People joke that you can accomplish or acquire all the necessities of life through online interaction – food, love, clothing, material goods, spiritual revelation, and plain old intellectual curiosity all seem to have created digital niches. Some of these seem a bit redundant, like ordering pizza via the Internet rather than walking over to the telephone to make a call. Others are wonderful time savers, like ordering groceries and setting up pre-determined delivery times. Now, yet one more mundane but vital requirement of American life is being ported over to the Internet – voting.Of course, we have all come across various online polls of both a serious and ridiculous nature, but now has made it easier than ever for the Average Joe to get online and fulfill their civic responsibility. According to the website, the purpose of is to bring ordinary people back into American politics. For instance, the winner of’s recent virtual Presidential primary for the Democratic Party was to receive the organization’s endorsement (unfortunately, as no candidate received a clear majority, they chose not to endorse anyone).

Depending on how you view this civic duty, the option of online voting may offer real appeal. Just like the concept of online renewal of driver’s licenses and online payment of taxes, online voting is a logical step for the federal government in its quest to cut costs and eliminate paper waster. Hopefully online jury duty is on the way.

The main problem with an eventual legally binding online primary is that there is currently no mechanism of oversight. Yes, sites such as facilitate online grass roots organizing and streamline the political donation process – however, what is to prevent this online primary process itself from running in circles? The Internet right now is widely unregulated, and this appeals to some and frightens others, but are we ready for online voting? There was enough grief over “hanging chads” during the last Presidential election, let alone the vast and serious implications of trying to elect the U.S. President through AOL.

In theory, sites like can claim to offer the masses a more efficient way to voice their opinion. However, sites like this are loath to point out how much influence they can really have on the digital mob, while forgetting to point out that an online campaign could be run at a fraction of the cost of a traditional political campaign. These are not trivial concerns, and they raise the issue of the need for a virtual FEC that would regulate and help ensure the success of online voting.

Why was widely accepted as a “legitimate” online primary while others were not? What about Internet smear tactics and what are the implications of criminal use of online voter data? Did’s non-binding primary really help form some kind consensus amongst voters? Did it truly represent the reality of public opinion on these issues?

This site insists that it is bringing politics back to the masses, but “the masses” in this instance seem to reflect a very narrow segment of society. If you have a computer and have heard of this site, then your voice can be heard. What about the elderly and those without access to the Internet?

In short, while online political voting may be appealing, it is a long way from reality. There are far too many questions regarding universal access, security, and fraud for it to become mainstream any time soon.