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Electronic voting: convenient or inherently flawed?

Each month, this feature poses a question for discussion. Responses are published on a two-month cycle, and reader comments will appear in April. 

With the recent voting problems that occurred during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election and violence that occurs during elections in some other countries, discussions are taking place about the need for electronic voting.

The Internet Voting Task Force of California, USA, is one of the leaders in the movement to implement electronic voting. Such a system, which would allow greater convenience, safety and easier access for voters, is being considered in the United States, the United Kingdom and some countries in South America. 

If the Task Force's gradual four-step plan were adhered to, voters would be able to cast ballots using Internet connections at their local polls, and then in time, ultimately be able to vote from other polls, libraries and even home.

But Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, an expert in the field of electronic voting who was requested by the U.S. Democratic Party Recount Committee to testify to the necessity of a Florida hand recount in the 2000 U.S. election, said there is an inherent problem with voter privacy in such a system. 

"There is no way to separate the pass code (password) from the ballot," Mercuri said. "They both transmit together, and therefore the vendor has access to the voter's password. There is also no way to audit or verify votes. Finally, there is the usual concern for hackers and viruses, as well as the potential for vote-selling."

What do you think? Do you support a system of Internet voting? If so, why? Or, will e-voting create more problems than it can solve?

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