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Online Voting: Join the conversation. It matters.

by Rob Weber, published

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Speak Up.

This is the most important answer I can give to the most common question I receive from readers regarding online voting, which is "What more can I do to help make online voting a reality for elections in the United States?"

Speak up.  Make your voice heard.

When you read online articles and columns, do you find yourself reading comments from readers along with the published piece?  I certainly do, and I believe that most people do as well. The content of the comments section, in particular the diversity of opinion (or lack thereof) among the comments, can tell us a lot about who takes the time and trouble to speak.

Opponents of online voting are always willing to take the time to speak up in public against it. The media, which will usually choose a scary story about hacking over a dry topic like status quo, will rarely focus on the latter. The only way the discussion will be more balanced is if a lot more average people. who think we need to modernize our elections. speak up.

I am one of a handful of private citizens who publicly advocate for online voting. My position is often mischaracterized by opponents as being for the immediate removal of all polling places, replaced by internet voting without regard for security concerns.

Of course my position is nothing of the sort defined by critics. What I advocate for is simple: A balanced, contextual public conversation about how to modernize our elections. A balanced discussion should include concerns over new technology, as well as an acknowledgement of how broken our current paper-based systems are (We do remember Bush V. Gore, right?). It seems that, before we can expect to have a productive conversation about online voting in the United States, we must first have a conversation about the conversation.

Think of the online world in which we live, where virtually every transaction is done electronically.  If you wonder why you can't vote using the same contemporary technology, you are not alone.

It is not just the average citizen who needs to speak up more. The real experts. who have developed the cutting edge online voting technology used in the private sector and for real elections worldwide, remain disturbingly silent when it comes to public discussion.  It is as if they are standing on the sidelines, waiting for the opposing rhetoric to disappear. The experts need to find the courage to speak up as well.

The comments section is only one place of many where you can make your voice heard.  Online discussions about this subject can be found on many popular networking sites like LinkedIn and group discussion listservs.

So the next time it appears to you that the comments for a piece about online voting seem a little slanted, and you ask yourself if it matters if you bother to add your voice, the answer is simple: Yes, it matters a GREAT DEAL.

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