Opinion: Electronic voting vs paper voting


An example of a Google forms survey

Kayla Chavier, Features Editor

As seen in the recent change to laptops from desktops for faculty, Westford Academy is becoming more high-tech.  Although new technology may seem to advance certain activities, it also impedes functionality in certain aspects. In a recent election for the vice president of the class of 2017, technology proved to be a hinderance.

Several students from the sophomore class informed the Ghostwriter that issues surfaced with voting electronically.  In certain instances, students were able to vote multiple times for one person or for multiple people.  This is an imperative issue that may have made the difference for who was rightfully elected.

Although technology simplifies the collection of ballots from hundreds of students, there is the potential for malfunctions in the process.  If a certain person is more popular in an election, but technology creates a different outcome, the results are unfair and insignificant, and administers may not even be aware of an issue.

From posting homework on class webpages to allowing students to work on laptops during class, WA is increasing the reliance on technology. Technology is useful, but internet and smartphones may not be available to all students outside the classroom. Google forms has become extremely common in collecting data at WA– whether the information pertains to Class elections or opinions on a faculty member’s teaching style at the end of the year.  However, it has shown to be unreliable.

Using paper for ballots removes the possibility of glitches.  Glitches can include data being erased, a survey being available twice to a student, or the survey may not even be available at all. Going old-school will ensure every student votes and only votes once.  In addition, information online can be easily altered or erased, whereas hard-copies can be sorted, collected, and saved despite power outages, system failures, or no internet connection.

Although there is the consequence of harming the environment by wasting paper, WA can ensure resources are not wasted and paper is recycled and reused. With a system for recycling paper, the issue of wasting resources would be resolved; using paper for voting is worth the time and resources if technology proves to malfunction and alters results.