Hawaii Votes By Internet

Last week, Honolulu completed what appears to be the first Internet-only election.

Honolulu Cityline by Flickr user Irargerich
"Honolulu Cityline" by Flickr user Irargerich

In the past, I have taken a very dim view of many election “reforms.” The fundamental idea — that we need to make it easier to vote because people are not taking the time to cast their ballots — seems flawed. People will take the time to do what is a priority for them. For many, voting ranks somewhere below getting the car washed.

To me, that’s wrong, and I do not think policies should be designed around devaluing the vote.

But there’s a point the article makes that makes me think Interent voting may be something whose time has come. Why? It’s cheaper.

Honolulu did not shift to Internet-only voting out of a sense of reformism or do-gooderism, but because they needed to save money:

[T]he Honolulu City Council cut the Neighborhood Commission’s election budget from $220,000 to $180,000. That prompted the agency to shift to all-digital voting for this year’s races. Preliminary calculations show Web voting may cost only $80,000, [a community relations specialist with the city Neighborhood Commission] said.

That’s a significant savings.

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