Oh, Online Voting…

So, before this seminar, I actually thought about online voting. When I thought about it, I told myself that this was a great idea, and I wondered why it wasn’t actually a reality yet…

Naturally, I decided to get in contact with my local congressman and nearby politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren. I presumed that if I could get a meeting with a political leader, I can spearhead the future of voting. While sending a bunch of emails and snail mail, I decided to take this discussion to my dorm room and discuss it with some of my tech friends, or geeks, as many others would call them. After telling them that online voting is the future of voting, they looked at me perplexed. The problems they saw with it were innumerable:

“Online voting would be a disaster! Do you really want the Russians to determine who our next president is?”

“Ammer, you’re a smart guy, but this isn’t a smart idea..why do you want everyone to vote anyway? Only those willing to go to the polls should vote, and isn’t that easy enough already?”

“Let’s say voting was as easy on going online and pressing a button–who says the encryption won’t be unbreakable or the database is put into the right hands? You’re just opening up a can of worms this way. It’s easy enough, and 60% of Americans voting is perfectly sufficient.”

So, after hearing my friend’s remarks, I shied away from reaching out to political figures about this issue because I learned that voting is not an issue; although, online voting would make it into an issue. While 40% of the eligible voting population is not voting, I’m okay with it. Most of that 40% of eligible voters not voting are not voting because they do not care enough to go to the polls and fill out a ballot–I mean, it’s not like their vote matters, right? (total sarcasm..) While I wish for that 40% to dwindle, I don’t want that number to decrease by making it easier than it already is to vote. That would just bring unwanted votes in…I want that number to go down through education–that is the future of our country. This educational gap is such a big problem in our country, and I can’t put a finger on the cause, but its side effects are numerous. Not going into all of its side effects, voting is one of its biggest side effects.

So, while its obvious that education and knowledge is they key to resolving voter turnout, and not online voting, how about cheating at the polls? This has been happening for a while–think 1950s Chicago, when briberies would go on in polling booths to sway the vote for a particular candidate. But those are the old days, voter fraud no longer exists! Except, that’s definitely not true. Voter fraud is still very relevant today, but in more advanced ways. The traditional techniques such as ballot-stuffing, the destruction of ballots, voter impersonation, and misuse of proxy voting are still around, but that’s not my worry. My worry is the tampering of electronic voting machines–adding malicious code to alter vote counts for a particular candidate, tampering with hardware for the same effect, abusing administrator control of machine, and results that are sent through the internet can be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, giving a hacker the ability to intercept the results and change them to favor a candidate. With all these internet vulnerabilities and some states strict use of online voting machines, the possibility of voter fraud becomes more and more possible.

While I don’t know if electronic voting will ever be tampered with, I can confidently say that internet voting is just not needed as of now. The system makes it easy enough to vote, and the voter turnout is perfectly fine the way it is. Those who don’t vote are mostly uninformed or do not care, but this is not to claim that everyone that votes is informed as well. It’s not the time for online voting. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the time for online voting in the future. This is: the future of the internet.

~ammer s.

 

1 Comment »

  1. school of applied science

    November 11, 2016 @ 4:32 am

    1

    Excellent, I’m surprised to see so good posts around here.

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