Electronic voting, or e-vote, is becoming a buzzword among those who believe that the public would be more likely to cast their votes or state their stance if they could do so electronically.
Critics point to a clear difference between elections and public opinion polling or market research. Political elections are a token of democracy that should have at least a moment of ritualistic solemnity complete with pencils and voting booths, they argue. Opinion polling, on the other hand, must be quick and efficient, and thus it appears to lend itself to be conducted via the Internet, mobile phones or digital TV. Tapping into the broader public’s views on policy matters has never been easier with online tools.
Computer security experts add that the technologies and systems available for electronic voting are still fraught with danger and are, at the end of the day, an invitation to wholesale fraud. Again, since political elections are vital to democracy, many believe that home PCs and the potentially vulnerable public Internet are platforms simply not appropriate for the purpose. However, the e-voting solutions available today are already ripe enough to satisfy most, if not all, requirements of those who aim to sound out the public directly on a variety of issues.