Tech the Vote

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Ok, so let me ask you a couple of questions. Let’s run the gamut of proverbs: who, what, when, where, and why? This is about Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Clinton, and Sanders. It’s also about everyone in every state running for office – be it Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor, City Council, Clerk of Courts, a judgeship, or your local School Board. Back to the adverbs. Who benefits in 2016 for the ballot box on the local, state, and national levels being run roughly as they were in 1776? What’s really going on? When will we do better? Where are the solutions to this increasingly large problem? Why aren’t all American adults demanding that our incredibly obsolete system of voting be thoroughly modernized pronto? Friends and neighbors, I’m over rocking the vote. We desperately need to tech the vote.
This is America. Some of the smartest, innovative, and technologically savvy people on planet Earth live here, work here, or could be easily recruited to come here to do both. With God’s help, Americans ushered in the industrial age. Americans put the first man on the moon. Americans invented the internet. Right now, even as I’m typing up this op-ed column entry, somebody or some group of brainiacs in the Research Triangle of Raleigh-Durham or Silicone Valley of San Jose or the MIT-Harvard conclave of Boston is working on mechanized wonders that can and will change the world in the not-too-distant future. I’m talking about SCRAM jets that fly from Paris to New York in 90 minutes. I’m talking about supercomputer-equipped telescopes that allow our astronomers to see a galaxy (GN-Z11) 11.4 billion light years from earth – as was the case just under a month ago with the Hubble Telescope. Light travels roughly 6 trillion miles in one light year. Are you trying to tell me that human beings can figure out how to see a galaxy 11.4 billion light years away, but we cannot modernize one of the most important aspects of American citizenship – the vote? Millions of Americans can simultaneously call a dedicated phone number to vote for their favorite dancer on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” or FOX’s “American Idol,” but we can’t do the very same thing for our ballot box? Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t believe that for one nanosecond. This is America. And Americans eat difficult for breakfast.
Absentee ballots, paper chads, and even ink-and-paper voter registration applications are the remnants of a by-gone era. Everything changes. Everything has already changed. When I was a kid, I clearly remember when you were fortunate to have ABC, CBS, NBC, and WTCG /WTBS (Ted Turner’s Superstation channel 17 out of Atlanta) on the local UHF and VHF channels of your television – with or without the rabbit ear antennas. Today, we have hundreds of television channels to choose from via cable or satellite. Once upon a time, consumers who had credit cards like BankAmeriCard (the forerunner to VISA) or MasterCharge (the precursor to MasterCard) routinely shopped with no fear whatsoever of having their card declined towards a purchase because the merchant simply made a carbon copy of the credit card and assumed that the transaction would be honored later on by the bank. Clearly, that is no longer the case. Technology transformed the banking and entertainment industries, and can do the same for the American political process.
Why hasn’t the ballot box already been upgraded?  No one should ever have to wait 6 or 7 hours in line at a voting precinct to cast a vote for the candidates of their choice. That was the case just last week in Arizona. No one – Republicans, Democrats, or Independents – should be subjected to ultra-aggressive voter ID laws in certain (read: red) states written and passed under the false pretense of eliminating voter fraud. In one fell swoop, the controversy of states and governors in those states being unwilling and/or unable to offer their citizens a reasonable early voting period can be wiped away for good.
Some power brokers like our antiquated voting system, for reasons clear only to them. And those people are wrong.
How cool would it be for you to be to vote your choice for every local, state, and national election from your electronic device? How awesome could it be for you to be about to cast your vote at 2:00pm or 2:00am? 
As a former IT Engineer, I can tell you that this can be done. Securely, safely, and cost-effectively.
Teching the vote could eventually lead to much shorter campaign cycles. By providing all American adults easy access to vote, voter participation in primaries and elections would surely skyrocket.
No more long lines. No more man-made, labrinyth-inspired gridlock at either voter registration offices or at voting precincts. No more hassles about which ID is valid or not. Tech the vote now. No more delay. Yes, we can.

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