Instead of casting their ballot in a designated Polling Place, some Washington residents can vote in a US election using their smartphones.
In King Conservation District, Washington, the region that encompasses the greater Seattle area, residents now have the option to cast their vote for a US election via a smartphone rather than having to travel to a local Polling Place as reported by NPR.
The district consists of over 30 cities and about 1.2 million eligible voters who could potentially cast a digital vote. A news conference was held Wednesday to detail the plans, the same day smartphone voting opened up to the region for a board of supervisors election. Digital ballots can be cast until the official election day, February 11.
Bradley Tusk, the CEO of Tusk Philanthropies, a nonprofit organization with the aim to expand mobile voting, stated that "If you can use technology to exponentially increase turnout, then that will ultimately dictate how politicians behave on every issue."
Adding another method for people to vote is expected to increase the voting rate in the area; previously, less than 1% of King Conservation District's eligible population actually cast a vote in local elections.
To participate, voters need to log into an online portal using their birth date and name. Once their ballot is submitted, they are required to verify the submission with a signature made using their smartphone touchscreen -- "That will be the way people are caught if they log in to the system under false pretenses and try to vote as someone else." The elections office will then print out these digital ballots and count them alongside all the other physical ballots cast at polling places.
While mobile voting has been attempted in the past by Washington DC before it was promptly discontinued due to external hacking, other states like Nevada and Iowa intend to follow suit and launch mobile election ballots like Washington in an attempt to increase voter turnout rate.
Though this type of online voting is viewed as a security disaster by many including the Washington Secretary of State, who expressed concerns about vulnerability to attack, some computer scientist specialists believe that this is a misconception that will become even more inaccurate over the upcoming years as cybersecurity technology evolves.
King Conservation District residents will be able to cast their votes online now through to February 11.