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Point, Click, and Vote: The Future of Internet Voting Paperback – December 31, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

R. Michael Alvarez is professor of political science at the California Institute of Technology and codirector of the Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project. His books include Hard Choices, Easy Answers: Values, Information, and American Public Opinion, written with John Brehm (Princeton, 2002). He is a nationally recognized expert on voting behavior and elections. Thad E. Hall is assistant professor of political science and a research fellow in the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (December 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815703694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815703693
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,526,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In this book, R. Michael Alvarez discusses the possibility of Internet voting. And we see a number of ways in which the Internet might improve elections. It could greatly simplify absentee voting (for example, for military personnel overseas, or college students, or those who have recently changed addresses, or frequent travelers). It could make vote counting easier, and I think it could make instant runoff voting easier as well. It could be used as part of a system to allow folks to vote at the same time that they register. There are plenty of ways in which it could improve voter turnout. Internet voting could also reduce (if not eliminate) problems with "overvotes" and "undervotes."

On the other hand, there is a serious question about the equal access of citizens to voting booths. Not everyone has equal access to the Internet. Worse, Internet voting could make the risk of fraud even more serious. Large numbers of votes might be stolen. As Alvarez explains, perhaps the most obvious threat is "spoofing," where bogus websites and messages could be used to trick voters into casting votes on a bogus site, after which, given their logins, the people at that site might be able to log in as those voters and cast plenty of votes for real.

Yes, one idea to help reduce fraud is to make sure that voters know whom (and what) they have voted for, as well as if anyone has changed their vote (or complained about their purported vote being fraudulent). But I think that also increases the risk of one's vote no longer being secret.

Should we citizens vote in this manner? Maybe we should. In any case, I think that whether we do so or not, we need to have far more safeguards on our votes.

I recommend this book.
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