Why Online Voting Is Harder Than Online Banking

from ars technica

For a feature last week, I talked to a number of election experts and computer security researchers who argued that secure Internet voting isn’t feasible today and probably won’t be for many years to come. A common response to this argument—one that came up in comments to last week’s article—is to compare voting to banking. After all, we regularly use the Internet to move money around the world. Why can’t we use the same techniques to secure online votes?

But voting has some unique requirements that make secure online voting a particularly challenging problem.

Every electronic transaction in the conventional banking system is tied to a specific sender and recipient who can confirm that a transaction is valid or raise the alarm if it isn’t. Banks count on customers to periodically review their transactions—either online or in paper statements—and notify the bank if fraudulent transactions occur.

By contrast, experts told me, elections are supposed to be secret. In-person elections don’t just allow voters to cast a secret ballot, they typically require them to do so. Mandatory secrecy insulates voters from coercion by bosses, abusive spouses, elder care workers, or others in positions of power or influence.

More here.

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22 Comments

  1. Online voting is a risk to society. When comparing online voting to banking it is clearly described that the banking system still has its flaws. These flaws consist of hacking and monetary fraud. As stated in the article, “when fraudulent transactions are flagged after the fact, banks automatically credit lost funds back to customers. They try to identify the culprits and make them pay, but if that’s not possible, banks absorb the losses themselves.” What makes us believe fraud won’t occur in the online voting world?

    Not only does banking still have its flaws so will the online voting system. In the 2016 election Russia was accused of hacking into the voting system in President Trump’s favor. Although this hasn’t been confirmed nor denied, the simple fact that it is possible can through off the election. Another country shouldn’t have a say in who gets to be voted in a country. However, the possibility of this occurring is highly likely since voting is supposed to be in secrecy. The secrecy aspect of this makes it harder to track back who voted which could mean absentee ballots can be filled by others who would like a second vote therefore counting one individual vote twice.

    I believe we need to make changes to the voting system in order for online voting to work. If the normalcy of voting were different this would be easier, meaning, allowing voter content to be a left in secrecy but not who voted. Why does who voted need to be a secret anyway? As stated in the article, “Voatz, for example, gives each voter an anonymized identification number that allows them to look up their votes as they were recorded on the Voatz server.” I believe placing a tracking number on the voting ballot will help trace back however, it may not be efficient.

    I believe we are not technically and ethically ready for online voting to be a new norm. We need to do further research, development and trail runs in order for this to even be considered.

  2. Prior to reading this article, I had to knowledge on how voting online would really work. I just knew that it is not safe and without reading the real facts as to why, I justified it with common sense. You know that people can spoof phone numbers and email addresses to appear as someone else and scam others. People can hide IP addresses or have theirs appear different than their real address and bringing something as important as a presidential election seems to risky. There are some seriously skilled hackers out there that can virtually do anything online and making the election online would just make it that much easier to mess with an election. I am not trying to assume about certain groups of people, but it was confirmed that Russia interfered with 20+ states in the 2016 election. The director of the FBI came out yesterday and said that they have found Russian interference in the 2020 election already. Without talking about my political views or why there is interference, the fact of the matter is that elections are not safe being in person. 2016 was mostly in person voting, and interference still happened. Making it online just opens the possibility for a lot more fraud. I have not heard the argument for online voting while comparing it to online banking. It seems like a good counterargument at first, but you can easily dispel that argument after taking a closer look. It was interesting to me to know that banks accept a certain amount of fraud when offering online banking because it would cost more to add all the security measures. I personally do them even though I agree all those identification factors take up a lot of time, but it has to do with my money, so I feel it is worth it. The voting process still confuses me, because it is supposed to be anonymous but also everyone’s vote has to be counted to combat double voting. In order to vote online there would have to be some sort of VPN or server that makes it impossible to track each vote, but to also not allow double voting. Hackers would vote multiple times or change the voting program itself to create fraud so I believe we will not get to online voting for another 5 years at the earliest. I feel like it is impossible, but I am sure programmers will find a way to make it safe. Personally I am just going to vote by mail and drop it off because I feel that is best.

  3. This article has definitely opened my eyes to the problems associated with online voting. Mainly I thought that it would be no problem. People could sign into their computer, cast their vote, and that would be it. The fact that there are security and coercion issues is very important and something that is difficult to solve especially because voting is such a private matter. I found it very interesting that companies have not found a way to make online voting private like in person voting. Even though people have to be socially distant and maintain being healthy, I wonder if there could be a way to have some kind of in person voting where privacy can be maintained and at the same time people can stay healthy. this could be some kind of sanitized social distance setup where people stay quarantined (maybe in their cars) but can still vote in private.

    The fact that the article states people rather have user friendliness instead of security for their financial information is also very interesting compared to voting. It is understandable that it is not as big of a deal when someone does steal money from bank accounts because in the end the bank can usually track down the information and return the money, but as far as hackers getting into peoples information in the first place, it could be easily helped by higher security features and people would not have to spend time tracking down stolen money and information.

