Instead of trying to produce one ballot per voter, what if we put ballots everywhere and allowed voters to cast their ballot wherever they could verify their identify?
Typically, absentee ballots are mailed to voters ahead of time, who have to fill out and return the ballots to the electoral agency in time to be counted. What if we put ballots everywhere and allowed voters to incorporate their vote into their daily routine?
- At the end of an ATM interaction, the user may be asked "Would you like to vote in the 2012 election at this time?" If the user answers "yes" they are presented with the ballot, enter in their selections, and submit the ballot electronically. (Much like James'
Voting via ATM
- Paper ballots can be picked up at the post office or grocery store at any time and mailed in to the election center with a photocopy of the voter's government issued ID (possibly a better way to verify identity?)
- Votes can be cast online through
at any time, after a voter has registered their account in person at a government office, like the post office or DMV.
- Paper ballots can be printed from
, if the voter does not have an online voting account, and mailed in with a photocopied government ID or presented in person with an ID at a post office, or other government office, to submit.
The key improvement this system makes is multiplying the ways a vote can be cast. With so many touch points, each voter is more likely to remember to vote and will have plenty of opportunities to do so. The primary challenges of this concept are privacy and identity verification.
Privacy: To overcome privacy issues, the actual voting should use traditionally private systems, like ATMs, or (to a degree) home internet connections. Where this privacy isn't possible (like for a voter without an online voting account who wants to cast how or her ballot at the post office), the actual contents of the ballot should be obscured. One way to do this might be funneling votes through the online system before they have been verified. For example, a voter with no account goes to vote.gov, completes their ballot and submits the form. The vote is marked as unverified, and given a verification code. The voter is then told to present this code and a government ID at any government office to have their vote verified. This way, when the voter comes to the post office, they are only presenting an ID and a code, not their actual vote. Once the post office worker has verified that the name on the ID matches the person and matches the name on the unverified vote, the vote is officially cast.
Identity Verification: The separation of voter and vote as described above is one way to increase voting places while still requiring an in-person identification. This is difficult issue to address because even the existing system is not immune to voter fraud. While photocopying IDs and mailing them in is perhaps not ideal, this is the extent of many private firms' remote identification process.