Electronic voting is inevitable. It will significantly affect the process of electing and governing, with important consequences on race, race relations, and social justice. This paper argues that on matters of electing, we should not let short term concerns about digital divide blind us to long term possibilities. Specifically, we should pay close attention to how cyberspace can be specifically designed to alter preferences and attitudes, political as well as social, of its inhabitants in particular ways.
On matters of governing, the spread of the Internet may encourage more instantaneous forms of direct democracy. This is bad news for racial minorities because they are numerical minorities and people vote more in their self-interest than in the public interest. To respond to the possibility of a digital tyranny of an electronically mediated majority, this paper urges racial minorities to prepare to play smart, to leverage technology to counter numerical disadvantages. Examples include hacking bogus polls, and exploring smart electronic voting guides that “get the vote out” in an entirely new sense. This is politics and struggle on a new terrain.
- Keywords: electronic voting, Internet voting, digital divide, race, cyberspace
- [download published version @ SSRN]