    Regardless of how secure online banking is, voting needs to be one hundred percent secure. It is understandable that hacking into election databases is hard to track down because the large number of data in the dataset and that is something that needs to be solved. Although something like a VPN could help with the online voting system, it could be relatively expensive. If there is not an idea that solves this problem I am interested to see what will happen and also if it will change in person voting for the future.

  4. With the upcoming election looming in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic, the need for online or remote voting is more important than ever. Developing a process to adequately, safely, and timely cast votes remotely would allow citizens to avoid crowded polling centers and would help fight voter suppression by making voting more accessible. The idea of an online voting system is grand in theory but if it’s as unsafe as online banking, it may not be worth the risk. While online banking is a system that millions of Americans take part in, it’s not as secure as it may appear, which is an alarming statistic to learn in and of itself. Trusting a system that accounts for $28 million of fraud to be committed in a year, to cast electoral votes safely and securely, is a dubious task. Since voting is a private affair, security in voting is greatly important to not only ensure a secret ballot but it would ideally keep votes from being “stolen”. The idea of “stealing” votes like how money can be stolen from a bank account is a form of voter suppression that invalidates the votes and makes it impossible to trace them back if they are as secret as they are intended to be. Because the votes cannot be traced back, not only are the suppressors off the hook but those votes are lost and there is no way of knowing who voted for who and no way to make up for the votes lost. So what is the right way to vote? Will adequate software be built to handle the task at hand or will voters swarm to physical locations, risking the spread of disease, or have to face clunky mail ballots that isolate younger populations from participating? It’s very interesting to see the future of voting changing, even if it’s currently crumbling in its own inefficiency.

  5. I found this article to be very pertinent to the voting debate that the 2020 election year has spurred. As November approaches, the both the American public and political officials have been at odds in deciding methods of voting and addressing voter suppression. However, there have been numerous setbacks centered around this hot button topic such as concerns for polling places due to Covid-19, voters being forced to wait in line for hours, and controversy swirling around mail in ballots. With all of the chaos bound to ensue within the next two months, it is no wonder that the argument for online voting has surfaced. I decided to explore this concept with the hope that online voting could aid in quelling the political disputes surrounding the logistics of the election; but after reading this article, I found myself to be sadly mistaken.

    “Why Online Voting is Harder than Online Banking” by Timothy B. Lee, brings up a sound argument as to why online voting is not feasible for this year’s election. Lee presents two specific points: anonymity and security. These key ingredients have yet to be found in the recipe for successful online voting. As Americans, we must ensure that voting anonymity, security, and validity are held to the highest standard. If these ideals are not prioritized, our democracy has the potential to fall apart. Lee states, “An election needs to produce a definitive result that is quickly and widely accepted as legitimate.” While this may seem like common knowledge, we have all seen firsthand just how close election outcomes can be. If online voting leaves the potential for any debate on who the victorious candidate could be, repercussions could be detrimental while widening societal disconnect.

    The call for online voting seems to be an attempt to making voting more accessible to the general American public. While this method is not yet secure enough to be a solution, America must acknowledge and eliminate the active voter suppression going on within its borders. The American Civil Liberties Union cites and explains specific instances which decrease voter turnout such as voter ID laws, voter registration restrictions, voter purges, felony disenfranchisement, and gerrymandering. These laws and policies all too often block the voices of American citizens from being heard in elections. While online voting may not yet be the best alternative to engaging American citizens, voting in the United States must become more accessible and accommodating to ensure preservation of our democracy.

    https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/block-the-vote-voter-suppression-in-2020

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/09/why-online-voting-is-harder-than-online-banking/

  6. With the state the country is in as elections are quickly approaching, it is reasonable to want a virtual option to cast a ballot. COVID-19 prohibits immunocompromised people from leaving their house and entering large crowds is frowned upon. The option to vote through mail is also becoming less accessible as the post office is being defunded. In theory, online voting is the perfect solution to the problem. However, the requirements do not allow for secure voting. Private ballots are essential to voting. Secrecy allows for the most fair results, as people will not be swayed to vote for an unwanted party. Anonymous voting removes the manipulation of people in power. Fraud could and would likely be in play through identified voting. This is an issue because identification would be necessary for voters to know if their ballot was accurately recorded. This aspect differs from online banking, which allows for user identification on all accounts.
    Running online voting with the same format as online banking would create either fraud or lower rates of voters. As the article states, online banking creates millions of dollars in credit card fraud every year. This is due to the lack of security. Security enforcement is not in play because the inconvenience would agitate consumers and make them skip using the system all together. The same goes for online voting. Simple forms of verification is too basic for hackers to not sway votes. On the other hand, proper security measurements may be too complex for people to willingly complete. This would make less people vote, making online voting obsolete. Online voting is not a solution to the problem, and would actually cause more issues.
    A reasonable solution to the voting issue is to make mail in ballots more accessible to the public. The ability to vote through mail in this election is more important than any of the previous. Health issues make it impossible for a considerable amount of people to vote in person. While online voting does sound like a viable option, the most effective for the current election is the reinstatement of post office funds.

