The Case Against Online Voting
Every time it has been attempted, computerized voting has caused many of the problems that Joel Howell, myself, and others predicted back in the Summer of 2001, when the debate over online voting first began.
Ironically, the smoothest ride for computerized voting has been the first, Fall 2001, when they converted just one precinct (the Hub) into a computerized voting location.
This semester is no different. What amazes me the most is that Accelerated Data Networks has been trying to win SG over with a lucrative electronic voting contract, and 5 years into the effort, they have yet to prove the system is as smooth-running as the outdated paper ballots.
The most striking problem this time, however, has nothing to do with the computerized portion. (Aside from poorly trained volunteers trying to link to the wrong website, causing delays with voting, which would be solved if UF went to full online voting.)
The biggest problem is with the paper ballots as substitutes. The Supervisor of Elections apparently didn’t think to include the question of online voting on anything but the online ballots! That is just plain stupid, considering that, aside from President and Treasurer, the initiative is the only other thing needed on each and every ballot. It doesn’t take rocket science or even political science to know that a campus-wide initiative that appears on the electronic ballots should also appear on the paper substitutes.
If the initiative fails, the proponents have a very good cause of action against the Supervisor of Elections.
(And this is before we are sure whether people are being given the wrong ballots, as occured last fall.)
There is one bright spot (aside from the weather being considerably better than DC’s). Turnout was way above my expectations – 5,119 voters on the first day is spectacular. You usually expect Tuesday, with fewer classes, to be a lighter turnout, and usually is to the tune of about 1,000 students fewer than Wednesday, perhaps more. So, if history holds, this means as many as 11,000 students may vote before it is all over.
If that’s the case, then we’re looking at Access Party levels of turnout. And that can’t be good for the Swamp Party.