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Module 3 Literature review assignment Draft

Module3 Literature review assignment Draft


EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University online



Amajority of the States in the U.S.A. need every voter to produce someform of identification so that they can be allowed to vote. Otherstates use a different method to confirm the identity of a voter.Instead of the normal identification cards, these states check thevoter’s personal identifiers such as their signatures, which arechecked against the information that is already stored on file.Proponents of voter identification have raised concerns over the needto have the voter to identify themselves to prevent cases of voterimpersonation, which may cause chaos during the heated politicalenvironment in elections. As well, they see the need to improve voteridentification to increase the public’s confidence in the electionprocess. To harmonize voter identification across all states, and toimprove the efficiency of the exercise, the biometric voterregistration and identification has risen to become a key strategyfor voter identification (Gelb &amp Clark, 2013). This paperaddresses the issue of voter identification with an evaluation ofbiometric identification.

Literature review The National Voter Registration Act

TheNational Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was enacted in 1993 by the U.Scongress (Herman, Hess &amp Groarke, n.d). The purpose of this actwas to ensure that voter registration was expanded across the U.S andincrease the population of the electors. The enactment of the lawfollowed a scrutiny of the previous system, which was found tocontain flaws that would either discredit the elections or reduce theelectors’ confidence in the system. For instance, the House ofRepresentatives did release a report that said in part that“enactment of the ACT of Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated themore obvious impediments to registration, but left a complicated mazeof local laws and procedures….the unfinished business ofregistration reform is to reduce the obstacles to voting to theabsolute minimum” (Herman, Hess &amp Groarke, n.d). Accordingly,the house of representatives set a path for improving the mode ofregistering voters, and also important, identifying them correctlyduring elections.

However,the NVRA does not come without its own flaws. Herman, Hess &ampGroarke (n.d) argue that while the positive impact of the law onaggregate registration and identification is positive, there are somelimitations of the act that have been identified in literature. Someof the major limitations are low agency assistance for registeringvoters so that the process of identifying them becomes streamlinedduring the actual elections. This is one of the reasons why someauthors, such as LeRoux (2011) and Minnite (2013), have covered theissue of streamlining the voter identification process as a policy ofthe NVRA law.

Issues related with voter identification

TheGovernment accountability Office’s 2014 report highlighted some ofthe key issues that are associated with voter identification duringelections (GAO, 2014). According to GAO’s assessments, that most ofthe voters did possess at least a form of identification that wasneeded by their states to vote. However, one of the discrepancies ofthe mode of voter identification was that they were guided by somedemographics, such as race and ethnicity. For instance, the Whiteshad the highest number of voters who identified themselves with adriving license, followed by the black Americans (85% and 81%respectively) (GAO, 2014). GAO identified the costs and requirementsfor obtaining a voter ID as one of the hindrances to obtaining avoter ID. The problems identified is that with the trend, it may beimpossible to have all states to have a unified system for voteridentity, which is key to streamlining the voting process.

Aswell, another key challenge to the voting system, which is associatedwith the mode of voter identification, is voting fraud (Bentele &ampO’brien, 2013 GAO, 2014). GAO identified the fact that there is apending challenge that exists in using the available information toestimate the number of incidences of voting fraud. Technically, thisis a problem that is associated with the mode of voteridentification. In appraisal of the problem, GAO (2014) identifiedthe challenges with addressing voter identification, which facilitatevoter fraud. First, there is little information about the voters thatis captured within the orthodox methods, making it difficult toascertain identification. Secondly, GAO found out that the normalmethods do not have a single database for storing the crucial voteridentification information (GAO, 2014). Finally, using thetraditional systems, such as driver license and signatures toidentify voters, the state agencies cannot collect foolproofinformation for voter identification. Gaskins &amp Iyer (2012) saythat such problems facilitate wrongful identification, hence fraud.

