It goes without saying that the success of any democracy rests on free and fair polls. Every time a voter votes for in an election they expect the person they voted for to win the election. Even when their choice is against that of majority they gracefully accept the verdict. The moment people start doubting the results of an election, democracy is lost upon them. While such an incident happening once can create doubts and confusions in the minds of the people but repeated occurrences can make the election process seem complete farce. It is important for those in charge of conducting elections to ensure that they are free and fair and they are protected against technical anomalies when elections are conducted using electronic voting equipment.

United States being the oldest democracy in the modern world has constantly served as an inspiration for countries around the world, many of which have modelled their election process based on what has been practiced in the United States. In this context news reports of voting-machine errors that have propped up in the media in the recent years have raised questions about the whole process of the fairness of voting. The reports stated that the voting machines recently used in Texas had flipped the ballot cast in favour of one candidate to another. This isn’t helping the cause for the political system in the United States and also for the rest of the world which often look up the United States as far as elections are concerned.

The System That Courts Controversy
The controversy with voting is US isn’t new and the 2000 Presidential Election’s stories of malfunctioning of the punch card voting systems is still fresh in the minds of all citizens. The controversy was so much so that there were many who demanded going back to the old days of ballot paper. What all this means is controversy that doesn’t stand well for the democracy. The problem with the malfunctioning of the voting systems has lot to do with the outdated systems that are being used for conducting elections. It may come as a surprise to many but the voting machines being used today are of the early part of the millennia. To put things into perspective we US citizens are still voting on machines that came much before 3G mobile services came into the picture, iPhone was still few years away and Google had just about gained popularity as a search engine.

This sounds unbelievableas the most powerful nation in the world by economy and technologically is yet to embrace state of the art electronic voting equipment that can help in restoring the confidence of the masses in voting. While the world around us have changed the policy makers still want the citizens to vote on systems that is vulnerable to malfunctioning, bogus voting and even being breached to prevent free and fair polling. All this raises doubts both in the minds of the candidates as well as the electorates.

What has become a matter of national concern is that the machines and the technology that have been at the center of recent controversies continue to be in service. Their technological flaws have been well documented and are out in the public domain but those in charge of policy making are yet to accept these genuine concerns and seek course correction. There have been few lawsuits filed but thing don’t just seem to be moving as far as embracing modern Wireless Voting System is concerned. These systems are much more advanced and secure as compared to the traditional electronic voting systems that are being used in elections.

What US Must Do?
Every technology has a shelf life and the current electronic voting equipment being used in the United States has reached the end of its lifecycle. In truer words it has been on life support for the last many years and it is high time that the policy makers realize that continuing with such a system is slowly turning into a threat for the democracy. Some of the recent polls conducted have already made headlines for the wrong reasons and this is something no democracy can afford to live with for a prolonged period.

The need of the hour is to switch over to modern voting machines that are secure and most importantly immune to the kind of malfunctioning that we have seen of later where votes cast in favor of a candidate is flipped over to another. Wireless Voting Systems not only safeguard the interests of the democracy but they open new opportunities for the whole process. These systems allow voters to remotely cast their votes after multi-stage verification. With little over 60% voters having voted in the last election, it is miles to go before we can call ourselves a truly participative democracy.

Summary – In this write-up we discuss about the crisis that has arisen out of voting machine errors in the elections in United States.