Why Online Voting Won't Work, Even in a Pandemic

Coronavirus has led us to desperate times, but online voting still isn't safe.
April 20, 2020, 12:56pm
Illustration of a person putting a vote ballot into a shredder.
ILLUSTRATION BY LIA KANTROWITZ

We still vote the way we always have: People line up, mark a ballot in one way or another for their preferred candidate, and then leave.

We've made some progress with things like vote by mail, but lots of tech startups, at the very least, are clamoring for online voting. The lines for the Wisconsin primary illustrated the legitimate mortal dangers of having thousands of people line up with one another to vote. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and a host of other states have delayed their primaries. . As it stands, clustering together leaves us open to continuing the biblical spread of the deadly, novel coronavirus.

All of this forces us to ask the question: In an age where everything is done online, why aren’t we voting from our computers or phones this November?

But as Motherboard has reported extensively, voting machines and using the internet in any way to exercise our most democratic right could call into question the integrity of the results and leave systems vulnerable to manipulation. Or, as the Democratic party discovered during its Iowa caucuses this past January, the entire vote count is at the mercy of a terrible app.

On this week’s CYBER we have Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on to discuss why online voting isn't ready for prime time.

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