Using e-signature in voting allows people to vote remotely instead of the usual manual way of walking to a polling station. This method naturally has lots of benefits, but the global coronavirus pandemic makes it a necessity and tool we cannot ignore. Apart from the fact that it allows remote voting, it is also an excellent way to stop bad players. US elections are around the corner, and voting fraud has remained the headline in many news stories. And it's not just in the US; leaders worldwide use unscrupulous means to retain their seats. Although modern technologies allow us to complete paperwork without touching paper, elections in this century still face many challenges. Complicated online registrations make it hard for one to become a voter and, as a result, block many potential voters from exercising their constitutional rights. Poor organization means more voters stand in long ques and waste more time in the name of casting a vote. The United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries have numerous instances demonstrating election fraud cases. For example, voters have used the details of dead individuals in the US to add thousands of votes in US elections. Other instances include ballot stuffing, double voting, and illegal absentee ballots. Still, these nations won't try relatively safer methods like using e-signature in voting. As we venture into the digital world, almost every sector is leveraging technology to replace manual paper processes. Technology has enabled us to do a lot more processes remotely than before. Consumers can now enjoy mobile banking, and businesses can rely on legally valid e-contracts. Some things have not changed despite the changes in the 21st century. We haven't considered electronic voting and changed how we handle ballot boxes. It's common knowledge that there is a high risk of using electronic voting. An election can be crippled by such risks which include, hacks and lack of data integrity. Another critical question is how to verify legal voters before they cast a vote. And how to prevent unauthorized ballots boxes from being submitted.
Electronic ballots are the main talking point when it comes to fraud in elections. They have become the soft spot for more election fraud. And that's because there are more ways to verify the validity and integrity of a vote. The implementation of centralized online databases of registered voters can allow for proper authentication before one is authorized to cast a ballot. And this is very different from the standard paper or digital ballots used in the past years. If electronic voting is secured and managed well, we may be able to vote in an entirely different way. Absentee ballots could be online closer to the day of the election, and counting would be more transparent than in the past elections. Electronic signatures have been at the front of security technologies used to protect data transmission across the internet. By validating and authorizing the signatory, the receiver and any other partner in a transaction can be sure that the correct person submitted the data. The malfunctioning of voting machine software and disorganized voter registration increases the risks of fraud. These shortcomings explain the need to embrace e-signature in voting. Virginia returned to paper ballots for "greater convenience and security but has so far realized the challenges of counting many ballot papers. E-signature in voting may be the solution to the persistent problems of voter security and fraudulent elections.
What makes an electronic signature legal? Electronic signatures come with many security features that ensure the validity of your sensitive information in the document. They include;
The digital signature is not a recent innovation. It has already gone global and served in industries like education, medicine, real estate, and many other fields. It also helps to understand that an electronic signature is as legal as a physical one. The National Labor Registration Board (NLRB) has begun accepting electronically signed petitions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2017, thirty-seven states and the District of Colombia had put into effect online registration for elections. This implementation saw a significant cost reduction compared to paper-based states. In a place like Arizona, registration costs were reduced, from 83 cents to 3 cents. The same way signing electronically has proven beneficial in other sectors, leveraging e-signature in voting may help prevent fraud and lead to fairer election processes.
Voting and fraud are some of the hottest issues in the political world. Cybersecurity specialists consider voting machines to be vulnerable to hacking because they are outdated. Electronic signature platforms offer different methods of protecting information. Encryption, unique identities, and audit trails prevent document forgery, and blind signatures ensure anonymity. Such security measures can be combined to come up with a safer way to conduct elections. It is a more accurate way to collect votes than the vulnerable voting machines. That being said, it means using e-signature in voting may be the perfect way to reduce election fraud.
Pew Research Center's 2016 Voter Turnout study shows, the United States had 86.8% of voting-aged voters registered, but only 55.7% cast their ballots in the presidential election. These stats indicate some factors may have facilitated the low voter turnout. These factors include a failure of the electorate to register, residency requirements, lack of means to travel to the polls, or indifference. For the voting process to be transparent and attract more people to exercise their civil duty, the procedure should be simplified and sped up. That way, people will trust it and consider it credible. When more people are attracted, online registration will help increase the actual number of registered voters. It will motivate even those who don't care much about politics to take part. Voting through e-signature should be made available for sick people, those on a journey, the busy at work, parents taking care of children, and all those held up at something. This method will attract a larger population of people who will participate in the elections because the process will be as simple as taking out your smartphone and voting.
Electronic signatures are becoming a more secure and cost-effective way to carry out important tasks with more innovation and tech development. Some of its benefits include:
Digital signatures can secure petition and ballot signatures by verifying the individual casting the ballot and protecting the data's integrity. "Blind signature schemes" is a method that verifies the identity of the voter and also provides a way for election authority to certify the ballot while preventing any bias. Block-chain could be used to create a transparent method where anyone can count votes as it leaves an audit trail. Electronic voting will continue to make a rise in politics, closely following behind the use of online petitions and private voting platforms. As we continue using it, some questions must be answered.
1. How do we verify the identity of the actual voter, and how do we avoid fraud?
2. How do we prevent external hackers?
3. How do we safeguard the voting systems, including backing up data?
Using e-signature in voting allows people to vote remotely instead of the usual manual way of walking to a polling station. This method naturally has lots of benefits, but the global coronavirus pandemic makes it a necessity and tool we cannot ignore. Making the most of current technology can lead to a transparent election process. Using e-signature in voting stands out as an approach we could incorporate in elections to prevent fraud.