Online system for voting in NYC elections is proposed

new york city voting system online
Proposed legislation would require the creation of an online voting system for absentee and military ballots.
Credit: Getty Images

A Bronx councilman wants to put city elections on the web.

Legislation introduced by Councilman Fernando Cabrera on Wednesday would require an online voting system where absentee and military ballots could be cast in certain municipal elections.

The proposed system would allow primary, runoff and general election ballots to be cast for mayor, public advocate, city comptroller, borough presidents and council members. A spokeswoman for Cabrera said the system, which would not initially be available for all voters, represents a “baby step.”

“Many facets of life are completed online and voting should not be excluded, provided the necessary security measures,” Cabrera said in a statement.

There would be a password attached to the proposed voting process, according to the Cabrera spokeswoman. His office is also working with SOE Software, a company that specializes in election modernization.

Still, the idea of online voting worries Neal Rosenstein, government reform coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

“There’s a ton of folks who say that the system wouldn’t be secure,” he said. “Public confidence in the election process is the most important thing.”

To help military and absentee voters, as well as the electorate in general, Rosenstein advocated instead for instant runoff voting or moving local and state primaries to June, giving the Board of Elections more time to count ballots before the general election.

“We don’t think online voting is the answer but we’re glad that they’re thinking proactively,” he said.

A spokeswoman said the city’s Board of Elections does not comment on pending legislation.

Once the measure is enacted, the law would have to be ratified by city voters during a general election referendum.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



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