written by Kristin Cavallaro
Every year on the first Tuesday of November, millions of Americans over the age of 18 gather at their local school, town halls, senior centers, etc. to cast their vote for the future leaders or our towns, cities, states, or country. While it is part of our many freedoms as an American to be able to have a say in who represents us, it can also be a bit of a burden to make it to a specific location within a specific time frame on a single day. I live a little over an hour away from our SSI office in Shelton, CT. I come in first thing in the morning and leave after a long day of work. On Election Day after work, I drive over an hour to my local voting center, stand in line and wait…and wait…all to fill out a form that takes approximately one minute to complete. By this point, I’m tired and who knows if I’m “bubbling in” the correct circles on my form that accurately reflects who I really want to elect into office. Wouldn’t it be great if I could just log on to a secure site, input a personal identification number of some sort and place my vote in a calm, quiet environment? I think so, but then again I am in that generation where I would rather do everything online.
This is not a new concept. Others in the US have brought up this subject on a number of occasions only be hit with a number of objections. Mainly these concerns circle around security and fraud, but there are risks with the traditional methods of voting as well. Canada has been allowing voters to vote online in local government ballots since 2003. Not only was this method well received, but they reported 25% of those who voted online did not vote the previous year using the conventional ballot. Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland, and Estonia have all tested and/or are actively practicing online voting. It is projected that if online voting were to be allowed in the US, we as a country would see a much higher turnout in the younger generations. So why not the US?