National: Technology Makes Voting Less Private | Government Technology

May 23, 2014

Where is the line between technology and voter privacy? Secret ballots are one of the tenets of voting, and as technology moves forward there‚Äôs a push to keep voting secret, with Monroe County poll sites banning cellphones and photos of the ballots themselves. But what happens once a vote is cast, and it becomes one point in a data set about voting trends throughout the region? Voting data can reveal various trends, from where Democrats and Republicans are voting, to where the most voters live, to the ages of most voters. Data like this was always available in some form, but it was usually buried in hundreds of sheets of paper and information was rarely gathered, given the large time commitment necessary to do so. Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins said in a particularly busy election, it might take a year to get a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of votes. This election, it took one day due to the first-time use of the electronic poll books. Voter data information is now available with the click of a button, and that information can be pretty revealing for trying to determine how someone voted.