Would the ability to vote in your pajamas, on a smart phone, make you a better participant in the political process? Would it make you care more? Utah’s lieutenant governor has convened a committee to study the idea of making the state a pioneer in Internet voting. They might want to look to Norway, which tried such a thing — then, according to a headline writer at npr.org, did a “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” on the whole thing a few weeks ago. Utah Director of Elections Mark Thomas told the Deseret News last week that the biggest hurdle to overcome is security. Norwegian officials would agree. They couldn’t do it. NPR quotes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory computer scientist David Jefferson as saying, “There is no way to guarantee that the security, privacy and transparency requirements for elections can all be met with any practical technology in the foreseeable future.”
Which doesn’t mean Utah’s leaders can’t try to do it. It does, however, mean they would truly be pioneers. The state’s interest in Internet voting is interesting, especially when it is touted as one way to increase voter turnout. The state’s interest in Internet voting is interesting, especially when it is touted as one way to increase voter turnout.
It used to be that Republicans would tell me, convincingly, that the goal should not be simply to get everyone to vote. The goal should be to get people to cast informed ballots — to study issues, get involved in debates and vote intelligently.
… Incidentally, Norway found no evidence that online voting improved turnout at all. Convenience alone still doesn’t promote civic duty.