Remote Electronic Voting: A Simple, Safe, and Accurate Voting System
Does it not seem obvious that the United States should be voting over the Internet by now? Considering all the vitally important monetary and information-related transactions that occur over the Internet every day, one would think this could and would have happened already. However, Remote Electronic Voting, especially on a national scale, presents us with some possibly troubling implications and problems. These implications and problems, especially those concerning security, have prevented the U.S. from employing such Internet voting in a national election so far. Is such a system in our future? Many experts believe so. But as of yet, the risks seem to outweigh the rewards.
Before going any farther, it is important to clarify the difference between Internet voting and Remote Electronic Voting. Internet voting already occurs in many places. It refers merely to voting from a computer that is under the control of election officials, usually in a specific precinct’s polling place. On the other hand, Remote Electronic Voting is the new prospect of voting over the Internet from a remote, unsupervised location (Alvarez 4, Rubin). This new prospect has sure advantages but many likely drawbacks as well.
The greatest advantage that Remote Electronic Voting could provide would be ease of voting. The weather, waiting in line, and being confused about where one’s polling place is would no longer be issues. Also, Remote Electronic Voting would practically eliminate the need for absentee ballots, which often are not counted. In fact, in the 2000 and 1996 presidential elections, it is estimated that about 40% of overseas ballots were rejected (Alvarez 1). Also, it would help disabled people vote without the struggle of getting to a polling place. In 2000, about 80% of voting precincts had “some barrier that prevented citizens in a wheelchair from accessing the poll site” (Alvarez 5). These problems would be solved if disabled citizens and voters overseas could vote from home via the Internet.
Remote Electronic Voting could also increase the quality of the pool of votes in a national election. It would probably increase participation by the 18-25 year-old age group, which historically has had the lowest participation in national elections, because young people usually are more comfortable using the Internet. And the quality of each vote could also be increased, considering the possibility that one could have open on his screen the window to cast the vote and a few other windows informing him about the candidates and their stances on the important issues (Alvarez 6). It seems that Remote Electronic Voting would not only increase overall participation, but might also increase the quality of each vote and of overall representation of the nation’s eligible voters.
However, there are extremely important...