  7. With the election coming up soon this article caught my eye instantly. Online voting and online banking are two very complicated systems. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a good majority of voting will be through online or mail in voting. The author talked to lots of election experts and computer security researchers and they claim a secure online voting system is “not feasible for at least a couple of years.” I found this quote interesting because I would never guess that an online voting system is not “feasible” nowadays since we are so advanced in technology. The comparison is raised on how with banking we “can confirm that a transaction is valid or raise the alarm if it isn’t”, but elections are secret. In a typical in-person election it is required that there is voter secrecy. Once the vote leaves your hand it gets “mixed together with other ballots.” Since some voting will be digital, it will be very difficult to replicate the same system. The voter will know who they voted for but once the vote is in, there is no way to check that it registered correctly. That is very alarming because if someone found a way to rig the whole system and change votes, then they could determine who wins the election. This fear may also lead to Donald Trump or Joe Biden claiming the election was fixed if either of them lose. There are protocols put in place “cryptographers” that count the ballots while still maintaining some voter secrecy. The issue with that is the protocols are so complicated that an ordinary voter can not verify that voter secrecy was maintained with their ballot. Another interesting aspect of this article is the fact that online banking is not as secure as it seems and as I thought. According to this article, “there was an estimated 28 billion in credit card fraud in 2018.” This number was very alarming to me due to how big of a number that is. You would think something as important as banking would be way more secure but clearly that is not the case. The author explained a big factor that contributes to this is the “tradeoff” between security and customer convenience. Some security measures can bother customers which could lead to them leaving the bank. This makes lots of sense to me because at the end of the day a bank is a business, and like any business, the overall goal is to make money. Obviously if customers are extremely unhappy with security measures the business will get rid of it to keep the money. It is risky because the less security means more fraud. It will be very interesting to see how our country handles the online voting with the election coming up soon.

  8. Election experts and security researchers agree that online voting is not secure. Currently, voting is done anonymously so that the voter is not influenced by others in position of power such as their spouse, coworkers, or bosses. In addition, secret ballots are harder to link back to a specific voter and no statement is provided to verify their vote is recorded or tallied properly. The issue with online voting is building a secure digital ballot method that is not linked to voter identity. By contrasts, online banking can be traced to the specific customer and recipient. Moreover, a transaction history is recorded, and banks provide statements for both parties to review and confirm. However, online banking is not as secure as many people believe, in fact, banks are consistently being compromised and fraud is prevalent. There is a tradeoff between customer and voter security and convenience. The future of online voting depends upon a secure digital voting system that is linked to a voter I.D. so that a receipt and record is provided to ensure election integrity. Since voting is done every four years, a two-factor authentication and verification would be beneficial as a security measure. Furthermore, to ensure that votes are recorded properly, it is essential that the voter has access to a secure ballot website that verifies their vote was recorded correctly. This website should provide a specific transaction number tied to their voter I.D. Likewise, a provision should be in place that if votes were calculated incorrectly, they could still be adjusted accordingly. The election needs to produce a definite result where voters are confident that the process is legitimate. In my opinion, ballot integrity is more important than maintaining voter privacy. A specific voter I.D. numbers rather than your name is partially anonymous and would work. In reality, your online vote can be traced back to your ip address, thus linking your identity and location. Americans will need to decide for themselves what method of voting they are comfortable with. Do they want the security or the convenience? In the end, election integrity should be in the forefront of our democracy.

  9. Ars-techina’s article on online banking and online voting has caught my attention for a very important safety issue. They state in the article how there is no way to do online voting because each vote on an electronic could be traced back to the electronic it was voted on. If somehow votes are to be hacked through the internet, there could be a president wrongly elected. Another problem with online voting is the safety issue. As stated in the article people could be coerced by their bosses, coworkers, or abusive relatives. With an in-person ballot, secrecy is guaranteed, and voters depend on secrecy. The secrecy of a paper ballot also guarantees that someone else is not voting in another person’s place or hacking the system to vote twice. There are too many issues with online voting to secure secrecy now, but in time it may be possible soon. On the other hand, online banking issues yet to be solved. There are hackers continuously hacking accounts and taking money out of peoples account and getting away with it. The bank then must take this loss. Unfortunately, this is an inconvenience to people, but has yet to be solved and may never be solved. Account numbers can always be hacked and there are ways to get into people’s accounts with guessing a few numbers and letters. Not only through their account, but through their credit or debit card numbers as well. Apple has tried to fix this problem, by teaming up with Mastercard they have created a numberless card which can be accessed through you are Apple iPhone. This has started to solve the problem of hacking credit cards, but the next step is trying to create this for all cards with all companies. The positive to online banking is that it can be accessed from everyone’s phone and is much more convenient. Unfortunately, online banking and online voting will always have its negative impacts. Technology can always be hacked or manipulated so until cryptographers can come up with a system that is spotless of glitches and unable to be hacked, our accounts may always be hacked, and our votes may always be manipulated. In a world where technology is perfect everyone’s life will be simpler, and our day will be much easier. Until that day comes, we as a country must take certain measures to keep our votes safe and our bank accounts secured.

