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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Voting Procedure and the Internet

Convenience voting reached new levels in 2008. According to the Pew Center on the States, 37% of voters cast ballots before Election Day, either at early voting centers (18%) or by mail, (19%). It would seem that Internet voting is the next step.

The City of Honolulu recently chose neighborhood boards in the nation's first paperless, all-electronic election. Initial reports indicated that the election went smoothly and was relatively inexpensive to conduct. But a story in today's Honolulu Advertiser suggests that Internet voting is not necessarily the gateway to greater participation:
The first all-digital and telephone election in the country drew less than 6.5 percent participation, down from 28 percent in the city's last Neighborhood Board elections, in 2007.Unfamiliarity with an entirely new voting system is now being cited as one of the chief reasons "turnout" was so low in what had been hailed by the city and election system vendor Everyone Counts as the first of its kind. Joan Manke, Neighborhood Commission executive director, said yesterday she was "very disappointed" with the results. "My sense is because it's something new, change often takes time."

Jim Pinkerton notes another problem with Internet voting: "[If] vote fraud is already a problem, what will happen when the “vote” is simply an electronic pulse, that could have come, potentially, from anywhere in the US–or around the world? Who will oversee the e-voting process? And who will oversee the overseers?"