In order for the United States to avoid another Constitutional crisis due to the failure of voting technology it must address the weaknesses of paperless direct recording electronic (“DRE”) voting machines. Many policymakers hold the belief that the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”) would save the nation from the threat of another election-sponsored Constitutional crisis because it would, among other objectives, replace outdated voting machines with new electronic voting technology. This belief was disproved a number of times during the 2002 and 2004 primary and general election seasons. As it was revealed by the Carteret County, North Carolina November 2, 2004 election, where over 4,000 votes were not recorded by the Unilect Corporation’s Patriot voting system, a paperless direct DRE voting machine used in that county. The problem with the Unilect Patriot voting system led to a protracted contest of the results of that state’s Agriculture Commissioner’s election. HAVA’s stated goal was to prevent another Florida 2000 Presidential election, which held the nation in limbo regarding who would be the next President of the United States, due to a number of factors, including faulty voting machines. It is important to note that some lawmakers felt that the success of HAVA was dependent upon funding by Congress. Unfortunately, HAVA was not able to deliver on that promise for two reasons: first, sufficient funding; and second, lack of voting equipment standards. This article explores one aspect of HAVA: the introduction of paperless voting technology for use in public elections and its unintended consequences. The reform of our nation’s election system should not end with the passage of HAVA; it requires a good faith effort on the part of policymakers to aggressively fund the measure establish new voting standards by developing Tough National E-Voting Standards and Security Protocol, improving Voting Technology Standards, improving Election Administration by increasing the pool of Election Day workers, simplifying Ballots and Support Professionalism In Election Administration. Additionally, the adoption of better e-voting security and standards must begin with transparency and accountability. Transparency is needed in a process that uses Safeguard Voter Privacy in order to protect the idea of secret ballot. With these improvements maybe on Election Day, this nation will be able to function as a society of equal rights, where a single vote is treated as important as the majority of votes cast.
Lillie Coney, E-Voting: A Tale of Lost Votes, 23 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 509 (2005)