Saturday, June 15Hampton Roads Weekly

Tech Talk-Vote Mobile

Vote Mobile

Over 200 million people have access to mobile devices in the United States. Still, only approximately 150 million people voted in our presidential election.  This needs to change. We now have the technology to put the power of the vote in the hands of every United States citizen who is of age. The more people we have involved in our governmental elections, the more representative and democratic our government will truly be: of the people, by the people, for the people

Voting is a crucial piece of our democracy. It has been from the very beginning when representatives from the original 13 colonies voted to declare our independence from England. We also encoded this right in our founding documents with the individuals and representatives both voting. These rights have slowly but steadily been granted to everyone. We are a voting people, and we can do better. So why do so many individuals not exercise this important right for which many have fought, this right that is so crucial to the health of our society?

Some say they don’t want to vote. Others say, “I don’t like either of the candidates.” Still, others simply say they don’t have the time. Well, as technology has continued to grow, so too has our use of technology in the act of voting. We have evolved from dropping paper ballots into bowls, to cards, punched chads, and now even voting machines that all get fed into a computer to tally the votes that eventually end up on computers. We now have the technology which can help dissolve these non-voting excuses we use, while also making the voting process more efficient.

Mobile devices are prevalent everywhere in the world with over 2/3 of the population of the planet having access. America is no different. As mentioned earlier, we have well over 250 million voting-aged people with mobile phones and even more with access to the internet at large. These devices are as secure as we design them and use them. Still, many opponents to using mobile technologies in this way instantly jump to the lack of security of mobile phones. Well, security has always been an issue. How secure are the machines? Do we know that votes are counted accurately or that the totals are not degraded or manipulated anywhere between the voter’s finger and the final count? We even have several voting machines and systems that get connected to larger networks to attach ultimately with these servers that are used to give results on election nights.

We could make our mobile, online-voting app solution as secure as our banking. We have double pin or dual authentication. This is when you login to a site and a pin number is sent to your phone that you have to then enter to make sure it is actually your phone, and you using it. We have fingerprint, facial, and voice recognition all built into these mobile devices. We also have traditional methods that could be implemented as well, such as our social security numbers, full names, and several more. Of course, we could at first maintain the traditional physical or legacy systems for those who do not have or want access to the mobile option. But, that need would eventually wane. This new system could potentially be as secure as our financial institutions using technologies such as Blockchain. Blockchain is a technology utilized by several banking institutions throughout the world. (We will be discussing Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, or bitcoin and Ethereum, in a future tech talk).

This new and all-inclusive voting system could be secure, reliable, and cost-effective. It could even save our country hours of lost productivity compared to the current voting process. This could potentially save tens of millions of dollars, if not more. It may also negate the many legitimate reasons and even excuses people now use to abstain. This could ultimately put the power of the people, the individual voice, in the hands of every United States citizen. Let’s start using our technology to give individuals a voice and level the playing field for all those running. We want our voices to be heard.

by Gerry White