Voting with the times

As US citizens headed out to vote last Tuesday, I found myself in London watching the results on my mobile device, and hoping that my mailed-in vote was successfully delivered. This reminds me of the countless times that I’ve heard people tell me they wish they could vote from their PC or even mobile device.  I can certainly attest to how useful it would have been for me, being on the road on Election Day. Working in the space that I do, I can see both sides of the issue and was asked for my opinion on it in a recent NBC interview.

Some call this e-voting, but it’s not actually the same thing.  In fact, e-voting already exists.  In general, e-voting refers to both the electronic means of casting a vote and the electronic means of tabulating votes.  If you use this definition, punch cards and optical scan cards are tabulated using electronic means and this has been in use for decades.

What consumers today really want is what’s being called “Remote E-Voting” or “Internet Voting.”  This is where voting is performed within the voter’s sole influence and not supervised by any government agency or authority.  This form of voting is when a consumer casts his or her vote from a personal computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

Internet voting has become a huge debate because it’s really the inevitable next step in the evolution of voting technology. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that making the voting process simpler and more accessible would increase the number of voters in the US. Further, it would increase the reliability and integrity of the tabulation process. There are no human errors to worry about. It just makes sense.

In fact, Internet voting has already been explored.  In 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) began to design the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE). If the experiment was a success, Internet voting would be extended to all overseas military personnel and other citizens.  But, only three years later, the DOD canceled the experiment due to concerns about security issues including voter anonymity being compromised or hackers intercepting and manipulating ballots sent over the Internet.

At McAfee, our Labs team uncovers security issues every day.  And, my team and I work to create technology solutions to address these issues – from encryption to data loss prevention solutions to anti-malware.  I truly believe in our charter and I’m extremely confident that we will soon have the answers that will ease public concern around democracy and its dependence on fair elections.  To be fair, I think we already have the technology – it’s just a matter of it being accepted as reliable alternative to the voting methods we have today.  It’s all about adoption.

Follow the link below to hear my interview with NBC News on this important topic.

http://www.nbc33tv.com/news/national-news/many-believe-the-time-for

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