If everybody voted like me, SEO would become the linchpin of our democracy, because I only have like 5-10 minutes to devote to each choice. Obama vs Romney is obvious, most of the lower-level candidates are people I've never heard of.
(I think this is the problem that political parties are supposed to solve, but don't in the USA, since generally there are only two viable ones which both suck balls.)
This bad thing about this approach is that it's likely to have questions focused on hot button issues like gay marriage, gun control, abortion, etc. When most of those issues are a complete distraction from actual important issues like campaign finance reform, universal healthcare, taxes, defense spending, national security, constitutional rights, government transparency and accountability, prevention of gerry-mandering and other forms of political corruption or willful distortion, etc.
 smartvote.ch. There is no major election coming up so the site may not be the most interesting at the moment.
I've had cases where I can't even find any information at all about any of the candidates for a given office/post. Not even a simple Wordpress blog or facebook page or anything. In those cases I end up not voting for that office/post.
I voted yes, but I hope that there will always be people in the community who desire physical polling stations. The reason is that as much as I am disillusioned about politics here in Australia, I am looking forward to the upcoming federal election for one reason:
Garage Sales (Yard Sales if you're from the U.S.)
A couple of elections ago my brother and I (who both love garage sales) realised that if you drive around each of the local polling stations, then there is a huge number of garage sales. As it happens, if you live near a polling station - mostly primary schools around our area - and you want to hold a garage sale when the greatest number of people are going to walk past your house, people tend to pick polling day.
Therefore, we've made a bit of an election pilgrimage to various garage sales. We've affectionately dubbed the term "Garage sailing".
Nothing says democracy like a snag on some white bread with tommy sauce.
FWIW: Google Fight has "Garage sale" smashing "Yard sale"  while Urban Dictionary has almost twice as many definitions of "Yard sale" to "Garage sale"
Estonia was apparently the first country to allow internet voting in a general election. Participation has grown rapidly, with roughly a quarter of votes in the last parliamentary election being cast online:
This suggests that a large fraction of the population are unlikely to care about the theoretical considerations that are dominating the discussion elsewhere in this thread.
Voting by mobile phone is also now legal in Estonia.
The latest Python source code for the servers in the Estonian voting system is available on GitHub:
Incidentally, I got a smile out of the sampling bias inherent in this poll! It would have been even funnier if the question was "Would you ever take part in an online poll?"
After the vote, the Government releases the results as a mapping of [one-time-pad -> vote] for everyone to verify their vote.
Anyway for further reading, this is a good piece on the issue: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/11/3479170/why-cant-you-vote...
Edit: When you voted you would need to post your ssn also for verification that you are the one using your one-time key-pad, etc.
I immediately felt compelled to text-search for "Estonia" and was pleased to see it was covered.
Maybe you could pick up your one time pad in person at any US Post Office in the days or weeks preceding the election. You'd have to show valid government issued ID to pick up your sealed one time pad.
> If I can verify my vote than I can also be forced to reveal my vote to a third party who is trying to coerce me to vote a certain way, or to purchase my vote.
Untrue. You can only be forced to do so if the third party has a way of confirming that the verification information you've given them is correct for your vote.
If you could verify everyone's vote, then you'd be correct.
Cool. Who do you think would pay me the most for my pad?
1. Voter (physically) visits a station, presents his ID and picks an auth token out of a hat (or some other physical, non-traceable method) -- say a paper scratch card with only a randomly generated number.
2. Voter goes home and uses the token to anonymously authenticate himself as a voting citizen and participates in one or more rounds of voting
1. Voter misplaces his card and has to come back to the station to identify himself and revoke & re-issue.
2. In some neighborhoods, voter has to beat back thugs trying to steal his card on his way out of the issuing station.
1. Voters have regular online accounts with their credentials attached.
2. Source code dealing with vote counting and anonymizing is made open source and publicly readable at the hosted directory itself (if such thing is even possible)
1. Hackers study the source code and exploits vulnerabilities.
2. Server serves the good copy when source code is requested, but executes a different copy that collects voter identities.
Note: not an expert, just asking.
As always, the weakest link in security is the human factor.
It's not totally "user friendly", but I'd say it's a huge step towards "secure and reliable" voting.
There were lots of ways we could have made touchscreen voting machines highly secure. Instead we gave Diebold millions of dollars.
I have no reason to believe that sound security principles will be followed by any large organization, including governments, in my lifetime.
Government cannot run a program that elects a new government behind the walls of a datacenter. It's a major conflict of interest. The way things work now, the government really only handles the voter registration process, which is exposed enough so you know they're not messing with it. County employees and poll workers on-site are far enough removed from the people in power that there's little concern of major corruption. When recounts happen, staff from both campaigns are physically present to look at each ballot. When we get ballot counting machines from companies like Diebold, there's concern that a big corporation could be influencing a vote or that the system wouldn't be secure.
But I look at some of the things happening with health insurance marketplaces and health data exchanges as proof that government can tackle big tech problems in cool ways. The State of New York is building a health information network (Google: NYeC SHIN-NY) where all medical providers in the state have their electronic health records connected in a statewide network. It's not the government itself running the program, but a collaborative of government and healthcare people. The service doesn't store or transmit private health information, it just handles the secure handshakes, authorization, and authenticity. That is, a patient can grant/deny access to medical records from their phone -- or in an emergency situation, an EMT can bypass that and get the records directly. I think this is genius.
If we looked at something like this on a local or state level, a collaborative of sorts could include the Secretary of State, various government and non-profit representatives, and open source and security folks. I think that would be the first step toward moving to an online voting system: setup an entity that people can trust.
Obviously, it'd have to be optional. There were a lot of elderly folks at my polling place last November, proudly wearing their 'I Voted' sticker. No way they'd go online, even if it did support IE 5.5.
It is the hole voting computer debate again.
Thankfully such a system would be impossible in Germany. Because it is impossible to make as transparent as it has to be so that people who have no idea about computers can understand it and see that it is working correctly.
So, we can be voting online. Yes we can! hahaha. groan.
I know that most major points have already been covered. But here're my 2 cents in a nutshell:
1. An online actions can never be as secret/anonymous as a physical actions. This much we've definitely learned from all the recent surveillance news. Obviously ballot secrecy is critical to fair elections.
2. Online ballots would be much more suspectible to manipulation than physical ballots would ever be. If a private contractor were hired to do this (i.e., how current election software are already commissioned), detection of manipulation would be difficult, and accountability difficult to ensure.
3. There would be the problem of authentication, as others have pointed out. This would make the recount process even more contentious and uncertain than it is now.
I've been following the Caltech / MIT Voting Technology project for a while now because they've put out some interesting papers about the potential impacts of e-voting:
Theoretically? Totally for it.
In reality, do I have confidence that the US government is capable of ensuring that the systems are soundly designed, with reasonable accountability and risk mitigation, and deployed fairly and competently? No, I am absolutely not confident about that.
Edit: that's not to say I am necessarily against it, just that I have deep misgivings about the implementation and the ability of the government, as it currently stands, to reflect the interests of the citizenry instead of corrupt special interests.
I bet people would be happy if the NSA used tax dollars to do that kind of public good.
Wow, what a crackpot post....
We have to kick up a HUGE fuss to get anything changes (see SOPA etc.), but there are platforms beginning to emerge, like the whitehouse petitions.
How far are we from a system whereby major referendums can be held relatively frequently, mainly online? People can be given a brief for/against argument of some proposed change, they can research as much as they feel they have to, and then can vote?
Do we exclude too many non-technical people that way? Can we assume people even give enough of a crap to do this?
Fraud would be problematic and difficult identify specific people. Another worry would be people misunderstanding the ballot or clicking the wrong thing or multiple submissions. I'm just glad, at the moment, that I can register online. That's a good start.
The advantages are just to great to ignore. Also, people seem to think that our current physical system is perfect.
It's far from perfect.
However, if you perfected the system, presumably people could vote on more issues. Declaring war for example.