Election Universe

Enfranchised is empowered: how tech can ensure all voters can vote

Enfranchised is empowered: how tech can ensure all voters can vote
February 07 2017, 22:23

In an age when so much can be accomplished without ever stepping outside,  it seems anachronistic and downright anomalous to hear of voters still not able to vote just because they cannot be physically present at a polling center.

For Paul DeGregorio, former chairman of US Elections Assistance Commission, disenfranchised groups such as the disabled and the overseas voters ought to be more militant in asserting their right to suffrage. “Disenfranchised voters and their supporters should demand the use of modern voting technology to serve their particular needs. Election officials should become more aware of such technology, and then advocate its use,”

DeGregorio believes in tech’s vast potential in ensuring every voter is enfranchised but was quick to note that the key lies in official action, emphasizing that voters “should educate and enlighten public officials who pass election laws and provide funding so that voting can be modernized in their country.’

He added that courts should recognize the existence of new technology that empowers previously disenfranchised voters, and that it should mandate the use of such technology when public officials drag their feet in serving such voters.

“The time for 21st century voting technology and methods is now — and long overdue,” he said.

DeGregorio’s comments are part of his paper submitted to The Future of Elections, a forum organized by the International Elections Advisory Council (IEAC)

He laments that while technological advances have made life easier for everyone, it has yet to radically impact voter enfranchisement. “In our mobile phone connected world…people can easily converse, text, pay bills, tweet, email, and use social media to make their opinions known using their own abilities. With such technology, one would think that it would be easy for these same voters to make their voice and vote count in their own country. Unfortunately, election authorities have been much too slow to adopt and adapt to new technologies that can better serve disabled and overseas voters.”

He calls on officials to expedite the implementation of election technology, saying that “it is time to bring these advances into the voting process and take serious steps to empower these historically disenfranchised voters.”

You can read DeGregorio’s article here.