Elections & Technology

While it looks like eVoting will eventually arrive, we could likely streamline the current check-in/voting process. It seems ludicrous to me that in an at-large system, I must vote only at 1 particular poll. I watched at least 40-odd people turned away at Britannia in under 3 hours yesterday because they were supposed to be somewhere else. While we have large paper books of names, it sort of makes sense. But as I was scrutineering by iPhone, it occurred to me we have well-establish technology to make this easier. We’re all used to signing digitally at stores when buying things. Imagine the following scenario:

A voter is sent a voting card, like  normal. Only there’s a bar-code on it now. on e-Day, the voter goes to whichever poll is most convenient. At the sign-in desk, there’s a polling official with a hand-scanner. They scan the bar code & the person’s ino shows up on screen. They sign the screen (either with a stylus or a finger), then go vote as usual.

Behind the scenes, this san & signature is immediately updated across the system. Parties could likewise be immediately updated that voter # 12345 has just voted, further reducing the need  for scrutineers to do this work, reducing costs & ensuring that all registered electoral associations have equal access to this information & help them get out their vote.

If a voter needs to update their name, their address, or register, they can likewise do this digitally right there, updating the entire system. You wouldn’t even need particularly high-end technology to make this work. It seems reasonable to mandate that telcos/cablecos provide internet access on election day to make this possible.

It could even spit out live counts of voters by area, possibly alerting voters who have signed up for information that a particular polling station is busy or not, and suggesting alternates.

There’s probably various other ways existing, well-established technology could be used to help streamline the voting process, without digitizing voting itself – if you have any, let me know below.