Most Americans want to abolish indirect presidential elections. But ending the Electoral College, as we’ve been discussing, may or may not be a good idea. Even if we dump it, many questions remain about our voting system.
Around the world, nations are wrestling with traditional ballots vs. proposals for cutting-edge digital systems. In the United States, we still have lots of regions with cumbersome ballots, technical flaws and reporting errors. The polls on the East Coast still close earlier than the West, influencing voter choices in the West.
Many U.S. voting systems, now, use elements of digital technology. But, if we truly want to revamp our voting system—is it time for Americans to try actual online voting?
Right now, we conduct a lot of business online. Everything seems to be moving to the Internet. If we moved our elections online, we could set one voting period across the country without factoring in time-zones. We could have accurate, real-time counting with the nationwide results announced at one time. Of course, this would eliminate the spectator sport of watching states slowly turn red or blue on a televised map.
I recognize that a lot of known (and unknown) problems would have to be solved. These include security issues, digital inequality and access, and possible new forms of voter fraud. But it also could become more accurate, less able to be gamed, cheaper, and more efficient.
To the north of us, some online-voting pilot projects already are receiving favorable reviews. Last week, a study of online voting in Markham, Ontario, showed that turnout has increased 35 percent since online elections were introduced in 2003. Part of the Greater Toronto Area, Markham is an up-scale town with lots of Internet-savvy residents—and Markham’s experience may not translate well across an entire nation. But, it is one example of online voting that seems to be working.
Tell us what you think:
Would you prefer online voting over our current system?
Do you think a fair and secure online system is possible?
Or, should we keep the current system despite its flaws?
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.