Austin Daily Herald calls for online voting, says ‘technology can prevent fraud’

Online voting should be in Minnesota’s future, says the Austin Daily Herald’s opinion page.

The southern Minnesota daily says that even though the state’s voter turnout percentage is among the highest in the nation, there are still about 29 percent of registered voters who don’t show up at the polls.

Inconvenience is often cited as an excuse to stay home: “For many, the effort involved in getting to and from the polls on election day, and maybe waiting in line, outweighs exercising a constitutional right.”

Online voting is the sensible answer, the paper said:

“If Minnesota residents were able to vote on their computers, tablets or phones, no question the turnout would increase.”

A recent study, sponsored by the McAfee computer security company says that “many of the technologies that are already being used for online financial transactions could also be applied to e-voting and online voting to increase its popularity in the future,” according to a story at Biometric Update.

The Austin paper urges the Legislature and Congress to start moving towards online voting.

The paper notes that voter fraud is a risk with online voting, as it is in traditional voting, but says available technology can counter that.

A  commenter on the site, though, reminds the editors of the Affordable Care Act computer problems, as well as computer system hacks at Target and other retailers.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/15/2014 - 05:27 pm.

    Amen. Plus let our fabulous older citizens vote online with assistance.

  2. Submitted by Bruce Kvam on 10/20/2014 - 12:34 am.

    Online Voting Rife With Fraud

    Online voting would be rife with fraud. Retailers have been crushed by a rash of credit card and customer information thefts. Putting our voting databases on the Internet would expose our electoral system to manipulation by Eastern European and Chinese gangs, not to mention political operatives in our own country.

    Even if you posit that it’s possible to design a technically bullet-proof system immune to outside hacking, do we really believe that 50 states and thousands of municipalities could each build their own perfect system?

    But in the final analysis there is no such thing as a totally secure system: any computer is vulnerable to hacks from insiders, who have access to the physical hardware and all the necessary rights to commit fraud on a massive scale. Remember Edward Snowden and the super-secure computers at the NSA?

    And since it’s computerized, fraud could be perpetrated on a massive scale. There would be no way for the voter to know that the vote he cast was what was registered in the computer system, and without physical ballots there is no way AT ALL to conduct a legitimate recount. And you can’t link back to some record in the voter’s possession, because it could be lost or forged, and it would no longer be a secret ballot if a voter could be forced to surrender it.

    Without physical ballots there is no possibility for a legitimate recount, and thus no way to ensure the reported tally matches the actual vote. Computerized voting without physical ballots that a person can look at and manually count is fundamentally flawed.

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