Critics say that current voting systems used in United States are inefficient and often lead to the inaccurate counting of votes. Miscounts can be especially damaging if an election is closely contested. Those critics would like the traditional systems to be replaced with far more efficient and trustworthy computerized voting systems.
In traditional voting, one major source of inaccuracy is that people accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. Voters usually have to find the name of their candidate on a large sheet of paper containing many names on the ballot and make a small mark next to that name. People with poor eyesight can easily make the wrong name. The computerized voting machines have an easy-to-use touch-screen technology: to cast a vote, a voter needs only to touch the candidate’s name on the screen to record a vote for that candidate; voters can even have the computer to magnify the name for easier viewing.
Another major problem with old voting systems is that they rely heavily on people to count the votes. Officials must often count up the votes one by one, going through every ballot and recording the vote. Since they have to deal with thousands of ballots, it is almost inevitable that they will make mistakes. If an error is detected, a long and expensive recount has to take place. In contrast, computerized systems remove the possibility of human error, since all the vote counting is done quickly and automatically by the computers.
Finally some people say it is too risky to implement complicated voting technology nationwide. But without giving it a thought, governments and individuals alike trust other complex computer technology every day to be perfectly accurate in banking transactions as well as in the communication of highly sensitive information.
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While traditional voting systems have some problems, it’s doubtful that computerized voting will make the situation any better.
Computerized voting may seem easy for people who are used to computers. But what about people who aren’t? People who can’t afford computers？People who don’t use them on a regular basis. These people will have trouble using computerized voting machines. These voters can easily cast the wrong vote or be discouraged from voting on together because of fear of technology.
Furthermore, it’s true that humans make mistakes when they count up ballots by hand. But are we sure that computers will do a better job? After all, computers are programmed by humans. So human error can show up in mistakes in the programs. And the errors caused by these defective programs maybe far more serious. The worst a human official can do is a miss of a few ballots. But an error in a computer program can result in thousands of votes being miss-counted or even permanently removed from the record. And in many voting systems there is no physical record of the votes. So a computer recount in the case of suspected error is impossible.
As for our trust of computer technology for banking and communications, remember one thing: these systems are used daily and they are used heavily. They didn’t work flawlessly when they were first introduced. They had to be improved on and improved on until they got as reliable as they are today. But voting happens only once every two years nationally in the United Sates，and not much more than twice a year in many local areas. This is hardly sufficient for us to develop confidence that computerized voting can be fully trusted.
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