Juan Gilbert, the chair of human-centered computing at Clemson has been working with teams of students over the last 10 years in an effort to create a secure and scalable online voting system. The goal is to create a voting system that can be used via a mobile device and work by both touch and voice-command.
Once fully developed, users would be able to download the system to a computer, tablet or smartphone. The proposed system would be significantly cheaper and more accessible than the conventional electronic voting machines, which have come under considerable scrutiny over recent years.
According to Gilbert, “Prime III is the world’s most accessible voting technology ever created.” Plans have already been put into place to make the Premier Third Generation Voting system available for use in Wisconsin during the 2014 midterm elections. The app will be free for voters.
South Carolina is also looking into the possibility. South Carolina has already gone paperless in its voting. However, this has not been as successful as originally anticipated. It has been estimated that there were 2.500 voting errors in just two counties during the 2010 elections because of the computerized voting machines.
Those machines cost South Carolina approximately $3,000 each for a total investment of $34 million. The needed hardware to implement the Prime III will come out to roughly $500 each; far less expensive and predicted to be more accurate.
Gilbert has been devoted to making voting more accurate and accessible. Aside from new mobile voting system, Gilbert has worked to develop a video link voting system that would allow soldiers stationed overseas to vote in real-time. Additionally, Gilbert has also developed a system that would allow voters to set voting appointments, opposed to standing in long lines.
Since there systems are still in testing and verification stages, it is unclear how likely these are to be adopted for use across the country. However, having a test run in Wisconsin will help Gilbert establish that his system works in real application. Given the ease and reduced price, it is likely that many other states may follow suit as a means of saving money.
Despite the clear benefits of this proposed system, there may still be concerns over accessibility for people without internet access. States would still need to ensure that everyone has fair access to voting.