Voting With the Times
Amidst all this recent talk of voter suppression and fraud, I think it's important we dig down through the layers of opinions and acknowledge a simple fact: Our voting system is archaic, and needs drastic overhaul..
Amidst all this recent talk of voter suppression and fraud, I think it's important we dig down through the layers of opinions and acknowledge a simple fact:
Our voting system is archaic, and needs drastic overhaul... immediately.
Over the past decade, we’ve watched technology creep into nearly every part of our lives: Apple started an avalanche of mobile device manufacturing with its release of the iPhone back in 2007, Uber is pissing off taxi industries worldwide, and crowdfunding giants like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have revolutionized how entrepreneurs can get funding.
Just like voting, these concepts are not new. So what is?
I've long been an advocate of the power of technology and the Internet—what was once a messy pool of information has since bloomed into a collection of standardized user experiences designed to bring people together.
As we wade deeper into the waters of web applications and data encryption, it's becoming clear that social media has an enormous effect on our society's desire and ability to once again be politically informed and involved—proven by record voter turnouts in the 2016 presidential race. This is great news for any fan of the democratic process, but what still irks me is the hoops we are required to jump through in order to register a simple vote.
From where does change come?
Until recently, the question of data encryption had been left to simmer on the proverbial back-burner by our benign powers-that-be, while private-sector technology pressed on at a rate that would have made even Charles Darwin's jaw drop. It's a free enterprise economy that changes the world, and we cannot expect government-run organizations to pioneer the next wave of technological progress.
Just like Uber, Nest, and Change.org have pushed the limits of their respective industries, I believe there will soon exist a modern company ready to revolutionize the way we engage with our political system. The founders will marry tried-and-true concepts of democracy with the progressive ideals of the 21st century: think part open-source political database, part collaborative legislation hub, part wormhole to Capitol Hill. Think /r/politics × GitHub × letters to politicians.
Is it realistic?
Of course, this idea will challenge our existing security measures in a way that only new ideas can. But that's the beauty of it: no pain, no gain. And I'm not worried when I see how young entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have been able to blindside industry giants right from under their noses.
The key is to stay focused on our collective vision. Creating useful and popular web applications involves insight from all angles, which is the primary asset to open-source platforms, and when we innovate as a response to our own demand, beautiful things can happen.
Follow the yellow brick road to the future.
One hopeful day, we will reminisce on industrial-age societies and their simplistic execution of governmental processes. Then we will submit our proposed changes to People's Bill 1337 online, and feel truly empowered in a neo-democratic political system.
For now, we can use our frustration with the current rigged political system to fuel our creative momentum into the next generation of legislation, politics, and government—one that is truly “by the people, for the people.”