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Wish I could make this shorter but the state of our nation is so dire and the challenges so great that their solution cannot be put into a few words. By itself what follows will not suffice. In fact it?s not even a near term fix ? but it is a tantalizing glimpse into the not-too-distant future.  One that we can dramatically accelerate.

 Columnist, political pundit and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Buchwald once wrote, ?I?m not a Democrat or a Republican. I?m against whoever is in power.? 

 Has our Congress been more feckless and detested by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike?  What to do?  Revolutions are bloody.  Democratic elections marred by fraud and a paucity of honest information and choices have gotten us nowhere. Perhaps the answer has been right under our noses.

 INTERNET VOTING

Before we delve into this intriguing, highly controversial, subject I confess that I have no idea whether some of the initiatives presented for discussion here will prove to be practical. Nor do I have a complete, end-to-end, understanding of how they can best be executed. What I do know is that, among the readers of this blog and the people who will come to the DayLight Forum (due for a formal launch later this year), we will have all the experience and intellectual horsepower needed to bring literally any good idea to life.  

Choosing ?the best-of-the-best? elected leaders will be greatly facilitated by the ease with which we can cast our votes. The purest form of government is a system that does not distort or subvert our choices. 

We-the-People are living in a technology-savvy America, and it is time that we seriously consider Internet voting as a viable option along with conventional polling-place and mail-in voting. In addition to providing a conflict-of-interest-free, clear, straight line between the voter and the issue to be decided, direct democracy voting via the Internet will also lower the barrier to participation for many Americans. But before that can happen, serious questions about security and privacy must be answered. It will do no good to have a system that gives all of us a real-time say in governmental matters if our vote can be hijacked. 

Many great minds and organizations are working on the challenge of making Internet voting safe and secure. Accenture ? a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company ? is one of a number of organizations that have explored technological innovation and numerous Internet-based government initiatives that are already in successful operation throughout the world. 

Surely, if we can put a person on the moon, we should be able to figure out how to make Internet voting secure. While this blog is not an adequate venue for a detailed description of possible solutions to the challenge of safeguarding our vote over the Internet, four basic suggestions can be made now and then expanded as we continue our dialogue at the DayLightForum.org:

1) Provide a password to each voter; 

2) Perform random sampling checks to confirm that a particular person voted and how the voted. Direct mailing list companies have been doing this for 50 years; 

3) Employ Internet feedback technology that can tell whether a vote is coming from an individual, a machine, or from a central source (this capability already exists and is in use daily by literally thousands of business Websites); 

4) Make the penalty for vote fraud life in prison without parole. 

Internet voting may very well turn out to be less of a problem than the current mess over antiquated mechanical voting machines and touch screens, both of which can be rigged as easily as an Internet vote could be compromised. Can whatever damage hackers could do to an Internet-based voting system be any worse than what happened in Florida in the year 2000, and in Ohio in 2004? If we can make debit and credit card transactions secure, we can certainly secure one of our most precious rights as Americans. 

The objectives of The DayLight Movement can be accomplished without Internet voting; but, when questions regarding security are resolved, Internet voting would vastly increase our ability to take part in a markedly richer national dialogue. In the meantime we will have the weight of a united voice at the DayLight Forum where politicians will be unable to ignore us. Despite the challenges that it poses, the democratic power of an Internet-based voting system is simply too promising for us to give up on it.

E-voting will be the front end of an e-government system that will speed up delivery of information and services, as well as ensure that our voices resonate, not just at election time but all the time.  As David R. Hunter, former Global Managing Partner of the Accenture Government Practice, stated in his article, ?The Role of Government in The Age of Knowledge? (Accenture Insights, May 2000): 

?Open, transparent, responsive government has never been in greater demand nor more achievable? Access to information is no longer restricted or expensive With the click of a mouse, citizens and businesses can provide feedback on a service, participate in an advisory committee, or request a performance summary.? 

Paraphrasing further from Mr. Hunter?s insights: instead of having our current 200-year old patchwork of policies and systems housed in vertical and often isolated agencies, with delivery of services that do not meet our needs or expectations, we will have an integrated and open system that permits a clear path from concept to delivery.

This kind of thing is happening all over the world. From Ireland to Singapore to Ohio, governments have a vision of transforming their country or state into intelligent systems where technology is prevalent at home and at work, linking government, businesses, schools, and households in an environment of openness where decisions and policies are made in the light of day.

By being accountable and allowing citizen stakeholders to participate in decision-making, measurement and feedback, governments and citizens alike have the opportunity to quickly and accurately gauge the information and advice that they receive and the value of what they create. 

Can you think of a better way to engender confidence in our government than to permit its people to hold the voting reins of an open-book (not ?open checkbook?) system? We will have a government that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ? a government that is responsive to the point of being organic and that displays the following characteristics: 

? Dynamic open-book connections that provide integrated and comprehensive touch points between government and its constituent?s daily lives;

? Policy speed-to-market ? radically accelerating policy formulation and implementation in order to improve results; 

? Well-engaged, knowledgeable, constituents as integral stakeholders in the success of government processes and outcomes. 

? Accountability and measurability will be more attainable and

 more accurate than at any time in the history of the world.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY

AND MAKE HISTORY

An exciting prospect for DayLight Members is the opportunity to use the DayLight Forum as our nation?s first truly functional Internet voting lab. If we are going to use the Forum to debate and straw vote on matters that are important to us, why not use the Internet and the first three voting safeguards, listed above, as a ?beta test? for an eventual national Internet voting system?  

Because we are widely dispersed geographically, and will be voting in large enough numbers to be statistically relevant, we can invite Internet voting tech and engineering proponents to work with us to accelerate perfection of a truly workable national voting system.

It all starts with you and me. 



Posted by ..:: GregO ::.. at    03/11/2010   20:12:16
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