STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Considering how much we use our computers and phones, online voting seems reasonable. But is it really a safe option?
Starkville Election Commissioner Kirk Rosenhan says casting your ballot online may sound convenient, but there are still several risks.
“There are a number of downsides and they simply are security. There would be an expense for the city or governing agency for the software to ensure that we got the vote and properly kept track of it, but yet, kept it secret and secure up to the day of the election,” said Rosenhan.
David Dampier is a computer science professor at Mississippi State University and says one benefit to online voting would be tracking when and where you voted.
“Once the votes are cast and counted, it’s a lot easier to secure one server than it is to secure a bunch of voting machines at a whole bunch of different precincts in a county. So if everybody goes online and votes, if the vote is securely recorded in the server, it’s probably easier to secure that,” said Dampier.
But it could also open the door to hackers, fraud, and even disenfranchisement.
“If I go to vote and I record my vote and I’ve done it legitimately, I am who I say I am and you come along and try to vote as me, and the system lets that vote get in, now they find that I voted twice. So what choice do they have, except to not count any of those votes,” said Dampier.
Both Rosenhan and Dampier believe there will be a day when we will have the option to pick our candidate from the comfort of our homes, it just won’t happen any time soon.
“I think that eventually, we will have online voting but I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before we do it,” said Dampier.
There are some countries where internet voting works. Estonia allows people to vote online and they’ve seen a huge jump in voter turnout.
Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden have also tested internet voting.