Voting Advice is NOT Online Voting

Various proposals have been made for online voting systems. But security issues present a huge obstacle. The voting advice system is not the same as a vote collection system.

As I pondered the problem of taking the money out of the election-equation, I did consider online voting systems — at length. The problem is how to ensure that the system hasn’t been hacked. That is one tricky, highly technical problem. And as the recent Russian hacking makes clear, it is the major obstacle to trusting such a system. That’s why the system we need gives voting ADVICE, rather than tallying the actual votes.

The system we need gives voting ADVICE, rather than tallying the actual votes. Click To Tweet That way, existing voting mechanisms continue to record votes, rather than some entirely new system. For one thing, it means that all of the security efforts surrounding those systems doesn’t need to be replicated in the advice system. For another, it means that new system builds on existing systems, rather than replacing them outright — in the same way that popular vote these days builds on the electoral college. (In the old days, you selected representatives who went to the “electoral college”. Once there, they figured out who to vote for. Now, voters choose who they want, and the “electoral college” simply records their choices.)

As an added bonus, as the voting-advice system becomes more widely used it can be used to check the vote. If there is an “I voted” button, then for each candidate or issue, the system can identify the minimum number of votes that were actually cast.

Even without that button, the system can tell how many votes were probably cast — because anyone using the system has enough information to make voting a “no-brainer”. After all, there is nothing to stop them, and every reason to cast their votes.

So if votes are “lost”, it becomes possible to find out. And when people use mail-in votes and the like, the system can be used to predict the total number of votes far in advance of time it takes for them to be tallied.

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