Elections being held during the Covid-19 pandemic are receiving flak for potentially exposing voters to the virus. The safety of citizens, some argue, should take priority over politics and political campaigns. Voters only have two options: either going out and voting and potentially exposing themselves to the virus or staying home and missing out on voting.
A democracy runs most efficiently when its people are actively involved in the democratic process. The best way for them to involved is through voting in elections, as it is one of the primary ways to inform the leaders in power whether citizens are satisfied or disappointed in them. The importance of the vote is not lost on both leaders and the public. But when the question of health and personal safety is put forward, we find ourselves looking for alternative safety measures.
E-voting can potentially serve as one of them
E-voting is already available in America in some form- mail-in ballots, absentee voting, and voting by fax are already taking place.
But the controversy over the genuine nature of ballots and whether or not widespread voter fraud can be committed using them are all questions that take time to answer.
The other alternative is online voting or e-voting.
Several states already offer online voting where the person can’t make it to the voting booth in person. But these are only allowed for individuals with special circumstances, such as military personnel serving abroad or citizens living abroad.
The possibility of limited oversight for voting authorities to regulate the voting process is one of the key issues with online voting. Questions about the validity and safety of online voting, such as cybersecurity issues and hacking problems, remain prominent. Voatz, an application used in the election in West Virginia, was revealed to have severe cyber issues that enabled a hacker to alter, stop or expose the voter’s identity. This would serve as a potential threat to voters’ safety, as individuals can become targets of attacks by rival gangs of political parties.
Voting online increases the chances of hackers from foreign countries trying to interfere in the elections. Previous investigations of prior elections have revealed several vulnerabilities in the voting process and its security. Not only this, but online voting will decrease the chances of voters remaining anonymous since specific details can be obtained by anyone who hacks the application.
Before online voting can fully come into practice, several obstacles need to be tackled.
Protection of the anonymity of voter identities is first and foremost on the list. Once this can be achieved, e-voting can serve as a viable alternative to on-site voting. Elimination of cybersecurity threats should also be taken care of.
E-voting can make it fairer and easier for people to vote as accessibility will increase manifold. Almost every home has a smartphone, and voters from neighborhoods with historically low voter turnout can achieve a higher rate this way.
Corruption and misappropriation of the democratic process can be decreased, and people can get a fair chance to vote for their candidate. Perhaps, through e-voting, we might achieve true democracy.