Is the Technological Advancement of Online Voting Really an Advancement?

What is online voting and how is it different from electronic voting?

Electronic voting, also known as e-voting, refers to voting using electronic means to either aid or take care of the chores of casting and counting votes. Depending on the exact implementation, electronic voting may utilize standalone electronic machines or computers connected to the Internet.

Source: Giphy

Online voting is a type of electronic voting which takes place under the circumstance where the voting process uses computers connected to the Internet. Online voting encompasses a range of Internet services, from basic data transmission to full-function online voting through common connectable household devices. The degree of automation behind online voting may vary from simple chores to a complete solution that includes voter registration & authentication, vote input, local or precinct tallying, vote data encryption and transmission to servers, vote consolidation and tabulation, and election administration. A competent online voting system must perform these tasks while complying with a set of standards established by regulatory bodies. In addition, the online voting system must be capable to successfully deal with requirements associated with security and accessibility.

Source: Giphy

With the recent increase in the total voter turn-out on social media-based surveys due to the introduction of online voting, the Canadian government seeks to adopt the methodology involved with processing online votes in order to increase the overall voter turn-out in Canada. The Canadian government postulates that because it will be much easier for citizens to cast votes, more citizens will vote. Online voting may be an efficient way of gathering data on social media platforms for entertainment and marketing purposes, but it is not suited for the Canadian government to use for polling votes.

Source: Giphy

EID100 Project: a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and a Questionnaire on Quizlet

Our EID100 group produced a public service announcement (PSA) to educate Canadian citizens on the risks associated with implementing an online voting system to poll votes for candidate elections. Our group also generated a link to a questionnaire we created on Quizlet that can be found at the end of this blog that tests Canadian citizens on the information they have learned from this blog post and PSA. Our goal is to persuade Canadian citizens to oppose online voting so that are our government won’t be influenced to implement the development of online voting to poll future candidate elections.

Here is the PSA we created using Raw Shorts:

Source: YouTube

What are some of the risks and concerns associated with online voting?

One concern related to online voting is the digital divide. The digital divide is an economic and social inequality with regard to access and use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The term refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have and don’t have access to modern ICT. The digital divide ultimately lessens the overall quality of Internet accessibility. Global, economic, geographical, physical and generational are some factors that contribute to the digital divide. Due to the digital divide, certain neighborhoods and certain people are unable to use online voting to cast their vote. Developing areas are at a disadvantage compared to developed areas global-wise. Poor people are at a disadvantage compared to rich people economic-wise. Rural areas are at a disadvantage compared to urban areas geographic-wise. Disabled people are at a disadvantage compared to able-bodied people physical-wise. Old people are at a disadvantage compared to young people in generational-wise. A peer-reviewed scholarly journal authored by Karen Mossberger, Caroline Tolbert and Ramona McNeal reiterates the impact of the digital divide on political participating and online voting.

Source: Al Arabiya

The two main risks that are associated with online voting is 1) the possibility of a breach in security, and 2) the possibility of voter fraud. Nowadays, it is quite difficult to completely avoid cyber breaches and other forms of online hacking. Even something as established as the Canadian Government is prone to being attacked by hackers. In 2017, it was revealed in a news article by Wired, an American economic magazine, that a whopping 198 million U.S voters had their information breached due to a simple misconfiguration in the system. To put that in retrospect, that counts for every single American vote since 2007. Expert hackers have the ability to steal an individual’s personal information, including their banking information and their social insurance number (SIN). More frighteningly, expert hackers are capable of altering the results of a candidate election without being detected by the government or by any agencies the government hires to detect unlawful alterations. Implementing a system where people can vote online in the comfort of their homes opens a window for hackers to hack the voting system and alter the polls so a specific candidate wins the election.

Source: Giphy

Online Voting used on Social Media to Gather Data for Entertainment Purposes vs. Online Voting Used in Polling for Candidate Elections

Source: Bleacher Report

This image above depicts how online voting is utilized on social media, specifically Instagram. Bleacher Report, a sports statistic website, conducted an online vote on Instagram asking users that followed the Bleacher Report page the following question: Who wins if Russel Westbrook and Steph Curry played in a 1 versus 1? The poll revealed that 74% of users that voted selected Russel Westbrook to be the superior player. The risks involved with online dating in regard to polling votes for candidate elections is similar to that of polling votes for entertainment purposes. However, the possibility of vote alteration leads to much greater impacts in candidate elections than in entertainment polling. If a hacker hacks and alters the polling for a sports statistic website like the one depicted above, the result is people believing the majority of the population holds the belief that the inferior player is superior. However, if a hacker hacks the polling for a candidate election, the candidate who was chosen by the minority is chosen to represent the entire state.

The risks associated with online voting is not worth the implementation into candidate elections. The Canadian government should stick to its current polling methods.

Source: Quizlet

To test your knowledge in regards to the content and terminology discussed in the PSA and blog, take this questionnaire our group created using Quizlet: Risks to Online Voting.

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