Certain deeds in this life seem to be inconvenient in the short-term, but prove most convenient for the long-term. When in regards to the new idea and question of voting by smartphone and the changes that I anticipate this would make to the accuracy, documentation, expense, and convenience of our voting process, in an article that discusses the idea of the utilization of smartphones for voting, the New York Times shares my serious concern and bottom-line sentiments when it stated,
“Winston Churchill had a famous saying that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried before,” Mr. Rivest said […] “You can apply the same statement to paper ballots, which are the worst form of voting, but better than all the others that have been tried before […]” Mr. Rivest, who is the R in the name of the RSA encryption system, which is used by government institutions and banks, said that if things went wrong on Election Day, chaos could ensue, because doubts about the results would rattle the foundations of our democracy (Bilton, 2012).”
The lure of convenience always looms for us Americans. In this day and age where we can deposit our checks via smartphone capture in lieu of driving to the bank, when we can use an app for I dare say almost anything, save a nature walk by the river, it seems logical that we consider voting via smartphone at this juncture.
I disagree. Merely based upon ethics for starters, for the same reason that we place one man’s body in the flesh to be present for war, I believe that placing one man’s body in the flesh to be present for voting should be incumbent upon the American citizen... in the sheer name of duty. Barbara Simons commented,
“… (Simons) ran through a list of calamitous events that could occur if we voted by Internet […] Viruses could be used to take over voters’ phones; rogue countries like Iran could commandeer computers and change results without our knowledge; government insiders could write software that decides who wins; denial-of-service attacks could take down the Internet on Election Day […] “It’s a national security issue,” Ms. Simons said […] “We really don’t want our enemies to be able to determine our government for us — or even our friends for that matter (Bilton, 2012).”
The red herring question that points/asks to/of accuracy, expense, and convenience seems to bias the idea that voting via smartphones would naturally be more convenient, less expensive and has a chance to be more accurate than our driving to the polling places, our cities/states paying to have human beings sit down and count, and that somehow their counting and reconfirming the counts could somehow be less accurate in its results than the tally of technology via “secure” smartphones. This seems farcical to me. There are so very many disastrous, calamitous consequences that could ensue if we use smartphones for voting in our democracy!
Sure, it would be convenient for us to tap bubbles with our index fingers in the convenience of our fuzzy pajamas and coffee any morning we wish in lieu of getting dressed and driving to the polling booths. It would be as convenient to have a text message relationship with a boyfriend also, but can we honestly accomplish true relations via smartphone? In the day and age of world-wide hacking of computer systems, of malicious technological viruses, voting by smartphone is not only risky, I believe it to be a liability to the very foundation of our country. What if a massive power outage or server blackout occurred? What if some scrambled numerical results ensued? Total havoc would blanket our country and conspiracy theories would abound and infiltrate our collective consciousness until Kingdom Come.
Also, other countries could indeed mar such system and at the whiff of the actuation of such ubiquitous voting app, America’s enemies would be primed and ready to do so. Other issues abound as well: age of voters, authenticity of identity when voting, financial means of some low-income families who do not own smartphones, and the blindness inherent by nature of our doing so. Also, within our own government, this could be severely manipulated and deep pockets could pay certain app-creators to bias the majority votes in some way, shape or form.
The possible advantages do not outweigh the liabilities in my mind: convenience of our time and geographical locations along with the lack of the cost of paper and pencils and rent at voting/polling booth locations, and the cost of gas to zoom over there. I say that until we can “do jury duty” via smartphone apps, then we should not be able to vote our political candidates into offices this way either.
One solution that may help with such technological tallying could be the use of identity verification by way of fingerprinting any American who chooses to vote via smartphone app. This, however, would involve the necessity of every single individual cell phone’s capacity to be able to offer such technology and furthermore, it would involve prior plausible years of organization involving an entire other new sector of our government to have to create jobs wherein the sole purpose of such is to collect, file and organize the fingerprints that match our identities. What a massive mess in wait this could render itself to be!
When in regards to fairness of method and if I believe that majority rule or some other variation would then be more suitable in the counting process, I believe that majority rule per state would suffice in the event of technological tallying via smartphone app garnering.
When in regards to whether I believe that this method of voting could be considered secure and the unintended consequences that could arise from this method of casting votes, I believe that as I stated above, due to ethics that were at the germ of the seed of this country’s birth and continued collective morale, due to the disastrous potentiality of the actuality of malicious hackers and malicious hacking systems, the inherent blindnessfactor of our voting in private, the capability differences of actual cell phones and computers, and the malicious intent of other countries and their ill sentiments of America at present, then utilizing smartphone apps to vote for our elected leaders is not only sophomoric in our thinking, but a serious and severe liability for the future of our country.
Bilton, N. (2012, November 11). Disruptions: casting a ballot by smartphone. Retrieved
April 23, 2015, from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/disruptions-casting-a-ballot-by-smartphone/?_r=0