Senior column: The solution to election integrity is simple

Last week, Americans raced to enter their votes for the Iowa Caucuses, and many reacted to the confusion that ensued when it came to tallying votes electronically.

Photo via Lorie Shaull – Flickr

On Feb. 11, everyone submitted their ballots for the New Hampshire primary the old-fashioned way – via paper and pencil. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, ensured they wanted to keep it secure and simple to eliminate the potential of a hack.

A software-independent election, via paper, creates evidence to figure out votes especially in the situation of Iowa. When an electronic voting system, many praised the positives of reducing wait times at voting centers but, as we recently witnessed, it can come with ill effects.

During the 2016 election, the Brennan Center for Justice estimated that about 20% of Americans voted without leaving any voter-verified paper ballot. A more significant statistic, analyzed by the Washington Post, found that a minuscule 0.09% of votes decided the winner of that year’s presidential election.

As many more states will fill in their ballots for the Democratic primaries, they will encounter the use of old voting machines. Even during 2016, states reported difficulties with casting their vote. Many of the machines used today were first introduced at the turn of the 21st century but their Microsoft operating systems, Windows XP, have not been supported since 2014.

To maximize objectivity and to rid the country of uncertainty, America should look back to an old method of voting. In the very first election count, Iowa encountered problems that many dealt with four years ago.

In the age of digital evolution and constant adaptation to the established model, not every change can be beneficial. When it comes to something as significant as a presidential election – which is months away – security and accuracy are paramount.

Evando Thompson is a senior journalism major and German minor from Atlanta, Ga. He can be reached at evando.thompson@student.shu.edu.

Author: Evando Thompson

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