Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Digitize the Ballot: Voting Technology Could Get Rid of Voter Suppression

In light of the latest restrictive voting law in Georgia, Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the growing group of business giants to denounce the Republicans that essentially made voter suppression of BIPOC. During an interview with the New York Times, Cook discussed his feelings towards the reaction to a record-breaking turnout of Black voters in 2020. And at one point, he brings in the digital future of practicing a civic duty. 

According to Cook, the United States has reached a point where most, if not all, of its citizens live in the tech that we use. We control our funds, communicate with coworkers, feed ourselves, shop for ourselves, and even entertain ourselves all through devices. Cook even argued that most people have more information about them on their devices than they do in the homes they live. If you’ve ever forgotten your phone at home during a busy day, chances are you’ve felt like an essential part of you was missing. In a time when it feels like there are groups of people being guided away from the voting process, wouldn’t the logical move be to make voting as easy as ordering groceries?

Up until 2018, more than 40 states were using outdated voting and ballot counting equipment that was close to 10 years old, according to Pew Research.

The past two presidential elections raised concerns about voting system hacks and other fraud that negatively impacted mostly BIPOC votes. In 2020, most people cast their votes via mail due to social restrictions from the pandemic. While some were shocked by the lack of protection their country provided in making major decisions that affected over three hundred million people, the technology used for the voting process today foreshadowed a tampering disaster. Compared to the technological evolution of other industries, such as healthcare and banking, voting is decades behind. 

Cook believes that voter participation could reach close to 100 percent, compared to the 66 percent turnout in 2020. And though this statement doesn’t take into account the different mindsets or beliefs that cause people not to vote, making the process easier could shift the perspective on voting we have right now. Rather than being a part of American citizenship that is inconvenient or too controversial, filling out a ballot could be contributing to a more ideal future.

The concept of digital voting has been discussed for a few years, with cyber security issues working against the change. Most people may have access to smartphones or other multi-functional devices but not everyone has the ability to install stable firewalls. Identity verification — an issue that is still affecting traditional voting — would also be an obstacle to conquer. Cook’s dream for the future of voting may be farther away than we hope now, but the tech genius’ musings should act as inspiration to approve and simplify the voting process. Whether it be communal smart device voting centers, more up-to-date computer voting, or monitored phone ballots: we need to start seeing the tech we have as a way to give people more accessible means to participate in elections.