It that time again for citizens of the US to exercise their right to vote so lets head to the polls. Why are US voters going to the polls when we should be going to our computers, tablets, or mobile phones to cast our votes. Where is our government and voting technology?
There are 21 Secretaries of state offices on Facebook and 30 have Twitter accounts. Government officials are working with social media technology to roll out pilot programs which offers voters the chance to do everything from marking their ballot on a tablet to finding a polling place on a smart phone app, and allow expanded online voting for some in the military or living overseas.
However some states have actually used electronic voting ballots In 2011, Oregon voters have used their iPads to vote in a special election for the disabled residents. However there are no plans to open up iPad voting to the general population. Another state Connecticut which has stringent post-election audit use AccuVote Optical Scanners which is an electronic ballot-county system. These high-speed scanners cost about $100,000 a piece — will likely be used in 2012 and allow the state to read and count 10,000 ballots every fifteen minutes. West Virginia had a general election in 2010 pilot program where overseas citizens and military personnel cast a ballot using a secure internet connection. The 125 voters had to request a username and a password and then could vote from any computer using a secure military-style encrypted connection.
An electronic or online voting system for US Voters won’t be available anytime soon because of concerns with security, hacking and other technology risk. Lori Steele of Everyone Counts, the company behind both West Virginia’s online pilot project and Oregon’s iPad voting technology, said she’s confident that in 2013 and beyond there will be a dramatic adoption of software-based voting. “The states trying to provide secure and accessible electronic ballots will be using systems such as ours,” Steele said. “We would never suggest electronic mail because email’s not really secure. Depending on the jurisdiction, you would either print it and mail it back or email it or fax it back, depending on the law. Or, in the cases of those who were looking for most secure way, submit it through our electronic ballot return system that would encrypt the ballot and keep it secure until it was ready to be downloaded and counted.”