10 Reasons Why Voting Systems Are Not Created Equal

Jorge Ribas finds out how we'll be voting in the future, regardless of who's running for office, in this clip from Discovery's "Tech" series.
Screencap by HowStuffWorks

Is there a more important part of the political process than voting? Electing politicians and leaders represents the foundation of any democracy or republic. And because voting is so important, it's always at risk of being undermined. Discrimination, for example, can still impact the voting process to this day, but voting systems introduce their own set of challenges into the mix, too. For example, electronic voting seems like a wonderfully convenient alternative to paper voting systems. Those are so wasteful! With electronic systems, everything is handled by a computer. No risk of human error. It's faster. What's not to like?

Well, what if the system gets hacked? A hardware failure could theoretically lose thousands or millions of votes with no paper backup. And hacking would be even worse! Votes would be susceptible to tampering. In that case, the results of an entire election could be swayed. But is that so different from non-digital voting systems? Voting security has always been at risk – it's just the type of risk that's changing.

Here are 10 examples of how voting systems differ; we'll walk through hand-counted methods and electronic counting systems, modern touch screen voting systems and hacking security, as well as absentee ballots and the future of voting in the Internet age. Will we all be voting online from our laptops and smartphones in 10 years? And if so, how will that possibly be secure? Let's take a look.