Biometric voter identification system

Thebiometric voter identification system is a technology motivatedconcept that has been applied in many nations across the world (Gelb&amp Clark, 2013). The system works by storing biologicalinformation such as the voter’s fingerprints, their facial featuresand in some advanced systems, eye features. A vast majority ofacademic literature on biometrics integrate fields such as computertechnology, electrical engineering and human-computer interaction(Tripathi, 2011 Schummer &amp Lukosch, 2013). This makes biometricvoter registration and identification a product of governments’efforts to revolutionize electioneering. Unlike the traditionalmethods of voter identification, which rely on items such as accesscards and related documents, the biometric system relies on personalcharacteristics that are impossible to replicate (Tripathi, 2011).This therefore makes the system a superior strategy for preventingidentity theft, which is the gateway to voter fraud. As well, giventhe system’s operating guidelines, it becomes easy for agencies tohave a unified database which they can store their information andshare it on a common platform. As per the principle of ‘universality’in information management (Martin, 2011), the biometric systemprovides better solutions for voter identification. This way, thesystem lives up to the objectives of the NVRA law, which was designedto streamline the voting process by improving voter confidence in it.


  1. What are the major challenges in voter identifications that facilitate a revision of the system?

  2. What are advantages of biometric voter identification system?

  3. What are the disadvantages of the biometric voter identification system?


Theelectioneering process is one that is characterized by theparticipation of various players, who include politicians, civilservants, and the citizens. Together, they form the network ofsignificant agents for change. Voter identification is one of thepolicies of elections that plays a key role in determining theefficiency and success of electioneering. As well, it is a policythat depends on the input by the identified key players. The role ofthe politicians is addressing the issues that the voteridentification process face, the role of the civil servants is toimplement that policy changes forwarded by the House ofRepresentatives, and the voters are the executors of the newpolicies. Therefore, to improve the voting system, there is a need toidentify the problems facing the current voter identificationstrategies, and appraising the capacity of the biometric voteridentification system as a solution.

Thediscourse utilizes the ideology of “framing”, which was discussedby Goffman (1974). The citizens of the American society, as earlierdiscusses, are agents of producing and maintaining solutions aroundsocial issues. Voter identification is an element of the culture ofdemocratic elections. By applying framing, which is an active processthat is goal oriented, the stakeholders will be in a position toimplement solutions for voter identification. Martin (2011), whilediscussing the case of biometrics in the UK, said that framing is “acontentious activity in the sense that involves generatinginterpretive frames that both differ from existing ones and alsochallenge them” (p. 105). Therefore, in line with the study’sresearch questions, framing is applied to assess the current systemand to appraise the application of the biometric voter identificationsystem. The collective action will involve interpreting andorganizing the possibilities, and coming up with a collectivesolution that is guided by Information Technology innovation.Biometric voter identification system is the target solution to voteridentification challenges, which upholds the spirit of the NVRA whichis to improve the election system.


H1.The biometric voter identification system is an alternative totraditional voter identification which improves the efficiency ofelections.

H2.The advantages of the biometric identification systems outweigh itsdisadvantages.


Bentele,K. G., &amp O`brien, E. E. (2013). Jim Crow 2.0? Why states considerand adopt restrictive voter access policies.&nbspPerspectiveson Politics,&nbsp11(04),1088-1116.

GAO.(2014). Issues related to state voter identification laws. Reportto Congressional Requesters. UnitedStates Government Accountability Office.

Gaskins,K., &amp Iyer, S. (2012). The challenge of obtaining voteridentification.&nbspBrennanCenter for Justice,158-167.

Gelb,A., &amp Clark, J. (2013). Identification for development: thebiometrics revolution.&nbspCenterfor Global Development Working Paper,(315).

Herman,J., Hess, D.R. &amp Groarke, M. (n.d). Areview of academic literature on the effectiveness of the nationalvoter registration act. Washington,DC.

LeRoux,K. (2011). Examining implementation of the National VoterRegistration Act by nonprofit organizations: An institutionalexplanation.&nbspPolicyStudies Journal,&nbsp39(4),565-589.

Martin,A. K. (2011).&nbspEnvisioningtechnology through discourse: a case study of biometrics in theNational Identity Scheme in the United Kingdom (Doctoraldissertation, The London School of Economics and Political Science(LSE)).

Minnite,L. C. (2013). VOTER IDENTIFICATION LAWS.&nbspLawand Election Politics: The Rules of the Game,88.

Schummer,T., &amp Lukosch, S. (2013).&nbspPatternsfor computer-mediated interaction.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley &amp Sons.

Tripathi,K. P. (2011). A comparative study of biometric technologies withreference to human interface.&nbspInternationalJournal of Computer Applications,&nbsp14(5),10-15.