The internet is becoming an all-encompassing tool for a way of living. Everyone can do their taxes, shopping, social networking, even work, all online. People can gain education through online schools, and some even buy groceries through large corporations through the internet. To some degree, elections can be held online as well. However, there isn’t a full-scale voting system that allows all elections to happen online. So, will online voting ever replace real elections?
Primarily, there is concern of how the online system should work. It should be private, secure, and accurate. Without privacy, no one would be obliged to cast their vote, for their personal information would be leaked, and all sorts of chaos would ensue, such as identity theft and burglary. If it’s not secure, then anyone could easily gain information from the vote, and therefore privacy would be lost. And lastly, it should be accurate, for if any vote could be mistaken, then the votes would have to be discounted, and the election would be void. Without these things, any online system would collapse.
With those three things taken care of professionally, the next thing would be making sure everyone knew about elections being moved to an online format. This would be a problem since not everyone has access to the internet, and that particular party would, therefore, have no say in the voting. We would need to develop a way to gain their vote, such as allowing those without internet access public computers to vote on. For those who would be unable to use the computer or internet would have to be able to somehow cast their vote and understand what they’re doing, so a system would have to be developed so anyone and everyone could cast their vote intelligently.
Using online voting for realtor elections, SGA elections, or such matters as a condominium association vote, there is less of a consequence of corruption with these types of paperless elections. The ballot scanning and ballot tabulation is much easier when trying to tally the results of an alumni ballot then when determining the President of the United States, or the governor in the state of Maryland. There are too many cyber criminals in this world to allow this type of voter empowerment.
Lastly, there must be a method to make sure all the votes that were cast would be counted accordingly and not toyed with, and that the systems for evoting would not be hacked or infected with malicious software. There are things such as viruses and malware that could corrupt a system, or a hacker could damage the votes and put it all in one person’s favor. All these things could happen in real elections as well, but they would take less effort in using an internet voting system and thus be much more dangerous to the elections.
The idea of web voting would become mainstream if all these things, previously mentioned, were taken into account: privacy, security, and accuracy; making sure anyone and everyone can vote using the internet; having a way to avoid malicious software. However, if not all of these requirements were met, or some other problems not aforementioned become known, Internet voting might have to take a back burner for a while and let the paper-and-pen system in place play its role.