Seattle District is First in US to Let Anyone Vote by Phone in Election
In a first for the US, King County, WA is offering all residents the option to vote in an official election entirely using their smartphone. King County includes Seattle. The election is for the county Board of Supervisors. Such elections usually have very low turnout; election officials hope that the new option will boost voter turnout. The system is web-based. Residents log in using their name and birthdate, vote, and submit a signature using their touch screen. On the back end, these submissions are then printed out on paper before being tallied. Voters also have the option to fill out the ballot on their phone but print it out and submit a physical ballot themselves. The US has seen electronic mobile voting options before, but only for certain populations, such as military, disabled, and voters living overseas. The Seattle-area pilot program is being funded by Tusk Philanthropies. Founder and CEO Bradley Tusk told NPR that he hopes to fund between 35 and 50 mobile-voting pilots over the coming five years and then campaign for even wider use based on the data compiled from those programs.
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