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Why an Online Election Can Work Pt. 1

by Matt Metzner, published

The United States is built on the voice of the people. We voice our opinions, dissent, and hope for the future at the ballot box. In many States we see lower voter turnout and voting systems in place that can make it more difficult for some people to exercise their right to vote. If we hope to have a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people, then we should take a hard look at the tools available to allow as many eligible voters to cast a vote when elections come around.

In recent years when proposals for updating many of our voting systems are presented, a cry of increased voter fraud tends to reply. This may have been true in the past, but with technological advancements these fears can be effectively eliminated. When we evaluate proposals for new election technology we should recognize a societal tendency toward tradition and familiar practices. Although these new technologies provide several benefits, as a society of voters will likely tend to prefer what is familiar. But, when weighing access, security, and ease-of-use against tradition and familiarity we should find that the benefits of the former are superior.

Several municipalities, private organizations, and international governmental entities are implementing secure, online election systems that the United States should implement on a national scale.

In this series I will survey voter turnout in recent national elections, both mid-term and presidential election years. I will evaluate voter turnout in the two most recent presidential elections. Next, I will frame the three most recent mid-term elections and the voters who participated. Then, I will describe the threat of voter fraud and its occurrence in United States elections. Specifically, the frequency of voter fraud will be compared to the citation of fraud as a valid argument not to implement new technologies. I will describe international and municipal online voting projects, their unique traits that could be implemented in the United States, and their turnout. Then I will will evaluate new technologies that are available to electronically collect ballots and enable greater participation. Lastly, suggestions will be made for implementing a new system and how it could better serve American voters.

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