If Donald Trump ever does leave the White House, we can in large part thank paper ballots.
Trump’s desperate assault on 2020’s popular vote has drawn justifiable contempt. But had this election predominantly been conducted on the computerized touchscreen machines that have dominated our electoral process since Florida in 2000, Trump could well be headed for a stolen second term.
Hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots have long been at the core of the U.S.’s rising election protection movement. They were largely scorned after the disastrous 2000 campaign, when badly designed “butterfly ballots” and “hanging chads” undermined Florida’s election, giving George W. Bush an Electoral College victory despite losing the nationwide popular vote.
In response, Congress voted for the $2 billion Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Deeming them a clean, efficient way to vote, HAVA spread computerized touch screen machines throughout the country. However, the push to spread the machines was tainted after their main backer, Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, went to prison on unrelated corruption charges.