Melissa Seideman

Teacher,

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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?"

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    Oct 19 2013: I believe government should evolve as society does. In our era is only natural to apply our resources to meet the challenges we face. eComerce, eBanking, and virtually all other fields in our society have jumped to make use of the internet. It is a good infrastructure and can revolutionize politics. Internet already does much to share information (vital for a democracy), promote transparency in many issue; and voting should not be any different. I believe there is not just one way of making this change, but actually many good ways of achieving it. I personally think eVoting should be based on a open source secured platform. Transparency should one of the most if not the most important element to safeguard the integrity of the process.
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      Oct 21 2013: Thank you Jose for highlighting the fact that the Internet is already open source and that it is secure for banks. It would revolutionise democracy by making it more nibble (like flocks of fish or birds that are able to change direction at a moments notice to avoid pitfalls or retreat from overspendings or going to war on false pretenses). No matter what fear mongers say, I am sure manipulation of votes would be detected in open source software.
      And, William Clegg, well said. This is a letter I sent 3 times to the President, trying to get him to realise this approach, to no avail:"I know the times are tough.
      In tough times it is important not to miss the needle in the haystack, but this is the third same needle I have thrown you and I hope it floats up to you in time.
      1/ There are a lot of people that have been out of work for over the legal time restrictions that impede them from coming out with new Ideas due to their previous employment.

      2/ Companies are sitting on a lot more money(than the Government has and) than they know what to do with.

      3/ YOU could really STIMULATE this down economy the way America became inventive, by offering FREE Patent Registration for whatever you feel is more important (I say everything...)

      This would protect the cash strapped inventors from being robbed by Companies and those Companies would be clamoring to help get those good ideas to market and people would be ready for more efficient "Gadgets" and hence we would become more efficient. And for $800-$900 a Patent, what a deal...
      Sincerely,"
      • Oct 24 2013: Well since democracy is a failure in all cases and it is inevitable it will fail here too why not make it even larger. The internet could destroy the world that way.
  • Oct 19 2013: How about internet governing completely? Get rid of congress and senate and have people make and vote on their own laws. How could anyone lobby that?
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    Oct 19 2013: I sure hope so!

    But for the US, not that big of a chance for it happening soon...
    But in Sweden (where I'm at) there's a snowball starting to roll with a party called Aktiv Demokrati (Active Democracy), We vote about any/everything and majority rules. You can choose a representative and/or vote directly on any question 24/7.

    So we use a form of Delegative democracy that's called Liquid democracy, Check to Youtube and/or Wiki to get a better understanding.

    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8
    Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegative_democracy
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      Oct 19 2013: Thanks so much for sharing the way you vote in Sweden. I really appreciate your story. Thanks for sharing more resources with the discussion.
    • Oct 24 2013: Yeah we noticed the new Democratic Socalism at work there. What is it now? Guarenteed $2,900. US dollars a month for all citizens.
      How many people did you have to rob for that Democracy?
      Democracy is only the very worst form of government ever dreamed up.
      MOB rules. Gotta love it when you are the minority and majority rules.
      What if the majority wanted Shria law?
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        Oct 25 2013: Morter where are you from? Just curious. You brought up some interesting points.
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        Oct 31 2013: Hey Morter,

        Yeah, the Swiss have an upcoming vote on that, sadly I'm not Swiss...

        I haven't robbed anyone...

        I think that the current forms of democracy that exist in most places are very flawed, but that the basic idea is solid, with a liquid democracy and internet voting there would be so many upsides to society compared to any other that I've examined... What form of government do you prefer?

        As I see it we have three basic choices on who rules whom.
        1. No one rules anything - Total freedom or total anarchy, call it what you will.
        2. Minority rule - It's basically what we have today, "we the people" don't really get our say in things... You're lucky minority doesn't rule because they want Sharia law and a whole other messed up stuff...
        3. Majority rule - The way it's presented to be but isn't.

        Can you name any examples of democracies with Sharia law?
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    Oct 17 2013: There is so much money and power involved, and the risk/reward is so great, that taking the step toward internet voting is only going to happen when those who control it feel they can make the switch and keep control.

    Security and accessibility are issues that can be overcome, but only when those in control want them to be overcome.

    Having said that, I do believe that we will see internet voting at some point in the future.
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      Oct 17 2013: I completely agree! Security and accessibility issues will be resolved over time, but until those who have been able to maintain control are either exposed more clearly or decide they can continue to do so in this new medium, it won't happen.
    • Oct 23 2013: I agree! The security concerns/issues can be overcome. At some point, we will have to evolve as technology advances.
  • Oct 17 2013: The greatest level of accessibility should always be afforded to anyone that wishes to participate in civil society. The scapegoat of security, or that laziness may spring from the ease of speaking one's mind, should not be used to filter the voices of any citizen.

    While there can be a benefit to entering the public sphere to vote, polling stations were created as a point of accessibility, not a public forum for information and discourse. The Supreme Court has consistently struck down any mechanism that would impair a citizen from voting. Internet voting awaits only viability. Our laboratories of democracy will be the proving grounds that pave the way toward a new level of accessibility for civic participation.
    • Oct 24 2013: Please show me a civil society on this planet!
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    Oct 16 2013: There are a couple problems with this concept. First, we obviously have issues with security. Until some of the more fundamental security issues are addressed I don't think internet voting is viable.

    Is internet voting inevitable? I want to say yes because it seems to follow the path of technological progression happening within our society. It may also be a good way to increase participation.

    I think there are some other factors to consider. Increased participation isn't indicative of an increase in voter awareness. I believe we have a lack of informed voters. Internet voting may just aggravate that issue.

    Internet voting may allow us to implement systems capable of educating voters as well. It would definitely be interesting. I just think there are a few obstacles that need some attention before internet voting is a reality.
  • Oct 29 2013: Voting for somebody to represent me seems like such an anachronism.
    Here in Washington state, we've been voting my mail-in ballot for years. A transition to online voting isn't a big stretch at all.
    However, after watching the virulent minority of the Tea Party hold my country hostage for two weeks, I'm thinking that Congress has no business making budgetary decision at all.
    Why can't I just tell the IRS where I want my tax dollars to go? That seems like the most democratic method.
  • Oct 27 2013: As technology continues to rapidly develop the possibility of Internet voting becomes inevitable. Though their are still flaws within the system the pros outweigh the cons if executed properly and could potentially be very beneficial for our political system, encouraging and or allowing more people to vote, with easier accessibility. Likewise, hackers and educating the people on the new technology that is required to vote may cause issues and take time. Overall I believe it will be a step in the right direction to increase voter turn out and therefore enhance our democratic system allowing the people's voice to be heard and represented through the government.
  • Oct 27 2013: Internet voting is inevitable. Our society always tends towards fastest and easiest. Though there are certain threats present in Internet voting, there are an equal amount of problems with ballot voting and we will never have a perfect system. It will open up the vote to a much wider population and the will of the people will be more accurately reflected.
  • Oct 27 2013: Some 200 plus years ago when American Representative Democracy was set up it was a revolutionary idea, but strangely did not involve a lot of popular voting - ie the President was still elected by Electors chosen by state legislatures, and Senators were likewise elected by state legislatures. House Representatives were elected by popular vote, but only propertied white men could vote. The point here is that everything starts somewhere, not unlike "training wheels on a child's bicycle", and progresses as society progresses.
    Judging on how far the internet has come in a mere 20 years of existence, I have no doubt that 200 years from now it will be a major factor in government. The Internet is the evolving "global brain", and it is inconceivable that government including internet voting will not be a part of it.
    Internet voting will start with low risk augmentations to the existing voting systems to get us on the learning curve.
    Once we get comfortable with the internet voting process, it will expand.
    As an example of a low risk entre' to internet voting governments could consider starting with "advisory" referendums. Also consider that in the US at any given time on any given issue numerous polling entities publicize the results of scientific polls statistically accurate to within +/- 3 percent. If there is overwhelming support shown in an "advisory" referendum, and polls corroborate this within their statistical margin of error, then the results of the "advisory" referendum have credibility. All that remains is a mechanism to hold representatives accountable to the voters rather than money'd special interests.
    At this point knee jerk libertarians scream tyranny of the majority, and I understand that. There are ways to minimize this in a well designed referendum and initiative system of government, and when done right this is preferable to tyranny by the big money dominated political elites. It is a big step toward political equality.
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      Oct 27 2013: Nicely presented Tom. Of course, by extrapolating your points a little further we should find that the politicians and the political parties they belong to disappearing and being replaced, possibly by people with real managerial abilities, namely employees that can be fired for incompetence and corruption unlike politicians. And there could well be different managers for different aspect of that governance, all with the responsibility of enacting the will of the people as decided by the online referendum system but with the power and authority for their governance remaining with the electorate.

      As indicated below in another response, I believe that municipal governance is the ideal place to begin the learning process you talk about. :)
    • Oct 29 2013: --Also consider that in the US at any given time on any given issue numerous polling entities publicize the results of scientific polls statistically accurate to within +/- 3 percent. If there is overwhelming support shown in an "advisory" referendum, and polls corroborate this within their statistical margin of error, then the results of the "advisory" referendum have credibility.--

      Actually with just that in mind. How can someone pull out a win when polls had them behind and it appeared they often could no fill a house party. I would trust a centralized vote more then trunks full of ballots any day.
  • Oct 27 2013: I think that as technology continues to advance from the point that it is already at, voting on the internet is inevitable. It has it's difficulties and problems that have to be kept in mind but I think it's the next logical step for the U.S. Even if it doesn't replace manual voting, it would become another option for people to vote more easily. It would help to increase voter turnout.
  • Oct 25 2013: Internet voting solves the problem of people having to work or vote on election day. It could be especially effective in areas of high population density, since lines can be very long at times. It is definitely more than just an "alternate choice." Although I have no sympathy for lazy people who don't vote, it might encourage more people who normally don't vote to vote.
    • Oct 27 2013: I agree with you about the people who do not really care or have a grasp on the issues voting because it is convenient. If electronic voting was on an application basis, meaning that you had to apply for it with reason ex: you work late on Election Day, do you think it would better represent the people? Do you have any reasonable doubt that electronic voting will be unjust due to hackers? Or do you think that the US would realistically be able to control the entire process?
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    Oct 25 2013: I believe the greatest advantage of online balloting is the empowerment of ordinary citizens to wrest control of their governing institutions from those with vested interests such as political parties and backroom dealmakers more commonly known as lobbyists.

    The obvious place to start online balloting is with municipal and local issues. This is where people are more like to have an interest and will more likely want a say. The smaller populations along with the relatively small number of issues that communities deal with each year provides an excellent vehicle for becoming proficient users of the process.

    Where I live local politics is often dominated by elected officials in the camp of local developers or boondoggle promoters seeking to foist their own interests on the community - just like in national elections - which invariably finds itself powerless to respond by the time we figure out what is going on.
  • Oct 24 2013: There are positives and negatives to internet voting. It would probably influence a better voting turnout but not everyone has a computer. Also not everyone is technologically savvy. Some people won't necessarily know how to vote online. But regardless of positives and negatives I think internet voting is inevitable because of such a high demand for everything to be online. Even things like college applications are preferred to be done online.
  • Oct 23 2013: Yes, some people are unable to get out of the house to vote or they are unwilling to wait a few hours just to vote. With the technology nowadays, it may soon become a thing.
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    Oct 19 2013: Of course online voting is an inevitable consequence of the popularity of social media. And all the ranting about security issues is nonsense. The financial community moves trillions of dollars around the planet every day using the Net and there is no group more paranoid that they might be hacked than those that deal with money.

    The greatest barrier to online voting will be the vested interests of the existing system and those who do not welcome change.

    But the greatest advantage of online voting will be the opportunity for voters to eventually be able to speak directly to any fiscal change. That is to say, Direct Democracy is becoming more and more popular every day and online balloting allows the electorate to first discuss and debate the pros and cons of any fiscal issue and then to vote on it themselves. In this way the authority for how our tax dollars are spent will reside squarely in the hands of the taxpayers rather than political parties and backroom deal makers who infest practically every level of government these days.

    A fundamental principle of the democratic process is that those being governed have direct input into that governance. Unfortunately the too easily corrupted representative system has been ignoring that basic fact for ages. Online balloting will finally empower those being governed to better direct that governance.
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    Oct 18 2013: In Australia we still use ballot papers and pencils and manual counting. Many people complain about how low tech it is and how potentially inaccurate it is. eg A whole box of votes was lost in our latest federal election, 1000 votes almost not counted. Then I point out that one hacker could change 100,000 votes in a couple of seconds over the internet, and paper and pencil doesn't look so bad.
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      Oct 19 2013: Thanks so much for sharing the way you vote in Austria. I really appreciate your opinion. Thanks for sharing
    • Oct 24 2013: Thanks for one of the few voices of reason here!
  • Oct 17 2013: Of course.
    Internet voting will be like everything else.
    Just another way to count votes.

    You won't even need pajamas, your cell phone
    computer will work in the shower too,

    Just soap up and vote.
    .
    Of course, the downside to peeking tom's is
    that incarceration could be for 20 years.
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    Oct 16 2013: Thank you for participating my AP students will be participating in this debate and I love the idea of already have global collaboration of this topic. Thanks for making learning "real."


    Please let me know what state or country you are from (please reply to this post). My students are from New York and they will be participating in this discussion with a high school in Texas next week.
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      Oct 19 2013: In the U.K internet voting was suggested by the then Prime-Minister Tony Blair (in the general election of 2005, I think). But by this time he was so distrusted (especially after dragging us into the Iraq war despite 2 million people walking the streets in protest) that no one trusted him with the idea of internet voting. Even a paper vote is hard enough to ensure transparency. With internet voting it is virtually impossible - there are many points along the internet line that where the votes can be secretly changed by those in power, if they so wished.
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    Nov 13 2013: If you think it, it will come.
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    Nov 12 2013: It will become necessary. Biometrics will play an important role, and age will not be a determinate. As long as one can read, one can vote. If "Coco" can learn to read enough to respond with her own opinion, she should be able to vote as well. The current system is an epic fail as well as the corporate industrial complex.
  • Nov 12 2013: I believe that internet voting will eventually be a reality. The biggest issue in regards to internet voting is the security, however I can guarantee that 25 years ago if you asked someone if nearly everyone would have online banking and bill pay, they would have responded with the same security issue, however today I’m not sure that I know anyone that does not participate in online banking. I believe that if banking can be done securely online, voting can be done securely online, and since one major issue in regards to voting is turn out, yet most people are online every day, I would imagine that voter turn out would be significantly increased by allowing voting to be conducted online.
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    Nov 12 2013: I think that electronic vote, is more valuable and valid than ever.
    To vote in PIjamas, not only for political matters, but for social stuff, like, streets, new buildings, health benefits, abortion, etc, would be good for the progress of society.
    Of course, that is counting with certain level of preparation and literacy, which may not be easy to average or measure.
    So, at the end, it would not matter the level of the society, since in it´s own principle, contemplates the disparity of opinions, literacy, knowledge and focus.
    Thanks Melissa...
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    Nov 11 2013: to me NO! well internet is almost everything to me and i am really happy with it!
  • Nov 8 2013: No. However, "non-precinct" voting may be, once identification bugs get worked out. Of course, either method will require proper identification for all voters...
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    Nov 8 2013: Short answer - probably; however just because we may at some point in the not too distant future be able to vote via the internet, it doesn't automatically follow that more people will vote.

    It seems to me that the reasons why, especially in the UK and USA, that voting turn outs are so low, and falling is that the wider population is disenfranchised from the political system.

    Politicians irrespective of their political bias, increasingly seem to have less and less in common with the people that they are supposed to be representing and defending. Their decision making processes are "short-term" and designed to get them re-elected and often have very little to do with the national "greater good".

    Until such time as the political elite and ruling classes get their act together and show them selves through their conduct as being deserving of our vote, I think fewer and fewer people will exercise their right to vote, no matter how easy the voting process may become.
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    Nov 2 2013: With the internet as it exists today, I hope not. The attack surfaces for the democratic process would be numerous and incredible.

    To be fair, voting machines come with their share of bugs and backdoors. For anyone who's interested, security professionals gave a presentation at DefCon after their investigation of Diebold voting machines - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpoYDuGtD1o
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    Oct 31 2013: I choose not to vote on the issue of internet voting
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    Oct 30 2013: Melissa, Could you give a brief summary of how this went and suggestions to others who may like to follow in a class project. Also how did the interface with Texas go.

    Thanks, Bob.
  • Oct 29 2013: I'd doubt it. No computer system is secure. Imagine the havoc hackers could wreak. People could control governments through a single computer. Any country that did this would be leaving themselves open to corruption and terrorism. Things like this should stay physical.
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      Oct 30 2013: Today’s lotteries are done by computers and they have complex security with backward traceable threading because when it comes to money no one wants that stuff lost. Financial threading is a technique of having multiple paths through the data each vindicating that it’s been accounted for.

      For example if you were to send your vote to the voting precinct it would assign you the next number let’s say you were 703rd person to vote then this number would be sent to the candidate-A which would mark you as the 43rd person that voted for her then both numbers would be sent back to you. Forever connecting 703 vote with the 43 vote for candidate-A. Some other person would get into those queues and get the subsequent numbers. The candidate is going to know how many votes they have received (as they happen) because they have doled out the numbers. The precinct is going to know how many numbers it has doled out as well. This is a very simplistic view but at least it demonstrates that it’s hard to modify the sequential numbers especially when these numbers have also been sent to the state and perhaps even higher where they can attach accountable numbering as well. So every level is aware of every number being doled out (inter joined) and in fact every step can be back traced in actual order it took place. The only technical problem left is to verify that you are the person about to vote.
  • Oct 29 2013: Internet voting is inevitable in my opinion. I belive that it will go a long way to increasing voter turnout. Allowing voters to vote at their own convinience during the day will attract far more voters, as they won't be constrained by obligations on a Tuesday. I do think that it is necessary to retain the traditional forms of voting, for those who cannot access the internet to vote.
  • Oct 28 2013: Internet voting is inevitable. Democrats and Republicans can agree that Internet voting is extremely likely for the future of America’s election process. It is not a matter of IF it will happen, but rather WHEN it will happen. Although it is bound to happen, should internet voting being the only option? No. I believe that Americans should not be forced to do anything concerning voting. Voting is a basic American right. If citizens are forced to vote at the polls or forced to vote online, it takes away the basic right of choice. Although internet voting is inevitable(and in my opinion an interesting concept), citizens should have the right to cast their ballots by other means. They should not be restricted to a single voting method.
  • Oct 28 2013: Because technology is such a major part of our lives today, it's very likely that we will use some form of internet voting at sometime in the future. But even though it's easier, it poses a lot of threats to the security of people's votes. People can't be sure if there vote went through correctly, and there is always the possibility of being hacked. It also needs to be taken into consideration those people who don't have access to the internet, or don't use the internet. The older voters would oppose this idea while it would be more accepted by the younger generations. I personally don't like the idea of internet voting because there are so many things that could go wrong in the voting or counting process, and it would honestly complicate, an extremely complicated system, further.
  • Oct 27 2013: Although internet voting has the ability to greatly increase Americas voter turnout, there are so many factors that will prevent people from voting online. These factors include the lack of security and the inaccesability to cast their vote from an electronic device. When dealing with the worldwide web, it is not exactly easy to protect your personal identity. Secondly, a large margin of the older population is not familiar with today's technology and therefore internet voting is of no use to the elderly home bound. Conclusively, while online voting could open the eyes of Americans to a whole new world, the funding required for such an idea is not available, especially if many are not going o take advantage of the new opportunity.
  • Oct 27 2013: Before internet voting can become an effective and reliable method of voting, flaws, such has security, and people's concerns have to be worked out first. In the future though, internet voting will most likely become inevitable due to society's increasing dependence on technology. Internet voting will make it more convenient for people to vote during the work week and would give individuals the chance to vote who had difficulties prior to internet voting. College students and the youngest voting generation, which has the lowest voting participation, will receive the greatest benefit from internet voting because voting would become more convenient while away from home and they would adapt to it easily since they have grown up with modern technology.
  • Oct 25 2013: I think Internet voting is inevitable but a lot of the kinks need to be worked out before a lot of countries accept it. Especially in the US where the polling system works mostly well, it will take a long time before Internet voting is effective
  • Oct 25 2013: I think Internet voting is inevitable eventually, because it will make voting more accessible, especially for people working multiple jobs or have long shifts, as well as people who are traveling. At a time when voter turnout is so low, this could be the key to ensuring more people are able to vote. However, I do believe that it may take a while before it takes hold, because of all the skepticism about security and the huge financial costs.
  • Oct 25 2013: I'd say that Internet voting is inevitable since we live in a society which values convenience. Despite the risks involved with electronic voting, including potential hackers, I expect it to be an option for the entire country eventually. There seem to be a number of security issues to iron out.
  • Oct 25 2013: I feel that Internet voting is not exactly inevitable. It seems likely that, due to the way our nation is technologically advancing, Internet voting will become a prominent part of our society and governmental structure. However, this does not mean it is destined or unavoidable. Personally, I feel that it is dangerous and unreliable. No matter how much time and money is put into technology, problems occur. This was reiterated by our guest speaker, who explained that the countries who have already implemented voting have experienced a lot of difficulty with its processes. I would love to see Internet voting work flawlessly, as it would most likely increase voter turnout considerably, but I am skeptical as to how this is possible.
  • Oct 25 2013: I believe voting is inevitable because of the expanding and constant use of technology. It has its pros and cons. It could be very beneficial is increasing the amount of people who vote. However, there is the possibility of people being able to hack in and alter the results.
  • Oct 25 2013: Internet voting is inevitable in the current age of technology. It proves to be more efficient and increases voter turnout greatly because of the fact that is can be done from home or from a mobile device. As our country becomes more revolutionary in the age of technology, Internet voting will become more and more popular. Although, some may not like it, it proves to be a major step foward in the progression of political participation in our country.
  • Oct 25 2013: I think Internet voting is inevitable. There are many problems with it because it is still a very new thing. Older people may not like it because they just don't know how to work it. College students may very well like it though, especially if they aren't going to college in their home state. It eliminates the need for absentee ballots.
  • Oct 25 2013: Internet voting is a really interesting and modern concept. I think that this type of voting could be an important step in more political focus on the Internet. Although not flawless, I think that the pros outweigh the cons if done effectively.
  • Oct 25 2013: I do believe that it will inevitably become an option for voting, but I don't think that it will become the primary method. I still think there are too many flaws with it right now for it to be as effective as desired. I do think that there will always be the option to vote in person for everyone that doesn't trust the Internet voting or cannot figure out the internet voting. Personally I think it is a good idea once all the kinks are worked out, but I don't think it should be the only option.
  • Oct 25 2013: I would bet that opposition to Internet voting would be large at first. Eventually though, the Internet process will make voting easier and more accessible. The more companies that come out with Internet voting the more democratic countries around the world will adopt this process. Internet voting would probably make things easier.
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    Oct 24 2013: Just to re-iterate:

    all the chatter about security issues is nonsense, it is a red herring. The financial community moves trillions of dollars around the planet every day using the Net and there is no group more paranoid that they might be hacked than those that deal with money.

    The greatest barrier to online voting will be the vested interests of the existing system and those who do not welcome change.
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      Oct 25 2013: There are regular scams in financial transfers. Millions of dollars go missing every day, but do so in very subtle ways. If internet voting is to occur it will need to start at a local level and work its way up. Otherwise you will have one massive internet vote every four years, so the hackers will have four years to work out how to minipulate the result. As you say banks etc are using the net 24/7 and have full time security staff but they still get hacked.
    • Oct 25 2013: Voter fraud is an unfortunate reality, even though it is not widespread in America (except Chicago!), those who do it will no doubt target online voting, just as they do with the conventional system.
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      Oct 30 2013: Glad to hear that security is a red herring ... I can stop worrying about NSA now ... the internet is secure.
  • Oct 24 2013: People stop singing the praises of Democracy! It is just one step away from the worst of the worst forms of government and always devolves into something horrible.
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      Oct 24 2013: This is a little bit too shortsighted too in my opinion. I personally think the current "democracy" as in the US and my own country (Netherlands) is very far from ideal. We have mostly managers as politicians, who don't real have an ear for the voice of the majority of the citizens who call for a bit more equality. Switzerland is doing a bit better, with direct democracy..

      Esentialy the best form of government is one that can evolve and adapt to the needs of all (innovate governance!) . Europe seems to aim for that just so: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/futurium/en/content/connecting-futurium-research
      Join that event (possibly online) if you are living in europe and truly interested in policy making.
      Would love to hear a talk about Futurium..

      You made me think of this talk:
      http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_x_li_a_tale_of_two_political_systems.html
  • Oct 24 2013: Internet voting is inevitable; it gets more people to vote because of it being easily accessible. That's good for the society to be a part of things, and even if they wanted to take it away I think the people would eventually make it internet accessible considering the internet is becoming a part of most things we do now.
  • Oct 24 2013: Of course voting on the internet has its advantages and disadvantages, as every conflict does. I believe we should not be allowed to vote over the internet, for the simple fact so many people now are more technologically advanced and could easily hack the system. As if you go to a public poll (like we've had to for years) the state is assured it was a fair vote. Why change something that has been the same for years? What is wrong with going to a public poll right down the road? I understand technology is more advanced now, but so are the people, which makes it more easy for the system to be hacked, or for people to illegally vote.
  • Oct 24 2013: Internet voting may seem inevitable, but there would have to be a lot of security precautions and there are a few flaws in it . Having access to the internet usually requires owning a computer or smartphone of some sort, which could be argued that it would be a poll tax. The only way this could work is if there is an option to still go somewhere to vote, because if not , it is unconstitutional.
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      Oct 24 2013: This security issue is nonsense, a red herring. The financial community moves trillions of dollars around the globe every day and there is no group that is more paranoid of hacking then the money traders.

      In Canada even the homeless have free accessible internet access through our libraries and there may be no more important segment of the population that deserves voting accessibility than the indigent and disadvantaged.
  • Oct 24 2013: Our society has become dependant on technology, and our lives are consumed by it. So yes, I do think internet is inevitable, because so many people want to implement it and think it will be easier and do so much good.
    However, I do believe people should have to go to a polling place to cast their ballot, because the voters that go out and vote are the ones who are atleast someone educated in it. They should also go out and vote because of security reasons, I believe voting through the internet is not secure enough, and anyone could hack into the system and mess it up.
    Sure, there are some benefits to internet voting--a higher voter turnout, but that is the only major benefit I can think of.

    I see internet voting as having more detriments. Anyone could be "voting." The people turning up online who would not originally go out to the polls will most likely just click a person and be done with it. The internet is dominated by people trying to hack it and it is not secure enough for a process that should be more, for lack of a better word, important.
    • Oct 24 2013: I just kind of worked off of yours, i find your comment among others the most well thought out
    • Oct 24 2013: Even though I think of internet voting being a good thing over all, you make a very good point as to how internet voting could be easily tampered and how the people using that voting method could lack more knowledge than ones who would normally go out to a polling places.
  • Oct 24 2013: Internet voting definitely has it's advantages, as well as disadvantages, but it is inevitable. Most people now own computers, and it is much easier to go online and vote than it is to go to a polling place. Though it is easier and probably a lot faster, it may also cause voting fraud and possibly miscounting of votes, Either way, with the advances in technology, Internet voting is inevitable.
  • Oct 24 2013: Yes! Inevitable. However, it may be eclipsed by the rapidly declining faith in the actual value of the Vote itself. Crossing trajectories I think......
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    Oct 24 2013: I can't see why personally showing up at the voting booth should be any different than voting over the internet.
    We already do so many things over the internet that I'm actually surprised that voting in most cases still needs that you personally drag yourself to a booth.
    Internet voting actually might increase voter participation because it will basically hassle free. More voters participating means a better representation of the public opinion which in return favors the democratic process.
    So, finally answering the question, yes, I believe internet voting will be inevitable.
    • Oct 24 2013: But would it truly be a better representation of the public opinion when half of the people voting--the ones who would not go out and vote in the first place-- most likely know nothing about politics or the people they are voting for
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        Oct 24 2013: Do you believe that al people who go to the booth are properly informed ? I don't see any reason why people voting over the internet should be less politically informed than the ones walking down the road to vote.
      • Oct 24 2013: There it is. We are not supposed to be a Democracy.
        We are a Constitutional Republic.
        Acting like a Democracy is at least 90% of what is killing this once great nation.
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          Oct 24 2013: Morter, you don't seem familiar with the term "democracy". Here a reminder the definition according to Webster's dictionary. Hope that helps.

          "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections"
    • Oct 24 2013: If internet voting increases voter participation, because it is hassle free just shows Americans are lazy. I get that technology is more advanced now, but so are the people; who could hack the system, vote illegally, crash the system, etc. Why change something that has been the same for so many years? Going to a public poll is a fair vote. Public polls are more accurate.The people who take the time out of their day to vote, probably know a little more about politics than people who would vote over the internet.
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        Oct 24 2013: Katie, fraudulent activities will always be possible even if you vote at the booth.
        The argument of "why changing something that worked for so long" is actually pretty scary to me. If we would follow your line of thought, we'd still live in caves.
  • Oct 24 2013: I do think people should be allowed to vote over the Internet because technology is advancing. Some people may have kids or things left to do at home and are unable to go out and vote. I definitely think this is inevitable
  • Oct 23 2013: I agree as well. I think internet voting is definitely inevitable. We are making huge strides in technology and I think it will continue to improve, therefore they aren't going to stop people from voting online. I think it should be up to the citizen whether they want to go to the polls or stay at home.
  • Oct 23 2013: Once the right securities are placed, it's possible. Technology is changing and we need to change with it. The current voting method we use is too time consuming and requires much effort.
    • Oct 23 2013: I agree completely.
    • Oct 24 2013: I agree completely. It would be much easier to stay home and vote online, and we have to advance with technology.
    • Oct 24 2013: Are you really that lazy?
    • Oct 25 2013: I agree completely with this statement. It is where our world is heading because of the easy accessibility to an entire population, yet there still needs to be more security available before it is a sound system.
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    Oct 21 2013: There can be little doubt that voting will be done by Internet once the proper security provisions are in place. Seems quite a natural evolution of events to me... The current method of public polling requires too much time, effort, and resources to match our technological pace of life.
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    Oct 21 2013: Since it is thought that everything could be done on the internet; I'd say, yes. But be ready for some hacker in some obscure corner of the globe, deciding who gets what, as far as US (and other nations) political offices are concerned.
  • Oct 20 2013: I vote yes.

    And to project the question a little further into the future...

    Will communities living under one government eventually migrate to the web? In other words, will geographic location become irrelevant? Is it possible that infrastructure will require international diplomacy? Could your next door neighbour be a different country? What if shared ethics trumps ethnicity? What would the world look like then?
    • Oct 24 2013: It doesn't matter any way. Soon as agenda 21 kicks in the elected folk will answer to some obscure un accountable smarter than all of us person or persons unknown in the UN some where unknown.

      It's fair. You work they profit.
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    Oct 19 2013: Thanks so much for sharing your opinion form the UK. I really appreciate your response, Thanks for sharing more ideas with the discussion.
  • Oct 19 2013: In Oregon, US, where I live, we have universal voting by mail. It seems to work very well, doesn't involve weather or polling-place issues, and - at least so far - hasn't been corrupted. The skeptical are always free to call to verify that their vote has been counted. All one needs is a postal address to which a ballot may be sent. My 92 year-old mom doesn't participate in anything internet, is too frail to go to the polls, but she definitely can and does vote by mail. The system works.
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      Oct 19 2013: Really Neat! I wonder how many other places do voting by paper like that? Thanks so much for sharing the way you vote with my class discussion.
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    Oct 18 2013: Voting is bullshit, where one party and one individual gets right to rule all the country people; even on those who have not voted for Him or Her, My freedom to follow my chosen one is crushed down in the name of freedom.

    Please read my other comments so that you get an elaborate Idea of what I am talking about.
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    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
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      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.
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        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.
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      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.
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        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.
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      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.
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    Oct 17 2013: Internet voting as well as voting computers will never be save against manipulation!

    Flawless or secure computer programs are myths.

    Is it really that hard for us to get out of our pajamas once in four years?

    Our vote security is worth it!
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      Oct 19 2013: Do you vote by paper in Germany as we do in Sweden?
      On our last election some of those papers "disappeared"... into a trench... I'd rather have encryption on a server then some random person counting votes that never get to be validated...

      Can you be sure that your vote was counted in the last election because I can't...
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        Oct 19 2013: There is no 100% security in any voting procedure we could come up with, yet I prefer the most save.

        The most votes are done on paper in Germany and there are just a view voting computers in some areas. The supervision of the process is ensured by many people from different parties, which in their own interest control each other, and there are also officials. All of them are personally accountable in case of fraud. The papers get stored for a certain time frame, so that they can be checked again id necessary.

        When paper 'disappear' a new election has to be held and investigations kick in to figure out what happened.

        I can only encourage you to dig deeper into the so called 'encryption wars' between the hacker community and government agencies where you will find, that hackers highly warn never to trust in any encryption! Hacker are highly talented people in this field, more than I am, but I understand their concerns, agree with their arguments and follow their warning. I found in the German hacker community one of the most pure democratic spirits in my country, the are concerned, they care and this is what convinces me.

        Can't I be sure that my vote is counted? No, nobody can, unless you follow the whole process yourself, which we can here in Germany, at least on local levels.

        I choose for the lowest risk.
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          Oct 19 2013: Did you watch the related Talk by David Bismark?
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          Oct 19 2013: Thanks for sharing your discussion. I really love this global participation! Thanks for making my class have a richer discussion.
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        Oct 19 2013: No, I have not seen it. Recommended?
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        Oct 25 2013: @ Melissa & Jimmy

        I watched the talk by David Bismark in which his only argument for 'E-voting without fraud' was:

        Secure encryption

        Yet he didn't explain what makes 'his' encryption method any 'saver' than others and he also didn't explain how the vote verification on the Internet is protected against manipulation and how a 'user' can be assured that the data he gets are the real data of the vote itself.

        Honestly, I am not surprised that David Bismark is avoiding to talk about this issues, as, as I said, there aren't any 'secure encryption methods' available one could trust in.

        He also didn't explain how the 'vote scanning system' is secured against fraud. He didn't even explain how it handles the data, how it collects and analyzes the. How is it connected? Via the unsafe Internet via unsafe encryption?

        How can I trust the company which wrote this encryption method? How can I trust the company which wrote the 'connection software'. How can I trust the company which wrote the analysis software?
        How do I know that no foreign intelligence agency is manipulating the E-vote in my country?

        Can you?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUhkOQtEKaw
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOVYnGd3lGI

        Just recently it came out, that the NSA has spied on the cellphone communication of the Chancellor of my country, and you can be very sure, that the cellphone she was using is not a usual one and was carefully 'secured' by encryption 'specialists'.

        Be careful whom you trust!
  • Oct 17 2013: A description of insane behavior.
    "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

    Voting: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    It doesn't work.

    Otherwise, doing the same thing over and over is called "practice".
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    Oct 17 2013: I think people just want a thumbs up or down option so it dosen't impact their lives.
  • Oct 16 2013: Not a problem if you want "me" to choose your officials and make your laws. What I am saying is there is "no" security using computers on the internet that I and probably thousands of others all over the world cannot break. It is a really good thing that I am not a criminal, lord knows I have had the chance.
    “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes”- Joseph Stalin

    vote "in your pajamas,"
    Anyone who is to lazy to drive to a voting place, I personally do not think deserves a vote, IMHO.
    Some people walk for miles for the privilege and or risk being killed just for the opportunity to vote.
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      Oct 16 2013: I appreciate your bringing your practical expertise into this.
      • Oct 16 2013: "Elementary, my dear Watson, Elementary." Glad to lend another perspective. It helps to consider all possibilities.
        • Oct 24 2013: I agree with your point of view. I also think we as Americans take advantage of our right to vote. As you stated, others risk being killed for the opportunity to vote; half of the American people are simply to lazy to vote. If someone won't go out to the polls, I don't believe they would have an opinion on who gets elected, they just select "Democrat" or "Republican" or choose a name they recognize, and that's that.
  • Oct 16 2013: The security issue seems to be the only real obstacle, alongside the technical problems that arise when you try to do anything new.

    Once those two are taken care of, I don't see why not. It'd save a lot of money and probably raise the voting percentages, if nothing else.