Election Goes Digital in Honolulu

Ocean Springs A neighborhood commission saved $100,000 by allowing for encrypted voting for a neighborhood board election in Honolulu.  The voting was from homes and offices. All reports indicated smooth sailing.  Laws there forbid anything less than eyeball to eyeball identification in city and state elections.  Change is coming though despite the high walls of the digital divide.

The next step needs to adding publically access computer access terminals (CAT) (ok, I’m making this up as I go along, but it makes sense, eh?).  These could be hosted and maintained at schools, public libraries (where these still exist) and other public locations, as well as anywhere they private and individual interests are willing to host and maintain a voting CAT (much in

the same way that folks allow their garages and back rooms to be used for precinct voting now.)  Some of this would not be hard.  Our local library on Alvar Street in Bywater rebuilt after Katrina came with almost a dozen computer terminals compared to the one or two before the storm in 2005.

Even the eyeball-to-eyeball barrier should start dropping.  Eligible voters could get a “voting email” with a personalized and encrypted password that they only knew and could access.  What do I know?  Point being that there is a way to handle all of this security.  Banks obviously are all over it.  The Honolulu people talking to the Associated Press claimed that this little vote in the hood was even more secure than what financial institutions use for on-line banking.

It’s time for some brainstorming so the path breaking step in Honolulu picks up traction and moves forward with some speed.   More voting (i.e. democracy) is a good thing!

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One thought on “Election Goes Digital in Honolulu

  1. Only two problems:

    It is not secure. The internet, mail, and the phone system are all subject hacking to change votes and determine how people voted. We read of problems with network security all the time. Voting and ATMs are different applications with quite different security challenges.

    It is not a secret ballot. I can easily sell my vote or be intimidated into voting a certain way if anyone can easily watch how I vote. Imagine a group vote in a union hall, church, or workplace.

    Before voting like this is used, it should be subject to scrutiny by many computer scientists, security experts, and election officials – with an overwhelming majority indicating it has no major risks.

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