the Robertorium

how to disenfranchise voters in the information age

I was thinking about how our modern world is so efficient and accessible. You can go shopping, transfer money, and even talk to your doctor online. This means that a person who works full-time and can’t take time off can accomplish these tasks.

How could we fix this?

Well, voting, as we all know, is a fundamental right in a democracy. What if we could transform voting from the straightforward, efficient, online process that it is today into an onerous task that requires physically travelling to a “polling place”, if you will, and marking your choice physically on a piece of paper? This is low-hanging fruit - practical disenfranchisement of the overworked is a no-brainer in the pursuit of the destruction of liberty and equality.

Unfortunately, people may be resistant to give up the security of the expertly designed and hardened online voting system that we use today. They may see an inconsistency when we propose that the information security measures that work for financial and medical information no longer be applied to the task of ensuring the anonymity and legitimacy of votes. Propaganda may be necessary to convince people 1) that voting data is somehow special and can’t be secured in the same ways as other sensitive and important data and 2) that the obvious benefit of disenfranchisement outweighs the risks of insecure data handling.

If you still have doubts, consider a similar example that has already met with great success: in the state of Washington, primary elections are done by caucus. This is a process wherein people gather in a room and publicly declare their individual preferences for candidates in plain view of their community. Not only does this decrease participation in primary elections to just a handful of people, but it also creates social pressure towards conformity in voting and forms a barrier to opposing the status quo. It’s a good baby step towards full disenfranchisement and I’m sure we can do much better.

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