People Would Use Cell Phones To Vote For President If They Could - InformationWeek

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4/22/2008
10:05 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
50%
50%

People Would Use Cell Phones To Vote For President If They Could

According to a recent poll taken by Samsung, 61% of respondents of legal voting age said they would be interested in voting for president via text message. Apparently working up the energy to go to the polls in person is too much for some. Could such a system ever work?

According to a recent poll taken by Samsung, 61% of respondents of legal voting age said they would be interested in voting for president via text message. Apparently working up the energy to go to the polls in person is too much for some. Could such a system ever work?I dunno about this one. Sending a text message to elect the leader of the United States of America just doesn't have enough gravity for me. It just seems too easy, too informal, too ... Generation Y. Case in point, 80% of teens surveyed by Samsung (aged 13 to 17, obviously not of voting age), said if they could vote in this year's election, they'd do so via text. Why am I not surprised?

Just in case you're interested, political affiliation has no impact on this poll. More than 50% of all Democrats, Republicans, and Independents surveyed say that if allowed, they'd text in their presidential vote.

If a vote-by-text system were ever to be put in place, there would need to be some serious advances in technology first. Yes, we're talking about verifying the identity of voters. Verifying identity is possible today, no doubt. Fingerprint swipes and iris recognition already are used to confirm identities. Right now, these technologies are a hair too expensive to bring to the masses, but it won't be too long before they are standard features.

But what's to stop someone from identifying themselves, and then passing the phone to someone else to vote? Can the networks be trusted to carry such vital information? Last time I checked, between 5% and 7% of all text messages still become lost in the system. That kind of margin could swing an election.

There's no arguing, though, that making sure we visit the polls on Election Day can be challenging for some. Being able to use your cell phone -- heck, or even your own PC -- would certainly be convenient. But I think we're a long way from that reality.

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