National: When Will We Be Able to Vote Online? | Scientific American Jan 22 2016 » The Voting News

January 22, 2016

Sooner or later everything seems to go online. Newspapers. TV. Radio. Shopping. Banking. Dating. But it’s much harder to drag voting out of the paper era. In the 2012 presidential election, more than half of Americans who voted cast paper ballots—0 percent voted with their smartphones. Why isn’t Internet voting here yet? Imagine the advantages! … It’s all about security, of course. Currently Internet voting is “a nonstarter,” according to Aviel D. Rubin, technical director of Johns Hopkins University’s Information Security Institute and author of the 2006 book Brave New Ballot. “You can’t control the security of the platform,” he told me. The app you’re using, the operating system on your phone, the servers your data will cross en route to their destination—there are just too many openings for hacker interference. “But wait,” you’re entitled to object, “banks, online stores and stock markets operate electronically. Why should something as simple as recording votes be so much more difficult?” Voting is much trickier for a couple of reasons. Whereas monetary transactions are based on a firm understanding of your identity, a vote is supposed to be anonymous. In case of bank trouble, investigators can trace a credit-card purchase back to you, but how can they track an anonymous vote? And credit-card and bank fraud goes on constantly. It’s just a cost of doing business. But the outcome of an election is too important; we can’t simply ignore a bunch of lost or altered votes.

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