We send emails instead of hand-written letters, we buy Kindles instead of books, we use iPads instead of pen and paper—and yet, voting is still mostly left to good old-fashioned paper. Voting technology has essentially remained at a standstill for decades. Still, some things have stayed the same even longer: the same concerns for security and secrecy that have kept paper dominant were also the driving forces behind voting policy in the early years of the United States. … Most states use a combination of electronic and paper technology. Only five states (Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, South Carolina) have paper-free voting and some states (Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) send all constituents a paper ballot in the mail. Even more states use a combination of electronic and paper at polling places. Given how much technology has advanced in recent years, it’s fair to wonder why we continue to vote with paper. However, there are good reasons why the U.S. is hanging on to paper ballots.
Tom Hicks, Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the group responsible for helping states meet standards set out in the Help America Vote Act of 2002, tells TIME that the primary reasons that many states continue to use paper ballots are security and voter preference.
The only real case study involving purely Internet-based voting is Estonia, where independent studies have revealed significant security concerns. A report published in 2014 found that Estonia’s e-voting technology is vulnerable to myriad cyber-attacks, and that malware could easily rig elections. “The Internet was not built for security,” says Pamela Smith of the voting-accuracy advocacy group Verified Voting, “It was built for open communication.”.
And security isn’t the only concern for e-voting. The cost of new voting machines is a recurring obstacle for states looking to upgrade. Each state decides the system and sort of machine they will use, and it’s often the case that options are greatly restricted by budget.
Full Article: How the U.S. Ended Up With Today’s Paper Ballots | TIME.