POLITICS

Voting Online: The Few Places You Can Cast Ballots With The Internet

Journalists from the Syria-News website work at their offices in Damascus on November 4, 2010 as Syria prepares to vote on an
Journalists from the Syria-News website work at their offices in Damascus on November 4, 2010 as Syria prepares to vote on an Internet law that has raised concerns about online media in a country which already keeps a tight control of the Web and where access to at least 240 sites is blocked. AFP PHOTO/ LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

If you want to vote online in a United States presidential election, your best bet may be to time travel into the future.

For now, it's not available as an option for the vast majority of Americans. There are a few exceptions.

If you live in New Jersey, due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the state's Division of Elections is allowing votes submitted via email or fax. There are a few things you need to do to be able to do this.

First, you have to submit your interest in using these alternate methods by 5 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Then, you have to sign a waiver of secrecy, which you send back along with your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The only other possibility is in California. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "only overseas and military personnel protected under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act can cast ballots via e-mail."

Alex Palombo of Progressive Strategies suggests the New Jersey option to email or fax your vote could be a test of sorts on the method:

Maybe this "fax and email" election in New Jersey can a testing ground for future voting -- if this works well there, and security measures can be put in place [...] maybe this hurricane voting Plan B can become a more convenient, inclusive and accessible voting method for elections to come.

Despite our advanced technology, it could be a while until an online voting method becomes widely available.

Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, tells CNN that security is the biggest concern, with the possibility of hackers and corruption of files: "online voting is a very unsafe idea and a very bad idea."

There's also the problem of veryifying the identity of the voter while also guaranteeing anonymity of his or her vote, as Mashable notes.

So, at least in 2012, while registering to vote online is an option in some states like Indiana and Utah, actually voting online isn't feasible unless you fall into one of the rare exceptions above.

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Election Day 2012
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