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Wireless Voting Still a Long Way Off

With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the use of mobile strategies in U.S. presidential campaigns, could there come a day when Americans vote wirelessly?

That question was posed to a panel of mobile-campaign experts during a recent webcast. Their consensus: Not for a long time.

Considering that much voting in the U.S. is still done with paper ballots, electronic voting via wireless devices "is a long ways away," said Katie Harbath, associate manager of policy for Facebook . Delegates to the Iowa Republican Caucus in February voted with pen and paper, she noted.

Scott Goodstein, founder and CEO of Revolution Messaging, agreed, saying that electronic voting had caused problems in previous elections . The U.S. is not as advanced as other countries in using the technology, he said.

Darrell West, a vice president at The Brookings Institution, pointed out that the tiny nation of Estonia likely has the highest electronic voting rate of any country.

Clark Gibson, professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego , said Americans are concerned about keeping their votes a secret, making the use of wireless voting unlikely anytime soon.

He noted that mobile banking is catching on in the U.S., with customers using smartphones for cash transfers and other types of transactions. But that works, he explained, because banks have insurance that protects consumers from fraudulent transactions.

He pointed out that "there's no real insurance from fraudulent votes."

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.


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