With elections approaching, many Californians will storm the polling booths and mail in their ballots. While many Americans believe it is their civic duty to vote, there are still a significant amount of individuals who don’t participate in the electoral process. How can we make this better? Mobile apps and mobile booths have been a hot topic of conversation to change voting patterns.
With many industries relying on mobile devices for business and services, I asked myself: will mobile developers jump on the idea of using mobile devices to vote?
This is an important question to consider with the increased usage of smartphones. I know what you are thinking: voting through a mobile device is risky business. This opens up new possibilities for more political corruption. While voting through mobile apps would increase voter turnout and reduce emissions and waste, there are still many reasons to remain hesitant on this idea.
However, other countries already have begun exploring the use of using mobile devices during elections.
Let’s look at Australia. According to the Australian Electoral Commission, citizens who don’t have access to physical polling centers on election days have the option to vote through mobile devices and booths. Australian citizens working in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes and other remote locations utilize the mobile option. In Australia, mobile polling can be done either the day before the election or the day of.
During its most recent election, Australia placed 245 mobile booths all across the country. More than 21 mobile polling teams with the ACE reached out to assist citizens voting through mobile apps and booths in the remote areas discussed. The goal of mobile polling in Australia attempts to make every citizen active in the electoral process.
While the mobility of voting is only one of several options, it seems to be useful in other countries in increasing voter turnout. Yes, Australian citizens are required by law to cast their vote. In a country such as the U.S., would it benefit our county’s democracy as it has in Australia?
Another thought we should consider is that voting is not mandatory, and allowing mobile devices to be a part of the political arena could either preserve democracy or compromise it.
How do you manage voter fraud? Is improving voter turnout, lowering costs, and reducing waste important enough to risk privacy and security issues?
What we really need to determine is whether or not mobile devices hold a place in our political world.
A little bit about me: When I think about writing, I think of my hero Randy Pausch. He said the following: “If I only had three words of advice, they would be, ‘tell the truth’.” I love all things digital music and looking at how the music industry has transformed through mobile technologies. If you enjoy music, history, travel and the consumer-tech industry, we’ll get along just fine. I also secretly hope that one day I’ll be as cool as Lois Lane. She’s pretty darn awesome.