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Electronic voting is when a voter casts a ballot through a digital system instead of on paper. Until the beginning of the 21st century, electronic voting did not exist, and paper ballots were the sole means of recording votes. However, since the late 1990s/early 2000s, electronic voting has become more popular and made advances, despite many concerns around auditing and transparency.
Electronic voting is often facilitated by kiosk hardware systems that are introduced to polling stations. These machines typically include an interactive touchscreen interface through which voters can cast their ballots.
Among the many security and accuracy issues cited with electronic voting is the question of whether there is a way to accurately observe voting results and test whether every vote was recorded. Without a paper backup, accurate audits can be difficult. While some systems may have failsafe event logging, not all of them do, and that has led to the idea that electronic voting should be scaled back or better regulated in elections. For example, many election officials have cited a difference between the physical headcounts of people going into a polling place, and the number of ballots cast, asking why anyone would go to a polling place to record an empty ballot.
Another issue with the machines involves access. Whenever officials of a given party have time alone with machines, there is a possibility of tampering or fraud. Critics point to things like the availability of USB flash drive ports on the electronic voting machines as an easy way to tamper with the system. In general, the many unknowns of these types of systems have led to a big debate about whether or not they should be used in elections.