As I stood in a very long line last Saturday, waiting to vote at an early voting site, I realized that everyone in line was glued to their mobile devices. It made me wonder when we were going to be able to simply vote online and avoid the inconvenience of making a trip, waiting in line, and filling out forms. Now by its very nature, the democratic process must be available to all citizens, but as the internet continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, there is hardly room to doubt that a digital site will host the elections of the future.
We live in a time of digital wallets with one-touch payment processing, yet some say that casting votes in the same manner is just too difficult with too many opportunities for voter fraud. This is nothing more than a pathetic excuse from an institution that refuses to look for relevant ways in which they could drive more engagement. Instead of encouraging greater civic engagement, my home state recently instituted a voter ID law which further impedes the voting process, especially for young people and students from out of state. Can you imagine if the companies we rely on every day decided to take the same approach? There would be rioting in the streets!
If we are serious about our future and, more importantly, our children’s future, then we must take an active role in the democratic process. For some that role will simply be to vote, while for others it may be to drive greater engagement through innovation in an outdated institution. It seems that the democratic process is ripe for disruption.