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The History of E-Voting

Electronic voting, or e-voting has been a topic of debate in the political and technological world for decades. E-voting is an innovative way to cast ballots using Internet and communication technologies. It allows people to take part in the election process more easily, accurately count votes, and make governance more transparent and accountable. Those who adopted electronic voting during COVID saw all the benefits of e-voting. Additionally, it bridges the digital distance between regions and states, acting as a supplement to traditional paper ballots.


Below is a snapshot of the history of e-voting:


Timeline of Important Developments in E-Voting

Year

Description

1960

The First Computers Designed for Tabulating Votes Are Developed

1974

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machine Patented

  • This voting machine allows voters to select candidates from an electronic screen with buttons.

1977

Precinct-Based Optical Scan System Patented

  • James O. Narey, with the help of William Saylor, patented the first model of the modern precinct-based optical scan systems in the United States with patent number 4,021,780.

1982

Nebraska Becomes First State to Officially Implement American Information Systems (AIS) Central-Count Ballot Tabulator

  • Nebraska was the first state to adopt the AIS central-count ballot tabulator, which later became widely used throughout the United States.

1990

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) Releases First Set of Standards for Computer-Based Voting Systems

  • These standards are commonly referred to as the Voting Systems Standards (VSS).

1996

First Government Elections Conducted Over the Internet

  • In 1996, the Reform Party in the U.S. held a Presidential primary, where Internet voting was offered as an option along with vote-by-mail and vote-by-phone for party members who did not attend the party convention.

  • E-voting is introduced in Brazil's parliamentary elections.

  • Polling stations in Finland are testing electronic voting.

2002

E-voting and DRE Voting Machines: Successful Implementations in Japan and Georgia

  • Japan held its first e-voting election in the city of Niimi, in the Okayama prefecture, which ended successfully.

  • Georgia became the first state to use Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines for a statewide election.

2005

Estonia Holds the First Legally Binding Internet Voting Channel Available for General Elections

2015

Increasing Adoption of Internet Voting in Estonia, Norway, and Switzerland

  • 25% of the Estonian electorate cast their vote over the Internet in their local or national elections.

  • Norway introduces Internet voting at municipal elections for preselected communities.

  • Swiss expatriates have the ability to cast their vote over the Internet.

E-Voting in the Private Sector


In the private sector, e-voting is primarily used for corporate meetings and organizational elections. In these cases, e-voting is typically used to:

  • Improve the speed and efficiency of the voting process

  • Increase voter turnout

  • Provide a more convenient way for members to cast their votes

E-voting is still in its infancy in the public sector. However, Estonia is a great example of a country that has embraced e-voting for parliamentary and local elections since 2005. As of 2019, Internet voting accounted for about 30% of all votes cast in the country.


E-Voting in Web 3.0


Web 3.0 is still in its infancy. However, with the rise of DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), e-voting will become a mainstay of how we work and organize ourselves in the future. Stay tuned for more on E-voting and Web 3.0


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