Tech & society

Why should you vote on paper?

Paper ballots are the most transparent and secure voting system. Some computerized voting devices are black boxes: with no paper output, you have to trust that your choices are the ones the system recorded.

A foreign nation-state targeted our 2016 elections. In late 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified 21 states that they had been targeted by hackers during the 2016 election.

As we head into the final days of the 2018 election, the technology that supports the elections ecosystem is, in many states, tattered and ragged.

Congress passed the Help American Vote Act in 2002, kickstarting a wave of technological change in how voters cast their ballots. Early systems were 100 percent digital: no paper (fixed media) to recount or to compare with machine results for audit trails.

Today, 42 states employ electronic voting machines that use software which is at least a decade-old. For an idea of how much technology has changed in a decade, Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. Apple has considered that original phone “obsolete” since 2013.

As if that were not scary enough, five states still rely solely on electronic voting machines that provide no paper trail.

Those five states: Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina.

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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