Cyberspace voting

November 09, 1999

Here is an edited excerpt of an editorial from the Boston Globe, which was published Wednesday.

THE prospect of voters one day casting ballots on the Internet makes some people nervous. But it shouldn't.

Recent tests in Iowa and earlier this year in the state of Washington indicate that voter anonymity can be maintained and the system can be secured against fraud. More testing would have to be done before people vote from home computers in a national election. Chet Culver, Iowa's secretary of state, figures it will be here in 10 years.

Mr. Culver wanted the trial run in his state to fire up young voters "intimidated by the current process." Only 15 percent of people age 18 to 24 vote in U.S. elections. The purist who remembers the 1950s junior high civics classes might want to boot these young people into the polls.

Purists worried about the blow the Internet might inflict on civic tradition should consider the pummeling democracy is taking from a turned-off electorate. Every tool of the communications age should be used to restart that vital engine.

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