Technological Innovations Are Making Voting More Accessible

As technology goes, so goes registering and voting. Like technology, voting is now more accessible to more Americans than ever before. Once constituting only occasional upgrades to voting machines at the polls, technological improvements now include websites, apps for smartphones, and the ability to reach Americans living, working, and serving in every corner of the globe. What once required a trip to City Hall or your local polling place may now, in many cases, be done with the click of a mouse.

Our friends at electionLine.org recently began highlighting the partnership between technology and voting in their weekly Tech Thursday round-up. Recent highlights featured the U.S. Vote Foundation’s new Can-I-Vote-Absentee? Widget, and the state of Connecticut’s new mobile app, which residents can use to register to vote via a smartphone or tablet. In addition, Georgia introduced an online voter registration tool, along with a mobile app. Both states require that residents possess a valid driver’s license in order to use the services.

Georgia becomes the 16th U.S. state to allow online voter registration, joining Arizona, Washington, Kansas, Utah, Oregon, California, Virginia, Colorado, South Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Maryland, Indiana, Louisiana, and Connecticut. States currently in the process of developing online voter registration include West Virginia, Illinois, and Hawaii.

Oklahoma recently unveiled the Oklahoma Military and Overseas Ballots Online System, which uses technology to allow military and overseas voters to apply for an absentee ballot and to track a ballot already mailed in to election officials. Sooner State residents must return their ballots via postal mail or fax.

We look forward to electionLine’s weekly Tech Thursday installments, and to seeing the advances in applications of technology in the voting arena. U.S. Vote Foundation has been out ahead of the technology curve for quite some time. If you have wondered if you can vote absentee, US Vote’s CIVA widget is the one-stop place to answer your registering and voting questions. Twenty-nine states do not require a reason to vote absentee. Click here to find out if your state is one of them: www.usvotefoundation.org/can-i-vote-absentee.