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Why Can't We Vote Online?

Updated on May 21, 2020

Security Concerns

With the outbreak of COVID-19 there is a major concern that we may not be able to vote in person this coming November. That means we may have to vote by mail. The other option is to vote online but there is plenty of objections to this being possible.

The main argument people of authority give for not being able to vote online is the possibility of fraud. This argument is ridiculous when you consider all of the agencies that handle your private, medical and financial information today.

Almost everyone is doing banking online using their cell phones so obviously they trust their banks to handle their financial transactions online. You have government agencies that handle your information securely as well such as the DMV, VA, SSA, and most recently the IRS in sending out stimulus checks.

Each one of these agencies allows you to sign in securely to their websites with your unique ID and password to access your personal information. They can track when and how often you login to your account. Almost anything you do while on the site is recorded. Therefore, any discrepancies or unusual activity can be traced if you see something suspicious.

The Horse Racing Industry

Another concern or excuse they use is they may not be able to handle the volume of people that would vote online. Let's compare this to the horse racing industry. The horse racing industry has several sites where you can bet online. These sites handle several tracks per day including tracks from other countries. Some of these sites take bets 24 hours a day. That's a lot of worldwide volume.

You can make a wager on a race up to the very minute the race goes off, just as you would if you were at the track. These sites are handling millions of dollars per minute with absolute accuracy.

Right now tracks are opening with no people in the stands mainly because they can accept betting online. You have an account and you can deposit or withdraw funds within minutes. When you place a bet it is deducted from your account and if you win, the winnings are added to your account almost immediately.

Registering With The Board of Elections

So what do we need to do to be able to vote online? The Board of Elections needs to be revamped to include online voting. The only reason they don't want you voting online is because more people will vote. From the few examples that I have given, all it takes is to register and establish your account. The Board of Elections then verifies your eligibility and you are now ready to vote on election day.

Only one vote can be cast in your identity and if you login and can't vote, you know you have been hacked. The Board of Elections should establish a way to verify who you voted for, meaning you can check your vote later to make sure it went through for the right person or issue. They can also detect or trace any acts or attempts at voter fraud.

What If I Don't Have Internet Access?

Almost all of us have access to the internet or we know someone who has a smart phone that can access the internet. Your elderly relatives may need your assistance in this area. You may have to help your relatives with this. You can access the internet from your phone using your data or a hot spot. That's why registering early is necessary. Once you are registered, when it is time to vote you can access the internet from anywhere.

Even now, we have elderly people who can't get to the polls who need to vote. This brings the polls to them. If they are hospitalized or in a nursing home, those facilities usually have internet access so you could take a laptop from room to room if necessary. Churches for example, can have days when people who don't have internet can vote after service is over or any other designated day.

Let's Get it Done

One of the biggest differences I found when I moved from Cleveland to Atlanta was the attitude of the people when faced with a problem. In Cleveland I was surrounded by people who complained about a problem and would just shut down if they couldn't find a solution. When I moved to Atlanta, a problem became a challenge that needed a solution right now. No need to worry about why it happened, we need to get it fixed and keep moving.

This is the problem we are facing now. We may not be able to get to the polls in November so we can't just shut down and not have an election. We need to find a solution right now and keep it moving. Trump doesn't want you to vote by mail, in fact he doesn't want you to vote at all.

Voting online is in addition to voting by mail. Another concern was military personnel who may be in a country where internet is not available. This is why we have to keep absentee mail voting in place, but online voting would cut down the amount of absentee ballots that would be cast.

The key is to be registered at least a month before the election and then you could use that whole month to vote online up until the polls close on election day. As always, this plan can be adjusted to make it work for any situation.

These are not all the answers but it is a start. Our current voting system is so complex and outdated that only a small fraction of people vote as it is. Most people don't vote because it is too time consuming, they don't like standing in long lines or they just can't get to the polls.

This would also cut down on the temporary personnel that is needed to man the polls during election years. There will be no need for polling places. There will not be people in polling places telling you that you can't vote. If the internet is the future then voting has to keep up with the times. Quit making excuses and let's get this working now!


