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, citizens are usually required to register in a jurisdiction of a residence, while only some states accept registration at the county level. Until the mid 90s, registration was only possible at the governmental office. Afterwards, in order to increase the voting turnout, the process was simplified and registration was possible at DL registration centers, schools, libraries, disability centers, and by mail-in. This year, online registration has been approved as well.
Online voter registration
Online registration means skipping 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 also becomes the voting signature. In case the information doesn't match, application is sent for further review. All together, online registration meant significant savings of the taxpayers’ money: from 83 cents per paper registration to only 3 cents for online registration.
Mobile App registration
In addition to the online registration solution, another way to encourage voting turnout is via a mobile app for voter registration. Since in today’s world smartphones have become the main and ultimate means of interaction and source of information, a mobile app for voter registration makes the voting process comes in a format they are familiar and more comfortable with. On top of that, most apps of this kind do not only provide the registration feature, but also general information on the candidates, ballot issues, and information about polling location.
What about document validation within these solutions? Advanced technologies enable extraction of personal data using a mobile device camera. Now, there’s no longer a need to manually enter data from a document. It’s enough only to scan a driver’s license within the app and the information is automatically extracted. Microblink offers this functionality and improves the user experience of several voting mobile apps. Scanning and data extraction take less than a second, which makes the whole process easy and fast for the millennial voter population.
The future of online voting
There have been attempts to make the voting system online so that even more people could vote. With respect to that, mobile apps would resolve many of today’s voting problems. The process for the voters would be very simple: they could cast their vote in real time using their mobile device, right up until the polls close.
However, there are opposing opinions on this system. Many argue that smartphones would be too complex for the elderly. On the other hand, their positive aspects may outweigh them, such as decreasing the likelihood of invalid ballots (e.g. marking 2 candidates instead of 1) and informing the voters about the candidates better. 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 the race will be very tight, counting on each vote. Besides this year’s results, we are eager to see if these simplifications of the voting system and introduction of mobile app registration will have an impact on the number of voters in the future.