Internet voting in the Michigan Democratic primary
The New York Times has an article today, Michigan's Online Ballot Spurs New Strategies for Democrats:
The virtual ballot box has arrived in Michigan. Democrats in this state are the only voters in the country who have the option of voting online in the presidential primaries this year.
Since New Year's Day, voters have been allowed to apply for ballots and vote by mail or Internet in advance of the Feb. 7 caucuses. Or, on Feb. 7, they can go to one of 576 caucus sites and vote the old-fashioned way. By Thursday night, 11,000 people had applied for ballots, three-fourths of them over the Internet, according to the Michigan Democratic Party. About 100 people had voted so far, 90 of them online.
Mark Brewer, executive chairman of the party, said he had promoted the Internet option as a way to make voting easier and increase turnout. "Polls show that this is very popular, particularly with young people, and they have one of the worst rates of participation," Mr. Brewer said. "If this helps them, that's terrific."
When Mr. Brewer proposed online voting last year, none of the candidates objected. But when Howard Dean started climbing in the polls, they had a change of heart, fearing that his Web-surfing followers would have an inherent advantage.
Seven of the nine candidates — all but Dr. Dean and Gen. Wesley K. Clark — joined a challenge to the process initiated by Joel Ferguson, a Lansing businessman and member of the Democratic National Committee. Their brief, filed with the national committee, which oversees the rules for states, said that major security problems had not been resolved and that online voting discriminated against low-income blacks and Hispanics, less likely than whites to be computer-literate.
But the national party agreed to the Michigan proposal, and now, with the rules set, the candidates have embraced the process, devising innovative ways to track their supporters and prompt them to vote online.
The article explains how each campaign in trying to turn out the vote -- either via the Internet or at traditional voting sites -- using technology.