This Tuesday, March 22, when Republicans in Utah caucus to nominate a candidate for U.S. President, many of them won’t actually be in Utah. In fact, some won’t even be in North America. That’s because for the first time ever in the United States, a state party will allow voting via the Internet. Members of the Utah Republican party who either can’t make it to a caucus site, or simply choose to participate via the Internet, will be able to cast their ballot by registering online at the party’s website. Once registered, online voters will have all day – from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. MDT – to select which candidate they want to be this year’s Republican presidential nominee. “I think it’s going to be great,” Utah Republican Chairman James Evans recently told the Deseret News during a demonstration of how the online voting will work. “There’s not a reason for anyone not to participate.” (Utah’s Democratic state party is not allowing online voting this cycle.)
The idea of voting for national office may strike some Americans as new and untested, but in fact a large number of jurisdictions around the world have already moved parts of their electoral process onto the Internet.
The firm selected to coordinate this first-of-its-kind vote in the U.S. is Smartmatic, an international operation based in Britain with experience in online voting. Since its founding in 2001, Smartmatic says its technology has been employed at national level elections in Uganda, Estonia, the Philippines, Brazil and Belgium, among others.
“If you think about the criticality of the democratic process, I don’t think there’s another transaction as a citizen I take that has that level of significance and importance as voting in an election,” says Mike Summers, a program manager at Smartmatic and key developer of the technology.
“Who thinks the notion of requiring people to go to a particular location at a particular time on a particular day and use a pencil and a piece of paper which is then counted by hand is a good idea? It just seems at odds with how we lead our lives today,” Summers told VOA.
Full Article: Utah GOP to Test First-Ever Statewide Online Voting in US.