“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” —Joseph Stalin
Voting shenanigans have been a part of the political process since voting was invented. After LBJ won his Senate race in 1948, it was found that Box 13, the deciding ballot box, was stuffed with votes from the local cemetery. This was discovered because the deceased voters seemed to have staggered in in alphabetical order.
History records an impressive stream of deceitful techniques to discourage, repress, and bar individuals from voting, from intimidation and harassment, to the destruction of genuine ballots and creation of fakes, to confusing and delaying voters. The more blatant, violent, and easily traced tactics could be retired however, with the invention of the voting machine.
Electronic voting machines have been shown on live television to be easily hacked, and over the years the makers have been sued for fraud, bribery, and improper political affiliations. It should be obvious that once an electronic vote is cast with no paper trail, all objectivity is lost.
We should not be pursuing maximum efficiency in our most basic democratic processes when the result could so easily undermine the will of the people. Paper records are not prone to malfunction or manipulation, and are easily recounted. As a country, we should return to paper ballots marked in permanent ink, counted publically by local representatives with a video record. If issues arise, they should be locally litigated with no federal interference of any kind. Pressing the voter’s thumb on an inkpad whose stain won’t fade for at least 24 hours will assure an individual only votes once. We must restore confidence in this process for our union to remain strong.