There are pros and cons to any endeavor but our power as an electorate is hampered by new election rules every day. If we voted through a phone app could it change America? E-voting could enable broader voting rights, equity in voting, create ease for our aging and disabled voters all the while decreasing the billions in election cycles.
Americans Take Preference
According to a public opinion poll by Consumer Reports, 43% of Americans said they would be more motivated to vote in a Presidential election if they could vote by internet. This is a clear indicator that people are less afraid of the long lines and security issues at polling places than the ease to which a vote could be cast. With less than 50% of the electorate voting in national elections and even lower for state, city and municipal elections, e-voting is a comfortable future choice. Americans desire instant gratification, why not make their voting rights easier?
Century Old Machinery
There are few Americans that have not heard of the 2016 Russian election hacking scandal. Since 2000, the debacle over the quality and ability for 20-year-old machines to consistently and accurately count votes is a thorn in every politicians side. Voting machines have decade old software that have not been fire-walled since 2014 or earlier. These machines have been known to slow down, shut down and be de-certified due to software issues. That leaves American voters with the ol’ punch card. But what Americans don’t know is as soon as you punch you have become a provisional voter meaning your vote will only be counted if there is not a simple majority win. Simple majority could be 10 votes for small municipalities where only 400 people vote for an entire election.
Voting machines are just as easy to hack as your home computer. At a DefCon conference hackers broke into a voting machine through wifi access within 2 hours through a defect in Windows XP. That one machines votes could all be changed-sometimes a 1,000 votes or more per machine. Could hackers hack into 50 million American home computers, laptops or phones to change our votes? Probably not. The idea for internet voting is a sustainable choice due to internet security through our own networks.
One Voting Rule For All People
Do you really think the 15th Amendment is abided by during elections? How about the Voting Rights Act? Both of them can be easily confluted during election season. Historically and currently African-Americans and Hispanics are denied the vote for a slew of reasons. According to a PRRI and The Atlantic study, 11% of Hispanics and 10% of African-Americans were denied the vote due to Voter ID laws stating they had improper identification at the poll. According to the same study while in the process of voting, 9% of Hispanics and 7% of African-Americans were harassed. As these minorities grow to be a mixed majority of Americans, if they could e-vote they would not have these issues. There would have to be a federal law that allowed the option for all to vote by internet possibly increasing the minority vote. All Americans must be given their right to exercise their vote.
Disabled voters have always been at a disadvantage at the polls. According to a 2018 polling inspection by the US Government Accountability Office during the 2018 presidential election nearly two-thirds of polling places had at least 1 impediment for disabled voters. They included disabled voting machines were not powered on, a lack of training by poll staff to assist disabled voters, and a lack of privacy for the voter. Untrained poll staff do not understand the paper ballot that disabled voters are ensured. Staffers also refuse to bring the ballot to cars for places that lack wheelchair accessibility. E-voting would allow these 35 million voters their rights, privacy and dignity.
Internet Voting Is Financially Accountable
Our senior citizens in Chicago voice stories of the days when politicians would give them $1 to $5 per vote. Everyone seemed to be on payroll on election day. Well, times have definitely changed. A study by ProPublica found voter protection costs are $75 to $400 per person. Money magazine calculated polling machines cost $2500 apiece and poll workers are paid up to $300 per election day. A total cost for one election is now in the billions. Each state defers costs for local elections in myriad ways leaving small locales responsible for the majority. If we were to e-vote we could avoid millions in costs that are always paid by taxpayers whether they like their elected officials or not. Why should voting cost so much when we could vote by app? An app, a computer program and a few people to monitor the results or glitches would decrease costs while increasing votes.
The Future Is A Click Away
There are multiple ways that e-voting could increase Americans motivation and actual voting. It could help our minority brothers and sisters and our precious disabled. We are all Americans with the same rights to ensure our voices through voting. Politicians need to worry more about numbers to the polls than numbers from the polls. E-voting would help all American political parties. Get your phones out and vote away.