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Why Are Americans So Terrified of Online Voting?

by Jane Susskind, published

Not a day goes by that Americans don’t use the Internet. We trust the Internet with our credit card information, to manage our stock options, to share highly sensitive information across international borders, to send personal photos and information to loved ones. We even relinquish the fate of our love lives into the hands of the Internet, relying on online algorithms to find us our soulmate. 

But voting? That's a different story.

A new survey from Rasmussen Reports reveals that just 32 percent of likely voters support allowing online voting in their area.

Democrats showed the most support, with 40 percent favoring online voting, compared to the 22 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of unaffiliated voters who favor it.

The leading reason why many people oppose implementing online voting is voter fraud. Of those surveyed, 63 percent believe there is a higher risk of fraud from online voting when compared to other voting methods.

This data would suggest that we as a society have a deep interest in protecting the sanctity of our voting process. It would suggest that above all else, we value our fundamental right to vote more than we value our privacy. 

The way our current political system functions, however, suggests the exact opposite, with closed partisan primaries and heavily gerrymandered districts defining our electoral process and producing policymakers who are unrepresentative of the electorate as a whole.

In a majority of states, unaffiliated voters are barred from participating in an integral stage of the election -- the primary -- unless they register with a party. Yet, because most races are uncompetitive, the outcome is essentially decided in this stage of the public election process.

If voters care so much about the sanctity of voting rights in America, as this data would suggest, then why aren’t they outraged right now?

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