“But why can’t I just vote for our president on the internet, mom?” asked 19 years old Alice to her mother.
We are in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are graduating on the internet, authenticating legal papers on the internet, attempting exams on the internet, transferring money on the internet. Why don’t we vote on the internet? Find out the answer below…
The recent US presidential elections raised many questions on the current voting practices. A tweet by Georgia resident Johnta Austin went viral over the internet. Johnta and his family waited for 11 hours to vote.
Waiting for eleven hours to vote requires a high level of dedication. Voters are tolerating this method of voting in the 21st century. The most obvious alternative that comes to our minds is a voting system developed over the internet. We need a secure way to vote over the internet.
For instance, Signal is a famous end-to-end encrypted messaging app. A message is encrypted to protect from hackers over the network. We could send our votes in a similar encrypted way.
Internet encrypted voting sounds like a comfortable, economical, convenient, and faster method. However, the problem comes when we consider the fact that there are two computer programs involved in one vote transaction. One computer program(on our phone/laptop) sends a vote while the other(on the government server) receives. Authorities can manipulate any one of these computer programs to cheat in an election.
Internet voting doesn’t guarantee physical security to the voters. The government servers might be hacked themselves. As of today, our 21st-century technologies have no answer to this fundamental question of democracy.
The good news is, cryptographers are developing ways to solve this long-standing problem of full-proof voting systems. Blockchain is a promising method that gives probabilistic surety for safe election conduction. However, these complicated methods come with other security issues. While recent researches at MIT rejected the feasibility of using blockchain for elections, the future of this research looks bright. We might very soon witness a groundbreaking invention in voting technology. Till then, take care, stay in your homes and fight the pandemic.