I file my taxes every year, just like millions of other Americans, online — electronically that is. It seems to work just fine; the system has its safeguards so as a filer I have confidence in the system. It always works for me, year after year, and I always get my refund quicker than if I simply mailed it in.
The question is, if our government can make it so easy for Americans to file their taxes electronically, online, safely and securely, then why can it not set up our voting system to do the same, and make it uniform across all states in all districts?
I realize there are still many Americans who do not have a computer or access to one. There is no reason we cannot still have a few voting booths in every district to meet that need. Those polls would surely be easier to get in and out of also, since an online voting system would allow most Americans to do it in the comfort of their homes or at their jobs without losing very little time out of their busy schedules.
This election cycle points out the need for an electronic voting system like no other. We have several states pushing Voter ID laws in a conservative partisan effort to keep some voters from the polls, namely — likely Democratic voters. The Republican-controlled state governments, which are implementing the laws, are claiming they are passing the laws to solve a non-existing voter fraud problem.
Let us not forget the Florida debacle which George W. Bush won the 2000 election by just a few votes, thanks to voting problems. One was the famous “Butterfly Ballot” which inadvertently caused quite a few voters to accidentally vote for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore. Then there were the chads (the small pieces of paper punched out by the stylus in the voting booth) which were the center of the political feud in the middle of the recount. Disputes over voters’ intent started a firestorm. However, none of that mattered because the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and called the election in George W. Bush’s favor.
Many Americans have no confidence in the voting system. Only a fraction of Americans vote, even for presidential elections. We as a democracy should be doing whatever we can to encourage more people to vote, not trying to discourage them instead with Voter ID laws and other legislation such as legislation to end early voting.
Many Americans work, sometimes at two jobs just to pay their bills. Election Day is no different from any other day for millions of workers who have to wait until they get off work, just so they can then stand in long lines where they then have to wait sometimes several hours to place their votes.
Perhaps for this election, we will have many voters show up at the polls, wait in long lines and then still will not be able to vote once they do get to the front of the line. If somebody for some reason failed to learn what kind of identification he or she would need and do not have it, then their wait will have been futile, this all because of quickly changed Voter ID laws passed in a haste to affect the next election.
The current voting system we have, is tilted against Democratic voter because of the difficulty voting is for many urban dwellers who are overwhelmingly Democrat. It is in crowded urban centers in which voters are forced to stand in long lines to exercise their right to vote. Rural districts — which tend to be Republican — are less populated, and many polls in those areas, have little if no waiting at all. An online voting system would fix this inequality with our voting system.
Perhaps Republicans lawmakers really do not want a secure and convenient method of voting for our nation. Maybe it is because if more Americans voted, they would be out of a job.
How would an electronic system work? I believe one of the methods the I.R.S. uses to secure our tax information online is through pin numbers. If all registered voters were required to have a pin number — one generated by a computer or one created by the voter themselves — that only they would know, it would be as easy, if not easier than filing our taxes online, I would think.
The political discourse in this country is at an all-time high. Our government can hardly get anything done because of the partisanship. Many Americans do not vote because they have no confidence in our government and in the voting system. There are other reasons they may not vote but one thing I do know, the easier it is for them to vote, the more likely they will vote.
This election is excessively close, but we have plenty of time to create an online, electronic voting system before midterm election in 2016, and surely before next presidential election. The only obstacle standing in our way is those who would rob us of our democracy and insist we must continue to stand in line, Identification in hand.
Online voting will move us into the future and into a more convenient way to vote, along with even a more accurate count. which will restore confidence once again in the voting system. It is time for our nation to step forward into the future, and insure our democracy stays strong for ages to come.