  10. The title of the article instantly drew my attention, for it compares two aspects of life that become far more pertinent to individuals that are around the age of college students, similar to myself. Young adults in their late teens and early twenties are beginning to dip their toes into the waters of opening bank accounts. At the same time, a majority are eligible to vote in their first presidential election later this year. These facts, combined with the highly digital world we live in, create an atmosphere in which many wish to perform a majority of their tasks online. I personally had not even thought of the idea of voting online, but after reading the title I realize that it would be a great service to have, especially this year.

    My positivity toward online voting was short-lived as I began to delve into the article. Lee makes impeccable points as to why it most likely would not work, at least not as an accurate representation of the current voting system. The shortcomings of not being able to keep the votes anonymous while also being able to give the voter assurance of their vote being cast could cause more harm than good. When voting in person or by mail, the voters can see and feel the piece of paper drop into the ballot box or mailbox. With online voting, they would click a submit button and have no way of knowing if the vote counted. Online voting also poses the risk of security breaches as the article noted. Any individuals or nations with an interest in the United States Election that has the capability of hacking the voting databases could greatly swing the election in their favor. It is possible that individual voting sites could also be tampered with to ensure that certain votes are not counted.

    The focus of the article then shifts to highlight the insecurities of online banking. The figure presented of almost twenty eight billion dollars of credit card fraud being reported in 2018 is daunting and downright terrifying. Most of us go about our daily lives with our money sitting in a bank, moving in and out through online transactions. We have no proof of these transactions in real time, besides an email or notification from an app on our phones. Talented hackers can access our bank accounts and dip their hands into our hard-earned funds, sometimes with no trace. For most small amounts of money, we can sleep safe at night knowing our savings are insured by the bank. Despite this, what would happen if one day a hacker was able to clean out every account within a bank, and redirect those billions of dollars without a trace?

    If these hackers were given the opportunity to access an online database of votes, they could drastically turn the tide of an election. Even further than that, assuming an online voting system would be operated and monitored by an official government agency, hacking into that system may be the foot in the door to deeper, more important government databases. Online voting would definitely create an easier way to exercise one of our basic rights as a citizen of the United States, but it could carry more issues and trouble than the value it would provide.

  11. Everyone that I know utilizes online banking in one way or another. Whether it is checking their balance on an app on their phone or opting for paperless statements, most people are familiar with online banking processes. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and numerous political debates arguing for or against in-person/mail-in voting, the thought to do online voting never crossed my mind as an option. Timothy B. Lee’s article, “Why online voting is harder than online banking,” rules out this option for the time being.

    The reasons that I do not think that online would work are some of Lee’s, too. For example, voting in political elections is supposed to be anonymous and secretive. No one should have to know who you voted for or be able to figure it out through back-door measures. While you may have to sign in at a voting location to be able to vote, there is no one hovering over your shoulder and watching precisely who you vote for. If we moved to online voting, however, there would be a plentitude of ways for votes to be traced and monitored. When national voting machines can be hacked, why couldn’t a personal computer? If anything, it would be easier to hack someone’s laptop or desktop due to the various channels we use them on. Say you don’t have WiFi and go to your local library to use theirs to vote. Utilizing an unprotected, open WiFi network is dangerous as a hacker can intercept your information on its way to the hotspot. Furthermore, phishing links through email could give a hacker easy access to your computer while you’re at home and connected to your private WiFi. As Lee suggests in his article, this leaked information can have drastic effects on the livelihoods of individuals who are faced with threats or blackmail due to who they voted for.

    Another interesting point that Lee brings up in regards to the comparison of online banking and online voting is that of the security (or lack thereof) of online banking. People move around thousands of dollars every day through online banking services. Banks have to deal with a trade-off between security measures and the convenience of customers. If customers do not know how to use or access their bank accounts because of dozens of security measures implemented to avoid fraud, they may just choose a different bank where its online services are easier to use. Voting online would face these same issues. How is someone supposed to vote if they cannot get through wall after wall of security clearances due to lack of ability or time? How user-friendly can voting online be when security and anonymity are some of the most important aspects of voting? There is no clear-cut answer as of now.

    Should we try and implement different ways of making voting more accessible, technology must be advanced so we do not have to give up security for convenience. Voting is one of the most, if not the most, important civic duty imposed upon Americans. If we cannot perform this duty with the faith and trust that our vote is counted and cannot be tampered with, our civic responsibility is infringed upon.

