Utahns file their taxes, bank and shop online all the time, says state Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, so why shouldn’t they also be able to vote on their laptops? “It seems reasonable that we have a discussion — a serious discussion — about how you would set up a secure, auditable system to vote online,” Bramble said. “Personally, I’m going to be pushing the envelope.” But Bramble, appointed to a new committee put together by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to study online voting, said he’ll wait to see what members come up with by the end of the year before deciding whether to introduce legislation next session. … Another member of the new committee, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, also questions whether Utahns will be voting online anytime soon. “I hope that sometime in the future it will be something that happens,” Swensen said. “I admire the lieutenant governor’s office for wanting to explore this and be progressive, but I think there’s a lot to overcome before we get to that point.”
Like Thomas, Swensen said she’s not sure how a system can both identify those voting online while maintaining the secrecy of their ballots. Election officials now keep the names of voters separate from their ballots.
“That’s a huge challenge,” Swensen said, along with an online system being hacked. “For all of the clever ways people figure out how to hack into various systems, I think that’s the biggest danger, if they could hack in and skew results.”
The longtime county clerk recalled the controversy over the switch in recent years to electronic voting machines that aren’t connected to the Internet. The public’s concern was eased by the paper trail created by the machines, Swensen said. The paper records are audited each election and could be used to tabulate the results if the machines were to malfunction.