It’s been 18 years and several thousand lifetimes since the contested Bush-Gore presidential elections of 2000. Yet “hanging chads” are still haunting us — but not in the way you might think. Since states began introducing electronic voting machines and other technology in the voting process, digitizing various aspects of voting has been a boon for democracy in many ways. Online voter registration has supercharged get-out-the-vote efforts. ID scanning at check-ins helps reduce lines. And, of course, ballots submitted digitally allow for near instantaneous returns. But on Tuesday, there were reports in states across the country that problems with electronic voting machines were causing massive delays. “There are about a dozen states in which problems have been reported, specifically with electronic voting systems,” said Marian Schneider, president of the elections integrity organization Verified Voting. “The problems we’re seeing are diffuse. They don’t seem to be systemic. But in the localities that they’re happening, they’re impactful.” … “Our election administration is woefully underfunded,” said Schneider. “When we have problems on election day, you can trace it right back to resources.”
Despite the endemic problem of underfunded elections, experts have agreed on some best practices to safeguard voting. And it is deliciously low-tech. “We have to have the ability to monitor our systems to detect if something has gone wrong, and to respond to it,” Schneider said. “That’s what a paper voting system is for.”
The best practice for voting to ensure a secure and accurate election is with a voter-verified paper ballot. Whether people vote with an electronic machine or with a machine-scannable paper ballot, there needs to be a paper record of the vote (a VVPAT) where voters can read who they voted for.
Paper ballots are secure because they’re not hackable. Having voters verify them ensures their accuracy. And having a physical record on hand means that, in close elections or disputes, there is a dependable master record available. “Sometimes technology has gotten ahead of us,” Schneider said. “We need to leverage what technology brings, but we need to do it in a responsible way, so we can check on it, because whether we like it or not, technology sometimes fails.”
Full Article: Why America is using glitchy electronic voting machines.