  12. This will be the first year that I am able to vote for a presidential election and I want my vote to matter. I didn’t realize how complicated and unsecure on-line voting is and it is making me nervous for the upcoming election. The presidential election is very important and the voting should be as secure as possible. Since there is a pandemic going on, people believe that it is essential to have on-line voting because there are many people that don’t feel comfortable going outside and leaving their homes. I understand the fear of leaving your house, but I don’t think on-line voting is the way to go. This article opened my eyes to a lot of issues that on-line voting has. For instance, the article conveys that election experts and computer security researchers do not believe on-line voting is doable today and it will probably take many years to become doable. The article compares on-line voting to on-line banking, which I find interesting because I never thought to compare the two. The major difference between the two is that on-line banking is connected to a sender and recipient who can both confirm that a transaction is valid or not, and on-line voting cannot do this. On-line voting is meant to be secret to protect voters from all types of consequences. There are a lot of issues that can arise if a person’s voting preferences are released to the public. In-person elections give voters the chance to keep their identity hidden and safe. I have voted for my state and local elections in person. I felt that my identity was safe and that no one was going to find out who I voted for. Since voters’ identities need to stay hidden, it is very hard to build an on-line voting system that does this, because if voters are not connected to their votes, then there is no way to verify that their votes are recorded properly.
    Another issue with on-line voting is that people hacking votes will be very hard to identify. It is not like people hacking into a bank account because these hackers want to take the stolen funds for themselves, which makes it easier to track them. People hacking votes are not trying to profit from them; therefore, there will be no way to track them. This scares me because the presidential election coming up is a monumental one because of the pandemic and the issues that it has produced. I think there are going to be a lot of people that try to hack votes. The article stated that past presidential elections “have been decided by a few hundred votes out of millions cast.” This means that every vote counts and the vote needs to be legitimate. I just don’t think that is possible with on-line voting. However, on-line voting is going to happen because of the pandemic and people building the voting systems are going to have to find a way to make the systems as secure as possible.
    Teresa Richardson
    richardsote@rider.edu

  13. With the current pandemic and the new lifestyle normality in which we are living through, the election will look quite different this year. While in years past, we have been able to go to the voting polls to vote for the election, this year, with people’s health at risk, there is going to be the switch to online voting. With the use of online voting put into place, there needs to be various methods put in place to assure that there are no mishaps occurring. One of the main concerns in which many people are worried about is how secure their vote actually is. When you do anything online, you have to take into consideration the risks that can occur from hackers to your personal information being seen throughout online platforms. When it comes to voting, everyone’s vote is anonymous, and within the article, it brings up how online voting may not allow people to vote anonymously now. Within the article, Timothy Lee states, “in-person elections don’t just allow voters to cast a secret ballot, they typically require them to do so. Mandatory secrecy insulates voters from coercion from bosses, abusive spouses, elder care workers, or others in positions of power or influence.” This statement really stood out to me because of the fact that people may now be persuaded and forced into voting for a certain person within the election, and when it came to in-person ballots, every person would go into the poll booth on their own, so no one was allowed to see who they voted for. However, with online voting, there could be others standing right over your shoulder persuading you to vote for someone, who quite frankly you may not want to vote for.

    With online voting for an election not being done before, it is going to take a lot of trial-and-error to find out what ways work best when implemented into this unplanned situation. With this article comparing online voting to online banking, there risks associated with both, but the main risk associated is the possibility of being hacked. Within online banking, if one realizes that they have been hacked, then they can freeze their accounts so that no further transactions can take place. However, with online voting, no one is able to tell if the vote is considered fraudulent. Another risk is if someone has hacked into the voting database, that can change the whole dynamic of the election, as the results could become changed. The election is coming up very soon, and with voting being online, there are many issues and risks in which may arise during this process.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/09/why-online-voting-is-harder-than-online-banking/

  14. This article discusses what the problems would be if online voting worked the same as online banking does. The author brought up two main problems why voting can’t work the same. The first was that voting is anonymous and online banking is not. To make a system that allows for all citizens to vote without giving up information that could identify them to their vote. Voting has had a long history of being a secretive event. This is to ensure that voters do not vote based on pressure from others, but instead vote based on what they believe is the better option. The author then explains that when an individual vote it is mixed in with other ballots so you can not identify who’s vote is who’s. The problem is that you can not do this when it comes to voting in an electronic system. People will need to identify that they are the person they say and they are allowed to vote. This information will then have to be saved to ensure that the individual is the one that is supposed to be voting. With this information being saved it will come into the risk of not only cybercriminals but also foreign governments.
    The author also went on to bring up the point that online banking is not as secure as most Americans think it is. This is a point that I fully agree with. Anything electronic can be subjected to being hacked. A story from July 30th, 2019 describes that all a hacker needs are to get lucky once. The story goes on to say that Capital One few to this unfortunate evil when over 100 million of their customers had their personal information stolen by hackers. Imagine if that was the presidential election. If another country gets lucky just once they would be able to change the outcome of the election in our country. Moving our country’s elections online will open them up to an extreme amount of election fraud. The author even presents the idea of a type of complex crypto program to secure the election process, but even this has its own issues. Even if the system its self can not be hacked into, all someone needs to commit voter fraud is the voters’ personal information. With that information, they can cast the individuals to vote for them without the knowledge of the real voter.
    Overall I believe that this is a very dangerous road to go down as a country. The more we try to innovate our election process, the more it will be open to fraud and outside interference. The safest way in my opinion if to keep our election as physical and hardwired as possible so that we can ensure the security of our countries election.

