a definitive count, since the early voting is still being counted; early voting takes place two weeks before the election but is counted long after, depending on norms that vary by county or state.

The Untied States has a solid democracy, and the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon made an appeal to keep this spirit alive after the election: “after a disputed electoral campaign that often caused divisions, we should remember and reaffirm that the unity in diversity that characterizes the United States is one of the country’s strengths”.

However, upgrading voting technology will not only make the electorate feel safer, but also show other countries that with the right technology no action can subvert the popular will.

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