This article published by the Alliance for Securing Democracy is by David Levine:
The Netherlands is a tech-savvy nation that has scaled back the use of technology in its elections over the past decade-plus as part of its efforts to reduce the likelihood that autocratic actors, such as Russia, are able to interfere in the technical aspects of its voting process and to ensure trust in its elections. In early 2017—after voting computers had already been banned for roughly a decade—the government ordered that the counting of votes for its March 2017 parliamentary election be conducted manually as well, prohibiting the use of any technology, including computers and electronic devices like flash drives. At that point, distrust had spread to nearly anything electronic in the election process, and a good deal of that distrust was—and still is—well-founded.
Technology, however, can increase efficiency and accuracy in elections when deployed properly. For the Netherlands’s March 2021 parliamentary elections, the Dutch Electoral Council brought back election software to tally votes in parallel with the manual counting of votes, citing the software’s ability to increase accuracy. Approximately 83 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, the highest rate of voter turnout since 1986. If the Dutch Electoral Council finds that the software worked properly during these elections, it should continue using the software for future elections and hand count a statistically significant sample of paper ballots to provide strong evidence that the reported election result was correct.
While forgoing electronic counting can reduce certain risks, it can increase others, namely the accuracy of vote-counting. A good deal of research has found that properly working technology is often better at raw counting votes than people. Machines do not tire like people do when counting lots of ballots. And hand-counting can also be boring, leading some workers to lose track or fail to read their own work correctly during the counting process.
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