We transmit money, legal documents, medical reports and other sensitive information via the Internet. Shouldn’t we be able to vote over the Internet, too? “No,” say some observers. “Right now, there is no way to meaningfully secure an election by Internet voting, and we’d be inviting serious potential for fraud on a scale that’s never been experienced in election administration before,” says Doug Kelleher, co-chair of New York’s State Board of Elections. “Until methods can be designed to secure the election so that you know that every vote is being counted the way the voter cast it, I am opposed to Internet voting.” “Yes,” say others—including a group of seventeen computer scientists who signed on to a National Defense Committee statement in January, supporting more research on Internet voting specifically for military voters. “The only foreseeable option to allow military members to achieve first class voter status is through remote electronic voting that provides for electronic delivery of military members’ voted ballots,” says the statement. Still others might say “it depends on what you mean by ‘Internet voting.’” That term can be shorthand for at least three options, and we’ll look at each of them separately—and whether experts give them a green, yellow or red light (at least for now).
While many voters—especially young voters—may take it as a given that voting in their pajamas on their laptops would be convenient, convenience for the average voter is not what’s driving interest in Internet voting. Instead, the driver is the desire—indeed, the responsibility—to make it possible for military service members to cast a ballot.
Just like anyone else, these voters can contact their local election official and request an absentee ballot. But mailing the ballot and receiving it back in time to be counted can be impossible.
Besides, it’s asking a lot for a service member to remember to request a ballot seven weeks before an election. Only political junkies are thinking about their vote that early.
Prior to 2009, successful return rates for military voters’ ballots were abysmal—in 2008, 49.8 percent of these ballots were not received on time, according to a 2011 U.S. Election Assistance Commission report. In 2009, the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act was passed mandating that ballots be ready 45 days before an election specifically to provide time for the ballots to be delivered to Afghanistan, Antarctica or wherever they are needed—and returned in time to be counted.
In the 2010 election, “only” 36.6 percent of these ballots were not received in time. For more on voting rights for the military, see the Pew Center on the States’ report, Democracy from Afar: States Show Progress on Military and Overseas Voting, or the Congressional Research Service’s report, The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Overview and Issues.
Full Article: Internet Voting—Not Ready for Prime Time? | The Canvass