As the primaries rolled through this spring with the threat of coronavirus hanging over the voters and poll workers, we all probably had the same thought. Why can’t we vote on our phones or computers? Great idea. We believe the future of elections will be an application for online elections. And Ping! Development is on it. Check out the latest on our Election Application Software development.
So, is America ready for an online elections app?
Going Digital Voting in America
The United States is in a perfect position to take the step to digital voting in federal (and state and local) elections. The US does not have a national, standard voting system. Each state chooses its own methods. And we’ve seen some mixed results with those. We have also come under attack by foreign entities. Cybersecurity is hard enough as is, without having to protect fifty different systems.
Current Online Voting and Registration Efforts
According to NPR, “West Virginia and counties in Utah, Oregon, and Colorado are at different stages in implementing a new Internet voting app to allow overseas and military voters to cast votes on their phones.” Additionally, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) allows for our overseas troops to vote, which is behind many states offering electronic, web-based polling. West Virginia also passed a law allowing disabled voters to submit electronic votes. And there are more!
Even with some early momentum and the obvious safety need for online elections, there is some pushback from the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security issued a set of guidelines essentially asking states not to offer online balloting except to those who have no other means to cast their votes. And that’s a good thing. Their job is to protect us, so they should be diligent in doing so. It’s our job as application developers to demonstrate the security of our software. Again, check out our notes on security in this article on our online voting application efforts.
The New Benefits of Online Election Software
Going digital with elections doesn’t mean simply replicating the election process in an app. It opens up new possibilities. Consider how we might make improvements, such as:
- Reduce the environmental impact by reducing waste, travel, etc.
- Provide voting access to great numbers of people, including those who couldn’t get to a poll due to work or other circumstances.
- Increased investment in broadband internet access in rural areas, which will have an ancillary effect on education as well.
- Lengthen the time to vote, up to 30-days.
- Reduce or eliminate the costs and logistical issues of polling places.
The Future is Here with Online Elections
Today, the US ranks low in voter turnout (55.7%), with countries like Belgium, Sweden, and Denmark leading the way (above 80%). Like the rest of the world, though, Americans are used to doing business online, from banking to vehicle registration and even grocery shopping. It only makes sense to bring elections to the palm of our hands with an online election application. By focusing on security and the user experience, we know that we can take voting to a new level, and to more voters, with the right solution.