Essays: Online Voting Won’t Save Democracy

But letting individuals make an online search to register to vote is a start.

Technology can do more to make our elections more secure and dependable, and to make certain that participation within the democratic procedure is available to all. You will find three components to this process.

First, the voter registration procedure could be enhanced. The entire process may be streamlined. People will be able to register online, just as they are able to create other government solutions. The voter rolls have to be protected from tampering, as that's one of the major means hackers can disrupt the election.

2nd, the voting process can be somewhat enhanced. Voting devices should be made safer. There are a great number of technical details well left towards the voting-security professionals who is able to cope with them, but such devices must consist of a paper ballot that delivers accurate documentation verifiable by voters. The most basic and a lot of dependable option to do that is practiced in 37 states: optical-scan paper ballots, marked by the voters and counted by computer, but recountable manually.

We are in need of national safety criteria for voting devices, and funding for states to procure machines that adhere to those requirements.

This implies no Internet voting. While that appears attractive, and undoubtedly a means technology can improve voting, we don't know how to take action securely. We merely cannot build an Internet voting system which protected against hacking due to the requirement for a secret ballot. This will make voting not the same as banking and anything else we do on the Internet, plus it makes security a great deal harder. Also allegations of vote hacking will be enough to undermine self-confidence in system, and we just cannot afford that. We are in need of a system of pre-election and post-election safety audits of the voting machines to increase confidence in the system.

The next part of the voting process we have to secure could be the tabulation system. Following the polls close, we aggregate votes — ­from specific devices, to polling places, to precincts, last but not least to totals. This technique is insecure aswell, so we can perform much more to make it reliable. Likewise, our bodies of recounts could be made more secure and efficient.

We now have the technology to complete all of this. The issue is political might. We have to decide that the objective of our election system is the many people to be able to vote aided by the minimum quantity of work. If we continue to enact voter suppression measures like ID needs, obstacles to voter enrollment, limits on very early voting, reduced polling place hours, and faulty machines, then we're harming democracy over we're by enabling our voting devices become hacked.

We have currently declared our election system become critical national infrastructure. This will be mainly symbolic, however it shows dedication to secure elections and makes money along with other resources open to states. We could do a whole lot more. We owe it to democracy to complete it.

Categories: Elections

Tags: Atlantic

How to cite this essay: