It may be a while before Americans can tweet their ballot or text their vote, but states are making strides to move elections from the voting booth into the hands — and even mobile devices — of voters. Across the country, states are gearing up to implement new voter technologies for 2014, as they attempt to advance the ballot-casting experience to catch up with the Facebook generation. The efforts range from bringing tablets to disabled voters to providing ballots through email and secure online systems to allowing voters to register online. One of the most significant recent leaps forward came in Pima County, Ariz., where voters for the first time used tablets (the Sony Tap 20 Windows 8), to mark their ballots at polling locations last November. … Although voters in places like Oregon and Pima County are using tablets, it’s not considered “online voting,” because the ballot is still printed out on paper to be counted just like those cast in machines. Online voting would mean the ballot is cast and counted solely online without a physical ballot ever being recorded. No state has yet gone as far as full online voting.
To date, 15 states that have put in place online voter registration, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. Five more states passed legislation allowing for online registration, which Pew expects to be implemented in time for the 2014 midterms.
Wendy Underhill, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she expects that by 2020 all states will allow online voter registration.
But when it comes to voting technology, the most important – and contentious issue – is whether to allow the delivery and return of ballots to and from voters electronically, either by fax, email or on a secure website.