Many of these arguments have been covered in previous sections of this column regarding the existence of voter fraud in American elections. As we have discussed, not only does the threat not match up with the response, the threat barely exists at all. Dr. Kelleher has discussed the testing and security of online elections and their utility in Canada. Many of the arguments below have been addressed already without naming them prior to posing counter-arguments.
Opponents of online voting have several compelling arguments against online elections. Polling places have long been held out as locations where voters can debate issues prior to casting their ballot. This is a benefit of any public gathering during the election season. Also, online tools that voters have access to provide excellent outlets for discussion or debate. Online outlets also present opportunities for voters to expose themselves to more positions in the debate than they would likely find in conversations at polling places. Transitioning directly from an online forum to an online ballot would be similar to the transition from conversations at a polling place to going into a voting booth.
Opponents also point to the potential for voting fraud as a reason for maintaining paper ballots or computerized voting in one location. As explained above, voter fraud is not the threat that it is said to be. Most modern voter fraud is attributed to clerical errors not acts of wrongdoers on Election Day. There are steps that will be discussed below that can be taken to minimize or eliminate the possibility of voter fraud online.
These two arguments may be compelling, but when viewed as a whole, they hardly amount to reasons for abandoning online voting systems as a tool for democracy. Many voters exist within an online community where they are finding information, researching issues, and transitioning to the ballot box. Online voting systems take away the transition between mediums, and could create higher levels of participation.