The American 2018 midterm election was the costliest election in American history. It was an extremely important election that has changed the course of American politics for years to come. American citizens had to go to libraries, schools and other public buildings to reach polling stations to vote. This seems quite archaic and laborious in our modern world. With elections playing such a key role in the lives of everyday people, it is imperative to create digital systems of voting that makes it easy for people to do so. Electronic voting would simplify the voting process for millions of people and would increase voter turnout.
Benefits of Electronic Voting
eVoting would be an elegant and modern solution that addresses current voting problems. It would eliminate long lines, reduce the amount of paper ballots and outdated voting machines. It would also quicken voting registration and ballot counting. Ultimately, switching to an eVoting system would lower the costs of elections in general.
Online voting would be extremely convenient for citizens. It would make voting accessible to all eligible voters. Many people do not have the means to take time off work to go stand in long lines to vote. Plus, many citizens in rural communities must travel far distances to vote. Online voting would eliminate these problems by giving everyone access to voting through their cell phones, tablets or desktop computers.
Challenges of Online Voting
There are issues that must be addressed in order to create a safe and secure online voting system. Proper voter registration is required in order to vote. Voters must meet specific requirements in order to register, such as citizenship in the country they plan to vote in and residency in a specific jurisdiction. One person must only be able to vote once as well.
Governments must ensure that voting registration is easy and accurate. Online elections must have robust systems in pace that can identify and verify voters during the registration and voting process. This will help governments detect and prevent fraud in electronic voting systems. Identity verification technology can help meet these demands. Embedding this id verification technology into online voting systems can help governments ensure that only one citizen is voting in an election. Plus, this id verification technology can assist in minimizing the risk of fraudsters entering electronic voting systems and causing voter fraud.
Use Case: Online Voting in Estonia
The country of Estonia has made significant strides toward creating electronic voting technology. It was the first country to hold elections online in 2005. The country started at the local level and expanded the use of evoting systems to the national level by 2007.
In Estonia, it is not just millennials voting online. A quarter of evotes in recent elections have been cast by citizens over the age of 55. Another 20% have been cast by people ages 45-54. This shows that eVoting is supported by people throughout the societal spectrum, not just by digital-savvy millennials. Anyone, regardless of gender, income, education and nationality, has the potential to become an eVoter.
To maintain the integrity of their elections, the Estonian government regularly updates their voting system based on technological advances and experience from previous elections. They use electronic identity cards to verify citizens when they vote online through behavioral biometrics and biometric fingerprint technology. Furthermore, they use encryption to send a citizen’s vote from their computer to the central electoral servers. From there, citizens can use another device—in their case, a cell phone—to verify that the vote registered at the electoral server is the one they cast from their computer.
The Estonian government has claimed that their online voting system has faced no serious security issues. Their citizens seem to enjoy the technology and appreciate its convenience. At this time, Estonia plans to continue using eVoting systems in its elections in future elections.
Technology is the Answer
Voting is a hard-earned, prized and cherished right. Voting processes must uphold the integrity and secrecy of voting. Plus, citizens must trust that the voting processes is legitimate and secure. They must be able to trust that elections results are legitimate.
New technologies can simplify current voting processes. Identity verification technology can help increase voter turnout, biometric technology can help ensure that each vote counts toward an undisputed result and blockchain technology can help simplify the voting process by making it secure online.
Being able to vote from home or on your phone is not a far-fetched idea. It is the way of the future. Governments must accept that current voting systems are archaic and outdated. Current technology concerns must be addressed, and processes must be built to create secure electronic voting systems. The future of voting is digital and creating secure systems to identify voters and fraudsters alike must be created.