Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, January 22, 2004 12:52 pm

Internet voting? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 12:52 pm

I bring this subject up in conjunction with my (previously disclosed; see link to left) role as editor of the book “Black Box Voting.”

Unfortunately, North Carolina, with its large contingent of overseas military and their dependents, is one of the states participating in SERVE (Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment), which is supposed to let citizens overseas vote from a PC anywhere in the world. Securely.

Internet voting might be ready for prime time some day, but that day ain’t here yet, as a number of factors suggest.

The biggest concern, and one for which there is no ready solution, is the fact that the voter’s PC must be secured against viruses, worms, Trojan horses and the like, and systematic use of frequently updated protective software still isn’t a habit among a large segment of PC users. Moreover, someone voting from, say, an overseas Internet cafĂ© has no way of knowing how secure his machine is.

I certainly sympathize with the goal of making it easier for Americans overseas, particularly those in the military, to vote. And the day likely will come when Internet voting can be made secure. But right now, Internet voting is a disaster waiting to happen, and the government instead should devote itself to making absentee ballots easier to obtain and return in timely fashion.

Also: Here’s one other good reason not to use Internet voting.

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