Internet Voting and Democracy Conference

Safranek, Stephen ssafranek at AVEMARIALAW.EDU
Wed Jun 21 08:01:31 PDT 2000

I find Richard's comment about "whether it should happen" to be a good one.
In addition, nothing about the conference talks about the possibilities the
internet offers for direct democracy in states that have an initiative or
for states that do not, or even for the United States.

Stephen J. Safranek
Professor of Law
Ave Maria School of Law
3475 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor MI 48105-2550
(734) 827-8096
ssafranek at <mailto:ssafranek at>

-----Original Message----
From: Richard D. Friedman [mailto:rdfrdman at UMICH.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 7:05 PM
Subject: Re: Internet Voting and Democracy Conference

At 01:56 PM 06/20/2000 -0700, Mark Scarberry wrote:

It is interesting that the announcement of the conference assumes that
voting will be moving to the internet. Perhaps the announcement was not
intended to be understood that way, but isn't there a very serious question
whether that should happen? Or perhaps several serious questions: voter
fraud, hacking of voting websites, differential access to the internet among
different social groups, etc.

There's also some loss of community, which is not trivial in the Age of
"Bowling Alone".  Joining others at the polling place, signing in and voting
in each others' presence, is one of the few activities that we do with our
neighbors, or at least some of them.  It carries an emotional weight, as an
affirmation of democracy, that I don't think voting at home will have; it's
sure had impact on me whenever I've gone to a polling place, ever since
accompanying my parents when I was a young child.  On the other hand, it
carries one enormous potential benefit -- that it may result in more people

Rich Friedman
University of Michigan Law School

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