The Online Voting Debate is Over
I wrote the following as a letter to the editor for the Alligator; I’m not sure it’ll get printed, but I’ll post it here for posterity.
Seven years of SG debate, committees, non-binding referenda, and ballot initiatives, and now even a lawsuit, and yet the University of Florida cannot seem to ever end the dispute over online voting.
This is a good example of why Student Governments everywhere aren’t taken seriously – the issues are recycled every semester and never fully resolved.
Another committee won’t bring to light anything new that hasn’t been discussed in previous SG committees on the issue:
1) Online voting, or even the more limited computerized voting at existing precincts, works best when there is a paper trail on which to conduct recounts.
2) The concern over voter coercision is over blown when you consider the hyper-importance of the “I Voted” stickers for members of certain social organizations at UF. After all, there is no talk of coercision regarding course registration, which functions much the same way as onling voting would.
3) Since 2001, online voting or computerized voting, has become more commonplace at the University level, and the initial concerns about the being able to secure the data have largely been resolved by technological advancement.
When this debate first got started at UF in Summer 2001, I was part of a small group of skeptics. Computerized voting has since been tried several times without major problems except getting the equipment ready on time.
The time for debate is really over. Given the success of online voting at other schools, including FSU, there really are no more excuses.
Cut the red tape, end this debate, and bring online voting to UF.