National: Online Voting and Democracy in the Digital Age | Consumer Reports

May 18, 2016

Considering the importance of elections in the U.S., the country sure does make voting a challenge. National elections are held on a Tuesday in November, a workday for most people. In 11 states and Washington, D.C., you can register to vote on Election Day. (Maryland allows same-day voter registration only for early voting.) Other states have registration deadlines of eight to 30 days before an election. Some states have expanded voting by mail, online registration, absentee voting, and similar practices. But others have become more restrictive: 33 states request or require voters to show identification at the polls, and 17 of those states request or require a photo ID. And voters in places like Maricopa County in Arizona, where budget cutbacks have significantly reduced the number of polling spots, can find crowded conditions more reminiscent of a Depression-era breadline than a polling site in the Internet Age. Why, then, when everything from buying airline tickets to filing federal income taxes is routinely done online, is voting for most Americans still such a manual, show-up-in-person, paper-ballot-based process? …  Whatever the political system, efforts to introduce Internet voting face the same overriding issue: how to make sure ballots aren’t subject to manipulation or fraud by hackers or compromised by a system failure.

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