Voting in a digital world

Reading Time: 2 minutes Digital voting promises to change the way America looks at the electoral process.

Reading Time: 2 minutes
When students take to the voting booth, they may wonder that with all of this technology, why does Utah still use paper ballots?

There is a turbulent relationship between voting and technology. For every advantage that technology brings, it also brings disadvantages.

The paper ballot insures the voting process. Paper is harder to hack, harder to corrupt and is immune to computer viruses.

The promise of increased participation in elections warrants a second look at digital voting. Here are few examples from the Internet to illustrate the potential applications of digital voting:

Young adults comprise a large segment of eligible voters. If voting were possible via smartphone or computer, participation could increase among all voters.

According to Ori Olson, founder of 41st Parameter, an online security firm, “Device ownership is especially high among young people, who also happen to be the segment that is least likely to vote.”

Olson’s article, “It’s time to take election voting online,” suggests digital voting as a “practical alternative” to traditional voting methods.

Across the country, several states are testing new voting methods and services. Utah is among ten states that offer online voter registration. Pilot programs in other states address digital voting for the disabled.

In May, the Associated Press reported that disabled voters in Oregon were able to use iPads to vote in the primary election. The tablet enabled the ballot to be accessed by visually and hearing impaired individuals. The ballot was then printed and mailed like all others in Oregon.

Although digital voting is a long way off for the majority of Americans, the Internet remains a useful tool for voters. Comprehensive voter information is freely available to those who seek useful information about candidates and ballot issues.

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