Voting is defined as expressing the will or a preference in a matter by ballot,
voice, etc (Grolier 1). Voting on the Internet has become a major issue in the past
couple years. Their are many different groups who have very diverse opinions on
the role the Internet should play in the 2000 elections. The myriad types of on-line
voting systems proposed for use has resulted in many heated arguments in the world
of politics. Adversarys of voting on the Internet state, It would not be legally,
practically or fiscally feasible to develop a comprehensive remote Internet voting Essay
system (Phillips 3).
However advocates of on-line voting argue, There is nothing
inherently more mischievous about Internet voting than paper ballots (Wayne 1).
Before a person can decide what side of the Internet voting debate they want to
support, they must be made aware of the issues at hand.
One method of on-line voting is The Polling Place System. This is generally
considered to be the most tamper proof system available to the public. The Polling
Place System is run a lot like the traditional paper ballot voting structure election
officials have used for many years (Phillips 2). The voters go to a designated voting
station and cast their votes using computers provided by the Federal Election
Commission, or FEC (Wayne 1).
The election is under the control of election
officials at all times which allows for uniformity of communication privacy and
security protocols. Perhaps the greatest advantage to this system is the ability to
provide paper audit trails and additional identity verification (Phillips 2). The
capability to have a paper record of the ballots cast by each indiviual voter is what
makes this system the most tamper proof available.
The other process of Internet voting is called the Remote System. It is
believed that this system will result in a, boost in voter turn out which is now at
historic lows(Phillips 2). This belief is a result of how accessible this system will
The voter is responsible for providing the computer unlike the Polling
Place System. This allows the voter to cast their vote anywhere as long as they have
access to the Internet. However, the downfall of this system is the lack of paper audit
trails (Wayne 3). This in turn causes a lack of regulation in not only the ability to
track individual ballots but the uniformity of voting conditions (Phillips 3).
There are many advantages to voting on the Internet. One of the most
evident advantages is that it is cost effective.
It virtually eliminates any need for the
current election provided equipment and the thousands of people working in the
voting booths (Popkin 17). The freedom voters will have to vote from any location
will eliminate the need for specific voting ballots (Phillips 2). This freedom will also
make voting more convenient and will probably boost voter turn out. It will allow
for a greater participation in voting from groups like business executives, overseas
military and young people. These three groups generally have a low voter turn out
but have readily access to the Internet (Wayne 2). This ability to access the Internet
on a regular basis is what is believed will raise their voter participation.
voting will also eradicate the need for pole workers (Phillips 2). This work would be
handled by a small group of people working for the election vendor, the Internet site
On-line voting also has many disadvantages when compared to the
traditional paper ballot system (Popkin 13). At this time there are no standards in
place for the election vendors. The lack regulations and uniformity can result in
many different ballot outcomes (Wayne 1). Other worries are that hackers may
infiltrate the computer voting system and manipulate the results. It is feared that a
hacker could implant a virus in the computers of the voters and substitute his own
vote for thousands of legitimate votes.
This type of fraud would make prosecution
extremely difficult since there would no longer be physical evidence, like on paper
ballots, to prove such fraud (Phillips 4).
There are many different issues in debate over the topic of Internet voting. It
is the duty of every U.S. citizen .