As I continued to scan the article I thought to myself, “Our current voting system is broken.”Stuck between paper ballots and other outdated voting systems America’s election infrastructure is lagging behind. Outdated voting machines, complex state laws that have made ID verification difficult, and accusations of voter fraud are not unique to the California primary. With Los Angeles’ County having to manage 4,700 polling locations for almost five million people, there’s bound to be a couple of hiccups. However, the amount of accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression is unusual. Check out our article on the California Primary if you’re curious about these accusations.
Can’t go back to the past – paper ballots
In David Dill’s article in the Stanford news, he believes that paper ballots is the gold standard we should stick to. But in reality, it’s not like we can go back to paper votes either, the amount of work of tabulating and counting the votes will only increase as the United States’ population increases. The commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections during a panel about America’s voting technology crisis states: (46:30 in the video below)
Paper ballots also aren’t cheap. We have localities … Fairfax County, for example, they have scanning equipment and the ballots that they got printed. We are talking close to $100,000 just for ballot printing (…) It’s not realistic to expect hand counting after the election, it’s just an incredible task the amount of people and resources required. As Doug mentioned, it also isn’t just as accurate.
David Dill might be a successful computer scientist, but he would probably be a starving economist. The Country just can’t afford to spend $100,000 per county on 3,143 counties in the United States, that’s over 300 billion dollars per election.
The current systems just aren’t working
Dill also talked about how the voting systems can easily be hacked, and there is truth to the statement. The guardian reported in April 2015 that “Touchscreen voting machines used in numerous elections between 2002 and 2014 used “abcde” and “admin” as passwords and could easily have been hacked from the parking lot outside the polling place, according to a state report.” A computer scientist at tech research group SRI International stated that “The AVS WinVote machines, used in three presidential elections in Virginia, ‘would get an F-minus‘ in security.” With both our current system and past system realistically unusable, what do we do you might ask.
The solution to this problem is end-to-end verifiable online voting. Follow My Vote hopes to be the lead innovator in this new technology. Through cryptographically secure voting, every machine has to be registered to a user who has been verified through a picture and government ID card along with an ID Key. Each user then has the ability to vote only once, but can change their vote until the poll closes. The blockchain technology allows an individual to audit their vote or the entire election if they wanted to.
About the author: David Brock is a Marketing Intern of Follow My Vote.