Voting is a system that is used to elect new persons into leadership positions.
In previous years, the physical voting system was the only option made available to man. This is where individuals stand in a queue to cast their votes for their preferred candidate using a ballot paper.
Fast forward to the present day where there is growth in technology in various sectors with the political and electioneering sector not being left out. Man is determined to keep changing the narrative—from education to entertainment to power generation. The list is endless.
Digital voting, also known as electronic voting, is a type of voting process that makes use of electronic means for voting for one’s preferred candidate. This means that the physical presence of the individual is not required for voting to take place.
Digital voting comprises standalone electronic voting machines and internet voting. In standalone electronic voting, machines are installed in selected locations where individuals can walk in to cast their votes.
In internet voting, individuals can vote from a remote location using their mobile phones and laptops. Here, a server, mobile app, or website is used to achieve desired results.
There are numerous benefits of digital voting, some of which are listed below.
Digital voting reduces the cost of the budget for an election. This is because the organisations no longer have to purchase ballot boxes and ballot papers. Also, the number of staff that is mobilised to the polling units is reduced. In the case of internet voting, only persons in charge of the website, app, or server will be paid.
Digital voting is more efficient than the traditional voting system due to the reduction in human errors which occurs during the compilation of election results.
Digital voting is very useful in reaching a larger audience during the voting process. Persons with disabilities, those receiving medical care, and individuals that reside in other countries can partake in the election process.
People no longer have to worry about the distance of their homes to the polling unit when internet voting is used. This reduces the cost that would be incurred by voters in the process of casting their votes. Also, they do not have to worry about their safety, especially in areas that are prone to election violence.
Most processes that have advantages also have disadvantages. Some challenges experienced in digital voting are listed below.
Manipulation by interested parties
Digital voting can easily be manipulated by persons of interest without the knowledge of the general public. For example, if the CEO of the website managing the process has a preferred candidate, he can twerk the process to work in his favour.
Servers, websites, and applications used for digital voting can be hacked by individuals if proper security measures are not put in place. The whole voting process can also be hijacked by these individuals and the personal data of voters can be stolen.
Results obtained from digital voting cannot be verified. This is because unlike the traditional ballot system of voting which leaves a paper trail that can be used to confirm results submitted, digital voting leaves no paper trail.
Disenfranchisement of the older generation
Only a handful of individuals above 70 years are used to modern technology. This means that if proper education of the older generation is not done before the voting process, these persons will not be able to vote.
Countries like India, the Philippines, Brazil, and Estonia have cheered the use of digital voting while other countries like the United Kingdom and Germany have withdrawn the use of digital voting.
The future of digital voting has a lot to offer as more developments are sure to happen in subsequent years which can be tailored to suit the need of each nation.