Wednesday, November 2, 2016

US VOTER REGISTRATION

The US presidential elections were never more interesting and the tight race who will replace Barack Obama as the president in the White House has reached into its last week. The 2016 Presidential elections are being called the most important elections since 1932 and that is because of the major differences between candidates and their parties. One of the crucial things is that lots of voters still have not registered. A 2012 study estimates that 24% of the voting-eligible population are not registered to vote, meaning at least 51 million US citizens.

But how do the presidential elections in the US even work? 

Almost all of the states require citizens who wish to vote be registered 2-4 weeks before the election day.
As eligibility is not automatically presumed, how is a voter registered? Usually, it's required for a citizen to register in a jurisdiction of a residence, while only some states accept registration at the county level. Till the mid 90s registration was only possible at the governmental office. Afterward, in order to increase voting turnout, the process was simplified and registration was possible at the DL registration centers, schools, libraries, disability centers and by mail-in. This year online registration was approved as well.

Online voter registration

Online registration means avoiding paperwork and filling out the forms on a website instead. Validation is done by comparing the given data with the identification document. The signature previously recorded by the state becomes also the voting signature. In case the information doesn't match application is sent for further review. Online registration meant significant savings of the tax-payers’ money, from 83 cents per paper registration to only 3 cents for online registration.

Mobile App registration

In today’s modern world smartphones have become the main and ultimate means of interaction and source of information. Therefore, a mobile App voter registration solution makes the voting process accessible to the young people in a format they are already familiar with. Most apps of this kind provide not only the registration but the general information on the candidates, ballot issues and information about polling location.

Advanced technologies enable extraction of personal data using a mobile device camera. Now, there’s no longer need to manually enter data. Within an app, it’s enough only to scan a driver’s license and the information is automatically extracted. MicroBlink offers this functionality and improves the user experience of several voting mobile apps. The scanning and the data extraction take less than a second which makes the whole process really attractive for the millennial voter population.

The future of online voting

Now, there are attempts to make the voting system online so that even more people could vote. In that case, smartphone apps would resolve many of today’s voting problems. The process for the voters would be very simple, meaning registered voters could cast their vote in real-time using their mobile device, right up until the polls close. There are opposing opinions on this system. Many argue that smartphones would be too complex for the elderly. On the other hand, there are many positive aspects like decreasing the likelihood of invalid ballots (e.g. marking 2 candidates instead of 1) and informing voters better about the candidates. Anyhow, for these changes we’ll have to wait for the next elections.

There are only a few days left and it’s predicted that it will be very tight race counting on each vote. It will be interesting to see if these simplifications and introduction of mobile app registration would have an impact on the number of voters.





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