  15. With the lack of privacy being an issue in today’s society, voting is stated to be anonymous but with the nature of how the online works, staying anonymous will be a very hard task to perform. As opposed to voting in person, the voter would have to drop their vote in a ballot box and nobody will know about who they voted for. Even though we adapt this new voting system that takes place online, there is a very high possibility of flaws that come with creating the new online voting system as for any type of new system that is presented online. On the internet, almost everything is prone to being hacked by a user. Online voting can stir some controversy due to the fact that you have to trust the internet that the votes that are being made are secret and releasing something like this to the public could be troublesome for many since there can be the possibility that people don’t have access to technologies in their own homes, or that something can malfunction with their technology which might disrupt the voting process for many. The only slight upside to online voting is that people who weren’t able to vote before will now be able to vote much easier since they can do it in the comfort of their own homes. When the author compared online banking with online voting, it was interesting to see how unsecure online banking can be even though it has been a thing in our society for years. Nobody will know how online voting will turn out which is the concerning part about this because this will be a first for everyone this year. Especially since this upcoming election has certain significance for a lot of people with this pandemic going on, they want to make sure that their vote gets casted and tallied for the election coming up. In order for this to be successful, this voting system will have to go through many tests before this will be available for the public in a safe and secure manner. This article definitely brings light as to why online voting does not sound as good as promised for the public since on paper it looks like it could be something that would change the culture of voting, but in reality it doesn’t seem like it should be an option for the time being.

  16. I am someone who does a lot of my banking online, especially now with the current pandemic, I actually try to avoid going to the bank as much as possible. I can cash a check by simply taking a picture of it and within a day or two that money appears in my bank account. When borrowing money or paying people back I use popular apps like Venmo and Cashapp. They are easy ways to send and receive money without having to write a check or give someone cash if you don’t have any. Even my parents who aren’t too tech savvy use venmo when they need to send me money or if I owe them for something. A lot of these things are so simple and are used by millions of people. The fact that online banking is so simple and easy for everyone to use is exactly why online voting should not be a way for US citizens to vote during elections. Even though online banking is so simple and easy, there are many people out there who have their information stolen and not only their bank information sometimes it may be their address and social security as well. This just isn’t in the United States it happens all over the world. It may not be that common, but it happens and it can be devastating for those who don’t catch it quick enough and sometimes nothing happens. Hacking is a very relevant topic in our internet driven society and if it can happen with (normally) secure online banking, it can happen with an election. Since presidential elections only happen once every four years in the United States they are very high profile. Think about the Summer and Winter Olympics that happen once every four years (we get one Olympic games every 2 years) and are always on TV and everywhere on social media. Presidential elections will continue to always be very high profile and will continue to grow in attention with the development of social media over the last decade. With many rumors about Russia fixing the election in 2016 with no online voting and most voting being done in person (no Covid-19 obviously) there can be no way that online voting can possibly be done. There will be hackers all over the country and all over the world that would be trying to get into the votes and fix them because someone might be paying them or because they want a certain candidate to win. No offense to anyone here, but the presidential election is more important than what’s in your bank account. There will be way more people after the online votes of the presidential election then there will be after someone’s banking information. If the election is hacked or found to be hacked there will be endless investigation and conspiracy about it all and the winner would constantly questioned about if they actually won the presidency or not. There is too much danger in online voting and there is no way to tell what could happen if it became a reality.

  17. I think the article is interesting in discussing the complexities of online voting. At first my mind went immediately to fraudulent votes but the article starts off in a slightly different manner. The author, Lee, mentions how online voting isn’t anonymous, “In-person elections don’t just allow voters to cast a secret ballot, they typically require them to do so. Mandatory secrecy insulates voters from coercion by bosses, abusive spouses, elder care workers, or others in positions of power or influence” (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/09/why-online-voting-is-harder-than-online-banking/). I honestly didn’t think of this issue, but it makes sense. A couple in a relationship may have differing political views, and one spouse may feel pressured to select a particular candidate because their partner is peering over their shoulder. Although I’ve only voted in one election at this point, I did feel a sense of security when the curtains closed behind as I stepped into the booth.
    Now to address the second major issue with online voting: election fraud. I agree with the author’s statement, “Even a small number of fraudulent votes could flip the results of an election and destroy public confidence in the voting process” (Lee). I agree with this sentiment, as a corrupt voting system would dissuade people from voicing their opinion, as they feel it would have no real effect. It’s also important to note that the U.S. presidential election of 2000, saw George W. Bush beat Al Gore by a close margin of 271 electoral votes to 266 electoral votes (https://www.fec.gov/introduction-campaign-finance/election-and-voting-information/federal-elections-2000/president2000/). Therefore, if even a small percentage of votes are fraudulent, this could favor one candidate. Also, since the article compares online voting to online banking, who’s to say that hackers couldn’t modify votes? Overall, I agree with the author’s opinion and online voting needs to be near one hundred percent reliable until it can decide the president of the United States of America.

