Panel Discusses Internet Voting

The University of Maryland’s Center of American Politics and Citizenship held a conference this week to discuss the effect of voting reforms on the 2012 Elections.  Voting reforms discussed included: 1) the effect of online absentee ballot delivery systems, early voting, and mail voting on turnout; 2) adaptations by campaigns to recent voting reforms; 3)the impact of voter ID requirements and list maintenance on voter fraud and vote suppression; and 4) how election reform creates winners and losers among voters, candidates, and parties.

Participants on one panel hosted by the Center, although with slightly different perspectives, believe that internet voting is inevitable. As reported by MarylandReporter.com:

“Its just a matter of time until people demand that we vote on the Internet. People do everything on the internet,” said Republican Dave Mason, a former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission.

Democrat Bob Carey, former director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, said that online voting would likely lead to a higher voting turnout.  He said that at the very least it guarantees more military votes would be counted.

One major concern with voting online is voter fraud.  While online voting would introduce new security risks, some believe the risks could be managed.

But Carey said  that although there are risks associated with an online voting system, there are security risks associated with any voting system, especially the current system pointing out the debacle in the extraordinarily close 2000 presidential election.

“You can essentially eliminate the possibility of someone being able to hack into a Virtual Private Network and change a ballot. Can someone hack into a VPN? Sure. Can they hack into a VPN without being detected? Virtually impossible,” Carey said. “ I really do believe that full Internet voting is something that we eventually need to get to. This is something that definitely needs to be discussed, funded, researched, developed and deployed.”

Maryland will be implementing online absentee ballots for military and overseas voters for the upcoming presidential election.

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