The Prospects of I-voting in America

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Date
2003-07-22
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

The prospects for the future of voting in the United States include the likelihood of internet voting and its potential to alter voter participation. This thesis provides a critical overview of past experiments, current studies, and the possible consequences of implementing voting over the internet. As internet use increases for education, personal communication, business and commerce, the assumption is that the public and elected officials will view the internet as the practical venue for local, state, and national elections. The potential consequences of utilizing the internet for voters to cast their ballots from personal computers from remote locations, as one future process of voting, are vital to the decisions regarding electronic elections. Challenges inherent to the technology and social consequences concerning internet voting are paramount to the debate. The internet voting process, perceived as convenient with the possible consequence of halting or reversing a declining voter turnout, must be balanced with potential risks to internet voting security and reliability.

With emphasis on reports from the California Task Force and the National Science Foundation, as well as current literature regarding electronic voting, research is cited designed to address the issue of internet voting. The history of the United States to enfranchise more of its citizens and eliminate barriers that have kept voters from the polls is discussed in the context that there has been a national objective in extending the right to vote and making the ballot box accessible to all adults. Implementing a voting process that has the potential to give more voters access to elections can be viewed as a natural extension of that American legacy, and is therefore important to research and develop.

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Keywords
suffrage, Technology, Internet Voting, enfranchisement
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