Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Let’s bring the voting process into this day and age.  Let’s vote electronically.

 2020 voting in the USA is a horror story.  Our children and children’s children (not to mention the rest of the world) will have a hard time understanding the 2020 election process, as it was conducted in the most atrocious way.  People had to show up in person or use the mail, which then didn’t deliver all the ballots or didn’t process the returns in time to be counted.  Then, the counting took days, even weeks, was disputed, recounted, cut off and not counted.  Then, incumbent went to court to either stop the counting or to dispute the verity of paper ballots, or a specific group of paper ballots.  A nightmare if you ever wanted to see one, except that it really played out that way.

Common sense would have demanded that we vote electronically via our smart phones, handhelds, tablets, computers.  We already use these devices extensively every day, actually 9 hours per day or more on average.

Voting via one’s smart phone or equivalent is a lot more authentic and certainly prompt, no time delay whatsoever.  

So the question is why are we not voting electronically TODAY?  There is really no excuse for wasting paper for ballots and then battling about how that paper was handled.

At least four manufacturers of electronic voting machines already exist (https://votingmachines.procon.org/how-to-vote-on-an-electronic-voting-machine/).  Electronic voting machines are already in use in various voting locations in the United States, for example in Illinois.

Then there is “ElectionBuddy” (https://electionbuddy.com/), which will build you the voting software to make your electronic voting accurate and secure.  In other words: the technology exists.  Voting via your smartphone should be no problem at all.  After all, you can manage your bank account, send and receive any amount of money, by pushing the right buttons on your handheld, tablet or computer, any time from anywhere, also absolutely accurate and completely secure.  If the government wants to be super-secure in the voting, it could require that you use your fingerprint for identification and verification, which you may be doing already as your password on your iPhone.  Nothing is easier.  

Therefore it seems that there is really no reason at all not to change to electronic voting in all our elections.

Look at the cost this would reduce!  Dramatically.  And all the commotion, facilities, paid and unpaid workers, that would no longer be needed.  Actually most of it could be run by computers, only monitored and supervised by a few individuals who’d make sure the computers are working correctly.  No need for partisan hacks to come around to mess with the data.  Don’t you think that should be easy to do?

So why hasn’t it been done yet? Why are we still voting in the most medieval way?  Having to show up in person or fill out intricately designed ballots which need to be filled out format-correct, signed, sealed or unsealed according to instructions, and then entrusted to a Postal Service, which in more cases than not, may delay delivery past the voting day time.

Voting electronically is straight forward instead, much easier, 100% secure (see fingerprint), and eliminates all the means which, in one way or another, could be influenced by partisan management.  Plus a considerable side benefit:  Greatly reduced cost of the whole endeavor.

Thus it makes sense if electronic voting were adopted nationally.  In addition to the enormous cost savings, it would make our democracy better and stronger.  Congress or the president could use that electronic voting connection for gauging the country’s position on major issues which may need to be decided.  Congress could go back to the voters in midterm, or any time, to get their thinking on whatever the major issue might be. This ability would eliminate or at least greatly reduce the objections, or even hatred, building up for the next election date.  It would enable the government to govern better because of continuous feedback from the governed.  And the cost therefor would be negligible, if any.

The biggest concern circulating about electronic voting is the presumed possibility of hacking (such as by hackers on FaceBook and Twitter, the Russian disinformation campaigns, etc), and the subsequent alteration of votes to benefit a given candidate.  Well, these same hackers or others like them have been and are trying to crack into your and everybody else’s bank accounts online to move money into their hide-aways.  Yet, the banks’ electronic security systems have been and are making this a rather fruitless endeavor.  Of course the same would apply to the attempt of stealing electronic votes.

By the way, there ARE already countries which do use electronic voting extensively.  So far, Estonia seems to be the only country in the world that relies exclusively on what’s called “internet voting.”  In Canada, online voting is possible for municipal elections in Ontario and Nova Scotia.  Already in 2004, the Netherlands used i-voting for an election to the Rijnland Water Board and in 2006 (for overseas voters) for national elections.  In Switzerland some cantons offer online voting.  And more.

So, there is no good reason why the U.S. is so far behind in using electronic technology to make voting safer, faster, and more reliable.  Now, therefore, after this election is over and well before the next one is coming up, please go to your representative, your senator, the powers-that-be, and urge them to make our democracy stronger, greatly reduce the cost and circumstances of voting, by switching to electronic voting.  Yes, in the 21st century this is not only possible, it is high time to conduct our voting in a 21st century manner.  We just need to do it.