Internet voting is coming to the USA! How do I know that?
Successful trials were conducted in the US in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Congress encouraged online voting in the 2009 MOVE ACT (Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act). In the November 2010 elections, 33 states gave some form of Internet voting a try so that their overseas voters, especially those in the military, could vote conveniently. There have been no reports of either technical or security problems. Indeed, West Virginia’s secretary of state, Natalie Tennant, tried a small experiment with Internet voting on the state’s secure website, and promptly requested that the state legislature allocate funds to expand the practice. Trials of Internet voting within states are likely to begin soon. Local elections officials understand that voting via the Net is much cheaper to administer than polling place voting. Of course, no voting technology is greener than paperless Internet voting.
The only failed Internet voting trial in the US was in Washington D.C. in October of 2010. No actual vote was held, but when the public was invited to test the system it was hacked. That experience just proved how miserably inept were the amateur programmers
who set up the system. Over the last 10 years, several nations in Europe, and provinces in Canada, have been testing Internet voting systems with success. The Russian Duma recently approved plans to try Internet voting for voters in remote locations, such as Siberia.
Convenience for voters, and savings in the costs of election administration, are too tempting to resist. The companies that have successfully built Internet voting systems have been in every state capital pitching their products to legislators and elections officials. This change is inevitable.
Now is the time for progressives to plan, not on how to resist the change, but on how to turn it to our advantage. If we do nothing, or if we protest and fail, Internet voting will emerge as the way Americans vote, and our political system will be no better for it. But if we look ahead, and plan well, we can turn Internet voting into a progressive reform of historic proportions.
Do you think that Big Money has UNFAIR INFLUENCE in US elections and in our legislative process? Internet voting, rightly organized, can neutralize all their power.
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Public Enemy Number One
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.