Restore Trust in Elections. Our current election infrastructure does not earn the trust of those using it, rather, it demands it without offering the verifiable proof that a voter’s vote was cast and counted as intended. Voters must be provided sufficiently convincing evidence that election integrity has not been compromised.
Make it Easy to Vote and Impossible to Cheat. The unfortunate downside of in-person, paper-based elections is that access to voting is reduced, negatively impacting an increasingly mobile society. Mobile technology is passed its point of ubiquity; imagine if your only option for filing your taxes was to appear at the IRS in person, your only option for banking to show up to your local branch at their hours, and your only option for shopping to go to the store. With elections, it is not just a matter of convenience; people risk their lives to participate in elections, and far too many lose their lives doing so.
Make Elections Transparent. It is inaccurate to say that paper ballots increase transparency and trust (1); there is a distinct lack of clarity in our current voting process as made notorious through “black-box” systems. When a voter casts a paper ballot in a polling place, how does she fundamentally know that her vote was properly submitted and tallied? In most elections today, even with procedural and legislative support, paper trails are not worth the paper they are printed on.
Voter trust is fundamental to a sound democratic process and, without it, election results have little to no value to those participating. Despite the tremendous efforts put forth by every dedicated elections official across the U.S. during the 2016 election cycle, less than 1/3 of all Americans were confident that votes nationwide were counted as intended and only 66% of Americans were confident that their own vote was counted as intended (2).
This is indeed a crisis of trust and indicative of a tremendous civic problem as confidence in elections has been waning over time and today is at historic lows. It is clearly time to rethink our voting systems in a voter-centric way. In consequential governmental elections, a more transparent and publicly-verifiable process is needed. Ultimately, a method that is independently and easily verifiable by election management bodies, trusted independent authorities, and individually by each voter, is the only true solution to push democratic decision making towards greater dependability, accuracy, and accountability while restoring the trust of those participating.