  18. Voting in the American governmental system has always been a long and strenuous process, especially as the nation has grown to a majority of the North American population. The 2020 Presidential election of the United States has become one of the most intense in my lifetime considering the past four years President Trump has served the nation as our head of state. Voting in-person this year is considerably dangerous given the state of the nation during this pandemic, however, I believe moving online would be a threat to the entire American voting system. Although strenuous, mail-in and in-person casted votes are the best way to vote for our President for the next four years. In this day and age, internet usage is at the forefront of most American’s lives. Yet, it is still relatively new and just as it grows and becomes a larger part of our everyday lives, the threat of hacking and fraud grows along with it. Most importantly, I believe that the anonymity of our votes is a huge part of what makes a democracy work. The threat of our votes being linked back to us out on the internet to be hacked and seen is a huge infringement of our right to privacy. We have a right “to be secure in [our own] person,” therefore our thoughts and beliefs should and cannot be held against us. So, I believe that if someone were to hack the American voting system online, we will be at risk of our right to that privacy being infringed upon. The article also mentions that possibility of voter fraud and I believe that this issue is incredibly more serious than any other problems we have ever had with the voting system in the past. The use of the internet and the abilities of people to hack into systems can be astounding. Therefore, the threat of voter fraud has the possibility of going unnoticed and the next President may in a way ‘win’ the election by the nudging of obsessive supporters or even backed by the candidate themselves. This would be an insult to the American governmental system and what the founding fathers had intended when they established the Constitution.
    Any information being put on the internet has the potential to resurface at any time by almost anyone who has the knowledge and capabilities to do so. The livelihood of the leadership in the United States of America should not depend on the online resources that could potentially conflict with the Constitutional rights that all Americans possess.

  19. With 2020 being the first Presidential election that I am able to take part of it has been a very unusual one in comparison to elections past. The presidency is going to be filled by one of the two unqualified candidates we have to pick from, and the supporters of each side have caused great divide and chaos in the country over the course of the campaign. However, in the final weeks leading up to the election one of the biggest problems that people are fighting about is the legitimacy of this year’s election. With the global pandemic still being a present issue people are still worried about leaving their homes and going out to vote. With social distancing rules in place and requirements like masks to help prevent the spread people do not think that this is enough to prevent catching the virus in such a public and trafficked place as a voting center. To combat these fears people are able to cast their vote via a mail in ballot, but this is being debated as well. Trump claims that mailmen are selling people extra ballots, ballots have been “lost” and replaced, and people are speculative of the legitimacy of mail in ballots as well. With all these fears and arguments around voting one may wonder why in a day and age like today there is no way to vote online. This is because online voting is way more complicated than one may assume. The above article goes over the complications related to online voting and displays how it is more complex that even online banking. Online banking works because there are accounts linked to every transaction that can be traced back to a person, and every transaction has a sender and receiver that could confirm the transaction. If there is a problem the transaction can be flagged and if the back can not solve the problem they absorb the responsibility. However, in voting this system can not be adopted because voter identity needs to remain anonymous to avoid coercion. If a vote is linked to an identification it is possible that people could be strong armed to vote a certain way and then prove that they did. Along with this it is possible that votes could be hacked into and changed with a few keystrokes. Online voting is treating to the nation and the rights of the citizens and is the main reason it cannot be used in this year’s election. There are many problems with an online voting system, and we are not at a point technologically yet to create a platform to implement it. This is why online voting is harder than online banking because we do not have the security systems available to support online voting.

  20. This discussion about voting infrastructure and its comparison to online banking certainly raises concerns about online voting, something that is unlikely to prevail for many years to come. In this article, the author addresses the many differences between online voting and online banking, as some people tend to use the latter as a justification for the former. The first important distinction is that online banking is not completely anonymous like voting. Since votes are intended to be secret, tracking votes and fixing errors in vote-counting is nearly impossible. Further, fraud in online banking is handled by compensating the victim and “following the money trail” to prosecute criminal offenders, which is nearly impossible to do with online voting, as there is no trail left. One major problem with online voting is that there is no way to fix manipulated votes after the fact. Not only is it difficult to identify single cases of voter fraud, but online voting makes it hard to identify people who criminally manipulate online voting (because votes are supposed to remain secret). And there is no clear solution for rectifying a vote that has been manipulated or is fraudulent.

    An interesting fix to strengthen anonymous online voting is assigning voters an ID number that allows them to look up their vote and possibly even track its progress, a proposal being used by the online voting company Voatz. I think that an anonymized voting system certainly sounds like an appealing idea, however, we would be reckless not to consider the dangerous potential of foreign interference in such a method. While this is not mentioned in the article, the relevance of electronic-foreign interference is of paramount importance considering Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The story of Cambridge Analytica and the breach of privacy for Facebook users raises concerns about how much a foreign country will be able to sway an election if it were to be conducted all online. Online voting is not only uncharted territory, but it is especially vulnerable given the number of necessary protections that need to be in place. A recent NPR article highlights a story in which four federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, have urged states to use mail-in ballots instead of electronic ballots, as online ballots are “high risk…even if all recommended security protocols are followed” (Parks). Personally, I am hesitant to try such a new form of technology that might have grave consequences for vote-counting and integrity. If online voting turns out to be as insecure as the experts say, then any move to adopt it without increased security protocols would be in direct threat to the validity of Americans’ votes.

