If we’re willing to trust the internet to safeguard our finances, shepherd our love life, and maybe even one day steer our cars, being able to cast our vote online might seem like a logical, perhaps overdue, step.
Imagine: No more taking time out of your workday to travel to a polling place only to stand in a long line. Instead, you could pull out your phone, cast your vote, and go along with your day. Sounds great, right?
Absolutely not, says David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford University. In fact, online voting is such a dangerous idea that computer scientists and security experts are nearly unanimous in opposition to it.
Dill first got involved in the debate around electronic voting in 2003, when a group of computer scientists voiced concerns about the risks associated with the touchscreen voting machines that many districts considered implementing after the 2000 election. Since then, paperless touchscreen voting machines have all but died out, partly as a result of public awareness campaigns by the Verified Voting Foundation, which was founded to help safeguard local, state, and federal elections.
But a new front has opened around the prospect of internet voting, as evidenced by recent ballot initiatives proposed in California and other efforts to push toward online voting.
Dill discusses the risks of internet voting, the challenge of educating an increasingly tech-comfortable public, and why paper is still the best way to cast a vote.