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Democracy at your fingertips

Democracy at your fingertips 

 In fact, throughout the three federal elections between 1958 and 1963 voter turnout was at 79 per cent consistently.

In this modern, data-driven era, our first instinct is always to see if we can solve a problem with technology – and it would now appear there’s an app to fight apathy.

As Springwise reports, a company called Voatz is looking to disrupt the outdated and inconvenient way that people vote by using a secure app for smartphones that will allow people to make their voices heard. It is like Uber, but for democracy.

Voatz was created in July of 2014 but has already made some big waves in the industry by winning first prize at Citrix’s Hack The Future Hackathon event and being chosen as one of the OnFinance 50 Companies to Watch.

The app has not yet been released but is currently looking for elections to use as test runs. Voatz does more than just cast ballots, however, it could also be used to allow the public to participate in public opinion polls or donate to campaigns.

It should be noted, however, that Voatz isn’t the only company looking to digitize democracy.

Now this is a novel idea, but there’s one concern with this technology that everyone from your local city councillor to Barack Obama would share: security. But the company says this is a problem they plan to address. When using Voatz, users would have to go through comprehensive voter identity verification, possibly even including the use of biometric-enabled smartphones.

But the concerns surrounding security don’t just end with the possibility of fraudulent users. Strong security and competent IT professionals will be absolutely crucial to the viability of this project.

In traditional voting, paper ballots are an excellent tool when double checking results or investigating fraud. But, with democracy being boiled down to ones and zeroes, fraud has the potential to be much more hidden and possibly more effective in the digital electoral age.

Still, the technology has the potential to engage young voters on a platform they are comfortable with, and that might make a huge difference. As Elections Canada has proven, voting habits are best formed early in life and should be encouraged if we want this generation to be civically engaged.

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