    Additionally, it would be interesting to consider the political implications for online voting. If some politicians are already wary about mail-in ballots, then I can only imagine the fervor over internet voting. But this does raise an important question, and that is: what kind of laws need to be in place for online voting to make it secure, in other words, not partisan? And are the current laws strong enough? In response to these questions, I would argue that online voting should have the same protections and restrictions as regular voting, and there should be some sort of cybersecurity laws to punish those who attempt to hack votes or to manipulate votes. I’m sure current cybersecurity laws would be able to extend to the area of voting online, a necessary step to enhance the infrastructure. The American Bar Association posted an article over the past summer which explains that in response to Russian interference in elections, the National Academy of Sciences formed a committee to make recommendations on election integrity. Included in their recommendations are proposals “that election administrators ‘routinely assess the integrity of voter registration databases’ and develop plans to secure and audit these systems” and that “Congress provide[s] funding for state cybersecurity improvements and that states conduct mandatory post-election audits” (Butler). Here, two critically important points to the survival and success of online voting are securing the systems/databases as well as providing more congressional funding for cybersecurity. Both measures would be significant steps in ensuring elections continue to be free and fair.

  21. Everything online is unsecure at some point. The Zoom platform crashed within the first week of various universities opening remotely. Major social media platforms experience crashed every few months, despite constant updates. Online banking, as this article highlights, has its flaws in order to serve users in the simplest way possible. How could we possibly confirm the security of voting through online platforms for a major presidential election? There is simply no secure way to ensure this for every single American casting their vote.

    A digital footprint will always remain, no matter how high security preferences are set. If officials need to track specific votes in the case of a hack, would it be lawful for them to attain that information? Election votes are required to be kept secret, if all of this information is held in an online server there is always a possibility for discrepancies. Additionally, this article discusses how difficult it would be for individuals to receive confirmation that their vote has been counted. With online banking, there is always a receipt of transaction—but that comes at a price. Banking transactions are not as secure as they could be in order to make the experience for customers run smoothly, resulting in banks paying millions of dollars each year to victims of fraud. However, no price can be paid for a miscount of votes as past elections have been decided by a few hundred votes. Ultimately, votes need to be cast and counted accurately. Today, there is no completely secure way to handle information as momentous as this. Until there is no credit card fraud reported by banks for multiple consecutive years, we cannot trust technology with the security of our votes.

  22. This article changed my view on both online voting and banking. Prior to reading this article, I was convinced that online voting would be implemented sooner rather than later. With the pandemic in effect, I was certain this would drive voting to be off the in-person platform and onto a digital one. After reading this article my perspective changed completely and I now understand why online voting can’t happen that quickly and easily. Many people say, ‘if you can do online banking why can’t you do online voting?’, but the author puts these ideas to rest. First, the author discusses the first key difference between online banking versus online voting. Banking online is not an anonymous transaction. The person doing the transaction knows where the money is going and the bank knows who it came from. With online voting, it must be completely anonymous. If online voting was implemented and completely anonymous, the party receiving the votes would have no idea who sent their vote or if it was legitimate. Conversely, if your vote was anonymous this means after you cast your vote there should be no way for anyone, including yourself, to see it. This proposes an issue of confirmation because if an error occurred and your vote never got casted, you would never know. The article elaborates on this by stating, “If votes aren’t linked to voter identities, there’s no way for voters—or anyone else—to verify that their votes were recorded accurately.”
    The next difference the author discusses is voter fraud. When any kind of process shifts to an online platform, the risk of fraud multiplies. The same would happen with voting, which could have an even bigger impact than banking fraud. With banking fraud, most times the banks can “follow the money” to figure out who committed the fraud in the first place. Committing this crime comes with a lot of risk and consequences like jailtime. With voter fraud, if everything is anonymous, there is no way to identify if the vote was fraudulent or to hold fraudulent people accountable for their actions. The author even states, “major elections, including the American presidency, have been decided by a few hundred votes out of millions cast.” That alone only makes me question the traditional voting method. Just imagine how many people would feel uneasy about an online voting platform.
    Overall, it seems to me like online voting won’t be happening anytime soon. The more anonymous the process is made, the harder it is to track votes and for an election we need to be certain the outcome was accurate. The main takeaway I got was that there is a difference in identifying yourself to vote and identifying who you voted for. In an online setting, you would essentially have to identify who you voted for and identify who you are. That link can then be exploited and leaked. Whether it be a regular citizen or a CEO of a public company, many people would not want that information accessible to anyone, not even themselves. In-person voting is as easy as placing a piece of paper in a box and walking away without anyone ever knowing besides yourself.

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