Every grass roots movement has a founder, an individual who believes so much in something that he or she devotes themselves completely to a cause before anybody else even knows that it is a cause.
In my opinion, in the case of Online Voting, that founder is Dr. William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. He is the father of this cause, and his devotion to it is extraordinary. If Internet Voting ever does become a reality in this country, we will all have Dr. Kelleher to thank for it.
Dr. Kelleher has written a book on the subject, “Internet Voting Now!” and you can find free preview pages, along with my review of the entire E-book, on Amazon. If you are reading this blog because you have any interest in the promise of online voting, please check out Dr. Kelleher’s book.
Dr. Kelleher also has his own website and blog, Internet Voting For All, which I highly recommend as regular reading to any readers of my blog. In fact, if you had to pick one blog to read between mine and Dr. Kelleher’s, read his. Of course I hope you don’t choose, but instead read both! My blog is mostly about advocacy. Dr. Kelleher often presents source material that is invaluable.
In my research on the subject, I have not only come across Dr. Kelleher’s contributions, but have also read some extremely vicious remarks toward him and internet voting from detractors. This comes as NO surprise to me whatsoever.
As I will talk about in my next post, entitled “Beware the ‘Againsters'”, you can’t help but wonder what would motivate supposedly average citizens to devote so much energy into writing reviews and blog post comments, condemning a concept like Internet Voting. Such energy devoted to being AGAINST something, rather than for something, should always be considered puzzling. People who come out online avidly against something, as opposed to putting their energies into something positive and productive, are all too often not average citizens expressing their opinions at all. The Againsters come from various sources. Often they are simply hired writers, paid literally pennies to comment on blogs and online book reviews. The case is no different with many of the critics of Dr. Kelleher.
The substance of the criticisms are themselves predictable. They rail against Dr. Kelleher as being naive about computer science, and cite “computer scientists” in their arguments that online voting is unsafe.
Uh, huh. Once again, in a world where EVERYTHING is now done online, we are supposed to sit around and argue over whether voting can be done safely online.
They rail that Dr. Kelleher is just trying to get people to buy his book. That is ALWAYS one of the cries of the “againsters”.
Also quite predictably, these “critics” accuse Dr. Kelleher of being too “partisan”, and therefor say that he has no credibility on this issue.
First of all, as I mention in my review of Dr. Kelleher’s book, he appears to be quite nonpartisan. But either way, these criticisms come AS IF having a political belief structure and believing in using a better technology for our voting system must be mutually exclusive. As I mention in a previous post “Center Which?”, what are these detractors so afraid of if all of our eligible population were to vote? If I believe most Americans are “center left” what is wrong with trying to prove that? If you think otherwise, why are you afraid of finding out if you are right or wrong?
I see Dr. Kelleher spending a lot of energy answering the charges these “critics” lay on him, presenting his arguments as logically and calmly as possible (And often with great humor!). I respect him greatly for doing this, but I also know that he realizes that many of these “critics” are simply againsters, pure and simple. They are not average citizens who are concerned about our voting system.
I think Dr. Kelleher knows that, like clean energy or the electric car, Internet voting will not come without a fight. NOT because it is difficult to prove it is safe, or because people don’t want it, or any other inane, silly argument the againsters present, but because of the againsters themselves.
Having the “discussion” itself, over and over again, about whether Internet voting is viable is part of the tactic against it. It is a distraction from the reality of living in an age where we are surrounded by online technology. And it is a distraction from how “unsecure” our current voting systems are as well.
I came away from reading Dr. Kelleher’s book feeling very optimistic. One of the things he tries to remind the reader who wants to advocate for online voting is that “You are not alone”.
You are not alone either, Bill. I, for one, have no intention of allowing the againsters to define the discussion. I will call them out for what they are. I will do everything I can to remind those in the discussion who really are interested in the merits and great promise of voting on the Internet to “Beware the Againsters”.
And if, for my efforts, I get vilified the way Dr. Kelleher has, than I repeat what I said in my first post here: I will know I am getting some traction if I have drawn the attention of the “againsters”.
Without Bill Kelleher’s contributions on this subject I, and others like me, would be nowhere in our advocacy. If this is a grassroots cause, he is the one who planted the first seeds. His knowledge is so in-depth. He also has been focused on the issue for long enough that he knows who many of the “players” in this “game” are, and what their motivations are.
For my part, this blog is my contribution to this advocacy. I hope Bill gets some comfort from following his own advice and remembering that he is not alone.
Thanks to Bill Kelleher, I can always know that as well.
Here again is the link to Dr. Kelleher’s book:
As well as my review: