Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Mark Dallas


election, technology, race


A necessary condition for democracy is the ability for citizens to be heard. The way by which this is done is through electing officials that represent a diverse set of beliefs and values. The mechanism by doing this is through elections. At a quick glance, elections appear to play a minor role in democracy. But in fact, the foundations of elections are essential to our understanding of American democracy. It is assumed that the implementation of an electoral system is sufficient for American democracy. Diving deeper into the complexities of election systems provides evidence for benchmarks that prevent elections from representing democratic values. It holds true that elected officials rely on democratic elections to legitimize their role in government. Perceptions of democracy are in fact affected by the fragilities of the electoral process. When it all goes right, democracy appears to be protected to the perspective of citizens. The odds of an election going off without a hitch is one in a million. The aspects of elections that are most worrisome to experts as well as the public are accuracy and reliability. Past elections have shown that accuracy and reliability are issues of election technology and the failure of these aspects puts the United States' democratic processes at risk. I argue that as of today, election officials and scholars are at a tossup. They cannot foresee any way to advance technology without risking or compromising on the accuracy and reliability of elections. This poses significant challenges because for elections to be accessible to all, technological advances are needed to accommodate those with disabilities, the elderly, and the fact that voters are busy and expect an easy, seamless process when they reach the polls. There are many factors that affect the implementation and advancement of voting technology. Previous research has provided evidence that the racial composition of counties affect the ability of election administrations to advance to new technologies. This thesis aims to further explore the issues of election technology and their role in defining democracy by analyzing different aspects of election administration and by focusing the role race plays in the advancement of voting technology.