The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Maximizing voter participation is an ongoing task. It's tough to persuade people to get off their lazy butts, haul down to the polling station, wait anywhere from 10 minutes to the better part of an hour, and then get hustled in and out of a polling booth. It's all a chore, really; unless you're super-motivated over some candidate or issue, you often rationalize that you don't need the headache.

I've long been intrigued by the online alternative: Voting via Internet. Provided that the server holds up, there's no excuse for not doing your civic duty this way. What's more, you have ample opportunity while online to bone up on all the ballot issues and candidates as you're voting; so in theory at least, you can be a more informed voter.

So, I'm quite pleased to hear that online voting activity is set to blossom in 2004.

Naturally, the security concerns are valid. But provided they can be addressed, I think this is a great opportunity to make elections ever more participatory in the future. I recall chatting with my friend Tom about how restrictive the election process currently is: Registering and keeping your registration current is often a pain, polling places and hours aren't the most convenient, etc. While these measures are justified in terms of preventing voter fraud, I feel they've had the unfortunate consequence of turning off many potential voters, to a disproportionate degree as far as how many fraud perpetrators there may be out there. Online voting could tip this back.