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Voting process should be uniform across US

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 04:11

Each state has implemented its own remedies to assure elections run as smoothly as possible, especially after Florida’s “hanging chad” fiasco in 2000. As the political climate gets more heated, the stretch toward undeniable election legitimacy just adds to the turmoil that is American politics.

While it is impossible to assume any one system can eliminate all voting problems, there should be a universal method that all Americans use to vote — one with physical, recountable evidence.

America claims to be at the forefront of democracy but inevitably faces a voting controversy in some part of the country every election. It has come to a point where election mishaps are as American as apple pie. Whether it is long lines at polling stations or broken polling machines, the problems we face during elections make it seem like America has not been voting every two years for more than 200 years.

CNN reported yesterday that a touch-screen voting machine in Pennsylvania was registering votes intended for Barack Obama as votes for Mitt Romney. According to NPR, the machine was later shut down. Conversely, in Pueblo, Colo., touch-screen votes for Romney were registering as votes for Obama. North Carolina faced similar problems, when voters’ choices on screen showed up incorrectly.

According to VerifiedVoting.org, about 25 percent of the U.S. voted in 2012 with no voter-verified paper trail, making recounts and audits more difficult.

The lack of consistency across the U.S. works well for some policies — such as immigration, which affects states differently — yet the fundamentally democratic process of voting should be treated the same across the country. There is a need to assess successful voting days in states across the U.S. to determine which tactics are successful and which cause problems.

The sad thing is that, according to the Federal Election Commission, the Republican and Democratic Committees raised more than $1 billion
collectively, of which they spent all but $100 million. That does not take into account the $661 million accumulated by registered political action committees that actually report their earnings. America clearly spends an abundance of money in politics, yet it is spent on influencing the election instead of ensuring accuracy of the results.

It is a part of American pride that we cherish our right to vote — and rightfully so. The process is a daunting one, to say the least. But the experiences of previous elections should serve as lessons, which teach us to put our resources to better use so future elections can run more effectively.

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