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Online Voting

Technology is vastly emerging in a multitude of areas, and the election process is no different. It is one area that has recently been discussed considering the heated presidential election that occurred this November. Leading up to technology being intertwined with the election process, we have seen ballots being calculated electronically and we have seen technology help with the process of voter registration. So for example, there are several voting systems in use that automate the recording and/or counting of votes that have been cast. Additionally, there have been electronic systems that verify voter qualification by pulling from different records. Overall, the role technology will play with the election process will continue to increase each year.

One subarea within the election process that has more recently been developed is internet voting. As of September 2016, there are twenty-two states in which an individual can vote online. Some believe that online voting is the answer to low voter turnout. Common reasons for keeping some voters away from the polls are long lines and individuals not living within the state or county they are registered in; however, online voting provides a solution to those facing these predicaments.

As with every positive, there is always a negative: here, that is voter selling. I do not discredit this genuine concern. The reason for this genuine concern is based on the notion we, as a nation, want to ensure credibility of the democratic process and maintain reliability of elections results. That is, we want results that truly represent what the people want. While this is a concern that goes to root of what democracy is based upon, online voting can still ensure creditability and reliability by allowing voters time to research candidates they are unaware of while having the ballot right in front of their face. With this concept in mind, online voting seems to be a huge technological advance that would help our democratic process. For me, I’d much rather have someone who is able to view and research candidates then vote based on what those candidates stand for instead of someone who will just pick any Joe on the ballot.

Contrary to the argument of if someone doesn’t research before they vote why would they while voting online. My response to that is, we live in a day and age where we are so busy and in such a hurry that often times we don’t get to prepare for that next things that are happening. But when that “next thing” is right in front of our faces, we wish we could have prepared more and this gives voters that option. This gives them an extra few minutes to look at what is in front of them and then make an informed voting decision. Additionally, if someone isn’t going to research at the polls and still doesn’t at home with online voting at least it provides the option. There is no real “loss” from having the uninformed vote at home or at a polling location.

In sum, online voting is an educational tool that can be used to benefit a better version of democracy. Additionally, it allows an individual to truly never be denied their right to vote based purely on inconvenience. Online voting should grow within the country and expand use into other states and others should look to that growth as an opportunity for great change.

-Donielle Robinson