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Elections held over the internet can revolutionize the way that the American people cast their votes. Many are concerned that the vulnerabilities of the internet can compromise crucial systems and ultimately taint the voting system. Hackers and viruses can play a disastrous role in the downfall of an online election.
Throughout the years, elections have steadily evolved in the methods of how votes are cast. With access to the internet available in almost every home, what’s to stop an election from taking place from the comfort of your own home? Instead of wasting hours standing in line at a polling location you can just hop on the computer during the commercial break of your favorite television show. But is this method really as good as it sounds? While some think that this is the ideal way for our nation to advance, others are more skeptical. Like any other computer system connected to the internet, hackers and viruses are a major threat, especially when it comes to something as important as the election of our country’s next president.
Hackers are an ever growing problem for the world of technology. How many times have you received a notification from your bank stating that their system was compromised and issued you a new debit card? Things like this happen all the time. If someone can hack into a bank computer system and steal information, what is stopping them from hacking an election system and changing everyone’s votes? Nothing. When the District of Colombia was testing a new online voting platform, they encouraged the public to try and hack it. It took a University of Michigan Professor and his students only 36 hours to crack the system and elect a fictitious character as the new school board president (Reardon, S. 2012).
However, having the option to cast your votes online does have its perks. Some American cities as well as numerous countries have been conducting elections online for some time with no major consequences (Gross, D. 2011). Not having to travel and wait in line may increase the number of registered voters that actually take the time to vote. People today live such hectic lives that it may be hard to find time to take out of your day to go out and vote. A study conducted by Dell Computers revealed that 80 percent of web users would like to vote online (Goldberg, J. 1999).
Despite the benefits of at home voting, some things just aren’t worth the risk. Suppose during an election half of the population voted online only to have a virus infect the system and wipe the system clean of all information. The same goes for identity theft. If someone was able to steal your personal information, they could cast a vote in your name. On the topic of identities, elections are supposed to be anonymous (Cyber Experts Red Flag Online Voting 2012). Yes, you check in to verify that you did go and vote, but the ballot that you submit does not have any of your information on it. If you had to verify who you were online, who’s to say that the information that you provided isn’t linked to your actual ballot?
While the convenience of being able to vote online would be a nice option, until security measures can counteract any threat that might jeopardize an election it is best to continue to take the trip to your polling location and submit your vote in person. Yes, ballot tampering has been a thing that has always plagued elections. But would you rather have a few ballots tamper with or the entire system hacked and compromised? Think carefully about your vote, it does count.
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