Realizing the Dream of Access with Online Voting

Civil rights walk hand in hand with voting rights. They always have.
When it comes to voting rights in the United States in the 21st century, paper ballots and voter I.D. laws do certainly represent movement. Unfortunately the movement is backward.
If we move forward with voting modernization it will move us in so many other ways. A time where everybody participates in the franchise in equally representative numbers is within our reach. Our future could be very bright, if only we shift out of reverse and into drive.
In the future of my dreams, terms we have used for centuries to describe our elections no longer exist: Turnout, suppression, enthusiasm gap, polling-place voter intimidation, over-votes, and certainly paper ballots.
Ever hear of groups like “True the Vote”? They basically are election intimidators, who show up at polling places to harass “those people” and keep them from voting. Did you see the huge billboards that showed up in swing states last year that said “Voter fraud is a felony” along with pictures of people in handcuffs? Imagine a future where polling-place intimidation no longer exists. Voters can vote safely and discretely online.
Imagine a future where all elections matter to everyone, and everyone has easy and reliable access to their vote. Imagine a future where midterm elections and even local elections command the same level of interest and participation as Presidential ones. Shouldn’t they?
In the future of my dreams 105 year-old people don’t wait on 5 hour lines to vote on scraps of paper. Indeed, nobody waits on any lines anywhere to exercise his or her most important right.
The “integrity” of the vote has always been used as the primary rationale for tactics designed to suppress. “We must be able to trust the tally”, they say. This is the rationale behind voter ID laws and registration purges, along with many other institutional tactics.
The exact same rationale is used by opponents of online voting. “We can’t trust it”, they say. “So shut up, go wait in line for hours so you can make your mark on a scrap of paper. Better yet, don’t vote at all.”
It is time to get moving and claim access for all. Voting modernization would be a good place to start.

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One Response to Realizing the Dream of Access with Online Voting

  1. I echo the words and sentiments of Mr. Weber in the above post.

    What supporters of online voting need is a step-by-step plan to make online voting a reality as a third option in U.S. elections (along with in person voting and vote-by-mail), for as we all know, if we do no more than blog individually, the government may get around to allowing us to vote online in another several decades, right after North Korea adopts online voting.

    I founded iVoteUS.com in February 2011 to advance the cause of online voting, and I’ve developed just such a plan.

    The first step is our smartphone app that holds the promise of online voting in the near future, but begins by automatically compiling relevant info about all the elections in which a user is eligible to vote based on her address, displaying dates, times, and locations, & allowing the user to control the frequency of email and text alert reminders of upcoming elections.

    When the user selects one of the elections from the list, our app displays a convenient “matrix” of all the candidates and issues in that election, allowing for easy comparison of their views side-by-side. The user may choose to read a summary of a candidate’s view, expand to read more, or watch a video clip of that candidate stating his position. Candidates’ views are also distilled to a single digit number from 1 to 9 representing the left to right ideological spectrum, in order to give users an instant snapshot of each candidate’s ideological position.

    The app also provides non-partisan, unbiased summaries of the relevant issues in each election, and profiles, biographies, and voting records of all candidates.

    The app is an inducement–a carrot if you will–for voters to join our social network focused on voting, elections, and politics. Once our social network includes most of the 150 million registered voters in the U.S., we voters will have collectively amassed the power to reassert some control over our elected officials.

    Our app also empowers voters by allowing them to suggest referendum issues, and enables them to cast their ballots on these referenda online, automatically creating petitions with perhaps tens of millions of signatures where a referendum has supermajority support. These petitions can then be pressed onto the legislative agenda for passage into law.

    In this way the app gets voters accustomed to voting online, and consuming much of their information about candidates and their issue positions on their mobile devices, thus begging the question of why it is that we cannot yet vote online.

    In building a social network of many millions of voters we will have created a vehicle with a valuation in the billions, capable of securing the funding to construct an actual, functional online voting system for 150 million voters, and exhaustively test it simulated elections to prove its reliability. Such a voting system will cost tens, or hundreds of millions, and employ the very latest security technology to prove definitively that online voting is indeed more secure than in person voting, or vote by mail.

    Such a system will use:
    1) an open source code to demonstrate transparency, as was done recently in Norway,

    2) multiple vote permissibility for any voter during the period leading up to election day (with each vote cancelling the one previous) to suppress voter coercion,
    3) public/private key cryptography with digital signatures for security,

    4) ballot/voter I.D. separation to preserve the secret ballot,

    5) unique codes to each voter for each candidate, which are texted back to voters after they vote as receipts that their votes were registered, and registered for the candidate of their choice,

    6) use of unique hash codes for each vote cast, allowing voters to double check on a public web site that has hash codes for all votes cast, that their vote was in fact part of the vote tally.

    This system also allows for recounts and vote audits.

    We who appreciate the profound positive impact that online voting will have on American democracy must join forces to make it a reality. I firmly believe that the fastest and most certain path is by uniting and founding an online social network of registered voters whose stated goal is online voting. Our smartphone app can be the foundation on which we can build a social network of tens of millions of voters.

    In doing that we will have created something even more impactful, a network of well-informed voters interacting, organizing, sharing ideas, and electing truly reform minded candidates online.

    Please watch iVoteUS.com’s demonstration video at

    voteonline or at

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