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InternetForIllinois: Making Online Voting A Reality

As technology advances, the lives of American citizens are being simplified at astronomical rates. Such technology has made the dream of a revised, easier-to-use method of voting a reality. However, many states have yet to adopt this ground-breaking change, which is designed to provide a universality to the ballot system and relieve the confusion caused by archaic methods of voting. The strains of our current method of election, characterized by polling locations and paper ballots, became evident during the Election of 2000, which was haunted by many of the aforementioned dilemmas. The online ballot has the potential to solve all these problems, and therefore should be adopted by the state of Illinois, along with the rest of the United States of America.

The establishment of a voting system via the Internet will alleviate a majority of the stress that can be attributed to the casting of a ballot. This stress is often caused by the presence of factors which cause inaccuracies in a vote tally; these factors include, but are not limited to, ballots with confusing formats and election officials with personal biases. Said factors, which can lead to the misinterpretation and misplacing of ballots, have caused discrepancies in past elections. For example, in the Election of 2000, George W. Bush was victorious, but controversially so because of a flaw in the design of ballots in the state of Florida. What if online ballots were used in the place of paper ones? The American people would have slept soundly, free of hanging chad nightmares which plagued the undecided election for nearly a month. A second controversy which arose during the year 2000 was that concerning the vote of the minority population, specifically African-Americans. This precarious situation was brought to light in Michael Moores documentary Fahrenheit 9/11; a large majority of the vote of the African-American population in the state of Florida was uncounted in the final ballot. Had the online voting system been used, these biases would have been eliminated, and the outcome of the Presidential election may have reflected the real choice of the people.

In addition to correcting inaccuracies in vote tabulation, the implementation of an online voting system will better reflect the desires of the people. A revised system will allow a larger percentage of eligible voters to voice their opinions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, no Presidential election since 1950 has had a turnout higher than 63.1\%, which occurred in 1960. By implementing an online election, a larger percentage of the eligible voter population would be able to cast their vote; Americas full-time workers would be able to vote via their computers as opposed to the nearest polling facility. An increase would not only be seen in Americas working population, however. Lower-class citizens, including the homeless, who often do not have the means necessary to get to the polls, could cast their votes in places from libraries to Internet cafes, creating an infinite number of facilities where ones voice can be heard. This abundance will, in turn, lead to a larger voter turnout, and therefore, the President elected will be the choice of a larger portion of the electorate.

For many people, however, the transformation and re-invention of the voting system is a concept that does not have the ability to be realized. Supporters cite several concerns; how can voting via the Internet be secure? How can one be sure that no one votes more than once? How would it improve the current ballot? All are valid concerns, but one need not be worried. Security and confidentiality, although sometimes breached over the Internet, is no more common than it is under the current system. Just as credit card transactions can be made without interference, votes can be cast through secure web sites without the concern that they will be altered. Votes can be protected by monitors online in the same manner as at a polling facility. Multiple votes cast by fraudulent citizens also should not be a vexation. Online registration, when organized similarly to the current system, poses no threat to infringing upon ones privacy. Once registered, the user could access the system via a government-issued personal identification number (PIN) and username, a design similar to those of automated teller machines at banks across the country.

As illustrated, an online voting system is not only more user-friendly, but also beneficial. With the implementation of such a system, votes will be misconstrued no longer, and a larger percentage of the countrys eligible voters will have access to a ballot, leading to a stronger sense of national unity. For these reasons, it is in the best interest of the government to establish a ballot system via the Internet.

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Felix DeleonBy:
Petition target:
Illinois State Legislature


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