This week’s report that Diebold voting machines could be hacked with only $26 in parts and a little bit of technical knowledge makes me wonder why we’ve been focusing on electronic voting at the polls and not at home. The institution of early voting has made voting a little more convenient, but we still insist on holding elections on Tuesdays with only a small window on either side of the workday in which most people can get to the polls.
If we are going to be focusing on using technology to improve voting, why not use it to make voting easier? Even in 2008, which had the highest voter turnout for a national election since 1968, only 56.8% of the voting age population voted in the election. Long lines discouraged or disenfranchised many would-be voters, and many others simply didn’t have the time to make it to the polls. You could argue that these individuals had other options for avoiding the lines or time constraints, but the fact is that we don’t make voting as convenient as it could be, and turnout suffers as a result.
If an approved method of voting can be tampered with for $26, we may as well move toward online voting. Internet security may not be perfect, but if my vote is going to be changed anyhow, I’d rather I didn’t have to get up off the couch to cast it.