What little discussion there is out there regarding online voting is usually premised on answering the wrong questions. This is another similarity between this issue and some other large issues.
The issue of Climate Change comes to mind, for instance. The questions we should be asking, given the almost unanimous agreement among true climate scientists that man-made climate change is occuring, are questions focused on what we can do to change the situation for the better. All of the potential actions we can take can then be analyzed for the benefits and costs of the actions. If we start investing in green energy, what will be the costs of doing so and what will we gain?
Given the historically proven costs of burning fossil fuels, and given the obvious cost to all of us of having to keep burning oil in our homes and our cars, the benefits of investment in renewable energy systems should be obvious. Investment would be good for our economy, and good for our environment.
Somehow, however, the “discussion” over renewables never seems to get past the charge that investment would be bad for the economy, that it’s cost is too high, and that it won’t meet our “needs”. This is combined with the insistance that the climate change itself, the environmental cost of our reliance on fossil fuels, isn’t even real. We have wasted decades allowing these questions to be the focus of our discussion. As I have said in the past, just allowing the “discussions” to continue in this way is literally killing us.
In the 1980s, attention began to be paid to the issue of Ozone depletion in the world’s atmosphere, and the relation of the use of chloroflorocarbons, or CFCs, to the problem. Scientists discovered the problem and rapidly agreed that reduction in the use of CFCs was necessary. But the industries that “push” this product were not going to simply allow it’s elimination just because the planet depends on it. No, they employed the exact same tactics they employ today regarding climate change, to focus on the wrong questions and the wrong answers.
Luckily, thankfully, Congress DID outlaw CFCs. The air-conditioning systems in all new vehicles are now CFC-Free. And somehow this highly important change did not hurt us economically, as was predicted. Well, maybe it hurt Dupont, which was the #1 perveyor of the poison.
Unfortunately, things are not going as well in the current “debate” over climate change. The wrong questions and the wrong answers are still being forever “discussed”.
When it comes to online voting, the EXACT SAME tactics are being employed as in these other “debates”. The questions we should be asking about internet voting are how can it help our democracy, what benefits can we derive from having all of our citizens vote? How much money can be SAVED by switching to online voting systems? How soon can we widely implement online voting? How will our entire political system IMPROVE?
Alas, none of the above questions are the ones you see asked when the subject of internet voting arises. The only questions we hear are the ones the skeptics and hired guns want us to hear.
On a recent TV “panel discussion” one of the climate change skeptics in the group, after insisting it was all a hoax and repeating the lie that there is doubt amongst the scientific community over climate change, made the statement “Let’s have a discussion”. Of course, the discussion itself is a victory for those standing in the way of change that is beneficial to all of us.
Let’s have a discussion? If we are focusing on the wrong questions, then let’s not.