Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ First Binding Internet Election In History

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jan 25, 2000

Posted to MuniMall Newsletter, 26 January 2000.

Another milestone has been reached and passed as the first binding online election in history took place January 24 in Alaska.

The Monday straw vote helped determine who will go to the Republican National Convention on behalf of Alaskan Republican voters.

The vote, involving voters from Congresisional Districts in northern Alaska, was sponsored by GoVote.Com, an online politics portal and forum.

GoVote also provides voter registration, daily political news clippings, discussion forums, candidates' background and policy positions, and links to commercials, quotations and political news broadcasts.

Alaska's lead is part of a trend which will see U.S. states pioneer online voting, according to elected officials and technical experts.

Speaking via satellite to a symposium last week, both Governors George Pataki of New York and Gray Davis of California pointed to developments leading to online voting in their respective states.

The Democratic Party primary in Arizona is slated to include online voting March 7 though 10, and the U.S. Navy is experimenting with online voting for voters from four states: Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

In an interview with Stateline, a site devoted to state-level political news, U.S. President Bill Clinton highlighted the impact of internet technologies on traditional politics.

More than just voting, "Opportunities for 'informed participation' at all levels of our government will expand -- with the possibility for increased electronic communication between citizens and their government," he said.

"By working together with the private sector and with non-profit organizations, we have the opportunity to strengthen our democracy in the Information Age, and to make government more open, responsive, and efficient. The Internet of the 21st century will not only be a global electronic marketplace -- it may also become the town square."

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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