Pop Quiz: What do gambling and elections have in common?
I’ll start with the obvious answers. Where ever politics are involved, there are risks? Yes. Where there’s a winner, there are always more losers? Most often, yes. These are all good answers, but none are the purpose of my literation.
In British Columbia, they could soon have a lot more in common than you might think. Both gambling and election votes may become standard online activities.
Online gambling has been going on for quite some time now in B.C. Canada, but now a study panel has been organized to discuss the pros and cons of allowing online voting. B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond has requested that the BC Elections group appoint an independent panel of experts to examine the possibility from all angles.
The panel has not yet been organized, but the schedule already has the impending group set to convene in September. No end date for the discussion on modernization of the B.C. electoral process has been set because no one knows exactly how long it could take.
According to B.C. Attorney Bond, online voting has a lot of potential. She argues that it would give voters easier access to the elections and, in her opinion, increase voter participation by leaps and bounds.
Nola Western, the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia, disagrees with that theory. Western said that online voting is not new to Canada and has already been implemented in several cities, including Markham and Halifax. Western pointed out that the percentage of voter participation in these locations showed no notable change.
Although the deputy chief doesn’t think that more voters will turn out, she does think the program would have other advantages. “Turnout isn’t the only potential benefit of internet voting. It certainly would help accessibility, especially for voters with disabilities.”
Thus Bond and Western are both hoping for the same outcome; online voting to be the future of determining political office in B.C. Canada. However, Western does not believe the study will have any conclusive results in time for legislation to consider the matter and implement the necessary procedures before the next elections in May of 2013.
In the same token, the response to the possibility of online voting by the general public has been overwhelming. It’s being argued that online voting would not be secure enough. Who is to say a hacker couldn’t break into the system and change the results? Many argue that without the use of paper ballets, there is no way to hold a recount.
With these allegations in mind, some have gone so far as to say that any politician who supports online voting is likely corrupt. Tampering with votes has been a huge problem in many democratic nations, and a lot of citizens believe this will only result in easier access to meddling with the votes.
My personal favorite was a comment that stated “I trust online voting about as much as I trust online gambling.” To be fair, online gambling has come a very long way in terms of security and objectivity, and legitimate operators have put a great deal of effort into ensuring the integrity of their systems. On the other hand, Canada’s online casinos also know that the odds are already in their favor.