VOTING MACHINE-- here, Sequoia Voting Systems's AVC Edge--is fairly typical of direct record electronic (DRE) voting machines on the market. Voters enter their votes via a touch-screen interface. Image: COURTESY OF SEQUOIA VOTING SYSTEMS
Voting may seem like a simple activity--cast ballots, then count them. Complexity arises, however, because voters must be registered and votes must be recorded in secrecy, transferred securely and counted accurately. We vote rarely, so the procedure never becomes a well-practiced routine. One race between two candidates is easy. Half a dozen races, each between several candidates, and ballot measures besides--that's harder. This complex process is so vital to our democracy that problems with it are as noteworthy as engineering faults in a nuclear power plant.
Votes can be lost at every stage of the process. The infamous 2000 U.S. presidential election dramatized some very basic, yet systemic, flaws concerning who got to vote and how the votes were counted. An estimated four million to six
This article was originally published with the title Fixing the Vote.