Why Can't We Vote with Selfies? We've the Technology and Security

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 10:32 PM

By Dylan Like It'south the American political process that gave us a word love "gerrymandering," the redrawing of electoral boundaries to favor one party over another.

Why Can't We Vote with Selfies? We've the Technology and Security

This article was originally posted on Inverse.

By Dylan Love

It'south the American political process that gave us a word love "gerrymandering," the redrawing of electoral boundaries to favor one party over another. Rather than look the United States innovate on methods to expand voting, we still largely depend on filling in circles with a pencil or making literal holes in a piece of paper to cast our ballots.

This isn't the case around the world, where citizens of some countries utilize technologically enabled voting that'south simple and convenient to use. And some of them aren't even "cool" countries.

Consider Estonia, the Baltic nation of 1.3 million people, which kicked off its internet voting system in two thousand-fifth. By the country's two thousand fifteen Parliamentary election, 176.491 people making up 30.5 % of eligible Estonian voters cast their votes online. Estonia is one of the most internet-focused countries in Eastern Europe, so maybe the only reason that rate isn't higher is that some people still appreciate lost work to go to the polls.

Machines are sufficiently advanced sufficient to identify humans based on certain unchangeable features of our bodies, love our retinal scans and fingerprints. You look this in action every time you render active an iPhone by touching your thumb to its fingerprint-reading surface.

And Amazon has a selfie patent so people will be able to pay with their faces, and MasterCard is implementing a "selfie security system."

This technology surely could be implemented for voting, no?

To reply this question, we see to the maybe unlikely countries of Uganda and Ghana, where biometric voting is already implemented. Despite hurdles -- some Ghanaian voting machines broke down and contributed to long waits to vote -- the new technology was largely seen as a success. Though the voter experience with it was distant from perfect, the seeds of technological progress are being planted distant from the first world.

For whatever reason, electronic voting never got much of a shake in the United States after the AZ Democratic primary in two-thousandth. Distant from catching on and taking flight, electronic voting is declining in the United States. Biometric and internet-enabled voting assistance contribute to a more-accurate result of an election more quickly, but it'd necessity a hipper mechanism to work in the United States.

So why can't we vote with a selfie, straight from our phones, and select our candidate by blinking or winking? (Imagine: "Wink once for Trump, twice for Clinton"). If Snapchat is bright sufficient to swap your head with someone else's, surely we've the technology to select a face out of a lineup and figure out which of your eyes are closed.

A since-defunct company called Election. com facilitated the internet component of Arizona'south notorious two thousand election, but its efforts were met with cries of civil rights concerns involving the state'south significant Native American population, threats of cyberattack, and valid efforts to stop the election from ever taking place. None of these were successful, and the election was carried out in-part online. As Al Gore invented the internet, it'south maybe fitting that he won, but there'south still debate over if his triumph was legit: was it a private election exterior of federal jurisdiction, some kind of hybrid between public and private election, or a conventional primary that happened to have an online voting component?

Because there will always be room for distrust in technology, and because politics' flirtations with distrust are well-chronicled, it seems that Americans will cling to pencil and paper as they define the following boss of the free world.

India is maybe leading the way when it comes to electronic voting. As the country has the second-largest pop in the world, it's been using digital technology since one thousand nine hundred eighty-two to wrangle and count all those votes. Its electronic voting machines, or EVMs, cost about $400 apiece and let pollsters instantly know an election'south results, down to how many people voted for which candidate at a given polling station. In two thousand-eleventh, the country took its voting online when the state of Gujarat implemented internet-based voting.

David Bismark is the developer behind an electronic voting system that presents itself as "the Bitcoin of voting." His system is hyper-secure, accurately counting votes while shielding the voter'south identity from abuse of power. It involves using elaborate cryptographic techniques to hold everyone'south vote secret. His lays out his ideas in the following TED talk:

Meanwhile, all those selfies we get go on being largely meaningless when they could be contributing to our national discourse.

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