It’s been bound to happen sooner or later. With the devastation following Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey’s state office decided to give their polling places and residents a break and classified those affected by the storm as “overseas voters,” thus making them eligible to vote by e-mail.
Let’s just speed on through the jokes about New Jersey residents being “overseas voters.” Their entire state is under water.
Anyway, security experts are all making good on their suicide pact with this expanded use of online voting. Voters in New Jersey are able to e-mail in their vote after following a few instructions to apply.
First they send in their ballot application to their county clerk. Once approved by the clerk, they will e-mail (or fax, but who the hell is using fax?) back the voter’s online ballot. Voters must send it back to the clerk filled out no later than 8 PM Eastern on Election Day.
The military and US citizens living overseas already have this ability, but never before has this form of voting been used so widespread. Other countries have made attempts at voting online, like Canada and Sweden, but of course the security nerds want to put a wet blanket on everything, ’cause they’re all like, “this method ain’t secure, duder.”
Especially considering that e-mail is the primary delivery method of electronic votes under this system. And e-mail is, well, completely unsecure. Yes, I’m including GMail. Don’t you remember? China hacked GMail. Like hacked it a lot.
And because there’s no paper trail, there are concerns that hacks and fraud would be impossible to detect.
However, on the flip side, New Jersey hasn’t said how they will authenticate the votes. It might be a phone call system. E-mail it in, county clerk calls to confirm, and you confirm yes, that is your vote. I don’t know, I’m just spitballing. They may have something more sophisticated in mind.
But long story short — if you got totally boned by Sandy (stop snickering), and you’re in New Jersey, check in with your county clerks and see if you can’t vote online.
Question: Are we ready for online voting?