Digital voting offers new possibilities, chance to make it count

If you didn’t vote, you can’t be unhappy with election results. That’s what most people say. It can be difficult to vote while at college because most people are not registered to vote in their college towns. Students are registered to vote in their areas, such towns in Long Island, Queens, the Bronx, Albany, Binghamton, all the way to Watertown and everywhere in between; not Oswego.

Of course, if you plan ahead, getting an absentee ballot is an easy way to make your vote. This year, I called my councilman’s office a week in advance to see if I could still vote. It turns out, that absentee ballots must be mailed in a week in advance. I had missed the boat. I’m the opinion editor without an opinion that matters in this mid-year election.  I thought one week was long enough to make a vote. After all, the automated message on the line I called said I could take care of the absentee ballot online. Wrong. Had I been two or more weeks earlier, I could have printed one out to mail in, but the PDF was already taken down.

That got me thinking. Had I made my absentee vote, I would have made it weeks before others. I wouldn’t have had as much time to think, or gather as much information as I would have if I was paying attention to the week that led up to the election. Those two weeks (at minimum) could really determine my vote.

The reason I remembered to inquire about the absentee ballot was because my councilman made a Facebook status urging people to call his office and make their votes. I did call his office only to be met with the toot of a horn pulling out of the marina. But what would have been better than a listed phone number would have been a link to a website where you could vote.

Though voting in booths is a tradition, the option for voting online should be available. I am certain more students would have casted a vote for the mid-term election had it been available electronically. Imagine filling out a survey with your name and information, driver license, passport or social security number, and being able to click the bubble with the candidate of your choice? Tallying the polls would be easier as well.

Of course, as with any system, there could be risks. People might try to vote twice, but once the submission is recorded with their identification, they could be blocked from filling out another online form. While other issues with online voting may arise, like the threat of hackers or leaked information, it is something that would need to be worked on like any other system.

We won’t be able to know how successful it is unless we try. Let’s vote digitally and get more votes!

One thought on “Digital voting offers new possibilities, chance to make it count

  1. In addition to increased accessibility, a fully digital system has the potential, in some ways, to be more secure than one that relies on paper. Eschewing the physical limitations of stacks of paper can give votes more “mobility,” and would allow the final tally to be conducted by an increased number of independent agencies, perhaps leading to better accuracy and reducing the possibility of fraud. Also, since every digital exchange can be recorded, individual voters can retain documentation of their own votes, which could be worked to serve as a check against inaccurate results. Of course, as the article indicates, digital transmission deals with its own set of fakes and forgeries. Additionally, it’s hard to build trust for a system that appears to be more easily tampered with; as is the case when comparing pure data with physical copies. Perhaps though, a civic discussion over civic mechanisms would lead to an increase in civic engagement?

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