Views: The U.S. isn’t ready for electronic voting

By Daniel Hernandez

In the past decade, the United States has seen tremendous amounts of technological growth, making virtually everything from grocery shopping to filing taxes easily accessible from your cell phone. 

However, there is one aspect of our lives that technology has not been made more convenient for the American people: Voting.

Americans, for the most part, are used to going to a polling station to cast their vote via pen and paper or with outdated electronic voting booths that are older than most of the Gen Z population.

Isn’t it about time for the United States to upgrade the voting technology? The short answer: No, or at least not yet.

I believe that the country shouldn’t upgrade its voting technology. Although the country has already begun to create new voting technology, America is still not ready to face the problems that electronic voting booths bring to the table.

For example, Los Angeles spent around $300 million for electronic voting booths. At first glance it seemed like the perfect solution to revolutionize voting. The booths were touchscreen, with 13 languages available and audio headsets. There was even an option that allowed you to vote on your phone which in turn created a QR code which can be scanned and allowed the machine to automatically fill out your ballot.

The machines would also print your ballot so you can check for errors and reinsert the ballot when you are satisfied. That paper ballot then gets inserted in a secure box as a safety measure. 

But things didn’t go as planned on Super Tuesday. While there was no sign of foreign interference or hacking, the booths began to malfunction. Many machines began to glitch, tablets that were used to check-in voters had errors within the system, and long lines began to form.

In a polling center where there were 36 new voting booths, only nine were operational. Other centers had fully operational booths, but only had one check-in tablet. Both of these issues caused people to wait over two hours just to vote. 

Long wait times are discouraging to voters young and old. However, the youth vote is already low compared to other age groups. On Super Tuesday, while turnout grew in general, the youth vote actually dropped in numbers. 

2020’s voter turnout is looking to be massive and these long wait times just give the younger generation another excuse to not vote. So for at least this election, I prefer the tried and true method of pen and paper over these new futuristic machines.

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