B1 Intermediate US 66 Folder Collection
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- [Narrator] Registered voters in the Seattle area
just had the chance to participate in what officials say
is the country's most extensive use of mobile voting yet.
Over 95% of the election's ballots
were submitted electronically, via app or website.
- Supporters of mobile voting say,
"If you let people cast their ballots on their phones,
"they're a lot more likely to do it
"because it'll be easier and take less time."
- [Narrator] But some experts warn
that voting on our phones creates new privacy
and security problems that we don't have solutions for.
Will it always be too risky for a presidential election
or is nationwide mobile voting only a matter of time?
- At the end of the day, voting software is still software.
And all software is buggy.
And there will always be errors and security holes.
It's impossible to build perfect software.
- [Narrator] A tech company called Democracy Live
built the system that Washington voters used
during the recent pilot.
And while Democracy Live agrees that both software
and humans can be fallible, they're confident
their system is still safer
than some methods currently in use.
- King County, which is Washington's state
most populous county recently allowed mobile voting
for over one million voters in a small, local election.
Voters could use their phones or their laptops
to log onto a portal, open up a ballot and then
they could choose to submit that ballot electronically,
which is what we would think of as mobile voting.
- [Narrator] Supporters of mobile voting
say that it will make the process more convenient
and boost voter turnout.
In King County, election officials say
that turnout this year was double what it was
for this election last year.
Most of the roughly 6,500 ballots
were submitted electronically.
Only 209 were submitted by mail or drop box.
- If I had to choose between submitting a paper ballot
or using the app on my phone,
I actually would do the paper ballot.
We have a lot of experience with paper ballots over time.
And so there's kind of a big field test out there
that's been going on for decades.
And we know that it's not easy to change
a large number of paper ballots.
My concern about the digital environment
is that once those votes are collected
in a single database, the possibility
that someone could manipulate a large number of votes
at once is much higher.
Even more importantly is the fact that other people
would potentially fear that that would happen.
- [Narrator] Even under the best circumstances,
introducing new election technology
can add a new layer of doubt to results.
- In Iowa's caucus', the state Democratic Party
wanted to use an app to collect and report results
because they thought it would make it faster and easier.
Unfortunately, based on our reporting,
the app wasn't put through enough testing
and there wasn't enough planning.
So it ended up having glitches
that have really caused problems
for figuring out what the results were in Iowa.
- There was a sense that maybe it just didn't work
the way it was supposed to work.
And just introducing that amount of doubt
into the system delegitimatizes
people's confidence in the vote.
And it doesn't, I think, give people a high level
of confidence that we can manage
this sort of digital layer on top of what is already
a pretty emotionally-fraught voting system.
- Advocates are worried after what happened in Iowa
that people will start to be scared
of using new technology for voting.
Supporters of mobile voting say,
"They focus on security.
"They plan in advance and that they don't think
"what happened with Iowa's app should have
"a negative impact on their separate efforts."
- [Narrator] Running an end-to-end test
is crucial in most software development.
Creating software for smart phones
presents a unique challenge when it comes to testing,
which is especially important
when creating voting technology.
- We're building it so that it can run on
all the thousands of possible combinations
of Android phones, and IOS phones
and even Microsoft phones and phones
who's operating system haven't been updated
in three or four years or even more.
And so there's almost a limitless number
of environments in which you have to prove
that software can work.
And it's almost impossible to test it
in all of those environments except,
in an actual election.
- [Narrator] Still, mobile voting supporters say
it's important to find ways
to improve access and engage voters.
- Some experts and some people who advocate
for mobile voting say it's inevitable.
They say that younger generations
are used to doing everything on their phones
and they want to meet voters where they are.
- Maybe when every single car on the road
is driven by a robot and a generation of people
can't even imagine that a human being
would have ever driven a car, we'll also be saying,
"God, can you imagine that people used to vote
"on pieces of paper?"
I can see that coming and I think we'll be there,
but I think it's 20 years, not 10.
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The Risks and Rewards of Mobile Voting, Explained | WSJ

66 Folder Collection
Taka published on February 23, 2020
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