I pay my bills online through my local bank account. When I want to make a deposit into my brokerage account, I snap a picture of the check on my phone. A click of a button and large sums of money move through cyberspace. I place investment trades online, and I shop online, inputting my credit card information, then waiting for the UPS package to show up at my door. I can even renew my driver’s license online.
But when it’s time to vote, I have to drive to the polling place, stand in line, then place my vote by tapping a popsicle stick on a computer screen. Because I had conflicts at the beginning and end of my day on Tuesday, I had to make a special trip from Jackson back to Clinton so I could vote. Besides the inconvenience, I burned a tank of gas just going back and forth.
In Mississippi, we don’t even have the option of early voting. In my office we had to set up a voting schedule just so everyone could exercise their right without shutting down the business. Some employers were not so generous. Working people with busy family lives often throw up their hands and forego this important right because they can’t fit it in their schedule.
Canada is venturing into electronic voting or e-voting. Other countries have already converted. Log on to a personal computer or use your phone to cast your vote. While the concern about hacking is legitimate, technology is addressing security issues and making this a viable option.
Last Election Day, about 125 million people voted. We have about 170 million registered voters, and there are more than 200 million eligible voters in the country. If we really believe in democracy, shouldn’t we find a better way for citizens to express their opinions and vote? Isn’t it time we put down the popsicle stick and join the modern era?
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is email@example.com, and her website is www.newper.com.