Internet Voting... hey, what's the problem?
By Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, President and CEO, U.S. Vote Foundation and Overseas Vote
Would you like to vote on your smartphone? No lines, no waiting, no issue! I have to admit, like everyone else, I would love to try out smartphone voting. BUT.
That's right. BUT. Over the years I've learned that when it comes to wishing for real-time, online internet voting, it's best to watch what you wish for...! It's not so rosy afterall.
In this opinion piece, "Sabotaging Democracy: the perils of online voting", published in the Fulcrum, former Minnesota Secretary of State and election integrity advocate, Mark Ritchie (full disclosure, also a board member of U.S. Vote Foundation), presents a perspective regarding internet voting that is worth considering.
From the Fulcrum:
"....Despite an onslaught of misinformation that pretends online voting is totally safe, the opposite is true: Internet-based voting is fraught with danger for our already threatened democracy. Green-lighting online voting is a grave threat that needs to be contained before we hand the enemies of democracy another powerful tool with which to accomplish their goals.
The threat is real and ongoing: Online voting proponents have been working hard, and spending hard, on pursuing their vision despite ample evidence that it is fundamentally unsafe. Proponents have even resorted to clandestine tactics: In the run-up to the 2020 election, the U.S. Postal Service secretly pursued an online-voting experiment, without the oversight of Federal agencies that have direct knowledge about how elections work. The project was abandoned after a test of the system showed it to be exceptionally vulnerable to hacking."
The good news is - we do not have to take this path. In the Fulcrum OpEd, we advocate other solutions, which do not threaten election integrity.
"Automatic voter registration – for all citizens, including uniformed services members — would have a huge impact on turnout. Automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters, and making it free to return them once a vote has been cast, would also improve turnout. Ballot tracking services and extended deadlines for the return of military and overseas citizens’ ballots, for example, would further help ensure that ballots arrive on time. These practices, moreover, have proved to be cost-effective and relatively simple to implement."
It makes sense to step back and consider all aspects of a move like this - let's listen to the experts and watch what we wish for....!