TED Conversations

Melissa Seideman


This conversation is closed.

Is Internet Voting Inevitable?

How might the internet alter U.S. democratic institutions, including how Americans get information about and even vote for their public officials in general elections, has been the subject of much debate in recent months. Online voting is one of the most controversial aspects in this debate- a subject that began in March 2000 when the Arizona Democratic Party allowed for the first time remote Internet voting in its presidential primary race.

The prospect of being able to vote "in your pajamas," as its been described captured the imagination of political leaders, technology innovators, and voters around the world.

Is internet voting inevitable? Do you think people should be forced to assemble at polling places in order to cast their ballots? Is there benefits from entering the "public sphere?"


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 17 2013: Melissa, Yeah, it will most likely occur, but not without significant growing pains. I would suggest that your AP consider a Cassandra Group. The case study would be that " voting in all elections is to be by internet". Items to consider: 1) What percentage of voters own a computer. 2) How will the voter be identified 3) Can we assumed that there is no duress at the voting location 4) Is privacy ensured 5) Is there positive ID 6) Has registration been verified 7) what would be considered a valid challenge .... and so forth.

    Here is the big glitch ... if home computer voting is approved then would it be mandatory that each home have a computer? If none is available then would the government be made to provide one since this is mandatory. If I cannot pay to join a cable / satellite / etc .... would that cost also go to the government? Since I do not have the home capability to vote is the government responsible to transport me to a voting location? Would voting at the work site be allowed? Would the employer be mandated to give time for each employee to vote?

    Like Obamacare would the government subsidize the effort ... how much ... how long.

    How would you enforce no campaigning near the voting site? How about smoking .... drinking ....

    Absentee ballots .... overseas voting for citizens .... military .... unregistered voters ..... how would the laws have to be changed?

    Percentage that currently votes over last three elections .... projected change in percentage

    Cost of elections ... projected cost of home computer voting

    Just some fodder .... I believe it is important for the students to know the cause and effect of such projected changes and do the math prior to the vote / implementation.

    You have been awarded a "BOB apple" for teaching excellence.

    I am Bob Winner of Joseph City Arizona USA ... a political Independent ... 70 years young.

    Please let us know the outcome .. I wish you well .. Bob
    • thumb
      Oct 17 2013: We've had dismal and dismaying numbers turn out for our local body elections, enough that it is seriously being looked at as an alternative.It almost looks like what happened to churches from the late 1890's up, a desertion. Our largest city of 1.4 million only had around 10% vote. Lately, sex scandals and lying as well as fraud has high lighted our local politicians lives nationally and the people have become animated, even if they didn't vote, i'm hoping it galvanizes them to get involved.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: We in the US suffer the same problems. Lack of transparency, lying, the blame game, and and political promises that are Constitutionally questionable. We see daily the rise of our leadership to elite status that are above the law.

        We have political apathy. The vote now goes to those who make the most outlandish promise of freebies.

        During campaigns the essentials to the health of the country are seen as "other" considerations. Our economy is in the toilet ... our unemployment is around 20% plus ... we will be at 17 trillion dollars in debit by the end of the year ... we are a whisker away from both a recession and depression which could occur at the same time ... we have no foreign policy .. we are a failed diplomatic country ... the media has stopped reporting the news ... our education system is now in the control of the government and our kids are being indoctrinated to the party line of thought.

        If this sounds bad think about this .... I am the optimistic one.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
    • thumb
      Oct 19 2013: Thanks so much for sharing your opinion from Arizona. I really appreciate your story. Thanks for sharing more ways to critically evaluate the issue with the discussion. My students will be posting their own responses here on Friday.
      • thumb
        Oct 19 2013: Melissa, You are more than welcome. I came here from Illinois where the dead voted for Mayor Daily. There will always be a political machine and those who wish to manipulate the vote and corrupt the powers given them.

        What you are teaching the student is to analyze and seek preventive measures, cause and effect, etc .. PRIOR to serious consideration or implementation. Your student will be capable of doing their own thinking. That is refreshing.

        I applaud that effort. Bob.
    • thumb
      Oct 20 2013: Absolutely, the devil is in the details as the saying goes and you provide excellent points of reference for such a discourse. For me, the involvement of the students is where I find joy. For those who are being governed, to be involved in a free flowing examination of creating a Net based decision making process is where true citizenship is found. Belonging and involvement go hand in hand :)

      I particularly enjoyed Jimmy Strobl's Liquid democracy as it pertains here.
    • Oct 24 2013: Sure there would be positive ID Bob. Every government subsidized computer would have an RF ID reader.
      You would be required to come in and regester to vote and have the ID emplanted under the skin of you're arm.
      No problem. Right?
      Get um Bob!
    • Oct 28 2013: you bring up an interesting point, because there would be no way to regulate political ads online. Hypothetically, if one candidate had enough money, he or she could reach many people on election day, maybe even literally as the person was about to cast a ballot.
      Also, the internet is such a deep, un-mapped entity that it does worry me that somehow something could slip through the cracks.
      Regardless, internet voting is a great idea and should soon become as popular as traditional methods.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.