The Florida Electronic Voting System

Published 29 Jul 2016

The election is an important process in a representative democracy. It allows the general public to choose which among the candidates will represent them either in Senate, House of Representatives or it decides who will sit in the White House as the next president. It is the only process that will determine who is perceived by the general populace as the best candidate for a public office. It is therefore very important that its integrity is ensured. It is also essential that the votes be immediately counted and the results are announced the soonest time possible to avoid any controversy.

There are several standards in determining whether a voting system ensures the integrity of the election. These are

  • a) the anonymity of the voters must be preserved;
  • b) the voting system used must be tamper-resistant, and
  • c) the entire voting system including the manner of choosing the candidates and reflecting this choice in the ballot must be comprehensible to the voter regardless of their age or disability. Any flaws and questions in any of these aspects will seriously affect the integrity of the elections.

In view of the problems of 2000 election in Florida, different states which have previously used punch cards and mechanical voting systems have made efforts to modernize the election process using the electronic voting system. The idea is to get rid of the papers used in punch-cards so that votes will be immediately counted and the results announced immediately.

An analysis however of the Florida Electronic Voting System reveals that this system despite its advantages fails in measuring up to certain standards of a good voting system. It is acknowledged that electronic voting systems have removed the hassles of paper-based elections we previously had. There are however concerns about the software program that runs the voting system which computer experts say is questionable and can be manipulated and hacked from outside. Research also shows that the lack of paper –trail may prove disastrous in case the result of elections is so close that it is necessary to do a recount. This paper aims to prove that though it is the aim of every state to modernize election process, some states are not ready for the immediate change. It will be better before a complete change is implemented to study the computer programs so that additional safety features will be added in the software so as to make it hacker-free. Additional features must be installed so that in case the machine breaks down or in the case of disputes the election results can still be verified.

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