Anticipating an influx of tech-savvy citizens becoming of age to vote in the next eight years, experts are considering a mobile app for these people to cast their ballots, NPR reports.
Developing an app will encourage a larger voter turnout, experts say, since one of the biggest reasons for a poor voter turn out is attributed to the current, “burdensome” voting system. Plus, young voters aren’t as familiar with the current voting system, and may not be likely to vote at all if digital options aren’t available.
“It just seems hard to believe that they’re going to go into a system where they’re going to go into a polling place or the vote-by-mail system, when they don’t have a good understanding of stamps,” Sheila Nix, the president of Tusk Philanthropies, an organization aimed at expanding mobile voting, told NPR. “Our theory is, let’s get it started … so that in four or eight years from now, when we get an influx of young voters, we have something to offer them and we don’t make our turnout problem worse.”
A voting app will also help people cast absentee ballots, too, including those serving in the military who are located overseas. It may also help the “abysmal rate of accepted ballots among active-duty military voters” (from 2016).
But while the goal of a voting app is to make voters’ lives easier, there are risks to a digital method of voting. For example, Nimit Sawhney, founder of Voatz, a company that specializes in digital voting, says that digital voting glosses over the issues with the current system, and allows for more instances of human error. Additionally, any type of digital voting, from current methods, like email, to prospective new apps, comes with risks of cyberattacks.
Even still, experts believe that regardless of risks, there’s no need to go back to the “Dark Ages;” digital voting will be beneficial in the long run, and shape up over time. “We believe that just because the Internet is never going to be 100 percent safe doesn’t mean you can’t use modern technologies to make it safe enough,” Sawhney told NPR.