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    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      9 days ago from Central Florida

      CJ, I will take my chances in person any day over mail in or online.

      My County has the darken the circle method. Easy Peasy. Although, I did once hear someone say, "oh man, I darkened the wrong circle! Yikes! What are you going to do?

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      9 days ago from PNW

      A B,

      Since the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, voting in many southern counties has become a very uncertain process. Without Federal Govt oversight, things have grown worse. See the following:

      Touchscreen in person voting has become a joke. While paper ballots are certainly superior to machines (if we have to vote in person), mail in ballots eliminate all of that. While we wait for secure online voting, mail in ballots should be the greater alternative. WA, OR, UT & HI have some of the lowest rates of voter fraud in the country.

    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      10 days ago from Central Florida

      I must respectfully disagree. We do not need a backup plan.

      We have learned that everything about COVID-19 was met with overreaction and overestimation.

      Thank God that deaths were overestimated.

      The number of hospital beds which would be needed, the number of ventilators which would be needed, all overestimated...the good news, all of those extra ventilators have gone to other Countries, which may have overestimated too, but they'll have them if they need them.

      It's time to close this chapter, get back to normal, no backup plans.

    • Thomas Blackshear profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Blackshear 

      10 days ago from Greensboro

      Hey A.B.

      Hopefully we will be able to do that by November. We need to put together a backup plan now though. With only five months left, something has to be in place within the next three months. If we are going to vote by mail the ballots need to be mailed to us right after Labor Day.

    • abwilliams profile image

      A B Williams 

      11 days ago from Central Florida

      Good morning Thomas.

      It's not a lot to ask of us to go stand in line one day every four years is it? Even with COVID-19, the big box stores have remained 'busy'. Not sure which grocery stores you have, but Publix, here, has been rocking! If we can manage to hit up the big box stores once a month and the grocery store once a week, I think we can show up in person, show our i.d. and have firsthand knowledge and peace of mind of where our vote ends up.

      I consider it a great honor and privilege to be able to take time out to vote and it is always the only long line that I love to see.


    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      11 days ago from PNW

      A lack of will, a lack of empathy and a love of $$. Sad.

    • Thomas Blackshear profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Blackshear 

      11 days ago from Greensboro

      One last point that you made stated that the GOP leaders don't want to get it done. That is the problem, not that it can't be done.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      13 days ago from PNW

      Good talking to you. Best of luck. Stay well.

    • Thomas Blackshear profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Blackshear 

      2 weeks ago from Greensboro

      Yes there are concerns but I think I addressed the fact that if you have a valid voting account you would be able to tell if you have been hacked. If that happens you can prove who you voted for by digital confirmation. If someone hacked your account before you had a chance to vote, you can verify that also and should be allowed to vote.

      I agree voting by mail is safe but you still run risks of corruption with that also. Who's to say the votes are being counted accurately in every county? We saw that in Florida in 2000. I'm not saying replace one with the other. Like you say, a lot of places wouldn't be able to put a system in place in time. But this should be considered as soon as possible.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 weeks ago from PNW

      I have to disagree with you, Mr. Blackshear.

      Paper ballots (and/or mail ballots that are scanned) have been proven to be the safest. While bank, casinos and the horse racing industry can handle high volume/$$ transaction worth billions, they are still hacked daily. But the individual loss is low. The impact of personal information stolen is short term to those institutions. I would like to think that my vote is more important than a small $$ lose via fraud. I can get the $$ back, I can't revote.

      Right now, no one can make those systems hack proof. State GOP leaders don't want to make them safer. Bad voting machines along with the diminution of the Voting Right Act puts them in a powerful position.

      Ballot storage will need an upgrade as well as an expansion of a county's ability to have an independent tallying/scanning. We will get there one day, but right now the division among state leaders would make online voting vulnerable even on a limited basis.

      Strong consensus at all levels of government is what's needed in order to have safe, online voting. Sadly, I think we're years away from that.


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