In September, as a result of a law I authored in 2011, California launched online voter registration. Consequently, California set a new record with 18,245,970 registered voters. Over 1 million people used the new registration system in less than a month, with over 780,000 citizens added to the voter file. Nearly 62 percent of those who registered online were under age 35 and four out of five registered to vote for the very first time. Proudly, these individuals also voted in much higher numbers than those eligible via paper registration from previous elections.
Unfortunately, this past year we also saw the reinstitution of the poll tax in many states. That’s right. Some may use nicer words, but it’s a poll tax. By reducing the places where people could vote and the number of days for early voting, dubious secretaries of state grew the lines. People had to wait 4, 5, or 6 hours. For an hourly wage earner, say a hotel housekeeper in Miami, that wait cost her $40 or $50 in lost earnings.
While some spent their energies trying to suppress the vote around the country, in contrast California dramatically increased our voter rolls, especially among young people and first time voters.
Our new online voter registration system was protected from fraud by matching information from the online registration form with data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and all registrations went through the same screening process in which paper registrations are verified.
There is no denying that online registration was an incredible success and demonstrated that using modern technology can significantly enhance our democracy. That is why I believe that we need to start thinking about not just registering online, but voting online as well.
Voters are understandably distressed that on Election Day they often wait in long lines to cast their ballot - especially when we can conduct so many very sensitive transactions online such as banking, paying our taxes, and purchasing products.
I share this frustration but I have a fundamental optimism that the barriers to online voting can be lifted if enough research and development is devoted to solving the problem.
Unfortunately, internet voting systems are not yet ready for deployment. The National Institutes for Standards and Technology and cyber security experts at the Department of Homeland Security have reviewed the currently commercially available internet voting systems and found that fundamental security problems have not been resolved and thus should not be used yet in our public elections.
Some of the challenges include the simple fact that even the most secure of online systems have been breached including those at the Centcomm and the FBI. In other words, in today’s cyber-security environment, even so-called secure online banking has weaknesses. Banks annually lose billions to cyber fraud and theft despite investing heavily in the most state-of-the-art cyber security tools available.
While e-commerce can tolerate a certain level of fraud, our elections cannot and should not. Accepting that 1% of all online transactions will be fraudulent or lost is common practice among banks and merchants. Elections, however, can be decided by less than 0.1% of the vote, making our democracy much less tolerant of small-scale loss or fraud. Furthermore, the Constitution safeguards the right for every eligible citizen to have their ballot count as cast - not just 99% of citizens.
I am, however, encouraged to know that some of the greatest minds in our universities and at private corporations are working to overcome some of these fundamental challenges. I look forward to a time that citizens can cast ballots from their home computers and have confidence that their ballots will be counted as cast and that any attempt to hack and game the system will be detected.
I believe everyone who is eligible should be able to easily participate in our democracy and that is why I will not give up on the idea of one day voting online.
WASHINGTON—The outpouring of American compassion for storm victims continues nearly a month after Supertyphoon "Yolanda" devastated the Central Philippines and left more than four thousand dead and four million homeless.
As the U.S. government, with nearly 3,000 military service members, is taking the lead in international relief and rehabilitation efforts in the stricken areas, numerous private groups in America were doing their part, soliciting funds and relief goods to alleviate the sufferings of the storm victims.
MANILA -- Seven Filipino hospital workers, including a doctor, were killed in a militant attack on a Yemeni Defense Ministry complex, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday, Dec. 6.
Foreign Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said workers "pretended to be dead" to survive Thursday's assault, which left 12 other Filipinos injured with one requiring surgery.
By DAVE CLARK
WASHINGTON -- The death Thursday of South Africa's liberation leader and first democratic president Nelson Mandela triggered an unprecedented worldwide chorus of awed respect.