Electronic voting machines are the subtypes of the voting, including the software, firmware, documentation, and properties, which allow voting distantly as well as collecting, casting and counting the bullets. Commonly, electronic voting machines provide the possibility to perform the distant voting with the help of data transmission between connected devices or other platforms, which enable networking and exchange of data (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 91). Similarly, electronic voting can be performed either on the basis of the Internet or individual self-sufficient voting systems, dedicated especially to the process of voting. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the existed types of electronic voting machines, discuss the ways and examples of their practical implementation and explain the issues of safety and security, connected with their utilization during the election processes.
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Type of the Electronic Voting Machines
Commonly, it is possible to distinguish between four types of electronic voting machines. The first one is known as the paper-based electronic voting system. This voting machine presupposes the possibility to cast and count bullets with the help of special electronic devices and software (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 91). This type of electronic voting operates exclusively at the polling stations and provide the rational alternative for the mechanical hand counting of bullets. This voting machine is capable of recognizing handprint on paper bullets and count them, according to the designated software and electronic calculation (Ben-Nun et al. 315). As a result, the process of counting becomes more effective, opportune, and productive.
The paper-based electronic voting system involves such techniques and mechanisms of counting as punched card voting, marksense, and digital pen voting systems (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 92). These tools create electronic bullets, which can be virtually marked with the help of a touch screen system and recognized by the machine in the process of counting (Ben-Nun et al. 320). Therefore, this type of voting machine is capable of working with both paper-based and electronic bullets, depending on the context of elections (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 94). In any case, it helps to facilitate the process of collecting and counting votes with the help of designed electronic tabulation and calculation properties.
Another type of electronic voting machines is called direct-recording voting. This machine suggests electronic bullets, accessed with the help of corresponding buttons or the touch screen technology and activated exclusively by registered voters (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 92). Bullets consist of mechanical or electro-optical components, which satisfy the demand for the safety of voting and recognizing the identification of voters. A direct-recording electronic voting machine possesses a memory component, which helps to store the achieved data and enables its extraction, when required (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 95). After the collection of votes, the machine electronically calculates the data and provides the results in the form of either electronic or hard copy format.
The third type, public network DRE voting system, is capable of transferring the data from the local polling stations to the central one in order to facilitate the process of data collection and summarizing (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 92). This voting machine also involves so-called tabulate ballots, which are printed out at the polling stations after the close of the voting process.
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The precinct count voting system provides the capacity, which allows conducting the precinct count method to validate the results of calculations (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 92). Respectively, the entire process of voting takes place in the virtual reality and is operated by electronic devices and software. Overall, this type of electronic voting machines strongly contributes to the affectivity and fruitfulness of data collection and processing during the voting process.
Examples of Utilization of the Electronic Voting Machines on Practice
A direct-recording voting machine has been implemented in practice many times. Particularly, in 2002, the United States has introduced the compulsory direct-recording voting machine at each polling station to facilitate the handicapped access of voters (Gritzalis 52). Since this method of electronic voting meets the requirements and standards of the secure and transparent voting, it can be effectively implemented during the election processes throughout the country (Gritzalis 70). Moreover, the practice shows that the utilization of this machine contributes to the increase in popularity of the electronic voting, as more voters choose this method to claim their choice.
Additionally, in 2004, the government of India created more than a million of electronic voting machines to be used during the parliamentary elections in the state (Kumar and Walia 1826). The process included the equipment of the polling stations with the special devices, which allowed voters to make their choices with the help of special buttons. The devices were directly connected to the central polling station, so that any violations of rules or speculations could be easily noticed and prevented (Kumar and Walia 1826). To satisfy the transparency and fairness of the voting process, the electronic device contained the sealed button, which could be released only after the official closing of the voting procedure.
Another example is the election of administration in Brazil. Starting from 2000, the citizens of Brazil can submit their votes with the help of specially designed voting machines, which strongly facilitate the process of counting (Kumar and Walia 1826). Currently, the state is working on the improvement of characteristics and properties of the electronic voting machines to satisfy the increased need for elections transparency and openness.
Issue of Security of Electronic Voting Machines
Modern electronic voting machines are well equipped with the protection mechanisms, which prevent the cases of speculations during the election procedures. In particular, they use the technology of cryptographic verification of the achieved data, which allows voters be confident in the appropriate recording of their votes and their calculation at the end of the voting procedure (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 95). In fact, this process includes three steps of verification. The first one includes the individual checking of the correctness of the submitted vote by users. Secondly, the cryptographic verification allows the election observers comparing the number of casts and votes provided to ensure the equality of their amounts (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 96). Finally, the electronic voting machines allow checking whether all votes are submitted and calculated appropriately. As a result, electronic voting machines provide high capacities for the transparent and justified election process.
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Besides, the electronic voting machines provide the immediate feedback to the users regarding their submissions. In such a way, voters are able to detect any malfunctioning and check whether their votes have been submitted properly (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Paatey 96). Overall, such measures of protection and transparency make electronic voting machines useful invention, which highly promotes justice and security of the voting process.
To sum up, the electronic voting machines provide a logical and efficient alternative to the conventional methods of collecting, calculating, and summarizing the data of the voting process. They significantly increase the effectivity of the election administration and observation as well as promote the quick and appropriate calculation of the achieved data. The cases of implementation of electronic voting machines in practice in different countries prove their productivity and contribution to the transparency and safety of the election process.