Honolulu, HI has held its (and presumably the world's) first e-lection. In its recent "neighborhood council" elections, residents of Honolulu were invited to vote through a website or on the phone. I'll set aside the problematic nature of its accuracy and potential for error and fraud. That's not really what caught my concern. Instead, this quote did:
First of all, it's a "neighborhood council" election. It seems counter-intuitive that you would have neighbors vote on their representatives without leaving their homes. I understand that the desire behind this is to increase voter participation and reduce cost, but all of these decisions cost us something. Maybe you save tax-dollars, but do you possibly lose the very nature of civic mindedness that a neighborhood council should represent?
It seems that we are growing increasingly apart as neighbors and this dissolution is only exacerbated by something like this. There is something to be said for having to go down to your local precinct, albeit the neighborhood elementary school or the Unitarian Church or the library. At the very least it brings us out of our comfortable island McMansions and into the sun where we run into people who also care about our neighborhoods and communities. Where something might transpire among ourselves: "Oh, hi! You live down the street don't you? You care about the council member too? Oh, really, yeah, me too, I think they should put a four-way stop at 2nd and Green too!"
In fact, a real council should care about this. These are the type of people who make neighborhoods great. Now, they can vote from the couch, watching re-runs of Seinfeld, and shopping on QVC online. "Oh yeah, and I've can vote too. This guy looks good, not to old, kinda happy, hot wife."
Are we sure this is a wave we want to ride?