HERE WE GO AGAIN. Back to the polling booths for what seems like the 100th time this decade. Wouldn't it be easier if we could just sack it off? Do it from home? Vote online?
Of course, it would, it's not a new argument, but you only have to go back to last month and the Eurovision Song Contest to see how far we are from that. "Remember, UK viewers can't vote by text" quoth Norton. But why can we not when other countries can? And why does that have to do with online voting?
Cast your mind back to October 2007. Radiohead has just released 'In Rainbows' online as a pay-as-you-go experiment. Windows Vista is still dreadful. And a scandal broke involving Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
You see, it turned out that they were inviting people to vote on things that had already been decided. Raising money from the phone lines and giving a false impression of democracy. Yes, vote rigging hit the squeaky clean primetime duo.
It wasn't the first scandal. BBC 6 Music and This Morning were amongst the culprits. Ofcom had no choice but to act and along with the BBC Trust, they put a moratorium on SMS voting.
To this day, all text voting has to be independently verified to be used in TV and Radio. That's why, in this country, we don't get to text vote at Eurovision. They simply can't get the results adjudicated in time.
But what does all this have to do with voting?
You've probably twigged, quite a lot. Because if we can't get voting right on Ant vs Dec, how do we apply that to the high-stakes world of government?
For a start, we know that online voting can be hacked. We know things can go wrong - already in this election, there's been a computer glitch which meant that postal ballot papers weren't sent out in time.
And then there's the issue of trust. People simply don't trust computers. A vote is a very sacred thing and reducing it to the same process as placing an Amazon order seems to belittle it somehow.
There's no question that there'd be a huge advantage to online voting. It would increase voter turnout and give a more accurate picture of the UK. It would allow for more statistical analysis that we've seen before. And it would mean we wouldn't have to wait for the counts, and that our Fridays would be a bit less fraught after staying up with Dimbleby into the wee small hours.
But sadly, thanks to Ant & Dec, we're further away from voting online than perhaps any other country in the world, and so far, and at this stage, there's no real benefit to the parties to invest in changing this.
At INQ, we have a red masthead, but we're not going to tell you how to use your vote. We're just going to say this. Yes, you might have to tear yourself away from the computer for ten minutes, but your analogue X in a box is hugely important - this time more than ever. So please, please, take time out and take part in the democratic process today.
There isn't an app for that, and there more than likely won't be for quite a while. µ
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