Will we ever vote online?


Will we ever vote online?

Prospects don’t look good:

Elections in the United States require a high level of integrity, across multiple dimensions, either by public expectation or by law. These requirements include secrecy (so people can’t find out how you voted), privacy (so people can’t stand over your shoulder at the ballot box and coerce you), accountability (so votes can be verified as authentic), uniqueness (so people can only vote once), and accuracy (so votes are recorded correctly). Good voting systems should also be reliable, flexible, convenient, and cost-effective. For remote internet voting to be feasible and meaningful, it has to fulfill all of these criteria adequately, and experts are skeptical that an internet voting system could meet all of these needs.

If it were possible, would more people vote?

Even if voters abandon physical spaces for elections, key benefits associated with online voting, like increased voter turnout, aren’t guaranteed. Voter turnout is a complicated issue that’s not directly solved just by giving people better access to voting: for instance, Oregon’s popular vote-by-mail system, open to all voters, has had no discernible effect on the overall turnout of eligible voters.

However, for a select group of Americans, online voting actually exists already:

In an attempt to make it easier for U.S military personnel and overseas civilians to vote, 23 states plus D.C. now allow some form of voting over the Internet. North Carolina, a key swing state, for example, allows oversea voters to send in their ballot by email. Computer security experts, such as David Jefferson, director of the Verified Voting Foundation are completely appalled and call this “the riskiest form of voting ever invented.”



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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.