Weekly Brief: (Rock the vote), don’t rock the vote baby!

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It’s *drumroll* election day! And let’s be honest, you’re sick to death of hearing about how social media platforms are influencing the vote (Facebook etc. at it again with allegedly morally reprehensible behaviour!). So we thought we’d investigate the other side of things: how you vote, which really hasn’t really changed much since the ‘50s. 

Imagine that today was the first election the UK had ever had. Things would be pretty different, wouldn’t they? I doubt we would even consider using paper ballots to vote, as it’s costly, inefficient and not very environmentally friendly. Who even uses paper anymore anyways? …. So old school… 

My bet is that we would vote online and it would be a lot like online banking. You would be able to download an app and login using your National Insurance number, email and a password of your choosing. After pretty significant security steps, you would be able to cast your vote! You could do this in the privacy of your home, at your desk or on the school run…. The possibilities are endless! And this has already been successfully implemented in Estonia.   

Not only could i-voting increase turnout (which was only 68.8% in the 2017 election), but it could also increase youth political engagement. For digitally native millennials and Gen Z, the ballot box is pretty archaic and out of touch with the digital age. And don’t get me started on how i-voting could reduce the cost of voting! The 2017 General Election cost the UK £140.9m (!). Paper is expensive! So are postal votes and the public officials that run polling stations. The cost of i-voting would be minimal in comparison – Estonia has saved 50%!

Of course… The downsides of i-voting could be pretty huge! What if the electoral system was hacked and the votes rigged… I don’t even want to think about that dystopian future… Let’s hope security technology can carve a path forward!

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