We have the technology to conduct secure voting. The technology is not 100% un-hackable. Society has not invented Hacker-proof technology yet. However, it can provide security, anonymity, and accuracy to ensure fair elections.ff
Then why are we not using digital technology to vote in America? There’s no one answer to those questions. We have to go down many roads to answer that question. Try to get Americans to trust technology. Good luck with that. People from all walks of life deny we landed on the moon even though technology surrounds all citizens. This is the same technology that made the moon trip possible. The world benefitted from the moon exploration.
Contagious stupidity has let the monkey out of the cage. Truth means little to people that replace obvious truths with government conspiracies.
The technology can work. On a very high level, I will explain only one of the many ways online voting can work. A voter can access their online account using biometrics only. This computer is directly connected to an offline server called the origin server. The origin server stores all of the inputs from the connected voting computers. The data on this server is downloaded to too two separate servers. One server is offline and is called the emergency server and used for backup. The online server is called the transport server. This server will send encrypted data at random intervals. This data is sent to a last-stop server that stores all the data of all voting computers in the local or national areas. The data from this last stop server is presented in real-time to the public.
The voter will receive a confirmation number that can be validated to ensure accuracy in their voting choices. The digital system will then take their names off the voting registry so they will not be able to vote twice. There are no details in that description, but the message is unmistakable: We have the technology to validate every single vote in the United States. The problem is not about technology.
The tiny European country, Estonia, has used the Internet for national elections since 2005. Since then, the percentage of voters voting via the Internet has grown with each new election. Instead of waiting in line in the cold during a COVID pandemic,
Martin Kaevats, the former Estonia National Digital Advisor, said that he had not spent more than 15 minutes filing taxes or voting in his life and added,
“I can’t believe that in places like in the Silicon Valley, creating cutting-edge technology, you still have to stand in line at the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] to get your driving license,” Kaevats says.
Estonia is about the size of the state of Maine, with 1.3 million people. Since this is a country with limited resources, the idea of a fully digital government became appealing. By building an online bureaucratic system and pushing public education to make its population digitally literate, Estonia is leading the world in digital transformation. This digital transformation came out of innovation. Necessity birthed innovation. America has not reached this pinnacle of reasoning yet. We are patiently waiting for the next catastrophe to happen. Our country is stuck in a reactional mode instead of preparing for what’s coming.
What Estonia does cannot be cut and pasted to other places, least of all in America. It is totally scalable, but the social aspect is what can hod up something like that happening. Some experts say that America should adopt something similar to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) as they have in Europe. A GDPR could help build trust in society. Without trust, the most accurate digital counting would not be enough.
For America to adopt and embrace online voting, a few things need to happen. The first thing is Americans must accept and trust technology. Part of this is giving up the concept of privacy. We will have to give up (willingly) a good portion of our privacy. Just as the cost of free speech made us accept the idea of people saying things you disagree with, sustaining an effective democracy will cost us privacy. When trust can be obtained, America will be on the road to a sustained democracy.
Biometrics has to replace passwords. Does every America have a social security number? Why can’t we fully adopt something even more unique than a social security number? We will still need some type of national number and use biometrics to ensure identification for some of the more important events, such as voting, healthcare services, and financial matters.
Scientists communicate with Voyager 1, which is more than 14.5 billion miles from earth, yet we struggle with things like identification cards, signatures, distances, and unrestricted access. Technology can solve those things. If we go on not believing in or social, political, judicial, and technology sectors, it does not take Nostradamus to figure out where that would eventually lead. Americans need to embrace technology to reinforce the threads required to keep democracy in place. Fair voting (our secret sauce) is essential. If trust in voting goes down the drain, all of us will be caught in that whirlpool.