The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Online voting should replace traditional voting.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,812 times Debate No: 11366
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Rules: No word play on semantics. No specific format. If you accept, please present a case and don't just forfeit. Thanks in advance!

I affirm the resolution.

C-1: Many entities use various forms of online voting with success. Examples include Major League Baseball All Stars, and (Sources & The basic premise requires a person to log in and vote. Failsafe measures to prevent fraud would be 1 vote per SSN. The Social Security Administration has dates of birth on file. Thus, it stands to reason that persons 18 and older could vote one time.

C-2: Numerous elections have had questionable results and recounts, most notably that of Florida or Iran. Such a system would likely alleviate inaccurate vote counting as it would be done electronically, and tallied as the votes occur.

C-3: Absentee voting has it's share of potential debacles as well. Online voting alleviates the process of mailing ballots, having them marked, mailed back, opened and counted.

C-4: Elderly and shut in voters may not get the opportunity to vote traditionally. Having access online would enable them to have a better opportunity to vote.

CONCLUSION: Given the unreliability & inaccessibility of traditional voting, it passes the common sense test to switch to online voting. It is possible to create a reliable program that would be protected against hackers and pirates, that would not only simplify, but also uncomplicate the entire voting process. Further, greater accessibility suggests that more registered voters would actually vote, which is the very essence of what a democracy is intended to be. Many people fought for the rigth to vote, thus we have the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendmentst o our national constitution. Thank you!


I staunchly disagree! Online voting should NOT replace traditional voting. It holds far too many ways to fail than suceed. Idealy, yes, for convenience sake online voting would be far superior to traditional voting. However it makes the already problematic voter fraud even easier then it already is. While you have listed ways that you think will be able to prevent this, I shall now go through and show how each is inevitably able to fail to virus', hackers, and general vote bombers.

c-1: Voting fraud on this site has not been unheard of, and debate.orgs 'fail safe' with cell phone identity is a speed bump at best. All one needs is a phone number that can recieve text messages, an viola, that account can vote. I do not have a phone that can recieve TM, and so am unable to confirm my identity, though I know I exist. This means I can't vote, which is very inconvenient. However, if I so chose to I could get one or convince a friend or even steal a phone and "confirm" my identity tot he satisfaction of debate.orgs fail safe, though as you can see there are more dishonest ways to pass this than the honest one. Now, for your example of what I am assuming are serious political elections, you say that a social security number will do the trick. Not so. Just as with the cell phone all one needs to do attain a SSN, and they are now that person whether they are or not. If you have contention with this then you are probably not aware of identity theft []. Now as you'll have surly noticed this site is not just about what identity theft (IT) is but how to fight it. I fully admit that there are ways to fight IT after it has happened, though they are often lengthy, inconvenient, and costly. In all cases, IT could be fought but not after the damage has been done. This means that in a serious election, the mere possibility of the damages of IT far outweight the benefit of convenience. An election where seemingly thousands have voted could just as well be 1 person, or group with a particular agenda. Even if 1 vote is not that of the legitimate holder of the SSN, your fail safe has failed. It is far more pssoible than not, and for this reason, online voting clearly fails.

C-2: If we lived in a perfect world then you'd be right. An electronic voting system would be more relable in counting votes. That is, if those votes were real and reliable. As I've already shown, the reliablity of votes is already in question. But whether a real person in any degree cast those is also in question. A virus, especially a well designed one, could easily pass through a fail safe of any kind, and perform a simple operation of changing a 1 into a 2, or 3, etc. Hacks and viruses into what where thought to be secure systems is all too common, and a simple google search can reveal hundreds of stories of real life scenarios where such a thing happened. Here's on that happened just 2 years ago [] and a famous story where the FBI's database was hacked into []. The moral of the story is that if there is a will, then there's a way, especially when it comes to computers. Vote bots exist, and are able to be purchased easily and effectively, as well as (obviously) designed []. So again here, electronic votes fail as they would only suceed if there were not people who would exploit them.

C-3: Sure they do, but it isn't as easy to fraud those as it is from a computer. With absentiee votes there is an official form, that has to be filled out be hand. A very lengthy process and definetly not immune to the effects of fraud, but it would take more time and resources to produce anywhere near the amount of damage that can be caused by a few key strokes. I believe I've sufficently described how that can happen above.

C-4: Undoubtably, but like I've shown, for every honest elderly shut in who could use the technology to vote, there are more who would use it exploit their own agendas dishonestly.

CONCLUSION: Given the unreliabilty and accessibility that a hacker or virus could take advantage of over the web, online voting does more harm than good. With traditional voting, were one has to go into a set voting center, and show an ID that matches the person to it to another living person, the chance of fraud exists but is minimalized by the ability to verify the actual physical existence of a person right then and there. Opperations to commit fraud with traditional voting are far more costly, time consuming, and active (as in one has to get up and go do something) than it is with a computer. No system is perfect but a computerized voting system is far more so in the ease that it could be hacked. So while we are not in contention that a online system would do some good, I hold that it's far too easily penetrated by wrongdoers for it to become the mechanism that decides the course of an entire country, or even county.
Debate Round No. 1


twsurber forfeited this round.


I stand by my stance that online voting should not replace traditional voting.
Debate Round No. 2


It appears that my opponent's only true objection is the possibility of hacking.

In the first round, I stated that such a system could be created and regularly updated to prevent intrusion from pirates and hackers, thereby dismantling my opponent's only objection. As such, no new evidence is admissible.

The benefits clearly outweigh the cons. My opponent agreed on several points, at least in theory, that this is indeed a good concept.

With the sole objection addressed and countered, and concurrence with my ideals, I respectfully request an Affirmative ballot. Thanks.


My opponent has failed to provide reasoning as to why hacking, viral infections, and cheating would be impossible in his perfect little system, beyond saying something akin to "nuh-uh". The truth of the matter is is any computer system can be hacked into. All one needs are the time, money, and resources to do it, none of which would be impossible to get [], especially with such high stakes. It is likely that converting to an online voting system would bring on a new wave of internet terrorism, and would even make it possible for other countries to decide the course of our nation. Because this one problem WILL exist, and is such a serious threat that it outweighs any good online voting could do because of the amount of damage it could cause to us as a country.

Therefore, online voting should not replace traditional voting.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
HAX. Resolution negated.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by twsurber 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:52