Below are two creative ads, warning us of the challenges we face as a nation and urging us to vote.
Yet despite what’s at stake, we still have an abysmal record for voting, especially among young voters. What can be done about this? Numerous solutions have been proposed, among them “online voting.”
“You can bank online, why not vote online?” is a common argument.
On the surface this seems reasonable, yet the risk of election tampering as explained in a Feb 2018 NY Times article, cannot be ignored.
If for instance, you knew that you had $100 in your bank account and suddenly discovered that you now only had $50 in your account, you’d know that something is wrong. You can go to your bank and figure out what happened to your missing funds.
On the other hand, is there any way to track your online vote???
After you cast your vote online, the screen tells you: “Thank you for voting. Here’s a list of candidates you voted for.” Everything looks correct and you go on with your day. Your candidate is leading in the polls, yet that evening, the TV broadcaster tells you that your candidate has lost the election.
Is there any way for you to verify that your vote has actually been counted? No. Worst of all, without a paper trail, elections cannot be recounted. Consequently, I’m not in favor of “online voting.”
What else can be done to encourage voting in the US?
On a personal level, you can follow the practical advice from Daniel Reagan’s TEDx talk: How to Increase Young Voter Turnout by 50%
By engaging young voters and talking to them about local issues that directly affect their lives, you can increase voter turnout in your local community.
On a state level, here are 3 changes you can demand from your State Officials to make voting easier.
- Automatic Voter Registration [AVR] – Once a citizen turns 18, they’re automatically eligible to vote without having to file any paperwork. The voter can decline or “opt out” if they don’t want to be registered. Sweden, Germany, Chile, and several US states already use AVR.
- Voting by mail – Recent experiments in Alaska and Nebraska show voting by mail increases turnout and is ultimately cheaper for the local / state governments. Every registered voter would get a ballot in the mail and must return the completed ballot via post or at a drop box by the day of the election, in order for the vote to be counted.
- Civics education, similar to Kids Voting USA programs must be taught at all grade levels. Teachers would assign homework that encourages family discussions about politics and the consequences of NOT voting.
Voting is your power to create change in your community.