E-voting could use ATM-like kiosks, as shown in this artist's concept.
Wow! Can you believe all of the confusion and controversy surrounding this year's U.S. presidential election? Few elections have ever had this many twists and turns. In most presidential elections, our next president is usually decided before we go to bed on election night. Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush must have spent many restless nights since last week's election, thinking about the few hundreds of votes that separate the two men in Florida -- votes which will decide the presidency, as Florida claims 25 Electoral College votes.
The 2000 election will always be remembered for the confusion that developed on election night and the days following. Early on election night, TV networks announced that Gore had won Florida, but then retracted that announcement. Then Florida was awarded to Bush, only for it to be announced later that the state was too close to call. Thousands of ballots were tossed out in South Florida because some voters couldn't decipher the so-called "butterfly" ballot. Disputes over just a few hundred votes are keeping one of these men from claiming the White House, and legal suits and recounts are under way to decide who our next president will be. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the entire situation is that, in what is arguably the most technologically advanced country in the world, Americans are still voting with paper ballots. Little progress has been made since the American forefathers dropped beans in a jar to cast their votes.
We have the technology today to perform computerized elections. In fact, some companies, universities and unions already use e-voting to elect their officials. In this edition of How Stuff Will Work, you'll learn about how the next time Americans vote for the U.S. president, it might be at the breakfast table, checking off an online ballot on a PC or personal digital assistant.