Online Voting for Local Elections: Think Small

What can you do to help make Online Voting a reality throughout the United States? Make it a reality in your town first.

Think small.

When we think of a future that includes voting online, we tend to imagine the entire country using the same system at once. In fact, this would almost certainly never be the case.

The best way to approach the goal of voting online is to think as small as possible. Voting in the U.S. is a highly decentralized process. Online Voting would not change that.

In fact, there are almost 8,000 local voting jurisdictions in the U.S. The majority of them are either very small or medium sized districts. Currently NONE of them use online voting for political elections.

Most local elections are about local issues that matter a great deal to the lives of the voters in that community. Ironically, it is these elections that have the poorest voter turnout, and this trend is getting rapidly worse.

The best, and perhaps most important, way to introduce online voting into the election process is to offer it as an option for voting in local elections. Most elections use the same methods for small things like school budgets that they do for larger elections. Usually the process is relatively expensive given the turnout results. Online voting can be introduced as an option in most districts for a reasonable cost.

We should not wait for Congress, the Governors, or the State Secretaries of State to allow us to vote online. While the SOSs do carry great power over the manner in which we vote, they often can be responsive to what they see are the needs of the election officials around their States. If local election officials are willing to look at online voting objectively, you will see more Secretaries of State do the same.

Unfortunately, officials in small and rural voting jurisdictions are often the most hostile to any kind of election modernization. It is a heavy lift to expect them to change overnight.

The key is to think small, to think of the 8 Thousand. There have to be some election officials out there who want to be leaders, who want to be ahead of the curve, who are committed to raising turnout in their districts.

Who knows, perhaps YOUR local jurisdiction could be the first of Eight Thousand. Perhaps you could help make that happen.

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