Published On: Mon, Jan 15th, 2018

Voting – Should It Change With The Times?

Voting - Should It Change With The Times?


Politics isn’t everyone’s favourite subject. However, there are many aspects of it that everyone should be aware of. And the main thing – of how we actually decide on matters – is one that everyone should have an opinion on. Voting via the ballot system has been in use, in the way we know it today, since the 17th century in the UK, US and Australia. And many would say that there is no need to change it – why fix what isn’t broken right? But there are arguments that suggest a better way is available. One that increases the validity of the voters and reduces the amount of discrepancies.  


However, this method, developed by Smartmatic, is digital. Which many fear could be hacked, and the votes manipulated. The company in question says that it prides itself on its cybersecurity, and it does mean that the process would exclude the potential for human error. But with the level of hacking that we have seen over the past year, with the Yahoo bombshell that left over 1 billion users exposed, and the 200 million voter records that were shown online after a data firm mess-up, it is easy to see where the fear of a hack happening comes from. And many would weigh the balance of the hack and human error, and happily take the risk of human error than that of a global manipulation.


Worries of voting manipulation are high everywhere thanks to the Putin and Trump situation. The New York Times wrote an article back in September 2017 concerning the allegations of Russia manipulating the American vote in favour of the now President, Donald Trump. And many around the world have been inclined to agree in the following months due to the closeness of the two Presidents. Further speculation of manipulation focused on the fact that many areas in the US use touch-screen voting, which many have feared could come under direct manipulation from hackers. However, nothing solid has proved one way or the other concerning the technological issue.


One huge argument, that no one should be quick to dismiss, that falls squarely in the pro-change corner, is that of the millennials. Also known as the ‘wired generation’ millennials have proven to be more concerned with politics than previous generations. This can be put down to two things; the first is the fact that social media has made politics some much more accessible to younger people. And that two of the most influential nations in the Western world; the US and the UK, have become incredibly divided due to recent political issues. In the US there has been a significant division of Trump haters and supporters. With multiple riots occurring since his inauguration, the country has not been shy in speaking up, regardless of their views or which side they fall on.


In the UK, more people under the age of 25 turned out to vote on the matter of Brexit than they have for any vote in the past decade. The outcome of the vote, to leave the EU, has enraged half of the population. A vast majority of which were too young to vote in the first place, proving how much the younger generation has started investing time looking into the world of politics. Brexit has caused such a reaction, if not because of the vote, but because of how it has been handled, previous Brexit supporters, both within parliament and out, have called for a revote.


With the younger generation being so invested in politics, and with that generation set to inherit the world within the next few years, is it safe to say that changes should be made to benefit them, rather than to preserve the old traditions?


Many will read that remark and shake their heads, but didn’t people do that when the Suffragettes fought for women’s right to vote at all in England, or with the Black Suffragette movement in America? Those changes only occurred in the last century, in 1918 and 1965 respectively. And the change suggested here isn’t to include a group of people – seeing as everyone, finally, has an equal right to vote. But to modernise the method used to submit votes. One to make it more accessible to people, to make the process more accurate, and, therefore, more secure. Do we see it as natural progress or an unnecessary risk?