1). Internet voting can take power away from Big Money, and bring more rationality into the campaign-election process.
IMAGINE: You are watching candidates debate online or on TV. After each debate you log on to your state’s secure voting website, using your own PC, cell phone, iPad, or other electronic device. Your voter registration is checked, and then the ballot appears. You mark it, and send it w/ a click.
This will neutralize the power of Big Money! How? Most of the Big Money spent on political campaigns is meant to impress, persuade, and even manipulate the decision of the voters. The theory is that if a voter repeatedly hears a lot of positive information about one candidate’s name, and negative information about the names of others, the voter’s mind will be conditioned to vote for the name with good stuff connected to it when he or she goes in to the voting booth.
But with secure Internet voting, there is NO TIME for campaign advertising to try to persuade or trick you, or to condition your mind like a pigeon trained to peck on the blue button rather than the red one. You watch the debate. You form your own opinion of what you have just seen, and you vote strictly on that basis.
All the advertising before or after the debate will be useless, because everyone will vote while their own views are fresh in their minds. Big Money will become irrelevant. Elected officials will owe their job only to the voters.
What could be more orderly and conducive to reason and deliberation, than to watch debaters trying their best to perform at a presidential level, and then to have each voter vote his or her considered assessment of each debater’s efforts?
2). The US requires TWO votes for a presidential election: one in the primary, and another in the general election. But Americans are a practical people. Many regard the first vote as too inconvenient, its not worth the effort of driving to the polls, looking for parking, then waiting in line; so only about 25% vote in primaries. The ones who do vote in primaries are highly motivated by partisan feelings. Hence, they elect extreme partisans to office. Now we have gridlock in the US Congress because the partisans refuse to cooperate with each other.
This need not be. Convenience is empowerment. Make voting more convenient, and more people will vote in both the primaries and general election. When more people vote, more moderate votes by ordinary Americans will be cast. When more moderate votes are cast, the partisan gridlock in Washington will diminish. The moderate voters will elect problem-solving officials. Because Congressional elections can be done online, special interests will have less power. Internet voting can get this country going again!
3). Voter ID: Currently, some states are requiring voters to show IDs. This is a problem for inner city folks who don’t drive cars, and thus don’t have a driver’s license. Old folks and poor folks are also affected. But w/ Internet voting, voters don’t have to show anybody an ID. When they log on to the secure website, their registration is checked. It’s the same convenient process for everyone. (Registration is moving to biometrics, and it will all be biometrics soon.)
Internet voting can greatly enhance democracy in the USA! All that is necessary to make this happen is a letter to your local election official asking that an Internet voting system be implemented. They will be happy to hear from their constituents, because they already know that online voting is a far less costly and troublesome process than the polling place and paper-based system currently in use.
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Political Scientist, author, speaker,
CEO for The Internet Voting Research and Education Fund
Author of Internet Voting Now!
Kindle edition: http://tinyurl.com/IntV-Now
In paper: http://tinyurl.com/IVNow2011