Rural voters. People who can’t get away from work. The military and other overseas citizens. Those with disabilities. The coronavirus and social distancing. It is becoming clear that America is ready -- needs -- an online election system. It’s time to put the power of the vote into the palms of our hands. We’re also at a point where technology and digital security can keep our votes safe and counted. That is why Ping! Development is creating an online voting application. With a start here in Arizona, we see the app being used nationwide for secure, convenient national elections. All in the comfort of your home.
What does it take to develop an online election system?
Current US Voting System Standards
After the 2000 election, the US passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in order to establish standards for electronic voting. Note, electronic does not mean an app on your phone. This is the type of voting you may have experienced at your polling place, with touchscreens.
HAVA establishes some basic standards for voting, including:
- Security: This covers the physical security of the systems, the security of internet transmissions of results, and the ability to audit results. See more on voting security below.
- Functionality: The focus here is on accuracy, making sure votes are counted correctly and accurately.
- Privacy: Secret balloting is still a tenant of the American vote.
- Usability: As developers might say, it needs to be user friendly with a simple user interface.
- Accessibility: The system must be accessible to those with unique circumstances like a wheelchair.
As we design and implement an online election system, we will need to ensure that it meets the above standards as well.
How Online Voting May Improve Elections
With online voting applications, new possibilities open up for voting. We’ve seen on the news the long lines at polling stations. Polling locations require a significant investment of time and money to operate. Online voting would nearly eliminate that need. Additionally, information on candidates and ballot initiatives could be readily available on the app. Since nobody’s waiting in line for you to finish up, a voter can take their time placing a vote and ensure that they are casting an educated vote.
Finally, we estimate that our election application can save the county 50% on their annual election costs and almost 70% over a complete 4-year election cycle.
Security and Technical Capabilities
The two most discussed concerns with online voting apps are security and scale. Security ensures that our elections are not vulnerable to hackers or other bad actors. Scale means the system can handle a large volume of transactions all at once without crashing or slowing down.
There are several considerations and solutions to consider, including:
- Verification and Fraud: One person, one vote. That is the standard. We need to verify that each voter has their vote and that it’s counted accurately. There is also the privacy and security of the voter that must be considered. Our solution avoids using social security numbers, instead using multiple data points to ensure voting accuracy and avoid fraud.
- Accessibility: The standard is WCAG 2.0 compliance, which means making web content available to those with disabilities.
- Encryption: When sending information -- votes! -- over the internet, encryption is essential to maintaining the integrity of the vote and to fend off hackers. We accomplish this by implementing end-to-end SSL encryption.
- The Firewall: All non-US IP addresses need to be blocked from having any access to the application. If an IP resolves outside the US, it cannot get to the site. Overseas and military voters will have secure workarounds.
- Integration: The system integrates with state systems for voter data.
The Time is Now for Online Elections in Arizona and Nationwide
The voting public appears to be ready. The technology is ready. The time is here to begin rolling out online election systems. Doing so will allow more people to vote, including the disabled, those in rural areas, and those who have a tough time getting to a polling location. Online systems will save municipalities time and money while ensuring the integrity of our elections.
The time is now, and Ping! Development is on the leading edge with our online election application. Contact us today to get more information and see a demonstration of our system’s capabilities.