Democracy in Decline: Can Internet Voting Save the Electoral Process?


Bryan Mercurio


VOL. XXII • Winter 2004 • NO. 2 (table of contents)

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Voter confidence that votes are accurately cast, counted, and kept are at an all time low. The traditional methods of voting has proven itself time and time again to be untrustworthy and unreliable, as evidenced recently in the 2000 presidential elections. The time is now ripe to thoroughly investigate alternative methods of casting ballots as a way to restore voter confidence in the electoral system. Using the Internet to assist the electoral system has emerged as a potential option in order to remedy many defects within the electoral process. However, Internet voting is untested and less transparent than traditional voting even though Internet voting offers the promise of many benefits, such as preventing over-votes, reducing invalid votes, and increasing participation in the electoral process.

This article evaluates the ability of Internet voting to improve the electoral process by comparing it against traditional methods of voting currently used. As part of the background necessary to understand electoral issues, a description of the criteria for a successful election is provided. The article also introduces and defines the different forms of Internet voting as used in the context of the article. The article reviews and substantially discredits the perceived problems with implementing Internet voting. Finally, several proposals are set forth in order to gradually introduce Internet voting into the mainstream of the electoral system.

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